History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
In 1460 King James II died while beseiging Roxburgh Castle, almost within sight of the abbey walls. The king's baby son was baptised James III in a hastily arranged ceremony in the abbey church.
It seems that a small group of monks refused to accept the end, and stayed on in the abbey for several years, but by 1587 the abbey was derelict. In 1607 the last Commendator of the Abbey, Robert Ker, was granted lordship of Kelso as a secular estate. The monastic buildings were robbed for building stone, though for a time a parish kirk was established within the west transepts. This kirk included a gaol.
Both gaol and kirk were cleared away in 1805, leaving the west tower and transept as the only surving part of the medieval abbey. The final transformation at Kelso took place in 1933, when a small memorial cloister to the 8th Duke of Roxburgh was added in the style of the 12th century original. I usually don't have a high opinion of 'mock' Romanesque of Gothic architecture, but I found the Roxburgh cloister quite lovely; the contrast with the ruined medieval part of the church is striking, but the cloister exudes a sense of peace and gives perhaps a glimpse of what the entire abbey might have looked like when it was new.
About Kelso Abbey
Address: Bridge Street, Kelso, Borders, Scotland, TD5 7JD
Attraction Type: Abbey
Location: In the centre of Kelso, off the A698
Website: Kelso Abbey
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Opening Details: Open access site, usually accessible at any reasonable time
We've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.
Historic Time Periods:
Find other attractions tagged with:
12th century (Time Period) - 14th century (Time Period) - 16th century (Time Period) - castle (Architecture) - Henry VIII (Person) - James II (Person) - Medieval (Time Period) - Norman (Architecture) - Reformation (Historical Reference) -
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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