Scheduled Monument

Deer AbbeySM90093

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
Ecclesiastical: abbey
Local Authority
Old Deer
NJ 96863 48128
396863, 848128


The monument consists of the remains of Deer Abbey, founded in 1219.

Little remains of this house which was founded by William Comyn, Earl of Buchan as a daughter house of Kinloss in Moray. Buchan was himself buried in the abbey in 1233. The community was never large, in 1544 it was recorded as being 11 monks. This is presumably less than originally occupied it, but it is unlikely that there was ever more than 15, the lowest number acceptable to the Cistercian order.

The arrangement of the abbey follows the standard Cistercian layout, with the church forming the N side of a cloister. The cloister is ranged around by the domestic buildings; the monks' range in the E, a domestic range in the S and the lay brothers' range in the W. The buildings were of simple construction with round-headed windows and no apparent decoration. The church was cruciform, with a single aisle on the north side. The cloister was 22m across. To the E of the E range was an infirmary building and to the south of it the Abbot's house.

In 1587 the abbey became a secular lordship, as the Barony of Altrie; although this was simply regularising the arrangement which had existed since about 1560. By 1809 the ruins were repaired and the grounds laid out as a garden, but in 1854 Admiral Ferguson practically destroyed the abbey to construct a mauseoleum. This has since been removed.

The area to be scheduled lies within the modern boundary wall and includes all of the surviving abbey buildings and an area likely to contain archaeological remains of other buildings and deposits associated with what is visible. The area measures a maximum of 90m E-W by 90m N-S and is indicated in red on the attached map.



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Historic Environment Scotland Properties

Deer Abbey

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Related Designations

  1. DEER ABBEYLB16104

    Designation Type
    Listed Building (B)

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

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 25/09/2023 07:31