Field Investigations

  • Tintern Abbey

    Monmouthshire, Wales

    Despite the shell of this grand structure being open to the skies, it remains the best preserved medieval abbey in Wales. The abbey church was rebuilt under the patronage of Roger Bigod, lord of nearby Chepstow Castle, in the late 13th century but the monastery retains its original design. Tintern was only the second Cistercian foundation in Britain, and the first in Wales. The present-day remains are a mixture of building works covering a 400-year period between 1131 and 1536.

    Our visit to Tintern Abbey was on a sunny, still April day. Thankfully there had been few visitors and we lingered at the end of the day to record. There is a road that runs quite close to the site but road noise is not evident at any point of the recording. The EVP voices captured are at times as loud as our own, possibly because the recorder was placed on a wall rather than being held.

    EVP 1: Tracey is asking if women were allowed at the abbey. There is some wind noise and the answer is more ably heard with headphones.

    EVP 1: Probably not

    EVP 2: Considering the abbey would have been a place where singing was frequently heard, it is fitting that an EVP might be sung to us. The first four words are clear enough, however the last fades quickly.

    EVP 2: Oh you make me...

    EVP 3: Rachel and Tracey are in the infirmary area; Rachel remarks how large the area is for the size of the monastry [abbey]. The voice saying "you people" is right at the beginning of the clip and sounds feminine, which makes it unlikely to have been a former resident of the order.

    EVP 3: You people

    EVP 4: This clip is quite noisy, not from background at the site but with vocal sounds. Rachel is admiring the beauty of the abbey and a female speaker makes herself know. You will be able to hear other voices, although possibly not discern the words of other speakers.

    EVP 4: I'm fairer than you

    EVP 5: This is an amusing EVP. Who is scary; does the speaker consider Rachel and Tracey to be scary or are they referring to another soul?

    EVP 5: But you are scary

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    Lines Composed A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth, 1798. Tintern Abbey is one of the triumphs of Wordsworth's genius, a condensed spiritual autobiography of the poet. It deals with the subjective experiences of the poet, and traces the growth of his mind through different periods of his life. The poem centers on the influence of nature on the boy, the growing youth, and the man.