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Alternative Names Manor Of Smailholm; Smalham Spettal
Canmore ID 57188
Site Number NT63NW 8
NGR NT 645 363
Former Region BORDERS
Former District ROXBURGH
Datum OSGB36 - NGR
NGR Desc NT c. 645 363

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Accessing Scotland's Past

Early documents indicate that a medieval hospital once stood near Smailholm. The site of the hospital is thought to lie to the west of the modern village of Smailholm, but since no trace of the hospital has yet been identified, its exact location remains uncertain.

The medieval hospital at Smailholm was founded before 1429, when the Pope confirmed a grant of the hospital made by Archibald, Earl of Douglas and Lord Smailholm, to the Abbey of Dryburgh. As well as caring for the sick, the hospital would have provided for the old and the destitute.

A historical document lists 'Smalholm Spettal' amongst the places burned by the English during an incursion which took place in 1542. Like so many religious sites in the Borders, the hospital at Smailholm had to pay a heavy price for the hostile relations between the Scots and the English, which persisted throughout the later medieval period and beyond.

Text prepared by RCAHMS as part of the Accessing Scotland's Past project at

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Archaeological Notes

NT63NW 8 c. 645 363

There was a hospital within the Manor of Smailholm, the property of the abbey and convent of Dryburgh. (Information from Liber S Marie de Dryburgh 1848).
A Jeffrey 1864.

'Smalham Spettal' appears in a list of places burned by the English in 1542. Mentions of Smailholm Spittal in rentals of Dryburgh Abbey c1540 onwards, and "elsewhere as late as 17th. March, 1637, are to land so designated."
D E Easson 1957.

No further information was found regarding this hospital or its site.
Visited by OS (WDJ), 21 September 1962.

Books and References

Cachart, Hall and Middleton, R, D W and M (1999) Gazetteer of medieval hospital sites in Scottish Borders and Fife Council areas, [S.l.]
Page(s): 43 Held at RCAHMS E.13.1.CAT

Cowan and Easson, I B and D E (1976) 'Medieval religious houses, Scotland: with an appendix on the houses in the Isle of Man', London
Page(s): 92 Held at RCAHMS C.3.2.COW

Cowan and Easson, I B and D E (1976) Medieval religious houses in Scotland: with an appendix on the houses in the Isle of Man, London
Page(s): 156 Held at RCAHMS C.3.2.EAS.R

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Charity SC026749