Deer Abbey

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Not to be confused with Dear Abby.
Deer Abbey
Deer Abbey 020.jpg
Monastery information
Order Cistercian
Established 1219
Disestablished 1587
Mother house Kinloss Abbey
Diocese Diocese of Aberdeen
Controlled churches Deer; Foveran; Kinedward; Peterugie
Founder(s) William Comyn, Earl of Buchan

Deer Abbey was a Cistercian monastery in Buchan, Scotland.[1] It was founded by 1219 AD with the patronage William Comyn, jure uxoris Earl of Buchan,[2] who is also buried there. There was an earlier community of Scottish monks or priests. The notitiae on the margins of the Book of Deer record grants made to the Scottish religious community in the 12th century and a claim that it was founded by Saint Columba and Saint Drostan.[3] The old religious community was probably absorbed by the new foundation. The history of the abbey after the 1210s is obscure until the 16th century, when it was beginning to be secularized. The abbey was turned into a secular lordship for Commendator Robert Keith II (becoming Lord Altrie) in 1587.

The Abbey was included in the lands obtained by Lord Pitfour and became part of the Pitfour estate in 1766. His son, the third laird built the 5 metres (16 ft) high enclosing wall in 1809 and used the grounds as an orchard. He also discovered some of the graves but did not disturb them. The fifth laird had the site cleared and used the stones from the Abbey building to have a mausoleum constructed in which to bury his daughter when she died aged 21 years in 1851. The only other person buried in the mausoleum was Ferguson's mother-in-law. The mausoleum was destroyed in the 1930s when the Abbey was transferred to Roman Catholic ownership and parts of it were used to build an entrance; however this was undertaken without disturbing the graves of Lady Langford and Ferguson's daughter, Eliza.[4]


Entrance sign to the modern ruins
main information plaque at deer abbey

There is considerable evidence of prehistory in the local area, most notably in the form of the Catto Long Barrow and numerous tumuli slightly to the south.[5]

See also[edit]

Inline references[edit]

  1. ^ I.B. Cowan, 1976
  2. ^ D.E.R. Watt, 2001
  3. ^ "Book of Deer". Cambridge Digital Library. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Alex R. Buchan (2008). Pitfour: "The Blenheim of the North". Buchan Field Club. pp. 83–84. ISBN 978-0-9512736-4-7. Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  5. ^ C.M. Hogan, 2008


  • Ian B. Cowan and David E. Easson (1976) Medieval Religious Houses: Scotland With an Appendix on the Houses in the Isle of Man, Second Edition, London, pp. 47, 74
  • D.E.R. Watt and N.F. Shead (eds.) (2001) The Heads of Religious Houses in Scotland from the 12th to the 16th Centuries, The Scottish Records Society, New Series, Volume 24, Edinburgh, pp. 54–8
  • C. Michael Hogan (2008) Catto Long Barrow fieldnotes, The Modern Antiquarian

Coordinates: 57°31′24″N 2°3′14.5″W / 57.52333°N 2.054028°W / 57.52333; -2.054028