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Eccles, St Mary's Convent, nunnery

A Scheduled Monument in Mid Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.6645 / 55°39'52"N

Longitude: -2.3775 / 2°22'39"W

OS Eastings: 376347

OS Northings: 641287

OS Grid: NT763412

Mapcode National: GBR C2VY.28

Mapcode Global: WH8XM.GW2D

Entry Name: Eccles, St Mary's Convent, nunnery

Scheduled Date: 23 November 1999

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM8232

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: nunnery

Location: Eccles

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Mid Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a Cistercian nunnery, dedicated to St Mary and believed to have been founded in the mid 12th century. The nunnery suffered repeatedly over the centuries during skirmishes with the English, was severely damaged in 1545 and then erected into a temporal Lordship for Sir George Home in 1609.

The extant remains consist of two barrel-vaulted rooms with evidence for a blocked-up, round-headed window on the N wall: other blocked openings are discernible on the E walls. A fragment of string course decorated with chevron ornament runs along the exterior of the W wall.

The remains of a stairway run from ground level to first floor level where the vaulted rooms have been covered in concrete to form a terrace. The boundary wall which runs S from the building incorporates several interesting features of uncertain date and purpose. A number of carved stones, including two transitional-style capitals remain in the immediate vicinity.

The area to be scheduled is rectangular in shape with maximum dimensions of 50m NE-SW by 40m transversely to include the remains of the convent and all boundary walls, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract. Excluded from this scheduling is the summer house which lies adjacent to the upstanding remains, the top 30cm of the pathways to allow for maintenance and any burial lairs with existing burial rights.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as one of only a few surviving examples of a Cistercian nunnery in Scotland. It thus has the potential to add to our knowledge and understanding of Cistercian architecture and the life of the Cistercian nuns over the period ca. 1150-1550.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NT 74 SE 6

Bibliography:

Cowan, I. B. and Easson, D. E. (1976) 'Medieval religious houses, Scotland: with an appendix on the houses in the Isle of Man', London, 146, 2nd ed.

Easson, D. E. (1957) Medieval religious houses in Scotland: with an appendix on the houses in the Isle of Man, London, 122.

Ferguson, J. (1892) 'Notices of remains of pre-reformation churches, etc, in Berwickshire', Hist Berwickshire Natur Club, Vol. 13, 1, 1890.

NSA (1845) The new statistical account of Scotland by the ministers of the respective parishes under the superintendence of a committee of the society for the benefit of the sons and daughters of the clergy, 15v, Edinburgh, Vol. 2, (Berwickshire), 57.

RCAHMS (1915) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Sixth report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Berwick, Edinburgh, 77, No. 138, rev.

RCAHMS (1980) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of Berwickshire District, Borders Region, The archaeological sites and monuments of Scotland series no. 10, Edinburgh, 47, No. 414.

Robson, J. (1896) The churches and churchyards of Berwickshire, Kelso, 90-92.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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