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Scottish Borders Abbeys

The Scottish Borders are home to a number of ruined, yet magnificent Abbeys, which were all founded in the 12th Century. The best known four are Jedburgh, Melrose, Kelso and Dryburgh Abbey. The story of the Border Abbeys is one from building, to attacks, and then rebuilding. But most of all it’s a story of various orders of Monks who represented their order and made the journey from the European continent through England and ended up in the Scottish Borders to live in their holy abbeys and practice their religion.


Abbey St, Melrose TD6 9LG

The best preserved and best known abbey is Melrose Abbey, which was founded in 1136 by Cistercian monks, on the request of King David I of Scotland. It was headed by the Abbot or Commendator of Melrose. Today the abbey is maintained by Historic Scotland. The ruins of Melrose are widely considered among the most beautiful of religious houses in the United Kingdom, being especially notable for a wealth of well-preserved figure-sculpture, and its architecture is considered to be some of the finest in Scotland. The east end of the abbey was completed in 1146. Other buildings in the complex were added over the next 50 years.

The abbey was built in the form of a St. John’s cross. A considerable portion of the abbey is now in ruins, though a structure dating from 1590 is maintained as a museum open to the public. Alexander II and other Scottish kings and nobles are buried at the abbey. The embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce is also said to rest on the abbey’s grounds, while the rest of his body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey. It is known for its many carved decorative details, including likenesses of saints, dragons, gargoyles and plants. On one of the abbey’s stairways is an inscription by John Morow, a master mason, that says: “Be halde to ye hende” (Keep in mind, the end, your salvation), which has become the motto of the town of Melrose.

In 1385 the Abbey was burned by the army of Richard II of England as he forced the army of Robert II of Scotland back to Edinburgh. It was rebuilt over a period of about 100 years-construction was still unfinished when James IV visited in 1504. In 1544, as English armies raged across Scotland in an effort to force the Scots to allow the infant Mary, Queen of Scots to marry the son of Henry VIII, the Abbey was again badly damaged and was never fully repaired. This led to its decline as a working monastery.


4/5 Abbey Bridgend, Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, TD8 6JQ

Jedburgh Abbey was established by Augustinian monks, first as a priory and its status was raised to abbey in 1154. The abbey was founded by King David I in 1138 to demonstrate his power. The Augustinians monks were linked to the royal house and Jedburgh was no exception. Alexander II of Scotland was married in the abbey in 1285 and according to legend a ghost appeared at the marriage ceremony foretelling Alexander’s death. Alexander died in 1286, a year after the alleged premonition. This Abbey church has many interesting architectural features including a rose window. Situated on a prominent rise in the town of Jedburgh it is another remarkable ruin worth visiting.

Jedburgh Abbey from Steven Boughen on Vimeo.


Kelso, Scottish Borders TD5 7JD

Kelso Abbey was founded in the 12th century by David I and was the oldest and the wealthiest of the four abbeys and gained much of its income from its vast estates in the Border country. It suffered from wars with England and was severely damaged in 1545. Situated in the middle of Kelso Town, it is the focus and main attraction of the region and its ruins are well preserved.


Dryburgh, St Boswells, Melrose TD6 0RQ

Dryburgh Abbey was established in 1150 by an order of Premonstratensian monks. These white-robed monks, who had their religious roots in France and Northumberland, lived a life of simplicity. Set on the bend of the River Tweed, Dryburgh is considered the most evocative monastic ruin in Scotland. Sir Walter Scott is buried here in the North Transcept of the Church. The Cloister and Chapter House are extremely well preserved. A spiral staircase leads to the top for a dramatic view of the Sacristy. The peaceful setting of Dryburgh Abbey acted as the ideal secluded spot.


Historic Scotland Sites Re-Open

“We are starting a phased reopening of some of our sites across Scotland.

After what has felt like history’s longest wait, the easing of certain lockdown restrictions means you and your family can now grab a well earned change of scenery at a selection of our safe and secure sites.

It’s a pleasure to welcome you back and we would like to thank you for your patience and perseverance in staying home during this pandemic.

When you arrive at any of our reopening sites, we’ll need to work together to make sure we are all following the rules and staying protected.

So we’ve laid out what these measures will be below. Just so you know what to expect when you get here.

See you soon.”

See more at Historic Environment Scotland – Re-Opening


Website: https://www.historicenvironment.scot

Facebook: www.facebook.com/HistoricEnvScotland/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HistEnvScot

Edinburgh Castle Reopens

Edinburgh castle has re-opened for visitors.

Edinburgh’s iconic landmark, Edinburgh Castle has reopened! Home to Edinburgh’s oldest building, St Margaret’s Chapel, the castle has a rich and exciting history and is definitely worth a visit if you are in Edinburgh.


(Click on image below)

Highland Wildlife Park – Baby Boom

Highland Wildlife Park announces spate of new born animals.

“Baby boom at the park – We had an amazing 14 new arrivals in May:

7 markhor kids, 3 Japanese macaque babies, 2 forest reindeer, 1 female Bukhara deer, 1 Przewalski’s horse foal.

(click ion image below)

Scotland’s Secret Bunker

Hidden beneath a Scottish Farmhouse, a tunnel leads to Scotland’s Secret Underground Nuclear Command Bunker.

Scotland’s best kept secret for over 40 years, Hidden beneath an innocent Scottish farmhouse, a tunnel leads to, Scotland’s Secret Bunker. 24,000 square feet of Secret accommodation. The size of two football pitches, one on top of another, On two levels 100 feet underground. Had there been a Nuclear War, this is where Scotland, would have been Governed, from within. Discover the twilight world of the Government Cold War.

Address: Crown Buildings Troywood KY16 8QH

Website: www.secretbunker.co.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/secretbunker/

Twitter: twitter.com/Secretbunker

Declaration of Arbroath Anniversary

April the 6th 2020 marks the 700th Anniversary of The Declaration of Arbroath and the claim of right of an Independent and sovereign Scotland.

ANNIVERSARY FILM (Charlie Stuart / Lesley Riddoch)

Documentary celebrating the Declaration of Arbroath on the 700th anniversary 6th April 2020

*This video is not hosted on this website – it is a third party embed code and the actual source resides on vimeo.com

The Declaration of Arbroath from Charlie Stuart on Vimeo.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cherlieboy

Lesley Riddoch: https://www.lesleyriddoch.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LesleyRiddoch

Read Lesley’s article on the anniversary and video on her website: https://www.lesleyriddoch.com/2020/04/declaration-the-letter-of-liberty.html

“2020 marks the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, widely regarded as Scotland’s most iconic document; probably the first declaration in medieval Europe to promote the idea that people are above Kings, that a nation is its people and that any nation has the right to self determination.

Written in 1320, its evocative sentiments about freedom and independence have given it special distinction, not just in Scotland, but around the world.

But the coronavirus has effectively cancelled all live celebrations of the event in Arbroath and across Scotland, and sadly no UK broadcasters have scheduled any significant TV coverage, though Billy Kay has produced a three-part series for Radio Scotland….”

**This video is not hosted on this website – it is a third party embed code and the actual source resides on youtube.com


From Wikipedia;
The Declaration of Arbroath is a declaration of Scottish independence, made in 1320. It is in the form of a letter in Latin submitted to Pope John XXII, dated 6 April 1320, intended to confirm Scotland’s status as an independent, sovereign state.

Generally believed to have been written in the Arbroath Abbey by Bernard of Kilwinning, then Chancellor of Scotland and Abbot of Arbroath, and sealed by fifty-one magnates and nobles, the letter is the sole survivor of three created at the time. The others were a letter from the King of Scots, Robert I, and a letter from four Scottish bishops which all made similar points.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON WIKIPEDIA: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_Arbroath




Images Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Declaration_of_Arbroath



Wars of Scottish Independence:

The Scots Magazine – The Declaration of Arbroath’s Influence:

National records Scotland:

Robert The Bruce:

Visit Scotland – Robert The Bruce:




History of Scotland (Wikipedia):

Timeline of Scottish History: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Scottish_history


You Tube Videos on The Declaration of Arbroath:


Scottish Government July 5th 2016:

Five Sisters Zoo – West Lothian

Five Sisters Zoo is home to a wonderful variety of of mammals, birds and reptiles from around the world. Get up close to rescued circus bears and lions, wolves and lynx, gibbons, meerkats, monkeys, otters, crocodiles, owls, lemurs and many more. Walk through areas and large indoor Reptile House.

The role of Five Sisters Zoo is to support the welfare of all our animals and to encourage educational and fun days out for all ages – so for a day out with a difference come along and meet our fascinating collection!

Five Sisters Zoo is home to over 160 different animal species from around the world. Get up close to rescued circus bears and lions, wolves and lynx, gibbons, meerkats, monkeys, otters, owls, lemurs and many more. COVID-19 safety measures have now been put in place. These include new hand sanitizing stations, one way systems around busier areas of the park and a brand new online booking system (all tickets must be booked online in advance).


Five Sisters Zoo on Visit Scotland: https://www.visitscotland.com/info/see-do/five-sisters-zoo-p256211


Riverside Museum of Transport

Riverside Museum is Glasgow’s award-winning transport museum. With over 3,000 objects on display there’s everything from skateboards to locomotives, paintings to prams and cars to a Stormtrooper.

Get hands on with our interactive displays. Walk through Glasgow streets and visit the shops, bar and subway. Climb aboard a train, tram or bus and get a real feel for old public transport. Discover Glasgow’s rich shipbuilding history, explore the car and motorbike walls and help put out a fire with our interactive fire engine.

There are over 90 large touch screens panels full of images, memories and films that tell the fascinating stories behind the objects. There really is something for all ages to enjoy at the Riverside Museum.