Lindores Abbey

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 24380 18460, map


Abbey Road
KY14 6JP


Lindores Abbey was founded in 1190 by David, Earl of Hungtingdon and was eventually destroyed during the Reformation in the 16th century. It is located at the eastern end of Newburgh, just off Abbey Road. The abbey and its church are now largely reduced to the foundations, although the fine round-arch gateway at the south-west corner of the site has survived intact. The abbey church and associated buildings, such as the cloister and conventual buildings were built in striking red sandstone, and it is likely that once the complex had been abandoned after the Reformation the fine quality stonework was gradually robbed and re-used to build new buildings in the vicinity, such as farm steadings and dwelling houses. In 2015 the farmstead alongside the abbey site was redeveloped and rebuilt to create a distillery with a visitor centre.

J Dowling 2017

Description (exterior)

The abbey church was constructed of red sandstone. It  has a cruciform plan with north and south transepts towards the chancel and a northern transept on the western end of the nave.    In the choir are two small coffins, which John Gifford suggests might be for the founder's children.   To the south of this the outline of the cloister is clearly visible. Much of the east range survives, including some quadripartite vaulting.

Description (interior)

People / Organisations:

David Earl of HuntingdonFounder1190Founded the abbey.


  • Abbey: Founded (1190)
    Lindores Abbey was founded in the late twelfth century by David Earl of Huntingdon on land given to him by his brother King William of Normandy. It was founded for the Tironesian order. The abbey was founded before Balmerino Abbey, but may have been built around the same time and has a very similar plan.
  • Abbey: Destruction/demolition (1559)
    Lindores was sacked in June 1559 at the behest of John Knox and the Lords of the Congregation.
  • Abbey: Destruction/demolition (1560)
    It was suppressed in 1560 and its possessions sold off. After the dissolution the abbey became a quarry and many of the older houses in Newburgh are built from its stones.

    The ‘Bear Stone’, now set into the wall of the Bear Tavern on the High Street, features the devices of the Earls of Warwick and was originally set above the door of the Abbot’s residence at the abbey.

Archive References:

Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 38479
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 38480
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 30076
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 227805
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 1438

Bibliographic References:

Buildings of Scotland: FifeGifford, J1988p. 330
Newburgh: A Historic TrailPinfold, L.K1982p. 6
Discovery & Excavation, Scotland 2005J. Shiels2005Found near to: Medieval stud from a Bible or Psalter. Flat, bonze, double cross. 16.7mm dia. Newburgh.