Holyrood Abbey

Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh

The ruined Holyrood Abbey lies on the north side of the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the end of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. King David I (1080 - 1153) founded the abbey in 1128, after he had been attacked by a stag during a hunting expedition, in area of what is now the Canongate. It was run by the Augustinian order (the so-called White Friars), and played an important part in the lives of a succession of Scottish monarchs, who based themselves in the Abbey lodgings rather than in the cold and uncomfortable Edinburgh Castle.

King James II (1430 - 1460) was born in the abbey lodgings. He, together with King James III (1452 -1488), King James IV (1473 - 1513) and Queen Mary (1542 - 1587) were married in the abbey. King James V (1512 - 1542) and King Charles I (1600 - 1649) were crowned there and King David II (1324 - 1371), King James II, King James V and Lord Darnley (1545 - 1567) were buried there. However, like many other churches, the Abbey was seriously damaged during the reformation, and although it was restored and given a new roof (1758), this was poorly designed and collapsed in 1768. Thereafter the Abbey was abandoned.

Various memorials can now be seen in the precincts of the abbey. These include the grave of Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster (1754 - 1835) and memorials to the Earl of Strathmore, the MacDonald Chiefs of Clanranald, the Earls of Caithness, the Earls of Selkirk, the Countess of Cassillis and the Lords Sempill.

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