Authored Book

A Monastery and Its Landscape: Whithorn and Monastic Estate Management in Galloway (c1250-c1600)


Oram R (2005) A Monastery and Its Landscape: Whithorn and Monastic Estate Management in Galloway (c1250-c1600). Whithorn Lecture, 13. Whithorn: Friends of the Whithorn Trust.

Whithorn Priory was the most important medieval monastic institution in Galloway, possessing a wide complex of esates and legal rights and serving as the seat of the bishops of Whithorn throughout the Middle Ages. Sadly, despite its status, few records of the monastic community and its land-management activities have survived, leading in the past to the neglect of the role played by the Premonstratensian canons of Whithorn in the re-ordering of the economy and environment of SW Scotland. This paper offers an archaeological approach to the surviving records, reconstructing a relatively detailed picture of the monastery's landholding backwards from post-Reformation material and examining how the priory developed its resource-management policies over tehc ourse of the medieval period. The result is a remarkably detailed picture of how this community exploited its estates and controlled the complex of resources which they had accumulated in the Machars peninsula and beyond, identifying significant gaps in the portfolio and some interesting and unexpected specialisms.

monastic; agriculture; environment; arable; cartularies; Premonstratensian; mills; economy; grazing

Title of seriesWhithorn Lecture
Number in series13
Publication date31/12/2005
Publication date online31/12/2004
PublisherFriends of the Whithorn Trust
Publisher URL
Place of publicationWhithorn
Conference13th Whithorn Lecture
Conference locationWhithorn