Lindores Abbey

Lindores Abbey
©2023 Gazetteer for Scotland

Lindores Abbey

The ruins of a foundation of the Tironensian Order established in 1190, situated on the eastern outskirts of Newburgh in NW Fife, 1½ miles (2.5 km) northwest of the village of Lindores. It was founded by David, Earl of Huntingdon, younger brother of King Malcolm IV and William the Lion. William, Prior of Durham, died here in 1219 as the result of a fire in the bedroom in which he was staying. King Alexander III visited in 1265 and his son, Prince Alexander, who was heir to the Scottish throne died here on the 28th January 1284, aged only 20. King Edward I of England visited in 1291 and 1296, with the Abbot having little choice but to swear allegiance to English crown. William Wallace visited after defeating the English at the nearby Battle of Black Earnside in 1298. King David II visited in 1364 and again for Christmas the following year, with the extent of the hospitality he expected almost bankrupting the abbey. Burials here include the David, Duke of Rothesay, heir to the throne, who was starved to death by his uncle, the Duke of Albany, at Falkland Palace in 1402, and James Douglas, the 9th Earl of Douglas, in 1488.

Lindores was sacked in 1543 by Protestant reformers who came from Dundee and again in 1559 by a mob led by John Knox. Thereafter the monks were ousted and site fell into ruin, with the land eventually sold. Edinburgh Town Council is recorded as having bought the abbey clock in 1585 and the greater part of the abbey's red sandstone was plundered for local house building. Wooden panels from the Abbey survive in the Laing Museum, Newburgh, and in St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, Dundee. Today, the site comprises the remains of cruciform church with a NW tower now largely reduced to foundations, a cloister and associated buildings, together with a fine round-arched gateway to the southwest. The ruins are A-listed and represent a Scheduled Ancient Monument but remain in private ownership.

Known as the 'spiritual home' of Scotch Whisky, the monks are known to have cultivated fruit and grown cereals in the area, but it was one, named John Cor, who was the first recorded distiller of whisky, with written evidence in the Exchequer Rolls of 1494 of its supply to King James IV.

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