Balmerino Abbey founded in 1227 to 1229 by monks from Melrose Abbey with the patronage of Ermengarde de Beaumont and King Alexander II of Scotland. It remained a daughter house of Melrose. It had approximately 20 monks at the beginning of the sixteenth century, but declined in that century. In December 1547 it was burned by an English force, and allegedly damaged again in 1559 by Scottish Protestants as part of the Reformation's destruction of idolatrous structures.
In combination with several centuries of plundering for building stone the entire main abbey is absent and only the smaller support structures to the north survive, most notable of which are the fan-vaulted cloisters.
In 1606-07 its name was reuseded as a secular lordship for James Elphinstone, 1st Lord Balmerino.
In 1910 the landowner employed Francis William Deas to survey the building and execute a programme of repairs and consolidation.
The abbey is now under the stewardship of the National Trust for Scotland, and a small entrance fee is requested at an honesty box, with no ticket booth or manned presence on-site. The ruin consists of a substantial section of the east wall of the main church. More substantial ruins of some of the associated buildings exist to the side of this but access is currently prohibited due to their poor state of repair.References:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.