Jedburgh Abbey – Watercolour in a Watercolour Moleskine

This was the last of the four ruined abbeys, in the Scottish Borders, which we visited recently. In my opinion Jedburgh Abbey is the most spectacular with a superb visitor centre and lots of useful information.

King David 1st founded the abbey in 1138. It is said that he wanted to impress those, south of the border, with the Scots’ ability to build upon an impressive scale. The building is not as grand as some of the later, well known cathedrals, in other parts of the UK and Europe, but takes the architecture, available at the time, to its limits. There are no flying buttresses here, the structure stands as you see it. When masons wanted to construct higher, vaulted ceilings, other techniques, such as the supportive outer buttresses were required. This abbey is noted as the place that Alexander 3rd married his second wife, Yolande in 1285 thus cementing the long continued bond between France and Scotland. As I have described, in previous posts, this part of the country was attacked repeatedly by English invaders and Jedburgh suffered like the rest. The abbey’s downfall, however, was more complicated and other factors, such as the reformation of the Scottish Church played a factor. Today the ruins stand in splendid isolation above the river Jed (Jed Water) but one cannot help wonder how long the structure will last without lots of remedial help. As I sat, in the evening sunlight, making sketches of the lovely warm sandstone I was appalled by the fact that the merest push, from a finger, causes the abbey’s material to flake off the walls. The old place is in a delicate state.