Scheduled Monument

Dryburgh AbbeySM90103

Status: Designated


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The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Supplementary Information Updated
Ecclesiastical: abbey; burial ground, cemetery, graveyard; grange/farm - secular buildings associated; well
Local Authority
Scottish Borders
NT 59173 31512
359173, 631512


The monument comprises the remains of Dryburgh Abbey, founded in 1150 as the first Scottish House of the Canons Regular of the Premonstratensian Order. The buildings stand on three prepared, stepped levels on sloping land above the River Tweed with the abbey church, dedicated to St Mary, on the highest ground, the cloister on the middle level and the chapter house, principal day appartments, cellars and kitchens occupying the lowest part of the site. Within the precincts, which extended as far as the banks of the river to the S, lay the infirmary, abbot's lodging, guest house, bakehouse, brew-house, mill, barns, orchards and yards. Of these, only the lade and tunnel associated with the lade, and brewhouse survive.

The abbey was devastated by fire in 1322, 1385, 1461 and 1523 and the architecture of its component parts reflects periods of rebuilding as is seen, for example, in the reconstruction of the W front of the church following the conflagration of 1385. Of particular note is the 15th-century round-headed doorway in the middle of the W front and the well-preserved ruins of the E chapel of the N transept. The surviving portions of the E range are among the oldest of the conventual buildings and include the dormitory which originally extended the entire length of the first floor and was entered via the night-stair in the S transept. Around the cloister, linked to the church by the E processional doorway, stand the remains of the business and domestic apartments of the community while the adjacent cloister walk, once covered by a lean-to roof, encloses the square open space of the cloister garth.

The monument was first scheduled in 1917, but an inadequate area was included to protect all the archaeological remains: the present rescheduling rectifies this. The area scheduled is irregular on plan and measures a maximum of 600m N-S by 490m E-W to include the remains of the abbey church and associated conventual buildings and an area of ground which formed part of the monastic precincts. The latter includes the burial ground, remains of the brewhouse and the lade and tunnel associated with the former corn mill. The boundary of the scheduled area runs, in a clockwise direction, ESE from the Abbey Lodge to the field boundary at the E side of the minor road which gives access to Dryburgh House. It then follows the line of the field boundary in a SSE direction, then turns to run E until it meets the banks of the River Tweed. From here, the boundary follows the line of the river bank S, then W, then WNW and finally N until level with the end of the S boundary wall of the part of the Abbey which is in the care of the Secretary of State. The scheduled area boundary then runs due E to meet this wall of the Abbey, and then almost immediately turns to run NNE for 70m before following the N perimeter wall of the Abbey through a curve SE, E, then NE, and finally runs E back to Abbey Lodge, all as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Specifically excluded are:

  1. All freestanding memorial stones in the burial ground,
  2. all plots where rights of burial exist,
  3. the Haig burial plot and memorial stones,
  4. the Cross of Sacrifice war memorial,
  5. the above ground elements of the Scott memorials in the north transept (St Mary's Aisle),
  6. the floor and subfloor deposits in the Erskine Vault,
  7. the King James obelisk,
  8. Dryburgh Abbey House and its sundial, dovecot, ice house and stables,
  9. Stables Cottage,
  10. the above ground elements of the Old Corn Mill, 
  11. the above ground elements of all modern structures, fixtures and fittings,
  12. the top 300mm of all paths and roadways,
  13. all fences and boundary walls.



No Bibliography entries for this designation

Historic Environment Scotland Properties

Dryburgh Abbey

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Related Designations


    Designation Type
    Garden & Designed Landscape
  2. Tomb of Sir Walter Scott, King James obelisk, headstone of Field Marshall Earl Haig and memorials in burial ground to the north of Dryburgh Abbey and excluding scheduled monument SM90103, DryburghLB15114

    Designation Type
    Listed Building (A)


About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


North transept of abbey church, Dryburgh Abbey, looking north, on a sunny day.
View northwest to the cloisters, Dryburgh Abbey, on a clear day in May

Printed: 01/06/2023 00:31