Abbot of Dunfermline
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Abbot of Dunfermline
Dunfermline Abbey drawn by John Slezer c.1690
Dunfermline Abbey, circa 1919

The Prior, then Abbot and then Commendator of Dunfermline was the head of the Benedictine monastic community of Dunfermline Abbey, Fife, Scotland. The abbey itself was founded in 1128 by King David I of Scotland, but was of earlier origin. King Máel Coluim mac Donnchada ("Malcolm III") had founded a church there with the help of Benedictines from Canterbury. Monks had been sent there in the reign of Étgar mac Maíl Choluim (Edgar, 1097-1107) and Anselm had sent a letter requesting that Étgar's brother and successor King Alaxandair mac Maíl Coluim (Alexander I, 1107-1124) protect these monks. By 1120, when Alaxandair sent a delegation to Canterbury to secure Eadmer for the bishopric of St Andrews, there is a Prior of the Dunfermline monks by the name of Peter leading the delegation. Control of the abbey was secularized in the 16th century and after the accession of James Stewart in 1500, the abbey was held by commendators. In the second half of the 16th century, the abbey's lands were being carved up into lordships and it was finally annexed to the crown in July, 1593.

List of Priors

  • Peter, 1120
  • Richard Mongal, 1133-1148

List of Abbots

  • Geoffrey I, 1148-1154
  • Geoffrey II, 1154-1178
  • Archibald, 1178-1198
  • Robert de Berwick, 1198-1202
  • Patrick, 1202-1217x1223
  • William I, 1223
  • William II, 1223 x 1226-1238
  • Geoffrey III, 1238-1240
  • Robert de Keldeleth, 1240-1252[1]
  • John, 1252-1256
  • Matthew, 1256
  • Simon, 1267-1275
  • Radulf de Greenlaw, 1275-1296
  • Hugh, 1304x1306-1313
  • Robert de Crail, 1314-1328
  • Alexander Ber, c. 1328-9-1350 x 1351
  • John Black, 1351
  • John de Stramiglot, 1351-1383x1388
  • William de Angus, 1383
  • John de Torry, 1388-1409
  • William de St Andrews (Anderston),[2] 1413-1426
  • Robert de Scotland, 1418-1419
  • William Brown, 1427
  • Andrew de Kirkcaldy, 1427-1444
  • Richard de Bothwell,[3] 1444-1468
  • Alexander Thomson, c. 1470
  • Henry Crichton,[4] 1471-1482
  • Adam Cant, 1483-1490
  • George Crichton, 1490-1500[5]
    • Opposed by Raphael Riario, 1491-1492
    • Opposed by Robert Swinton, 1492
    • Opposed by Thomas Cranston,[6] 1492
    • Opposed by Andrew Pictoris,[7] 1492

List of Commendators


  1. ^ Resigned to become a Cistercian, and moved to Newbattle Abbey; later became Abbot of Melrose (1269-73).
  2. ^ Had previously been Prior of Urquhart.
  3. ^ Had been Abbot of Paisley (1444-1445).
  4. ^ Had been Abbot of Paisley (1459-1471).
  5. ^ After the death of Adam Cant, many figures emerged as potential abbots. It took Crichton until 1496 to get recognition from the pope for his office.
  6. ^ Was Abbot of Jedburgh 1484-1501
  7. ^ Bishop of Orkney.
  8. ^ Son of King James III of Scotland.
  9. ^ Became Bishop of Galloway-elect in March 1508, but retained the abbacy until fully provided as Archbishop of Glasgow in January 1509.
  10. ^ Became Commendator while Archbishop of St Andrews (1504-1513).
  11. ^ Resigned when provided as Bishop of Moray in 1516.
  12. ^ Held the post concurrently with the archbishopric of St Andrews (i.e. 1514-1521).
  13. ^ Retook abbacy after being provided from the archbishopric of Glasgow to St Andrews as the successor of Andrew Forman.
  14. ^ Set the surviving motto on front of Abbot House, Dunfermline


  • Cowan, Ian B. & Easson, David E., Medieval Religious Houses: Scotland With an Appendix on the Houses in the Isle of Man, Second Edition, (London, 1976), pp. 58-59
  • Watt, D.E.R. & Shead, N.F. (eds.), The Heads of Religious Houses in Scotland from the 12th to the 16th Centuries (The Scottish Records Society, New Series, Volume 24), (Edinburgh, 2001), p. 67-73

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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