Exploring the Border Abbeys!

Saturday, while many of our peers were out and about in Edinburgh, Melanie, Sarah, Beth and Alex, our Canadian friend Andy, and myself took a drive up to the border abbeys of Scotland. Stopping for a photo opportunity at the border crossing we continued on to our first stop, Dryburgh.

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At the border!
Dryburgh Abbey

The border abbeys are all in varying stages of disrepair and abandonment but Dryburgh, founded in 1150, was destroyed by fire 3 times, and ravaged by war four times, abandoned by 1584, and then later in the 18th century bought and turned into a “romantic ruin” by David Erskine, the 11th Earl of Buchan. He was later buried there along with famous novelist Sir Walter Scott. Despite everything the abbey has been through it still remains a quite complete and it’s a very beautiful location.

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Dryburgh Abbey
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Dryburgh Abbey
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Dryburgh Abbey

Our next stop was Kelso abbey, founded in 1128, it was a home of the Tironesians monks, who also later inhabited Arbroath abbey to the north. The Tironesian order was founded based on poverty and penance, and as occurred at Arbroath, this was later shrugged off and the compound became quite wealthy. Unlike Arbroath and Dryburgh, there is not much left of Kelso, but what is left is quite striking. Being so close to the borders it became a focus of destruction during the wars of independence in the early 13th century, with further damage being caused by English incursions up until the mid 16th century. It was finally abandoned and left to ruin in 1545.

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Kelso Abbey
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Kelso Abbey
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Kelso Abbey
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Kelso Abbey
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Arbroath Abbey
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Arbroath Abbey
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Arbroath Abbey

Our last stop before heading home to get ready for the friends of Vindolanda night was Jedburgh Abbey. Founded in 1138 by the Augustinians and meeting its end after the reformation and many attacks and raids throughout the 16th century, it was favored by royals and served the royal castle in Jedburgh. King Alexander III was married, and his death apparently foretold, there in 1285. The Augustinians were always close to royalty and their other homes include Holyrood Abbey beside Edinburgh castle.

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Jedburgh Abbey
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Jedburgh Abbey
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Jedburgh Abbey
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Jedburgh Abbey
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Jedburgh Abbey
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Jedburgh Abbey

We didn’t get to visit the fourth border abbey, Melrose Abbey, but I had visited with my family before coming to Haltwhistle. So to round off the border Abbey photos here are a few pictures I took then.

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Melrose Abbey
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Melrose Abbey
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Melrose Abbey
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Melrose Abbey
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Melrose Abbey

It was a nice change to see a little history from another time period of the UK but starting Monday it’s back to Vindolanda and Roman Britain!

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