Monasteries in Scotland

Restenneth Priory

The earliest masonry at Restenneth Priory dates to the 1100s, Alexander I had the annals of Iona transferred to the priory in the 1100s, and Robert the Bruce buried his young son Prince John here in the 1300s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Forfar, United Kingdom

Deer Abbey

Deer Abbey was a Cistercian monastery in Buchan. It was founded in 1219 by the patronage William Comyn, Earl of Buchan, who is also buried there. There was an earlier community of Scottish monks or priests. The notitiae on the margins of the Book of Deer record grants made to the Scottish religious community in the 12th century and a claim that it was founded by Saint Columba and Saint Drostan. The old relig ...
Founded: 1219 | Location: Buchan, United Kingdom

Lindores Abbey

Lindores Abbey was a Tironensian abbey on the outskirts of Newburgh in Fife. The abbey was founded as a daughter house of Kelso Abbey in 1191 (some sources say 1178), by David, Earl of Huntingdon, on land granted to him by his brother William the Lion. The first abbot was Guido, Prior of Kelso, under whom the buildings were mostly completed. The abbey was sacked by a mob from Dundee in 1543, and again by John Knox ...
Founded: 1191 | Location: Newburgh, Fife, United Kingdom

Fearn Abbey

Fearn Abbey has its origins in one of Scotland"s oldest pre-Reformation church buildings. The original Fearn Abbey was established in either 1221 or 1227 by Premonstratensian canons from Whithorn Priory. Originally founded at 'Old Fearn' near Edderton, it was moved by 1238 to 'New Fearn' further east, perhaps to take advantage of better agricultural lands. The Abbey was rebuilt between 1338 and 13 ...
Founded: 1238 | Location: Fearn, United Kingdom

St Serf's Inch Priory

The St Serf"s Inch Priory was a community of Augustinian canons based, initially at least, on St Serf"s Inch in Loch Leven. It was founded from St Andrews Cathedral Priory at the instigation of King David I of Scotland in 1150. There was a Scottish Céli Dé (or Culdee) establishment there in the first half of the 12th century, allegedly found by Bruide, son of Dargart, King of the Picts (696–706). P ...
Founded: 1150 | Location: Kinross, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

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Abbey of Saint-Étienne

The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.

Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.

The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.

As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).