Exploring Old Melrose: Rediscovering, Interpreting and Accessing St. Cuthbert's First Monastic Home and its Environs


Old Melrose, approximately 2.5 kilometres east of Newstead (the location of the Roman fortress of Trimontium) and nearly 4 kilometres from Melrose Abbey, is the site of an Anglo-Saxon monastery of the 7th century AD. In historical terms, Old Melrose is as important as Whithorn or Iona for an understanding of early Christianity in Scotland.

The Melrose Historical & Archaeological Association, in partnership with the Trimontium Trust, have formed the Old Melrose Environs Project Steering Group. Together they propose to bring this Dark Age monastery and its environs to light through a series of archaeological, historical, promotional and educational activities. More importantly the Group aims to draw the community closer to this site and to an understanding and awareness of the connections between Old Melrose and St. Cuthbert and St. Boisil.

The primary activity of the Project will be a community led, professionally supervised, training excavation that seeks to evaluate the historical and geophysical evidence for Old Melrose. Education will be at the heart of the Old Melrose and Environs project with local schools and students from Borders College being involved. Local residents will also be encouraged to take part. The aim is to develop a sense of identification with, and long term stewardship of, the site for the future.