The earliest records of Kõljala manor date to 1509. Traces of the oldest construction have been preserved in the cellars, and these date to the 17th century.
In those days the manor belonged to Otto von Poll, a leader of the Saaremaa German nobility. His lifestyle was somewhat different from the rest, and this was reflected in the furnishings of the manor house. Although the house itself was of one-story limestone construction, it is known that the rooms were lit by ten brass chandeliers, the curtains at the windows had golden fringes, and there were twelve large Flemish carpets hung on the walls.
In 1677 the new owner, J. von Osten-Sacken, had two large brass cannons placed in front of the manor. These he had received as a gift from the Swedish king, Karl XI. The cannon were still there at the beginning of the 20th century.
The next extensive reconstruction and building period took place during 1760-1770. Maps and charts dating from 1784 picture the manor very similar to what it looks like today, a single-story building with a hipped roof and three chimneys. In the middle of the 19th century, the new owner F. W. von Buxhoevden added further "improvements" to the building in the form of then-popular classisistic details, such as the portico with four Ionian pillars.
The classisistic style continued in the landscape design that surrounded the manor house. Full-grown, mature trees formed the backdrop for the house, and on the south side among the trees there were placed three arched gate buildings. Unfortunately, only one has survived.
Today Kõljala manor stands in private ownership.
Sweetheart Abbey was a Cistercian monastery, founded in 1275 by Dervorguilla of Galloway in memory of her husband John de Balliol. His embalmed heart, in a casket of ivory and silver, was buried alongside her when she died; the monks at the Abbey then renamed the Abbey in tribute to her. Their son, also John, became king of Scotland but his reign was tragic and short. The depredations suffered by the Abbey in subsequent periods, have caused both the graves to be lost. The abbey, built in deep-red, local sandstone, was founded as a daughter house to Dundrennan Abbey; this Novum Monasterium (New Monastery), became known as the New Abbey.
The immediate abbey precincts extended to 120,000 m2 and sections of the surrounding wall can still be seen today. The Cistercian order, also known as the White Monks because of the white habit, over which they wore a black scapular or apron, built many great abbeys after their establishment around 1100. Like many of their abbeys, the New Abbey's interests lay not only in prayer and contemplation but in the farming and commercial activity of the area, making it the centre of local life. The abbey ruins dominate the skyline today and one can only imagine how it and the monks would have dominated early medieval life as farmers, agriculturalists, horse and cattle breeders. Surrounded by rich and fertile grazing and arable land, they became increasingly expert and systematic in their farming and breeding methods. Like all Cistercian abbeys, they made their mark, not only on the religious life of the district but on the ways of local farmers and influenced agriculture in the surrounding areas.
The village which stands next to the ruins today, is now known as New Abbey. At the other end of the main street is Monksmill, a corn mill. Although the present buildings date from the late eighteenth century, there was an earlier mill built by and for the monks of the abbey which serviced the surrounding farms.