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Kirkcudbright, Greyfriars Monastery

Monastery (15th Century)

Site Name Kirkcudbright, Greyfriars Monastery

Classification Monastery (15th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Greyfriars Convent; 'castle Aisle'

Canmore ID 64082

Site Number NX65SE 41

NGR NX 682 510

NGR Description NX c. 682 510

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Kirkcudbright
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Stewartry
  • Former County Kirkcudbrightshire

Archaeology Notes

NX65SE 41 c. 682 510

(Centred NX 682 510) Site of Greyfriar's Monastery (NR)

(13th Century)

OS 6" map (1849-50)

The monastery of Franciscan Friars was founded, according to Bryce, in or about 1455. The foundation is alleged to have been made in 1239 but Bryce regarded the unwitnessed charter, doubtfully genuine, as referring to the Augustinian priory of St Mary's Isle (Kircud 55 NW 7). It was supposed in 1569.

D E Easson 1957; W M Bryce 1909

The boundaries of the conventual buildings of the monastery of Greyfriars (destroyed in 1582 in building MacLellan's Castle - NX65SE 28) are described in the charter of 1569 granting it to Sir Thomas MacLellan. They ran from the harbour across St Cuthbert's Street, between Castle Street and the present Church grounds to the Meickle Yett at Townend, along the south High Street and west High Street to the River Dee. The Friary Kirk was used as the parish church (with its burial ground on Moat Brae) until 1730. It was then pulled down, except for the "Castle Aisle"'(burial place of the MacLellans') and its rubble used to build a wall round Moat Brae. This aisle later formed the nucleus of the Old Church School but since the first World War it has been rededicated as Greyfriars Church (Episcopal) (Galloway Publ Assoc).

J Robison 1916

The small aisle of the church, at NX 68282 51066, now the chancel, incorporates all that remains of the friary. It was not established that the aisle is known as 'Castle Aisle'.

Visited by OS (EGC) 11 February 1965.


Publication Account (1978)

The friary of the Greyfriars at Kirkcudbright was the eighth and last of the conventual friaries of the Scottish Greyfriars to be founded in the kingdom (Dunlop, 1956-57, 127). It was established in Kirkcudbright by James II after his marriage in 1449 (Cowan and Easson, 1976, 127). The conventual buildings were destroyed in the early 1580s when Sir Thomas MacLellan used them to construct his townhouse. The friary church was used as the parish church until it was pulled down in 1730. All that remains of that church is the so-called MacLellan's aisle, burial place of that family. The cloisters, gardens and domestic buildings of the friary would have been under the site now occupied by MacLellan's Castle and a putting green (MacLeod, 1973, 22).

Information from ‘Historic Kirkcudbright: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1978).


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