Jedburgh Abbey and Scott

Discover Sir Walter Scott's connections with Jedburgh Abbey in the Scottish Borders

Jedburgh Abbey is one of four great abbeys established in the Scottish Borders in the 1100s. Built over more than 70 years, the abbey is striking for its unusual mix of Romanesque and early Gothic architecture.

As well as being a writer, Scott was also a lawyer. He pled his first case as an advocate in Jedburgh – right next to the abbey – in 1793, and went on to become Sheriff-Depute of Selkirkshire (essentially a county judge) and a Clerk of Session. His legal profession brought in a steady income, and supported his literary activities.

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Listen to ‘Measurers of Good and Evil’

Walter Scott’s ‘Song of the Judges of the Secret Tribunal’, from his 1829 novel 'Anne of Geierstein'. Does the song reflect his own experience as a county judge?

Read ‘Measurers of Good and Evil’

Measurers of good and evil,
Bring the square, the line, the level –
Rear the altar, dig the trench.

Blood both stone and ditch shall drench
Cubits six, from end to end,
Must the fatal bench extend, –
Cubits six, from side to side,
Judge and culprit must divide.

On the east the Court assembles,
On the west the Accused trembles –
Answer, brethren, all and one,
Is the ritual rightly done?

Sir Walter Scott - Celebrating 250 Years

In 2021-22, Scotland celebrates the 250th anniversary of one of its most famous sons, Sir Walter Scott. This online exhibition and audio trail of his legacies is part of the celebrations.

'Measurers of Good and Evil' has been performed by Edinburgh actor Gavin Paul, who is looking forward to visiting some of these important historical sights.