The 'monks' of Melrose Abbey
The final ceremony of the morning takes places at the Abbey where over 850 years of ecclesiastical history are recalled. The Abbey of St. Mary is the earliest Cistercian settlement in Scotland. Under Abbot Richard, a colony of monks from Rievaulx in Yorkshire began building and the church was dedicated in 1146, on a site chosen because of its fine water supply and drainage. The monks enjoyed extensive lands, the right of pasture, fishing and timber as far afield and Traquair.
Against this sermon in stone which is the Abbey the last deeds of remembrance and thanksgiving take place. The Melrosian narrates the history and within the Abbey Abbot Richard and monks receive the founding charter from King David (1136).
Festival Queen lays wreath at Robert the Bruce's heart
The later part in the Abbey's history involving Robert Bruce is then commemorated by the laying of a wreath. Robert Bruce's heart was brought to the Abbey and following reburial it now resides in the cloister gardens.
The story of the Abbey is then briefly brought up to date before the ceremony is concluded by a short service of thanksgiving for the Festival Week.
'King David' reads his charter to Melrose
"I, David First, King of Scots, confirm by this my charter to you, the Abbot and Convent of Saint Mary, the endowment which I have been pleased to give to found my new church here, and by it I have given to you the lands of Little Fordel, Darnick, Gattonside, Newstead and Eildon for the Glory of God and as a perpetual possession to your order.
While ye cultivate the earth and gather the fruits thereof be not unmindful of the chief object of your calling, the religious good of the people; forget not to practice culture; be zealous in educating the young, caring for the poor, succoring the stranger, and in setting an example of integrity and uprightness to all.
I have granted this endowment for my own soul and the souls of my family, and remembering the former religious house at Muhlross, and in veneration for it, and in honour of Saint Cuthbert of blessed memory, I re-christen the place of Little Fordel with the new name of Melrose."
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