We happened across one of Scotland’s most complete medieval monasteries. It was founded around 1250 and occupied for about 400 years. It conveyed to us, a sincere sense of peace and spirituality. The craftsmanship of this abbey was impressive as well, with carved stonework decorating each building.
As it was the middle of the week, we wandered alone through the ruins, allowing us a glimpse into what monastic life may have been like.
We entered through the imposing gatehouse and into the cloister, from there we marveled at the still intact chapter house with its incredible vaulted ceiling and canopied chair for the abbot. The windows were impressive with intricately carved Gothic arches. The floor was also carved and inlaid with crosses and designs. We followed along the back gardens to the cookhouse, individual living quarters (each with private latrines), a warming room, and barns.
The church itself still stands to its full height and exudes a sense of respect and spirituality. The choir was a masterpiece! The sacristy chamber’s ornamentation gave us a glimpse of the kind of carved stonework that must have once there, but now vanished. This vaulted room had ribs decorated with flowers, animal and human faces. The windows themselves were inspiring with their ornamentation.
The gate house was still standing and we were able to climb through the dark spiral stone stairwell all the way to the fourth floor and then to the rooftop outlook.
Our visit was definitely awe-inspiring with a new appreciation for the expert craftsmanship of the times, and the complexity of a large medieval religious house.
It is amazing as you think that this was built over 300 years before Columbus even set sail for the Americas.