Sweetheart Abbey

The story is that the Lady Dervogilla of Galloway was so distraught at the death of her husband, John Balliol, that she had his heart embalmed and placed in an ivory casket which she carried everywhere.  There must have been practical difficulties with this extreme act of bereavement – this was 1268 when organ transportation methods were, at best, crude….anything to declare Madam?  Monty Python would have had a field day.

Nevertheless, much good was to come from this strange obsession.  The good Lady undertook many charitable acts in his memory which included the founding of the Cistercian Abbey of Dulce Cor in 1273. When she died in 1289, she was laid to rest in front of the abbey church’s high altar, clutching her husband’s heart – history does not record the state of his vital organ.

Anyone who had a heart……

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