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The Border Abbeys
Dryburgh Abbey

Dryburgh Abbey

Dryburgh Abbey Dryburgh Abbey Dryburgh Abbey Dryburgh Abbey

Founded 1150 by Hugh de Moreville

DRYBURGH was the last of the Border Abbeys to be founded, and the only one not created under the instructions of David I. It was the Constable of Scotland, Hugh de Moreville, who invited the Premonstratensian Order to build at Dryburgh.

Premonstratensians were known as White Canons, because they were regular canons - priests rather than monks - who wore white. They focused on a cloistered and contemplative life - hence the location of Dryburgh Abbey, a secluded loop in the River Tweed, far from the madding crowd.

Dryburgh's influence was limited, but as a "beacon of prayer in a sinful world" that's to be expected. There were probably never more than 25 canons at the abbey.

It was first attacked by English forces in 1322, when it was fired and rendered unusable for a time. Further attacks followed in 1385, 1523 and 1544. The latter event seems to have dampened the ardour to rebuild.

When the Reformation came there were about a dozen canons left. After their deaths the abbey was abandoned and passed into the possession of the Earl of Mar. In 1780 the Earl of Buchan bought it and set about preserving its remains while using it as a decorative feature in a giant garden. Buchan is buried in the abbey, as is Sir Walter Scott, who thought the ruin one of the most romantic in the world. Field Marshall Earl Haig, the principal British soldier of the First World War, is also buried at Dryburgh.

This text is abbreviated from the articles that appear on ScotlandPast's CD-Rom digital guide "The Border Abbeys". The guide also features 360 degree panoramic images, photo galleries, video introductions, 3D interactive graphics and an at-a-glance history timeline. The CD, which runs on PC and Mac with most Internet browsers, is available for 8.99 from 2003 ScotlandPast. All rights reserved.

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