The monument comprises the extensive remains of the 13th-century Cluniac Abbey of Crossraguel, surviving as substantial stone structures, as earthworks, and as buried archaeology, together with an area likely to contain part of the outer precinct. The reason for this rescheduling is that no adequate documentation can be traced from the time of the original scheduling.
Crossraguel Abbey was founded in the second half of the 13th century as a daughter house of Paisley Abbey. Fragments of a cruciform church of 13th-century date can still be seen, parts of which were incorporated into the later church. The church, and the other primary monastic buildings, were badly damaged during the Wars of Independence. A new simple rectangular church, together with the E and S ranges which enclosed the cloister and the abbot's house, were erected in the 14th century. In the 15th century, the choir was rebuilt with a polygonal E end, while the sacristy and chapter house were entirely rebuilt. The abbey lay within an extensive walled precinct, fragments of which still survive. A new S court was added late on in the history of the monastery, including a row of small houses, where the monks were probably allowed to live individually, contrary to their rule of communal living. The area to be scheduled includes ground to the E, W and S of the claustral core, to include parts of the outer precinct.
The church was again altered in the 16th century, being divided into two parts by a solid wall; the W part becoming the Lady Chapel used by both monks and laity. Here in 1530, Lady Row was buried in a fine tomb beneath an ornate window. Some of the graveslabs, including Lady Row's memorial, have been removed from the church and placed in the E range undercroft; this and another slab have been copied with the casts being replaced in their original position within the church.
In the SE corner of the complex is a tower house, built about 1530, which formed the residence of the last abbots and of the Commendators who succeeded them. The gatehouse SW of the cloisters is also of 16th century date, as is the dovecote. The buildings were partly destroyed by Reformers in 1561, though monks continued in occupation until 1592, and in 1617 the whole benefice was annexed to the bishopric of Dunblane. The Abbey was taken into care in 1913.
The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found. The area proposed for scheduling is larger than that of the property currently in the care of Historic Scotland. The area is irregular in plan with maximum dimensions of 237m NE-SW by 292m WNW-ESE, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract. The modern fences are excluded from the scheduling, as are the upper 300mm of all surfaced paths, roads and the car park.
Statement of National Importance
The monument is of national importance as one of the most complete large monastic complexes to have survived, giving a clear impression of the extent and range of buildings and functions required within such an establishment. The surviving buildings, and associated buried archaeology, have the potential to inform an understanding of the integrated liturgical, domestic and economic functioning of a large medieval religious house. Moreover, Crossraguel has the potential to inform an understanding of the impact of the Wars of Independence on such an institution. When compared to the original layout, the mature form of the plan reflects significant changes in monastic life. The important collection of graveslabs can contribute to an understanding of medieval funerary memorials. The national importance is further underlined by the status of the abbey as a property in the care of Scottish Ministers.
RCAHMS records the monument as NS20NE7.
Cowan I B 1986, AYRSHIRE ABBEYS: CROSSRAGUEL AND KILWINNING, Ayr, 267-95.
Cowan I B and Easson D E 1976, MEDIEVAL RELIGIOUS HOUSES, SCOTLAND: WITH AN APPENDIX ON THE HOUSES IN THE ISLE OF MAN, London, 63-4, 2nd ed.
MacGibbon D and Ross T 1896-7, THE ECCLESIASTICAL ARCHITECTURE OF SCOTLAND FROM THE EARLIEST CHRISTIAN TIMES TO THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY, 3v, Edinburgh, Vol. 2, 402-19.
Historic Environment Scotland Properties
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- Designation Type
- Listed Building (A)
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Printed: 22/05/2019 08:48