the horrors of Lindores Abbey

Lindores Abbey is now not more than a few crumbling walls. However, signs within the romantic ruin point to a darker past. Many a death has occurred here. Many bodies were take to this place. This was once a graveyard to the rich, the famous and the ill-fated. These are the horrors of Lindores Abbey.

death by illness

David, Earl of Huntingdon founded Lindores Abbey in the late 12th century. French monks in gey habits made it a thriving power hub until it fell into disuse after the Reformation. A fate it shared with many Catholic religious sites in Europe. David was the grandson of David I, the pious Scottish monarch and recognised saint. Two of his infant sons, Robert and Henry are also buried in Lindores.

Alexander, heir to the Scottish throne, died in January 1283 at Lindores, where he most likely was getting treatment for an unknown illness by the monks. When the night drew in and his death close, he allegedly said: “Before tomorrow’s sun rise, the sun of Scotland will have set.” What followed were the wars of Accession and the Battle of Bannockburn.

death by starvation

Another heir to the throne, David Stewart, Duke of Rothesay, died under horrific circumstances in Falkland palace and was buried in the Abbey of Lindores. David had acted as Lieutenant of Scotland while his father was not fit to rule and the conflict with England and civil unrest were destabilising the country. Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, had been Stewart of Scotland before him and had ambitions for the throne himself. He had him arrested and imprisoned at Falkland Palace, where he starved his nephew to death.

„He died, illustrating the saying that the distance is short between a royal prison and a royal tomb. Tradition has ascribed his death to starvation; and while it names Sir William Lindsay of Rossie and Sir John of Ramornie as the authors of his arrest, and two inferior agents, Selkirk and Wright of Falkland, as the immediate perpetrators of the murder, his uncle Albany, and Archibald Tyneman, the son of the grim Earl of Douglas his father-in-law, and the husband of his sister, were believed to have been instigators. The tale of the woman who kept him alive for a little with milk from her breast, introduced by a reed into his dungeon, and of another who supplied him with a scanty meal of oats, his feeding on his own flesh, and the miracles performed by his corpse at Lindores, where his empty stone coffin may perhaps be still seen, were fictitious additions to heighten the gloom of the dark story. “(John M. Leighton: History of the County of Fife. Swan, Glasgow, 1840)

The miracles performed by the corpse were legend and his tomb became a site of pilgrimage. Lindores was the “Place of Miracles”.

burned to death

in 1218 a terrible accident happened at the Abbey and the Prior of Durham subsequently lost his life while travelling south from Aberdeen and staying in Lindores. A fired had broken out, caused by the carelessness of the servants. The Prior must have suffered severe smoke poisoning and died a few weeks later. (

death of the Black Douglas

James Douglas, 9th Earl of Douglas was the last of the famous, some would say infamous Black Douglas. On the murder of his brother by King James II and his supporters, James attacked Stirling in open rebellion against the king. He married his brother’s sister and continued intriguing against James II from England. In 1484 he was taken prisoner and sent to Lindores Abbey. He is said to have muttered: “ He who can not better be, must be a monk.” He was to stay with the monks until his death seven years later.

Scottish history and Russian business

Many of the key figures, brave and reckless men building the Scottish nation, have visited or even died in Lindores Abbey. William Wallace, the legendary fighter for Scottish freedom was here to collected water for his wounded men in the woods.

In 1306, Sir Gilbert Hay of Errol, Sir Neil Campbell of Lochaw, and Sir Alexander Seton, also known as the three puissant knights, solemnly vowed to “defend the King Robert Bruce and his crown to the last of their blood and fortunes.” A vow to protect the king who made Scotland was made in this very spot.

The still of the monks was mentioned in a document from the 12th century, making it one of the oldest on record in Scotland. It is now a modern business across the road from the ruin of Lindores Abbey. The profits go to three Russian businessmen.

Liked the read? There’s more here…

The stories of this book have been discovered and gathered for my blog, Graveyards of Scotland, over many years. Find treasure all over Scotland with my latest book. I am Nellie Merthe Erkenbach, journalist and author.The fairy hill in Inverness, a nitrate murder on Shetland, a family of left-handers, wolves, Robert the Bruce and William Wallace shown in a new light, the secret bay of the writer Gavin Maxwell, a murdering poet and so many things you didn’t know about Scotland, its clans and its history.

My main sources were historical travel guides from the 18th and 19th centuries, where the finds were scary, beautiful, funny, and sometimes, cruel. 

This unusual approach to a country’s history has produced amazing results. You don’t have to share my passion for cemeteries to enjoy this book; only a small number of the stories in this collection take place in graveyards, though they do all end in them, so perhaps it helps. 

Scotland for Quiet Moments is available @Amazon ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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