[MR] History Blog: Mystery of Slain Scottish Abbot
Garth Groff and Sally Sanford
mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Sat Jul 10 03:29:58 PDT 2021
Noble Friends, Especially fellow Scots,
Recently the History Blog posted a fascinating story about a very unusual
tomb slab from the ruined Dundrennan Abbey in Lowland Scotland. The slab,
thought to date from the 12th or 13th centuries, depicts an abbot with a
dirk plunged into his chest. At his feet lies a disemboweled man writhing
in agony. Gruesome? You bet!
Nobody knows who the abbot was, or any details about his murder or
wounding, as few records survive from Dundrennan Abbey. Apparently, the
Abbot's assassin (or maybe some unfortunate upon whom the crime was pinned)
was brutally executed, unless the slab was a promise of what was in store
for the attacker should he be captured. Daggering one's enemies was a
favorite Scottish pastime, and killing a high churchman was not unusual
(Cardinal David Beaton was offed this way 1546, plus he was defenestrated,
another a popular Scottish custom).
The story is found at http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/61732 .
Dundrennan Abbey was one of 13 Scottish Cistercian monasteries. More on its
history is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dundrennan_Abbey .
Contrary to what the History Blog says, a list of the Dundrennan abbots is
known though it might not be complete:
One important name is associated with Dundrennan Abbey. Adam Blacadder was
appointed commendator or administrator in 1541, and held the post until his
death in 1562. But the monks had been evicted in 1560 during Scotland's
nearly overnight conversion to Protestantism. The Blacadders (also spelled
Blacader and Blackadder) were a small, but important Scottish Lowland
family/clan, some of whom were involved in border reiving. Their most
prominent member, Robert Blacadder, was Archbishop of Glasgow. He died in
1508 while on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, probably from plague. Another, Sir
Patrick Blacadder had a tantalisingly brief tenure as Glasgow's' provost
(mayor) in 1498.
For more about the Blacadders see
Lord Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge 🦆
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