Deer, Abbey of

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Former Cistercian abbey, in the county and Diocese of Aberdeen, Scotland. Deer (Dér, Deir) was founded by William Comyn, Earl of Buchan, in 1219 and colonized by monks from kinloss. It is clear from the Book of Deer, a 9th-century Celtic MS now in the possession of the University of Cambridge, that a culdee monastery had been established in the vicinity of Deer for centuries before the arrival of the cistercians. Then with the reorganization of the parish system following the reforms of King david i, it would seem that it had either decayed or had been suppressed, and that its lands had passed into the possession of the earls of Buchan, who used them to found the Cistercian abbey nearby. The abbey suffered badly in the Scottish wars of independence. In 1537 the monastery was visited by the abbots of Glenluce and Kinloss and by 1543 there were only 14 monks left in the abbey. In 1587 its lands were erected into a temporal lordship for Robert Keith. Only the foundations of the abbey remain.

Bibliography: j. stuart, ed., The Book of Deer (Aberdeen Spalding Club; Edinburgh 1869). a. o. anderson, ed. and tr., Early Sources of Scottish History, 2 v. (Edinburgh 1922) 2:181, 439440. w. d. simpson, The Abbey of Deer (Edinburgh 1952). d. e. easson, Medieval Religious Houses: Scotland (London 1957) 63. j. m. canivez, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 14:157158.

[l. macfarlane]