The monks who arrived at Lindores in 1191 from Kelso in the borders of Scotland, to build and populate the monastery, were Benedictines from the Order of Tiron, France, or Tironensians.
Earl David knew and respected these hard-working men, who favoured a practical life within a cloistered environment.
The Tironensians were masons, distillers, brewers, carpenters, blacksmiths, sculptors, painters, gardeners, beekeepers, farmers and husbandmen, and they all played a part in the work of the Abbey.
There were probably around thirty monks at any one time based at Lindores during the Abbey’s existence.
Craftsmen & Cultivators
The Tironensians were well regarded for their horticultural and medicinal skills. Unlike other religious orders, they were often involved in manual and agricultural labour as they believed hard work cleansed the soul. They also felt a duty to share the knowledge and skills they brought with them from France.
When they first arrived at Lindores, the land on which the Abbey was built and all of the land around it had to be tamed and then properly cultivated. The massive orchards that sprung up around the Abbey bore testament to the monks’ skill.
At their height, the Lindores orchards covered over 30 acres and were the largest in Scotland, growing apples, pears and plums.
The monks were academics and educators, and they allocated days each week to teaching members of the community both practical skills as well as more cerebral subjects, like calligraphy and manuscript illustration.
Thomas Wode, a Lindores monk, collected a variety of religious music into a famous illustrated manuscript, the Wode Psalters, which is now housed at St Andrews University.