There are four great Border Abbeys – Melrose (where Robert the Bruce’s heart is buried) Dryburgh, Jedburgh and Kelso, as depicted here. All are in ruin.
Sir Walter Scott, certainly Scotland’s most influential prose writer, liked Kelso, calling it ‘the most beautiful if not the most romantic village in Scotland’.
Border life, however, was tough and uncompromising, with raids by the Reivers, robbery and murder commonplace. It was far from romantic, with prominent Border families such as the Elliots, Johnstones, and Armstrongs meting out their own justice.
This tinted lithograph of the exterior of Kelso Abbey was done from an original drawing by the Scottish artist David Roberts (1796-1864).
‘Kelso Abbey’, Kelso, Scottish Borders. From John Parker Lawson’s Scotland Delineated. London: Day and Son, 1858.