History

The Site of Old Melrose has been occupied for over 3000 years. In the bronze age the inhabitants lived in round huts with thatched roofs, The Romans came and built Trimontium on the nearby Eildon hills and raced their horses across the Estate.  The Roman built Dere Street passes closes by and crosses the River Tweed at Leaderfoot.

History of the Estate:

  • 640 – Monastery established by St Aidan
  • 849 – Monastery Burned by Kenneth Macalpine King of the Scots
  • 1073 – Pilgrimage Chapel established dedicated to St Cuthbert
  • 1321 – Chapel Burned by the English. Site goes into decline
  • 1575 – Border Peel Tower of Baron Ormiston
  • 1600 to 1900 – 300 years during which ownership changed several times
  • 1900 – Purchased by the Younger family as a country Estate

St Aidan established a Celtic Monastery at Old Melrose in 640AD and in 1073AD the Bishop of Durham established a chapel dedicated to St Cuthbert.  King David 1 is said to have had a castle on the Old Melrose peninsula around the time he granted the land to the monks of Rievaulx and gave them permission to build a new Abbey 2 miles further upstream at Melrose.

The Site of St Cuthbert’s Chapel at Old Melrose

St Aidan of Lindisfarne established a Celtic Monastery at Old Melrose in 640AD having come across from Iona at the invitation of King Oswald of Northumbria to covert his people to Christianity.  St Cuthbert was born in 634 within a few miles of Old Melrose.  He began his monastic life at Old Melrose in 651 and became prior in the early 660s before moving to Lindisfarne where he was made Bishop.  He died in his hermitage on Inner Farne in 687.

During his lifetime, St Cuthbert was a leading figure in the spread of Christianity across the South of Scotland and North of England and is remembered for his faith and compassion.  After his death he became one of the most revered Medieval Saints with pilgrims coming from all over England and Europe to visit sites and shrines associated with him.  Over the centuries there are many accounts of miracles and visions which have been attributed to him.

In 1073 the Bishop of Durham established a pilgrimage chapel at Old Melrose dedicated to St Cuthbert.  The chapel was burnt by the English in 1321 and the site went into decline thereafter.  In recent years there has been a steady increase in modern pilgrims following the 100km, 4-6 day walk along St Cuthberts Way which links Melrose with Lindisfarne and follows the route that St Cuthbert would have taken all those years ago.