Beauly Priory & Beauly Town - Outlander

Beauly Priory

One of three Scottish priories founded by the French Burgundy monks of the Valliscaulian Order, it commenced building in 1230.  Beauly was named after the French words “beau lieu” – beautiful place.  Some believe this to be attributed to the monks, others to Mary Queen of Scots, who referred to it being beautiful during her visit in 1564. 

It was completed by Beauly’s patron, Sir John Bisset, who later married the landowners, the Frasers of Lovat.  The monastery was completed in 1272 and in 1287 Sir Simon Fraser of Lovat was buried there in front of the altar.

In 1430 Sir Hugh Fraser of Lovat called upon the Pope to help rebuild the priory as it was falling into disrepair.  Restoration followed.  In 1510 the Cistercian Order of monks took over. After it fell into further disrepair after lightning struck it, the Prior Robert Reed in 1541, had further work done to it. He was more famous as the Bishop of Orkney and also the founding father of Edinburgh University.

In 1582, after the Reformation years, the priory was disused and the valuable lead was removed from the roof. Sadly much of the priory was used for quarrying in order to create new buildings in the town of Beauly.  Legend has it that Oliver Cromwell used some of it in Inverness Castle in 1652.  The north transept is however intact, as this was rebuilt by the architect Alexander Ross, so that it could be used as a mausoleum for the family MacKenzie.  Since 1913 the priory has been in the hands of the state and is now under the auspices of Historic Environment Scotland.  

In the Outlander series, the Lovat Frasers are buried here and it is in the priory, in the heart of Jamie Fraser’s clan, that Claire meets the Seer Mairi.  It is a place of heartbreak and uncertainty for her. It is a wonderful place to visit for Outlander fans and explorers alike.

Beauly Town

Just across from the Priory you will find Beauly town centre, avid with gift shops, art shops and eateries.  Discount vouchers are available if you have time for a quick bite whilst browsing the shops, or you might have had something earlier in Urquhart Castle or on the Jacobite Loch Ness boat.

Nevertheless, it is well worth a stroll through Beauly’s streets to see what it has to offer.

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Beauly Priory features on our Urquhart Castle, Culloden Battlefield, Inverness & Loch Ness tour.

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