Crossraguel Abbey

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Crossraguel Abbey is situated 9 miles southeast of Ayr, 2 miles south of Maybole, next to the A77 road.

Crossraguel Abbey Map Large Images

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 buildings.

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 years.

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 Auchendrane.

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 Maybole.

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.

Crossraguel Abbey Images
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