Monday, August 13, 2012

Melrose Abbey & The Heart of The Bruce

By Alexa Bourne

Hello again! This month I'm taking you out of the Scottish Highlands and down toward the Borders. During one of my trips to Scotland, my friends and I decided to take a  Rabbie's Trail Burners Tour. The highlight for me on this tour was Melrose Abbey.
I'd seen Melrose Abbey on countless Scotland calendars and in books, but had never managed to get here until this trip a few years ago.

It is said to be one of the most famous ruins in all of Scotland. It apparently has an amazing garden, but I think it looks pretty cool with the snow. What do you think?
The abbey was founded in 1136 by Scotland's King David I for Cistercian monks.
Like many places in Scotland, the abbey was destroyed and rebuilt on various occasions in the country's history.

In 1385, the Scots invaded northern England. In retaliation, Richard II's English army pushed the Scots back as far as Edinburgh and they set fire to Melrose Abbey along the way, which destroyed most of it.

Robert the Bruce's heart is buried here at Melrose Abbey. He apparently played a huge part in rebuilding the abbey in his time. 
I stopped after taking the picture and said a silent prayer.

Out one side of the Abbey was the cemetery. When I turned back to the Abbey ruins, I noticed that all the heads on these six figures had been cut off. It intrigued me and I went to work thinking of reasons behind the decapitations! I did some research when I returned to the States, but I haven't found anything to explain the headless statues. Maybe it's just my suspense imagination trying to find something that's not there!
The village of Melrose itself was beautiful and pleasant. We had lunch in this little restaurant with about 12 tables or so and TONS of knickknacks and decorations. The food was good, the soup was hot and the tea hit the spot! Our day tour moved on to other locations, but a piece of my heart stayed here in Melrose. I would've been happy just wandering the streets, observing the locals and soaking up more of the Scottish culture.


Victoria Roberts said...

Wow, the Abbey looks AMAZING in the snow! Thanks for sharing, Alexa.

MK said...

Great post! I missed this on my trip over there, but it looks like a definite must for the next trip. Thank you for sharing.

Alexa said...

Victoria, is was absolutely beautiful.

MK, you should definitely hit it next time around! I would definitely go back.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I am so envious you got to see Melrose Abby. I so want to see this place...snow or not, it is gorgeous. I have a Scottish penpal who is a librarian. I will ask her about the headless bodies and see if she has any information.

Alexa said...

Oooh, thanks, Paisley! I'm obviously still thinking about it since my trip was almost 2 years ago and it still comes into my thoughts every now and then.