Dryburgh Abbey was founded in 1150 by Hugh de Moreville, High Constable of Scotland and one of the most powerful men in the fledgling Scottish nation. Despite his obvious piety (he enrolled as a novice in his old age) his son was one of the murderers of Archbishop Thomas à Becket at Canterbury in 1170. The White Canons of the Premonstratensian Order, who followed the rule of Saint Augustine, arrived at Dryburgh from Alnwick in 1150, and within two years had consecrated the church of St Mary of Dryburgh.
It is the only foundation of this order to have survived to any substantial degree. Throughout the 14th, 15th, and even the 16th centuries, Dryburgh Abbey suffered terribly at the hands of the English. Despite these periods of unrest, the canons seemed to get through their daily round of prayer and contemplation. Monastic life at Dryburgh Abbey came to end at The Reformation in 1560.
However, the two chapels in the north transept of the abbey church soon became the burial chambers for members of the local nobility, and it is for this reason that they have remained in such good order. Lying in this hallowed environment are Sir Walter Scott and Field-Marshal Haig. The buildings along the east range are reputed to be the finest in Scotland, and the Chapter House is particularly splendid. A really superb entrance leads down to a huge vaulted chamber, that would once have been colourfully painted. Across the site are other fragmentary remains and foundations of domestic buildings, including the west wall and rose window of the refectory, and evidence of the 16th century gatehouse.
Dryburgh was built away from any township, in the bend of the river Tweed. I would recommend this tranquil, serene setting to anyone as it makes the site a most attractive place to visit, especially in the Spring, when crocuses and snowdrops bring great colour to the area.
Julian has written articles on Middle Eastern and European architecture for the US magazine Skipping Stones. He has written travel articles that were published in The Toronto Globe and Mail, Fate Magazine, National Catholic Register, and Northwest Travel. Julian has also written articles for the In The Know Traveler, Go Nomad, InTravelmag, and Go World Travel websites. He has also taken many photographs that have appeared in travel guides by National Geographic, Thomas Cook and The Rough Guides. Examples of his work can be found at http://www.photographersdirect.com/sellers/details.asp?portfolio=13734