Arbroath Abbey was founded in 1178 by King William the Lion for a group of Tironensian Benedictine monks from Kelso Abbey. It was consecrated in 1197 with a dedication to the deceased Saint Thomas Becket, whom the king had met at the English court. It was William's only personal foundation — he was buried before the high altar of the church in 1214.

The Abbey, which was the richest in Scotland, is most famous for its association with the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath, believed to have been drafted by Abbot Bernard, who was the Chancellor of Scotland under King Robert I.

The last Abbot was Cardinal David Beaton, who in 1522 succeeded his uncle James to become Archbishop of St Andrews. The Abbey is cared for by Historic Scotland and is open to the public throughout the year.

The Abbey was built over some 60 years using local red sandstone, but it gives the impression of a single coherent, mainly 'Early English', architectural design, but the round-arched processional doorway in the western front looks back to late Norman or transitional work. The triforium (open arcade) above the door is unique in Scottish medieval architecture. It is flanked by twin towers decorated with blind arcading.

What remains of it today are the sacristy, added by Abbot Paniter in the 15th century; the southern transept, which features Scotland's largest lancet windows; part of the choir and presbytery; the southern half of the nave; parts of the western towers; and the western doorway. The church originally had a central tower and (probably) a spire, which would once have been visible for many miles over the surrounding countryside and certainly acted as a sea-mark for ships.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 1178
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Em G (3 years ago)
A nice, interesting piece of history - not sure if the entrance price justifies what's on display, but I suppose it goes towards maintaining the Abbey too. Not a bad way to spend an hour or two!
Paul Robertson (3 years ago)
Extensive and impressive ruins to explore. Excellent visitors' centre with informative history of the abbey and exhibition about the Declaration of Arbroath. Definitely worth the entrance fee if the weather is good.
Kevin Stewart (3 years ago)
Arbroath Abbey is must for anyone who is interested in Scottish history. Although a ruin, the site is steeped in history and was where the famous Declaration of Arbroath was drafted which affirmed Scotland’s independence from the English crown. The abbey takes about 1-2 hours to go around if you take time read all the exhibits.
Jacquie Dougan (3 years ago)
Beautiful building unfortunately we didn't go in....just like many the cost of an entrance ticket is becoming a little to expensive. A few quid cheaper and we wouldn't have hesitated. I understand money is needed to fund the project but over pricing also makes people walk away.
Louis Leow (4 years ago)
Interesting part of Scottish history. A must-stop point in your understanding of Scotland's history and heritage. Not much left to see among the ruins of the Abbey, but much to feel here.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Seaplane Harbour Museum

The Seaplane Harbour is the newest and one of the most exciting museums in Tallinn. It tells stories about the Estonian maritime and military history. The museum’s display, that comprises of more than a couple of hundred large exhibits, revitalizes the colourful history of Estonia.

British built submarine Lembit weighing 600 tones is the centrepiece of the new museum. Built in 1936 for the Estonian navy, Lembit served in the World War II under the Soviet flag. It remained in service for 75 years being the oldest submarine in the World still in use until it was hauled ashore in 2011. Despite its long history, Lembit is still in an excellent condition offering a glimpse of the 1930s art of technology.

Another exciting attraction is a full-scale replica of Short Type 184, a British pre-World War II seaplane, which was also used by the Estonian armed forces. Short Type 184 has earned its place in military history by being the first aircraft ever to attack an enemy’s ship with an air-launched torpedo. Since none of the original seaplanes have survived, the replica in Seaplane Harbour is the only full-size representation of the aircraft in the whole World.

Simulators mimicking a flight above Tallinn, around-the-world journey in the yellow submarine, navigating on the Tallinn bay make this museum heaven for kids or adventurous adults.

Seaplane Harbour operates in architecturally unique hangars built almost a century ago, in 1916 and 1917, as a part of Peter the Great sea fortress. These hangars are the World’s first reinforced concrete shell structures of such a great size. Charles Lindbergh, the man who performed the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, landed here in 1930s.

On the outdoor area visitors can tour a collection of historic ships, including the Suur Tõll, Europe's largest steam-powered icebreaker.