Inchcolm Abbey

Inchcolm, United Kingdom

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).



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


4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

it get (6 months ago)
An abbey ruin in a lovely island near Edinburgh. Just book a three hour cruise in the website of Maid of Forth and you can enjoy 1.5 hour at the island. The abbey has many parts, the oldest part is from 1100s, including the bell tower and the nave. And there also remains ruins of the 1400s church. The ruin is amazing and worth to explore. There are some steep and narrow stairs leading to the top of the monastery. Although it’s not easy to climb, the top floor has a wide view and overlooks the entire island. Also noted that from April to August is the gull nesting period, so the gulls may be aggressive. Actually I have tried heading up the hill, but the gulls seemed like they wanted to attack me, so I gave up XD. Anyway, it’s a good choice to visit the island and the abbey in a sunny day. I love the cruise and adventure in the monastery. Good place for kids.
D3tour (7 months ago)
Absolutely stunning wee boat trip to the island there’s toilets on the left and up above an exhibition and small shop with gifts and coffee machine as you head round to the abbey the views are amazing the abbey within itself is just absolutely beautiful
Lewis Payne (16 months ago)
It's such a unique experience at incholm The abbey is in amazing condition considering all that it has endured, it's a lovely site and the boat ride there provided by the maiden of the forth is great too ! One of the best spots that I have ever visited
Meg Batley (16 months ago)
Caught the ferry from Queensferry and enjoyed a lovely couple of hrs on the island. Would recommend taking a picnic as no food available on the Island (but can get teas, ice cream etc). Lots of picnic places and amazing views ?
Shelli Moore (17 months ago)
I have been to Edinburgh too many times to count and this was my first time here. I highly recommend it. What a beautiful place. Pack a lunch and enjoy yourself.
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