Laying a Wreath at Dryburgh Abbey 2020

On Monday 21 September members of the Club gathered at Sir Walter Scott’s grave in the ruins of Dryburgh Abbey in the Scottish Borders to mark the 188th anniversary of the Shirra’s death. Former Chairman, Alasdair Hutton, laid a wreath at the grave and told the group the following: 

“In 1832, although Sir Walter Scott had spent the winter in the Mediterranean sun his health continued to deteriorate and after he heard of the death of Goethe he became impatient to get home. In July 1832 he arrived back at Abbotsford for the last time.

His spirits revived as soon as he saw the familiar surroundings of the home he had built. That summer he rested in a bed specially arranged in the window of his dining room from where he could see the River Tweed and hear the comforting sounds of the river and the birds in the trees which he had so lovingly planted. But his health gradually weakened further until, surrounded by his family, he died at home on Friday the 21st of September 1832.

Five days later the body of Scotland’s greatest storyteller was borne from Abbotsford to here at Dryburgh Abbey. Huge crowds turned out to line the way, people standing silent and bareheaded as the hearse and funeral procession passed. Behind the three hundred invited mourners came a great throng of people who had not received invitations but wanted to pay the illustrious Sir Walter their respects nonetheless.

The day was dark and windy with the sky threatening rain, but as the long procession reached the point on Bemersyde hill known as Scott’s View the horses drawing the hearse stopped, as they had been accustomed to do at that spot in their master’s lifetime, although this time it was said to have been caused by an accident.

At Dryburgh, his household staff bore his coffin to the graveside into the care of the pall-bearers, his sons Walter and Charles, his son-in-law John Gibson Lockhart and Scott’s six year old grandson Walter, and seven others including his cousins and the Chief of his family, Lord Polwarth. After the burial service had been pronounced, the remains of the great man were committed to the earth and laid beside his wife within the peaceful ruins of the old Abbey.

And now 188 years later we stand here again to remember the Wizard of the North, Scotland’s greatest storyteller, Sir Walter Scott.”