Image of Christ at Melrose Abbey

This evening, I am focusing on Melrose Abbey in the Scottish Borders region, about forty miles south of Edinburgh.

Melrose is one of a  group of four ruined abbeys which date from medieval times, the others being Dryburgh,Jedburgh and Kelso.

Melrose Abbey

History of Melrose Abbey

The founding of Melrose Abbey on its current site (superseding a previous building located about two miles away) was inspired by King David I of Scotland in 1136 AD. The Abbey was built by a group of Cistercian Monks from Rievaulx in Yorkshire, England. Construction is believed to have taken ten years.

Melrose Abbey, Scottish Borders

Because the Abbey enjoyed Royal favour it continued to flourish despite suffering damage in the Anglo-Scottish wars and being rebuilt in the 15th century. It fell into ruin after being ravaged by English soldiers and Scots Protestants. The last monk died in 1590.The Abbey is noteworthy for:

  • Quality of the stone carvings which include an unusual effigy of a pig playing the bagpipes.

Bagpipe playing pig at Melrose Abbey

  • Burial place of the heart of King Robert the Bruce.

Burial place of the heart of King Robert the Bruce

  • Museum with evidence of the Roman presence in the area.

Visiting Melrose and Borders.

The Abbey is a popular attraction with visitors, many of whom go on to visit the other three abbeys. The adjacent small town of Melrose is a pleasant place to enjoy a stroll, visit the shops and avail of refreshment. There is a garden, Priorwood which specialises in producing dried flowers.

Aerial view of Melrose from atop Abbey tower

Melrose Abbey is a usually a key constituent of a tour of the Borders region.