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Dunfermline Abbey

Dunfermline Abbey is the remains of a great Benedictine abbey founded in 1070 by Queen Margaret, wife of Malcolm Canmore and granddaughter of Edmund Ironside, King of England. The foundations of her church are under the present superb nave, built in the 12th century in the Romanesque style.

Robert the Bruce was buried in the choir, now the site of the present parish church.

The Abbey was sacked in 1560, and fell into disrepair, although part of the church continued in use.

Substantial parts of the Abbey building remain, including the vast refectory. Next to the Abbey is the ruin of the Royal Palace rebuilt from the guest house of the monastery in the 16th century for James VI and his Queen.

This was the birthplace of Charles I, the last British monarch born in Scotland.

Dunfermline Abbey forms one of the most important sites in. Scotland. Excepting Iona it has received more of Caledonia’s royal dead than any other place in the kingdom. Within its precincts were buried Queen Margaret and Malcolm Canmore; their sons Edgar and Alexander I, with his queen; David I and his two queens; Malcolm IV; Alexander III, with his first wife and their sons David and Alexander; Robert Bruce, with his queen Elizabeth and their daughter Matilda; and Annabella Drummond, wife of Robert III and mother of James I.

Bruce’s heart rests in Melrose, but his bones lie in Dunfermline Abbey, where (after the discovery of the skeleton in 1818) they were reinterred with fitting pomp below the pulpit of the New church. In 1891 the pulpit was moved back and a monumental brass inserted in the floor to indicate the royal vault.

The tomb of Saint Margaret and Malcolm Canmore, within the ruined walls of the Lady chapel, was restored and enclosed by command of Queen Victoria.

During the winter of 1303 the court of Edward I of England was held in the abbey, and on his departure next year most of the buildings were burned. When the Reformers attacked the abbey church in March 1560, they spared the nave, which served as the parish church till the 19th century, and now forms the vestibule of the New church. This edifice, in the Perpendicular style, opened for public worship in 1821, occupies the site of the ancient chancel and transepts, though differing in style and proportions from the original structure.

The old building was a fine example of simple and massive Norman, as the nave testifies, and has a beautiful doorway in its west front. Another rich Norman doorway was exposed in the south wall in 1903, when masons were cutting a site for the memorial to the soldiers who had fallen in the South African War. A new site was found for this monument in order that the ancient and beautiful entrance might be preserved. The venerable structure is maintained publicly, and private munificence has provided several stained-glass windows.

Of the monastery there still remains the south wall of the refectory, with a fine window.

The palace, a favourite residence of many of the kings, occupying a picturesque position near the ravine, was of considerable size, judging from the south-west wall, which is all that is left of it. Here James IV, James V and James VI spent much of their time, and within its walls were born three of James VI's children - Charles I, Robert and Elizabeth.

After Charles I' coronation he paid a short visit to his birthplace, but the last royal tenant of the palace was Charles II of England, who occupied it just before the battle of Pitreavie[?] (20 July 1650), which took place 3 miles to the south-west, and here also he signed the National League and Covenant.

Original text partly from http://1911encyclopedia.org (http://1911encyclopedia.org)



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