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Historical stone disappears from Borders abbey

The missing stone. Credit: Historic Environment Scotland

A historical stone has been taken from a medieval abbey, near St Boswells in the Borders.

The decorative piece, which was once part of an arch, was reported missing from the ruin of Dryburgh Abbey on 28 December.

The public body that looks after the A-listed building says the stone is a voussoir of "great historical significance" and has issued a plea for its safe return.

The stone was taken from Dryburgh Abbey, near St Boswells. Credit: PA

A spokesperson for Historic Environment Scotland (HES) said: “We can confirm that a medieval stone has been stolen from Dryburgh Abbey.

“This large, distinctive stone is decorative in nature and originally formed part of an archway within the Abbey.

“The loss of such an artefact robs us of a priceless piece of our heritage, and we would urge anyone with information regarding this incident to contact Police Scotland.”

Jill Van Millingen Historic Environment Scotland says the reason the stone was taken is unknown. She said: "It's a bit of a mystery really. Presumably because it was a lovely decorative piece.

"They have great architectural importance because they are not part of the abbey anymore you can really see mason stone marks on them you can see keying marks so they could stick together. They really show us the skill of the masons and the accuracy involved in creating a structure like this."

Dryburgh Abbey, on the banks of the River Tweed, was founded in 1150 by Hugh de Morville the Constable of Scotland. He believed that by building the abbey it would bring him one step closer to heaven.

The grave of Sir Walter Scott and his wife Charlotte lies in the grounds of the abbey. The site is next to the River Tweed and was burned by English invaders in 1322. It was then restored, only to be largely destroyed in 1544.

It's now a popular tourist attraction which see 21,000 visitors each year.

Anyone with information on the theft of the stone is asked to contact Police Scotland.

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