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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 714186

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NT27SE 35.01 26940 73964

(Centred NT 2696 7398) Ruins of Abbey Church AD 1128 (NR) Nave (NR) Choir (NR).

OS 25"map, (1931).

The Abbey of Holyrood was founded in 1128 by David I for Augustinian Canons.

All that survives above ground is the ruined nave as repaired and consolidated by HMoW in 1911. Foundations of vanished choir and transepts were found in course of this work and left open for inspection. Within the area of the choir and nave remains of the original 12th century abbey church were found.

In the latter part of the 12th century it was decided to rebuild the church on a more sumptious scale which was developed during the next two centuries. It comprised a nave of 8 bays with western towers; N and S transepts each of two bays with an E chapel-aisle; and an aisled choir of 6 bays including a lady chapel.

In 1544 and 1547 the abbey was burnt and looted by Hertford's troops and in 1570 the choir and transepts were pulled down and the remaining portion of the nave was repaired and the church reduced to its present dimensions.

RCAHMS 1951.

No additional remarks.

Visited by OS(JLD) 31 December 1953.

NT 269 740 During the upgrading of the Victorian boilerhouse, human remains were uncovered. Excavation by GUARD revealed the remains of a minimum of 38 individuals from two main phases of burial which form part of the medieval and post-medieval cemetery at the abbey church. The initial phase of burial was badly disturbed by a large pit. After this filled up, a layer of building rubble and debris covered the site; this included fragments of mortar, stained glass, lead came and architectural fragments. Through this a second phase of burials were dug.

Two coins from the reign of Edward I/II deposited c.1330 were recovered including one from a burial. A copper jetton or counter was also recovered; this was minted in France in the 14th-15th centuries.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

S Bain 1995

NT 2696 7398 An area in the NW corner of the nave was excavated in May and June 2001 to ascertain the nature of the upper deposits and the cause of drainage problems. Features excavated and recorded included gravels, drainage, graves, a medieval deposit and wall foundations. Recommendations were made to alleviate the drainage problems.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

A Radley and G Ewart 2001

c NT 269 739 A watching brief was undertaken in April 2005 during the excavation of extensive trenches in the gardens around the Palace of Holyroodhouse (NT27SE 35.00) and the abbey (NT27SE 35.01). The archaeological potential of these areas was somewhat limited by the extensive landscaping works undertaken in the gardens over the last two centuries, although there was a higher chance of encountering buried features near the ruinous abbey. There were no finds or features of archaeological significance.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS.

Sponsor: HS.

D Stewart 2005

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