The Isle of May Priory was a community of Benedictine monks established for 9 monks of Reading Abbey on the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth. It had been founded by 1153, under the patronage of David I of Scotland. The priory passed into the control of St Andrews Cathedral Priory in the later 13th century, and by 1318 had been relocated to Pittenweem (see Pittenweem Priory).

Mary of Guelders, bride of James II, visited the island and the shrine of St Adrian in June 1449, according to Mathieu d'Escouchy. On 24 August 1539 Mary of Guise and James V made a pilgrimage to the Isle of May. They took three ships, the Unicorn, the Little Unicorn, and the Mary Willoughby. It was believed that a visit to the shrine of St Adrian could help a woman become pregnant.



Your name


Founded: 1153
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

More Information


4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Lynsey Bell (6 months ago)
Following The Lights (14 months ago)
A fantastic location two view three lighthouses. Two built by Stevenson lighthouse engineers and the other the oldest lighthouse in Scotland saved from demolition by Sir Walter Scott. The views are spectacular and ideal for bird watching. Day visits can be taken from North Berwick or Anstruther to the Island. The low lighthouse is now the bird watching base and staff live at the former lighthouse cottages during the bird season.
Richard Wehrman (2 years ago)
Puffins, Arctic terns, razorbills, gannets, eider ducks, oyster catchers, guillemots, kittiwakes, lighthouses, and beauty all around! Month of May is a good month to visit.
Swarnab Deb (3 years ago)
Excellent place for birding during summer..
Pauline Jones (4 years ago)
Loved this beautiful little island. So much to see.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Cesis Castle

German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.

In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).

In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.

Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.