Scotland Abbeys Crossraguel image

Scotland Abbeys

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A list of Scotland Abbeys to Visit with Websites, Postcodes, Images and Links to Maps and Reviews.

Scotland Abbeys served as the main religious centre's for about 1000 years, the first monastery being established in 563, after Columba traveled to the Isle of Iona from Ireland. The monastery Columba founded on Iona, soon became one of the largest religious centre's in western Europe. Many of the early Kings of Scotland were buried at Iona Abbey.

Christianity was extremely important for building a nation and uniting its people. The first king of this region, Kenneth I died on the 13th February 858. Kenneth I was king of the Picts, regarded by many as the first king of Scots. Kenneth I founded the dynasty that ruled Scotland for much of the medieval period.

Many of the Abbeys seen today were built around the 1100s - 1300s. Most of these Abbeys had to be rebuilt after being damaged in the wars with England in the 1300s.

By the start of the 1500s, the Catholic Church, centered around the Pope in Rome, was being accused of being corrupt, so countries throughout Europe began calling for reforms with a breakaway religion under the name Protestantism. In 1525, the Scottish Parliament banned the import of books written by the German Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism.

Henry VIII (King of England) adopted Protestantism in the early 1530s, so he could re-marry, and claim most of the money that was being sent from England to the Pope in Rome. He was excommunicated by the Roman Church at that time.

In August 1560, the Scottish Parliament passed a series of Acts to dismantle the Catholic Church in Scotland. At that time, celebrating mass, and communicating with the Pope in Rome, was made illegal.

Monks and Abbots were mainly allowed to live out their lives in the Abbeys. A Commendator appointed by the Crown, was based at each abbey to oversee the land and property. Most Abbeys had vast amounts of land and great wealth.

Most Abbeys in Scotland were abandoned, or slowly fell into disrepair after this time. Much of the stonework was then carried off for the building of other properties, such as castles, houses and farms.

Click on the PostCodes for Maps and Reviews.

Arbroath Abbey / Arbroath 17 miles north of Dundee
Founded in 1178 for monks of the Tironensian order by King William the Lion, Arbroath Abbey is famous in Scottish history for its association with the Declaration of Arbroath, in which Scotland’s nobles swore their independence from England. Burial place of William I (William the Lion). Telephone number 01241 878 756.
www.historic-scotland.gov.uk . UDS Page . Postcode DD11 1EG .

Arbroath Abbey image

Cambuskenneth Abbey / 1 mile east of Stirling
Cambuskenneth Abbey was founded around 1140 by canons of the Arrouaisian order, but subsequently passed to the Augustinians. The founder was David I. Cambuskenneth served Stirling Castle, one of David’s favoured residences, which lay a short distance to the west. The abbey was the scene of Robert Bruce’s parliament in 1326, and the burial place of James III and his queen, Margaret of Denmark, in the 1480s.
www.historic-scotland.gov.uk . UDS Page . Post code FK9 5NH .

Cambuskenneth Abbey image

Crossraguel Abbey / 10 miles south of Ayr / Ayrshire
Crossraguel was founded early in the 13th century by the Earl of Carrick with its remains including the church, cloister, chapter house and domestic premises. The abbey’s completeness – everything is still there: the monks’ church, their cloister, even their dovecot (pigeon tower). Telephone number 0844 742 1287.
www.historic-scotland.gov.uk . UDS Page . Post code KA19 5HQ .

Crossraguel Abbey image
Reviews . Large Image

Dundrennan Abbey / Kirkudbright / Dumfries & Galloway
Mary Queen of Scots spent her last night on Scottish soil in this Cistercian abbey founded by David I. The Abbey, built in the second half of the 12th century, stands in a small and secluded valley. The remoteness is in keeping with the strict rules and observance of the Cistercian order. Telephone number 0131 668 8800.
www.historic-scotland.gov.uk . UDS Page . Postcode DG6 4QH .

Dundrennan Abbey image

Dunfermline Abbey & Palace /Dunfermline by Edinburgh
Dunfermline Abbey has a history stretching back to the 11th century – the time of King Malcolm III and Queen Margaret. In the 12th century, their son, David I, raised the little priory to the lofty status of abbey. He endowed it richly, and brought stonemasons from Durham Cathedral to help build it. The great nave still stands largely complete, the most visually stunning example of Romanesque architecture in Scotland. The abbey church is also famous as the mausoleum of some of Scotland’s great kings and queens. They include Queen Margaret (later canonised as St Margaret), David I and King Robert Bruce. Telephone number 01383 723 005.
www.historic-scotland.gov.uk . UDS Page . Post code KY12 7PE .

Dunfermline Abbey & Palace image

Glenluce Abbey / Glenluce 10 miles east of Stranraer
Glenluce Abbey was founded in about 1192 by Roland, Lord of Galloway. He asked Cistercian monks from Dundrennan Abbey near Kirkcudbright to set up a daughter-house here. The end of Glenluce's active life as a monastery came with the Reformation in 1560. The monks who accepted the new doctrines were allowed to live out their days in the abbey, the last one dying in 1602. Telephone number 01581 300 541.
www.historic-scotland.gov.uk . UDS Page . Postcode DG8 0JH .

Glenluce Abbey image

Inchmahome Priory / on Inchmahome Island/ Lake of Menteith/ 16 miles west of Stirling
The priory was founded in 1238 by the Earl of Menteith named Walter Comyn. The Comyn family were one of the most powerful in Scotland with a large house on one of the other islands on the lake. The priory has a rich history with it being visited by King Robert the Bruce three times, and used as a refuge for the infant Queen Mary after the English defeated the Scots at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh. The battle was an attempt to preasure Scottish nobles into allowing Mary to marry the son of Henry VIII of England. Telephone number 01877 385 294.
www.historic-scotland.gov.uk . UDS Page . Post code FK8 3RA .

Inchmahome Priory image

Iona Abbey / Isle of Iona off the Isle of Mull
Iona Abbey is one of Scotland’s most historic and sacred sites. The abbey was founded by St Columba and his Irish followers in AD 563. As a celebrated focus for Christian pilgrimage, Iona retains its spiritual atmosphere and remains an enduring symbol of worship. Over a century ago, the abbey and monastic buildings were restored. In 1938, the Iona Community was founded to continue the tradition of worship in the abbey through daily services and teaching. In the Abbey graveyard, many early Scottish kings and chiefs, as well as kings from Ireland, Norway and France are buried. Telephone number 01681 700 512.
www.historic-scotland.gov.uk . UDS Page . Postcode PA76 6SQ .

Iona Abbey image

Jedburgh Abbey / south side of Jedburgh / Borders
Jedburgh Abbey was founded, initially as a priory, by King David I in 1138. His intention was partly to demonstrate to the English that the Scots could build on a grand scale so close to the often disputed border between the two countries. The Abbey was taken over by King Edward I of England in 1296, on one of his many trips north. In 1305, another English army stripped the lead from the Abbey roofs to help in the construction of siege engines. Telephone number 01835 863 925.
www.historic-scotland.gov.uk . UDS Page . Post code TD8 6JQ .

Jedburgh Abbey image

Kelso Abbey / Kelso/ Borders
Built in 1128 and the years following, Kelso Abbey was one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture. Finally finished, it was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and St John in 1243. It was soon one of the largest and richest in Scotland. Two kings, James III and James IV, were crowned in the Abbey, and Prince Henry, son of David I, was buried there in 1152. Telephone number 0131 668 8600.
www.historic-scotland.gov.uk . UDS Page . Postcode TD5 7JD .

Kelso Abbey image

Kilwinning Abbey / Kiliwinning/ by Irvine/ Ayrshire
Built for Huge de Morville in the 1100s. The tower completed in 1816 is open to the public. The Abbey Tower Heritage Centre is open Mid May until Mid September, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm - 3pm. Access for visiting groups outwith these times may be possible. Phone 01294 551 496 for details. The abbey situated in Kilwinning town centre can be easily found as it rises high above the surrounding buildings.
www.kilwinning.org/abbey/ . UDS Page . Post code KA13 6AY .

kilwinning abbey image
Reviews . Large Image

Melrose Abbey /Melrose / Borders
In 1136, King David I asked Cistercian monks from Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire to found an abbey at Melrose. In 1322 Melrose Abbey and the town were attacked by the English army of Edward II. Much of the abbey was destroyed and many monks were killed. The subsequent rebuilding was helped greatly by the generosity of Robert the Bruce. This link was later formally recognised when Robert's embalmed heart, encased in lead, was buried at Melrose Abbey. Telephone number 01896 822 562.
www.historic-scotland.gov.uk . UDS Page . Post code TD6 9LG .

Melrose Abbey image

Paisley Abbey /Paisley centre / by Glasgow
Paisley Abbey's origins date back to 1163 and the signing of a charter by Walter Fitzalan, the High Steward of Scotland. Amongst those educated at Paisley Abbey in the late 1200s was William Wallace. In the nave, the association with William Wallace is celebrated by the Wallace Memorial Window, placed here in 1873. Also on view is the marble tomb of Robert III, which commemorates all the Stewarts buried in the abbey, including Princess Marjorie. Telephone number 0141 889 7654.
www.paisleyabbey.org.uk . UDS Page . Postcode PA1 1JG .

Paisley Abbey image

Pluscarden Abbey
/ Elgin / 38 miles east of Inverness
Pluscarden Priory was founded by King Alexander II in 1230. From 1345, Pluscarden came under the control of the Bishop of Moray from his seat in Elgin Cathedral. The Bishop caused Alexander Stewart (son of Robert II) to to be excommunicated for marital infidelity. Stewart, better known as the Wolf of Badenoch, responded by descending on Moray with an armed band of Highlanders and burning down Elgin Cathedral, much of the towns of Elgin and Forres, and Pluscarden Priory. Restored in the 20th century and granted the status of an Abbey. Telephone number 01343 89 0257 .
www.pluscardenabbey.org . UDS Page . Post code IV30 8UA .

Pluscarden Abbey image

Sweetheart Abbey
/ New Abbey / five miles south of Dumfries
Lady Devorgilla signed a charter establishing a new Cistercian abbey here in memory of her husband, John Balliol, 10 April 1273 (father of the Scottish King of the same name). Lady Devorgilla's love for her departed husband extended to carrying his embalmed heart around with her in an ivory box with enamelled silver trimmings. After her death in 1290, she was buried in the sanctuary of the abbey church she had founded, and on her instructions, the casket containing her husband's heart was buried beside her. Telephone number 01387 850 397 .
www.historic-scotland.gov.uk . UDS Page . Post code DG2 8BU .

Sweetheart Abbey image

Whithorn Priory
/Whithorn / 31 miles southeast of Stranraer
The first church here (or anywhere in Scotland) was dedicated to St Martin of Tours by St Ninian around the 390s. On his death, St Ninian was buried in his church, and over the following centuries, Whithorn became the focus for pilgrimage from across the British Isles and beyond. In the 700s, Whithorn was a Northumbrian possession, while by the 900s it had been settled by the Norse, who continued to use the area around the church as a burial ground. The Norse had been ousted by 1100 with the Bishopric of Whithorn re-established in 1128.
www.whithorn.com . UDS Page . Postcode: DG8 8PY .

Whithorn Priory image
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