Proof of Power
Along with Melrose, the 12th century King David I founded three more abbeys in the Scottish Borders. These were Jedburgh, Dryburgh and Kelso, all designed as a way of proving his own power and the country’s prosperity. Seven miles from Melrose, sitting on a bend of the River Tweed, is Dryburgh Abbey. It was established in 1150 by white-robed Premonstratensian monks, who lived very simply. Sir Walter Scott is buried here, as is World War I Field Marshal Earl Haig. Kelso Abbey sits in the heart of the eponymous town. It was founded by monks from the Order of Tiron, in France, and was the wealthiest of the region’s abbeys, as it received much income from its vast estates. Now, it is the most ruined of the four, but the remains of the nave, western transept and Galilee porch are spectacular examples of Romanesque architecture. Jedburgh Abbey was established by Augustinian monks as a priory in 1138, before its status was raised to that of abbey in 1154. Alexander II of Scotland was married there. According to legend, a ghost appeared at the ceremony and foretold his death. He died the following year.