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Latitude: 55.9627 / 55°57'45"N
Longitude: -2.749 / 2°44'56"W
OS Eastings: 353337
OS Northings: 674663
OS Grid: NT533746
Mapcode National: GBR 2T.X6BQ
Mapcode Global: WH7TY.RD48
Entry Name: Abbey, Old School and Adjacent Buildings
Listing Date: 12 August 1996
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 390045
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB43523
Building Class: Cultural
County: East Lothian
Electoral Ward: Haddington and Lammermuir
Traditional County: East Lothian
Compact group of 3 buildings, probably dating in essence from later 18th century, though parts may be older. All 2-storey, rubble built, evidence of harling. Red pantiled roofs.
N BUILDING (OLD SCHOOL): substantially ruinous, in 2 sections, sandstone rubble. Western section with rough dressings and raised chamfered margins; doorway and 2 windows evident to S elevation, single opening to N on 1st floor. Eastern section retains walls and part of pantiled roof; doorway and other low opening to S elevation; 2 openings to each floor to N; skewed gable with single window and stack.
CENTRAL BUILDING: originally probably 4 dwellings. Mostly squared rubble of conglomerate ("clinkstone", very friable). 5-bay, roughly symmetrical, in poor condition. W elevation distinguished by double forestair of stone, diverging from central access steps, supported by concrete pillars (previously stone, which may still survive underneath); 2 doors to ground beneath forestairs, plain boarded, flanked by windows, 2 towards gables, 1 to centre. Same arrangement at 1st floor. Coalsheds beneath stairs. E elevation with 1 window to ground and 4 to 1st floor (brick margins); small window in N gable. Fenestration 12- or 4-pane sash and case. Roof gabled, plain skews, red pantiles, 3 brick stacks (previously rubble) with cans plain or missing.
S BUILDING: in poor condition, 3-bay on front (S) elevation, 3 windows to 1st, door flanked by 2 windows to ground. W gable with 1 window to each floor. Surviving fenestration 12-pane timber sash and case. Roof gabled, plain skews, red pantiles above 4 easing courses of slate. Gable stacks of harled rubble with thackstanes, raised in upper stack of brick. Plain cans.
Croal, writing in 1873, states that the Village of Abbey was "....much diminished in extent in recent years" and mentions "...a long row of miserable thatched cot-houses" which had been recently condemned. The School is marked on the map of 1854, but is thought to have closed soon afterwards. A photograph taken before 1907 shows the western end already roofless, though with gable and walls largely intact.
The original Abbey, of which no trace appears now remain, lay a short distance to the E. It was founded in 1178 as a priory and convent by Ada Countess of Northumberland, mother of Kings Malcolm IV and William. The Scots parliament met here on 7 July 1548 and agreed a treaty with France whereby the young Queen Mary would marry the French Dauphin. The Abbey was Cistercian and seals of 1245 and 1569 are extent - "Capituli Sante Marie de Hadintoun". It was probably abandoned around the end of the 16th century, and Daniel Defoe could note "...remains of an old Nunnery, not a stone of which has rested upon another within living memory". There is anecdotal evidence that the deep red stones incorporated irregularly in the structure may derive from the original Abbey. Listed Group A with Abbey Old School and Abbey Mill. See separate listings.