New Abbey - Encyclopedia




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NEW ABBEY, a parish and village of Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. Pop. of parish (1901) 957. The hill of Criffel and Loch Kinder are situated within the parish boundaries. The lake contains two islets, of which one was a crannog and the other the site of an ancient kirk. The village, which lies 62 m. S. of Maxwelltown, is famous for the ruin of Sweetheart Abbey, a Cistercian house built in 1275 by Devorguila in memory of her husband John de Baliol, who had died at Barnard Castle in 1269. His heart, embalmed and enshrined in a coffin of ebony and silver, which she always kept beside her, was, at her death in 1290, buried with her in the precincts of the abbey, which thus acquired its name (Abbacia Dulcis Cordis, or Douxquer). The building afterwards became known as the New Abbey, to distinguish it from the older foundation at Dundrennan, which had been erected in 1142 by Fergus of Galloway. The remains of the abbey chiefly consist of the shell of the beautiful Cruciform church, with a central saddleback tower rising from the transepts to a height of over 90 ft., and a graceful rose window at the west end of the nave. Most of the work is Early English with Decorated additions. The abbot's tower, a stately relic, stands about 2 m. N.E. of the abbey.

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