EXPLORE THE HISTORY
Abbeys in the Scottish Borders
The Scottish Borders are home to four magnificent Abbeys, which were all founded in the 12th Century. The proximity to the English Border made them targets of frequent English attacks and all of them have been rebuilt several times. Travel back in history and visit the ruins of Dryburgh, Melrose, Jedburgh and Kelso Abbey.
Beautiful Borders' Abbey ruins dating back to the 12th century
Probably the most famous ruin in Scotland, the abbey was founded by David I in 1136 for the Cistercian Order, and it was largely destroyed by Richard II's English army in 1385. The surviving remains of the church are of the early 15th century, and are of an elegance unsurpassed in Scotland. Objects found during excavation are displayed in the Commendator's House. The exterior of this magnificent ruin is decorated by unusual sculptures, including hobgoblins, cooks with ladles and a bagpipe playing pig. The abbey is also thought to be the burial place of Robert the Bruce's heart, marked with a commemorative carved stone plaque within the grounds.
Beautiful Borders' Abbey in large grounds with trees of the 12th century.
Perhaps the most beautiful of all the Border Abbeys, the ruins of Dryburgh Abbey are remarkably complete and surrounded by beautiful grounds.
First established in 1150, Dryburgh Abbey became the premier house in Scotland of the Premonstratensian order and today continues to have a peaceful atmosphere. Despite having been set on fire three times, the chapter house features paintwork that dates back to its construction and today boasts some of the best Gothic architecture in Scotland. These graceful ruins became the burial place of David Eskrine, 11th Earl of Buchan in 1829, and three years later his friend Sir Walter Scott was also buried here.
Impressive Borders' Abbey ruins from the 12th century
One of the four border abbeys, Jedburgh Abbey was founded by David I in around 1138 for Augustinian canons. Explore the fascinating Jedburgh Abbey along with its visitor centre and surrounding herb garden with aromatic plants and a stone display at the west end. The church was built in the Romanesque and early Gothic styles and is remarkably complete. Jedburgh Abbey’s close location to the English border meant it was frequently targeted by invading border armies. Remains of the cloister buildings have been uncovered and finds from the excavations, including the 12th century 'Jedburgh comb' and an eighth century shrine are on display.