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Dunfermline AbbeyThe Abbey as it stands today consists of two churches - the nave of the medieval monastic church erected by David I, the son of Margaret, and dedicated in 1150, and the modern parish Abbey Church (dedicated in 1821) which contains the final resting place of King Robert the Bruce. Other relics of Bruce can be found in Dunfermline museum.

In the absence of a royal presence, Dunfermline declined throughout the 17th century, until the rise of the weaving industry in the 1700s.

Plentiful water and good access to the ports of Fife made the town a centre for damask weaving by the 1770s, but it was not until the Industrial Revolution that weaving was promoted from a cottage industry to production on a grand scale. This resulted in the decline of the hand weaving industry.

It was into this environment that the great philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, was born in 1835. His birthplace cottage is now a fascinating museum offering an insight into the life of one of the world’s richest men. The son of a jacquard loom weaver, Andrew entered into lively debate and self-education which, following his emigration to America in 1848, helped him to make millions in the steel industry.

Andrew Carnegie never forgot the town on his birth and in 1903 founded the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust «to bring into the monotonous lives of the toiling masses of Dunfermline more of sweetness and light».

He made funds available for workers’ pensions, church organs and the building of libraries, as well as buying Pittencrieff Estate (whence he had been refused entry as a child), for the people of the town. The estate now forms Pittencrieff Park just to the west of the Abbey and Palace, and Pittencrieff House has become a fascinating museum.

For more information see www.dunfermline.50megs.com or ask Jack.

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