The Abbey, on the banks of the River Tweed, was founded in 1150.
A century later, the Scottish throne having been left without an occupant gave Edward of England the opportunity to gain ascendancy over Scotland and ask the Scots to swear fealty for the English Crown.
In 1296 the Abbot of Dryburgh submitted to Edward I at an event later known as the Ragman Rolls. The fifth representative of the Haigs, Johannes de Haga (1280-1320) was one of the barons and others who swore fealty to Edward at Berwick.
But Haig of Bemersyde did not feel bound to observe this commitment and “joined the valiant knight, Sir William Wallace of Elderslie,” who had taken up arms against the English in defence of his country and was with him at the battle of Stirling in 1297. The historian Mylne states that "The certain of his joining him kept up in the old monkish line which was made upon him:
When Wallace came to Gladswoods Cross,
Haig of Bemersyde met him with many good horse."
Repeatedly burned by the English troops, Dryburgh Abbey was finally destroyed in 1544. After the Scottish Reformation it was given to the Earl of Mar by James VI and in 1786 it was purchased by the 11th Earl of Buchan who lived there for the rest of his life. Buchan was the founder of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and a patron of the arts and sciences. A contemporary of Sir Walter Scott, who was vice president of the Society of Antiquaries, the two men were not great friends, but Buchan did persuade Scott to choose Dryburgh as his burial place on account of his Haig ancestors.
The 11th Earl of Buchan commissioned a statue of William Wallace and unveiled it in 1814. Situated at the end of a wooded path near Bemersyde, the statue, built of red sandstone is 31 feet high and depicts Wallace looking over the River Tweed.
Dryburgh Abbey passed from Buchan’s family and was gifted to the Nation.
Dryburgh Abbey is managed by Historic Environment Scotland and can be visited during:
1 Apr to 30 Sept Daily 9.30am to 5.30pm
1 Oct to 31 Mar Daily 10.00am to 4.00pm
The Wallace Monument is located off the B6356 about 1 mile from Bemersyde village.