Buildings, Historic Buildings, Monuments & Statues
This is a harled building with an archway and a tall spire

About Newgate

This is a harled building with an archway and a tall spire. The building replaced the tolbooth. The gatehouse was started in 1756 and the spire was added later on, works beginning in 1761 and finishing in 1791. The 36 metre (118 feet) high spire houses three bells. One of these dates from before the religious Reformation of Scotland (1525-1560) and reputedly came from the Abbey.
Before you walk through the arch, look up and you will see a carved stone panel bearing the Burgh Arms with the date 1720. Notice also the town’s motto “Strenue et Prospere” meaning ‘With vigour and success’. This plaque was taken from a wellhead of the town’s first public water supply and proves that you cannot always tell the date of a building from a dated stone. It was built into the spire during the early 19th century.
Once under the arch -which was at one time closed off by a pair of folding gates -the doors seen either side of you lead to cells. These are quite small and windowless. Just imagine the conditions for the prisoners during the cold, dark winter days. On the level above was the cell for condemned prisoners and they would have had a bit more to think about than the condition of their surroundings. That having been said, crime was low in Jedburgh in the latter part of the 18th century when only five people were condemned to death “but not one of them for murder”. If you look up when you are under the arch, you will see that timber joists form the ceiling and not vaulting as you might expect.
Once through the arch, you get another view of the Abbey. Through the railings you can see the old cemetery with many gravestones dating from the 17th century. The ground and the nave of the Abbey itself would have been used for burials from the time of its foundation. In 1993, during the laying of a gas pipe in Abbey Place “several skulls” were discovered, thereby extending the known graveyard limit towards the north side of the road.

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