Jedburgh Abbey, Jedburgh, Scotland

Jedburgh Abbey, a ruined Augustinian abbey which was founded in the 12th century, is situated in the town of Jedburgh, in the Scottish Borders 10 miles (16 km) north of the border with England at Carter Bar.

Jedburgh Abbey lies on south facing slopes on the north bank of the Jed Water, close to the centre of Jedburgh. It was founded, initially as a priory, by King David I in 1138. His intention was partly to demonstrate to the English that the Scots could build on a grand scale so close to the oft disputed border between the two countries. In doing so he was tempting both fate and the English: and the result was not always a happy one for the abbey.

Made from local stone, it took over 100 years to complete the abbey. In the same century as it was completed, the devastation of the “Wars of Independence” swept through the Borders (and beyond) as King Edward I and his successors regarded destroying castles and abbeys alike as ways of demonstrating who was in charge. Like the other Border abbeys of Kelso, Melrose and Dryburgh, Jedburgh was badly damaged and rebuilt several times. The final crunch came in the 1540s when King Henry VIII demanded that his son, the future Edward VI of England (aged 10) should marry Mary Queen of Scots (then aged 5) – a time known as the “Rough Wooing”. In 1547 the English army defeated the Scots at Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, near Edinburgh. It is estimated that 15,000 Scots were killed, 1500 captured and English losses amounted to only 500.

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