Kilwinning, Abbey of

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Former Benedictine monastery of the Tironian congregation (see tiron, abbey of) at Kilwinning, Ayrshire, within the Diocese of Galloway, Scotland. The identity of the founder and the date of foundation remain obscure. Kilwinning (Kylwynnyn and other variants) was long thought to have been founded by Hugh de Moreville in 1140, but recent evidence points rather to his son Richard's having founded it sometime between 1162 and 1189. Records mention the church of St. Vinin or Wynnin there in 1184 (Kilwinning itself meaning the "cell or church of Wynnin"), but the first reference to it as an abbey is dated 120207. Kilwinning, a daughterhouse of Kelso Abbey, was well endowed by private and royal benefactors, and judging by its fine remains, must have been one of the most graceful and impressive abbeys in the country by the mid-13th century. It was largely destroyed by Reformers in 1561 and was erected into a free barony for William Melville in 1592. It is now a ruin.

Bibliography: w. macleod, "Collections Towards a History of the Abbey of K.," Archaeological and Historical Collections Relating to the Counties of Ayr and Wigton, 1 (1878) 115222. d.e. easson, Medieval Religious Houses: Scotland (London 1957) 59. g. w. s. barrow, "From Queen Margaret to David I: Benedictines and Tironians," Innes Review, 11 (1960) 2238.

[l. macfarlane]