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Publication Account

Date 1985

Event ID 1016226

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


Little more than the foundations survive of the monastic buildings which stood on the slope between the Abbey and the Jed Water, but the nave and the north transept are complete up to the topmost wallhead, and the tower stands as it was rebuilt in 1504-8.

The site had been occupied by a church since the 9th century; then, c1138, Augustinian Canons were brought from near Beauvais in France and by 1174 the choir, crossing and both transepts were sufficiently complete to be used for services. The nave was constructed by 1200 and by 1220 the east end was reconstructed after the removal of the original semicircular apse. The whole church was evidently complete by the mid 13th century when attentions were turned anew to the cloisters. These were remodelled, and by the late 15th century the north transept was extended.

It is a powerful place, very much dependent upon its clustered pillars and strong bridging arches. The great stone piers are carried, unusually, to the level of the triforium at first-storey level- a technique that creates an impression of height in an otherwise relatively low interior (of Dryburgh, no. 68). There, the delicate arcading is surmounted by a light and airy learstory.Remarkably intact in spite of constant warring, Jedburgh conveys the feelings of agreat abbey interior more fully than any other of the Border Abbeys.

After the reformation a church was 'made' within the crossing of the abbey and transepts; and a 'new' church was provided in the west part of the nave in 1671. In 1743 the crown arch and vault of the crossing collapsed and the dangers of falling masonry doubtless partly explain why the parish church was removed entirely from the abbey in 1875.

Within the museum there are a number of important sculptured stones, notably a Roman altar slab, sections of an 8th century AngJian shrine or sarcophagus elaborately decorated with birds, animals and vinescroll (see section 6), several pieces of 8th-9th century early Christian cross-heads and shafts, and a 12th century cross-inscribed tomb-cover-possibly that of John, Bishop of Glasgow who died in 1148 and was buried at Jedburgh.

Elsewhere in the town are the fine 16th century bastlehouse (Queen Mary's House) and hump-backed bridge across the Jed Water at the foot of the Canongate.

Information from 'Exploring Scotland's Heritage: Lothian and Borders', (1985).

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