Cambuskenneth Abbey Ruins

Stirling, United Kingdom

Cambuskenneth Abbey is a ruined Augustinian monastery founded of David I around the year 1140. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it was initially known as the Abbey of St Mary of Stirling and sometimes simply as Stirling Abbey. The major street leading down the castle hill from the royal residences in Stirling Castle to the abbey was called St. Mary's Wynd, a name it retains.

Cambuskenneth was one of the more important abbeys in Scotland, due in part to its proximity to the Royal Burgh of Stirling, a leading urban centre of the country and sometime capital. Its status as a royal abbey in the neighbourhood of a major national stronghold may be compared to that of Holyrood Abbey vis à vis Edinburgh. Royalty, including Edward Longshanks (King of England) and later Robert the Bruce (King of Scots), prayed regularly at the abbey. Bruce held his parliament there in 1326 to confirm the succession of his son David II.

In 1486 Margaret of Denmark died at Stirling Castle and was buried at the abbey. In 1488 her husband James III was murdered at the Battle of Sauchieburn and his body was brought to Cambuskenneth Abbey for burial. The elaborate marker of his grave, which was funded by Queen Victoria, is still visible at one end of the church.

The abbey fell into disuse during the Scottish Reformation. By 1559 there were few monks remaining there, and the abbey was closed and most of the buildings looted and burned. The abbey was placed under the jurisdiction of the military governor of Stirling Castle, who had much of the stonework removed and used in construction projects in the castle.

Of the once wealthy abbey, mostly only knee-high ruins and exposed foundations remain. Only the 13th century campanile is intact, following an extensive renovation in 1859. The abbey was acquired by the crown in 1908, and it is managed by Historic Scotland. The abbey is open to visitors during the summer months. Visitors can enter the base room of the campanile; the stairs to the upper floors are locked, but are opened for visitors on occasion.



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Founded: 1140
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom


4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Anna Tridente (5 months ago)
Beautiful medieval structure! I wasn’t aware of the season schedule for visits, so it was closed. It’s open since April through September. It’s very impressive on the outside and I can’t wait to come back when it’s open for visits to see see the inside. You can see the tower since several locations in Stirling. There bell tower and the west door to the church are part of the original structure.
Dave Holland (7 months ago)
A very peaceful place to visit which is well maintained. Information boards tell of the history. A nice place to visit with some good views. Roadside parking, no facilities.
Joe Wollaston (7 months ago)
Just a mile's walk from Stirling station, Cambuskenneth Abbey is well worth a visit. Beautiful peaceful location and great views to the Wallace Monument in the distance. The site is well maintained.
Keltie Forbes (9 months ago)
Beautifully preseved bell tower along with a well signed remains of the Abbey. Of historical interest and a beautiful place for a walk.
Sarah Lean (12 months ago)
This is a Historic Scotland sight but you don't have to pay to enter. It is an unattended site with no guide, shop or toilets. However it is a great site to visit with helpful message boards and gorgeous views. We stopped here as part of a Stirling/Cambuskenneth walking loop.
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