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(88) Plate XLI/a

(88) Plate XLI/a -

                                                               Plate XLI.

                                      PLUSCARDINE ABBEY.

THESE fine ruins stand in one of the sweetest vales of Scotland. This priory was founded by Alex-
ander II. in 1230, and was enriched by the bounty of successive kings and nobles. It was built for the
residence of some monks, detached from the order, called Monachi Vallis Caulium, who were brought
into Scotland by Bishop Malvoisin. The whole vale, which is between three and four miles long, was
their property. It seemed a spot shut out by the mountains in the horizon from the rest of the world, and
best fitted for the exercise of piety and religion, while the excellence of the soil afforded pasturage to their
flocks, and corn for their granaries. Giraldus Cambrensis, who wrote in the twelfth century, has a
description so applicable to this spot, that it is worthy of being inserted. In speaking of Lanthony Abbey,
(Itinerarium CambriƦ, lib. i. chap. 3.) he says, "It stands in a deep vale, far removed by its loneliness
from all sound of popular tumult, and built on the banks of a stream, which glides silently through these
quiet retreats. Here the cloistered monks looking beyond their cloisters, in the intervals of religious exer-
cise, to whatever side they turn their eyes, behold above the summits of the building, lofty mountain tops,
which kiss the clouds, and browsing deer, like specks in the verge of the distant horizon."

The church itself was never completed; as the foundations of the west part of the cross were only laid.
The present state of the ruins is such as to form the most interesting and picturesque objects; and these
are greatly assisted by some very fine old trees. The architecture is sufficiently ornamented without being
florid: the stone is stained with the richest hues, and the shrubs and weeds, which grow about different
parts of it in great luxuriance, add much to the effect. It was apparently built at different times, as the
architecture is various. Most of the windows are pointed, but the arches are not all of the same kind,
and one is quite circular. There are some small pieces of fresco painting under an arch in the church,
comprehending some apostolical figures, in tolerable preservation. A little stream runs near its walls, and
it seems to have possessed every means within itself of comfort and good living. It is within the parish
of Elgin, in the county of Moray, and this view was made in 1799.

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