When I traveled to Scotland, one of the things that I was hoping to see was the ruins of an Abbey.
I was a little disappointed that our timeline was not going to leave room to head south of Edinburgh to see the “Four Border Abbeys” [Kelso Abbey, Melrose Abbey, Dryburgh Abbey, and Jedburgh Abbey].
After our experience of touring the city of Glasgow using the hop-on hop-off bus tour, we decided that when we returned to the second stay in Edinburgh we would also purchase a hop-on hop-off bus tour there.
We ended up opting for the 48-hour Royal Edinburgh ticket because it gives you fast track admission to Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Yacht Britannia, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse along with the hop-on hop-off bus tours.
I had not done much research on the Palace of Holyroodhouse prior to our trip,so it was a delightful surprise to learn that there was an Abbey and that we would be able to tour it with our admission to the Palace.
The Holyrood Abbey was founded by King David I in 1128.
The Legend is that King David was hunting nearby during Feast of the Cross. He was thrown from his horse after it was startled by a stag. The King was saved from being gored by a miraculous appearance of a cross that caused the stag to back down.
Rood means cross, hence the name being “Holy Cross”.
The original Abbey church was constructed for the Augustinian Canons.
Holyrood Abbey was the site for the coronations of James II in 1437, Margaret Tudor in 1504, Mary of Guise in 1540, Anne of Denmark in 1590, and Charles I in 1633.
There are also royals and non-royals interred at the abbey.
The photo above is of a vault.
The sign reads:
“This simple vault was built after the eastern part of the Abbey Church, enclosing the Royal tombs was destroyed by the English army in 1544. Here were placed the coffins of James V. Magdalen his first Queen and his infant sons by his second marriage to Mary of Guise. In 1688 the tomb was violated during the riots at the end of James VII’s reign and its contents were left in disorder. In 1898 Queen Victoria ordained a repair of the vault and the remains of those previously interred her were re-buried in one coffin. The Vault also contains the coffin of Mary of Guilders, Queen of James II, which was moved in 1848 from Trinity Church in Edinburgh.”
Some Royal weddings also took place here.
Of course, one of the most famous marriages to take place happened in 1565, when Mary, Queen of Scots wed Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.
Although the Abbey is in ruins, it still showcases some impressive architecture in the structure that remains.
If you are interested in some of my other wanderings around Scotland, be sure to check out the other posts under the travel category of the blog!
I was very happy that we opted to tour the Palace rather than just admire the exterior.
Have you toured the Palace of Holyroodhouse? If so, what was your favorite part?
If you’ve ever visited the ruins of an Abbey, which one is your favorite?
I hope to get back to Scotland again someday and am curious what you would consider “can’t miss” sites.
Let me know!
Let your light shine!