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Abbey of Deer


Deer Abbey dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary was a Cistercian House founded in 1219 by the Earl of Buchan, William Comyn which replaced an earlier Celtic monastery in the vicinity was dedicated to St Drostan who died in 606AD. Drostan had left Iona with St Columba and they founded the community at Deer on land gifted to them after they cured the local Chiefs son of an illness with the power of prayer. Drostan was left behind as the first abbot when Columba continued his journeys.

The ‘Book of Deer' is a 10th century illuminated gospel manuscript and is the only pre-Norman manuscript to be found from what was Pictland. Since 1715 it has been in the possession of Cambridge University Library, but before 1100 it was held at the Celtic monastery at Deer.

After the Reformation of 1560 Deer Abbey was left to stripped of it's stone by the locals. In 1587 Lord Altrie gained ownership of the remains and land, but the stone looting continued. The Catholic Diocese of Aberdeen acquired the site in 1926 and it is now under the care of Historic Scotland.

A phantom monk in a dark robe and hood has been witnessed on the road by the ruined abbey. One such sighting was in 1929.


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