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Crossraguel Abbey

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2016.

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Crossraguel, a ruined Clugniac abbey in Kirkoswald parish, Ayrshire, 2 miles SW of Maybole. It seems to have derived its name (Lat. Crux Regalis, 'king's cross") from a cross of St Oswald, King of Northumbria (ob. 643), but itself was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and was founded about 1240 by Duncan, first Earl of Carrick, for Clugniacs of Paisley, from which it was made exempt in 1244. The last of its abbots, Quentin Kennedy, in 1562 held a famous dispute with John Knox at Maybole; he died in 1564, when a pension of £500 a year was conferred upon George Buchanan out of the abbey's revenues. Their bulk was granted to Allan Stewart, who, as commendator visiting the bounds of Crossraguel in 1570, was pounced on by Quentin's nephew, Gilbert, fourth Earl of Cassillis, and carried off to the seacastle of Dunure, there, in the Black Vault, to be 'roasted in sop' until he consented to subscribe 'a fiveyear tack and a nineteen-year tack and a charter of feu of all the lands of Crossragnel, with all the clauses necessar for the great King of Carrick to haste him to hell' (Chambers's Dom. Ann., i. 65-67). To the Earl's desire, however, to turn it to his own account we probably owe the partial preservation of the abbey. Its ruins, Second Pointed in style, comprise some portions of the domestic buildings on the S side, the walls of the church, and the square chapter-house, with high arched roof upborne by a clustered pillar. The roofless church is a narrow aisleless oblong, measuring internally 160 by 25 feet, and divided nearly midway by a gabled wall, containing a doorway. The choir ends in a three-sided apse, and retains an aumbry, sedilia, and an altar tomb. See vol. ii. of Grose's Antiquities of Scotland (1791), and vol. i. of Billings' Baronial and Ecclesiastical Antiquities (1845).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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