Deer Abbey and the Man Trap

A copper beech tree at Deer Abbey
Copper beech at Deer Abbey

Deer Abbey

Deer Abbey in Aberdeenshire is a beautiful sprawling ruin. It’s a peaceful place to visit. Reflective. A place to peer through old doorways into the past.

Doorway at Deer Abbey
Into the kitchen…

The Man Trap

If I look back into my own past, I see myself in quite a state, just about to go into hospital and become monstrous. I am better this year. Better than that anyway. Able to go out and about to places other than my doctor’s surgery.

Which brings me to the man trap:

man trap at Deer Abbey
Man trap!

You would definitely need some medical intervention after stepping in that! It’s a hideous contraption that was designed to catch poachers, widely used in the 19th century by local Lairds. It’s not known how it came to be at Deer Abbey.

From one of the informational plaques, the man trap in use:

Caught in the man trap!

History of the Abbey

For 340 years, the Abbey housed a Cistercian community. The monks of Deer wore white robes and no underwear, a brave choice given Aberdeenshire’s low temperatures and the strong gales of winter.

Cloisters at Deer Abbey

After the reformation the building became the property of the Keith family. Mrs Keith dreamed of angry monks coming to destroy her home, Dunnottar Castle. And more recently, there have been sightings of a ghostly monk on the main road outside the Abbey. Maybe the old Cistercians do not rest easy yet.

Yew Tree at Deer Abbey
A boundary of yews.

Remaining Beauty

I love the ancient trees of the Abbey grounds. And the pink hue of the crumbling walls. The hillside beyond is satisfyingly timeless, and probably offers quite a similar view to the one that the white robed monks looked out on.

Deer Abbey in Aberdeenshire

An Autistic Dancer, a Byronic Hero and an Obsessive Scientist

Read my series A Dancer’s Journey. There’s ballet. There’s lots of naughtiness. And there’s peril!

Tendu by Ailish Sinclair

Enjoy a kiss on the London tube in the first book, TENDU. Romp up and down the castle stairs. Dance in a stone circle. Attend a Ceilidh in the great hall. Have your brain studied in the dungeon. All fun, I assure you. Well, not quite all…

Series on Amazon UK

Series on Amazon worldwide

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There’s more about these stories in the posts below:

Diabolical reading

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Ailish Sinclair dances in a stone circle.

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57 Replies to “Deer Abbey and the Man Trap”

  1. I remember the bandages and swelling from last year. I am so grateful you are no longer in that place.

    Speaking of places, this is stunning. I’m in awe of the ruins and ancient trees (and history). Thanks, as always, for sharing.

    1. I love these posts about the amazing places in your corner of the world! Thanks so much! Interesting and informative.

  2. Carl and I lived in Montrose and while there visited & toured many castles in Aberdeenshire. We have pictures of Dunnottar Castle ruins and we plan to return to Scotland to retrace our steps. Loved the post of Deer Abbey and the earlier one of Dunnottar! For those readers who’ve not yet read Fireflies & Chocolate- it’s a wonderful story! I did write a glowing review for Historical Novels Review Magazine but I’m not allowed to publish it on my blog until November 1- trust me- it’s a “bonny” read!

  3. Wow! Really interesting photos and backstory (esp. about the sans undies monks!). That wandering ghost of a monk must have been hunting for some woolies to protect himself from the updraft! Thanks for the laughs! Hope you’re feeling better each day.

  4. Beautiful story and photographs. Your post has an enchanting feel. The monk who still wanders must be unable to disconnect from the lovely surroundings. Spooky and magical. 🙂

  5. It’s always nice to know the history of a place so you can put yourself there in the past! That man trap looks like a bear trap my dog got snared in on a neighbor’s property when I was little. My dad had to take him to court to get him to pull up his traps. The dog was hospitalized but survived.

  6. You Scottish?
    I am already enamored.
    Three reasons:
    1. Macbeth is my favorite…
    2. I love the swing in the snow photo
    3.I forget three
    4. You have a brain.

    I like brains.
    not to eat
    to read.

    Yu can go ahead and bannish me now, but please don’t.
    We just met.
    Gimme a chance.
    I want to read more of you.
    Your blog interests me.
    Self-serving, c’est moi.

  7. Wonderful photos, and storytelling to go with it. Judging from these, and the book description, I’ve just added Fireflies and Chocolate to my “to order” list!
    I am glad your health is better. Stay well, and write on. (And thank you for visiting my blog, as well.)

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