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Reflection of Identity: The Architecture & Landscapes of the Border Abbeys and David I, the Scoto-Northumbrian King

Aberle, Jessica Marie
Thesis/Dissertation; Online
Aberle, Jessica Marie
Reilly, Lisa
This dissertation articulates the influence of the Norman Conquest of England (1066) on the development of medieval Scottish architecture, which was a response to the changing socio-political sphere in England. Following the Conquest and its aftermath, David I, King of the Scots (r.1124-1153), had to negotiate a Britain distinctly different from that his forefathers. He looked south not only to England but also to the continent for models of religion, kingship, social, political and economic structures, and a new architectural tradition. David I appropriated the architectural vocabulary and building policies of the Normans to make manifest his own political aspirations as the Northern King of Britain. He established a common visual language of kingship between himself and the Norman kings. Ultimately, Kelso, Melrose and Jedburgh Abbeys act as political statements, which testify to the power and ambition of David I through their iconographical programs and placement in the landscape. The Border Abbeys must be considered within the political context of the Normano-Scottish Border during the reign of David I. David I founded these three abbeys between 1128-1138 near his castle at Roxburgh on the periphery of the traditional Kingdom of the Scots but along the Normano-Scottish Border. Our understanding of Kelso, Melrose, and Jedburgh Abbeys is fundamentally tied to not only David I but also to their location at the center of a new Scoto-Northumbrian kingdom. The Border Abbeys were conceived of as active political strategies by David I as part of his campaign to conquer Northumbria and Cumbria. If the abbeys are examined within the framework of the twelfth-century Normano-Scottish Border, a pattern emerges suggesting that the iconography and locations were intentionally chosen to create a visually complex program that proclaimed David I‟s royal identity as the new Northern King of Britain by asserting his claim to the ancient kingdom of Northumbria. Note: Abstract extracted from PDF text
University of Virginia, Department of Architectural History, PHD (Doctor of Philosophy), 2011
Published Date
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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