Cambuskenneth Abbey

Cambuskenneth Abbey is a monastery which stands on the opposite bank of the River Forth from the Riverside area of Stirling, Scotland. It is accessible by crossing a footbridge to the village of Cambuskenneth. It can also be reached by road from causewayhead.

There used to be lots of abbeys in Scotland but now there are only a few, though you can still see the ruins of some others. Cambuskenneth Abbey was built by order of King David the First about the year AD 1140. It was initially known as the Abbey of St Mary of Stirling, which is why there is a St Mary's Wynd in Stirling. It used to be the road which led out of the town to the bridge, and from there to the abbey.

Cambuskenneth was one of the most important abbeys in Scotland. Kings such as Robert the Bruce sometimes visited the abbey. Sometimes the Scottish parliament met there. In the year 1488 King James the Third was murdered nearby at Bannockburn, and his body was brought to Cambuskenneth Abbey for burial. You can still see his grave at one end of the church. In 1559 there were few monks living there, and the abbey was closed and most of the buildings destroyed.

The abbey is deserted now, but Christian monks belonging to the Augustinian order used to live there. There was a dormitory where they all slept in one big room, a refectory where they ate their meals together, the chapter house where they met each morning to plan the day's activities, and several other buildings such as the kitchen and the infirmary. The most important building was the enormous church where the monks went to sing and pray. They worshipped there eight times every day, starting at 2 o'clock each morning.

Very little remains of the Abbey nowadays. Apart from one tower in which the church bells used to hang, all the buildings are gone. After the abbey was closed, people came and took away the stones to build other places in the town. Today the foundations of some of the buildings can still be seen at the site, but the walls are only knee high.


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