I was driving to Dumfries on a glorious, clear, crisp Spring day and has chosen to take the coast road (the A710), which is my favourite route as the scenery is stunning, when I spotted them as I turned the bend next to the Abbey Tea Room in New Abbey.
How did I know they were visitors? Well the walking gear, cameras and binoculars were a hint, but the reason they caught my eye was that, even whilst getting out of their vehicle, they were already staring with wonder and awe at the towering red sandstone walls of the Abbey.
|View of Sweetheart Abbey from the carpark next to the tearoom|
Their total focus was the amazing and evocative building in front of them, everything else was being done on auto setting. It reminded me of my first sight of this amazing place, not without a whiff of nostalgia I have to add, and reminded me that it is easy to take these spectacular places for granted and to forget that unique feeling you get when seeing something truly amazing for the first time. I have to admit I felt envious of them experiencing the Abbey, for probably, the first time.
And Sweetheart Abbey really is amazing as it is a place of personal devotion and a monument to the love of one person for another.
In 1268, Lord John Balliol, husband of Lady Dervorgilla of Galloway, died. His grieving widow had his heart embalmed and placed in an ivory casket which she carried with her constantly.
Lady Dervorgilla undertook many charitable acts in his memory but the most significant must be founding of the Cistercian abbey of Dulce Cor (Latin for ‘Sweet Heart’) in 1273. When Lady Dervorgilla died in 1289, she was laid to rest in front of the abbey church’s high altar, with her husband’s heart to her bosom.
For more information on Sweetheart Abbey follow these links:
Historic Scotland - access information and prices
History and background
As Spring is definitely here it's a good time to be thinking of getting out and about with the walking boots on so the next post is a great walk for orientating yourself along the Colvend Coast, great views and yes, a bit of a climb, but well worth it!