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Lincluden Collegiate Church







Lincluden TowerLincluden College Tower is a 16th century stone tower house, founded by the Provost William Stewart.

In the late 14th century the area became part of the fief of Archibald the Grim, Lord of Galloway, and latterly Archibald the Grim, 3rd Earl of Douglas. The nuns at Lincluden had reputedly broken their vows of chastity and were guilty of licentious behaviour, Douglas with an eye on the revenues from the priory, sat in judgement over them and found them guilty. He dismissed the nuns from the priory. Perhaps penitent at the expulsion of the nuns, Earl Archibald ordered the construction of a new church to be built, and set up a College consisting of a Provost and twelve Canons.

Following the capture of Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas at Battle of Homildon Hill, and his later capture at the Battle of Shrewsbury, the Earl spent some time as a prisoner of Henry IV of England where he struck up a friendship with the King. This is evidenced by an open letter of the 20th April 1408 from Henry to all his northern castellans. This forbids them, should they enter Scotland for military purposes, from harming or damaging persons or property pertaing to the College of Lincluden for a period of three years.

Earl Archibald and his successors spent a great of money on ornamenting the church, and there are many fine armorial carvings still within the ruins. Still extant is the tomb of Princess Margaret, Countess of Douglas and Duchess of Touraine, the daughter of Robert III of Scotland and wife of Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas.

Robert Douglas (q.v.) was the eighteenth and last provost of Lincluden. The Provostship of Lincluden was secured for him by his father, Sir James Douglas of Drumlanrig circa 1547. Robert Douglas's grand-nephew, William Douglas, the heir of Drumlanrig, obtained a reversion of the provostry, and, after Robert's death, enjoyed its property and revenues during his own life.
After the Reformation, the three storey range immediately adjacent to the church, was doubled in length and a four storey tower added to its northern end. Guarding the ground floor entrance, is the remains of a projecting semi-octagonal stair turret, with gunloops.
The tower stands in the bailey of Kirkhill Mote and 5 miles east is Torthorwald Castle.
Lincluden College Tower is located north of Dumfries, off Abbey Lane. A mile north of Dumfries, on the A780-A76.
The site is owned by Historic Scotland and is open daily.



Tomb of Margaret, Countess of Douglasa bbInscription on the tomb ccDouglas armorial bearings
Tomb of Margaret, Countess of Douglas Inscription on the tomb Douglas armorial bearings in the abbey


James Well's map of Lincluden, c1780


Douglas armorialsThe armorials below Margaret's tomb, photographed in 2014

tomb sketchMargaret's Tomb, from The Antiquities of Dumfries and its Neighbourhood Collected and Drawn by John McCormick

See also:
•  The Castles of the Black Douglases, by Callum Watson



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Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024