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Tour Melrose Abbey

Melrose Abbey

Melrose Abbey, Melrose, Borders, Scotland. Photographic Print of Melrose Abbey from Robert Harding.

Melrose Abbey, Scotland’s first Cistercian abbey, was
founded by David I around 1136. It was repeatedly
wrecked during the Wars of Independence, but most of
its remains are of an elegance unique in Scotland, far
finer than the usual Cistercian model. The ruin is
probably Scotland’s most famous, and most of the
remains date back to the 15th century.

Richard II razed the abbey to the ground in 1385, and
rebuilding was undertaken to a very ornate English
design. Later a Parisian mason called John Morrow
introduced more flamboyant stonework, including
flying buttresses decorated with statuettes (on the roof
there is a figure of a pig playing the bagpipes!).

Part of the nave was used as a parish church as late as
the 19th century. Unusually for Scotland, the church is
totally vaulted and the cloisters face north.

Melrose Abbey is famous as the burial-place of Robert the Bruce’s heart, of Alexander II and of Michael Scott, the 13th century philosopher who became known as ‘the wizard of the North’.

The heart of Robert the Bruce is buried in a lead casket here. A strange chill has been reported around the 13th century grave of the polymath and wizard Michael Scott. The abbey is also said to be haunted by a variety of monks. One of whom returned from the dead as a vampire. It was said that he would rise from his grave at Melrose Abbey and feed at the local nunnery. One night, a brave monk kept vigil at his tomb and when the vampire monk climbed out to feed he chopped his head off with an axe. This killed the vampire monk but his evil presence was thought to remain at the abbey for some time. Some say they can still feel his presence.

If you would like to tour Melrose Abbey as part of a highly personalized small group tour of my native Scotland please e-mail me:


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