A Visit to Cambuskenneth Abbey

Even though the quaint village of Cambuskenneth is located near to Stirling, it still has an atmosphere of seclusion from the fast pace of the cities. It was King David I who requested that the Augustinians erect an abbey at this location. At that time it was referred to as the Abbey of St Mary and was founded in 1140. Due to its ties to the Stirling Castle, the Cambuskenneth Abbey became extremely influential and its wealth was vast.

By the time the end of the 1200s drew to a close, the abbey comprised of an extensive number of buildings, which included the church, that is said to have been sixty meters in length. It also had domestic buildings, cloisters and secondary buildings, which included a wharf. By the time the English armies had passed through this area during the period that was known as the Wars of Independence, the abbey was in ruins in 1378. During the 1400s renovations and the rebuilding of the abbey began, supported by the Scottish Royalty. War broke out again in 1488, which led to the murder of James III, who was transported to the Cambuskenneth Abbey for burial. He was laid to rest alongside his wife, Queen Margaret of Denmark, as she had passed away in the year 1486. Their final resting place is protected by railings as their tomb can still be viewed today. Not much remains of the abbey, except for a few attractions that were left untouched after the site became a stone quarry, excavated in 1864 by an architect named William Mackison. In 1934 a footbridge was constructed across the river.

The Cambuskenneth Abbey is still a worthwhile attraction to visit, as visitors will not only be able to view the tombs but also a fascinating stone collection, which is displayed in the bell tower. The stone collection comprises of architectural fragments of buildings as well as grave slabs that date back to medieval times. If visitors venture off just a little further from the ruins and the stone courses that outline where the abbey once stood, they will discover what is believed to be the ruins of the secondary buildings.