History Index : The Priory

Monymusk is mentioned in many charters of the 12th Century in connection with grants of produce, land and churches by the Earls of Marr and Buchan, and by the Bishop of St. Andrews. Malcolm III granted the lands of Keig and Monymusk to the Church of St. Andrews sometime before 1078. 'Munimusc', as it was refered to from the 12th until the late 15th Century, had a Culdee Monastery with twelve brethren and a Prior and it was a place of some importance as it was the only Culdee Monastery for many miles around.


This is the seal of the Monastery at Monymusk. There is an inscription in Latin around the edge of the seal, which reads "Sigillum Comune Monasterii de Monimusk".

Dr William. D. MacPherson was a minister of St Mary's Church, Monymusk from 1868 until 1912. He wrote the comprehensive history book "Materials for a History of the Church and Priory of Monymusk", 1895 which also mentions oratories at Balvack, Tillyfourie and St Finnan (at Abersnithack near Braehead).

At the beginning of the 12th Century through the Earl of Marr, Queen Margaret who was married to Malcolm Canmore, imposed reforms to bring the Culdees into the more organised Roman Church of St Andrews in Fife. After this period no more references are made of a Monastery and the Culdees, but instead of an Augustinian Priory and its Canons. By the 16th Century the Priory went into a period of decline when it was destroyed by fire. This was apparently due to the negligence of the Prior John Elphinstone, who was later tried in the Aberdeen courts for murder, theft, arson and adultery! By the 1560s the Priory must have been in quite a state as it was said that the Priory of Monymusk had no roof and was almost ruined and waste. The Canons were also in debt to Duncan Forbes of Corsindae who bought the Church lands in the 1560s.

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