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Return to Melrose Abbey for 15th century statues

The four statues have been in storage for 30 years. Credit: Historic Environment Scotland

Four 15th century statues are being returned to Melrose Abbey after spending 30 years in storage.

The figures, depicting St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Andrew and Mary, were removed from the Abbey in the early 1980s due to fears that the carved sandstone was vulnerable to further weathering and damage.

Restoration work was then carried out on the statues by expert conservators, which involved cleaning and the meticulous removal of previous repairs.

The statues date back to the early 15th century and the rebuilding of Melrose Abbey after it was destroyed by the armies of Richard II in 1385.

Visitors will have the opportunity to view the statues on display in the Commendator’s House Museum, while specially made replicas will remain in the niches where the original statues once stood.

The artefacts will be on display from Saturday 20th May, when Melrose Abbey will host the Chronicle of Melrose event, as part of the Festival of Museums.

“The niche statues, which survived damage after they were defaced following the Reformation, give us a unique insight into this turbulent period of Scottish history.

– Jill van Millingen, Collections Manager at Historic Environment Scotland (HES)