Old Melrose, St Cuthbert's Chapel


Site Name Old Melrose, St Cuthbert's Chapel

Classification Monastery

Canmore ID 55631

Site Number NT53SE 23

NGR NT 588 340

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Ordnance Survey licence number 100020548. All rights reserved.
© Copyright and database right 2015
View on large map

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Melrose
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Ettrick And Lauderdale
  • Former County Roxburghshire

Archaeology Notes

NT53SE 23 588 340

(NT 5886 3406) St Cuthbert's Chapel (NR) (site of)

OS 6" map (1967)

This chapel, dedicated to St Cuthbert, was built shortly after 1073; it belonged to Durham until between 1130 and 1133 when it was given to the Cistercians of Melrose by David I. To judge by the single fragment that remains, a 12th century corbel carved in the form of a grotesque face, now in the museum at Melrose Abbey, the chapel must have been a building of some importance. It was burnt by the English in or before 1321; it is mentioned again in 1437 in an indulgence granted by the Pope. However, no mention of it is made in a list of dedications to St Cuthbert attributed to John Wessyngton, prior of Durham from 1416 to 1446.

No structural remains of this chapel are visible, but foundations are reported to have been found in a flower bed skirting the SE side of the Chapel Knoll, while three graves are said to lie under the lawn E of the SE corner of Old Melrose.

RCAHMS 1956, visited 1945

The Ordnance Survey Name Book (ONB) notes that human bones have been found near this site, and near Old Melrose house. (See also NT53SE 21.)

Name Book 1859

No structural remains of this chapel survive.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 14 February 1961

The foundations of St Cuthbert's Chapel are reported by the present owner to be underneath the greenhouse of Old Melrose.

E W MacKie 1975

NT 587 341 Geophysical survey was undertaken in September 2002 close to the Scheduled site of St Cuthbert's Chapel, Old Melrose (NT53SE 23). The aim was to attempt to locate features relating to occupation on the promontory and investigate a number of possible features identified by dowsing by Mr Walter Elliot of the Trimontium Trust, including a possible road alignment.

Gradiometry failed to identify any features of archaeological interest, whereas the resistivity survey identified several anomalies. Several parallel, linear, high resistivity anomalies aligned NNE-SSW were interpreted as field drains. A relict field boundary, shown on the 1st edition OS map, was located. Running along the top of a ridge crossing the field W-E, a curving anomaly defined by high and low resistance readings was interpreted as the possible alignment of a road bounded by a ditch on either side. To the N of this putative road alignment and in the centre of the field, several rectangular anomalies were identified as the possible remains of structures.

Report deposited in the NMRS.

Sponsor: Trimontium Trust.

G Mudie, T Poller and C Rennie 2002

The site of Mailros Abbey and St Cuthbert's Chapel, Old Melrose, lies on the peninsula formed by a wide eastwards bend of the River Tweed. Nothing much is visible on the site today. There is a mound with some undressed stone protruding. The site is adjacent to the grounds of Old Melrose house. The garden wall has numerous finely-carved stones, which may originate from the chapel.

Dr B Lonie, 1997



MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions