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A royal foundationDunfermline Abbey has a history stretching back to the 11th century – the time of King Malcolm III and Queen Margaret. In the 12th century, their son, David I, raised the little priory to the lofty status of abbey. He endowed it richly, and brought stonemasons from Durham Cathedral to help build it. The great nave still stands largely complete, the most visually stunning example of Romanesque architecture in Scotland.
From priory to abbey
The Bruce at Dunfermline
The Reformed Church at DunfermlineAfter the Protestant Reformation in 1560, the nave was converted into a parish kirk for the people of Dunfermline. The old choir was allowed to collapse. When a new parish church was built on the site of the choir between 1818 and 1821, the nave was taken into State care.
Dunfermline PalaceThere was probably always a royal apartment in the abbey complex. After the Reformation, King James VI had an impressive new palace built to the west of the old cloister. It became the home of his queen, Anna of Denmark. King Charles I was born here in 1600, the last king to be born in Scotland. With James and Anna’s departure for London in 1603, royal interest in Dunfermline waned. The palace fell into disrepair.