Scheduled Monument

Glenluce AbbeySM90153

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (

The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Ecclesiastical: abbey
Local Authority
Dumfries And Galloway
Planning Authority
Dumfries And Galloway
Old Luce
NX 18468 58636
218468, 558636


The monument consists of the Cistercian abbey of Glenluce built by Roland, Lord of Galloway, in 1191/2 on the river plain of the Water of Luce.

This rescheduling is necessary to restrict the extent of the area to the south included in the last scheduling, which contains modern agricultural buildings in active use at Back of the Wall Farm. Rescheduling is also necessary to include the grounds of Abbey House in the scheduling. Abbey House is not included as it is an occupied dwelling.

Like all Cistercian abbeys the setting is remote and tranquil and it is built with the plain austerity originally associated with the monastic ideals of Citeaux and its colonies. It was founded as a daughter house from Dundrennan, but little is known of its institutional history. The abbey was formally secularised in 1602.

The remains of the abbey church are slight, except for the S transept. The S wall of the S aisle is reduced to wall footings. The layout is standard: aisled nave, sizeable transepts (each with a pair of chapels) and a simple unaisled and square-ended presbytery. The surviving architectural detail echoes the link through Dundrennan with the great Yorkshire houses. The floor was tiled and there are notable monuments to the Hays and Gordons, rivals for the abbey's lands in the sixteenth and seventeeth centuries.

To the S of the church is the cloister surrounded by the domestic ranges in the standard Cistercian manner. The W range originally provided accommodation for the lay brothers. The E range was the domain of the monks, with their dormitory on the upper floor overlying vaulted offices on the ground-floor. Most of these lower chambers opened off the cloister walk. They included the sacristy (reached from the church) and a tiled slype or passage to the burial ground. The S half of the E range was rebuilt in the latter half of the 15th century, it includes the chapter house, which is now the abbey's chief claim to architectural distinction. Its interior is roofed with a four-compartment ribbed vault springing from a central shafted pier. Part of the original tile floor survives and the stone bench-seat for conventual meetings runs around the wall (although it is heavily restored). The Abbot's stall is at the centre of the E wall between a pair of traceried windows. The domestic offices were in the S range until adapted as a domestic dwelling in the 16th century. At the junction of the S and E ranges was the reredorter or latrine block. The water supply system is rare and possibly unique, surviving as it does with its jointed earthernware pipes and lidded junction boxes at the base of drainage channels. To the W are the footings of workshops.

The area to be scheduled includes the abbey buildings and burial ground, along with an area around which has been shown at other similar monuments to be within the precinct of the abbey and to contain additional buildings. It also includes the remains of the water supply system, including the site of St Katherine's Well to the E of the New Luce Road (NX15NE11). It measures a maximum of 440m N-S by 390m E-W and is marked in red on the accommpanying map. Specifically excluded from the scheduling is the section of the New Luce road which crosses the E of the area. Any active burial lairs are also excluded where rights of burial are extant. The above-ground drystone field dykes furthest to the W and S of the abbey are to be excluded. Abbey House is also to be excluded, along with the upper 40cm of the grounds of Abbey House.



No Bibliography entries for this designation

Historic Environment Scotland Properties

Glenluce Abbey

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About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

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Printed: 03/06/2023 01:53