Sunday, January 21, 2007

Kilwinning Abbey, North Ayrshire

At Kilwinning, there existed a religious house in the early part of the seventh century.The church was dedicated to St Winin. After whom, in olden times, the town was called the name of Sagtoun/Segdoune (or Saint's town).

Winin has been identified by some scholars with St Finnian of Moville, an Irish saint of much earlier date. Other authorities say he was a Welshman, called Vynnyn. In the calendar of Scots saints, the date assigned to St Winin is 715. His festival was celebrated on 21 January, on which day (Old Style) a fair was held in Kilwinning and called St Winning's Day.

Kilwinning Abbey was the Tironensian Benedictine house founded by, probably, Richard de Morville, the Anglo-French Lord of Cunningham, who was a great territorial magnate of the district. It was founded somewhere between 1162 and 1169

For nearly four centuries Kilwinning remained one of the most opulent and flourishing Scottish monasteries. The last abbot and commendator was Gavin Hamilton, who while favouring the Protestant Reformation doctrines, was a strong partisan of Queen Mary. He was killed in a battle outside Edinburgh in June, 1571. The suppression and destruction of the abbey soon followed and its possessions, held for a time by the families of Glencairn and Raith, were merged in 1603 with the other properties of the one obvious recipient - Hugh, Earl of Eglinton.

The ruins of the Abbey are still extant in the middle of the town.

However fans of Umberto Eco and Dan Brown will probably better know Kilwinning as the home for the original Lodge of the Freemasons. When the Lodges were renumbered, Kilwinning was kept as Lodge Number '0', the Mother Lodge of Scotland.



Catholic Encyclopedia

Three Towns