Inchcolm Abbey


Site Name Inchcolm Abbey

Classification Abbey

Canmore ID 50895

Site Number NT18SE 7

NGR NT 18973 82656

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Ordnance Survey licence number 100020548. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Aberdour (dunfermline)
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District Dunfermline
  • Former County Fife

Archaeology Notes

NT18SE 7 18973 82656.

(NT 1897 8265) Remains of Abbey (NR) (Augustinian - founded AD 1123)

OS 6"map, Fife (1967).

The Augustinian Abbey at Inchcolm, which may well have been erected over a Celtic settlement, was founded by Alexander I about 1123, and erected from a priory into an Abbey in 1235. The substantial ruins, which are fully described in the Official Guide book (J W Paterson 1950), date from the 12thc, with frequent additions and alterations up to the 15thc. The abbey and its lands were secularised in 1609.

D E Easson 1957; S Cruden 1960; J W Paterson 1950.

Inchcolm Abbey, as described, is in an excellent state of preservation.

Visited by OS(AC) 11 March 1959

Excavation in advance of a drain trench showed that the N wall of the 13th century chapter house belonged to an earlier building lying to the N. To the S fragmentary walls suggested buildings lying to the S of the chapter house and E of the gateway.

J Wordsworth 1984.

A watching brief was kept by Scotia Archaeology Ltd during the excavation of two pits to house bioplus treatment tanks: one (Trench 1) adjacent to the visitor centre; the other (Trench 2) against the custodian's house.

In Trench 1, 0.4m of modern materials overlay a deposit of massive boulders, some of them cement-bonded, which formed the rear of the modern sea wall. Below 0.3m of topsoil in Trench 2 was a thick layer of clayey soil containing animal bones and winkle shells but no oyster shells (which had been numerous in the topsoil). The lower deposit may have been midden material associated with the nearby abbey although more extensive investigation would be needed to confirm this.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland.

R Murdoch 1996

Architecture Notes


National Library 'Uncatalogued MSS of General Hutton

Vol 1 No 14 - plan of the monastery of Incholm

Vol 1 No 13 - 2 views of 1784 & plan of island dated 1822



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