Restenneth Priory

Restenneth Priory
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Restenneth Priory

A ruined priory to the northeast of Forfar in Angus, the first church here was most-likely a Pictish foundation by St. Boniface c.710 AD. An Augustinian priory was founded c.1153 by King David I (c.1080 - 1153) and it came under the auspices of Jedburgh Abbey. The buildings were erected on an island in the Loch of Restenneth, providing effective protection, although this loch was drained in the 18th century.

The square tower of Restenneth, with octagonal spire, forms a prominent landmark and dates from the 12th century although the lower section may be rather older. The aisle-less choir and nave were built in the 13th century. King Robert I (1274 - 1329) was a generous benefactor and his son Prince John, who died young, lies buried here. The priory flourished and the order grew rich, with lands stretching over North Perthshire and Angus. Yet, by the time of the Reformation its power had faded and the land was taken over by several local lairds. 'Honest' George Dempster of Dunnichen (1732 - 1818) used the choir as a family burial plot. Restenneth Priory was placed in the custody of the state in 1919 and is now managed by Historic Environment Scotland.

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