Just to the south of Dunfermline’s High Street lies one of Scotland’s most unusual churches. The Abbey Church of Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland is two very distinct churches, joined in the middle. The effect is unexpected but attractive. The Abbey Church, as the name suggests, was the church serving Dunfermline Abbey.
A church probably already existed on this site in 1070, when King Malcolm III married Queen Margaret. Margaret liked Dunfermline so much she set up a Benedictine foundation here. This was later transformed by her son King David I into what was intended to become the most important abbey in Scotland. Work was started in 1128 on the Abbey Church and the nave still survives as the western half of the building on view today.
Dunfermline was renowned as the burial place of many Scottish Kings and Queens. The first was Queen Margaret (later St Margaret) in 1093, and the last Royal internment was Robert, the infant son of James VI and Anne of Denmark, in 1602. The most famous burial, and certainly most celebrated, was Robert the Bruce. He was buried in Dunfermline Abbey in 1329, minus his heart, which was taken in a lead casket on a posthumous visit to the Holy Land before being buried at Melrose Abbey.
During the building of the new Abbey Church in 1819 bones believed to be those of Robert the Bruce, because of their position and because of a cut breastbone (to allow the removal of his heart), were discovered. Robert was reinterred in the centre of the new Abbey Church, 560 years after his death.
His grave now lies under the magnificent pulpit covered by a large brass grave marker. And to celebrate his presence the words “KING ROBERT THE BRUCE” were formed with large stone lettering around the four sides of the crown of the tower. Subtle it isn’t, but striking it most certainly is.
Famous Births, Marriages, & Burials
Saint Margaret of Scotland was buried here in 1093; on 19 June 1250 following her Canonization her remains were disinterred and placed in a reliquary at the high altar. Her husband, Malcolm III of Scotland remains were also disinterred, and buried next to Margaret.
Both Duncan II of Scotland 1094, and his wife Ethelreda, were buried here
Edgar of Scotland was buried here in 1107
Both Alexander I of Scotland 1124, and his queen Sybilla de Normandy 1122, were buried here
David I of Scotland was buried here (1153) along with his queen Maud, Countess of Huntingdon (1130)
Malcolm IV of Scotland was buried here in 1165
Alexander III of Scotland (1286), was buried here, with his first wife Margaret of England (1275) and their sons David of Scotland (1281) and Alexander of Scotland (1284)
Elizabeth de Burgh, wife of Robert I of Scotland, was buried here in 1327
Robert the Bruce was buried, in 1329
Matilda of Scotland, daughter of Robert I of Scotland, was buried here in 1353
Anabella Drummond, wife of Robert III and mother of James I was buried here in 1401
Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany was buried here in 1420
Birthplace, in 1600, of Charles I, the last British monarch born in Scotland.
David Lindsay, 1st Lord Balcarres, son of John Lindsay of Balcarres, Lord Menmuir and father of Alexander Lindsay, 1st Earl of Balcarres, was married here in 1611
James Bruce (bishop)
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Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Digital Rebel XSi in the USA)
BEST VIEWED LARGER
Three bracketed JPGs converted to HDR in Photomatix.
Exposure Bias: ± 2
Perspective correction and minor adjustments in Adobe CS4
Related shots can be found at: Dunfermline.
Click on the image below to see another view of this church