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Arbroath Abbey

Arbroath Abbey, built in the 12th century, played a pivotal role in Scottish history.

Arbroath Abbey, built in the 12th century, played a pivotal role in Scottish history.

Arbroath Abbey sits astride the Royal Burgh of Arbroath in a magnificent ruin.

Founded in 1178 by Tironensian Benedictine monks on the orders of William I The Lion, it was consecrated in 1197 in honour of Thomas Becket and was home to monks, who hailed from Kelso Abbey, until the 16th century.

The Declaration of Arbroath is so-called because it is believed to have been written at the abbey in 1320 by Abbot Bernard de Linton while he was serving as Chancellor to Robert The Bruce.

Arbroath was a rich abbey by all accounts, with leave given for the monks to build a harbour and run a market.

They were also able to sell their goods throughout England toll-free, with the exception of London, under the orders of King John.

The abbey fell into disuse following the Reformation and the ruins were raided for building materials from 1590 until 1815, when steps were taken to conserve it.

Historic Scotland maintains what remains of Arbroath Abbey and has also developed a fascinating modern visitor centre which tells the proud story of the abbey and of its important place in Scottish history.

 

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