Isle of Albion
A humble ruin in a pleasant setting.
Photographed: Tuesday 23rd April 2013
Site rating:  

Deer Abbey was founded in 1219AD by William Comyn, Lord of Badenoch, as a Cistercian religious house. When William died in 1233AD, he was buried at the abbey.

Little is known of the abbey's history. During the mid 16th Century, there were around 12 canons, and the income of the abbey was modest. The last proper abbot resigned in 1543AD, and a series of nobles held the title in name only. In 1587AD, Deer Abbey was converted into a secular barony.

Subsequently, the buildings of the abbey fell into decline, with much of its stone being plundered for building materials. It wasn't until 1930AD that the site was safeguarded from further decline when the Catholic church purchased it, passing it into state care three years later.

Today, the church is reduced to little more than an outline in the grass. Some of the buildings to the south of the cloister fare better, with the abbot's house, kitchen and refectory all surviving in reasonable shape. Nevertheless, this is undoubtedly a humble ruin. However, it's also a rare survivor this far north, and it does have an understated charm that makes it worth a visit.