In 1882-4, Frances Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland described Soulseat like this:
Saulseat or Soulseat, an ancient parish and an abbey of Wigtownshire. The parish was a vicarage under the monks of the abbey; and, about the middle of the 17th century it was incorporated with Inch. Its ecclesiastical revennes are divided between the minister of Inch and the minister of Portpatrick. ...
The abbey stood on a peninsula of Saulseat Loch (4 x ½ to 2¼ furl.), in the vicinity of the present manse (1838) of Inch, 3 miles ESE of Stranraer. The building was in ruins in 1684, when Symson wrote his Description of Galloway; and it is now commemorated only by some grassy mounds. Its burying-ground contains some curious gravestones, one of them bearing date 1647. The abbey was founded, in 1148, by Fergus, Lord of Galloway, for Premonstratensian monks. It was called in Latin Sedes Animarum (` souls' seat,) or Monasterium Viridis Stagni (` monastery of the green loch '); but some have derived its name from its having had one Saul for its first abbot, and so being Sedes Saulis (` the seat of Saul'). Chalmers says, ` It was the mother of the more celebrated and opulent priory of Whithorn, as well as of the abbey of Holywood, both of which were planted by monks of the same order. It appears to have been the original establishment of the Premonstratensian monks in Scotland; and the abbots of Soulseat were the superiors of that order in this kingdom. ' Its abbacy was one of the few in Scotland, the appointment of which remained with the King, and could not be disposed of or controlled by the Pope. The abbey never rose to any eminence or figured conspicuously in history. In 1568 its abbot, along with some of the most distinguished men of the kingdom, subscribed a bond obliging themselves to defend Queen Mary.Ord. Sur., sh. 3, 1856.
Soulseat is now part of Dumfries and Galloway district. Click here for graphs and data of how Dumfries and Galloway has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Soulseat itself, go to Units and Statistics.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Soulseat, in Dumfries and Galloway and Wigtownshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 25th March 2017
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