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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 832528

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NT53SW 117 54767 34168


NT 547 341 Building recording was undertaken in March 2002 at Melrose Abbey House (NT53SW 117), currently the home of the Melrose Tourist Information Office. The building was built as a house in the late 17th or early 18th century, but evidence was found to confirm that the W end is older still. This older medieval building appears to have been a roughly square two-storey structure, with thick walls and a possible external stair turret. It was probably a small tower, possibly defensive and part of the Abbey precinct. The junction between the old and new masonry was identified on the N and S walls. The house was extensively remodelled around 1800, turning the first storey of the tower into a drawing room, and in the 20th century several areas were repaired or rebuilt with brick.

The evidence that the 18th-century house was built onto the E gable end of an older building would seem to be conclusive. The function of this building is unclear, though its size and construction suggest it was, at least to a degree, a defensive structure. Its proximity to the Abbey suggests it was originally part of the precinct, possibly lay brother or guest quarters. The date of this older building is uncertain. Possibly the need for a defensive structure was pressed by the Wars of Independence which inflicted considerable damage on the Abbey. The most likely date would seem to be later medieval, after the establishment of the Abbey and before the Reformation.

Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.

Sponsor: HS

G Ewart, D Gallagher, J Franklin, D Stewart 2002

NS 5476 3416 A watching brief was maintained in March 2006 during the excavation of a new trench for a drainage pipe to the N side of the property. The trench generally revealed gravel surfaces presumed to be modern landscaping. A mixed orange/brown clay deposit may represent an occupation horizon, containing frequent charcoal inclusions, redeposited floor tile, animal bone and an iron nail, and was seen closer to the surface at the E end of the trench. It is possible that a compact ground surface overlaying this clay was removed during relatively recent landscaping/gardening.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland.

Paul Fox, 2006.

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