Monday, 25 September 2017

Arbroath Abbey

Had a lovely wander around Arbroath Abbey, a medieval monastery established by William I (William the Lion) in 1178. Although in ruins, the Abbey shows an impressive size and the importance of it in the life of the town as well as its place in history. 

 The bases for the pillars show just how large these structures were

 The 'O' transept is thought to have been used as a beacon for ships to show them safely to harbour when lit. It was restored by Robert Stevenson's father when he built the Bell Rock Lighthouse in 1809.

When this house was restored, several medieval graves were uncovered in the floor. These are thought to be the burial places for abbots, bishops, senior officials and benefactors for the abbey

When William was killed in Stirling in 1214, his body was returned to Arbroath and buried in front of the high altar.

Perhaps the most famous place in history for the abbey is that this is the place from where the Declaration of Arbroath was issued. The Declaration is a letter to the Pope (the United Nations of the time) outlining Scotland as an independent, sovereign kingdom. The most well known lines of the Declaration outline this position: "It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”

A framed copy of the Declaration hangs in the visitor centre of the Abbey, a gift to the Abbey from the National Records of Scotland

The letter was signed by 40 noblemen, freemen and barons who affixed their seal, urging the Pope to recognize Scotland as an independent sovereign kingdom. 

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