In 1320 Abbot Bernard is believed to have drafted the Declaration of Arbroath, a declaration of Scottish Independence in Arbroath Abbey. The last Abbot was Cardinal David Beaton and after the Scottish Reformation the abbey was left to fall into ruins. From 1590 until 1815 stones were taken from the abbey for use in the construction of buildings in the town. This ceased when efforts were made to preserve the ruins.
Although much of the abbey is now in ruins the remaining structures create an impressive and striking presence in the town.