Point C – Dunfermline Abbey
The present-day Abbey is the architectural and historic gem of Dunfermline. It was not there in Queen Margaret’s time. When Margaret arrived here, there was just a small Culdee church, on the site of the present Abbey nave, which Margaret replaced with another church in the more Latin tradition in which she married Malcolm. Margaret invited Benedictine monks from Canterbury to form a monastery and to build an abbey. She died before this had got far but the Abbey was largely built by her son, King David I between 1128 and 1150.
In the picture above there are clearly two ages of building. The west end is the original 12th century nave. The east end is a rebuild in the early 19th century of part of the original Abbey and that is now the local parish church.
St Margaret’s Shrine is a marble platform at the eastern end of the Abbey in the open air just outside the 19th century church rebuild. Originally it had been inside the part of the Abbey that was rebuilt. It was the plinth on which Margaret’s tomb stood inside the Abbey. Following the canonisation in 1249 of Margaret and Malcolm their remains, which had been in the western part of the nave, were moved in 1250 to stand on this platform in the eastern part of the Abbey.
Image credits – Martin Wilkinson