MacBRAVEHEART ... Dryburgh Wallace Monument
|The Dryburgh statue was the first monument to be raised to Wallace in Scotland.|
The eleventh Earl of Buchan was very attached to the Dryburgh area and this nobleman was himself buried at Dryburgh. He built a 260 foot suspension bridge over the river Tweed here and also commissioned a colossal statue of Wallace to be built.
This statue was placed on its pedestal on 22nd September 1814. It stands 21.5 feet high and is formed of red sandstone. When first raised it was painted white, but is now bare sandstone.
The statue was designed by a Mr John Smith, a self-taught sculptor, and he had copied its likeness from a supposed authentic portrait which had been purchased in France by a Sir Philip Ainslie of Pilton.
Wallace is represented in ancient Scottish armour, a shield hanging from his left hand, and leaning on a huge sword with his right.
|The statue was restored around 1990 by Graciela Ainsworth, one of Scotland's
foremost sculpture conservators. She gave a very interesting talk on her work with this
statue and with the 1821 Lanark Wallace statue at the Wallace Conference at the
Smith Art Gallery and Museum in Stirling on 17th May, 1997. |
An urn in front of the statue bore what old accounts called 'a suitable inscription'. This is illegible in parts now due to erosion. The remaining words nevertheless convey the spirit of the piece.
The statue can be found by following the Dryburgh road from St. Boswells. Soon after the road crosses the river Tweed there is a side road on the left with a sign for the 'Wallace Statue'. The road is then signposted all the way to the car park for the statue. It is a five minute walk through the woods from the car park to the statue. The sheer scale of the statue is only appreciated when you are standing close to it. The setting is absolutely magnificent, on the edge of a steep drop down towards the river Tweed. The spot is very peaceful with lovely views to the North and West, and is ideal for a picnic.
|The plaque on the front of the base of the statue has the inscription:|
Erected by David Stuart
|There is a footpath leading down from the front of the statue, first towards the East
then turning Westwards to run down through woods to the join the roadway near the
entrance to Dryburgh Abbey, burial place of Sir Walter Scott. The turn-off from this
road on the right, just before the entrance to the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel, leads down
past an amazing stone gateway (presumably once leading to part of the Earl of
Buchan's estates) and then then along the riverside to the Earl's suspension bridge
over the Tweed. |
Just off the path at the Southern end of the bridge, almost completely hidden in bushes, is a circular red sandstone plinth with columns and a sandstone roof (again presumably the work of the Earl of Buchan).
Across the bridge and along the riverbank to the West for about 150 yards is a gravel beach, used by local people for subathing and swimming on hot summer days.
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