- DRYBURGH, a village, in the parish of Mertoun, county of Berwick, 1½ mile (W.) from Mertoun. It is beautifully situated on the river Tweed, which forms the southern boundary of the parish; and was formerly a market-town of some importance, but is now chiefly remarkable for the much admired remains of its ancient abbey. So early as the year 522, St. Modan, one of the first Christian missionaries in Britain, was abbot of Dryburgh; but from the circumstance of this original institution being unnoticed by historians subsequently to this period, it is supposed that the abbot and monks were shortly afterwards transferred to Melrose, and some centuries elapsed before the formation of a second establishment here. Hugh de Morville, constable of Scotland, about the middle of the twelfth century, with the consent of his wife, Beatrix de Bello Campo, founded a new abbey, to which David I. granted a charter of confirmation, and the establishment was afterwards enriched by numerous benefactions from illustrious personages. In 1544, the whole of the town was burnt down, except the church, by the English army under Sir George Bowes; and in the year following, the monastery was plundered and burnt by the Earl of Hertford. About the year 1556, David Erskine, a natural son of Lord Erskine, and one of the sub-preceptors to James VI., became abbot. That monarch, however, soon after dissolved the abbey, and bestowed it as a temporal lordship, under the title of Cardross, on John, Earl of Mar, lord high treasurer of Scotland, with the privilege annexed of assigning that title of peerage, which he conveyed to Henry, his third son, ancestor of the present Earl of Buchan, by a deed dated 13th of March, 1617, and confirmed by the king and parliament. In 1786, the abbey was purchased by the Earl of Buchan from the heirs of Colonel Tod, who had bought it from the family of Haliburton, of Newmains. The remains, though not extensive, are of very considerable interest; they are romantically overgrown with ivy, and consist chiefly of the chapter-house, north transept, and St. Modan's chapel: some parts of the ruins are of very early date, there being vestiges of the Saxon and Norman styles as well as of the early English. The environs are famed for their delightful scenery, and are ornamented with various pleasing objects, among which is a temple erected to the Muses, and surmounted by a bust of Thomson, the author of The Seasons. A colossal statue of Sir William Wallace crowns the brow of an adjoining hill; and near the ruins of the abbey is a remarkably light and elegant bridge for foot passengers and led horses, consisting of a platform of wood, elevated eighteen feet above the surface of the water, and fixed to pillars on each side of the river by chains. Sir Walter Scott was buried at Dryburgh.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.