Dryburgh Abbey, Scottish Borders

This evening, I am focusing on Dryburgh Abbey in the Scottish Borders region.Location is about eight miles S.E. of Melrose, which is also home to a ruined medieval abbey.

Dryburgh was founded in 1150 by an Anglo-Norman named Hugh de Moreville who had been granted lands in Scotland by King David I. The Abbey was occupied not by monks but by Premonstratensians who were community based priests.

Dryburgh Abbey, Scotland

Dryburgh was vulnerable because of its location, close to the route which invading English armies used to attack-and retreat from-Scotland during the Wars of Independence. In 1322 Dryburgh was burned by the retreating army of Edward II which was followed by a period of peace and reconstruction. Further serious damage was caused by the army of Richard II in 1385 which required many years to repair.The Abbey was finally destroyed by the Earl of Hertford’s army during November 1544 with  monastic life ending at the Reformation in 1560.

Sir Walter Scott’s Burial at Dryburgh Abbey, Scotland

The key features of Dryburgh Abbey are:

  • West Door
  • Nave
  • Canons’ Choir
  • Transepts
  • Presbytery
  • Cloister Buildings
  • Dormitory
  • Processional Door
  • East Range
  • Chapter House
  • Warming House
  • South Range
  • North Transept Chapel containing the tomb of Sir Walter Scott of Abbotsford.

North Transept Chapel at Dryburgh Abbey, Scotland

Dryburgh Abbey never reached the standing of its near neighbours like Melrose, Jedburgh and Kelso. The religious community suffered from indiscipline and drift during the 14th and 15th centuries.

In 1786 the Abbey ruins were purchased by David Steuart Erskine who initiated preservation and cosmetic work (trees and gardens).

Sir Walter Scott and Field Marshall Haig ( WW1) are buried in the grounds.

A serene site sitting in the middle of a loop in the River Tweed and worthy of a visit.