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SANCTUARY STONE

Places Of Interest Edinburgh Old Town


ABBEY SANTCUARY

According to legend, the Abbey was founded as the monastery of the Holy Rood (Cross) by David I, King of Scots, following a miraculous intervention during a hunting expedition.

The Strand which flanks the modern Palace entrance, once served as the route taken by multifarious commoners from the climbing curve of the Royal Mile beyond.

The Abbey offered sanctuary to the pursued, in times when minor theft could warrant a hanging, and inflexible debt collectors would use violent means to intimidate their debtors.

Sanctuary was a defined area, five miles in circumference, taking in most of Holyrood Park. Those in need of 'protection', applied to the Baille of the Abbey.

This would extend their 24 hour period of safety indefinitely and allow them to venture into towns on Sunday without fear of apprehension.

These 'tenants' were eventually accommodated by buildings erected around the Palace and Abbey, and thereafter called Abbey Lairds.

In 1880 a law was passed which meant that debtors could no longer be imprisoned. Sanctuary of this nature then became unnecessary.

The Sanctuary building is now used as a gift shop.


 
 

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