Situated in the heart of Dunfermline, the Abbey attracts approximately 30,000 to 35,000 visitors per year, according to its website.

Steeped full of Scottish history, this landmark has links to many famous Scots, and has played a key role in Dunfermline since its creation.

The abbey’s origins lie with Saint Margaret. As wife of Malcolm III and Queen of Scotland, Margaret founded a priory in Dunfermline on the site where she had married her husband. She introduced a small community of Benedictine monks, and then later David I, her son, made the priory an abbey in 1128.

However, after the Protestant Reformation, the nave was converted into a parish kirk and the old choir collapsed.

Dunfermline Press: The inside of the Abbey Church today.The inside of the Abbey Church today. (Image: Alexandra Baff)

The new Abbey Church of Dunfermline was built to the design of William Burn and dedicated in 1821. According to an information board within the abbey, during the 1818 foundation work, the tomb of King Robert the Bruce was rediscovered and reinterred.

It states: “At this stage the design of the tower over the crossing of Nave and Transepts was completely revised by William Burn to incorporate the words ‘KING ROBERT THE BRUCE’ around the top parapet.”

The site is shared by the Abbey Church and Historic Environment Scotland (HES). HES investigate, care for, and promote Scotland’s historic environment.

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Despite being buried in the abbey, Bruce’s original tomb has been lost to history. Currently on display in the Abbey Church is a digital reconstruction of this lost tomb.

An information board on display states: “When the immortalised Robert died in 1329, he was buried here in the choir of Dunfermline Abbey, and his grave marked by a tomb recorded as having been imported from Paris at the personal request of the late king.

Dunfermline Press: Bruce is buried in the Abbey Church, but his heart is kept elsewhere.Bruce is buried in the Abbey Church, but his heart is kept elsewhere. (Image: Alexandra Baff)

“This was later destroyed, probably in the Reformation era.”

Some relics were recovered and then passed to museums, but Scottish heritage bodies joined forces to present a digital reconstruction of this tomb. This project was a collaboration between HES, Fife Cultural Trust, The Hunterian (University of Glasgow), The National Museums of Scotland, the National Records of Scotland, the Abbotsford Trust, and The Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation LLP.

Now, Bruce’s remains still rest in the Abbey Church, except his heart, which is kept at Melrose Abbey. It was removed posthumously to be taken to the Holy Land. However, on display in the Abbey Church is a plaster cast of the medieval king’s head.

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Another Scottish hero has a lesser-known link to the Abbey. William Wallace, the Scottish knight, supposedly buried his mother in the churchyard. The site is marked by a little plaque and people have left offerings and trinkets on the spot.

Dunfermline Press: There is a plague beneath the tree to mark the spot where Wallace's mother was supposedly buried.There is a plague beneath the tree to mark the spot where Wallace's mother was supposedly buried. (Image: Alexandra Baff)

Saint Margaret, a woman who influenced life in Dunfermline massively, still has a presence throughout the abbey. Margaret was buried there in 1093, but sadly little remains of her shrine. However, the rocks upon which her wooden casket would have rested still remain at the side of the Abbey Church.

Visitors can walk through from the Abbey Church to the Nave, which almost feels like stepping back in time, with the arching pillars and ceiling paintings. Some of these paintings are of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and the cross of St Andrew can also be spotted up above.

One of the most stunning parts of the Abbey Church is its stained-glass windows. One of these windows is ‘The Last Supper’ designed by Dunfermline artist Sir Joseph Noël Paton, of the famous art and damask Paton family.

Dunfermline Press: The Abbey Church has several stained glass windows.The Abbey Church has several stained glass windows. (Image: Alexandra Baff)

This influential Dunfermline family have been largely forgotten in recent times but seem to be coming back to the forefront with an upcoming exhibition later this year in Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries of Sir Joseph’s work.

Unfortunately, Dunfermline Palace, a site which was once the birthplace of several Scottish monarchs and lies next to the abbey, is now a ruin. However, visitors to Dunfermline can still immerse themselves in the city's history with a visit to the abbey, where you can walk the same grounds that medieval kings and queens once did.