Founded 1150 by Hugh de Moreville
DRYBURGH was the last of the Border Abbeys to be founded, and the only one
not created under the instructions of David I. It was the Constable of
Scotland, Hugh de Moreville, who invited the Premonstratensian Order to
build at Dryburgh.
Premonstratensians were known as White Canons, because they were regular
canons - priests rather than monks - who wore white. They focused on a
cloistered and contemplative life - hence the location of Dryburgh Abbey,
a secluded loop in the River Tweed, far from the madding crowd.
Dryburgh's influence was limited, but as a "beacon of prayer in a sinful
world" that's to be expected. There were probably never more than 25
canons at the abbey.
It was first attacked by English forces in 1322, when it was fired and
rendered unusable for a time. Further attacks followed in 1385, 1523 and
1544. The latter event seems to have dampened the ardour to rebuild.
When the Reformation came there were about a dozen canons left. After
their deaths the abbey was abandoned and passed into the possession of the
Earl of Mar. In 1780 the Earl of Buchan bought it and set about preserving
its remains while using it as a decorative feature in a giant garden.
Buchan is buried in the abbey, as is Sir Walter Scott, who thought the
ruin one of the most romantic in the world. Field Marshall Earl Haig, the
principal British soldier of the First World War, is also buried at
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