Dunfermline Abbey Church

As we see it today, Dunfermline Abbey Church is a mixture of architectural styles and times. The building now encompasses the nave of the Norman church with a door leading on to the new Dunfermline Abbey Church built in the Perpendicular Style. The two structures are under separate management with the old nave under the care of Historic Scotland. This will little effect most visitors who are likely to see these two places of historic and religious interest together.

At the time of the Reformation, there were some 25 monks in Dunfermline Abbey. In 1559, everything of value was removed and the church was sacked a year later. Nevertheless, the new form of religious services would continue to be held here for over 250 years. The old nave bears an unusual form with 5 pillars on one side and 6 on the other, some of which are decorated with a chevron pattern. As well as some fine stained glass windows, you'll also see brass lines on the floor which indicate the outlines of the first church built in the 10th century.

In 1818, Dunfermline's new Abbey Church was constructed on the site of the old choir. The works unearthed the grave of King Robert the Bruce. The body with its sawn rib cage, could only have been that of Scotland's great liberator. At his request, his heart had been removed from his body and taken on the Crusades to the Holy Land. It was later returned to Scotland and buried in Melrose. Before his body was re-interred a plaster cast was taken of his face which has allowed scientists to reconstruct his features. His tomb now lies under the pulpit at Dunfermline Abbey Church and the spot is marked by a brass plaque.

Robert the Bruce was not the only royal to be buried at Dunfermline Abbey, it had in fact succeeded Iona as Scotland's favourite royal burial ground. The list of the those interred at Dunfermline includes, King Malcolm III, Queen Margaret and their children: Edward, King Duncan II, Aethelred, Edmund, King Edgar, King Alexander I and King David I. King Malcolm IV, King Alexander III, Queen Annabella, Robert the Bruce's wife, Queen Elizabeth, their daughter Maltilda and his sister, Christian were also buried at Dunfermline.

On your tour of Dunfermline Abbey, you'll also see some fine stained glass windows including the Sacramental Window and the Robert the Bruce Memorial Window which was dedicated in 1974 to mark the anniversary of his birth 700 years before.

Address: St Margaret Street
Postcode: KY12 7PE
Town/city or near: Dunfermline
County: Fife

Website: http://www.dunfermlineabbey.co.uk

9 out of 10 stars (2 votes)

Been here before? Is it worth a visit? Rate it below.
Rate it


email this page   printer friendly page