The Out About Scotland complete guide to Jedburgh Abbey
What’s this attraction all about?
Jedburgh Abbey is a ruined Augustinian abbey in the pretty historic market town of Jedburgh located in the Scottish Borders not far from Northumberland.
The abbey is one of four that were established in the Borders in the 1100’s, and while it’s mainly in ruin today its scale and beautiful blend of gothic and Romanesque architecture make it a must-see attraction for anyone with an interest in historic buildings.
This great abbey is now in the care of Historic Environment Scotland who have maintained not only the impressive stonework of the main building but also the surrounding graveyard, and a visitor centre has been installed that serves to educate visitors about the importance of the abbey to Scotland’s religious past.
Although the roof has long gone and some of the walls have disappeared you can still get a sense of the wealth and importance of the site, and there are lots of artefacts to discover as you make your way around what is one of the finest buildings in the entire Scottish Borders.Read more...
What can you do there?
Today, visitors can not only explore the abbey ruins but also wander through the ancillary buildings where the monks would have eaten, slept and worked in the enormous kitchens, accommodation blocks and cellars that were needed for an operation of this size to function, and there’s a faithfully recreated cloister garden which is much the same as it would have been over 800 years ago, with sweet-smelling herbs and flowers filling the air as you make your way through it.
Lastly, there’s the visitor centre which contains lots of information displays about the history of the abbey as well as a selection of interesting artefacts from the days when the monks inhabited the site all those hundreds of years ago.
If you’re heading through the Borders on your way to Northumberland, or even if you’ve just come to Jedburgh to explore its quaint streets, a visit to this abbey is well worth making time for.
The history of the attraction
The abbey took more than 70 years to build and once you step foot inside its great hall it’s easy to understand why. Giant columns of carved stone swoop up into the air so high that you struggle to take them all in, while huge archways line the hall along enormous walls that instantly brings Rome’s Colosseum to mind.
This is one religious site in Scotland that was obviously built to impress, and that’s a feat which it still maintains to this day.
Jedburgh Abbey actually started life with the slightly lower status of a priory in the early 12th-century, and it’s here where St. Augustine monks worshipped for over 300 years. During that time this monastic site at Jedburgh was elevated in importance several times, first to a monastery in 1139 and finally to an abbey in 1153, and over the years the abbey was extended several times.
While the abbey had the backing of Scottish kings and a large number of valuable artefacts were stored there, it was inevitable that political events would slowly begin to erode the abbey’s importance.
Firstly, the English ransacked Jedburgh in 1297 as retribution for their defeat at the hands of William Wallace at Stirling, and secondly, when the Scottish Reformation arrived in the late 15th-century the abbey was converted for use as a parish kirk.
By the end of the 19th-century Jedburgh Abbey had been left to deteriorate so badly that it was considered to be unusable, but thankfully the Historic Environment Scotland trust took ownership of it in 1917 and since that time it has been enjoyed by visitors from around the world, curious to see its interesting blend of architectural styles.
What I liked about this attraction
- It’s a beautiful ruin that’s fun to explore.
- There’s lots of information in the HES centre exhibition.
- Easy to explore Jedburgh after visiting the abbey.
What I didn’t like about this attraction
- I haven’t got any negative comments about Jedburgh Abbey
4/5 Abbey Bridgend,
- Telephone: 01835 863 925
- email: NA
- Website: Historic Environment Scotland
Prices and opening times
- HES Member/Explorer Pass holder: Free
- Adult: £6.00
- Child aged 5–15: £3.60
- Child under 5: Free
- Concession: £4.80
- 1 Apr to 30 Sept: Daily, 9.30am to 5.30pm. Last entry 5pm
- 1 Oct to 31 Mar: Daily, 10am to 4pm. Last entry 3.30pm