Inchcolm Abbey is a medieval abbey located on the island of Inchcolm in the Firth of Forth in Scotland. The Abbey, which is located at the centre of the island, was founded in the 12th century during the episcopate of Gregoir, Bishop of Dunkeld. Later tradition placed it even earlier, in the reign of King Alexander I of Scotland (1107–24), who probably had some involvement in the island; he was apparently washed ashore there after a shipwreck in 1123, and took shelter in a hermit's hovel.

The Abbey was first used as a priory by Augustinian canons regular, becoming a full abbey in 1235. The island was attacked by the English from 1296 onwards, and the Abbey was abandoned after the Scottish Reformation in 1560. It has since been used for defensive purposes, as it is situated in a strategically important position in the middle of the Firth of Forth. A medieval inscription carved above the Abbey's entrance reads 'Stet domus haec donec fluctus formica marinos ebibat, et totum testudo perambulet orbem', or, 'May this house stand until an ant drains the flowing sea, and a tortoise walks around the whole world'.

Inchcolm Abbey has the most complete surviving remains of any Scottish monastic house. The cloisters, chapter house, warming house, and refectory are all complete, and most of the remaining claustral buildings survive in a largely complete state. The least well-preserved part of the complex is the monastic church. The ruins are cared for by Historic Scotland, which also maintains a visitor centre near the landing pier (entrance charge; ferry from South Queensferry).

References:

Comments

Your name



Address

Inchcolm, United Kingdom
See all sites in Inchcolm

Details

Founded: 12th century
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Yolanda Vico (6 months ago)
Spectacular! Amazing! The location is incredible and the place is full of history. There is staff of Historic Scotland that can provide more information of the abbey and during the visit of the island. They are very friendly and happy to help you. It deserves a visit! You can arrive with the Maid of Forth cruise company.
Kelly Gallacher (2 years ago)
Love this place. Very well maintained and interesting to walk through. Beautiful views on a sunny day.
Linda Pagan (2 years ago)
Interesting history beautiful setting, great for relaxing day out with old fashion picnic. Explore play on beach, or just spot the wildlife especially the seals basking on the rocks.
Brian Denner (2 years ago)
Lots of history with many sites to visit on a small island. The weather was beautiful but being late in the season there were few birds and only a couple of grey seals venturing out into the water. If you are disabled there is a lot of the historical abbey you will not be able to get to, but apart from that it is a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Sal Munur (2 years ago)
The abbey is the perfect place for a game of hide and seek! So many little stairways and secret rooms. Fun to explore with the family
Powered by Google

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.