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The History of Melrose

The Abbey of St Mary at Melrose

For four hundred years, from it's foundation in 1136 to it's 'desolation' in about 1556, the Cistercian Abbey of St Mary at Melrose served the Christian Church, the monarchs, the state and the people of Scotland. The town of Melrose, clustered at the great southern gate of the Abbey precinct, existed only to serve the Abbey.

While in early centuries the lay brothers of the Abbey provided the produce and manufactured needs of the monastery, in later years the market place of Melrose would assume greater importance in supplying the convent.

Throughout the four hundred years pilgrims to the Abbey would lodge and refresh themselves in the town, establishing its skills in catering for the visitor.