Top Historic Sights in Arbroath, United Kingdom

Explore the historic highlights of Arbroath

Arbroath Abbey

Arbroath Abbey was founded in 1178 by King William the Lion for a group of Tironensian Benedictine monks from Kelso Abbey. It was consecrated in 1197 with a dedication to the deceased Saint Thomas Becket, whom the king had met at the English court. It was William"s only personal foundation — he was buried before the high altar of the church in 1214. The Abbey, which was the richest in Scotland, is most fa ...
Founded: 1178 | Location: Arbroath, United Kingdom

St Vigeans Church

St Vigeans Church serves the parish of the ancient village of St Vigeans on the outskirts of Arbroath. The church was rebuilt in the 12th century but not consecrated until 1242 by David de Bernham, Bishop of St Andrews. The church underwent some alteration in the 15th century, but suffered very little change following the Scottish Reformation of 1560. A major restoration was carried out in 1871 by the Scottish Victorian a ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Arbroath, United Kingdom

Ethie Castle

Ethie Castle dates to around 1300, when the monks at nearby Arbroath Abbey built a sandstone keep. The castle passed through the hands of the de Maxwell family and into the ownership of Scotland"s last Cardinal, David Beaton who was murdered in St. Andrews in 1546. Its association with Cardinal Beaton is still evident as the castle includes a small chapel and the Cardinal"s Sitting Room, with its secret staircas ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Arbroath, United Kingdom

Colliston Castle

Colliston Castle is a 16th-century Z-plan tower house, altered and extended in the 18th and 19th centuries. Colliston was part of the lands of Arbroath Abbey from its foundation in the 12th century. On 25 July 1544, David Beaton, Abbot of Arbroath and Archbishop of St Andrews, granted the lands of Colliston, Knives, Park of Conon, and Guthrie Hill, to John Guthrie and his wife Isobel Ogilvie. Colliston was retained by th ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Arbroath, United Kingdom

Braikie Castle

A heraldic panel over the door of Braikie Castle is dated 1581 and the castle dates from at least this date. It was built for Thomas Fraser of Kinnell the alleged son of the 4th Lord Lovat (as he does not appear in genealogies if true he is an illegitimate son) and is a good example of a fortified laird"s house of this period. The date 1581 forms part of a marriage lintel that combines the armorial crests of the Fras ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Arbroath, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.

According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.

In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.

The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.

Architecture

The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.

In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.

The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.