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Borders field could be site of ancient palace

The Ancrum site where archaeologists are excavating Credit: ITV Border

Archaeologists believe they have unearthed the remains of a 900-year-old bishops palace in a field in the Scottish Borders.

A team of experts from Glasgow University and local volunteers are currently excavating the site in the village of Ancrum.

They believe the medieval site dates back to the 12th century and was used by the Bishops of Glasgow.

It could be one of the most signigicant archaelogical finds ever in southern Scotland.


Archaeological dig underway

An archaeological dig is underway that could uncover a lost Bishop's palace.

The dig in Ancrum in the Scottish Borders has long been believed to have been an important medieval site.

Now experts from Glasgow University are hoping to uncover a Bishop's Palace, or a stronghold of the crusading Knights of Malta. The work has been commissioned by Scottish Borders Council. Their archaeological officer said:

"One of Glasgow's bishops - Bishop de Bondington who was responsible for building Glasgow Cathedral - actually died in the village after dictating his last writ to the Pope.

"Ancrum, it seems, was at the very centre of medieval religion and politics until the Wars of Independence."

– Dr Chris Bowles, Scottish Borders Council archaeology officer

A map from the 1770s depicts a ruined building on the site, but every map thereafter shows a blank field.

Dr Bowles believes the ruins were most likely brought down around the turn of the 19th century to make way for agricultural improvement.

Search for a Bishops Palace in Scottish Borders

Students conduct survey at Mantle Walls last November Credit: ITV Border

Archaeologists are looking for traces of a possible Bishops Palace near Ancrum in the Scottish Borders.

The field of Mantle Walls has long been suspected as the site of a major medieval building.

Local tradition suggests it was the probable site of a Bishop's Palace, dating back to the 12th or 13th centuries, when the medieval Bishopric of Glasgow extended into the Borders.

One of Glasgow's Bishops, Bishop de Bodington, who was responsible for building Glasgow Cathedral, died in Ancrum after dicatating his last writ to the Pope.

The village, it seems, was at the centre of medieval religion and politics until the Wars of Independence.