Kinloss Abbey And Burial Ground

Abbey, Burial Ground

Site Name Kinloss Abbey And Burial Ground

Classification Abbey, Burial Ground

Canmore ID 15888

Site Number NJ06SE 2

NGR NJ 06570 61507

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Ordnance Survey licence number 100020548. All rights reserved.
© Copyright and database right 2015
View on large map

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Moray
  • Parish Kinloss
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Moray
  • Former County Morayshire

Archaeology Notes

NJ06SE 2.00 06570 61507

NJ06SE 2.01 06572 61467 Abbot's Lodging

(NJ 0655 6150) Kinloss Abbey (NR) (Ruins)

OS 6" map (1938)

Founded in 1150 and dedicated to St Mary the abbey was greatly added to about 1530. The abbot's house was erected in 1537. In the south wall of the cloister is an archway, and an adjoining arched recess, which seem from their style to be part of the original abbey.

The buildings are thought to have been reasonably entire until about 1650, when they are said to have been sold for the building of Cromwell's Fort at Inverness.

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1896

Kinloss Abbey, a Cistercian foundation, by David I, of monks from Melrose. There is doubt as to whether the date of foundation is 21st May 1150 (Chron Melrose 1835) or 1151 (J Stuart 1872; A O Anderson 1922). The abbey was erected into a temporal lordship in 1601.

D E Easson 1957

Generally as described and planned by MacGibbon and Ross. The bases of some pillars and part of the walling of the abbey church are now exposed and much of its outline can be conjectured indicating a building some 52.0m east to west and about 35.0m North-South across the transepts. The plan of the church is however partly obscured and greatly confused by the graves and remains of old vaults of the cemetery that now occupies this site.

The area immediately West of the cloisters is slightly raised above the adjoining ground and may possibly represents the remains of other buildings associated with the abbey.

Part-revised at 25".

Visited by OS (RDL) 16 September 1963.

NJ 065 615 As part of a programme of masonry consolidation, the concrete capping had been removed from the upper floors of the N and S wings of the post-monastic building atop the N end of the partially ruined E range of the abbey. The exposed features were investigated and recorded by Scotia Archaeology Limited.

In the first storey of the N wing of the building the flagged floor was reasonably intact and there was slight evidence of a hearth in the NW corner of the room. The floor was pierced on its E side by what was probably the chute of a slop drain. The original stair, on the W side of the building, had been replaced in recent times by another stair, built on a slightly different alignment. Most of the flags were missing from the second floor of the S wing which was probably entered by a doorway in its NW corner.

Sponsor: Moray District Council.

J Lewis 1995.

NJ 065 614 Supervision of rubble clearance at the Abbot's House, as part of consolidation works, was carried out in February 1996. Access to the site was cleared and all architectural stone was isolated for future reuse. A reredorter drain was further exposed and structural evidence confirming that the Abbot's House is a later addition to the Abbey was found. A slight deviation in the N wall of the Abbot's House was also uncovered at the point where two vaults meet. This provided further evidence that there was an earlier wall incorporated into the gable of the Abbot's House.

Sponsor: Moray District Council

J R Mackenzie 1996

NJ 065 615 An archaeological watching brief was completed by Kirkdale Archaeology during the opening of a new grave in the family plot of the Dunbar-Naismith family at Kinloss Abbey in September 1997.

The family burial plot lies against the S side of the S cloister wall, believed to be a part of the original abbey, built c 1150/1. The plot is defined by three ashlar walls, forming a rectangular area 5.8m N-S by 4.6m E-W abutting the S side of the S cloister wall, and accessed via an original arch in the latter. Before the most recent interment, the plot held three graves against its S wall, and a further two (in the same grave) against the W wall, running E-W.

The new grave was located in the NE corner, against the burial plot E wall and the S cloister wall. Excavation to a depth of 1.75m revealed the brick lining of the E-W grave, constructed in 1905, and the ashlar founds of the plot boundary wall, also to the full depth of the trench. No monastic material was recovered, and the depth of the founds of the boundary wall, coupled with the density and depth of graves within the plot, would suggest that any monastic remains will have been removed in the 19th century, when the family plot was first laid out.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

G Ewart and A Dunn 1997

NJ 0655 6150 In June 2006 the installation of three interpretation panels around the abbey required the hand excavation of three 700mm squares to a depth of 200mm. The excavation of one of these squares, which was just inside the W wall of the abbey church, revealed a small section of mortared stonework comprising dressed sandstone blocks. This was recorded and covered and the position of the panel was moved to avoid it.

Report lodged with Aberdeenshire SMR and NMRS.

Sponsor: Kinloss Abbey Trust.

H K Murray and J C Murray, 2006.

Architecture Notes

NJ06SE 2.00 06570 61507


Begun in 1150 on the lines of a Cistercian Monastry. Represents many periods of architecture, of which portions remain and part has still its vaulted roof. Situated about two miles NE of Forres.

Note: Nesbit was a painter at Forres, 1866.


National Library of Scotland, Nattes Drawings - 2 drawings

Vol I nos 14, 15

"Uncatalogued MSS of General Hutton", vol 11, no. 41 - plan by Nesbit, Scale 30 feet to an inch.

The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, contains in "MSS. 3294-5" vol II, or 3295, and illustrating a Tour in the East of Scotland made by James Bailey in 1787, a Frontispiece showing a View of 'kynloss' Abbey, near Forres, in the Shire of Moray. (see page 29 of the volume).

Scottish National Portrait Gallery - S.M.T. Magazine for Dec 1950 - Article and photographs



MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions