Balmerino Abbey sits in a prominent position overlooking the banks of the River Tay. The church within the abbey was founded in 1226, although building work on the site carried on for many years after. It was established as a Cistercian Abbey by the monks at Melrose Abbey in the Scottish Borders and housed up to twenty monks.
In 1547 the Abbey was attacked by invading English forces and extensively damaged. It was repaired, but suffered far worse damage in the reformation when followers of John Knox destroyed the abbey, killing all of the monks that remained.
Following the creation of the peerage, with the title ‘Lord of Balmerino’, the remains of the abbey and its grounds formed part of the geographical barony of the first Lord of Balmerino, James Elphinstone, in 1604. Today the Abbey remains in a ruinous condition, with the church building fenced off due to its dangerous condition.
The ghosts of the murdered monks are said to still roam the grounds with many reports of their spectral figures being witnessed pushing wheelbarrows as though continuing with their day-to-day chores. Another spirit which is said to haunt the abbey is reported to be seen sitting in the cellars, and is thought to be a monk who was responsible for keeping a watch on the corn stored in the cellars to ensure rats and mice did not eat it.