Dunfermline Abbey is one of the best examples of Scoto-Norman monastic architecture. The Abbey, built between 1128 and 1150 under David I, was a reconstruction of the Benedictine chapel dedicated to the Holy Trinity, founded by his mother, Queen Margaret. Despite much of the monastic buildings being destroyed by the troops of Edward I in 1303, there are substantial remains, with the lower stories of the dormitory and latrine blocks on the east side of the cloister being the earliest surviving parts, dating back to the early 13th century.

During the Scottish Reformation, the abbey church was sacked in March 1560. Some parts of the abbey infrastructure still remain, principally the vast refectory and rooms over the gatehouse which was part of the former city wall. The nave was also spared and it was repaired in 1570 by Robert Drummond of Carnock. It served as the parish church till the 19th century, and now forms the vestibule of a new church. This edifice, in the Perpendicular style, opened for public worship in 1821, occupies the site of the ancient chancel and transepts, though differing in style and proportions from the original structure. Also of the monastery there still remains the south wall of the refectory, with a fine window. Next to the abbey is the ruin of Dunfermline Palace, also part of the original abbey complex and connected to it via the gatehouse.

The Abbey parish church, designed by the architect William Burn, was built between 1818 and 1821 on the site of the medieval choir and transepts which had been the eastern part of the abbey.

The old building was a fine example of simple and massive Romanesque, as the nave testifies, and has a beautiful doorway in its west front. Another rich Romanesque doorway was exposed in the south wall in 1903, when masons were cutting a site for the memorial to the soldiers who had fallen in the Second Boer War. A new site was found for this monument in order that the ancient and beautiful entrance might be preserved. The venerable structure is maintained publicly, and private munificence has provided several stained-glass windows. The architecture of the Afghan Church in Mumbai in India (dedicated to St John the Baptist) references the door and the right side of the church of Dunfermline Abbey.

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Founded: 1128-1150
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Igor Smy (4 months ago)
Historical and architectural monument. Worth to visit and enjoy a walk around.
Bobby Brannan (5 months ago)
A beautiful abbey, stunning views and a lovely walk round about the town. Some free parking just down from it. Well worth a visit in the area, especially in the crisp morning air.
John Muir (8 months ago)
Great piece of architecture, staff were very helpful and knowledgeable.
martin mc gowan (12 months ago)
Beautiful place but not able to enter because of Covid restrictions nevertheless and a good experience ,enjoyed our visit and its beside a wonderful park
Jayne Lyle (13 months ago)
Did a graveside your which was well thought out and very interesting. The views to be bridges are stunning and there is so much to see an explore. Will def be back
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