John Reuben Davies, Richard Sharpe and Simon Taylor
The Innes Review: 63.2 (2012): 260–266 Edinburgh University Press
Inchcolm abbey has the best-preserved medieval conventual buildings in Scotland. A house of Augustinian canons, its most famous abbot was Walter Bower (abbot 1417–49), author of Scotichronicon. The last abbot proper resigned in 1544, but members of the community were still living on the island as late as 1578. Having been converted into a secular dwelling, the monastic buildings to the west and south of the tower survived the demise of the community. The later medieval church, however, was demolished for masonry towards the end of the sixteenth century, and all that is left is its footprint and the south aisle or transept (the Lady Chapel). The site passed in 1924 from the earl of Moray to the care of H. M. Commissioners of Works under the direction of John Wilson Paterson, and during the 1930s extensive preservative and restorative work was carried out. As a result of this work the roofed portions of the monastic buildings remain water-tight.
Through the east wall of the dorter or dormitorium, on the level above the east cloister, one can gain access via a narrow stair to a room above the chapter house. With the unusual amenity of a ﬁreplace on the northern wall, this is presumed to have been the warming room or calefactorium, the place where the canons could warm themselves. This room has been judged a late addition over the chapter house, and it may be thought to form part of the early ﬁfteenth-century work on the conventual buildings. On the wall to the left of the ﬁreplace, moreover, under a protective perspex panel, there are visible, in fragments, two lines of writing, painted in a Gothic script.