Glenluce Abbey

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Alternative Names Luce Abbey
Site Type ABBEY
Canmore ID 61214
Site Number NX15NE 7
NGR NX 18503 58660
Former District WIGTOWN
Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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Notes and Activities

Archaeological Notes

NX15NE 7.00 18503 58660

(NX 1849 5867) Remains of Glenluce Abbey (NR)
(Cistercian Founded AD 1190)
OS 6" map (1957)

NX15NE 7.01 18452 58696 Abbey House

See also NX15NE 11 and NX15NE 77.

An Abbey of Cistercian monks, said to have been founded in 1190, but Easson accepts A O Anderson's date of 21st January 1191/2. J S Spottiswoode asserts that the monks came from Melrose, but documentary evidence suggests that Glenluce was a daughter-house of Dundrennan (NX74NW 12). The abbey was secularised in 1602.
D E Easson 1957

The abbey was excavated by MoW in the 1930's under the direction of J S Richardson.
A S Morton 1939; J S Richardson 1939

The fine late 15th century chapter house is complete but the remainder rarely stands above the foundation level. The water supply is a unique survival. Earthenware pipes, jointed and with inspection chambers, lie in their original positions where they are exposed to view.
S Cruden 1960

Generally as previously described and as planned by MoW. A new range of buidings, including the hospital has been excavated at NX 1849 5861.
Visited by OS (WDJ) 1 March 1968

The remains of this Cistercian abbey, founded c. 1192 by Roland, Lord of Galloway, are situated on the haughland of the Water of Luce. They comprise a fragment of the abbey church as well as, on the S, a cloister with conventual ranges on three sides, outbuildings and, on the SE, the wall-footings of what may have been the infirmary. The chapter-house, which is probably of late 15th or 16th century date, is the best preserved of the conventual buildings.
In the N transept of the church there is a graveslab dedicated to Robert Gordon of Lochinvar (died 1548), and in the S chancel-wall there is a late 17th century armorial panel impaled with the arms of Thomas Hay of Park and Janet Hamilton, his wife. In 1884 a fragment of a cross-slab, probably of 11th century date and now in the Abbey museum, was found within the chapter house. The slab bears the incised outline of a Greek cross with expanded terminals to the arms and ringed armpits.
A second cross slab (now lost), which is said to have been found incorporated in the masonry above the chapter house, bore 'an incised cross in outline and two holes cut through.' This slab may originally have come from the site of a chapel, which is said to have stood at Back of the Wall (NX c.185 585).
RCAHMS 1987, visited 1986.

NX 185 586 A small trench was dug in January 2003, across the access road between the car park and Glenluce Abbey, for a drainage channel. A fine cambered, cobbled road was found, robbed out on its E side, but otherwise preserved below levelling material for the present tarmac road. Though excavations were intended to be deeper, they were halted at this point to preserve the cobbles.
Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.
Sponsor: HS
G Ewart and D Stewart 2003

NX 185 586 A watching brief was undertaken in March 2004 while contractors carried out a programme of pipe trenching. The only features of archaeological significance comprised two sections of cobbles. Removal of most of the stones in the centre of the trench revealed a deep layer of bedding material, possibly redeposited natural stony sand lying over undisturbed subsoil.
Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.
Sponsor: HS
D Stewart 2004.

Remains of
Glenluce Abbey
(Cistercian-founded 1191)
(National Trust for Scotland) [NAT]
OS (GIS) MasterMap, July 2009.

Books and References

Allen and Anderson, J R and J (1903) The early Christian monuments of Scotland: a classified illustrated descriptive list of the monuments with an analysis of their symbolism and ornamentation, Edinburgh
Page(s): Vol.3, 500-1 Held at RCAHMS G.1.11.ALL

Anderson, A O (1922) Early sources of Scottish history, A.D. 500 to 1286, 2v Edinburgh
Page(s): Vol.2, 328 Held at RCAHMS C.1.2.AND

Anderson, R S G (1936) 'Sculptured stones of Old Luce Church, Wigtownshire', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol.70
Page(s): 141-3

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