Historic ruins of Beauly Priory

This ancient site, located in Beauly village, was founded in 1230 for monks of the Valliscaulian order. The monks came from France, and it is one theory that they named the area “beau lieu”, meaning “beautiful place” in French, later becoming “Beauly”. There is also a local legend that Mary, Queen of Scots named it much later, during a visit in 1564. Beauly Priory is the oldest surviving building in the town.

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The Monks of Beauly Priory

A strict monastic rule that lasted 300 years here

The monks of the priory

The monks who settled at Beauly Priory were part of the Valliscaulian order. They came from Val-des-Choux, near Dijon in France. The order had two other priories in Scotland, Ardchattan Priory near Oban and Pluscarden Abbey near Elgin. They were under a particularly strict form of monastic rule, in which they lived quietly in very small cells and surrendered all possessions. The monks stayed in the priory for over 300 years, until the Reformation in 1560.

Things to see

On a visit to the priory, you can explore the ruins of the monastery and the grounds. There are many interesting burial monuments, headstones and tombs. Plus, an ancient elm tree, thought to be the oldest in Europe. Information boards are dotted around the site, giving information on the site and its 800-year history. This is a peaceful place to visit, located in Beauly village centre. With local amenities such as shops and cafes close by.

Visiting Beauly Priory

Beauly Priory is free to visit and open year-round. Easy to access from Beauly village, with nearby car parking. It has become a popular tourist spot for fans of the Outlander book series, as the location where Claire meets the seer Maisri. It’s also a great place for history lovers, as an ancient site dating back to the 13th century. Find out more about visiting Beauly Priory.

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