Holyrood Abbey ***

Region: Edinburgh

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According to legend King David I was hunting in the royal forest when he happened upon a ‘muckle white hart'. He was thrown from his horse and found himself grappling with the animal. It was then that a ‘holy rood’ (crucifix) miraculously seems to have appeared in the king’s hands. The stag backed away and David endowed a ‘monastery of the Holy Rood’ close to where he escaped death.

In 1687, James VII and II, Charles’s Catholic brother and successor, had the nave’s Protestant congregation evicted and the nave restored as a chapel of his revived Order of the Thistle. It didn't take long (1 year) for the chapel to be ransacked and James to be forced into exile. The abbey nave has been a ruin ever since.