Beauly Priory

Beauly Priory
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Beauly Priory

Located in the northeast of the village of Beauly, close to the River Beauly, is the ruined Beauly Priory. Founded around 1230 by Sir John Bisset, this monastery held allegiance to the Valliscaulian Order. By the end of that century, the priory came under the protection of the Frasers of Lovat who added to the buildings.

In the early 15th C. a new chapel as added on the north side, and the west front was rebuilt a century later when the priory underwent a revival under the leadership of Robert Reid, Abbot of Kinloss. By that time the community had transferred their allegiance to the Cistercian Order. Mary Queen of Scots (1542-87), visited in the summer of 1564 while en route to Dingwall, and was impressed by the beauty of the priory and its fine orchard. She was hosted by Walter Reid, nephew of Robert, who acted as Post-Reformation Commendator of both this Priory and Kinloss Abbey. Beauly Priory was dissolved shortly thereafter and its property was granted to Hugh, 5th Lord Fraser, in 1571.

A cloister once lay to the south, with accommodation for the prior, monks and a refectory. By 1633, the church was ruined and stone from the cloister buildings was removed to build Oliver Cromwell's citadel in Inverness in 1653. Thus, little remained of the cloisters by the late 18th C and today only there are only traces.

Today, the priory is in the care of Historic Environment Scotland.

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