Soutra Aisle

[Soutra Aisle church]

If it weren't for the interpretation boards you'd never guess, but Soutra Aisle is the site of what was once Scotland's largest medieval hospital. Founded by the Augustinians in 1164, the hospital took in poor and unwell travellers passing by on the Roman Road of Dere Street between Edinburgh and Jedburgh (and London beyond). The one surviving building was once part of the hospital's church, preserved by virtue of it being a burial vault for the local Pringle family. Information panels (obviously written by an academic) go into great depth about the medicines used here based on ground surveys, and how the hospital eventually fell from grace following a scandal involving its director. There are good views over the surrounding countryside too, though you can't help thinking that an exposed, hilltop location isn't the best place to heal the sick...

[View north-west over Lothian and the Firth of Forth]

Name: Soutra Aisle ☆☆☆☆
Location: B6368 a mile south of the A68 junction near Soutra Mains, G.R.: NT 453584 / former stored hotspots
Open: Always
Cost: Free
Anything else? Parking area on the opposite side of the road a few hundred metres south; depending on conditions and the size of your car, you may also be able to park on the verge opposite the hospital church.

[Soutra Aisle church]

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