Scottish Churches and Ruined Abbeys - South

Glenluce Abbey, Dumfries and Galloway


A small ruined abbey in a lovely setting


The ruins of this Cistercian Abbey occupy a lovely setting by the Water of Luce.

The monastery was founded in 1190 and was a convenient stop for pilgrims visiting nearby St Ninianís shrine. Robert the Bruce, James IV and Mary Queen of Scots have all stayed here.

Little is known about its history. At the Protestant Reformation, the fifteen monks in the abbey accepted the new religion and were left to live in the abbey. When the last monk died in 1602 the abbey walls were robbed out for building stone.
  
The Abbey followed the usual pattern of a Cistercian Monastery with the abbey church to the north so it did not cast shadows over the cloisters and domestic buildings.

Glenluce Abbey, Dumfries and Galloway

Little is left of the abbey church apart from the south transept still stands to nearly its original height. The chapter house was rebuilt in 1500 and still survives with its vaulted ceiling supported by a central pillar and traceried windows. Part of the cloister arcade has been rebuilt in front of its doorway. All that is left of the rest of the buildings are the foundations in the grass.

Glenluce Abbey, Dumfries and Galloway

More modern buildings to the north-west also house the small visitor centre and museum. This has decorated clay tiles and some of the clay and lead pipes which supplied water to the site.

The Abbey is nearly 2 miles north of the village of Glenluce. It is in the care f Historic Scotland and is open daily from April to September. The grid reference is NX 185587 and the nearest post code is DG8 0AF. 

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