The deeply religious Scottish king Malcolm IV died at Jedburgh in 1165, aged 24. His death was thought to be brought on by excessive fasting.
David I had also erected a castle at Jedburgh, and in 1174, it was one of five fortresses ceded to England. It was an occasional royal residence for the Scots but captured by the English so often that it was eventually demolished in 1409, when it was the last English stronghold in Scotland.
In 1258 Jedburgh had also been the focus of royal attention, with negotiations between Scotland's Alexander III and England's Henry III over the heir to the Scottish throne, leaving the Comyn faction dominant. Alexander III was also to marry at the abbey in 1285.
Its proximity to England made it historically subject to raids and skirmishes by both Scottish and English forces.
Mary, Queen of Scots stayed at a house in the town in 1566 which is now a museum.
Lord of Jedburgh Forest was a barony that was granted to George Douglas, 1st Earl of Angus on the occasion of his marriage to the Princess Mary, daughter of Robert III in 1397. It is subsidiary title of the present Earl of Angus, Angus Douglas-Hamilton, 15th Duke of Hamilton. The Duke of Douglas was raised to the position of Viscount Jedburgh Forest, but he died without heir in 1761.
In 1787 the early geologist James Hutton noted what is now known as the Hutton Unconformity at Inchbonny, near Jedburgh. Layers of sedimentary rock which are tilted almost vertically are covered by newer horizontal layers of red sandstone. This was one of the findings that led him to develop his concept of an immensely long geologic time scale with "no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end."
The expression "Jeddart justice" or "Jethart Justice", where a man was hanged first, and tried afterward (compare Lynch law), seems to have arisen from one case of summary execution of a gang of villains.
Several notable people were born in the town, including Mary Somerville (1780-1869) the eminent scientist and writer, after whom Somerville College at Oxford is named.
Others include the actor Peter McCue, in 1921, and Tory MP Michael Ancram in 1945. James Thomson (1700–1748) who wrote "Rule Britannia", was born nearby, and educated here. David Brewster, inventor of the kaleidoscope was also born in Jedburgh. The authoress and broadcaster Lavinia Derwent was born in a farmhouse a few miles outside Jedburgh.
The ruined abbey was the site of a major archaeological dig in 1984. It is maintained by Historic Scotland and open to the public (entrance charge). Many of the more important finds from the excavation are displayed on site in the modern visitor centre attached to the Abbey ruins. The Abbey, though much damaged over the years, especially by invasions from England, is still one of the finest late Norman buildings remaining in Scotland. Now roofless, part of the church was used as the parish church into the 19th century. Jedburgh Castle Jail, built in the early 19th century on the site of the medieval castle, is also open to the public. Borders traditions like the annual Callants Rideout and bands of pipes and drums add local colour, and delicacies include Jethart Snails and Jethart Pears. Another annual event is the Jethart Hand Ba' game. The Canongate Brig dates from the 16th century, and there are some fine riverside walks. The Capon Oak Tree is reputed to be 2000 years old, and Newgate Prison and the town spire are among the town's older buildings. The town's industries included textiles, tanning and glove-making, grain mills, and electrical engineering. Central to the festival and customs associated with the town of Jedburgh are the Jedforest Instrumental band who support many civic, religious and social events throughout the year, a service provided consistently since 1854.
Jedburgh has two primary schools, Howdenburn situated on Howdenburn Drive although its actual address is Lothian Road, and Parkside on Priors Road. There were two rural schools nearby, Oxnam Primary and Glendouglas Primary but these were shut in 2005 as cost cutting measures were brought in by Scottish Borders Council. Pupils from these schools now attend Howdenburn Primary. Secondary education is served by Jedburgh Grammar School at the bottom of High Street. The pupils come from the two town primaries as well as Ancrum Primary School and Denholm Primary School. The Grammar School has the distinction of being one of only a handful of schools in Britain that has a public road (Pleasance or Anna Road) running through the middle of it. The school has also been under major re-development work starting in 1995 and finishing in 2006.
Free WiFi Hotspots arrived in various location around the town in the summer of 2008.
All the border towns are famous for their rugby, and Galashiels has associations with William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Selkirk is where William Wallace was declared Guardian of Scotland and has many links to the Earls of Douglas, where some of his descendents live to this day and Melrose was the scene of a battle in 1526 over the stewardship of James V.
Jedburgh has the distinction of being the only Border town to have a dry ski slope. Built at Anna Road Sports Complex which also has two tennis courts, a small outdoor football pitch, a 100m sprint track and a sand pit for long jump and triple jump. Canoes are also available for the towns Secondary school pupils at Jedburgh Grammar School which adjoins the complex and a "rock" for climbing and abseiling, although not very high it gives a taster.