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Aberdour and Inchcolme
Lecture 5


Possessions of the Monastery—Gifts of King David the First—Kincar-nathar—Donibrysell—Fear of the English rovers—Lauin the Lesser— Ecclesmaline—Innerkinglassin and Kilrie—Churches of Aberdour, Dalgety, Rosyth, Auchtertool, and Beath—Possessions near Kinghorn —Tofts in Cramond and Edinburgh—Pagan the goldsmith—Tofts in Haddington, etc.—Kincamie and Otherstown—Various rentals—A thousand eels out of Strathenry—William de Mortimer’s gift of land, in his territory of Aberdour—Caer-almond—Restalrig—Inverkeithing and Fordell—The Avenels and Mores of Abercorn, their gifts —Richard of Inverkeithing and Constantine of Lochore—The fights of Fithkil or Leslie— Baledmon and Lundy—Fights about the mill of Aberdour—Story of the King’s physician—The ‘Crossaikers’—Eglismartyn—Lochorward—The church of Dollar—Tenements in Haddington—Brego—Town of Wester Aberdour—Retour of the lordship of St. Colme—Feuing and alienation of the possessions of the Monastery—The Commendators—The suppressed Monastery becomes a receptacle for pirates, then a lazaretto—Reflections on the monastic system.

In giving some account of the possessions of the Monastery of Inchcolme, there are two plans, one or other of which may be followed. We may take our stand at the period of its dissolution, and enumerate the possessions belonging to it at that date. The materials for such a history will not be difficult to find. They will be found in the charter erecting the dissolved Abbey into a temporal lordship, and will be repeated in deeds of entail, or documents of a similar kind.

Another plan is, to take our stand at the period of the foundation of the Religious House, and, by means of its charters arranged in a chronological order, to watch the growing fortunes of the institution, marking the possessions with which it begins its career; the circumstances in which others are acquired; the disputes that, from time to time, arise in regard to them; and, generally speaking, the outstanding manifestations of mind and feeling to which they give rise.

If you tell me of a man, sprung from a humble position in life, who has amassed a large fortune, and died very rich.

I am not much interested in the fact, stated in this way. But if you tell me how he began life, and what the incidents connected with his career were, what plans and purposes he formed and cherished, and how he carried them into action, the story awakens interest in my mind. For now you lay open to me the workings of mind and heart, and, it may be, some of the noblest feelings which a man is capable of cherishing, as he toils on to eminence and usefulness; or, it may be, some of the basest feelings to which the human heart can be the prey.

Much in the same way do I regard the interest connected with the possessions of a monastery. If it were merely to know, as a matter of curiosity, what lands belonged to the old Abbey, and what did not,—however interesting, to those who reside in the neighbourhood of it, this might be, —I frankly confess I would not have wearied my eyes in tracing the history of its possessions. But when the question involved in it comes to be, how the men of our Scottish nation, some of whom lived in our immediate neighbourhood, felt and acted in regard to the all-important matter of religion, during the three or four centuries that preceded the Reformation, and how disputes regarding property were settled in those old days, I cannot think the time ill spent. And if we do not learn some useful lessons, as well as some facts hitherto little known, from what engages our attention, the fault will not be with the subject, but due to my mode of dealing with it.

In entering on our subject, let me say a word or two regarding the method which is to be pursued. The first document claiming our attention is a charter of Gregory,

Bishop of Dunkeld, making over to the Monastery the lands which King David the First had left to it. This is the earliest notice we have of the possessions of the House ; and indeed it belongs to a period earlier than the actual institution of the Monastery. The next notable document is the Bull of Pope Alexander the Third, to which I referred in last lecture. After this, the notices of the possessions of the Monastery are scattered over the charters belonging to it. The original Chartulary seems now to be irrecoverably lost, but a reliable transcript of it is found among the Macfarlane mss., in the Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh, and of this I have made a copy, augmented by other charters at Donibristle, which by the kindness of the Hon. John Stuart, I have been allowed to examine and copy. By the kindness of the same friend, I have had papers put into my hands, which enable me to speak confidently as to the feuing and final alienation of the lands belonging to the Monastery, which I could not otherwise have done.

The first possessions of the House of which we have any notice are those which King David bestowed on it.

Whether his brother, King Alexander the First, had asked him to do something towards the endowment of the Monastery, the institution of which he had resolved on, but had not been able ere he died to carry fully into effect, we know not; but it is undoubted that David put certain lands under the charge of Gregory, Bishop of Dunkeld, to be kept by him till there should be canons on St. Colme’s Inch. There is great confusion in the dates connected with the earliest Bishops of Dunkeld; but this we may safely say, that some time before the year 1169, Gregory made over to the Canons of Inchcolme the possessions with which he had been intrusted by the King. The first of these was the Island itself, which must therefore have been a royal possession at a very early date. The next possession was Kincarnathar. This seems to be a corruption of the words Kincarnie-the-nether. In the Bull of Pope Alexander the Third, the two Kincarnies are spoken of as Over and Nether Kincarnie. Kincarnie I believe to be the original form of which Cockairnie is a corruption, and the likelihood is that the possessions of the Monastery, in these lands, were limited to what went by the name of the ‘Cross-aikers.’ Donibrysell is next mentioned; but although in some way connected with the Monastery at this early time, it is difficult to say what the exact nature of the tenure was, by which the Convent held it. For in 1178 the Pope confirms to them the right they then have in Donibristle; and yet, in 1408, Robert de Cardeny, Bishop of Dunkeld, gives the lands of Donibristle to the Abbot and Canons, in exchange for those of Cambo and Clarbertston, in the parish of Cramond. There can be no doubt that Donibristle was the residence of the Abbot and Canons, when from pressure of circumstances they found it impossible to remain in safety in their island home.

Bower tells us that, in the year 1421, the Abbot of Inchcolme, with the whole Convent, passed the summer and autumn on the mainland, for fear of the English rovers. But when the harvest was secured, and winter was approaching, when they had less to fear from their Southern foes, the brethren resolved on returning to Inchcolme. To the island accordingly they went, on Saturday, the 8th day of November, taking with them their servants and baggage. On the following day—Sunday, to wit—the Abbot sent the cellarer, with some of the servants, to bring from the mainland some provisions, and certain barrels of beer, which were lying in the brewery at Barnhill—near the site of the the present St. Colme House. About three o’clock in the afternoon the sailors put off from the shore; and, under the exhilarating influence of the beer, the quality of which they had tested before removing it, they deftly plied their oars, and skimmed the quiet waters with conscious ease. But, not content with the rate of progress they were making, the servants proposed to hoist the sail; and, in spite of the remonstrances of the Canons, who seem to have foreboded evil, they carried their point. No sooner, however, was the canvas spread, than the boat was assailed by angry gusts of wind, and shaken by waves that had suddenly been raised. The sail was torn to rags by the strength of the blast, and, the steersman having let go the rudder, the boat filled and went down. ‘What need is there of many words to tell the issue?’ the chronicler pathetically asks. Of the six persons who were in the boat, three were drowned: Alexander Made the cellarer, and the two sailors. But Sir Peter, the Canon, and other two were miraculously snatched from the jaws of death. Sir Peter was supported for a whole hour and a half by a rope’s end conveniently extended to him, and held, by St. Columba, whose aid he had implored; his saintship appearing in bodily form, as the Canon himself afterwards stoutly affirmed. The other two clung to a wisp of straw, till some men from Aberdour put off in a boat from Portevin, and came to their rescue. The fact, however, which the chronicler wishes chiefly to be noticed, in connection with this miracle, is that they who were thus saved from a watery grave had all of them, that day, been present at the celebration of the Mass; the chaplain having taken part in it, in the parish church of Dalgety.

The next place noticed in Bishop Gregory’s charter is Lauin, which in the Pope’s Bull is spoken of as ‘Lauyn the lesser', in Lothian and which I have also seen referred to as ‘Little Lauying, near Earl’s Lauying;’ but, in spite of these notices, I have not been able to identify it in a satisfactory way.

Ecclesmaline is the next possession which the Bishop handed over; and of it I can speak more definitely. It is referred to, in the Pope’s Bull, as the half-carucate of land— fifty-two acres—lying beside the church of St. Meline; and, in a retour of October 27, 1642, it is spoken of as then known by the name of Inchkerie. The church of St. Meline, or St. Maline, has had the misfortune to have its name twisted into a variety of forms. Grant, in his Life of Kirkcaldy of Grange, tells us that near the mansion-house of that knight, there stood a little chapel, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. But the chapel to which he refers, the ruins of which some of my audience have seen, on the lands of Tyrie, was, I believe, none other than this church of St. Maline—the name having degenerated first into Egilsmalye, then into Egsmalye, and last of all into Legsmalee.

Then comes Inner-Kinglassin, which appears to have been some place in the parish of Kinglassie ; and Fellori is evidently the mistake of some scribe for Kilrie or Killori, which finds a place in the Pope’s Bull.

Such were the earliest possessions of the Monastery, bestowed by David the First, and preserved by Bishop Gregory. King David seems to have had extensive possessions in our immediate neighbourhood; for Abbot Myln, in his Lives of the Bishops of Dtuikeld, tells us that the King gave to Bishop Gregory the lands of Auchtertool, for the benefit of the church of Dunkeld ; and it was, no doubt, in this way that the palace of Auchtertool, afterwards known as Hallyards, came to be the baronial residence of the bishops of that diocese.

In the Bull of Pope Alexander the Third, the first possessions referred to are the churches belonging to the Monastery. The churches of Aberdour and Dalgety seem to have been the very earliest possessions of this kind which the Canons could claim; and they came into their hands as gifts from the Bishops of Dunkeld. For the church of Rosyth (Rossive, as it was called of old), with the land belonging to it, the church of Auchertool and the chapel of Beath, they appear to have been indebted to the same kind benefactors. And I strongly incline to the belief, that the last-named churches were made over to the Monastery by Richard de Praebenda; who also confirmed Glassmount to the Canons, and was buried in the church of St. Colme’s Inch, in 1173.

Among the other possessions, confirmed by the Pope, were Kynnachan, in the neighbourhood of Kinghorn; and Buthadlach, near Lochore, in what is now the parish of Ballingry. There were also two tofts in Carimonth-nearer-the-Sea (Nether Cramond), belonging to the Monastery. But no information has come down to us regarding the donors of these lands.

At this early period--for we are still dealing with the twelfth century—the Monastery owned a toft in Edinburgh, the donor of which was Pagan the goldsmith. King William the Lion had bestowed on him a piece of land, on the north side of the Church of St. Giles ; and that piece of land Pagan makes over to God and the church of St. Colme’s Inch, for the benefit of his own soul, and those of his predecessors and successors. But although the land is made over to the Convent as freely as it is possible for land to be bestowed on any Religious House, it is stipulated that a pound of cummin must yearly be paid, by the Canons, to the King’s Chamberlains, as an acknowledgment that the toft is held with the sovereign’s consent. This pound of cummin was one form of the blench duties of the time ; and, at the close of the sixteenth century, it was valued at thirteen shillings and fourpence. I do not know whether, at this early time, the goldsmiths of Edinburgh were incorporated into a craft, and wore a particular costume. But at a later time they held their heads high, as being something better than ordinary tradesmen; and went about in scarlet cloaks, cocked hats, and gold-mounted canes. George Heriot, the founder of the Hospital that goes by his name, and he himself known by the name of ‘Jingling Geordie,' was at a later time a member of the Incorporation of Goldsmiths. When we happen to pass along the High Street of Edinburgh, and come under the shadow of St. Giles’s Church, we shall henceforth, I daresay, think of Pagan the goldsmith.

The next possessions referred to in the Pope’s Bull are two tofts in Haddington, and two ox-gates, or twenty-six acres, of land in Middleton, regarding which a Retour of Charles, Earl of Moray, makes the considerable mistake of converting the two into thirty-two!

The bestowers of these possessions are now forgotten, as also the donors of four marks yearly out of the mill of Cramond, and three shillings yearly out of Cragin—a place which I suppose to be the same with Craigie, in the parish of Dalmeny. And thus it is that many of those who, in the olden time, made over their property to monks and canons are at length utterly forgotten ; and they who were expected to pray for them, as benefactors, do not, in the lapse of time, know for whom they are to perform this office. Does not even this circumstance show us that the sinner’s Advocate and Intercessor should be One to whom all things are known, and who is not dependent for his knowledge on the accidents of time and place?

The next monasterial possession is one in which we are more interested, owing to its local associations. It is an annual-rent of thirteen shillings out of Kincarnyne or Kin-carnie. This is one of the oldest grants made to the Monastery, and evidently refers to Cockairnie, in our immediate neighbourhood. In one of the old papers connected with the Abbey it is called Kincardine-Walden, an evident mistake for Kincarnyne-AValdevi, or Waldeve’s-Kincarnie. Waldeve, Earl of Dunbar, had at this time very extensive possessions in our neighbourhood on both sides of the Forth, among which were the baronies of Barnbougle, Dalmeny, and Inverkeithing. Ivincarnie, or Cockairnie, was part of the barony of Inverkeithing; and Waldeve, the son of Cospatrick, made over to the Monastery a mark yearly, out of that part of Kincarnie which Other possessed, and which, from that circumstance, came to be called Otherstown—a name which has been corrupted into Otterston. Waldeve had a daughter named Galiena, who was married to Sir Philip de Moubray, and, after the lapse of seven hundred years, Kincarnie and Otherstown are still in the possession of his descendants.

A rental of ten shillings yearly, out of the lordship of the King at Kinghorn, is the next possession noted. It must have been the grant of one of the early kings, either Malcolm the Fourth or William the Lion. It seems to point to a royal residence there considerably before the time of Alexander the Third, whose sad death is recalled as often as the name of the place is mentioned. Lord Hailes tells us, in his Annals, that when Alexander the Second married Joan, Princess of England, in 1221, she was secured in a jointure of a thousand pounds, in land-rent 3 and that Kinghorn was one of the jointure-lands.

There are, among the charters of the Monastery, two confirmations of a toft in Tibbermore, which was the gift of Swain, the son of Thore. One of these confirmations is by Alan, the grandson of Swain; and the other by William de Ruthven, in the year 1362. There are some statements in these charters of a kind that would greatly interest those who are connected with the district to which they refer; giving, as they do, much information regarding the early condition of the country around Tibbermore; but I fear they would not be so interesting to those who do not know the locality.

The last possession referred to by the Pope is the very strange one of the yearly income of a thousand eels out of Strathenry, or Strathendry, as it is now called, in the parish of Leslie. Later statements bearing on the matter are more detailed, and tell us that, along with the thousand eels, the Convent had a right to two swine and a cow, yearly, out of the lands of Strathenry. This curious annual-rent was the gift of Robert de Quincy, whose name I find as a witness in many charters of the time of William the Lion. He is said to have obtained the lordship of Leuchars by his marriage with the daughter of the Celtic chief, Ness; and he was succeeded by his son, Seyer de Quincy, Earl of Winchester. He must also have had possessions in Strathenry, as his gift to the brethren of Inchcolme proves. Even the Augustinian Canons were not entirely above considerations connected with the supply of their table ; and the eels from Strathenry would form an agreeable variety to their ordinary fare. Whether eel-pie had yet been invented, I cannot take it upon me to say, not having extended my investigations very far in that line. But from some notices of ‘barrels of salted eels,’ which have come across my path, I think it likely that it was in the form of soup that these snake-like creatures regaled the taste of the Canons.

In the ballad of ‘Lord Randal' you will remember that it was in a dish of eel-soup that the poison was administered which caused the young man’s death. And as these sheets are being prepared for the press, it is being keenly debated in some quarters, whether conger-eels do not form the basis of the much-renowned turtle-soup.

I cannot tell whether it was that eels became scarce in the Leven and its tributaries, in the lands of Strathenry, owing to this yearly tribute, or that the proprietor’s servants wearied of catching them, seeing there was to be no end of the task,—every year requiring to see its thousand caught, salted, and sent to the Monastery. But sure it is that innumerable quarrels arose regarding this yearly tribute, until it was at length agreed that the payment should be commuted, and that, instead of a thousand eels, two swine, and a cow, the proprietor of Strathenry should give the Convent a yearly sum of thirty-eight shillings sterling, within fifteen days after the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, a term which we now call Michaelmas. This payment was stipulated to be made at the parish church of Fithkil, for so the parish of Leslie was of old called. But arrangements of this kind were not always kept inviolate, even in what some people delight to call the ‘good old times.’ For on the 6th day of October, 1354—forty years after the battle of Bannockburn—Walter of Strathenry is summoned to appear at the church of Fithkil for dereliction of duty. Seven years have passed since the commutation of the tribute was solemnly arranged: and the Feast of St. Michael has not failed to come round, and the fifteen days of grace have passed, but Walter and his yearly payment have not entered an appearance. Such fs the charge brought against him; and Walter does not attempt to deny it. He thus owes the Abbot and Canons the sum of thirteen pounds six shillings sterling—a large sum for the time. And what is now to be done? It is amicably and, on the part of the Convent, generously arranged, that if Walter pays his rent regularly in time to come, adding two shillings a year to the annual sum, for the good of his own soul, and the souls of his predecessors—thus bringing the amount up to forty shillings, and making it even money—nothing will be said about the balance. But if he fails to do this, he must pay up all arrears; and he declares himself willing, in the case of failure, to submit to the decision of the Bishop of Dunkeld in the matter, even although he should order the lands of Strathenry to be sold, in order to realise the sum due to the Convent! Such is an example of bargain-making with ecclesiastics five centuries ago : and it gives us a better idea of their power, and the shifts to which they were put in the way of collecting their revenues, than much learned discussion would.

These were the possessions that belonged to the Monastery as early as the year 1178, as enumerated in the charter of Gregory, Bishop of Dunkeld, and the Bull of Pope Alexander the Third, and as later charters throw light on incidents connected with their tenure. In no other charters prior to the dissolution of the Abbey are its possessions found grouped together. We are therefore obliged to examine each charter by itself in order to discover the donors of later possessions, the date of the grants, and the circumstances connected with the holding of them.

I am sorry to cast any discredit on the historical accuracy of Sir Robert Sibbald; but not only can I find no authority, in any paper connected with the Monastery which has come under my notice, to warrant his statement that Sir Alan de Mortimer gave the half of his lands of Aberdour for the right of burial, to himself and his family, in the church of the Monastery; but I have found some notices which seem to throw discredit on the statement. The name of Sir Alan does not once occur in any of the charters in Macfarlane’s copy of the Register, nor in the Donibristle transumpt. And in a Bull of Pope Lucius (1181-1185), he confirms to the Prior and Canons the half-ploughgate of land—fifty-two acres—in the territory of Aberdour, and the half of the rental of the mill of Aberdour; and both are said to be the gifts of William de Mortimer. This was he who gave the Convent such trouble by the intrusion of Robert, the King’s Clerk, into the church at Aberdour; and I strongly suspect that this was the price he had to pay ere the Prior and Canons made peace with him. Moreover, it is more than probable that the story which Sibbald tells of Sir Alan’s coffin being dropped into the sea between the mainland and Inchcolme—long known as ‘Mortimer’s Deep ’—in reality applies to Sir William de Mortimer; for, in his case, the Canons’ remembrance of the shameful way in which they had been treated in the churchyard of Aberdour might account for the dead knight being treated with so little ceremony.

In the Bull to which I have just referred, Pope Lucius confirms to the Monastery the island which is before the port of Caramund. This evidently refers to the Isle of Cramond (Caer-Almond). But this island seems to have been called Leverith in those early days. The Convent set it in feu to the Bishop of Dunkeld, for it lay near the possessions of that diocese at Cramond, which included a palace for the Bishops. But by and by (will it be believed of a Bishop and his Chapter?) they ceased to pay their feu-duty, and yet kept hold of the island! The Canons of Inchcolme and the Bishops of Dunkeld generally lived in great amity, but on this occasion they fairly quarrelled; and it must be held that Walter, the Prior, and his brethren had decidedly the best of the case in point of argument, as far as can now be known. So hot did the contest become that the Pope, Innocent the Third, was appealed to; and he ordered the Abbot of Lindores, the Archdeacon of St. Andrews, and the Prior of the Isle of May, to inquire into the dispute, and settle it on just principles. How these dignitaries carried out the Pope’s instructions we cannot tell; but as we never afterwards find any notices, in the charters of the Monastery, of the island of Leverith or its feu-duty, we must conclude that the Convent either lost the day, or compromised the matter.

Some time during his reign King Malcolm the Fourth made a gift to the Monastery of a toft in the town of Inverkeithing; and there is a confirmation of it by Robert de Londoniis, a natural son of King William the Lion. This was some time before 1198; and, from the way in which Inverkeithing is spoken of, it is evident that it was, even at that early time, a royal burgh. The gift does not appear to have had much of a royal character about it, for we never afterwards find any notice of it.

About the year T214 Thomas de Lastalrig—now known as Restalrig—made over to the Monastery, for the good of his own soul, and that of Anna, his wife, and the souls of his predecessors and successors, the whole of that land which Baldwyn Comyn had held from him in the town of Leith, along with twenty-four and a half acres of arable land in his territory of Lastalrick, on the south of the highway between Edinburgh and Leith. The last-named portion of land is that which now goes by the name of Coatfield.

About the same time Richard, the son of Hugh de Camera—a name that afterwards assumed the forms of Chambers and Chalmers—proprietor of Fordell, in our immediate neighbourhood, bestowed on the Monastery, for the benefit of his own soul, that of his wife, and the souls of his progenitors and successors, thirteen acres of land in his territory of Fordell, lying near the sea, between the lands of Dalgety and those of Lowchald—now called Leuchat—evidently pointing to Little Fordell. Richard also gave the Convent a toft and croft in his town of Fordell 3 and these portions of land came afterwards to be called St. Thereota’s, or by corruption St. Cereot’s, lands.

In all cases when lands were made over to a Religious House, two charters were written as evidents of the transaction, one of which was held by the donor, and the other by the receiver of the gift. When making some investigations in the charter-room at Fordell, in connection with Mr. David Laing’s edition of Robert Henryson’s poems, I found the donor’s copy of the charter making over these gifts to the Monastery—a charter in beautiful preservation, although it has lain in the archives of the possessors of the estate of Fordell for upwards of six hundred years. I may also take you into my confidence, and tell you that in that charter-room are also to be found many documents connected with the town of Inverkeithing ; the Hendersons having for many years been the hereditary Provosts of the burgh. In the same repository there are also many papers connected with the celebrated David Dickson of Irvine, which, no doubt, came into the possession of the Hendersons through their connection with the family at Newbigging, in our neighbourhood. Before passing from statements regarding Fordell, I may mention that the chapel there has frequently come across me in these researches. In 1511 the right of presentation to it belonged to Mr. James Henryson; and, so late as 1567, Sir William Blackburn, the chaplain, set the church lands belonging to it in feu to Sir John Blyth, chaplain, for payment of a yearly duty of forty-three shillings and fourpence, Scots. The present chapel is not very old, having been built about the year 1633.

To return to the Monastery: a little after the time when this grant of which we have been speaking was made by Richard de Camera, that is to say, between 1220 and 1236, Gilbert, Bishop of Dunkeld, made over to the Canons twenty-six acres of land, lying to the south of the church of Auchtertool. This was, no doubt, part of the lands of ‘Ouchtertule,’ which King David had bestowed on Bishop Gregory, and of which we have previously spoken.

In 1233, the multures of Couston were commuted to a yearly payment of eight shillings. The curious story of this settlement I told you in my last lecture.

Sometime between the years 1236 and 1249, John, the son of Gervasius Avenel, made over to the Monastery twenty-six acres of land, in his territory of Duddingston, within the barony of Abercorn. This grant was confirmed by Sir William More of Abercorn, about the year 1370. I have had the original of this charter of confirmation in my hands, through the courtesy of the Hon. John Stuart. It is in wonderful preservation, considering that it is nearly five hundred years old. As there is a great charm about this old document, due both to the light it throws on the disasters that had befallen the Monastery, about the time when it was granted, and the hearty way in which the knight bestows the confirmation required, I shall give you a translation of it in simple language:

‘To all the faithful in Christ, who shall see these presents or hear of them, William More, Knight, Lord of Abercorn, wishes everlasting Salvation in the Lord. Since we have heard by the accounts of these religious men, the Abbot and Canons of St. Colme’s Inch, and other trustworthy fellow-countrymen, that the charters and other evidents of the Monastery have been carried away and destroyed by wars and other misfortunes, which, by concealing the just rights of the Canons, has frequently been the means of hindering them. Therefore let all men know that we, having a regard to the Divine charity, have renewed, and by this charter have confirmed, to God and the church of St. Colme’s Inch, and the Canons serving God there, and to serve him in all time coming, that donation and concession which John, the son of Gervasius Avenel, gave them, in pure and perpetual alms-gift, and confirmed with his charter: namely, two oxgates of land in the territory of Dodyngton, in the barony of Abercorn, with the common pasture of the said town, such as properly pertains to it, as if it were to a person residing in the said town, with free use of the mill for every kind of grain, and to be the first to grind after the laird. To be had and holden by the said Canons, in pure and perpetual alms-gift, with all its just pertinents in wood and plain, in roads and foot-paths, in ponds and mills, in meadows and pastures, in moors and marshes and peatmosses, and all other advantages, as well below as above ground, with free issue and entry to animals, and all other things necessary for cultivation, as freely, quietly, and honourably, and as unembarrassed by any custom, secular exaction, or demand, as it is possible for any land in the domain of any baron or laird, in the kingdom of Scotland, to be held or possessed. Moreover we, the said William and our heirs, shall make good the injuries caused by all accidents that may befall the said land. And that this renewal and confirmation may remain firm and unshaken, we have authenticated it with our seal; and in order that the matter may be still more secure, we have procured that the seals of the reverend father in Christ, Michael, by the grace of God Bishop of Dunkeld, and John, by the grace of God Abbot of Holyrood, at Edinburgh, be affixed to it, in presence of these witnesses :—Reginald More and John More, our sons, Richard Brown, David de Meldrum, and many others.’ The three tags are still attached to the charter. Notwithstanding all this trouble, in the way of renewal and confirmation, the original charter of John Avenel had not been destroyed. It had only fallen aside, or, if taken away, it had been restored; for I have seen in the charter-room at Donibristle, both it and that of Warinus, from whose hands the land in question passed into John Avenel’s possession.

About the same time, when John Avenel bestowed the gift of which we have just been speaking, Galfrid, the Bishop of Dunkeld, gave the Monastery a yearly sum of twenty shillings, out of the church of Cramond, and this sum was to be spent in procuring incense, to be burnt at the elevation of the Host, in the church of the Monastery. Between the years 1250 and 1272, another Bishop of Dunkeld, Richard of Inverkeithing, gave other twenty shillings yearly, out of the same church of Cramond, for the purpose of keeping wax-lights burning before the great altar of the church of the Monastery, on the Vigil and Day of St. Columba. And so, if any of the good people of Aberdour had, after the date of this gift, crossed over to Inchcolme, on the first of your Fair-days, they would have seen a great profusion of wax-lights burning before the great altar, in honour of their great patron saint. This Richard of Inverkeithing was he who built the choir of the monasterial church at his own expense, and his heart lies buried at the north wall of the choir, as I told you in a former lecture.

In 1244, the Convent feued from Constantine de Lochore, who afterwards became Sheriff of Fife, the little hill called Cion, and sometimes Clon-vane, near their own land of Bothedillach or Buthadlach, as it is sometimes called, in the parish of Ballingry. In connection with this transaction, Constantine acknowledges himself to have received from the Abbot and Canons fifteen years’ feu-duty all at once. And he makes no secret of the cause of this advance: it is ad ardua negotia mea—in colloquial phrase, because he was ‘hard up.’ Is there anything new under the sun, even in old charters, either as regards mundane experiences or the language that describes them? Constantine got half a mark of feu-duty yearly, for his little hill, Clon-vane, or Clunevane, as some of the old scribes write it.

I have already alluded to the Church of Fithkil, now called Leslie, but have not yet spoken of it as, at this early period, belonging to the Monastery of Inchcolme. Of all the churches in the world I have ever heard or read of, that about which, from beginning to end, there seems to have been most fighting, is this church of Fithkil. I can fancy the quarriers fighting with each other, as they excavated the stones of which it was to be built; the builders quarrelling, as they laid one course of its masonry over another ; the joiners speaking angry words to one another as they roofed it in ; the slaters snarling at each other as they covered it with slabs of cold grey stone ; the hinges creaking in displeasure at the doors ; the key grumbling at the lock ; and, in short, every single thing about it in a state of chronic feud with every other. A well-known author lately presented the reading community with a volume dealing with the Great Battles of the World. He should certainly have added another, which he might have called The Never-ending Battle of the Church of Fithkil. At some future time I may write for you a history of the wars that have raged around it; but at present I must content myself with a few statements regarding the most outstanding incidents of the long campaign.

The history of the Church, as far as we have been able to trace it through the dimness of time and the dust of conflict, begins in a characteristic way, with a fight between Merleswain of Ardross, the son of Waldeve, on the one hand, and Galfrid, Bishop of Dunkeld—the Ornament, Shield, and Sword of the Clergy of that Church, as his epitaph declared—on the other. It was in his character of 'Sword’ that Galfrid was best known to Merleswain and Fithkil—fighting the question of the patronage of the church. The battle rages loud and long for a time, and it is contested so toughly on both sides, that Otho, the Pope’s Legate, who happens to be in the country at the time, is called in to put an end to it. Otho, finding the task beyond the reach of his own individual prowess, commits it to the judgment of four neutral persons. These arbiters decree that Merleswain and his heirs shall have the right of presentation to the Church for ever; but that, after the decease or resignation of Mr. John de Everley, the Rector, Merleswain shall concede the Church to Dunkeld, to be a prebendal church of that See. The right, however, is distinctly reserved to Merleswain and his heirs to present a fit person, in canonical orders, as prebendary—this person paying a sum of ten marks yearly to the church of Dunkeld.

After this, it would appear that Scolastica, the daughter of Merleswain, along with Richard, her husband, made over their right of presentation to the Abbot and Canons of Inchcolme. At this point Alexander Comyn, Earl of Buchan, and Thomas de Melgdrum take up the cudgels, and dispute the right which the brethren of Inchcolme claim. John de Ouler, who had succeeded John de Everley as Rector, has in his turn died; and the question has, of course, again to be considered who has the right of presentation to the vacant charge. The case is debated before Richard of Inverkeithing, a great friend of the Monastery of Inchcolme; and this, perhaps, has some slight bearing on the issue. Several days—think of it !—are spent in discussing the matter; and after a vast amount of altercation, worthy of the palmiest and most militant days of the church of Fithkil, the Earl, while stoutly maintaining that the right of presentation belongs to him, comes to terms. He declares that having the fear of God before his eyes, and taking into account the poverty of the Canons of St. Colme’s Inch—being, moreover, desirous of having some interest in the prayers of those holy men—he surrenders his just right to them. This point being reached, there is a busy time of it with the clerks; for the Earl appends his seal to a charter, in which he binds himself to abide by the decision come to ; the Bishop of Dunkeld confirms to the Monastery the right of presentation; and Scolastica declares, with her hands on the open Gospels, that she will never call in question the right of the Abbot and Canons.

Is any one simple enough to believe that peace was long to remain unbroken at Fithkil, even after all this array of charters written, signed, and sealed ? Then I must undeceive. him. The battle-field, ere long, merely shifts from the Church to the Chapel; and Richard de Kirkcaldy disputes the claims of the Canons to it—the Chapel of the Blessed Mary. And it is only when the Fithkil Rector meets the ‘ Fechtin’ Bishop,’ William St. Clair, at the chapel of the Grange, at Bowprie—as we saw in a previous lecture— that this outburst of controversy is brought to a peaceful end.

And now I think I hear you saying, ‘There, at last, is an end of these wars and fightings!’ But it is not so. Fithkil, by and by, changed its name to Leslie, but it remained true to its old nature. The tide of battle then ebbed away from the Chapel and flowed in the direction of the Kirklands: and there was skirmishing and fighting between the Abbots and the Earls of Rothes, nearly all the way down to the period of the Reformation. And if that happy event had not occurred, I have not the least doubt that the battle would have been raging yet—having perhaps shifted back from the Kirklands to the Kirk again. But, through all the tumult and smoke of these conflicts, we must find our way back to other possessions of the Monastery..

In 1250 Marjory de Lascelis, in her widowhood, made over to the Convent twenty shillings of silver, yearly, out of the lands of Baledmon—a place, I believe, in the parish of Forgan, which, at a later period, belonged to the family of Young of Kirkton, and was afterwards called Friartown. The motive leading to the grant is that which we find constantly recurring in the charters—the safety of her own soul, and the souls of her relatives. About the same time, too, Walter, lord of Lundy, makes over to the Canons fifteen shillings yearly out of his mill of Lundy, or Lundin, near Largo. And in connection with this gift, we notice something out of the usual run; for the motive is said to be brotherly feeling to the brethren of the Monastery; and not a word is said about their masses, said or sung. Whether Walter was ahead of his time in his knowledge of Bible doctrine, we shall not take it on us to affirm; but his charter is the only one, in early times, that we can recall, in which this peculiar phraseology occurs.

Somewhere about the year 1272, Hugo Cnox makes over to the Monastery two shillings yearly, which had become his by hereditary right, out of land in the burgh of Haddington, which Thurkin possessed. This annual rental he bestows for the benefit of the soul of his good lord, Richard, Bishop of Dunkeld—that is, Richard of Inverkeithing. Can this have been an ancestor of the celebrated John Knox? His name was sometimes spelt as Hugo’s is in this charter, and he too belonged to Haddington, or its immediate neighbourhood.

In 1252 occurred one of those curious settlements regarding the mill of Aberdour, of which I have already related more than one. The dispute on this occasion was between the Abbot and Convent, on the one side; the parties on the other being Nesso of Balmacmoll (Bal-mule), and Sibilla, his wife; and Simon of Foreth, and Christiana, his wife. The question is one affecting the multures of Balmacmoll and Montequi. The case is referred to arbiters for adjudication; and these are no less personages than Peter, Bishop of Aberdeen; John, Abbot of Dunfermline; J., Prior of that place; Robert of Rossive; and Roger of Derby. After a debate before these worthies, the matter is settled thus:—Nesso and Simon are to pay ten shillings yearly to the Monastery, and are to be free of any charge for the repair of the mill or the mill-pond. They are, moreover, to be at liberty to grind their corn where they please; but are not to be allowed to erect a mill of their own on the lands of Balmacmoll or Montequi. And when they do not grind at Aberdour, they must satisfy the miller there as they best can. A world of parchment and wax was, in this case too, spent in making the arrangement as secure as Bishops and Abbots could make it.

What family was this, represented by Nesso of Balmacmoll and Simon of Foreth, who lived in our neighbourhood, and had possessions in it, six hundred years ago? Some of my hearers no doubt read in the newspapers some time ago of the death of Sir James Ramsay of Bamff, in the parish of Alyth, who left a large sum of money to the Scottish Episcopal Church, and whose family can boast of names connected in an honourable way with Scottish University education. He, I believe, was a lineal descendant of Nesso of Balmacmoll, or, according to Sir Robert Douglas’s Baronage, of Nesso’s brother Malcolm—a name which, at that early time, still told of ancestors who had been devoted to the memory of St. Columba. The family name was Ramsay, or de Ramsay. The first of the family of whom we know anything definitely, was Nesso, physician to King Alexander the Second; and Nesso of Balmacmoll, Simon of Foreth, and Peter de Ramsay, who became Bishop of Aberdeen, were, according to Bishop Keith, the sons of the King’s physician. Douglas also assures us that Alexander Ramsay, a descendant of the family, was physician to James the Sixth and Charles the First. There is a wonderful story told of the physician of King Alexander, which some of us may have heard in early days, and others have read in Robert Chambers’s Popular Rhymes of Scotland. But none of us, I am sure, have ever thought of connecting the hero of it with the father of a former proprietor of Balmule.

As there has not been much said to-night of a kind fitted to interest the younger portion of my audience, I may, chiefly for their sake, tell this story in brief form; and perhaps it may not be entirely unacceptable to the graver portion of my hearers, whose patience has been somewhat severely tried by dry names and dates. The wonderful personage who is the hero of the story is called Sir James Ramsay in the popular tradition; but names are apt to be confused in such narrations.

Sir James, it appears, had joined in some political conspiracy, on account of which his lands were forfaulted, and he himself obliged to flee the country, a price having been set on his head. He made his escape to a foreign land; some say France, and others Spain. There he fell into such straits that he was like to perish of hunger. When in this condition, he met a grave-looking man, who, seeing him look so ill, inquired what the cause might be; and to him Sir James confided his story, confessing that he was famishing. This old gentleman proved to be a physician, and, taking pity on Sir James, he took him to his house, ministered to his pressing wants, and, finding him to be a man of education, engaged him as his apprentice. One day he told Sir James that there was a great secret in his possession, which might possibly make the fortune of both. He knew how to prepare a medicine which could cure every disease in the known world ; but the material out of which it had to be manufactured was hard to get. A mysterious white serpent had first to be procured; but this reptile was confined to a stream in a particular district of Scotland; and this stream the old physician described so graphically and minutely, that Sir James at once perceived that it was one which ran through his own property, in the parish of Alyth. He therefore willingly offered to go in search of the serpent, and, after getting minute instructions from his master how to act, he disguised himself, and returned to his native land. For three nights he watched beside a deep pool of the stream which he knew so well; for only at night, and near the time of full moon, might he hope for success in his enterprise. Both on the first and the second night he saw the serpent leave the pool and glide under a large stone. On both occasions he tried to capture it, but failed. On the third night, however, he was successful. The coveted white serpent was caught and killed; and Sir James hastened back to his master with the prize. The old physician was in ecstasies, and informed Sir James how the medicine was to be made. He was to take the dead reptile down to an underground vault, and there melt it down in a vessel over the fire. But the business was to be gone about very gingerly; for, if any stranger saw him while thus employed, or if, during the process, he tasted food, the charm would be gone. And should a drop of the unguent by any chance enter his lips he would be a dead man. Sir James did as he was bid; but it so happened that while pouring out the medicine, when very hot, a drop fell on his finger, and when he instinctively put it into his mouth to ease the smarting pain a wonderful thing occurred. The most opaque objects around him became to his vision perfectly transparent—his own body sharing in the change; and when his master entered the vault at this critical juncture his body too was, to Sir James’s eyes, as transparent as crystal. In short, he saw through his master in two senses, and concluded that this effect of the medicine was what the old physician desired so eagerly to experience. With Scottish caution Sir James kept the secret to himself, and speedily took French leave of the old doctor, any continuance of his instruction being now no longer necessary.

In possession of this wonderful property of clairvoyance, he by and by returned to Scotland, where he found the King suffering from a dangerous malady, which baffled the skill of all his physicians. A proclamation had been issued, offering a great reward in money,—with, of course, the usual accompaniment in these old stories, of one of the royal princesses to wife,—to any one who should restore the King to health again. Sir James, still of course disguised, offered his services, and he needed only to look through the King, to see that there was a ball of hair—where no ball of hair ought to be—attached to the royal patient’s heart. Having got permission to take this away, he put the King into a deep sleep—tradition does not say whether or not it was by some early preparation akin to chloroform, the knowledge of which may have been afterwards lost—and, removing the ball of hair without so much as awakening the King, saved his life. And after the short period necessarily required for getting over the weakness caused by the loss of blood, the royal patient was restored to perfect health. Tradition is fortunate in not committing itself to the marriage of Sir James with one of the King’s daughters, seeing that Alexander the Second never had any to bestow. But there is a curious confirmation of reward in another form coming to him, besides obtaining the King’s pardon for his political offences. The writer of the New Statistical Account of the parish of Alyth tells us that ‘ Nessus de Ramsay, the founder of the family of Bamff, was a person of considerable note in the thirteenth century. He held the office of physician to King Alexander II., and received a grant of lands in this parish, which his descendants still hold, in reward for having saved the life of the King by a critical operation,—according to popular tradition, by cutting a hair-ball from the King’s heart.’ Nothing can be surer than this, that King Alexander the Second, in the eighteenth year of his reign, made over to Nesso, his physician, the lands of Bamff, along with others, in the parish of Alyth. From this fact, along with the popular tradition, we may safely conclude that Nesso had, in some marked way, been professionally of service to the King. And if Bishop Keith’s account of the family is correct, which we have no reason to doubt, Nesso of Balmule was a son of the physician of Alexander the Second.

I have already incidentally told you how the land of Leyis was quit-claimed by Simon of Balram to the Monastery, and how the multure of Cullelo was commuted to an annual payment of fourteen shillings in the time of Thomas de Philiberto. .

In the thirtieth year of his reign, 1280, Alexander the Third confirmed to the Monastery the grant of William Dod, burgess of Inverkeithing, and Matilda, his wife, of the mills of Fordell, and the land pertaining to them.

In 1349 an interesting settlement took place in the church of Dalgety regarding the ‘Crossaikers,’ of which I have formerly spoken. William de Lamberton seems to have been at that time proprietor of the lands of Otterston; and the Abbot and Canons of Inchcolme charged him— before Duncan, Bishop of Dunkeld—with having appropriated to his own use the ‘Cross-aikers ’ belonging to them. These lands seem to have got their name from crosses erected on them in memory of incidents now entirely forgotten. On good evidence, which I do not stay to describe particularly, I believe the one of these acres is near Parkend, and the other in the farm of the Pleasance.

About the middle of the fourteenth century the Monastery feued, from Bishop Duncan and the Chapter of Dunkeld, the lands of Eglismartyn, near Bowprie. Inchmartin is the name by which this land is now known; and the earlier form seems to point to the existence of a church or chapel there, in the distant part. The Monastery paid four marks of yearly feu-duty to the Bishop of Dunkeld for this land, the superiority of which, as appears from Myln’s Lives of the Bishops of Dunkeld, passed, by and by, into the hands of the Monastery of Dunfermline.

In 1419 a Bull was procured by the Abbot and Canons from Pope Martin the Fifth, ordering measures to be taken against William Hay, of Lochorward, in the parish of Crichton, for withholding from them the lands of Cald-side, and an annual-rent out of the mill of Lochorward; against Adam, Vicar of Cramond, for withholding an annual rent of forty shillings out of the mill of Cramond; against the tenants of Kilrie for the teinds lying unpaid for twenty years; against George Logan of Lestalrig for withholding the lands of Coatfield; and against the millers of Lundy for an annual-rent of fifteen shillings, lying unpaid for thirty years. From all this it is evident that it was not always an easy matter in those times to hold the donors, or possessors of lands or annual-rents, to their bargains.

In 1421 the same Pope issued a Bull confirming their possessions to the Abbot and Canons; and it is then that we find for the first time in the charters any notice of the church of Dollar as belonging to the Monastery—a church in connection with which, and its saintly Vicar, Thomas Forret, one of the Canons of Inchcolme, its highest distinction was reached.

In the same year, 1421, there is a charter of confirmation by Janet, Prioress of the Nunnery of Haddington, of the donation made by Allan White, chaplain, to the Abbot and Convent of Inchcolme, of tenements lying in Nungait and Nunside, on the east side of the water of Tyne, beside the burgh of Haddington. This grant, as appears from a charter in the collection at Donibristle, was made by the chaplain for the benefit of his own soul, and those of his predecessors and successors; and with the view of keeping a lamp burning in the choir of the church of the Monastery.

About the same time, or a little earlier, during Abbot Walter’s term of office, Sir James Douglas, lord of Dalkeith, made over to the Monastery the lands of Brego, in the barony of Aberdour, with the common pasture of the lands and moor of Buchlyvie. The charter of Sir James Douglas seems to be lost; but I have a copy of a charter of James, Earl of Morton, of date October 31, 1480, confirming the grant by his grandfather. And in this charter there are one or two interesting details. The persons to be prayed for are King James the Third, and Margaret, his queen, with all their predecessors and successors; Sir James de Douglas, the original donor of the land; the Earl himself, with his predecessors and successors, and all the faithful dead. And it is noteworthy that the Earl assigns as reasons why he has renewed and confirmed the grant, the singular favour which he cherishes for the Monastery, and St. Columba, its patron.

Finally, in the year 1500, King James the Fourth erected the town of Wester Aberdour into a burgh of barony, in favour of the Abbot and Convent. This, however, falls to be noticed more at length at a later stage.1

I have thus noticed, in a general way, all the possessions of the Monastery, which are referred to in the Register of the Abbey, and such other charters as I have been able to lay my hands on. No doubt there are other possessions which are still unaccounted for. At one time there must have been evidents for these too ; but they seem now to be irrecoverably lost. In the absence of such documents, our information has to be drawn from a Retour of the lands and other possessions of the lordship of St. Colme, of date October 27, 1642. But as this document contains the names of the entire possessions of the Monastery erected into a temporal lordship, without any information regarding the persons by whom they were bestowed, or the circumstances connected with their tenure, there awaits you a serious trial of patience, as I enumerate them in the order of the counties to which they belong. My excuse for this infliction is, that it would be a grave defect, in a lecture professing to give an account of the Monastery, to leave any of them unnamed. And to the inhabitants of Aberdour most of the names must be quite familiar.

The possessions of the Abbey in Fife are enumerated in the document, to which I have just referred, in the following order :—The Monastery and Manor-place of St. Cohne’s Inch; the island itself; the lands and barony of Beath ; the lands of Croftgarie, Brego, and Muirton of Beath, with its mill and mill-lands; the lands of Whitehill, Easter and Wester; the lands of Bowprie; the lands of Inchbeardie ; the lands of Newton, with its brewery and brew-lands, extending to four acres or thereby; the lands of Kaikinch, Cuttlehill, Seaside, Knocksodrum, Prinlaws, Donibristle, Grange, Barnhill; nineteen acres lying at Grange, and six acres called Kaikinch; the Kirkcrofts of Dalgety and Auchtertool, with the meadow of the last named; the lands of Kilrie, Inchkeirie, Leuchats-beath, and the mill called Pascar Mill; the lands called St. Cereot’s lands, in the barony of Fordell; the lands of Easter and Wester Buch-lyvie; the lands of Bancliro; the Kirkcrofts of Leslie and Rosyth; the lands called Sisterlands, on the east side of the burn of Aberdour; an acre and a half of land at the west end of the town of Aberdour; tenements and roods of land on the west side of the burn at Aberdour, which anciently belonged to the said Monastery. The mill and mill-lands of Aberdour Wester, with the pasturage and astricted multures of Donibristle, Barnhill, Grange; the acres and roods of land on the west side of Aberdour, Whitehill, Bowprie, Cuttlehill, Westerside, Easterside, Easter and Wester Buch-lyvies, Newton, Inchmartin, Croftgarie, Brego, Kaikinch, and Brewland of Newton, lying in the barony of Aberdour; the lands of Glassmont-hill; the half-ploughgate (fifty-two acres) of land, lying at the church of St. Maleing, now called Inchkerie, with the chapel of Buthadlach, now called Egils-malye; Kynnachan,and the twoKincarnies, Over andNether; two oxgates (twenty-six acres) of the lands of Middleton; the lands of Clunet, now called Clunevane, with the mill of Fordell, and the entire lands astricted to it; the lands called the ‘Crossaikers,’ situated within the lands of Otters-ton; a toft in Tibbermuir, with each and all of the lands of the barony of Beath; the town of Aberdour on the west side of the burn, with the privilege of a burgh of barony; the isles of Mickery, Carkery, and Haystack, with the ‘seamark ’ and sea privileges; the under-written annual rentals: —forty shillings sterling out of the lands of Strathenry; twenty shillings out of the church of Cramond ; eight shillings out of Couston ; fourteen shillings out of Cullelo : ten shillings of silver out of Over-Balmule; twenty shillings of silver out of Balledmonth; fifteen shillings of silver out of the mill of Lundy; fourteen shillings out of the mill of For-dell; fifty-three shillings and fourpence out of the mills of Cramond; three shillings out of the lands of Craigin; thirteen shillings and fourpence out of Waldeve’s Kin-carnie (Cockairnie); twelve shillings out of ‘Kingsdomine,’ and the lordship of Kinghorn; with the tithes of the aforesaid parish churches of Aberdour, Dalgety, Rosyth, Leslie, and Beath: all of which formerly belonged to the Abbacy of St. Colme’s Inch.

The following possessions in the county of Edinburgh are also enumerated :—The mill of Cramond; the lands of Chalmerston; the lands of Caldside, in the barony of Lochquharret; the lands of Coatfield, within the territory of Restalrig; a tenement in the town of Leith; a toft in the burgh of Edinburgh; an annual rental of twenty shillings out of the church of Cramond; an annual-rent of twenty-three shillings and fourpence out of the mills of Cramond.

In the county of Perth, two possessions are named :— The croft of the church of Tibbermure, and a toft in Tib-bermure. In Haddingtonshire, two rigs of land at the burgh of Haddington, and two tofts in the burgh of Haddington. In the county of Linlithgow, the lands of Duddington.

Before leaving the question of the possessions of the Monastery, I have to tell you something of their alienation. To alienate is always an easier thing than to acquire, and there is not much romance in the process. Something must however be said, first of all, regarding the feuing of the monasterial lands. The practice of feuing lands belonging to Religious Houses was one that was resorted to in very early times. We have already seen the Abbot and Convent of Inchcolme feuing the lands of Inchmartin from the Bishop and Chapter of Dunkeld; and, at a much earlier period, we have noticed the church of Dunkeld feuing the island of Leverith from the Monastery of Inchcolme, and then keeping it, as if it were absolutely their own. It was not, however, always to churchmen that ecclesiastics feued their lands; and about the beginning of the sixteenth century, there was rather a brisk trade carried on in this line. Echoes, of a pretty distinct kind, were filling the air of Scotland, which told of sledge-hammer blows dealt to the Papacy by the brawny arms of Luther. The truth was dawning on the minds of our forefathers that monasticism was a mistake, if not something worse, and that the arguments by which monastic institutions had acquired their vast possessions were not of a kind known to primitive Christianity, or encouraged by its doctrines. Purgatory, it began to be suspected, had been invented for the special behoof of churchmen and their hungry money-bags. The Bible, now beginning to be circulated, although at first stealthily, appeared to ignore it altogether; and our Lord seemed to be ignorant of its existence, when he said to the dying penitent, ‘To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.’ Moreover, it began to be asked if the right sort of prayer might not, after all, be chiefly that which men, in earnest about their souls, offer up for themselves ; and whether, in this view of the matter, monks and friars, and even Augustinian Canons, had not quite enough of responsibility lying on their shoulders, on their own account, without burdening themselves still more, by becoming answerable for others. In short, in proportion as the Bible was studied, it appeared clearly that the doctrine of Justification by Faith was its teaching; and men began to ask whether, seeing their forefathers had gifted away their broad acres under a grave mistake, their representatives should not get them back again. These and similar views greatly helped on the much-needed work of reformation, and they imparted immense activity to the business of feuing the lands of the monastic institutions throughout the country; for by this process, additional defenders of the existing rights of property were called into the field.

For the information which I am now to lay before you, I am again indebted to the kindness of the Hon. John Stuart. There are unfortunately no dates attached to the document which shows how the possessions of the Monastery of Inchcolme were feued. The information, as far as it goes, is however perfectly authentic, and in most cases the date is approximately fixed by the names of the feuars.

The lands of Prinlaws were set in feu to Sir John Melville of Raith, for twelve pounds yearly. The lands of Doni-bristle, Barnhill, and Grange, with nineteen acres lying near the same, and six acres called Caikinch, were set in feu to Andrew, Lord Stewart of Ochiltree, for fifty-nine pounds three shillings and fourpence yearly. The glebe of Kirkcroft of Dalgety was set in feu to Henry Stewart, for six pounds fourteen shillings and twopence yearly. The Isle of St. Colme and Abbey place thereof, with houses, etc., were set in feu to James Stewart, son and apparent heir of James Stewart of Doun, for three pounds six shillings and eightpence yearly. The lands of the Muirtown of Beath, with the half of Knocksodrum, were set in feu to Henry Stewart, for fifty-two shillings and fourpence yearly. The half lands of Whitehill, with the brew-house of Newton, were set to David Phin, for twelve pounds yearly. The lands of Cuttlehill and Seaside were set to John Wemyss, for four pounds yearly. In addition to this sum, John Wemyss obliged himself to give, yearly, twelve capons, or eightpence for each; six days’ work of a shearer, or fourpence for each; making his feu-duty four pounds ten shillings in all. Capons would be thought dead cheap at eightpence each, now-a-days; and a shearer would look askance at a groat dropped into the palm of his hand, as payment for a day’s work in the harvest-field. But the one statement throws light on the other, provisions being as much cheaper than they are now, as the wage was then smaller. The Kirklands of Auchtertool, and the meadow thereof, were set in feu to Agnes Balmanno, and David Boswell, her spouse, for three pounds seven shillings and fourpence yearly, ‘with ane servand and ane horse, to lead the teinds of Ochtertule in hervest;’ and two capons. From this statement you will see that ‘women’s rights’ were not only recognised in the transaction, but the wife’s name stands first. We also get a glimpse of the servant and horse conveying the teind-sheaves, on some bright harvest day, to the teind-barns at Aberdour. There is no notice of a cart, and the likelihood is, as a hint a little further on will show, that the sheaves were piled on a ‘sled’ or sledge, and so dragged to the teind-barns. The lands of Kilrie were set in feu to James Stewart, son and heir to James Stewart of Doun, for thirteen pounds, thirteen shillings and fourpence yearly. The lands and barony of Beath were set in feu to James Stewart, brother of Andrew, Lord Ochiltree, for forty-four pounds seven shillings yearly. The lands of Bowprie, Inchbeardie, and wester part of Whitehill, were set in feu to James Burn, for twelve pounds five shillings yearly. The feuar of these lands was further bound to pay to'the Convent fifteen shillings and twopence for ‘pittances;’ twenty-four fowls; ‘ twelve shearers’ darg in Dunibristle Maynes, with two horses and two sleddis.’ He was also burdened with the carriage of ‘miln-stones and stuling, to the miln of Aberdour.’ The mill and mill-lands of Aberdour Wester, with its astricted multures, were set to Walter Cant, for six pounds, six shillings and eightpence, and twelve capons. The Kirklands and glebe of Rosyth were set to Allan Coutts, for a sum that is illegible in the document. The lands of Balcliro and Kirk-croft of Leslie were set to George Oliphant, for four pounds five shillings yearly. The lands of Easter and Wester Boclavies (Buchlyvies) were set to James Stewart, son of Sir James Stewart of Doun, for twenty-five pounds, thirteen shillings and fourpence. The lands of Newton, Caikinsh, etc., were set to the said James Stewart, for twenty-four pounds four shillings yearly. The lands of Croftgarie and Brego were set to the said James Stewart, for twenty pounds seven shillings yearly. The lands of Dodyngston with Cramond mill, and Pascar mill, were set in feu to James Stewart, brother of Andrew, Lord Ochiltree, for twenty-six bolls of wheat, three chalders of bear (or three chalders and eight bolls of oats), with thirty-six capons, eighteen poultry, one sow, two geese, and thirteen pounds, eleven shillings and eightpence, in money. The lands of Coldside were set in feu to Robert Falside and Mary Maitland his spouse, for thirteen shillings and fourpence yearly. The lands of Clarbertston were set in feu to James Forrester of Corstorphine, for forty shillings and sixpence. And last of all, two rigs near Haddington were set in feu to James Oliphant, burgess in Edinburgh, for ten shillings and fourpence yearly.

The whole annual income represented by these sums, without taking into account the payments in kind, is over two hundred and seventy pounds.

To feu is not, properly speaking, to alienate ; for the feu-duties may flow into the old purse. But in the present case, alienation was not far distant; as, indeed, we might conclude, when the Abbot and Canons feued not only the little island that was their kingdom, but the very ‘ Abbey place thereof.’ It now remains for me to tell you how the revenues drawn from the lands thus set in feu found their way into another money-bag than that of the Abbot and Canons of Inchcolme. This, however, must be told in as succinct a way as possible.

Sir James Stewart of Beath was the third son of Andrew, Lord Evandale, and brother of Andrew, Lord Ochiltree, to whom reference has already been made. Sir James was a man of considerable ability, and in great favour with King James the Fifth, who appointed him Constable of the Castle of Doune and Steward of Menteith. He had sufficient interest with Pope Paul the Third to get his son James appointed one of the Canons of St. Colme’s Inch. This was effected by a Bull issued in August 1544; the object, no doubt, being to get him appointed Commendator of the Monastery by and by. At this time Richard Abercromby was Abbot, and not Henry, as Spotiswood says. Richard seems to have made up his mind to retire, with the view of making way for James Stewart; and the promotion of the latter, from the position of a simple Canon to that of Com-mendator, was speedily accomplished. For in 1545, and again in 1546, letters were issued by Queen Mary, instructing the Sheriff of Fife to see to it, that the rights of James Stewart as Commendator of the Abbey were respected, and making reference to the Bull of Pope Paul the Third as carrying with it the force of Stewart’s appointment to the benefice. It was in this way that Sir James Stewart, the younger, became Commendator of the Abbey. Richard, the former Abbot, lived for some years after this; for while I write I have lying before me an acknowledgment of his, signed at Donibristle, on the last day of January 1548. James, Lord Doune, the Commendator, died in 1590, having resigned his office into the hands of Henry, his second son. His eldest son, the brother of Henry, was the ‘ Bonny Earl of Moray,’ who was so barbarously slain at Donibristle, by Gordon of Buckie.1 In 1611, King James erected the possessions of the dissolved Abbacy into a temporal lordship, in favour of Henry, with the title of Lord St. Colme. Henry was succeeded in his title and lordship by his son James ; and he having died abroad, while fighting under the banner of Gustavus Adolphus, his title and possessions fell to his cousin James, Earl of Moray —the son of the Bonny Earl, and, on his mother’s side, the grandson of the Good Regent: and in the hands of his descendants they continue to the present day.

It does not fall within the scope of this lecture to say much regarding the fortunes of Inchcolme, or the dismantled Abbey, subsequent to the overthrow of monastic institutions, at the period of the Reformation. But a few outstanding facts demand notice.

We have already seen that, in anticipation of the Reformation, ‘the isle of St. Colme and Abbey place thereof, with houses, etc., were set in feu to James Stewart, son and apparent heir of James Stewart of Doun, for three pounds six shillings and eightpence yearly.’ Among the Acts of the Scottish Parliament, in the year 1581, there is to be found the following, ‘Confirmatioun of the infeftment of fewferme of the lie, Abbay, and Mansioun of Sanctcolmis Insh,’ which gives us some curious glimpses of the uses to which the dismantled Monastery was sometimes put:—

‘Forsamekle as be diuerss actis of Parliament maid of befoir concerning the reformatioun of religioun within this realme The Monkreis ar altogidder abolishit And thair places and abbayis for the maist pairt left waist namelie the abbay of Sanctcolmis Insh quhilk of ancient tyme quhen the samyn wes Inhabit be the abbay [Abbot] and conuent thairof wes at diuerss tymis takin be the Englishmen than enemeis to our realme, and seruit vnto thame as ane fortalice and strong hold agains our soueran lordis guid subiectis Be occasioun quhairof the cuntreis liand about wer be the enemie infestit and trublit, And at sum vther tymis sen the reformatioun of the religioun within this realme, Sen the quhilk tyme this abbay wes left desert the same hes bene receptakle to Piratis, And may heirefter be diuerss apperance serve to the elyke Inconvenientis, And can na wayis be profitable to our souerane lord nor his realme, Except the samyn be in the handis of ane speciall tennent quha may foirsie and provide that the said Ille with the abbay mansioun dowcat and zairdis being thairin may be put to sum profitable use; And thairfoir our said souerane lord with auise of his saidis thrie estatis of this present parliament Ratefeis appreuis and confermis the infeftment of fewferme of the said Ille abbay mansioun howss zairdis and dowcat thairof with all thair pertinentis maid be Sir James Stewart of downe knycht Commen-dator of the said abbay with consent of the convent thairof

To vmquhill Archibald Ergyill his airis and assignais Togidder with the Infeftment maid be the said erll to James now erll of Murray his airis and assignais with all that followit thairvpon To the effect the said Ille abbay mansioun houss zairdis and dowcat thairof with all the pertinentis abone writtin may remane with the said James erll of Murray his airis and assignais abone mentionat as thair propertie in all tyme cuming.’

From another Act of Parliament of the year 1607, ‘in fauouris of the Erie of Murray,’ it appears that it was Richard Abercromby, the last of the Abbots, who in 1543 granted the ‘charter of fewferme' referred to in the Act which has just been quoted, to ‘umquhile James Stewart, brother germane to umquhile Andro lord Vchiltrie, and umquhile dame Margaret Lyndesay, lady of Invermay, his spous.’

As an illustration of the use to which Inchcolme was put as a lazaretto, the following may be given, from Grant’s Old and New Edinburgh,—a book of vast and varied research, which has come under the writer’s eye when preparing this lecture for the press. Unfortunately the author of that book does not mention the precise date; but it seems to have been about the close of the sixteenth century.

‘There was considerable alarm excited in Edinburgh, Leith, and along the east coast generally, by a plague which, as Moyes records, was brought from Dantzig by John Downy’s ship, the William of Leith. By command of the Privy Council the ship was ordered, with her ailing and dead, to anchor on Inchcolm, to which place all afflicted by the plague were to confine themselves. The crew consisted of forty men, of whom the majority died. Proclamation had been made at the niarket-cross of every east coast town against permitting this fated crew to land. By petitions before the Council, it appeared that William Downie, skipper in Leith, left a widow and eleven children; Scott, a mariner, seven. The survivors were afterwards removed to Inchkeith and the Castle of Inchgarvie, and the ship, which by leaks seemed likely to sink at her anchors, was emptied of her goods, which were stored in the vouts, or vaults, of St. Colm.’

Sir James Simpson, in an article contributed to the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, ‘ On an Old Stone-roofed Cell, or Oratory, in the Island of Inchcolm,’ an article full of the fruits of research—notices that, as late as the year 1802, there was a fort in the east part of the island, with a corps of artillery stationed on it. Those who are interested in the modern condition of the island, and its monastic ruins, will find a good deal of information in the pages of Pennant and Grose; but to us the chief interest connected with the island centres in the Monastery and its living inhabitants. This lecture, moreover, has been spun out to an undue length, and we must leave such details alone.

I have left myself little space for moralising; but a few compressed sentences are all I have any wish to utter. The whole system of Monastic Institutions rested on mistaken ideas. These institutions were a violation of man’s social nature, which rebels against celibacy; and when nature in any of its domains is violated, mischief is sure to follow. And the possessions of these institutions were, as a rule, acquired through a misunderstanding of Christian doctrine. Purgatory was an invention of the priests in the dark ages ; and prayer for the dead is unavailing, else our Lord’s reference to the ‘ great gulf fixed ’ has neither meaning nor force of application to the subject he was handling. But let us not fail to do justice to whatever good we find, either in the ecclesiastics or the laymen of the early times with which we have been dealing. The former did a good deal to establish ideas of law and order among the people. They were the conservators of the little learning that a Church, which had forgotten its true functions, had not chased away. Had they known their Bibles better, and entered more into the spirit and modes of working of the Great Founder of Christianity and his earliest followers, they would have leaned less on mere human authority, and trusted more to individual intelligence and conscience. They would thus have been more useful, and the course of the people whom they influenced would have been an upward, and not a downward one, in all that dignifies mankind and adds to their happiness. And as regards the laymen of those early days, however mistaken they were as to the precise objects they had in view in the bestowal of their lands and other gifts on religious houses, it has at least to be admitted that they were in earnest about their souls. They acted up to the little light they had; while many, who are ready to laugh at their superstitious liberality, have no earnestness, and indeed no reality, in their religion at all. Let us seek to be true to the fuller light we have; and may the time never come when Scotchmen shall prove untrue to the three great watchwords: ‘ The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible;’ ‘The right of private judgment;’ and ‘Justification by faith in Christ alone’!


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