Isle of Albion
Photographed: Monday 5th July 2010
Site rating:

Glenluce Abbey was founded in approximately 1192AD by Roland, Lord of Galloway, as a Cistercian religious house. It was probably established as a daughter house of Dundrennan or Melrose Abbey.

Little of Glenluce's history is documented, but it appears to have flourished as a small but relatively untroubled abbey, largely due to its remote site. Its position far to the west would have mostly protected it from the military incursions that troubled many of the other Scottish border abbeys.

Glenluce Abbey evolved and grew over the centuries, with buildings being added, modified and replaced. The remaining fragments of the church date back to the 13th Century, and the chapterhouse (which is remarkably complete) dates to around 1500AD.

Glenluce survived as a religious house until the reformation brought an end to its active life in 1560AD. The remaining monks were allowed to live out their days here, with the last one dying in 1602AD. From then, the abbey fell into a state of disrepair and decay, finally passing into state care in 1933AD.

Today, little remains of Glenluce Abbey. As well as the chapter house, other surviving features of interest include a fragment of reconstructed cloister arcading, and the exposed earthenware pipes of the abbey's water supply.

Although the site could be considered underwhelming, the secluded location and beautiful position make Glenluce Abbey worthy of a visit. Scotland enjoys a much lower population density than England, and this means that historic sites situated even slightly off the beaten track benefit from a level of peace and solitude that would be unusual at comparable sites south of the border.