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Melrose Abbey; the Nave

Melrose Abbey; the Nave

Photographer: Wilson, George Washington (1823-1893)

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1862

Shelfmark: C.44.d.7,8

Item number: 186

Length: 6.9

Width: 6.2

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

“In 1378 Richard II. granted a protection to the abbot and his lands, but in 1385 he burnt down Melrose and other religious houses on his expedition into Scotland. Robert Bruce, in the beginning of the fourteenth century, granted a revenue to restore the abbey, and betwixt this period and the Reformation arose the splendid structure, the ruins of which yet charm the eye. It is in the highest style of the Decorated order, every portion is full of work of the most exquisite character, occasionally mingled with the Perpendicular. They are only the ruins of the church which remain, and they present the finest specimen of Gothic architecture and sculpture that Scotland possesses…The church is two hundred and eighty-seven feet in length, and at the greatest breadth one hundred and fifty-seven feet. The west is wholly ruined; but the great eastern window remains, and one above the southern door, which are extremely fine. The pillars that yet remain to support the roof are of singular grace, and wherever you turn you behold objects that rivet the attention by their richness of sculpture, though often only in fragments. The only wonder is that so much has escaped the numberless assaults of enemies.”

Excerpt from “Melrose Abbey”, in ‘Ruined Abbeys and Castles of Great Britain’ by William and Mary Howitt.

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