On 17 September, Evie and I arose and enjoyed breakfast in our B&B, the Torbay Lodge Guest House in Dumfries, Scotland.
We walked across the street and visited St. John’s Scottish Episcopal Church – a lovely old building (with a brand new pipe organ).
We then hit the road and went to the village of New Abbey, about six miles south of Dumfries. It is the location of Sweetheart Abbey.
Sweetheart Abbey is a Cistercian monastery, founded in 1275 by Lady Dervorguilla Balliol of Galloway in memory of her husband John de Balliol. Dervorguilla and John founded Balliol College, Oxford. When John died, Devorguilla had his embalmed heart placed in an ivory shrine. This shrine was placed before her at meals, and she would give it’s share of every dish to the poor. She died in Buittle Castle on January 28, 1290, and was buried in front of the altar in the Abbey church with the casket containing John’s heart in her arms. The monks at the Abbey then renamed the Abbey in tribute to her devotion to her husband. Their son, also John, became King of Scotland but his reign was brief and tragic. The Master and Fellows of Balliol College some years ago had a special grave marker installed at the place believed to be her grave.
Here are a couple other photos of the abbey ruins:
After the abbey, we walked through the small and very charming town of New Abbey to the Corn Mill, the last functioning medieval grain mill in Scotland.
Next, after deciding that (unfortunately) we didn’t have time to visit Whithorn, the site of the earliest Christian mission in Scotland. It was there that St. Ninian founded his settlement called “Candida Casa” or White House. Instead, we stayed on the main road toward Glasgow and stopped at Castle Kennedy Gardens.
My Facebook albums of photographs taken in these locations can be found here:
We then drove on to Glasgow where we spent two nights; that will be the subject of another blog post.