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Sancta Maria Abbey, Nunraw
The new Sancta Maria Abbey, Nunraw - - 619598.jpg
Monastery information
Order Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance
Established 1946
Disestablished extant
Mother house Mount St. Joseph Abbey, Roscrea
Diocese Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh
Coordinates 55°55′17″N 2°39′07″W / 55.9213°N 2.6519°W / 55.9213; -2.6519

Nunraw Abbey or Sancta Maria Abbey, Nunraw is a working Trappist (Ordo Cisterciensis Strictioris Observantiae) monastery. It was the first Cistercian house to be founded in Scotland since the Scottish Reformation. Founded in 1946 by monks from Mount St. Joseph Abbey, Roscrea, Ireland, and consecrated as an Abbey in 1948, it nestles at the foot of the Lammermuir Hills on the southern edge of East Lothian. The estate of the abbey is technically called White Castle after an early hill-fort on the land.


Originally owned by the Cistercian Nuns of Haddington, the area that they settled becoming known as Nunraw (lit. 'Nun's Row'). The Nunnery of Haddington was founded by Ada de Warenne, Countess of Huntingdon and daughter of the Earl of Surrey, soon after the death of Bernard of Clairvaux, and the small evidence that is available suggests that Nunraw was a grange of that convent.

The modern monastery was built between 1952 and 1970 (but is unfinished as the abbey church was never built) by architect Peter Rice Whiston (1912-1999).

List of Abbots

The modern establishment has had four Lord Abbots since its inception:

  • Father Michael Sherry, O.C.S.O. (d. 2003) Superior of the foundation between 1946 and its inauguration in 1948. Father Michael was the Prior, never the abbot. Nunraw was elevated from a priory to an abbey in 1948, Dom Columban Mulcahy being the first abbot.
  • Dom Columban Mulcahy, O.C.S.O. (1900-1971), Lord Abbot between 1948-1969
  • Dom Donald McGlynn, O.C.S.O., Abbot-emeritus and Lord Abbot between 1969-2003, a "Chief" of the Igbo people in Nigeria.
  • Dom Raymond Jaconelli, O.C.S.O., Lord Abbot from 2003-2009
  • Dom Mark Caira, O.C.S.O., Lord Abbot from 2009
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