The Borders and the Southwest Sights

Sweetheart Abbey

  • A710 Map It
  • New Abbey
  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Published 05/04/2017

Fodor's Review

At the center of the village of New Abbey is the red-tinted and roofless Sweetheart Abbey. The odd name is a translation of the abbey's previous name, St. Mary of the Dolce Coeur. The abbey was founded in 1273 by the Lady of Galloway, Devorgilla (1210–90), who, it is said, had her late husband's heart placed in a tiny casket that she carried everywhere. After she died, she was laid to rest in Sweetheart Abbey with the casket resting on her breast. The couple's son John Balliol (1249–1315) was the puppet king installed in Scotland by Edward of England when the latter claimed sovereignty over Scotland. After John's appointment the Scots gave him a scathing nickname that would stay with him for the rest of his life: Toom Tabard (Empty Shirt).

Sight Information


A710, 7 miles south of Dumfries, New Abbey, Dumfries and Galloway, DG2 8BU, Scotland

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Sight Details:

  • £4.50

Published 05/04/2017


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