The Monastic Orders
Saint Margaret's son, David, saint and king, continued his mother's policy to encourage the Monastic Orders to come to Scotland, and the evidence is seen in the monastic ruins which are found all over our land. Benedictines, Cistercians, Valliscaulians, Tironensians, Cluniacs and others prayed and chanted, studied and wrote, but also engaged in hard manual labour often making a success of land nobody else wanted. They organised the local people, gave them work and self-esteem, involving them in agriculture and industry, including open-cast coal mining. Melrose Abbey wool was a much sought-after brand at the annual Antwerp wool fair. The abbeys were practically economic centres, something our southern neighbours recognised on their occasional forays north, vandalising the abbeys, in medieval-style state-sponsored terrorism. We did the same on out forays south. The monks were ferociously hard workers, were hugely successful, and therefore became wealthy. Becoming wealthy landowners meant they had power and several abbots held high offices of State.