The Knights Hospitaller

The Hospitallers are one of several monastic orders, along with the Templars, that arose out of the crusades. While the Templars’ mandate was to protect pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem, the Hospitallers, known officially as The Order of the Knights of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, charged themselves with caring for sick, ill, or injured pilgrims. The Hospitallers, in fact, were founded first, arising in 1113 as a reform movement within the Benedictine Order, intended to strengthen religious devotion and charity for the poor. Within a few decades, the Hospitallers added a military component that over time took precedence over their charitable arm. Hospitaller knights played a significant role in the Siege of Ascalon of 1153, for example. By 1291, after the fall of Jerusalem, the Hospitallers moved to Rhodes, and became almost entirely a military order. Read more…

Ysbyty Cynfyn

Ysbyty Cynfyn was a hospital of the Knights Hospitaller of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. It is located along the pilgrim road to St. David’s and, later in history, to Strata Florida Abbey. It consists today of a church, dedicated to St John, situated within a wall that incorporates ancient standing stones. This is one of three standing stones built into the churchyard wall. Their presence indicates that the medieval church may have been built over a pagan site. The fact that the churchyard is circular is a further indication that worship has taken place here for possibly thousands of years. On the other side of the Rheidol gorge (accessed by a stiff hike, not for the faint of heart!) are the remains of a bronze age burial mound that has eroded away to reveal the stone circle Read more…