Dunfermline, “the fortified tower on the winding stream”, is more than a thousand years old. Part of the Kingdom of the Picts, it was one of the early settlements of the Celtic or Culdee Church and a favourite stronghold of the warrior King Malcolm Canmore. When in 1070 King Malcolm married the saintly Queen Margaret, the small settlement acquired an international aspect.
Under her extraordinary influence the new European monastic Order of St Benedict was introduced and a Priory established. After her death her pious son King David built a great Benedictine Abbey on the site of her little church, and in 1250 when she was proclaimed a Saint, Dunfermline became like St Andrews, Canterbury and Compostella, one of the great pilgrimage centres of Europe.
The Abbey’s wealth in lands and subordinate churches was greatly increased when it replaced Iona as the chief Burial Place of the Scottish Monarchy. In Dunfermline Scotland’s Ancient Capital, you will find within1 square mile, a Royal Palace, a 12th Century Abbey, the burial site of the Kings and Queens of Scotland, a beautifully restored Abbott’s House, the cave in which Saint Margaret washed the feet of the poor and the ruins of a fortified tower on the site where King Malcolm held court after the death of Macbeth. The richest man in the world was Andrew Carnegie: born in Dunfermline, he made a fortune then gave it all away. As a child he’d been forbidden to play on the Laird’s land. He went on to buy the land for the people of Dunfermline as Pittencrieff Park. It is possible to visit the birthplace of the Richest Man in the world, comprising 19th century weaver’s cottage and memorial hall.