Vandal attack on Kelso Abbey cloisters

The cloister walls at Kelso Abbey have been vandalised.
The cloister walls at Kelso Abbey have been vandalised.

Less than two months after vandals struck at one of the Borders’ most historic landmarks, another ancient building has been attacked.

Following damage to fixtures and floodlights at Jedburgh Abbey over the festive season in what police called “a mindless act of reckless destruction”, vandals have struck again, this time in Kelso.

Kelso Abbey.

Kelso Abbey.

At 3pm on Sunday, February 18, a member of the public contacted police after finding that a wall within the cloisters area of the town’s ancient abbey had been stained with something, possibly mud.

Police officers are now liaising with Historic and Environment Scotland – which maintains the site – to establish if the stain can be removed and to identify the culprits.

The abbey is steeped in Borders history. It was founded at Roxburgh in 1128 by a community of French monks of the Tironesian order.

In 1143, the building was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and Saint John, and it has seen its fair share of historic events, with King James II being killed close by in 146o, and the abbey was the venue for the coronation of his successor, the infant king, James III.

It is the burial place of Prince Henry of Scotland, who died in 1152, as well as several Dukes of Roxburghe. Over the years, it has been all but destroyed in various attacks, such as the Rough Wooing, led by the Earl of Hertford in around 1550, and soon after by the Scottish Reformation process.

In latter years, many of the abbey’s stones were used in the building of the town of Kelso.

But this is a different kind of assault.

Anyone with information on the vandal attack is asked to contact Kelso Police Station via 101 and quote incident number 2540 of February 18.

Constable Craig Hood from Kelso Police Station said: “At this time we do not know if the damage is permanent, or if it can be cleaned off.

“Nevertheless, this is a reckless and unecessary act of vandalism that cannot be tolerated. Anyone who remembers seeing any suspicious activity within the abbey, or who can help us trace those responsible, is asked to come forward.”