Arbroath, Abbey of

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Former Benedictine abbey of the Tironian congregation (see tiron, abbey of) situated in Angus, Scotland, within the ancient Diocese of Brechin, and now a ruin. It was founded by King William the Lion, Aug. 9, 1178, from the Abbey of Kelso, and dedicated to St. Thomas becket, whom the king may well have known in his younger days. Arbroath was richly endowed at its foundation, and later it became one of the wealthiest abbeys in Scotland. Among its many distinguished abbots were Bernard de Linton, who may have drafted the Scottish Declaration of Independence dispatched to Pope john xxii from Arbroath, April 1320; John Gedy (137095); and Cardinal David Beaton, its last resident abbot (152436). After a series of commendatory abbots (see commendation) Arbroath was erected into a temporal lordship for the Marquis of Hamilton in 1608.

Bibliography: c. innes and p. chalmers, eds., Liber S. Thome de Aberbrothoc, 2 v. (Edinburgh 184856). r. l. mackie and s. cruden, Arbroath Abbey (Edinburgh 1954). d. e. easson, Medieval Religious Houses: Scotland (London 1957) 58.

[l. macfarlane]