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Kilwinning Abbey Tower, Kilwinning

#4 of 8 in Sightseeing in North Ayrshire
Architectural Building Tourist Spot
Kilwinning Abbey is a ruined abbey located in the centre of the town of Kilwinning, North Ayrshire.HistoryThe establishment of the AbbeyThe ancient name of the town is 'Segdoune' or 'Saigtown', probably derived from 'Sanctoun', meaning the 'town of the saint'. Saint Winning's festival was on 21 January and the year of his arrival from Ireland was 715 AD. The site for the first church and later the abbey was revealed to Saint Winning by an Angel in a vision.Kilwinning was a Tironensian Benedictine monastic community, named after Tyron in the diocese of Chartres. The abbey was dedicated to Saint Winning and the Virgin Mary, and founded sometime between 1162 and 1188 with monks coming from Kelso. The patron is not known for certain, but it may have been Richard de Morville, Lord of Cunninghame and Great Constable of Scotland, perhaps with the backing and assistance of King William of Scotland. A story developed that another Sir Richard de Morville who was involved in the murder of Thomas a Becket was the founder of the abbey, however despite the likelihood of the families being the same, the dates of the events make this connection impossible. A connection that does exist is the founding of Arbroath Abbey in 1178, also a Tironensian abbey, in memory of Thomas a Becket by William the Lion (1165–1214).
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36 reviews
  • The Abbey is a prime example of reformation destruction. Signposts show where the main features were located and a recent dig uncovered some more details. An on-site centre has further information, bu...  more »
  • A fascinating Abbey ruin built nearly a thousand years ago. Its fascinating to walk around with plenty of information explaining what each part once was. Although a ruin you get the presence of someth...  more »
  • I hadn't been to Kilwinning before, but am pleased to have got a quick but pleasant walk around the abbey ruins in the November sunshine. Worth a visit if you are in the area and interested in local h...  more »
  • Great piece of local history with access inside the tower on summer months
  • I know this abbey has become a ruin, but I have always had this romantic notion of England being covered in ruins. This was fulfilling to wander the ruins and read about the history of the place.
  • The ruins of a 16th century Abbey. The tower with clock is still intact containing a small museum, with free entry, on the history of the Abbey and town of Kilwinning. The tower can be climbed to the roof where a breathtaking panoramic view of much of the county can be viewed.
  • It was also used by the Knights Templar

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