Abbey Close

Buildings, Historic Buildings, Monuments & Statues
Learn about the history of the house 'Wren's Nest' and other famous residents on the close

About Abbey Close

This now quiet cul-de-sac provided access to the ceremonial West Door of the Abbey and west claustral range. David’s Tower (or D’Abbie’s Tower as it is sometimes called) was the site of the residence of Bishop David Panter in 1552. This once guarded the approach to the Abbey and was located at the junction of Abbey Close and Castlegate. Demolition of the tower took place some time in the mid to late 17th century.
Within Abbey Close itself, you will see on your right a building called ‘Wrens Nest’ which was built in the early 18th century. King James VI granted the site in 1610 to Alexander, Earl of Home. The house, which occupied the site at that time, was called Wrain’s Nest. Later in the 17th century, the house passed to the Laird of Edgerston who may have been responsible for the building that you see today. In 1821, Jedburgh Academy took possession of the building and schoolrooms were built in 1843, only to be burnt down in 1911. If you look at the gable heads, you will see the initials GF and MM, standing for George Fife (the headmaster of the Academy) and Marion Millar, whom he married in 1862. The Academy merged with the Grammar School at the beginning of the 20th century and the building has since been converted into two dwellings.
On the wall between Numbers 6 and 7 is a stone plaque commemorating the fact that the author William W o r d s w o r t h and his sister Dorothy stayed for a while in a house on this site during their visit to Scotland in 1803. Whilst there, they were visited by Sir Walter Scott who doubtless told them many tales of the Borders. This was also the site of Mary Somerville’s house. She was a famous scientist and mathematician, after whom Somerville College for ladies at the University of Oxford was named.

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