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Priorwood Garden

Garden (20th Century), Walled Garden (18th Century)

Site Name Priorwood Garden

Classification Garden (20th Century), Walled Garden (18th Century)

Canmore ID 260514

Site Number NT53SW 118.01

NGR NT 54841 34056

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NT53SW 81 549 340

Exploratory trenching was carried out to assess the depth of overburden and the extent and nature of the underlying archaeological record in the SE corner of the flower garden. Partially exposed at the extreme S end of the site, 1.1m below the present ground surface, was a metalled road, aligned N-S and possibly associated with the nearby Abbey (NT53SW 30). Numerous fragments of medieval roof tiles overlay the road although no associated structure was located.

Sponsor: National Trust for Scotland.

J Lewis 1992.

NT548 340 The extension of visitor facilities towards the Guardianship area of Melrose Abbey (NT53SW 30) necessitated a detailed watching brief. The foundations of the new structure for the most part followed existing walls, but archaeological observations were made where new trenches were dug, and one trench was dug by hand. The ground was found to have been artificially raised, probably in the 19th century, and no archaeologically sensitive deposits were disturbed.

Sponsor: NTS.

R Turner 1994a.


Reference (February 2013 - February 2013)

Extending to 0.76 hectares Priorwood Garden consists of four distinct areas: a dried flower garden, orchard, woodland and small nursery and working area. The garden is bound by walls on three sides, with a mix of woodland and hedge on the fourth side.

The walls were built in the late 18th century and are of rubble with flagged cope. Part of the wall along Abbey Street is stepped with large semi-circular scallops containing 20th century wrought-iron work, probably designed by Edwin Lutyens.

The garden is the key feature of Priorwood, and the dried flower garden is one of the most important features within it. It is recognised as of national importance in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland as the first garden in Scotland to be devoted entirely to the cultivation of flowers for drying and preservation.

Priorwood Garden lies within the Scheduled Ancient Monument area of Melrose Abbey and the land was once part of the Abbey estate.

The flower garden includes a central herbaceous border, herb garden, cottage garden linked to the cottage, mix shrub borders, grass border, heather bed, half-hardy, annual and biennial beds; the layout still reflects the original design by Iris Strachan in 1976 commissioned by Lady Bettina Thomson.

The dried flower collection provides Priorwood with additional interest and a unique identity. The garden provides a rare insight into both traditional and modern techniques in the growing and preparation of everlasting plants; all plants grown at Priorwood are used and experimented upon in this way

The Orchard has considerable historical significance for its apple walk (but also grows other top fruit such as pears, plums, mulberries, medlars) displaying varieties grown in Britain from Roman times to the present day, with many individual trees over 120 years old. The Orchard provides the best views of Melrose Abbey and contains a range of commemorative statues, benches and trees.

Information from NTS

Sbc Note

Visibility: This is an upstanding earthwork or monument.

Information from Scottish Borders Council


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