Melrose Abbey, a celebrated ruin in the town of Melrose, Roxburghshire, Scotland, near the Tweed, 31 m. S. E. of Edinburgh. It was founded in 1136 by David I., completed in 1146, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The first occupants were Cistercian monks from Yorkshire, England. In 1322 it was destroyed by the English army of Edward II., but was soon rebuilt by Robert Bruce substantially after the present design, and in a style of magnificence which ranks it among the most perfect ecclesiastical structures of the best age of Gothic architecture. In 1385 and again in 1545 it suffered severely at the hands of English armies; and during the reformation its choicest sculptures were mutilated.
In later times it has been despoiled of many of its stones to furnish materials for other buildings; yet at the end of five centuries the church, which is the only part of the ancient monastery remaining, is one of the best preserved specimens of Gothic architecture.