Name: COUPAR ANGUS Location: Coupar
Angus County: Perth Foundation: 1161/4 Mother house: Melrose Relocation: None Founder: King David I / King Malcolm
IV Secularised: 1606 Prominent members: Access: Accessible to the public
It is uncertain who made the initial foundation.
The first plan may have been projected by King David I who intended
to found the house on his manor at Coupar Angus, though it was
left to his grandson, King Malcolm IV, to carry out his proposal.
first Cistercians arrived at the site in 1161/2, but it was
not until 12 July 1164 that the full convent arrived from Melrose.
There was a dedication of the church on 15 May 1233.
to have been a victim of English attack; in 1305 the abbot sent
a petition to King Edwards parliament of 28 Feb 1305 seeking
compensation for the burning of its granges and other damage.
the mid-fourteenth century, the house experienced some financial
difficulties, although there seems to have been a revival of
by the later Middle Ages. In 1521 the abbey had a community of
twenty-eight monks; numbers may have dropped
slightly during the
following decades. By the mid-sixteenth century, Coupar Angus had
become the wealthiest of the Cistercian monasteries in Scotland.
According to the Books of Assumptions of thirds of benefices, which
was begun in 1561, the abbey had an annual income of £5,
590. Part of this income was derived from the wool trade. The
with continental Europe, buying locally and exporting via Perth.
According to one seventeenth-century writer,
the abbey was attacked and burned by a group of Reformers, probably
c. 1559. The last abbot, Donald Campbell, died between December
1562 and January 1563 and the property was granted to Leonard
Leslie two years later. The abbey was erected into a temporal lordship
for James Elphinstone, son of the James Elphinstone who had been
granted the estates of Balmerino three
years earlier. James Elphinstone, the younger, was given the title
of Lord Coupar.
It is thought that f
the church remained partly in use by the parish
while the monastic buildings were used as dwelling houses for
commendator and those monks who chose to remain. However, in or
around 1622 the buildings were described as ruinous and it is
whether they were still in occupation.
After the death of Lord
Coupar in 1669 the monastery was used as a source of building
and much of the stone was incorporated into the town that grew
up around the precinct. A new church was built in 1686, and is
to occupy the site of the old abbey church. The present church,
on the same site, dates from about 1859. The only upstanding fragment
of the abbey is the gatehouse but there are many carved and moulded
stones around the existing church. The site is on the south side
of the town of Coupar Angus and the remains can be found to the
south-east of the church.