Melrose Abbey

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Site Type ABBEY
Canmore ID 55738
Site Number NT53SW 30
NGR NT 54848 34177
Council SCOTTISH BORDERS, THE
Parish MELROSE
Former Region BORDERS
Former District ETTRICK AND LAUDERDALE
Former County ROXBURGHSHIRE
Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Canmore Mapping
View this site on a map


Treasured Places - HLF funded

Founded in 1136 by David I, Melrose was the first Cistercian Abbey in Scotland. Following significant damage to the original stone church by English armies in 1322 and 1385, rebuilding produced one of Scotland's most important medieval buildings. The scale of the structure and quality of stonework can still be seen, although the Abbey is now partly ruinous.

Information from RCAHMS (SC) 31 July 2007
Cruft, K, Dunbar, J and Fawcett, R 2006

An image of this site has been nominated as one of Scotland's favourite archive images. For more information about the project visit http://www.treasuredplaces.org.uk


Architectural Notes

EXTERNAL REFERENCE: NATIONAL LIBRARY
'Builder's Journal and Architectural Record'.
May 5th 1897 Plans, elevations, section and details.

EXTERNAL REFERENCE: SCOTTISH RECORD OFFICE
Removal of lead from 'kirk and place' of Melrose.
Letter of arrestment.
1570 GD150/1467

September 2. Letter by [Thomas?] Ogilvie, Chesters, to the Duke of Buccleuch, acknowledging receipt of a gift of venison. Comments on demolition work carried out by the Duke's orders at Melrose Abbey. This has revealed somE fine sculpture previously hidden 'but I think ... you will think you have done enough not to endanger the old building ...'
1811 GD 224/628/40

(Undated) information in NMRS.

Notes and Activities Click to sort results by Event date ascending

Archaeological Notes

NT53SW 30 54848 34177

See also:
NT53SW 130 Commendator's House
NT53SW 131 Abbey Burial Ground

(NT 5486 3417) Remains of Abbey (NR)
(Cistercian - founded AD 1136) (NAT)
OS 6" map (1967)

The remains of Melrose Abbey, Cistercian, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, founded in 1136 and secularised in 1609. It suffered greatly during English invasions of the Borders, especially in 1322, 1385 and 1545 and from stone robbers after the Reformation, but enough survives to indicate the high quality of its medieval architecture and sculpture and modern excavations have revealed much of the ground plan.
D E Easson 1957

RCAHMS (1956) and Melrose Abbey Official Guide Book (1949) provide a full description. (J S Richardson and M Wood 1949).
Visited by OS (WDJ) 13 February 1957

The remains of Melrose Abbey are in good condition and in the care of the DoE. (J S Richardson and M Wood 1973)
Surveyed at 1:1250.
Visited by OS (TRG) 4 March 1977

NT 547 342 Two trial trenches were opened to the W of the abbey, trench 1 in the garden of Abbey House and trench 2 in the adjacent car park.
Trench 1 Below turf and topsoil were several areas of metalling, comprising sub-angular and rounded pebbles, these are thought to represent a road or courtyard, the patches of different metalling being repairs.
Trench 2 Below tarmac and c1m of levelling material, comprising mostly large rubble, were further areas of cobbling, including several small iron blooms and slag.
The levels of these various areas of metalling were almost identical and, although the evidence is not conclusive, they are thought to represent the same courtyard or road surface. None of these surfaces were excavated.
A Radley 1991.

NT 5486 3417 A large-scale area excavation was undertaken by Kirkdale Archaeology during August and September 1996 to define the area and extent of the chapter house, to the N of the N transept and sacristy. Previous excavation in the 1920s had uncovered elements of masonry foundations belonging to the E range, in which the chapter house was located, and a geophysical survey had revealed possible wall lines beneath the presently grassed area. The excavation revealed a sequence of three successive chapter houses, from the initial 12th-century example, through a 13th-century rebuilding and culminating in the 14th-century building. The latter two saw the extension of the chapter house eastwards, whereas the initial chapter house probably sat within the E range, and extended no further E than the E edge of the N transept of the 12th-century church.
Rebuilding work within the church nave in 1610 may have seen the total clearance of the chapter house remains, since very little masonry evidence was recorded. This is also due, in part, to the lack of deep foundations ? the chapter house was founded on a level platform of redeposited river clay, on shallow founds. Further, the presence of a series of modern land drains had disturbed and truncated the monastic remains considerably. Due to the extreme lack of masonry evidence, the successive plans of the chapter house were defined by the remains of floor deposits and masonry pillar bases, alongside eaves-drip drains to the exterior of the later two buildings. Evidence for an elaborate tiled floor was recovered, and it would appear that the latter two chapter houses were both furnished with such a floor. Tentative evidence for the form and dimensions of the decorated tiled floor relating to the third and final chapter house was also revealed.
In addition, a number of graves were uncovered, relating to all three of the chapter houses. The sequence of burials and floor levels was extremely difficult to perceive, not least due to the fact that later graves had been interred over the robbed-out remains of earlier inhumations. The Chronica de Mailros reveals that a number of burials were relocated from the W to the E end of the chapter house in 1240. Most of the graves had been disturbed, either by the 1921 excavation or previously, and the human remains were poorly preserved. No skeletal material was removed.
Of much public interest (but of less archaeological significance) was the find of a lead cylinder, containing a medieval, cone-shaped lead casket. Originally uncovered in 1921, this was thought to be the casket containing the heart of King Robert I, whose dying wish was that his heart be taken on Crusade, and thence returned to Scotland, to be buried at Melrose. It is likely that the heart was moved from a more suitable location (at the high altar) to the chapter house during the substantial rebuilding works of the 14th century.
Sponsor: Historic Scotland.
G Ewart and A Dunn 1996

NT 5486 3417 A watching brief was undertaken by Kirkdale Archaeology at Melrose Abbey during the laying of electricity cables in November 1995. Extensive archaeological material was uncovered in the small area affected, possibly including the great abbey drain, and a post-monastic building. All features were sealed by a series of road deposits, the earliest relating to access to the brewery.
Sponsor: Historic Scotland.
G Ewart and D Murray 1996

NT 548 341 Further excavations were undertaken at Melrose Abbey in August 1997, following on from work on the chapter house conducted in the summer of 1996 (Ewart and Murray 1996). The intention was to further investigate the area of the chapter house and also two anomalies noted during the geophysical survey conducted in 1996. Five trenches in total were opened. The first trench was opened over a sub-circular anomaly to the W of the lay brothers' range, shown on the 1st edition OS map as the site of a tree. A deep pit, possibly a tree hole, was revealed, cut through 19th-century terracing deposits. A further three trenches were opened over the bank to the S of the site of the chapter house, revealing a monastic roof-shed drain along the line of the former chapter house S wall. Further evidence for the pits revealed in 1996, representing the robbing of the Period I chapter house floor, was also uncovered, confirming their relationship to the monastic, rather than post-monastic, use of the site. The findings have enlarged the understanding of the floor evidence in that a convincing relationship between the drain, defining the S side of the chapter house before the extension of the church, and the 15th-century N transept was revealed. A further trench was opened over a linear anomaly beside the Lavatorium, proving to be a 1920s planting bed.
Sponsor: Historic Scotland
G Ewart and A Dunn 1997.

NT 5486 3417 A trench already excavated by the Historic Scotland squad, to the SW of the abbey, was recorded. A number of architectural fragments and hand-made floor tiles had been reported from this trench.
A surprisingly long sequence was observed in this trench, including a cobbled surface, a wall footing and the wall construction cut. Other deposits, all apparently post-dating the wall, may represent dumps of levelling material.
The architectural fragments are evidently from the abbey, the large number of hand-made floor tiles are likely to be from the same source.
Sponsor: Historic Scotland
D Murray 1998

NT 5486 3417 Excavations were carried out over December 1998 and January 1999 on the site of the presumed Lay Brothers Cloister. Ten trenches in total were excavated, nine within the gardens and a single trench in the area to the E of Abbey Street, against the interior W perimeter wall of the abbey itself. A magnetometer survey had revealed possible wall lines in the area of the gardens to the N of Abbey House. The magnetometer survey also indicated a possible wall line running E-W below the current Abbey Street, indicating a possible continuation further westwards of buildings presently confined to the enclosed abbey grounds.
Excavation around the lawn and flowerbeds of the ornamental garden located potential abbey masonry in one trench, situated on the E edge of the garden against the inside face of the Abbey Street W wall. The other seven trenches exposed a variety of drainage and landscape features, some of which may be early in date. The principal structure on the site was a large, rubble-filled trench running diagonally across the site from SW-NE, which may be a robbed-out wall line backfilled with rubble, but could also be the principal subsoil drain for the ornamental garden. An E-W cut located in two trenches could be the edge of a scarped terrace of monastic period, of which the general level of 86m OD would represent the upper terrace. It was noted that the only early finds were from below the edge of this terrace.
The single trench within the abbey grounds indicated that the 1m of later deposits found W of Abbey Street had been completely cleared away in building clearance works E of Abbey Street, with the result that the turf lies directly on the natural subsoil in this area. It was, however, noted that the level of the subsoil exactly matched the 86m OD found on the possible terrace W of Abbey Street, and appears to be part of the same levelled surface. Additionally it became clear that the column bases found in the chamber adjacent to Abbey Street do not continue to the W and that the late road wall at the W end of the columned chamber sits on the original W wall of the chamber. The range to the W of the abbey did not therefore continue beneath Abbey Street, as the magnetometer survey results may have suggested.
A small trench placed to the E of the gable end of Abbey House located masonry directly below the gravel driveway, indicating that the original guest house extended further W.
Sponsor: Historic Scotland
D Stewart and A Dunn 1999

NT 5486 3417 A watching brief was carried out at Melrose Abbey (NMRS NT53SW 30) in March 2000 during a programme of cable trenching. The work consisted of excavating a narrow, 300mm deep trench over a distance of 91.4m, externally and within the abbey church. The whole of the trench was hand-dug, with archaeological monitoring covering the section of excavations within the church.
It is known that the interior of the church was extensively cleared and landscaped in 1923, and presumably much of the levelling material located in the trench sections would date from that period. A soil layer located throughout the church might be an early natural accumulation of soil over a thin layer of demolition debris, which was in turn sealed over in the 1920s by red sandstone waste material.
Sponsor: Historic Scotland
D Stewart 2000

NT 5486 3417 The excavation of wall foundation trenches was monitored in June 2000 in advance of a new service room extension to the S gable of Orchard Cottage. The general area has seen several episodes of archaeological assessment and recording, none of which have revealed any structural remains associated with the abbey and its assumed precinct buildings. The present Orchard Cottage (dated to 1998) appears to fall within Capt. Steadman's Orchard, as shown on John Wood's 1826 plan of Melrose and Gattonside.
The finds from the upper deposits suggest cultivation towards the end of the 19th century, but the generally clean aspect of the lower fill suggests redeposited natural soils, imported to form the garden once the boundary walls were in place. The walls themselves do not appear to be part of the earliest settlement of the abbey (12th to late 14th century) and may be better regarded as part of a later period of land use, where extensive gardens and orchards were laid out at a time when the 13th-century abbey community had been reduced in size and the abbey plan rationalised.
G Ewart 2000.

NT 548 341 A watching brief was maintained throughout groundbreaking works associated with the installation of a new
gas mains in Melrose between November 2004 and January 2005. The work was conducted within the Scheduled area of Melrose Abbey (NT53SW 30). Excavations for the gas mains took place on Cloisters Road, Abbey Street, St Mary's Road, and within the grounds of Abbey House (Abbey Place).
The excavations on Cloisters Road revealed a number of walls that correspond in plan to the abbey remains on the N and S side of Cloisters Road. These include the great hall, the refectory and the parts of the cloisters complex. As well as these known buildings, two walls that do not relate to any of the visible features in the abbey grounds were uncovered at the W end of Cloisters Road.
Excavations on Abbey Street revealed sections of standing walls and a probable medieval culvert. No archaeological features were uncovered during the excavations on St Mary's Road or Abbey Place.
Archive to be deposited in NMRS.
C O'Connell 2005

1306 to 1329
 PUBLICATION ACCOUNT

Notes The year 2014 sees the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, in which the army of Robert I of Scotland defeated that of Edward II of England. The battle marked a major turning point in the long, drawn-out struggle of the Wars of Independence.

The Wars have had a lasting influence upon all the nations of the United Kingdom and upon the national story. Each age has seen fit to commemorate the events in its own way: through the perpetuation of the genuine historical associations of buildings and places and also through the endowment of others with improbable or fanciful traditions. Where past generations allowed its historic buildings to decay and disappear, later generations began to value and actively preserve these for their associations. Where an event lacked a tangible reminder, as at Kinghorn where Alexander III was killed in a riding accident, a commemorative monument would be erected to act as a focus. The Wars of Independence predate the fashion for accurate portraiture: the weathered, generic military effigy of Sir James Douglas is one of the few to survive in Scotland. Later centuries saw a need and supplied it by a crowd of images of its historic heroes, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, each depicted according to contemporary taste and imagination. The opening of the new heritage centre at Bannockburn takes this into a new dimension, through the use of three-dimensional, digital technology.

RCAHMS Collections hold many images of these buildings and locations from battlefields, castles and churches, to the many commemorative monuments erected in later years. This gallery highlights a selection of these, including antiquarian sketches, photographic and drawn surveys, and architectural designs.


Further details

1866
 PHOTOGRAPHIC RECORD

Notes Photographs of Melrose Abbey 1866 likely taken by William Donaldson Clark. Collection held at RCAHMS

Further details

1900 to 1905
 STANDING BUILDING RECORDING

Notes Recording undertaken by the National Art Survey of Scotland.

Further details

1900 to 1920
 PHOTOGRAPHIC RECORD

Further details

1920
 PHOTOGRAPHIC RECORD

Further details

1921
 EXCAVATION

Further details

17 April 1924
 FIELD VISIT

Further details

1 September 1925 to 30 September 1925
 FIELD VISIT

Further details

1929
 PHOTOGRAPHIC RECORD

Further details

1932
 MEASURED SURVEY

Further details

1 January 1949 to 31 December 1951
 EXCAVATION

Further details

1952
 PROJECT

Notes Photography and drawing undertaken for the publication of an article in the PSAS.

Further details

1955
 FIELD VISIT

Further details

13 June 1955
 FIELD VISIT

Further details

12 October 1955
 FIELD VISIT

Further details

13 February 1957
 FIELD VISIT

Further details

29 December 1959
 FIELD VISIT

Further details

1960 to 1970
 PHOTOGRAPHIC RECORD

Further details

4 March 1977
 FIELD VISIT

Notes The remains of Melrose Abbey are in good condition and in the care of the DoE. (J S Richardson and M Wood 1973)
Surveyed at 1:1250.

Further details

1978
 AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Project 1978 RCAHMS Aerial Survey

Further details

1982
 AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Project 1982 RCAHMS Aerial Survey

Further details

1991
 TRIAL TRENCH

Notes NT 547 342 Two trial trenches were opened to the W of the abbey, trench 1 in the garden of Abbey House and trench 2 in the adjacent car park.
Trench 1 Below turf and topsoil were several areas of metalling, comprising sub-angular and rounded pebbles, these are thought to represent a road or courtyard, the patches of different metalling being repairs.
Trench 2 Below tarmac and c1m of levelling material, comprising mostly large rubble, were further areas of cobbling, including several small iron blooms and slag.
The levels of these various areas of metalling were almost identical and, although the evidence is not conclusive, they are thought to represent the same courtyard or road surface. None of these surfaces were excavated.

Further details

9 August 1995
 AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Project 1995 RCAHMS Aerial Survey

Further details

1 November 1995 to 30 November 1995
 WATCHING BRIEF

Notes NT 5486 3417 A watching brief was undertaken by Kirkdale Archaeology at Melrose Abbey during the laying of electricity cables in November 1995. Extensive archaeological material was uncovered in the small area affected, possibly including the great abbey drain, and a post-monastic building. All features were sealed by a series of road deposits, the earliest relating to access to the brewery.

Further details

9 July 1996
 AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Project 1996 RCAHMS Aerial Survey

Further details

1 August 1996 to 30 September 1996
 EXCAVATION

Notes NT 5486 3417 A large-scale area excavation was undertaken by Kirkdale Archaeology during August and September 1996 to define the area and extent of the chapter house, to the N of the N transept and sacristy. Previous excavation in the 1920s had uncovered elements of masonry foundations belonging to the E range, in which the chapter house was located, and a geophysical survey had revealed possible wall lines beneath the presently grassed area. The excavation revealed a sequence of three successive chapter houses, from the initial 12th-century example, through a 13th-century rebuilding and culminating in the 14th-century building. The latter two saw the extension of the chapter house eastwards, whereas the initial chapter house probably sat within the E range, and extended no further E than the E edge of the N transept of the 12th-century church.
Rebuilding work within the church nave in 1610 may have seen the total clearance of the chapter house remains, since very little masonry evidence was recorded. This is also due, in part, to the lack of deep foundations ? the chapter house was founded on a level platform of redeposited river clay, on shallow founds. Further, the presence of a series of modern land drains had disturbed and truncated the monastic remains considerably. Due to the extreme lack of masonry evidence, the successive plans of the chapter house were defined by the remains of floor deposits and masonry pillar bases, alongside eaves-drip drains to the exterior of the later two buildings. Evidence for an elaborate tiled floor was recovered, and it would appear that the latter two chapter houses were both furnished with such a floor. Tentative evidence for the form and dimensions of the decorated tiled floor relating to the third and final chapter house was also revealed.
In addition, a number of graves were uncovered, relating to all three of the chapter houses. The sequence of burials and floor levels was extremely difficult to perceive, not least due to the fact that later graves had been interred over the robbed-out remains of earlier inhumations. The Chronica de Mailros reveals that a number of burials were relocated from the W to the E end of the chapter house in 1240. Most of the graves had been disturbed, either by the 1921 excavation or previously, and the human remains were poorly preserved. No skeletal material was removed.
Of much public interest (but of less archaeological significance) was the find of a lead cylinder, containing a medieval, cone-shaped lead casket. Originally uncovered in 1921, this was thought to be the casket containing the heart of King Robert I, whose dying wish was that his heart be taken on Crusade, and thence returned to Scotland, to be buried at Melrose. It is likely that the heart was moved from a more suitable location (at the high altar) to the chapter house during the substantial rebuilding works of the 14th century.

Further details

1 August 1997 to 31 August 1997
 EXCAVATION

Notes NT 548 341 Further excavations were undertaken at Melrose Abbey in August 1997, following on from work on the chapter house conducted in the summer of 1996 (Ewart and Murray 1996). The intention was to further investigate the area of the chapter house and also two anomalies noted during the geophysical survey conducted in 1996. Five trenches in total were opened. The first trench was opened over a sub-circular anomaly to the W of the lay brothers' range, shown on the 1st edition OS map as the site of a tree. A deep pit, possibly a tree hole, was revealed, cut through 19th-century terracing deposits. A further three trenches were opened over the bank to the S of the site of the chapter house, revealing a monastic roof-shed drain along the line of the former chapter house S wall. Further evidence for the pits revealed in 1996, representing the robbing of the Period I chapter house floor, was also uncovered, confirming their relationship to the monastic, rather than post-monastic, use of the site. The findings have enlarged the understanding of the floor evidence in that a convincing relationship between the drain, defining the S side of the chapter house before the extension of the church, and the 15th-century N transept was revealed. A further trench was opened over a linear anomaly beside the Lavatorium, proving to be a 1920s planting bed.

Further details

1998
 FIELD VISIT

Notes NT 5486 3417 A trench already excavated by the Historic Scotland squad, to the SW of the abbey, was recorded. A number of architectural fragments and hand-made floor tiles had been reported from this trench.
A surprisingly long sequence was observed in this trench, including a cobbled surface, a wall footing and the wall construction cut. Other deposits, all apparently post-dating the wall, may represent dumps of levelling material.
The architectural fragments are evidently from the abbey, the large number of hand-made floor tiles are likely to be from the same source.

Further details

1 March 1998 to 31 March 1998
 WATCHING BRIEF

Notes NT 5486 3417 A watching brief was carried out at Melrose Abbey (NMRS NT53SW 30) in March 2000 during a programme of cable trenching. The work consisted of excavating a narrow, 300mm deep trench over a distance of 91.4m, externally and within the abbey church. The whole of the trench was hand-dug, with archaeological monitoring covering the section of excavations within the church.
It is known that the interior of the church was extensively cleared and landscaped in 1923, and presumably much of the levelling material located in the trench sections would date from that period. A soil layer located throughout the church might be an early natural accumulation of soil over a thin layer of demolition debris, which was in turn sealed over in the 1920s by red sandstone waste material.

Further details

4 June 1998
 AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Project 1998 RCAHMS Aerial Survey

Further details

1 December 1998 to 31 January 1999
 EXCAVATION

Notes NT 5486 3417 Excavations were carried out over December 1998 and January 1999 on the site of the presumed Lay Brothers Cloister. Ten trenches in total were excavated, nine within the gardens and a single trench in the area to the E of Abbey Street, against the interior W perimeter wall of the abbey itself. A magnetometer survey had revealed possible wall lines in the area of the gardens to the N of Abbey House. The magnetometer survey also indicated a possible wall line running E-W below the current Abbey Street, indicating a possible continuation further westwards of buildings presently confined to the enclosed abbey grounds.
Excavation around the lawn and flowerbeds of the ornamental garden located potential abbey masonry in one trench, situated on the E edge of the garden against the inside face of the Abbey Street W wall. The other seven trenches exposed a variety of drainage and landscape features, some of which may be early in date. The principal structure on the site was a large, rubble-filled trench running diagonally across the site from SW-NE, which may be a robbed-out wall line backfilled with rubble, but could also be the principal subsoil drain for the ornamental garden. An E-W cut located in two trenches could be the edge of a scarped terrace of monastic period, of which the general level of 86m OD would represent the upper terrace. It was noted that the only early finds were from below the edge of this terrace.
The single trench within the abbey grounds indicated that the 1m of later deposits found W of Abbey Street had been completely cleared away in building clearance works E of Abbey Street, with the result that the turf lies directly on the natural subsoil in this area. It was, however, noted that the level of the subsoil exactly matched the 86m OD found on the possible terrace W of Abbey Street, and appears to be part of the same levelled surface. Additionally it became clear that the column bases found in the chamber adjacent to Abbey Street do not continue to the W and that the late road wall at the W end of the columned chamber sits on the original W wall of the chamber. The range to the W of the abbey did not therefore continue beneath Abbey Street, as the magnetometer survey results may have suggested.
A small trench placed to the E of the gable end of Abbey House located masonry directly below the gravel driveway, indicating that the original guest house extended further W.

Further details

1 June 2000 to 30 June 2000
 WATCHING BRIEF

Notes NT 5486 3417 The excavation of wall foundation trenches was monitored in June 2000 in advance of a new service room extension to the S gable of Orchard Cottage. The general area has seen several episodes of archaeological assessment and recording, none of which have revealed any structural remains associated with the abbey and its assumed precinct buildings. The present Orchard Cottage (dated to 1998) appears to fall within Capt. Steadman's Orchard, as shown on John Wood's 1826 plan of Melrose and Gattonside.
The finds from the upper deposits suggest cultivation towards the end of the 19th century, but the generally clean aspect of the lower fill suggests redeposited natural soils, imported to form the garden once the boundary walls were in place. The walls themselves do not appear to be part of the earliest settlement of the abbey (12th to late 14th century) and may be better regarded as part of a later period of land use, where extensive gardens and orchards were laid out at a time when the 13th-century abbey community had been reduced in size and the abbey plan rationalised.

Further details

1 November 2004 to 31 January 2005
 WATCHING BRIEF

Notes NT 548 341 A watching brief was maintained throughout groundbreaking works associated with the installation of a new
gas mains in Melrose between November 2004 and January 2005. The work was conducted within the Scheduled area of Melrose Abbey (NT53SW 30). Excavations for the gas mains took place on Cloisters Road, Abbey Street, St Mary's Road, and within the grounds of Abbey House (Abbey Place).
The excavations on Cloisters Road revealed a number of walls that correspond in plan to the abbey remains on the N and S side of Cloisters Road. These include the great hall, the refectory and the parts of the cloisters complex. As well as these known buildings, two walls that do not relate to any of the visible features in the abbey grounds were uncovered at the W end of Cloisters Road.
Excavations on Abbey Street revealed sections of standing walls and a probable medieval culvert. No archaeological features were uncovered during the excavations on St Mary's Road or Abbey Place.
Archive to be deposited in NMRS.

Further details

20 February 2007
 AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Project 2007 RCAHMS Aerial Survey

Further details

2008
 WATCHING BRIEF

Notes NT 54850 34121 A watching brief was kept on the excavation of two burials in the Abbey in 2008. Plot one revealed very shallow interments at 0.5m deep, which limited the depth of the headstone. This area was levelled in 1890 and this probably accounts for the shallowness of the interments. Several pieces of Ploughlands sandstones were recorded, as were pieces of Caithness slab. Three pieces show signs of having been subjected to fire. No significant archaeology was found.
NT 54923 34136 Plot two revealed several pieces of worked Ploughlands sandstone from the Abbey, clearly showing tooling marks, one is from a sculpted piece. One whetstone was recovered from a depth of 0.625m. No significant archaeological features were recorded.
Archive: Artefacts – James Crawford
Funder: Crawford Family, Melrose
James Crawford

Further details

18 May 2009
 WATCHING BRIEF

Notes NT 548 342 (centred on) Six trenches were excavated in and around Melrose Abbey on 18 May 2009 to allow the installation of new information panels. Although there were no datable finds, some features seen were thought to relate to a period of levelling and landscaping prior to the Abbey’s construction, while others may have been remnants of paths or surfaces associated with the earliest phases of construction and occupation of the Abbey. In addition, more recent deposits and features were seen, probably the result of landscaping and consolidation from the Victorian period onward.
Archive: RCAHMS (intended)
Funder: Historic Scotland
Alan Radley – Kirkdale Archaeology

Further details

 
Books and References

Baldwin, J (1997) Edinburgh, Lothians and the Borders, Exploring Scotland's Heritage series Edinburgh
Page(s): 158-9 No. 76 Held at RCAHMS A.1.4.HER

Baldwin, J R (1985) Exploring Scotland's heritage: Lothian and the Borders, Exploring Scotland's heritage series Edinburgh
Page(s): 116-17, no. 67 Held at RCAHMS A.1.4.HER

Barret, M (nd) Scottish Monastries of Old,
Page(s): 129-42, 144, 158, 207

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Charity SC026749