Dunfermline Abbey is situated in the centre of
The earliest parts of this Church were built in
the 1070s for Malcolm Canmore (King Malcolm III) and
his wife Margaret, later Saint Margaret.
The buildings seen today are the large Abbey and
Palace that are now a partial ruin with a museum, and
the large Abbey Church that has the west side built
in the 1200s, and east side built in the 1800s.
View a Large Image showing
the whole complex.
The remains of Canmore Tower, the kings castle,
are situated in Pittencrieff Park next to the
Malcolm III made
Dunfermline his capital of the parts of Scotland he
controlled. His descendants were the first kings to
control all of Scotland.
Before this time, Scotland was made up of a number
of regions, each with their own ruler.
David I, son of Malcolm and Margaret, built the
large fortresses of Edinburgh Castle and Stirling
Castle from where they could start to control all
The Canmore Kings ruled Scotland until Alexander
III 1249 – 1286 died without leaving an heir. This
led to the wars with England and Robert the Bruce
becoming king of Scotland.
Descendants of Robert the Bruce were the Stuart's, that
ruled Scotland and England until Queen Anne Stuart
died in 1707 without leaving an heir. Her German
cousin George I became king of Great Britain at that
time, with his descendants being the monarchs of the
UK to this day.
Many royals are buried at Dunfermline Abbey
including Malcom III and his wife Margaret in 1093,
their son David I in 1153, Malcom IV in 1165, the
last Canmore king Alexander III in 1286, and Robert
the Bruce in 1329.
After Margaret became a Saint, Royals from around
the world requested parts of her remains. There seems
to be no remains left of Saint Margaret at
Dunfermline Abbey. A shrine to Saint Margaret is
situated on the east side of the Abbey Church.
The original priory church built for Malcom III
and Margaret was built around 1073, where the larger
Abbey Church stands today.
That church was enlarged by their son Alexander I
from 1126 with a huge central tower. Domestic
buildings were also built next to the Abbey Church
from this time, resulting in the church being raised
to the status of an Abbey for David I in 1150.
1560 - The Reformation leads to Dunfermline Abbey
becoming a Protestant Presbyterian Church of
1600 - Charles I is born at
the Palace at Dunfermline Abbey. He was king of
Scotland, England and Ireland from 1625 until his
execution during the English Civil War in 1649.
1818 - the collapse of the great tower destroyed
much of the Abbey Church, leading to the east side
being rebuilt. This has resulted in the Abbey Church
looking like two different buildings joined in the
1818 - workmen find the tomb of Robert the Bruce.
A cast of his scull was taken at that time, now
displayed in the new church.
1819 - the remains of Robert the Bruce are
interred in the new section of the church below the
1821 - the new section of the Abbey Church is
completed, it serves to this day as a Church of
Scotland Parish Church.
1900s - The partial Abbey ruins, Palace, and 1200s
section of the Abbey Church are maintained and run as
a museum by Historic Scotland
with a small entrance fee.
The 1800s section of the Abbey Church is free to
visit when not in use for private Weddings and