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
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
Sanctuary building is now used as a gift shop.