The Commendator’s House is a ruined 16th century fortified house built within the ruins of Dryburgh Abbey.
Dryburgh Abbey was built in the 12th century and despite being burned by the English twice in the 14th century it flourished in the 15th century. However it was finally destroyed in 1544 and 1545 by Edward Seymour, the Earl of Hertford, during the Rough Wooing, although monks apparently continued to live there until 1584 or 1600.
At the time of its destruction the commendator of the abbey was Thomas Erskine. He resigned the commendatorship in favour of his brother John, 6th Lord Erskine and 18th and 1st Earl of Mar, in 1548, who in turn passed office to his nephew, David Erskine.
It may have been he who was responsible for building a two storey fortified house within the north end of the old abbey dormitory, directly above the chapter house. This new house featured shot holes for defence, and had its entrance on the east side.
A substantial gatehouse to the south-west of the abbey, crossing the mill lade, was also built in the 16th century and may have been intended to fortify the approach to the Commendator’s House.
Another David Erskine, Lord Cardross, lived in the Commendator’s House until his death in 1671, and the estate was later sold to the Scotts of Ancrum. It later passed back to another branch of the Erskine family when David Erskine, 11th Earl of Buchan, acquired the Dryburgh estate early in the 1780s and rebuilt Dryburgh Abbey House.
The Commendator’s House is now also in ruins and is almost indistinguishable from the remains of the abbey which surround it.