original Abbey is said by tradition to have been founded
by King David I in 1128. When hunting in this district, a
stag is said to have charged him causing him to fall from
his horse. With arms outstretched in defence, it is said
he opened his eyes to find the beast gone and in his hand
a fragment of the True Cross.
The new monastery, a tribute of gratitude, was served by Augustinian Canons from
Merton Abbey near London; the small church based at Merton would provide the
model for what would be built at Holyrood.
This in turn was replaced by a far more imposing building, commissioned in 1190.
A rival to many a cathedral for scale and grandeur, it was for over 450 years
site to a variety of major royal events.
Following the Reformation, the abbey was suppressed and its monastic buildings
deserted. All but the nave was spared when the church came to be destroyed, since
this served as the parish church of the Canongate Burgh.
The last significant historical event to take place here was the Scottish coronation
of Charles I in 1633. In 1768 the roof of the building collapsed bringing down
much of the structure with it.
Access to the Abbey is available via entrance to Palace
of Holyrood House.