The decline of Soutra came quickly during the 1460s. The Master of the hospital had caused a scandal and, as punishment, the Crown confiscated most of the estates, leaving the hospital without a regular income. Soutra was reduced from international importance to only a local service almost overnight. The confiscated estates were given to support Trinity College Hospital in Edinburgh, which directly laid the foundations of Edinburgh's future status as a key international centre for medical research and practice.
THE HOUSE OF THE HOLY TRINITY AT SOUTRA
The Holy Trinity at Soutra treated the sick and provided alms to the poor, hospitality to travellers and sanctuary to fugitives. It funded its activities through the extensive estates it had been granted by Malcolm IV for the purpose. Archaeological excavations since 1986 have found traces of medicinal products from all over the known world, including cloves from East Africa.
Next to this they found the remains of the heel bone of a man.
Tony Busettil, regus professor of forensic medicine at Edinburgh University who corroborated the Soutra find, said the bone had ridges on it, which indicated that the man had walked on the side of his foot.
"It showed that the person appears to have had a limp so they could have been suffering from some sort of congenital palsy.
"Next to it they found evidence of very strong pain killers."
Dr Moffat said the monks' knowledge of herbs was so great it could be used to influence medicine today.
"You would not bother with strange plants at a monastery unless they were going to be used and these medieval brothers knew what to do. They knew more about plants than anyone alive today," he added.