Dryburgh Abbey dates back to 1150AD, when Hugh de Moreville granted lands for the foundation of a Premonstratensian religious house. Abbott Roger arrived with the first monks in December of 1152AD. Hugh was later to join the order as a novice, and died at Dryburgh Abbey in 1162AD.
At the beginning of the 13th century, the monks began rebuilding Dryburgh on a grander scale. However, the abbey was severely underfunded, and it is believed that the work took 100 years to come to fruition. This first church was to last until 1322AD when Edward II's retreating and defeated army put it to the torch. It was restored and improved again, only to be burned a second time by Richard II in 1385AD.
The abbey was rebuilt, and flourished throughout the 15th Century. However, in November of 1544AD, 700 English troops mounted a raid across the Scottish border. This was the time of the "rough wooing", when Henry VIII was attempting to force a marriage between his son Edward and Mary Queen of Scots. The abbey was badly damaged, and never truly recovered. By the time of the reformation, few monks remained, and by 1600AD the abbey was deserted.
Today, the ruins of Dryburgh Abbey rest in gentle seclusion in a wooded backwater close to the River Tweed. The setting is tranquil and picturesque, and the modern world is far removed.
Little survives of the abbey church other than the north transept. However, the chapter house is superbly preserved, along with the outline of the cloister. Other fragments of the abbey's domestic outbuildings are also in evidence - most notably the west wall and rose window of the refectory. The skeletal remains of the gatehouse help complete the picture of the original abbey precinct.
Dryburgh Abbey enjoys the best setting of any of the Scottish border abbeys. The ruins are enchanting and haunting, providing an easy gateway for the imagination to wander backwards in time. Highly recommended.