Inchmahome Priory - Sarah Woodbury

Inchmahome Priory

Inchmahome Priory was founded as an order of Augustinian monks in 1238 by Walter Comyn, the Earl of Menteith on the largest of three islands in Lake Menteith, Scotland.

The priory has only ever been reachable by boat. Still visible today are the ruins of the church itself with its processional doorway, choir, and bell tower and the chapter house. The priory was built on the low lying eastern half of the island, while the earl saved the western half for a garden for his own estate.

There is evidence that a church existed on the island before the building of the monastery, which hosted many kings and lords of Scotland over the next centuries. The Comyn family was one of the most powerful in Scotland during the 13th century, supporting John Balliol’s claim to the throne and the English King Edward I during his conflicts with the Bruce family. Robert the Bruce killed John Comyn in 1306, after which Robert visited Inchmahome three times: in 1306, 1308, and 1310. One could suppose the visits might have been either part of his penance or politically motivated, since the abbot at the time supported King Edward.

Inchmahome also provided a haven for Mary Queen of Scots when she was four years old after the defeat of Scot forces in 1547. She stayed for only three weeks, but her name remains attached to a boxwood bower in the middle of the island.

Cassie and Callum, in my book Exiles in Time, part of the After Cilmeri series, pass through this area and briefly consider using Inchmahome as a refuge.

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