Melrose Abbey is situated in the
Borders Town of Melrose, 39 miles
southeast of Edinburgh.
The Abbey is popular for the Burial
place of the Heart of King Robert the
Bruce, views over Melrose from the Top,
and the Commendator's House Museum that
is across a narrow road from the
The Abbey is open 1 April to 30
September: 9.30am to 5.30pm. 1 October to
31 March: 10am to 4pm. Postcode: TD6
See also a large Click On Map for the area Towns and
Melrose Abbey was founded in 1136 by
Cistercian Monks for King David
King David I
was the youngest son of Malcolm III
Canmore by his wife Margaret of
Wessex, later Saint Margaret. This family
is known for uniting a number of small Scottish
Kingdoms into the one Kingdom of Scotland.
The Canmore's used religion to unite the
people, making it easier to control the entire
country. The Canmore's were Kings of Scotland
from 1058 to 1286, funding the construction of
large Abbeys and Cathedrals in Scotland, such
as the most important:
Dunfermline Abbey 1070
Abbey - 1128
Melrose Abbey 1136
Jedburgh Abbey 1147
Dryburgh Abbey 1150
St Andrews Cathedral 1158
Arbroath Abbey 1178
With Melrose Abbey being close to the
Border, it was damaged a few times during wars
1322 - Melrose Abbey was damaged during the
First War of Scottish
Independence. King Robert the Bruce ordered
the Abbey be repaired soon after.
1385 - King Richard II
of England led an invasion into Scotland to put
an end to attacks on England by King Robert II
and his French allies. Richard's forces
partially destroyed Melrose and other Abbeys in
1530s - Henry VIII ended Catholic worship in
England, with many of the Abbeys in England
1544 - Melrose Abbey was partially destroyed
after King Henry VIII of England sent forces
into Scotland to destroy Abbeys and Castles in
an attempt to have the Infant Mary Queen of
Scots married to his young Son, a War known as
1560 - the Scottish Parliament ended
Catholic worship as well, leading to the
destruction of many Cathedrals and Abbey's in
Most Abbey's, and their land, were then run
by a Commendator, until all the Monks had
Some Catholic buildings were used as
Protestant Churches, saving them from being
looted for their stone for other buildings.
1559 - James Stuart, the last Abbot,
illegitimate son of King James V, died.
1590 - the last Monk at Melrose Abbey died,
leading to stone being taken from the Abbey for
buildings in Melrose.
1618 - part of the Abbey Church was
converted for use as a Protestant Parish
1650s - Melrose Abbey was bombarded by
forces of Oliver Cromwell after the English
Civil War spread into Scotland.
1810 - a new Parish Church was built in
Melrose, west of the Abbey.
1822 - the Duke of Buccleuch, with the aid
of Sir Walter Scott, carried out repair work to
preserve the ruins of Melrose Abbey.
1908 - the new Parish Church was destroyed
1911 - the current Parish Church was built
on the same site as the 1810 Church.
1918 - the Duke gifted the ruins of Melrose
Abbey to the state, now run as a tourist
attraction by Historic Environment
1996 - an excavation at Melrose Abbey found
a conical lead container that contained a human
heart. The only record of a Heart being buried
at Melrose Abbey was that of King Robert the
Bruce in the 1300s.
1998 - the Heart was buried at Melrose Abbey
with a small Memorial Stone on top.
Bruce had died in 1329 with his body buried
at Dunfermline Abbey. His heart was cut
out to be taken on a Crusade. On return from
the Crusade, his heart was buried at Melrose
650? - Old Melrose Monastery
was founded by Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne. This
Monastery was about 3 miles east of Melrose at
a bend on the River Tweed. Scott's
View, a top attraction in the area, looks
down on where the Monastery once stood.
Melrose Abbey was to be built on the site of
the Old Monastery, but the decision was taken
to build the new Abbey 3 miles west, as the
land there was more suitable for farming. The
town of Melrose grew around the Abbey.