Saddell Abbey

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Saddell Abbey


Saddell Abbey 20100928 north transept and choir.jpg
Saddell Abbey ruins
Grid reference: NR784320
Location: 55°31’53"N, 5°30’40"W
Order: Cistercian
Established: 1207
Mother house: Mellifont Abbey
Founder: Ragnal, Lord of the Isles
Disestablished: 1507

Saddell Abbey lies in ruins by the village of Saddell, close to Saddell Bay on the east coast of Kintyre in Argyllshire.

In its day this was a Cistercian monastery, founded in 1207 by Ragnall, son of Somerled, the famous Lord of the Isles. For his foundation, Ragnall brought monks from Mellifont Abbey in Ireland. Somerled's descendants, the MacDonald Lords of the Isles, continued to be patrons of Saddell Abbey until their own downfall.

Monastic life seems to have come to an end when James IV of Scotland forfeited the Lordship of the Isles. It was proposed to the Pope that the seat of the bishopric of Argyll should be moved from Lismore to Saddell as the former was in ruins, but nothing came of this idea. Nevertheless, the Bishops of Argyll did sometimes take the title "Commendator of Saddell".

After the abolition of episcopacy in the Kirk, the land came into the hands of the Campbells along with nearby Saddell Castle. In 1770, the monastic ruins provided a source of building stone for the castle, leaving the sparse remains seen today.[1]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Saddell Abbey)


  • Ian B. Cowan and David E. Easson, Medieval Religious Houses: Scotland With an Appendix on the Houses in the Isle of Man, Second Edition, (London, 1976), pp. 77–8
  • D.E.R. Watt and N.F. Shead, (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), pp. 186–7