This famous, ruined abbey, founded by David I in 1138, is one of Scotland's finest. Under the Augustinian canons from Beauvais, France, it achieved abbey status in 1152 (when enough of its infrastructure was complete to allow a formal endorsement by the Augustinian hierarchies in Rome), and went on to witness much royal pageantry, such as the coronation of the founder's grandson, Malcolm IV (1153-65), and the marriage of Alexander III (1249-86) to his second wife, Yolande de Dreux.

The abbey was sacked by the English in 1544 and 1545 during the frequent wars that ravaged the villages along the Scotland-England border. Its roof was burned, allowing rains to penetrate and further destroy much of the interior detailing. After 1560, the ascendancy of the strait-laced Church of Scotland acted as a disincentive for rebuilding any grand-scale "papist monuments," so no efforts were made to repair the abbey.

For about 300 years, a small section of the abbey was the town's parish church, but in 1875 other premises were found for day-to-day worship. Then teams of architects set to work restoring the place to its original medieval design. The abbey is still roofless but otherwise fairly complete, with most of its exterior stonework still in place. You can view the late-12th-century west front; three pedimented gables remain at the doorway; and the solid buttresses and rounded arches in the Norman style are relatively intact. You can also walk through the nave and the ruins of the former cloister. In a century-old outbuilding is the Jedburgh Abbey Visitor Centre, Abbey Place (tel. 01835/863-925), open the same hours as the abbey.