Jedburgh from Castlegate.

This evening, I am focusing on the charming, historic town of Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders, about fifty miles south of Edinburgh. This town conveniently sits on the main route linking England and  Scotland and hence attracts many visitors.

The name is derived from ‘Jedworth’ meaning enclosed village close to the Jed Water (river). Population is about 4,000 persons.

New Gate House, 18th century.

There are three principal attractions in Jedburgh:

Jedburgh Abbey

This is one of the collection of Border Abbeys, all of which are in relatively close proximity. Location on main north-south route was unfortunate because this positioned the abbeys right in the path of advancing English armies during the Wars of Independence and other conflicts during medieval times. The wealth and power of the abbeys made them ideal targets for the English armies  Jedburgh Abbey was destroyed and rebuilt numerous times. The roofless, but well-preserved red sandstone ruins, are deserving of  a visit. The structure of the Abbey includes a few blocks with inscriptions from the Roman era, some 1000 years before the Abbey’s founding in 1138.

Jedburgh Castle

Technically a misnomer because the castle no longer exists. Like its neighbour the Abbey, the castle oscillated between English and Scottish control during medieval times but was finally destroyed in 1409. Four centuries later the site was used to construct a (now redundant) Reform Prison in 1823 and it is this building which now forms the visitor attraction.

Mary Queen of Scots House

This fortified crow-step gabled house is where it is believed the tragic Queen (1542-1587) stayed in 1566. Inside is a museum where can be seen the Queen’s death mask.

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