Campaign to mark the tombs of lost Scots kings gathers pace

THE lack of '˜dignified markers' at the graves of six Scottish kings has been labelled as 'disgraceful' by historian and heritage campaigner, Sheila Pitcairn.

Campaign to mark the graves of Scottish Kings at Dunfermline Abbey. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Campaign to mark the graves of Scottish Kings at Dunfermline Abbey. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Six of Scotland’s most prominent rulers, including Malcom III, ‘Canmore’ (Gaelic for ‘Great Chief’), were interred at Dunfermline Abbey, but astonishingly, their burial plots lie unmarked to this day.

Now, local historian Sheila Pitcairn, who runs guided tours in Dunfermline, has set about gathering enough support to persuade the Scottish Government to correct this centuries-old oversight.

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Launched just over 4 months ago, Mrs Pitcairn’s petition on has managed to collect hundreds of signatures from impassioned Scotophiles across the world, with supporters claiming the matter is of huge national importance, while pointing to the considerable economic boosts which could be wrought through tourism if the campaign is successful.

In Scotland’s earliest days, the nation’s monarchs were laid to rest at Iona Abbey, but in the 11th century this duty was switched to the nave of Dunfermline Abbey. Six Scottish kings – Malcolm III, Duncan II, Edgar, Alexander I, David I and Malcolm IV - are buried there, alongside two Scottish queens – Margaret and Sybillia – and three princes – Edward, Ethelrade and Edmund.

Although numerous dignitaries were interred at Dunfermline, only the tomb of Robert The Bruce can be easily identified.

Many are citing the recent discovery of King Richard III’s remains in Leicester and the deluge of interest which followed as evidence that Dunfermline would have lots to gain if it does more to recognise its regal heritage and ‘forgotten’ kings.

Speaking to The Herald, Mrs Pitcairn said: “The kings, queens and princes who are buried at Dunfermline are an important part of Scottish history but very few people know anything about them. That has to change.”