Entrance Arch at Jedburgh Abbey, Scotland.

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.

Mercat Cross, Jedburgh

There are five 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 Abbey.

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.

Entrance to Jedburgh Castle

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.

Mary, Queen of Scots House, Jedburgh

Robert Burns Connection.

Robert (“Rabbie”) Burns (1759-1796) is Scotland’s National Poet.

Burns travelled widely around Scotland.His journal records that on Tuesday 8th of May, 1787 “He came up Teviot and Jed to lie, and to wish myself goodnight” The house in which he stayed for three nights was situated at 27 Canongate, adjoining Deans Close. A plaque was erected in 1913 to commemorate his visit. His host was Mr James Fair.

Burns was then granted equivalent of the Freedom of Jedburgh: “On the 11th May 1787, Robert Burns Esqu. was entered and received into the liberties of this Burgh and made a free Burgess and guild brother of the same, who gave his oath with all ceremonies used and wont. Whereupon he required acts of court and protested for an extract of the same under the common seal of the Burgh.”

Robert Burns Plaque next to Royal Hotel, Canongate, Jedburgh.

Bonnie Prince Charlie Connection.

Prince Charles Edward Stuart lodged at Blackhills House November 6-7, 1745.

Blackhills House, Jedburgh

Views of High Street, Jedburgh.

High Street, Jedburgh

High Street, Jedburgh

Below is New Gate House, a gatehouse surmounted by a steeple which dates from 1761.

New Gate House, Jedburgh

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