Newbattle Abbey

History & Heritage
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Originally a medieval Cistercian monastery, Newbattle Abbey has a 900-year history of welcoming guests royalty.
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About Newbattle Abbey

Newbattle Abbey is a unique and very special place. We offer guided tours on Tuesdays @ 7.30pm or we can arrange a private tour for groups. To pre-book please call 0131 663 1921 or e-mail enquiries@newbattleabbeycollege.ac.uk.

Our story began when King David I founded a Cistercian Monastery on the site in 1140. The Abbey played an important role in medieval Scotland, especially when a great council of Scottish nobles met to discuss the question of Scottish independence prior to the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320. However, during the ‘Rough Wooing’ by Henry VIII, it was almost destroyed, and was taken over by the Kerr family in 1560. They built a family home on the site, which was the basis for the house you can see today.

The Kerr family grew in importance and welcomed royalty to Newbattle, including George IV and Queen Victoria. Improvements were made to the building, increasing its size and adding fashionable décor which makes a visit to Newbattle quite memorable.

As the 19th century progressed, the cost of maintaining large family homes increased. In 1937, The 11th Marquis, Philip Kerr, gifted Newbattle to the Scottish nation to be used as an adult residential college. He wanted to give those who had missed out on education, a second chance to learn in a place steeped in culture and history. In 1939, Newbattle was requisitioned by the army and became a training centre. After the war, it opened its doors once more as a college and has seen thousands of students transform their lives.

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