Dryburgh Scottish Borders
Dryburgh Abbey Scottish Borders
Dryburgh Abbey, was founded on 10th November 1150 by Hugh de Moreville for Premonstratensian canons. Hugh de Moreville from Cumbria became lord high constable of Scotland and owned a large part of Scotland.
Dryburgh Abbey was burned on many occasions and fell into ruin circa 1580. In 1785 the 11th Earl of Buchan purchased the ruins of Dryburgh Abbey and turned it into a romantic ruin. His tomb where he is buried is in the Abbey.
Dryburgh Abbey The Romantic Ruins
King James obelisk Dryburgh Abbey
The obelisk erected in the gardens of Dryburgh Abbey is a memorial to King James I, king James II and Hugh de Moreville. Erected by the right Hon David Steuart Erskine the Earl of Buchan owner of Dryburgh Abbey in 1794.
The carvings of King James I and King James II are shown below. The inscription on another side reads;
Erected by the Right Hon David Stewart Erskine Earl of Buchan To The Honour of His Ancestors 1794.
The Earl died at Dryburgh. The 19th April 1829 aged 87¼ years entombed in the Old Abbey.
The Figures were cut by George Burnet in Newstead and the lettering by D. Forson in Dryburgh By Order Of Sir David Erskine.
King James II of Scotland 1430-1460
King James I of Scotland 1394 – 1437
Earl Douglas Haig (1861 – 1928)
Earl Douglas Haig died 1928 and is buried in Dryburgh Abbey close to the tomb of Sir Walter Scott. His tomb stone has his regimental insignia and a cross with the inscriptions. Douglas Haig born in Edinburgh June 19th 1861 departed out of this world Sunday Jan 29th 1928.
Douglas Haig’s Grave Dryburgh Abbey
David Steuart Erskine Family Vault
The inscription reads; David Steuart Erskine 11th Earl of Buchan (1742 – 1829) In 1785 the Earl of Buchan bought the ruins of Dryburgh. Which had previously been owned by his family. He transformed a neglected site into a romantic ruin in the landscape and is buried in his family vault which was originally constructed as a Abbey’s parlour.
Erskine Family Vault
Sir Walter Scott Family Tomb Dryburgh Abbey
Sir Walter Scott died in 1832 and is buried in Dryburgh Abbey burial grounds. Also in the tomb are some of his family. His wife who died in 1816. His son also Walter, died 1847 and his wife. His son-in-law, John Gibson Lockhart who wrote Walter Scott’s biography died 1854.
Grave of his Son, Walter Scott
Lieutenant Colonel Sir Walter Scott of Abbotsford second baronet died at sea 8th February 1847 aged 45 years. His widow placed this stone over his grave. Dame Jane Jobson his widow died at London 19th March 1877 aged 76 years
Sir Walter Scott and his Wife behind, with john Gibson Lockhart to the right and his son in front.
John Gibson Lockhart son in law (husband to Sophia) to Sir Walter Scott.
Sir Walter Scott Conservationist
Sir Walter Scott had a great love for his country, its past and those buildings which survived as monuments to that past. In his letters and journals he frequently expressed concern for the number of fine buildings which were falling into ruin. He was anxious to preserve and restore them, and many are now indeed, preserved as ancient monuments. Scott’s interest was not merely of antiquary and historian. Many monuments provided Scott things for his novels and poetry. Melrose Abbey even inspired the ornament of his home at Abbotsford. Some of the buildings which interested Scott are represented here, reproduced from prints which show them as they were in the day. They are accompanied by quotations from his works. All save Abbotsford which is carried for by Sir Walter’s descendent, are ancient monuments. All are open to the public.
Chapter House Dryburgh Abbey
This Chapter House built over 800 years ago was where the monks would sit in silence and read the scriptures. The walls still show some paintwork and the stone benches which surround the internal walls, where the monks would sit daily.
The Wallace Statue
This magnificent statue of the Guardian of Scotland Sir William Wallace stands over 9 metres high (31 feet) in the gardens of Bemersyde House.
This is one of the features built by David Steuart Erskine the 11th Earl of Buchan. William Wallace’s Statue looking out over the River Tweed. Erskine commissioned sculptor John Smith of Darnick to carve the statue. It was erected and unveiled on the 22 September 1814 the anniversary of William Wallace’s victory over the English at Stirling Bridge in 1297. This could be the oldest monument to William Wallace.
An inscription at the foot of the Statue reads; Erected by David Stuart Erskine, Earl of Buchan
WALLACE GREAT PATRIOT HERO! ILL REQUITED CHIEF! MDCCCXIV (1814)
The quotations on the statue’s pedestal is by eighteenth century poet James Thomson. The Earl of Buchan loved Thomson’s work, and built the Temple of the Muses at the bottom of the hill as a memorial to him.
Beside the statue is an urn with an inscription that reads;
Sacred to the memory of
The peerless Knight of Elderslie | Who wav’d on Ayr’s Romantic shore |The beamy torch of Liberty | And roaming round from Sea to Sea | From Glade obscure of gloomy Rock | His bold companions call’d to free | The Realm from Edward’s Iron Yoke.
Temple of the Muse
The ‘temple’ stands on an elevated mound the Bass Hill. With the River Tweed flowing past it. At the riverside is the Dryburgh suspension Bridge from the centre of the bridge are magnificent views of the River Tweed. The Temple of the Muses was dedicated by Erskine to the poet and playwright James Thomson. Thomson can be seen on the Scott Monument in Edinburgh with many other famous poets and writers.
One the top of the pavilion is an original bust of the poet and playwright James Thomson. However the statue in the centre was originally of Apollo the Greek God was removed many years ago by unknowns but was replaced by a new statue in 2002 by Siobhan O’Hehir, “The Four Seasons” which is the title to a poem written by James Thomson.
The Muse of Nature
The temple of the muses is a tribute to James Thomson a Borders poet who loved the natural world. Hi most famous work, “The Seasons” describe the countryside in a way that broke with tradition of his time and set the scene for later Romantics like Keats and Wordsworth. In a very different style, he is also credited with the words in ‘Rule Britannia’.
Thomson lived from 1700 to 1748. His poems were popular long after his death, the Earl of Buchan, who was a great admirer of his work, had the Temple built in 1817. It originally sheltered a statue of Apollo, and was part of a grand scheme for the Earl’s estate. If you walk up the road towards Dryburgh Abbey you pass Stirling Tower, an ornate house the Earl had built for his gardener. Continue up onto the hill to the north and you can find his gigantic statue of William Wallace. Perhaps the Earl wanted the landscape itself to sing the praises of Scotland and its heroes.
The Dryburgh Suspension Bridge
The Dryburgh Suspension Bridge was originally built by John & Thomas Smith in 1817 and opened in 1818 by David Erskine. This was the first chain bridge in built in Great Britain. The present bridge replaced it in 1872.
View from the Dryburgh Suspension Bridge over the River Tweed
Sir Walter Scott would site and look over the hills in Melrose area and think of how beautiful Scotland his home is. The view is of the lands and Eildon Hills of the Scottish Borders.
A distance disc marker at Scott’s view
Three plaques that stand next to the seat where Walter Scott would sit.” A Bird’s Eye View” “Scott’s View” ” A Rocky View”
A Bird’s Eye View”
The inscription reads;
A bird’s eye view as the wind sweeps upwards against the steep sides of the Tweed’s valley it makes a great lift for birds of prey like buzzards they ride the wind to gain height and reach the open country behind. Some of the woods are named after them. Ravenswood is across the valley, Gledswood to the right. Gled is a Scots word for the red kite, and common here until the end of the 18th century. The red kite has yet to return to its ancient home but the sheer hillside has protected the woodland. It made it difficult for people to fell trees so the woods have been growing with little disturbance since the last ice age around 10,000 years ago.
“A Rocky View”
The inscription reads;
The Eildon Hills Scott admired are what’s left of a chain of volcanic activity that stretched across the borders 300 million years ago before the age of the dinosaur. The hills you can see never reached the surface as true volcanoes. Instead they were forced as great molten blobs into the rock pass underground, like jam being squirted into a doughnut. There they cooled slowly forming rock much harder than the older rock above. Since then the older rocks have been worn away by rivers and glaciers leaving the hand rock to form the Eildon Hills. Many of the walls you see around border fields are made of the hard-rock called Whinstone.
The inscription reads;
Sir Walter Scott loved the borders landscape history and people with a passion. He was the most popular writer of his age, when he died his funeral procession was over a mile long. It took his body from his home at Abbotsford to his tomb in Dryburgh Abbey, down the hill to your left. Tradition tells how his horse stopped here on the way, just as they had done when the master was alive so he could enjoy his favourite view.
Breathes there the man, with soul so deed,
Who never to himself had said,
This is my own my native land!
Sir Walter Scott
The lay of the last minstrel.