Melrose Scottish Borders

The Mercat Cross in the centre of Melrose

Melrose Abbey

Melrose Abbey was founded in 1136 by King David I. This was the first Cistercian monastery in Scotland. A stone plaque shows where Robert the Bruce’s heart was buried. The Melrose Abbey museum has many artifices that at have been preserved from the weather. Take a close look around the top parts of the Abbey ruins for the pig that is playing the bagpipes. 

    

Melrose Rugby 7’s

Melrose Rugby Football Club was founded in 1877 and is one of the world’s oldest Rugby Football Clubs. Melrose Rugby Club is where 7 a side rugby was thought up by Ned Haig and first played in 1883. The world comes to Melrose in April for the 7s Rugby Tournament.

 

Three Hills Roman Heritage Museum

trimontium pillar

Thomas the Rhymer

Thomas the Rhymer ( Sir Thomas de Ercildoun) or “True Thomas” was a poet and someone that could predict the future. His home was in Earlston in the Scottish Borders. The legend tells that Thomas fell asleep beneath a tree at the foot of the hills. When he woke he saw the vision of a shining Lady on a Grey horse, this was the Queen of the Fairies and she entranced him and took him away to Fairyland. He remained there for what he thought had been three days, but was actually 7 years. When he left, the Queen gave him the gift of speaking the truth and told him many prophecies of great events in Scottish history.

      

Bridge over the Tweed

One of the events he prophesied that there would be a bridge over the River Tweed which would be visible from the Eildon Tree. The Fairy Queen also told Thomas that she would return one day, so if you feel weary rest under the tree and you never can tell what will happen next. Thomas was a real person and lived in the 1200s and his rhymes have been popular for hundreds of years. His rhymers are the earliest examples of Scottish Poetry. Look in the Poetry Library of the Royal Mile for some examples. Stand by the stone and look for the Bridge or take a nap and see what happens.

Picture below taken from the Thomas The Rhymer’s Stone where the Eildon Tree once stood. The inscription on the stone reads: “At Eildon tree if you shall be | Prediction A bridge ower Tweed you there may see.” | Prediction ascribed to Thomas the Rhymer   True Thomas lay on Huntlie Bank | A ferlie lie he spied wi’ his ee | And there he saw a ludye bright come riding down by Eildon Tree | Minstrels of the Scottish Borders.  

    

Eildon Hills

The Eildon Hills are in the centre of the Melrose area and the best view was where Sir Walter Scott would spend many hours at what is called Scott’s View.

Scott’s View

Close Up of the Eildon Hills from Scott’s View

Drygrange Bridges | Scottish Borders Tripontium

Old Drygrange Bridge

Drygrange Bridge, at Leaderfoot was built circa 1778. A 4-span rubble bridge which was an engineering first when it was built. This was the original crossing for the main A68 road which takes you to England. This was thought to have been built where an old roman bridge stood and before that a ferry crossing. The New Drygrange Bridge was opened in 1973 to carry the A68 highway over the River Tweed just up from the conflux with the Leader Water. which can be seen at the back of picture below.

 

Drygrange Viaduct | Leaderfoot Viaduct

The magnificent structure that crosses the river Tweed is the Drygrange Viaduct a nineteen span, single track railway viaduct. Which was built in 1865 the 19 sandstone arches measures 40 feet (13 m) span; the highest pillar is 114 feet tall above the water level.  This is the bridge that can be seen from the viewpoint at the Rhymer’s Stone confirming Thomas the Rhymer’s power of prediction 

The Poem on the Stones

Read the history in the poem on the stones beside the old Drygrange Bridge.

The river runs from west to east roads south to north from bank to bank three bridges span three centuries worth | Before these the fly-boat brae led down to its ferry near the ghost-line of the roman way on the outward journey | salmon sandstone pillar rise above leaderfoot the meeting of the two singing streams by leafy Ravenswood

    

builders pay attention to the piers so the arch can spring taking you far from what you see to what you’re not yet seeing | for when the Tweed is running high from wintery moor and moss Old Drygrange Bridge is standing here to carry you across.

    

 

Abbotsford House

Abbotsford House between Melrose and Galashiels was the family home of Sir Walter Scott. Walter Scott purchased land and built a cottage which he named Abbotsford and over many years the cottage became what can be seen today a magnificent house and grounds Sir Walter Scott died on September 21 1832 and a public holiday was declared to remember him by.