Thursday, September 22, 2016

Historic Places: Jedburgh Abbey

If there's one thing that I loved about traveling in the UK . . . alright, there was millions of things I loved about traveling in the UK, but one thing that really stood out is the beauty and history found everywhere. Jedburgh Abbey is a great example of this. On our bus tour of England and Scotland, stopping here was a rest stop. I'm not kidding. This is the kind of place we saw when we stopped to hit the restroom, grab a coffee, and stock up on delicious British chocolate.

Jedburgh Abbey is a beautiful remnant of another age and one of those sights that makes me really angry at Henry VIII. Dissolution of the Monasteries?! What a horrible idea! So much history lost, records destroyed, buildings torn down....oh my, don't get me started.

A religious site predating the Norman invasion, Jedburgh Abbey has changed hands between Scotland and England so many times, I originally gave it to the wrong one in this article. Another one of our stops was the giant rock with 'England' inscribed on one side and 'Scotland' on the other. I'm lame and do not have a picture of it because this was one of our only cold, rainy days and I didn't venture off the bus. Anyway . . .

Unrelated to the Abbey, but also picked up during bus stops.
King David I of Scotland established the site as a priory in 1138 and an abbey in 1154. The Augustinian monks in service here were quite consistently coping with battles raging around them throughout the middle ages due to their border location. Not only would they have cared for those displaced or injured, but the Abbey itself was plundered by troops.

Jedburgh Abbey has stood for centuries, and it is a breathtaking sight. One cannot help but wonder what it looked like in all its former glory because the ruins are more impressive than most modern structures. As with many abbeys and cathedrals, it was built over the course of decades, and evidence of evolving architectural styles can be seen in the Roman columns and arches and intricate Gothic carvings.

Edward I used Jedburgh as lodgings during at least one of his many trips north to subdue the Scots. He was kind enough to have lead stripped from the roof for use in siege engines during another venture in return for the monks's hospitality.

Through the years, Jedburgh was used as a base for armies of Scotland, England, and even France, leaving destruction in their wake each time. And each time rebuilding was more limited due to the large amount of funds required and the precarious position of the Abbey. All this before Henry VIII changed the future of monastic life in England forever.

What remains of Jedburgh Abbey is a beautiful monument to the past. We don't have 'comfort stops' like this in the US.

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