Monday, August 06, 2018

Coldingham Priory

Coldingham Priory

The remains of Coldingham Priory are located in the village of Coldingham in the Scottish Borders. Little remains today except the arch and remains of the cloisters and other monastic buildings. In 1855 the ruins from he original priory church were used in the construction of a new parish church which sits on the site today.


Remains of Monastic Buildings

The priory was built in 1098 but the site was in use long before then a a religious establishment. In 660AD it was recorded that Ethelrida, the Queen of Egfrid became a nun at the Abbey of Coldingham. The abbey was under the management of Aebbe the elder ( St Ebbe) and was described as the "monastery of virgins". At the same time Aebbe was also Abbess at the monastery on Kirk Hill at St Abb's Head, which housed both monks and nuns. In 697 after Aebbe's death, the abbey at Coldingham burnt down but was rebuilt. However, when the monastery on Kirk Hill burnt down it was not rebuilt and was abandoned. It is thought that nuns may have moved from  Kirk Hill to Coldingham and that a community of nuns may have resided at Coldingham in the 8th or 9th centuries. In 870 the abbey was destroyed by a party of Danes and this time it was not rebuilt.

In 1098 the site was rebuilt into a Benedictine Priory. It is these remains that can be seen today. The original church was damaged by King John of England and in 1216 work began on the construction of a new priory church. It is the arch from this church that remains today. In 1532 the English burned the priory and in 1560, at the time of the Scottish reformation it was partly destroyed. Eventually in 1650 the priory was almost totally destroyed by Cromwell's army and was never rebuilt. In about 1777 the remains of the great tower finally collapsed, but in 1855 about 40% of the original priory church was reconstructed and used in the new parish church which is built on the same site.


The New Parish Church and Remains of the Old Priory

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