Abbey is situated 9 miles
southeast of Ayr, 2 miles south of Maybole,
next to the A77 road.
This abbey was founded by Duncan de
Carrick, Earl of Carrick, in the 1200s.
Duncan de Carrick provided the land and
handed over vast amounts of cash to the
monks of Paisley Abbey, so they would
build this monastery.
As the monks of Paisly only
constructed a small chapel, and retained
much of the cash, the Earl had to take
the matter to the courts, where the
Bishop of Glasgow instructed the Paisley
monks to construct a proper monastery,
and that monks from Paisley Abbey should
be sent to run it.
Robert Bruce (Robert the Bruce's
father) married the widow, Marjorie
(Countess of Carrick) in 1271. Her
husband, Rolan de Carrick, was killed in
the Holy War against the Saracens.
The Earldom of Carrick seemed to
dissolve after Robert the Bruce became
king of Scotland. The Cassillis Kennedy's
(descendants of the de Carrick's) became
the largest landowners in the area, which
led to them becoming the Earls of
Cassillis in the early 1500s.
In 1560, the Scottish Parliament
passed an Act abolishing the Roman
Catholic Church within the realm, this
seeing most of the Abbey's in Scotland
destroyed, and their stonework carried
off for the construction of other
Only five of the Scottish nobility
opposed the Act, one being Gilbert, 4th
Earl of Cassillis.
The reason why Crossraguel is now one
of the most complete Abbeys in Scotland,
was the continuation of the Earls of
Cassillis until 2009, meaning that
although the Abbey eventually fell into
ruin, little of its stone was looted,
like so many others.
The Earl of Cassillis seems to have
saved Crossraguel from certain
destruction, so he could take control of
the land owned by the Abbey.
A Commendator had been apointed to
each Abbey to allow the monks to live out
their lives in the Abbeys, and oversee
the Abbey lands and finances.
In 1570, Kilbert Kennedy had the
Commendator of Crossraguel Abbey taken to
Dunure Castle, which is just
over the hills from the abbey. At the
Kennedy stronghold of Dunure, the
Commendador was roasted over a fire in an
attempt to get him to sign Abbey land
over to the Kennedy's, setting off a
murderous feud over the following
The feud was between the Kennedy's of
Dunure, Cassillis & Culzean, and
their cousin Kennedy of Bargany, who was
supported by the Mure's of
Kennedy of Bargany was the brother in
law of the Commendator.
Kennedy of Bargany was killed in a
skirmish by Kennedy of Cassillis and his
men, in the area between Ayr and
In a revenge attack, Kennedy of
Culzean was ambushed and killed by the
Mure's, while traveling to Edinburgh.
After Mure of Auchendrane and his son
were found guilty of the murder of
Kennedy of Culzean, they were beheaded at
the Cross of Edinburgh in July 1611.