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New Abbey (Sweetheart)


Former Cistercian abbey, situated seven miles south of Dumfries, Scotland, in the Diocese of Galloway. It was founded April 10, 1273, by Dervorgilla, the widow of John de Balliol, and dedicated to St. Mary, and was the last cistercian abbey to be built in Scotland until 1946. The monks called it Sweetheart (or Dulce Cor ) because the foundress, a grandniece of two Scottish kings and the mother of another (John Balliol 129296), had her husband's heart embalmed after his death and kept in her presence; and this, following her own death in 1289, was buried with her in the new abbey she had founded. The abbey was colonized from dundrennan, and like its nearby motherhouse, suffered badly in the Anglo-Scottish wars of independence (12961306). After the disaster of Flodden in 1513, the monks placed themselves and their property under the protection of Lord Maxwell, which action undoubtedly saved the buildings from destruction by the reformers in 155960. Its last abbot, Gilbert Broun, was forced into exile when the abbey with its revenues was annexed to the crown in 1587, but he returned twice to defend the old religion, was finally arrested, and died in exile in 1612. In 1624 the abbey was erected into a temporal lordship for Robert Spottiswoode, who styled himself Lord New Abbey. It is now a ruin.

Bibliography: j. m. canivez, ed., Statuta capitulorum generalium ordinis cisterciensis ab anno 1116 ad annum 1786, 8 v. (Louvain 193341) 3:91, 201; 6:690. j. s. richardson, The Abbey of Sweetheart (2d ed. Edinburgh 1951). s. cruden, Scottish Abbeys (Edinburgh 1960) 7374.

[l. macfarlane]

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