Tours of Border Abbeys


I have noted before the souvenir guide for the Border Abbeys, published in 1964: Dryburgh, Kelso, Jedburgh and Melrose. A small card guide (with colour printing) to Melrose Abbey was issued by MPBW in 1963. On the reverse was a tour of the abbey, ending at the ‘attractive museum’. The cost was 4d (with the adult entry to the site at 1s). The suggested station was Melrose.


The MPBW card guide (monochrome on blue card) to Jedburgh Abbey is less elaborate with the tour inside with small sketches to illustrate the key features. The cost of this guide was 2d (with the adult entry to the site at 1s).

The same text appears in the DOE leaflet at a cost of 1 p. The inside pages contain the same text as the MPBW guide. On the reverse is a tour of the abbey along with a plan.



A further leaflet was available for Kelso Abbey.

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey © David Gill
Fountains Abbey © David Gill

Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire was placed in state guardianship in 1966 and as described as the ‘brightest jewel’ in the collection of ‘monastic houses in Yorkshire’. Its foundation can be traced back to late December 1132.


The first guidebook (MPBW Souvenir Guide-Book) was prepared by Alan Phillips in 1967. This described the abbey as follows:

But by the manner of scenery combining with stone, in the scale and completeness of what has endured, and for some architectural features with few parallels or none, Fountains must be set apart from the field.

The guidebook is illustrated throughout, with some colour images.Inside the back cover is a fold-out ‘Tour of the Abbey’. Nineteen specific points are identified to take the visitor from the west entrance of the church through to the guest-houses.

The guidebook is by Alan Phillips who had prepared similar illustrated souvenir guidebooks for the castles at Beaumaris, Caernarfon, Conwy and Harlech in Wales (1961) and the Monasteries of north-east Yorkshire (1962).

1970 (1971)
1970 (1971)

The official DOE blue guide was by R. Gilyard-Beer, Assistant Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments (1970). This contained 76 pages, with 7 separate plans showing the elements of the abbey, with a fold-out plan inside the back cover. Gilyard-Beer had written the guide to Abbeys in state care.

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