Dunfermline - 'The Prospect of ye Town & Abby of Dunfermling'

The River Forth is in the foreground of this view of Dunfermline, seen from the west. Rising above the town is the Abbey Church. Part of this was replaced in 1821 with a new Abbey Church. To its right is what remained of Dunfermline Abbey, where Robert the Bruce is buried, and Dunfermline Palace.

The palace was the birthplace of Charles I, the last monarch to be born in Scotland. It was last used in 1651 by his son, who ruled as Charles II from 1660.

The stone footbridge crossing the river on the left of the prospect is long gone. Approaching it from the left is a traveller carrying a pack. Another traveller in the foreground, with a dog, is heading away from the town.

Image from Theatrum Scotiae by John Slezer, 1693.

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  Read what Robert Sibbald wrote in Theatrum Scotiae about Dunfermline


To the Right Honourable David Earl of Levin, Lord Leslie of Balgenie, Principal Governour of the Castle of Edinburgh, and One of their Majesties Most Honourable Privy Council.


A Town situated on the West end of the Sheriffdom of Fife. It was of old the Kings Seat: For on a little Hill near the Bridge are to be seen the Ruines of an Old Castle, which is supposed to have been the Palace of Malcolm Canmois. It hath a Royal Palace in it, near to which are the Ruines of a stately Monastery which was founded Anno 1130, by David I. King of Scotland, for the Benedictine Monks, and finished by King Malcolm III, where also both he, and St. Margaret his Queen, are buried. It is famous for the Birth of King Charles I and gives the Title of Earl to a Branch of the Family of the Seatons.

Who was Robert Sibbald?

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