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Abbey of Dundrennan



In Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland; a Cistercian house founded in 1142 by King David I and Fergus Lord of Galloway for monks brought from Rievaulx in Yorkshire. The name (Dun-nan-droigheann) means "fort of the thorn-bushes", and the monastery commands a fine view of the Solway Firth. Queen Mary fled to Dundrennan after the battle of Langside and spent her last night in Scotland there before embarking for England from the neighbouring Port Mary. In 1587 the abbey and lands passed to the Crown, and in 1621 it was annexed to the royal chapel at Stirling. For many years the buildings were used as a quarry for the erection of houses in the vicinity, but in 1842 steps were taken to repair and preserve what was left of them. The cruciform church had a nave of six bays 130 feet long, and choir 45 feet long, 175 feet in all; and there was a central tower 200 feet high. The style is transition between Norman and First Pointed. Among the tombs which remain is that of Alan Lord of Galloway (c. 1250), much mutilated, in the east aisle of the north transept, as well as those of several of the abbots and priors. The finest remains architecturally are those of the chapter-house, with its beautiful cinequfoil arched doorway between two windows, and its roof supported by octagonal columns, of which only fragments are left. Of the domestic buildings of the abbey nothing but a remnant has been preserved. The abbey estate now belongs to the family of Maitland of Dundrennan.

D. O. HUNTER-BLAIR








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