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Abernethy Round Tower Tour

Monday, February 11, 2008

Abernethy is a small town located in central Scotland. During the Dark Ages (5th-11th centuries) Abernethy was a place of considerable importance.

The Tower is a structure of great antiquity (dating from the Dark Ages period) and may be the oldest such building, substantially in its original state, to be found in Scotland. There are no official dating records. The architectural style points to mid 9th century whereas features such as the windows suggest 11th century.

The Tower is believed to have been connected with a Celtic monastry. Today, it sits at the gate of the Abernethy church and thus still retains the link with religion.

Round towers are unique to Ireland, Isle of Man and Scotland and are considered part of the Celtic monastic culture. The are all free-standing and usually sited a short distance from, and with their doors facing towards, the monastic church.

There are three possible reasons for the construction of the towers, viz:

  1. As watch towers.
  2. As belfries
  3. For penitentiary purposes, a sort of hermit's residence. This is considered the most likely.
Abernethy is conveniently located for visitors to central Scotland. There is a nice little tea-shop nearby. Well worth a visit.





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