Kilwinning Abbey

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Kilwinning Abbey is situated in the town of Kilwinning in North Ayrshire, 16 miles north of Ayr, 4 miles north of Irvine, 29 miles southwest of Glasgow.

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The Abbey is in the town centre next to a car park. You can visit free of charge all year round.

For a tour of the Abbey Tower, the Abbey Tower Heritage Centre is open Mid May to Mid September, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm - 3pm. Access for visiting groups at other times phone 01294 551 496.

The Abbey was founded between 1162 and 1188, with funding thought to have been by Richard de Morville, Lord of Cunninghame, with the backing of King William the Lion 1165 - 1214.

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 run by a Commendater, until all the monks had died.

The Reformation Act, allowed monks to live out their lives in the Abbeys. In the turbulent lead up to the Reformation Act, Kilwinning Abbey was looted on a few occasions, by wealthy protestant land owners.

The Commendater left the abbey in 1592, allowing much of the stone work to be taken for other building projects in the area, such as Eglinton Castle 3 miles southeast.

Kilwinning Abbey is often referred to as the birthplace of the Freemasons, and where the Knights Templar first visited after they fled France in 1307.

Kilwinning is said to be number 0 on the Freemasons Roll, reputed to be the oldest Lodge in the world.

An historian has claimed, he has evidence some Knights Templar sought refuge with the monks of Kilwinning, after they were forced to flee France.

Could the Knights Templar lost Holy Treasures be in a the secret vault, stated to be under Kilwinning Abbey?

One local has claimed he entered a tunnel network below the Abbey when he was a child. Searches to find the tunnel recently have been unsuccessful.

The vast treasures of the Knights Templar have never been found.

The Knights Templar are said to have discovered the greatest treasure in human history buried beneath the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, including the Ark of the Covenant and Holy Grail.

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