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Inchaffray 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, 2002-2020.

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Inchaffray (Gael. innis-abh-reidh, 'island of the smooth water;'* Lat. Inla Msissarum, ' island of masses '), a ruined abbey in Madderty parish, Perthshire, crowning a small rising-ground-an island once-on the left bank of ditch-like Pow Water, adjacent to Madderty station, 6¼ miles E by N of Crieff. It was founded in 1200 by Gilbert, third Earl of Strathearn, and his Countess Matilda, to the memory of their firstborn son, and to the honour of God, St Mary, and St John the Evangelist. Colonised from Scone by canons regular of the Augustinian order, and endowed with many privileges and possessions by several of the Scottish kings, it held the churches of Madderty, Auchterarder, Aberuthven, Strageath, Kinkell, etc., and down to the Reformation possessed great note and influence. In 1556 James Drummond, younger and infant son of the second Lord Drummond, was secular commendator of Inchaffray, which was erected into a temporal lordship in his favour; and in 1609 he was created Lord Madderty. The abbey, however, and a few acres adjoining, with the patronage of twelve livings, afterwards passed to the Earls of Kinnoull. Much of the walls remained standing till 1816; but a turnpike road was then carried through the ruins, which yielded, at the time of the demolition, a small ivory cross, several stone coffins, and a number of other interesting objects, and which now are represented chiefly by a western gable and a single arched apartment. One of the abbots, Maurice, blessed Bruce's army on the field of Bannockburn (1314); another was slain at Flodden (1513).—Ord. Sur., sh. 47, 1869. See Cosmo Innes' Liber Insule Missarum (Bannatyne Club, 1847).

* Some, however, connect -affray with the Gael. aifrionn, 'mass,' in which case the Gaelic and Latin names are identical.

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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