Recently the Prior and two confreres visited Dryburgh Abbey in Scotland; Dryburgh was home to Adam of Dryburgh (c. 1140 – c. 1212) one of the most prolific British Premonstratensian writers, who became abbot of Dryburgh in 1184. The grounds of Dryburgh Abbey, now owned by Historic Scotland, are some of the most extensive of any British Premonstratensian Abbey. For any readers who would like more information on Adam of Dryburgh we highly recommend The Mellifluous Bee: The Marian Theology of Adam of Dryburgh, by Fr Benedict D O’Cinnsealaigh, and for more photographs of Dryburgh Abbey please visit our flickr page.
We were privileged to visit on a sunny Scottish day and whilst there Fr Prior was able to say Mass in the chapter room of the abbey, which remains intact. Mass was offered for all the deceased confreres of Dryburgh Abbey, and it is wonderful to think that some of the Premonstratensian chant sung at our Mass might have been familiar to our brothers more than 500 years prior. It was particularly touching that a member of staff was able to join us for the Mass and commented that he didn’t think he would ever see the Catholic Mass return to Dryburgh.
Whilst looking around Dryburgh Abbey after Mass we also found the graves of two more recent notable Scots: Field Marshall Earl Haig, and Sir Walter Scott. Earl Haig’s family had links with the abbey, and according to the plaque they also had connections to Hugh de Moreville who founded the abbey in 1150. A clip of Earl Haig’s burial can be found here. The great writer Sir Walter Scott loved the romantic ruins of Dryburgh Abbey and so asked the Earl of Buchan, then owner, for the privilege of having his family tomb there. This was kindly granted by the Earl, and so Sir Walter, his wife and son are entombed in a portion of what was the Abbey Church. More information about Sir Walter Scott and Dryburgh can be found here.
Fr Prior had also been asked to marry two friends of the community in St Salvator’s Chapel, St Andrews. It was a truly beautiful service and Fr Prior was also rather amused that he should be asked to preach in what had been John Knox’s pulpit, and so having seen so much of the effect of the Scottish Reformation on what had been a proudly Catholic country Fr Prior preached on the Christian doctrine of marriage to the couple and those gathered for the service.