Melrose Abbey, Borders Region

Melrose Abbey, Borders Region, Scotland

This evening, my focus is on one of the great abbeys of the Scottish Borders, namely Melrose.

The origin of the name Melrose is of interest. The earliest recorded spelling is ‘Calkou’ and may mean ‘lime hill’.

There has been a religious community in the Melrose area for about 1400 years with the first such dating back to 650AD when a monastery was founded by St Aiden of Lindisfarne and populated by monks from Iona.

The deeply religious King David I of Scotland founded a new abbey at Melrose in 1136 AD  This was  built in the Gothic style and located about two miles away from the original monastery. The first abbot and contingent of monks were of the Cistercian order and came from Rievaulx in Yorkshire, England. Complement of monks eventually rose to 100.

Like nearby Jedburgh Abbey, Melrose’s location proved its  downfall as it was in the direct route of invading armies from England who cause considerable damage in 1322, 1385 and 1544. Final denouement was the Reformation in 1560.

Also like Jedburgh, part of the ruins were used to house the local Parish Church, which lasted from 1610 to 1810.

Melrose Abbey has connection two famous Scots, viz:

  • Romantic novelist, Sir Walter Scott who greatly admired the building and included a reference to it in his poem the Lady of the Lay Minstrel.
  • King Robert the Bruce  (1274-1329), whose heart is buried in the grounds.

This site is a ‘must’ for visitors exploring the Scottish Borders. Melrose is a very pleasant town close to the River Tweed which in turn is famous for salmon fishing.It is possible to climb up one of the Abbey towers and benefit from stunning views of Melrose and beyond. Read more on Visit Melrose Abbey, Visit Scottish Borders…