first founding was Benedictine. The second founding was
Location: On the River
Tweed, near the site of present day Melrose, Scotland.
Founded: First by St.
Aedan/Aidan an Irish missionary from
the St. Columba's monastery on the island of Iona. Then rebuilt
founder King David I of Scotland in 1136 CE.
History: Poor Melrose Abbey was burnt, first by the
Scots, and last by Henry VIII during the Dissolution. Edward II
and Richard II of
England also both burned the abbey. Between burnings, Melrose
flourished. One of the missional churches of
Iona, it was
first supported by King Oswald of Northumbria. It was again a
under King David I, whose reformed Cistercian monks proved a popular
order, and important
center of education and commerce, to the local people. Robert the
also an important patron, rebuilding
and improving the abbey in 1326. Melrose was noted for the piety
of its monks, its agricultural
advances, and its wool. The monks rebelled against the order of
Dissolution, and so the monks were forcibly
disbursed and the monastery burned in1544. Only eleven Melrose clerics
(the least treasonous?)
promised pension after the reformation.
Of Interest: A number of
miracles are attributed by monks and saints of the abbey. St.
Cuthbert saw visions of angels and St. Aedan while tending the Melrose
sheep. Also, the Abbot Waltheof
was said to have fed four thousand starving people for three months
the famine in 1148.
Robert the Bruce's heart is said to have been brought back from the
Crusades and buried under the abbey floor.
Melrose Abbey is also associated with Sir Walter Scott, who lived in
Abbotsford, near Melrose, and featured the abbey in his poem, Melrose by Moonlight
Melrose Abbey Links:
Abbey and Scottish History through the BBC Scottish History
- Explore Melrose
Abbey through Undiscovered Scotland's online guide.
- New Advent's Catholic Encyclopedia entry for Melrose Abbey.
- Learn more about Robert
the Bruce through BBC's Historical Figures Pages