But when we were visiting on Saturday I noticed the unmistakeable signs of an archeological dig, so I put on my wellies and took a walk over to discover that the diggers had just uncovered one of the most important ecclesiastical sites in Medieval Scotland, a long lost Bishop's Palace. Dr Chris Bowles, who led the investigation, told me that the Palace had been built in the 12th Century, and was in use for most of the 13th. It had been built by a Bishop of Glasgow, and one Bishop de Bondington, responsible for founding Glasgow Cathedral, had actually died there after dictating his last writ to the Pope.
|The dig at Ancrum has fascinated local people|
It was unfortunate to be completed at a time when relations between England and Scotland began to deteriorate, and when the Abbey suffered from the various incursions - it was burned five times - the Bishop's Palace would have suffered with it. The end probably came in the mid 16th century with Henry VIII's Rough Wooing of Scotland when Sir Ralph Evers triumphantly wrote to his king that he had burned 'seven monasteries, sixteen castles, five market towns, two hundred and forty villages and three hospitals', and had followed Henry's instructions to put man woman and child to the sword to the letter. Jedburgh Abbey never recovered and the power of the Bishops was ended.
|Part of a Medieval window with beading and slots for bars|
|You can see the foundations of a massive wall|