Arbroath Abbey investment to mark declaration anniversary

£300,000 spent upgrading the visitor experience ahead of major exhibition launching in April.

Arbroath Abbey investment to mark declaration anniversary

Hundreds of thousands of pounds has been spent on Arbroath Abbey to mark the historic declaration’s 700th anniversary.

The Declaration of Arbroath, considered one of Scotland’s most important historical documents, asserted the country’s independence from England in 1320 and asked the Pope to recognise Robert the Bruce as lawful king.

And next month, opening on April 6, an exhibition will tell its story through a mix of digital technology and traditional crafts – as well as exploring the history of the Abbey from its founding in 1170 to the present day.

A short animated film has been created to visually tell the story of the history and content of the letter.

 Experience: A CGI of Arbroath Abbey, developed for the exhibition from 3D scans.

The improvements to the visitor experience have been funded by £300,000 from Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

As part of the exhibition, National Records Scotland (NRS) have also gifted a reproduction of the surviving document, created by internationally renowned conservator and restorer, David Frank.

The exhibition will also unveil the Arbroath Tapestry to the public for the first time.

Designed by Andrew Crummy, the artwork was hand-stitched by local embroiderers to celebrate the declaration’s 700th anniversary and tells its story through a triptych of intricately sewn panels.

Exhibition: A CGI of the interior altar.

Other highlights for visitors at Arbroath Abbey include medieval artifacts that relate to the site. These include arrowheads from the Wars of Independence era, a royal tombstone and a book that records 200 years of events at the Abbey.

Paul Lowe, chief executive of NRS, added: “We are thrilled to gift this unique facsimile of the Declaration to the Abbey, as part of the 700th anniversary celebrations.

“We hope it will continue to inspire visitors from around the world as well as the people of Arbroath, providing fresh insights into this fascinating period in our history.”

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