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
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
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
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
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.
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