Melrose Abbey was founded in 1136 by King David I of Scotland and the Cistercian Monks. It took about 10 years to build and was the first Cictercian abbey in Scotland, developing a reputation for sanctity and learning. Due to its location on one of the main roads between Edinburgh and the south it became vulnerable to attack and in 1322 a large part of the abbey was destroyed after an attack by the army of Edward II. Although it was rebuilt under the orders of King Robert the Bruce the abbey suffered a further attack by the army of Richard II in 1385 when it was burned.
Over the next 100 years it was again rebuilt but in 1544 it was again badly damaged by english armies. It was never fully repaired and the last monk died in 1590. During the English Civil War the abbey was bombarded by cannon fire.
In 1822, at the instigation of Sir Walter Scott extensive repairs were carried out. The substantial and impressive remains are open to the public and are well worth visiting.
It is thought that the heart of Robert the Bruce is buried in the abbey.
Robert the Bruce (Robert I) was the King of Scots from 1306 until his death in 1329. His reign during the First War of Scottish Independence was instrumental in regaining Scotlands place as an independent country.