Dunfermline Abbey in Fife is the burial place of many Scottish kings and queens and it’s still an impressive sight today. The name of King Robert the Bruce is carved in stone on the four sides of the tall, square tower. Originally, Queen Margaret founded a Benedictine Abbey on the site in the 11th century but all that remains are foundations under the nave of what is now called the ‘Old Church’, built in the 12th century. Adjoining the original church is the 19th century Abbey Church which is still used for services today.
There is quite a contrast between the old church and new, especially with the light and brightness of the interior. The New Church has many features of historic interest, as well as stunning stained-glass windows, such as the McLaren Window of 1904 above the richly carved pulpit and lectern. The lower half of this window depicts the Last Supper.
The tomb of King Robert the Bruce is situated directly beneath the pulpit inside the church. Originally buried in Dunfermline Abbey in 1329, the exact spot was unknown for centuries. In 1818, workmen discovered the vault containing the King’s remains. This was verified when official inspection showed that the breastbone was severed to allow the heart to be taken to the holy land according to the Bruce’s wishes.
The remains were ceremoniously re-interred between the transepts and the magnificent medieval-type brass embedded in marble was made in 1889 to cover the tomb. The translated Latin inscription reads: “The tomb of Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, fortunately discovered among the ruins in 1818, has been anew marked by this brass in the 560th year after his death.” A new memorial stained glass window was installed in 1974.