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Jedburgh Abbey






jedburgh abbeyJedburgh Abbey, a ruined Augustinian abbey which was founded in the 12th. century is situated in the town of Jedburgh, in the Scottish Borders just ten miles north of the border with England at Carter Bar.

Towards the middle of the 9th century, before the present border between England and Scotland had been ascertained, there were two Gedworths (as Jedburgh was then known). One of them became the Jedburgh we know now, the other was four miles to the south. According to Symeon of Durham, Ecgred, bishop of Lindisfarne from 830AD to 845AD, gifted the two villages of the same name to the See of Lindisfarne. The southerly Gedworth was the place of Ecgred's church, the first church in the parish. The present town was distinguished from the long disappeared south village by UBI CASTELLUM EST meaning, 'where the castle is'. The only solid evidence of Ecgred's church came from Symeon of Durham when he described the burial, at the church of Geddewerde, of Eadulf, one of the assassins of William Walcher, Bishop of Durham.

In 1118, prior to his ascension to the Scottish throne, Prince David established a foundation of canons regular of the order of St. Augustine at, what is now Jedburgh. The foundation appeared to have the status of 'priory' in the early years and a man by the name of Daniel was described as the Prior of Geddwrda in 1139. The church was later raised to the status of monastery before becoming in the years prior to King David's death in 1153 probably in 1147, a fully fledged abbey and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It has to be mentioned that over the years, Jedburgh has been described by 83 different names or spellings.

After the death King David I of Scotland, the patronage and priveleges of the abbey were accorded, first by David's son, Prince Henry then by his grandsons Malcolm IV of Scotland and William I of Scotland also known as William the Lion. The nave and the choir were built in the 13th century and were in place by the time Alexander III of Scotland married Yolande, daughter of the Compte de Dreux in 1288 at the church. The great abbey was said to contain the finery of the best of Norman and early English Architecture. The Abbey Church of St. Mary of Jedeworth was growing in stature and importance and the abbot was even invited to attend Scottish Parliaments. As well as the lands and chapels in southern Scotland, Jedburgh Abbey owned great lands in Northumberland. In 1296, the Abbot of Jedburgh swore fealty to Edward I of England at Berwick-on-Tweed. Edward intended to rule the abbey and presented William de Jarum as the new Abbot of Jedburgh in 1296. After the defeat of the Earl of Surrey in 1297 at Stirling at the hands of William Wallace, the abbey was pillaged and wrecked by the English as retribution. Robert I of Scotland (The Bruce) continued to patronise the church during his reign in the early 14th century. In 1346, after the Scotish defeat at the Battle of Neville's Cross, the English once again slighted the church. Later that century, in 1370, David II of Scotland was instrumental in the completion of the north transcept we can still see today. The abbey faced more torture and destruction in 1410,1416 and by the Earl of Warwick in 1464. In 1523, the town and abbey were set ablaze by the Earl of Surrey. The abbey faced more indignity in 1544 at the hands of the Earl of Hertford. The end came for the great Abbey of St. Mary of Jedburgh in 1560 and the coming of the Scottish Reformation.

Jedburgh Grammar School was founded by the monks of Jedburgh Abbey in the late 15th. century.

When the Protestant Reformation arrived in 1560, the monks were allowed to stay but the abbey was used as the parish kirk for the reformed religion. In 1671 the church was removed to the western part of the nave for safety reasons. This situation persisted until, in 1871, it was considered unsafe to continue worship at the abbey church and a new parish church was built. The Marquis of Lothian immediately started work on the restoration of the great church but in 1917 the church dedicated to St. Mary nearly 800 years earlier was handed over to the state and is now in the care of Historic Scotland.


gravestone for george douglas, gardnerJames Douglass c1669 Gardener and Burgess of Jedburgh. James married (1) Isobell Couman/Cowman in 1703 in Jedburgh and (2) Jannet Olipher/Oliver in 1710 in Jedburgh. Children found for James include George Douglas 1720 Gardener, Margret Douglas 1722 and James Douglas 1727. The first three infant children of George Douglas 1720 Gardener and his wife Agnes (Annie) Oliver 1723 - ie James (1) 1748, Christian (1) 1750 and Jannet 1752 are buried with James c1669 who lived till the age of 81 and they are buried in the Jedburgh Abbey graveyard. George and Annie had 12 children between 1748 and 1768 - including John Douglas 1759 of Jedburgh Master Clockmaker


















Extracts from: Jedburgh Abbey : historical and descriptive : also, The abbeys of Teviotdale, as showing the development of Gothic architecture (1894) by James Watson, published in Edinburgh by David Douglas

AFTEI: the hurning of the town hy the Earl of \Varwick in 1464, h.dburzh does hot appear to bave again suflircd at the hands of the en«qay for fifty-nine years; but in 152:--ten ycars after the battle of Fl,,ddcn--both town and al,bey suflred very sevérely 1,y thc Enulish uader the Earl of Surrey. (n the evcning of thc 22nd «»f S.l»tcmber , the enemy, to the numbcr of 6000 fighting men, encaml»ed on the south side of the .led, and early next monling thc town was storme(l. The burghers, who coul,1 command no m»re than 1500 or 2000 men, ruade, nevérthcless, a me»st determined resistance, and the English b»und it a hard task to become mastcrs «»f the ilace. The abbey was also bravely dêfended, and ahhough SuTey brought his cmmon to bear upon it, it did hot cal»itulate till two hours after nightfall. The monastery was then 1,illaged and committed to the flames, the effects of which are still visil,le on various parts of the ruins. Surrey's testimony to the valour of the Scottish Bordcrers at this rime was, that he found t],.m the ]»oh]est mea and the hottest he ever saw in any nation.

It appears from a charter gïanted by John, abbot of Jedburgh, and thc convent, on 23rd l)ecember 1541, and afterwards confirmed ml,ler the Great Seal, that \Villiam Douglas of ]h»njedward hnd c«,ntrihuted towards the reparation of the monastery after this struction, and that in return the said abbot and convent gave in feu-farm the lands of Toftylaws and l'addohugh, in the barony of Houst(,un {Ulston), which I)ouglas had held for nineteen years.

A respire, dated at i}umfries on 28th August 1504, was anted by James IV. under the Privy Seal, to a considerable nunber of persons, " lnen, kin, and tenants " of Archl_,ishop Blackader of gow, for the slaughter of Thomas l:uther[urd, COlnlnitted in the mr, nastery of Jedburgh (l'itcairn's 6'ri,ni«l 2'rials, Vol. II.). For the saine slaughter, a remission, dated ai Edinburgh, 28th February 1506, was also granted by the king to the saine parties, including ",lvhn Foreman of I}awane, Baldred Blacater, knights ; John Twedy of Drumelzear, Alan Stewart, Robert l:laeater, son and apparent heir of Andrew Blacater of that Ilk; Adam Blacater, Charles Blacater, John Hergott, Adam Turnbull of l'hillophaueh, William Turnbull, his son and apparent heir; {3eorge Douglas of Bonjedburgh, ,lohn Douglas, his brother ; Andrew Douglas in Tympanedene, l:obert Dougl, his brother," and others (J'd/erslot l'tricots ). The respite, published by Pitcairn, alludes to Archbishop Blackader as being « commendator" of the abbey. We have no particulars as to the cause or circumstances of this occurrence.

In 1498, Robert Ker of Sonderlandhall sold his lands of Esselieband to Sir William Douglas for 240 merks Scots, to be paid "on one day between sunrise and sunset in the parish church of Jedworcht, upon the altar of St Mary the Virn " (I[istory o.f ,%llirkshi'e, by Mr Craig-Brown, Vol. II.).

In addition to the altarages we have named there was an altar in the abbey dcdicated to St Ninian. ç_)n llth (_)ctober 1503, at the altar of St Ninian, there was drawn up a notarial instrument on the consimtion of Mr ;awin Douglas, provost of St Giles Collcge (_'hurch, Edinburgh, as procurator for George, Mastcr of Angus, Lord of Jcdworth Forest, into the hands of ])avid Douglas, burgess of .Iedworth, of the sure ,f 100 merks Scots, to be kept for the profit of Ralph Ker of l'rimsydloch, to whom the said Gawin had ofired it for the redemption of the lands of Langlee and l;illistungis, in the lordship of Jedworth Forest, but who wouh[ hOt resign the said lands, in respect that, as he thought, the seven years' tack o the lands which he offered him, in terres of the letters of rvision, was uot sut5cient. Among others prcsent were Valter Scot of Buccleuch, knight, William Ker of Zare, and Gorge Iouglas of Bonjedworth (D,,«glas JS'ook, Vol. III., pp. 180, 181). In 1576, when an account was taken of the thirds of beneficcs, the third of the aharage of St h'inian in Jedburgh was .£3, 4s. 5d.

Mr louglas, the minister (1758-68) (a time when) the vaults at Al,l,otshall had I,eeli removed in 1748 by the Laird of lloujedward, to whom they had heen s«,hl.

On the death of Mr Winchester, minister of Jedburgh in 1755, a presentation to the vacancy was obtained by the Marquess of Lothian from the Crown in favour of Mr :Bonar, minister of Cockpen; but this was resisted successfully by the Jedburgh Te»Wh Council, and Mr Douglas, Kenmore, got the living after much opposition. A strong party was in favour -f Mr Boston being brought froid. Oxnam.. but the Marquess of Lothian, who had the n,minati,m, though the Çrown was patron, wou]d hOt hear of t. On the marquess presenting Mr loston to Oxuam he promise«| to give him a better whenever it was in his power, and when Crailing became vacant Mr Boston reminde«l his lordship of his promise. The marquess infornmd him that the kirk in question had been promised to a preceptor of the Lothian family long previous to his settlement at Oxnam, but assured him that his 1,romise would be remembered whenever he had the power to fulfil it. Mr loston, in a letter which showed more bitterness than good taste, replied that his lordship had "acted in this ail'air neither with the honouï of a nobleman nor the faith of a Christian." This was why Lord Lothian would hot nominate him for Jedburgh.

RENT ROLL OF THE ABBEY. William Douglas of ]onjedburgh, for his lands of Toftilaw, l',dopuill, and Spittlestains, worth 48 bolls vict.; payes £1, 13sh. 4d.


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