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Arbroath Abbey

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Arbroath Abbey is in the centre of Arbroath, 16 miles northeast of Dundee, 54 miles south of Aberdeen.

This is one of the largest Abbeys in Scotland, known for the Declaration of Arbroath, with a copy of the document in its museum. This document helped end the First War of Scottish Independence.

The Abbey can be visited throughout the year with an entrance fee. Postcode: DD11 1EG

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The Abbey is popular for viewing its size, incredible for the time it was built. The modern visitor centre has a cafe, contains the best preserved stonework, relics, gives information on the Abbey history, has a replica of the Stone of Destiny, and has computer-generated images through the Abbey when it was complete.

Within the Abbey are the Abbots House Museum and the Declaration of Arbroath room holding a copy of the famous document.

Arbroath Abbey History

1178 - Arbroath Abbey was founded by King William the Lion for Tironensian Benedictine monks brought up from Kelso Abbey.

This was the only Abbey founded by King William.

1214 - King William was buried in front of the high altar of the Abbey church.

King William had given the Abbey control over vast areas of land from which it gained a large income. The Monks were also allowed to run a market.

1233 - the Abbey was completed.

1296–1328 - the First War of Scottish Independence takes place as Scots try to prevent English Kings from ruling Scotland.

1306 - Robert the Bruce killed John Comyn, his rival for the Scottish throne, leading to him being excommunicated by the Pope. Bruce was crowned King of Scots on the 25 March of that year.

1314 - victory for Bruce over the English at the Battle of Bannockburn secures Bruce's position as Scotland's king, although fighting between the two countries continued.

1320 - the Scottish Parliament met at Arbroath Abbey from where they sent a letter to the Pope known as the Declaration of Arbroath. This letter was to help persuade the Pope to recognize Scotland as an independent country under King Robert the Bruce, and help put a stop to the wars between Scotland and England.

1324 - King Robert the Bruce received Papal recognition as the King of Scotland.

1328 - the Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton is signed to end the war between Scotland and England with the English recognizing Bruce as the King of Scots.

1394 - a harbour is built in Arbroath by the Abbey to allow them to obtain more wealth through fishing.

This was regarded as the wealthiest Abbey in Scotland.

1446 - the Battle of Arbroath took place between Clan Lindsay and their followers, and Clan Ogilvy and their followers, over a disputed as to who should be in control of justice on the vast Arbroath Abbey lands. Around 500 men died in that battle with no outright winner.

1560 - the Protestant Reformation lead to the Abbey being abandoned. Catholic worship was banned from this time and Protestant Kings and Queens would be chosen before their Catholic relations, leading to a number of conflicts.

1590 - stonework from the Abbey was taken for buildings in Arbroath.

1815 - new laws were introduced to preserve the remains of the Abbey.

1947 - a re-enactment of the Declaration's signing was held at the Abbey.

6th of April each year - a special event to mark the signing is held with a street procession.

1950 Christmas Day - the Stone of Destiny was stolen from Westminster Abbey.

1951 April 11 - the Stone of Destiny was found at the alter of Arbroath Abbey.

1951 - The stone was returned to Westminster Abbey. There is a replica stone at Arbroath Abbey in the new museum.

1996 - the Stone of Destiny was returned to Scotland. It is now housed in a Museum at Edinburgh Castle.

2001 - a new visitors centre was opened at the entrance of Arbroath Abbey.

2005 - a campaign was launched to gain World Heritage Status for the Abbey and The Declaration of Arbroath.

The large round window high in the south transept was thought to have been lit up at night to serve as a beacon for mariners. It is known by locals as the Round O.

St Vigeans Stones and Museum are under 2 miles north in a museum by ST Vigeans Church. These are 38 Pictish Stones from around the 800s.
St Vigeans Map DD11 4RB

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