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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 882874

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NT62SE 15.00 65038 20448

NT62SE 15.01 NT 650 204 Roman altar

NT62SE 15.02 NT 650 204 Roman altar

NT62SE 15.03 NT 650 204 Grave-slab

NT62SE 15.04 NT c. 650 204 Screen fragment

(Centred NT 6503 2044) Jedburgh Abbey (NR) (In Ruins)

OS 25" map, (1921)

The site of the Augustinian Abbey of St. Mary has been occupied by a church from the 9th century onwards; but this early church only appears in history at the turn of the 11th and 12th centuries. This church seems to have been adopted by the Augustinians until their Abbey church was sufficiently advanced for use; no part of it has survivied, but the plan of the abbey cloister suggests that it stood in the position occupied by the six eastern bays of the present nave.

The house was founded by David I before 1139. The choir may be ascribed to the second quarter of the 12th century. The early church was probably demolished before 1174, and the church, as a whole, was evidently finished by the middle of the 13th century at the latest. That done, the cloister was remodelled.

The abbey was rendered uninhabitable by the English in 1297, and was thrice ravaged again in the 15th century. Reconstruction took place in the 14th and 15th centuries. The tower was partly rebuilt between 1504 and 1508, but in 1523 the abbey was burnt by the English, and again in 1555. However, the church was sufficiently entire to be used in 1552 for the consecration of Bishop David Painter. Seven years later the abbey was suppressed.

By 1220 an altar in the nave had been appropiated to parochial use, and a parish church is mentioned in the 16th century. In 1668-71 a new church was erected within the west end of the nave. In 1875 the parish church was removed to a new site, and the abbey church thereupon ceased to be a place of worship. At this time the ruin of the abbey was repaired and the post-Reformation additions removed. In 1913 the fabric was placed in the guardianship of the Ministry of Works and has since then been thoroughly consolidated.

RCAHMS 1956.

Finds of other Periods:

Immediately inside the entrance to the stair in the northern external buttress at the west portal of the Abbey Church, a Roman Altar has been re-used as a lintel. This altar may have come either from the fort at Cappuck (Roxb 20 NW 12) or, more probably, from some nearer site as yet unidentified.

In the south face of the south wall of the undercroft of the frater, there is set a fragment of Roman carved stone, 15 1/2 inches high x 13 1/2 inches wide. The piece seems to have been broken off from the left-hand top corner of the back of a large altar.

Part of the inscribed face of a Roman Altar, re-used in paving the NE angle of the presbytery after having been cut down to its present dimensions of 19 x 17 x 6 inches, now lies in the parish graveyard, adjoining the abbey on the north. Also in the parish graveyard there are three fragments of stone which, according to Mr C A R Radford who dates these fragments to about AD 700, doubtless came from the shrine of a saint - possibly St. Boisil, one of the early abbots of Old Melrose (Roxburgh 8 NE 7 ).

Also in the graveyard are fragments of more than one Dark Ages cross, and a small fragment of a cup and ring marked stone found within the Abbey in 1903.

RCAHMS 1956.

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