Circa 1500 (probably rebuilding of earlier structure); alterations to form museum, 1896-97; minor alterations R S Lorimer, 1909. 3-storey; butterfly-plan; Gothic gatehouse situated at an angle at SW corner of frater range adjoining kitchen. Rib-vaulted pend at ground floor level. Intact vaulted rooms to 1st and 2nd floors. Coursed dressed sandstone with ashlar dressings. Remains of corbelling at top of E and W elevations, possibly originally surmounted by bartizan.
W ELEVATION: large Gothic entrance with moulded arch to pend to right of ground floor. Pedestrian moulded-arched entrance (heightened by R S Lorimer 1909) set back at an angle to left. Small 1st floor window above main entrance; segmental-headed window with splayed moulded surround to 2nd floor. Segmental-headed window (formerly entrance with forestair) set back at an angle over pedestrian entrance; arrowslit above to left.
E ELEVATION: large moulded segmental arch to ground floor adjoining westernmost buttress of S side of frater range to right. Gothic-arched window with hoodmould above. Segmental-headed window with splayed moulded surround to 2nd floor.
N ELEVATION: adjoins SW corner of frater range. Arched opening above ground level of vaulted passageway leads into 1st floor of frater range. Entrance to 1st floor lobby of gatehouse at S corner of end of frater; studded timber door; timber lintel inscribed 'MUSEUM'. Later window above to left.
S ELEVATION: adjoins remains of kitchen building. Arched former entrance to right of 1st floor; early 20th century inserted entrance with stone lintel to left; studded timber door set back to inner face of wall; early 20th century passageway with parapet projects forward over remaining kitchen wall. Basket-arched window to 2nd floor formerly entrance to kitchen block.
Leaded fixed pane windows, mainly early 20th century. Roof not visible.
INTERIOR: quadripartite rib-vault with horizontal ridge ribs and central rose boss to W side of ground floor pend; ribbed barrel vaults to E side and at entrance to frater range. Lobby to NE side of 1st floor; large Gothic relieving arch to E opens onto entrance to 1st floor of frater. Late 19th century timber staircase leads up to 2nd floor. Inserted entrance into W chamber; late 19th century part-glazed timber door. Stone steps down to E chamber to S. Ribbed barrel vaults to W chamber; remains of fireplace to S wall. Stellar vault with horizontal ridge ribs and central rose boss to E chamber; this opens into short ribbed barrel vaulted passageway which adjoins hanging passageway to S of frater. Basket-arched entrance to 2nd floor chamber at top of late 19th century timber staircase; late 19th century timber door with stained glass panel set within chamber. Entrance formerly accessed only partially remaining turnpike staircase leading up to bartizan from upper chamber. Double quadripartite rib-vault with horizontal ridge ribs and central bosses carved with faces to upper chamber; remains of hooded fireplace to N side; lamp bracket to right supported on grotesque head. Cupboard niches to S and W walls with late 19th century glazed timber doors.
Statement of Special Interest
Property in care. A-Group with Dunfermline Abbey, New Abbey Parish Church, Nave, Remains of Dorter and Reredorter, Frater Range and Palace, Kitchen and Entrance Gateways and Boundary Wall (see separate list descriptions). A Benedictine priory was established in Dunfermline in around 1070 by Queen Margaret, wife of Malcolm III. It was upgraded to an abbey by her son, David I in 1128. In 1304 the monastery buildings were partly destroyed by Edward I during the Wars of Independence and rebuilt thereafter. It was converted for use as a museum by Andrew Carnegie in 1896-97.
Scheduled Ancient Monument.