Pilgrimage Walk

Medieval Christian influence related to this walk
Pilgrims at Old Melrose (Mailros) The major Christian influences have been in two main periods, the early 7th century and early 12th century.
The first period saw the arrival of Aidan, Eata, Boisel, and Cuthbert to the early monastic community at Old Melrose (Mailros). This monastic community was active into the 9th century and then later re-established as a place of pilgrimage about a 100 year later.

The second period of major Christian influence came in a period between 1110 and 1160 through the arrival of Benedictine, Cistercian, Tironensian and Augustinian monks from France and Reivaulx, mainly at the invitation of King David I. These monastic communities suffered from their Abbeys being attacked and rebuilt on several occasion but finally the monastic communities ended with the Reformation in the mid 16th century.
Pilgrims at Melrose Abbey
Like the medieval pilgrims who would walk to Mailros and the Border Abbeys, so too are todays' pilgrims, visiting these old monastic communities and walking the Border countryside that so many monks and Christian have done in the past.

The Borders Abbeys Way includes visits to four of the great Medieval Abbeys and passes close to Mailros and the earliest 12th century monastic community at Selkirk. This Way providing today's pilgrim and spiritual seeker with the history, stories and context that help to make this a true pilgrimage walk.

The Abbeys and their influences beyond the Scottish Borders

Site of Lindean Kirk and Selkirk Abbey 1113 – Selkirk Abbey established by Benedictine monks invited by King David I. This was to a site close to Selkirk at Lindean. This small group did not remain for much over 10 to 15 years before moving with further Benedictine monks from Tiron Abbey in France to establish Kelso Abbey.

Jedburgh Abbey 1118 – Jedburgh Abbey first established by a group of Augustinian monks from St Quentin Abbey in France and one again invited by King David I. This developed into a Priory around 1138 and received Abbey status in 1154.

Kelso Abbey 1128 – Kelso Abbey established close to the Royal Castle at Roxburgh by the monks from Selkirk and Tiron. This became the largest of all the four Border Abbeys, although the one that now has the smallest ruins.

Melrose Abbey 1136 – Melrose Abbey established by Cistercian monks originating from Rievaulx in Yorkshire. These monks were at the invitation of King David I who wanted them to re-establish the Mailros location however this was too small and restrictive a site that they requested to move upstream to more open ground at Fordel. They did however request to take the name of Mailros and this over the centuries has change slightly to the present day Melrose.

Dryburgh Abbey 1150 – Dryburgh Abbey established with Premonstratensian Canons from Alnwick Priory. This was at the invitation of Hugh de Moreville the Constable of Scotland and Lord of Lauderdale. The Premonstratensian order was first established in 1121 at Premontre in France by St Norbert of Xanten.

Some of these Abbeys additionally had influence beyond their local area with some becoming the Mother House to other Abbeys (Daughter House) that are located on further Scottish pilgrim routes.

Kelso Abbey – Mother House to Kilwinning Abbey.
Kilwinning Abbey is located on the Whithorn Way Pilgrimage Way and this Abbey was established by Sir Richard de Morville (son of the founder of Dryburgh Abbey). Initially the Abbey was supported by monks coming from Kelso Abbey and the design of the Abbey was similar to Kelso Abbey with its twin towers.

Kelso Abbey – Mother House to Lindores Abbey.
Lindores Abbey is located on the Three Saints Way and this Abbey was established in 1191. The ruins which are very limited are located in private grounds on the outskirts of Newburgh.

Melrose Abbey – Mother House to Balmerino Abbey.
Balmerino Abbey is located on the Three Saints Way and this was a Cistercian Abbey founded in 1227 with monks from Melrose



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