Kelso Abbey, Kelso
Categories: Ruins, Architectural Buildings, Tourist Spots
Kelso Abbey is a ruined Scottish abbey in Kelso, Scotland. It was founded in the 12th century by a community of Tironensian monks first brought to Scotland in the reign of Alexander I. It occupies ground overlooking the confluence of the Tweed and Teviot waters, the site of what was once the Royal Burgh of Roxburgh and the intended southern centre for the developing Scottish kingdom at that time. Kelso thus became the seat of a pre-eminently powerful abbacy in the heart of the Scottish Borders.In the 14th century, Roxburgh became a focus for periodic attack and occupation by English forces and Kelso's monastic community survived a number of fluctuations in control over the area, restoring the abbey infrastructure after episodes of destruction and ultimately retaining Scottish identity. From 1460 onwards, life for the abbey probably grew more settled, but came once again under attack in the early sixteenth century. By the mid-century, through a turbulent combination of events, the abbey effectively ceased to function and the building fell into ruin.Although the site of Kelso Abbey has not been fully excavated in modern times, evidence suggests that it was a major building with two crossings. The only remains standing today are the west tower crossing and part of the infirmary. The massive design and solid romanesque style of the tower indicate a very large building of formidable, semi-military construction and appearance, evidence of the importance with which Roxburgh was regarded when the abbacy was at the height of its power.Plan your Kelso Abbey visit and explore what else you can see and do in Kelso using our Kelso itinerary planner.
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I love history, and I got lost, walking around the grave stones, and reading about people from long ago. An educational place and very moving.
All that remains is the west end of the abbey church but they are spectacular with two arches around 4 storeys high and many Norman/Romanesque round-topped windows. To be honest, it's not worth travel... read more »
I love prowling around ruined castles and abbeys and this one is no exception. And for a change, I was able to prowl around the ruins without getting rained on! This Historic Scotland property is a mu... read more »
Definitely a must visit when in Kelso. Only takes a few minutes to visit and wander around, and is free. Don't miss the cloisters :)
A lovely abbey. Beautiful and peaceful. A must see.
Although probably the smallest of the big Borders Abbeys, Kelso Abbey is still a nice place to stop by and to have a taste of Scottish History. Apart from wandering through the impressive ruins, make sure you do not miss the reconstruction to the right... The columns and decoration are gorgeous. And it's free!
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