every surface trace of the structures had been obliterated. The great wall which surrounded the fort, as well as the ruins it enclosed, would provide a convenient quarry, and it seems not improbable that when King David built his great Abbey at Melrose he found some of his material at Newstead. The stone used by the Romans was for the most part the red sandstone of which the Abbey is built. It is said to have come from the quarry at Dryburgh, some three miles further down the Tweed.

We know that the spoil of ancient buildings was too often employed in the manner suggested. The Roman stones of St. Wilfrid's crypt at Hexham and the altar of the Rhaetian Spearmen in the tower stair at Jedburgh are well-known examples. Further, although no stone showing any trace of an inscription, or of a characteristically Roman dressing, appears to have been found at Melrose, there is one ancient tradition which may be held to strengthen the theory. The village of Newstead, which lies close to the fort on the west, has always been celebrated for its masons. The old thatched houses, many of which have been swept away in the last twenty years, were rich in sundials and small ornamented details of stone work. Here, according to the local tradition, lived the workmen who built the Abbey, and here certainly there was long ago established a Lodge of Freemasons which, though its early muniments have been lost, claims to have been founded at a distant period. The mason tradition has not attached itself to any of the other little communities that grew up around the Abbey, and there is thus good ground for believing that the connection of the craft with the village owed its origin to the proximity of the ruined fort.

Earlier Discoveries

The first notable find of which we have any definite account was made in 1783, when an altar was discovered in the field immediately to the east of the Red Abbeystead. It bears a dedication to the Campestres of an Ala of Vocontian Cavalry, and is preserved in the National Museum of Antiquities. A second altar, which is now in the possession of Sir Alexander Leith-Buchanan, Bart., a descendant of a former proprietor of the ground, at Ross Priory, Dumbartonshire, came to light in 1830 in a field to the south-east of the Red Abbeystead. It is a dedication to the god Silvanus by a centurion of the Twentieth Legion. In 1846 the formation of the main line of the North British Railway on the south led to the opening up of a number of Roman rubbish pits containing pottery and other relics.