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Biggar and the House of Fleming
Chapter VIII - Biggar Kirk


DURING the 350 years occupied by the Romans in attempting to conquer Scotland, a revolution took place in the religious opinions of the people. The Druidical system, although embracing such truths as that there is only one God, that the soul is immortal, that men will be punished or rewarded in a future state according to the actions which they have performed on earth, etc., yet, consisting as it principally did of frivolous and debasing rites, particularly that of offering human sacrifices, it could not stand before the power and progress of divine knowledge. The individual or individuals who first introduced the light of Christianity into the British Isles, are not certainly known. The likelihood is, that during some of the rigorous persecutions carried on by the Roman emperors against the early Christians, which was the means of dispersing them over all parts of the known world, some of the converts found their way to Britain, and there promulgated the faith which they had embraced, and on account of which they had been called to suffer. The new faith, by whatever person it was introduced, appears to have made rapid progress in the minds of the people; and it is generally asserted that, in the year 203, Donald, King of the Scots, with his queen and many of his nobles, publicly embraced it, and were baptized. Then, from time to time, arose certain illustrious divines, whom our ecclesiastical historians have delighted to present in bright colours to the notice of their readers—such as St Ninian, St Columba, St Kentigem, etc. St Kentigem, or St Mungo, who flourished in the sixth century, after labouring with great zeal and success in Wales, settled at last in the Vale of Clyde, founded a stately church at Glasgow, and exercised a fatherly charge over the clergy in the adjacent districts. We may conclude that a fabric for the exercise of the Christian system had, by this time, been erected at Biggar, and that it was honoured with occasional visits from the Clydesdale saint. It is not, however, for fully 500 years after the time of St Mungo, that we have any authentic reference to the Church of Biggar. The earliest allusions to it, or rather to its clergymen, are to be found in the chartularies of the religious houses.

The Church was a rectory in the deanery of Lanark, and was dedicated to St Nicholas. Robert, the parson of Biggar, is mentioned as a witness of a grant by Walter Fitzallan to the monks of Paisley,

between 1164 and 1177. The name of Master Symon, the physician of Biggar, and also, as has been conjectured, the parson of the church, is given as a witness to a charter by Walter, Bishop of Glasgow, between the years 1208 and 1232. About the year 1290, Philip de Keith, son of William de Keith, Knight Marischall, was Rector of Biggar. In 1329 Sir Henry, Rector of Biggar, was one of the royal chaplains, and clerk of livery to the household of the king. Walter, Rector of Biggar, is mentioned in a charter of Malcolm Fleming, Earl of Wigton, during the reign of David II. After this, very little is known regarding Biggar Church and its incumbents for a period of two centuries.

In Baiamund’s or Bagimont’s Roll, which, in the state in which it now exists, may be held to represent the value of ecclesiastical livings in the reign of James V., the rectory of Biggar is valued at L.66,13s. 4d., and in the Taxatio Ecclesiae Scotians at L.58. By an indenture of assythment, and afterwards by a decreet arbitral in the reign of James V., it received an additional endowment of L.10 yearly from Tweedie of Drummelzier, ‘ to infeft ane chaplaine perpetualie to say mass in ye kirk of biggair, at ye hye altar of ye sayme,’ for the soul of John Lord Fleming, whom Tweedie had murdered.

It is supposed that it was this endowment or mortification that first suggested to Malcolm Lord Fleming the propriety of founding a collegiate church at Biggar, and conferring on it a number of new endowments. He appears to have been a devoted Roman Catholic. He had identified himself with the party who, at the time, were striving, by every means in their power, to uphold the tottering fabric of the Romish Church, and he was, no doubt, anxious to give a notable manifestation of his zeal in the cause which they had so much at heart. The principles of the Reformation, first enunciated in Germany by Martin Luther in 1517, had now spread over all Europe, and were even making rapid progress in the comparatively obscure realm of Scotland, and alarming the fears of the devotees of the Romish superstition. Patrick Hamilton and George Wishart had proclaimed these principles with impressive effect, and had testified their sincerity by laying down their lives; and Sir David Lindsay of the Mount, and George Buchanan, had written and published most pungent satires on the pernicious doctrines and ungodly lives of the Romish priesthood A corresponding desire was consequently manifested by the party, with whom Fleming was connected, to prop up the superstructure of Romanism, which had been so vigorously and successfully assailed.

The first intimation that we have of Lord Fleming’s intention to build a collegiate church at Biggar, is contained in a writ still preserved in the archives of the Fleming family. It is from Gavin, Commendator of the Benedictine Monastery of Kelso, and bears date the 26th November 1540. It states that he had heard of Lord Fleming’s design to found and endow a college church at Biggar; that the right of patronage of the Church of Thankerton had been obtained by the Abbots of Kelso from his lordship’s predecessors; that in these evil times, by the increase of Lutheranism, all true Catholics were bound to contribute to so good a work; and that he was most anxious that his lordship should not be diverted from his resolution, or suffer prejudice by the Abbots of Kelso continuing to hold the patronage of the Church of Thankerton. On these grounds, with consent of David Hamilton, then rector of the said church, he transferred to Lord Fleming, in name of the college to be founded and built, the right of patronage of that church, with its whole rents and emoluments, to be bestowed on one or more prebendaries of the foresaid college. The only reservation which he made, was that the Church of Thankerton should always be provided with a vicar pensioner, who should discharge the clerical duties of the charge, and have for his sustentation twenty merks Scots out of the first and readiest of the teinds of the parish, with a house, garden, and four acres of land This writ was confirmed by the Archbishop of Glasgow, at Edinburgh, 1st May 1542.

The new church was founded in 1545, and erected on the site of the old building dedicated to St Nicholas. The parson of the old church at the time was Thomas Chappell, who, on the presentation of Malcolm Lord Fleming, was collated to his office by the Archbishop of Glasgow, on the 17th April 1542. It has been supposed by some persons, and among others by Grose, who took a sketch of the Church from a window of the manse in 1789, and published an engraving of it in his work on the ‘ Antiquities of Scotland,1 that the present edifice is much older than the date above mentioned This, to some extent at least, is certainly a mistake. From statements in the founder's testament, executed in 1547, and also in a charter of the Abbot and Chapter of Holyrood connected with this Church, and dated a few years afterwards, it is evident that the erection had been commenced and carried on, to some extent, by the founder, Malcolm Lord Fleming, but was evidently left unfinished at his death, in 1547. His son and successor, James Lord Fleming, belonged to the same religious and political party as his father, and was, no doubt, influenced by the same views and feelings in respect to the new collegiate Church. He is understood to have carried on the building, and to have left it in nearly the same state in which it exists at present.

The style of the architecture of the Church is Gothic, and the form of it is that of a cross. It was, no doubt, intended to be all composed of ashlar work. The choir, transepts, and tower have accordingly been built of dressed sandstone, brought evidently from a quarry in the parish of Libberton, near Camwath ; but the nave is constructed of rubble work, the stones employed being the rough whin which abounds in the neighbourhood This may be a portion of the old Parish Church made to harmonize with the original plan, or it may be a part of the building executed in this manner by James Lord Fleming, with the view of lessening the expense. It is said that the original plan embraced a spire, which would have been a great ornament to the town, and a fine feature in the landscape; but it was not built, and hence the unfinished state of the Church is very commonly cited in the locality as an illustration of the aphorism, ‘ Many a thing is begun that is never ended,1 like Biggar Kirk. The walls of the tower from which the spire was to have sprung, have been formed into a parapet with embrasures and loopholes, as if it was intended to be a place of defence,—a use to which the towers and spires of churches in Scotland were, in former times, not unfrequently put After all, however, it may be questioned if it was ever intended to carry the tower higher than it is at present It is certainly the fact, that central towers in Gothic buildings very frequently terminate, not with a spire, but with a parapet containing loopholes and embrasures similar to those of Biggar Kirk.

The building on the outside is plain, presenting little more than the buttresses and mouldings peculiar to Gothic architecture. It had two principal entrances, one in the south transept, and the other in the western gable. The doorway in the west is extremely plain, and is now built up; and the one on the south is composed of an arch finely moulded. The corbels from which the mouldings spring, are much defaced; but enough of them remains to show that they have been ornamented with fine tracery work, and that the pattern of the one is different from the other. On the handle or latch of the strong wooden door, studded with nails, is the date 1697, referring most likely to the time at which the door was made, and placed in its present position. On the left side of this door are the remains of the ancient jougs, by which adult offenders were fastened to the wall, and forced to remain a space of time proportioned to their misdemeanors. On the right, at a lower elevation, are staples, batted into the wall with lead, which were evidently intended to suspend a pair of jougs for the confinement and punishment of juvenile offenders. An excellent representation of this door and the chain of the jougs is to be seen in the vignette to this volume. The buttresses on each side of the gable of the south transept have been surmounted by carved pinnacles; but these have long since disappeared, as well as the apex or finial of the gable, which most likely was an emblem of the cross. The remains of the cross on the apex of the north transept can still be very distinctly observed On the lowest corbie, or, as they are here generally denominated, crowsteps, of the western gable, is a carved shield of the Fleming arms, with this peculiarity, that the cinquefoils, adopted from the arms of the Frasers, are in the first and fourth quarters, instead of the second and third, as they are usually found in the escutcheon of the Earls of Wigton.

A large portion of the hewn stones used in the building has the mark of the masons by whom they were prepared. The practice of marking stones is known to have been observed by masons for several thousand years. The design of it was to distinguish the stones wrought by each workman, so that the merit or demerit of the workmanship could at once be attributed to the proper individual It is not uncommon to find two marks on one stone,—the one being the mark of the hewer, and the other of the overseer, who, after inspecting the stone, and finding it correctly wrought, put upon it the official stamp of his approval The apprentices had generally what is called a blind mark, that is, one with an even number of points or corners; while the journeymen or fellow-crafts had one with an odd number, which might range from three points to eleven. In the ancient lodges of Freemasons, a ceremony was observed at the time of conferring a mark on a newly entered brother; and when this was over, his name and mark were inserted in a book. We accordingly find that this was one of the regulations adopted at a meeting of the masters of lodges, convened at Edinburgh, 28th December 1598, by William Schaw, ‘Maister of Wark' to his Majesty James VI., and General Warden of the Mason Graft in Scotland All the old operative lodges, therefore, practised mark-masonry, and some of them—and among others, the Lodge of Biggar Free Operatives—retain an interesting roll of the marks which their members adopted and used. The individuals who built Biggar Kirk were evidently mark-masons, and hence the frequent marks to be found on the stones of which a portion of it is constructed.

Two small buildings were at one time attached to the Church, the one on the north side of the choir or chancel, and the other on the south side of the nave. The one on the north side, the traces of which are still to be seen on the wall of the Church, as shown in the engraving of the Kirk, was the chapter-house, which in such buildings was rarely to be found west of the transept. It was used for the meetings of the provost and prebendaries, and most likely also as a mortuary chapel The building on the south was originally, in all likelihood, the vestry, in which the sacred utensils and vestments were kept; and perhaps it also served the purposes of an eleemosynary, or almonry, in which alms were distributed to the needy poor. It was in the end—and, indeed, in the memory of some persons still living— used as a porch, and had seats all round the walls. These buildings were removed about sixty years ago; but for what reason, it is impossible, perhaps, now to say. Two buttresses on the iforth side of the nave, and an arched gateway that stood at the entrance to the churchyard, have also, in the course of time, been demolished.

The interior of the Church was fitted up with considerable elegance. It had four altars. The high altar and the altar of the crucifix stood in the choir or chancel, and the altars of the two aisles were placed one in the south transept and the other in the north transept, the two transepts being, in former times, very commonly called * The Cross Aisles.* A screen divided the choir from the nave, and at the eastern extremity of the choir, which was finely lighted with three large windows, was the presbytery, into which no person was allowed to enter except the priests. A stone on the north side of the choir had a carved representation of a serpent,—an emblem which has a strange but emphatic significance in the rites both of Paganism and Christianity. In the nave were placed the pulpit, and the font for holding the holy water. The corbels from which the groinings and arches of the roof sprung, were highly ornamented with representations of doves, foliage, human heads, etc. These are now much mutilated; but the heads on each side of the' eastern termination of the nave are nearly entire, and are most likely intended to represent the founder and his wife. In the north transept was the organ-loft, the door to which still exists in the staircase which admits to the tower. The ceiling, at least of the chancel, was originally of oak, richly carved and gilt; but was removed a number of years ago, and one of lath and plaster substituted in its place. In the tower is an apartment which appears never to have been completed It is of square form, and has a small window on each side ; but as these are filled with stone slabs, it is quite dark, and can only be examined by the aid of a candle. The walls are unplastered, and the floor and ceiling, if they ever existed, have disappeared The oak joists, both above and below, are in a state of good preservation. A very singular-looking shaft rests on a joist below, turns on a pivot, and communicates with one of the joists above; while a second shaft, with a hole in it near its, lower termination, is suspended from one of the upper joists. It would perhaps not be easy to discover the purpose to which this curious apparatus was applied The apartment has a spacious fire-place, which seems to indicate that it was intended to be occasionally occupied; but no reliable account can now be got of the use which it was designed to serve. The tradition regarding it is, that it was the place to which the Fleming family retired, or intended to retire, before and after attending religious service in the Church, to assume and lay aside what was called their ‘chapel graith.’ It is certain that the family had articles of this kind, as is shown by the following bequests. The founder of the Church, in his testament, says, ‘ I leif to James, my eldest son and air,* 4 the chapell graith of siluer; that is to say, ane cross with the crucifix, twa siluer span-dellers, twa siluer croadds, ane haly water fatt, with the haly water stick, ane siluer bell, ane chalice with the patine of siluer, with all the haill stand of vestments pertaining to the samen.’ James Lord Fleming, in the testament which he executed at Dieppe in 1558, bequeathed his ‘chapel graith* to his brother John. It consisted of the following items:—*Ane silvere challice wfc ane pax, ane cryce of silvere, ane eucharest of silvere, ane haly waiter fate, w* ane styk of silvere, and ij crouats of silvere/ From these extracts it is evident that the Flemings had not only a set of sacred vessels, but a peculiar suit of garments, which they used while attending or performing the rites of the Romish Church.

The circular staircase already referred to was entered from the inside by a door in the north-west angle of the chancel, and, besides admitting to the organ-loft and the square apartment in the tower, communicated also with the floor of the parapet or bartisan; and as this is covered with lead, being open to the weather, it is usually called the Lead Loft. The door in the inside of the Church was some years ago built up, and one in place of it cut out of the staircase, as shown in the engraving. On the north-west side of the interior of the staircase are the initials W.M., and on the south-east side the initials I.H., and the date 1542. With regard to the initials nothing can be said; and the date is certainly puzzling, as it is three years prior to the time at which the present Church was founded. The stone on which it is cut may have belonged to the old Parish Church, or some person, at a period subsequent to the erection of the present Church, may have cut it in a mere spirit of wantonness, or with a design to mislead We put no confidence in it as calculated to establish the supposition of Grose and others, that the whole of the Church is older than the year 1545, the date of its foundation as a collegiate charge. The belfry was furnished with a bell of a remarkably clear tone, which was heard for many miles round, and was rung by a rope in the inside of the Church. This fine bell, which was supposed to be as old as the Church itself, was unfortunately cracked by a sexton, when tolling it at the funeral of one of the proprietors of the parish, about forty years ago. The present bell is one of much inferior quality, and is rung from the outside of the Church.

In the inside of the Church a relic, now very rarely to be met with, is stiU preserved. This is the cutty stool, on which the violators of ecclesiastical discipline were wont, in the face of the congregation, to
make expiation for their offences. The punishment of the cutty stool is referred to by Ferguson the poet as forming part of the gossip around the farmer’s ingle:—

'And there how Marion for a bastart son
Upo’ the cutty stool was forced to ride,
The waefu’ scald o’ our Mess John to bide.'

The cutty stool of Biggar Kirk has the date 1694, with the initndu B. K., and is represented in the accompanying engraving.

Another relic preserved in the Kirk is a jug. It is apparently composed of pewter, and very much resembles a small claret-jug. It is usually denominated a holy water fatt or jug, as, according to tradition, it was used by the Roman Catholic priests in holding holy water. After the establishment of the rites of Presbyterianism, the jug was used in conveying to the Church the water used in baptism. As an old relic connected with the Kirk, we give the annexed engraving of it.

The Kirk, although it has undergone many barbarous mutilations from the violence of man, and suffered many injuries from the corroding hand of time, is still in a state of good preservation, and holds out the promise of serving as the Parish Church for ages to come.

A proposal has lately been made to renovate the interior of the building, and thus place it in a state similar, in some respects, to that in which it was in former ages, and more in keeping with the altered spirit of the times. This is to consist principally in filling the windows with stained glass; in taking down the present ceiling of lath and plaster, and substituting one of wood, with the groinings, pendants, and carvings, as near to the original as can now be ascertained; and in cutting away the oak joists in the oentre tower, and forming the lead loft into a glass cupola, in order to shed a flood of light on the area of the Church. This proposal, with exception of the last alteration, appears to be highly worthy of commendation; and it is to be hoped that the present pastor of the parish, the Rev. J. Christison, who seldom fails in any undertaking in which he embarks, will take it up, and prosecute it to a successful termination.

Having given a description of the building, we may now refer to the Charter of Foundation. It is still preserved in the archives of the Fleming family, and, with its ancient style of penmanship, and its large seals, has a most venerable appearance. It is written in Latin, and is of great length. As a full translation of it would occupy too much space, we will give the substance of its most important points.

It is addressed by Malcolm Lord Fleming to Cardinal Beaton of St Andrews. After enumerating all that reverend father’s high-sounding titles, it goes on to say that his Lordship, influenced by examples of piety and devotion, and constantly desirous to increase the means of religious worship, and to press forward more warmly and earnestly in the practice of pious deeds, so far as justice and reason might warrant him, had been induced to found, endow, and effectually erect a College or Collegiate Church at Biggar, with the collegiate honour, dignity, and pre-eminence. The funds for this purpose were to be drawn from the parish churches, benefices, chaplain-ries, clerical revenues, and charities belonging to him by hereditary right, and from other property bestowed on him by the favour of Almighty God He had erected and endowed this Church to the praise, glory, and honour of the most high and undivided Trinity; of the most blessed and immaculate Virgin Mary, under the title and invocation of her assumption; of the blessed St Nicholas, patron of the Parish Church of Biggar; of St Ninian the Confessor, and all the saints of the heavenly choir. The object of the founder was the safety of the soul of James V., late King of Scotland, of most worshiped memory; the safety of his own soul; of the soul of his wife, Joan Stewart, sister of the late renowned King; of the souls of his parents, benefactors, Mends, and relatives, predecessors and successors; and of all the faithful dead, especially those from whom he had taken goods unjustly, or to whom he had occasioned loss or injury, and. had not compensated by prayers or benefits. He had done all this with consent of the most reverend father in Christ, Gavin, by the grace of God Archbishop of Glasgow, and of the wise and venerable men, the deacons and canons of the Metropolitan Church of Glasgow, in chapter assembled The foundation was to support a provost, eight canons or prebendaries, four boys, and six poor men. The firm conviction of the founder was, that in the solemnities of the mass the Son offered himself to the Father Omnipotent, a rich sacrifice for a sweet-smelling savour; and that to Him nothing more acceptable, gracious, and worthy could be presented. His sincere belief in the Catholic faith also convinced him that the mass had power to restore frail human nature, often falling into sin, to the Father’s favour, to rescue the souls of the faithful from the pains of purgatory, and bring them to the full enjoyment of happiness and glory. He wished to have an assurance that he would not be found among the number of those of whom it was said in the beginning, ‘They are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them. O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! ’ And he had pondered in his mind what is written in the Apocalypse,

'And I heard a voice from heaven saying, Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.* The founder’s charity, piety, and desire for extending the means of religious worship, having been thus evoked, he had, out of his hereditary patronages and acquired property, endowed the Collegiate Church of Biggar, for the provost, canons, boys, and poor men, as already stated, and reserved only to himself, his wife, and his heirs, the disposition, presentation, and endowment of these officials, as often as the office of any one of them became vacant. The collation of the provost was to belong to the Archbishop of Glasgow, and the admission or installation of the prebendaries and boys was to be the daty of the provost, or, in his absence, the President of the College for the time being.

The provost was to be called the Provost of the Collegiate Church of the Most Blessed and Immaculate Virgin Mary, of Biggar. He was to celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin, in the Church of Biggar, as the principal festival; and he was to have for his sustentation, all and whole the produce, rents, revenues, tithes, and emoluments of the rectory and vicarage of the parish of Thankerton, in the diocese of Glasgow, along with its tributes and offerings, and its manse and glebe. He was, however, to pay L.10 Scots to a curate, who was to undertake the cure of souls in the parish of Thankerton, and to bestow on him two acres of land, near the Church, for a manse and garden. The said curate was constantly to reside in the parish, and discharge all the duties of his office in person. The provost was also to bear all burdens, and meet all liabilities, ordinary and extraordinary, that, in times past, attached to the Church of Thankerton.

The first prebendary was to be called Canon of the Hospital of St Leonards, and was to be master and teacher of the School of Song. He was to instruct the boys of the College, and others, who might attend, in plain song, invocation or pricksong, and discant. He was also to be well skilled in playing the organ for the performance of divine service. He was to receive for his support, throughout the year, the produce of the church lands of SpittaL The second prebendary, who was to be instructor of the Grammar School, was to be sufficiently acquainted with letters and grammar, and was to have, for his yearly sustentation, the lands of Auchynreoch. The third prebendary, who was to be sacristan of the College, was to have for his annual support the chapel founded on the lands of Gamegabir and Auchyndavy, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, with its pertinents; and six merks of annual rent in Kirkintulloch, along with two acres of land, for a manse and garden, belonging to the chapel, and at that time in possession of Andrew Fleming of Kirkintulloch. The duty of this prebend was to ring the bells, to light the wax tapers and tallow candles on the high altar, the altars of the two aisles, and the altar of the crucifix. For the maintenance of the tapers and candles during winter, he was annually to receive L.5 Scots, drawn from the produce and emoluments of the priest’s office in the Church of Biggar. This prebend was also to prepare the vestments and ornaments of the four altars; he was to wash, dean, and repair, as often as necessary, the cups, vestments, and ornaments; and when this was done, he was to cover them up in their respective places on the altars. For this service, he was to receive the annual sum of L.5 Scots, levied from the priest’s office of the Church of Biggar. The same prebend was to provide bread and wine for the celebration of mass in the College; and for the expense of these elements, he was annually to receive L.4 Scots out of the produce, rents, and revenues of the rectory and vicarage of Biggar. The fourth prebendary was to have charge of the poor men, while they were engaged in their devotions in the College, and also the administration and distribution of the victuals and other emoluments belonging to them; and was to render an account of the discharge of his duties, in this respect, to the patron, or, in his absence, to the provost and prebends. This canon was to receive for his sustentation L.10 Scots, from the yearly rent of the lands of Drummel-zier, and L.7, 6s. 8d. Scots, every year, drawn from the produce, rents, and revenues of the rectory and vicarage of the Church of Biggar. Each of the other prebendaries was to have for his support the yearly sum of L.17, 6s. 8d Scots, levied from the revenues of the vicarage and rectory of Biggar, but the special duties which they were to perfonn are not detailed. One of them was to be vicar stipendiary of the Parish Church of Biggar, now erected into a college, and was constantly to take his place in the choir, to sing, and to exercise his divine office, unless when he was engaged with the special duties of his charge and the administration of the sacraments. The presentation of this vicar stipendiary was to belong to the founder and his heirs, but his collation was to devolve on the Archbishop of Glasgow for the time being.

The founder also ordained that there should be attached to the College, in all time to come, four boys with children’s voices, who were to be sufficiently instructed and skilled in plain song, invocation, and discant, who were to have the crowns of their heads shaven, and to wear gowns of a crimson* colour, after the fashion of the singing boys in the Metropolitan Church of Glasgow. They were to have, divided amongst them, all and whole the produce of the priest’s office of the Parish Church of Lenzie, in the diocese of Glasgow, except so much as might be necessary for the sustentation of a priest to discharge the duties of the cure of that parish. The presentation of these boys was to belong to the founder and his heirs, and their examination and admission to the provost and prebendaries. When they lost their boyish voices, by advancing age, or when they behaved in a disorderly and incorrigible manner, the provost and prebendaries were to have the power of dismissing them from their situations in the College. The produce and emoluments of the office from which they were to derive their living were, with the exception already stated, to be under the control of the boys, along with their

*The word ‘blodie,’ in the original, is rendered by Colvill and other English gloesarists,1 crimson,1 as derived from the Saxon ‘blod,’ blood; but Dncaoge considers that the proper meaning of it is bln* parents and relatives, and were to be devoted exclusively to the payment of their aliment and other necessary expenses.

The founder ordained that the College should have six poor men, commonly called (beid men.’ The qualifications for their admission were to be poverty, frailty, and old age. They were to be natives of the baronies of Biggar or Lenzie, if a sufficient number could be got in these places, and they were to reside in the house of the Hospital, with its garden grounds, which the founder had set aside for their accommodation. They were to be presented, admitted, and installed by the founder, so long as he lived, and after his death, by his heirs and successors. They were to be annually furnished with a white linen gown, having a white cloth hood; and every day, in all time to come, they were to attend in the College at high mass and vespers; and when the founder departed this life, they were to sit at his grave and the grave of his parents, and pray devoutly to the Most High God for the welfare of his soul, the soul of his wife, and the souls of his progenitors and successors. For their aliment and support, they were to have distributed amongst them, on the first day of each month, two bolls of oatmeal, the whole amounting annually to twenty-seven bolls; so that each bedesman, during the year, was to obtain four bolls and two firlots of the said oatmeal. This sustenance was to be levied from the first-fruits and tithes of the rectory and vicarage of the Church of Biggar; and from the same source twenty shillings annually was to be drawn for each bedesman, for purchasing his gown and repairing his house. The bedesmen were also to have full power, liberty, and access to cast, win, and lead peats and divots from two dargs of the Nether Moss, in order to supply their hearths with fuel.

The provost and prebends were to have suitable dwelling-houses and gardens near the Church. The provost was to have one acre of land for this purpose, and each canon half an acre; and they were, besides, to have the privilege of casting, winning, and leading peats in the barony of Biggar, and especially within the bounds of the lands belonging to the Hospital of St Leonards. The patron, provost, and prebendaries were, yearly, on the eve of the Feast of Pentecost, to meet and select two of the prebendaries, whose duty should be to collect all the produce, tithes, revenues, offerings, and emoluments of the rectory, vicarage, and church lands of Biggar, and distribute them in proper order and proportion. Whatever sum remained, after this was done, was annually to be disposed of in such a way as the patron, provost, and prebends might think expedient, for the use and advantage of the College. Each of these prebends, for their services in this respect, was to receive annually the sum of 26s. 8d Scots, derived from the revenues of the rectory and vicarage of the Church of Biggar.

The founder ordained that the following masses should be celebrated in the Collegiate Church, and that a register of them should be inscribed on a board, And suspended in the College* A mass in honour of the blessed Virgin Mary was to be said in the morning, between six and seven o’clock, before the commencement of matins, in summer as well as in winter. The priest celebrating it was not to be exempted from attending and singing at matins; and if he was not present at the end of ‘Gloria Patri,’ or the conclusion of the first psalm, he was to lose that hour, and be subjected to a fine. High mass was to be celebrated immediately after ten o'clock with singing the solemn Gregorian chant,* or discant, and playing Buch tunes on the organ as the time might require. A mass was to be said daily to any saint, according to the option of the oelebrator, immediately after the consecration and elevation of the body of Christ in high mass, and not sooner; and no priest, present at chant and high mass, was to absent himself, under the penalty of losing the hour during which the mass was celebrated.

The following masses were to be celebrated on week-days, immediately after matins, viz.:—on the second day, or Monday, and on the greater double feasts, a mass de rtquie, for the founder's soul, his wife’s soul, the souls of his parents, and all faithful dead; on the third, Tuesday, a mass in honour of St Ann, the mother of the Virgin Mary; on the fourth, Wednesday, a mass in honour of St Nicholas and St Ninian,a|> bishops and confessors; on the fifth, Thursday, a mass in honour of the body of Chriftt; and on the sixth, Saturday, a mass for the five wounds of Christ; while on Sabbath a mass was to be performed for the Feast of the Compassion of the Blessed Virgin Mary.J The officiating priest, elothed in his white gown and surplice, was, immediately after the celebration of high mass, to approach the grave of the founder, and sing the psalm, ‘de profundis,’ with the uateal collects and prayers, and the sprinkling of holy water. Extraordinary mass, as well as the mass de refute, was also to be said daily in the two aisles.

A chapter was to be held every week in the Collegiate Church. It was to have the same constitution, and to be subject to the same rules, as the Metropolitan Church of Glasgow. Whoever absented himself from this meeting was to pay a fine of twopence. On the fourth day, or Wednesday, immediately after the solemnities for all the saints, for the purification of the blessed Virgin Mary, and for the Apostles Philip and James, and St Paul <ad vmcmla, a mass was to be sung for the founder’s soul, his wife’s soul, and the souls of all those previously mentioned,-*—the vespers and matins of the deed being performed on

*The K/ftnto Fermo’ was introduced into the service of the Romish Churoh by Pope Gregory the Great, wfeo flourished daring the sixth centxuy. It has continued in use to the present dayi *ad is generally known by tbe name of the. Qregorian Chant

'A relative of the founder was Prior of the Monastery of St Ninian, at Whithorn in Galloway.

Compassion of the Virgin, or wit Lady of Pity,'—the Friday in Passion Week. the evening preceding theoe solemnities, along with nine collects, and nine psalms, with their responses. Each prebend was, with the Gregorian chant, invocation, and discant, to celebrate matins, high mass, vespers, and complin, at the hours and seasons usually observed by prebendaries in other collegiate churches.

All the prebends and their successors were bound to make a personal residence fit the College, and on all feast, Sabbath, and week days, and continued commemorations, were to celebrate and sing, without note, matins, high mass, vespers, and complin at the great altar in the choir of the Churoh; and, clothed in their clerical habits— viz., clean linen surplices and red hoods trimmed with fur,—were, every night after complin, except on the greater double feasts, to rehearse the responses in honour of the Virgin Mary, to sing the psalm, ‘de profundis,’ and to read the usual collects and prayers for the souls of the founder and all faithful dead.

The prebendaries, at the ringing of the bell, which was to commence every morning throughout the year at six o’clock, were to meet, clothed in their clerical vestments, and sing matins at seven. At ten o’clock they were to perform high mass; and at five, Vespers and complin, except in Lent, when vespers was to be performed immediately after high mass, and complin at the usual hour. When met for these purposes, they were not to move up and down the Church, nor indulge in whispering and laughter, but to the close of the service were to remain in solemn silence, and to manifest all be* coming gravity. They were exhorted, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to perform their duties fully, honestly, and attentively; and, avoiding all light and frivolous proceedings, were to commence, continue, and pause in the singing all at once. Those who violated this rule were to be severely punished; for, by singing improperly and carelessly, the due honour of God was not manifested, the intention of the founder was frustrated, the well-ordered conscience was hurt, and the edification of others was not promoted.

The prebend who absented himself from the usual services of the Church on week-days or simple feasts, was, for each hour, to pay twopence ; on Lord's days and the great feasts, threepence; and on the higher feasts, fourpence. The fines thus exacted were to be collected weekly by the provost or a substitute, and were to be expended in the puJrchase of books or ornaments for the Church. Tbe provost, or his substitute, was alio to have power of suspending offenders from the chair, and devoting the whole of their incomes to the uses already stated, or other objects of piety. On those who persisted in their disobedience, the general officer of the Church of Glasgow was to inflict still heavier penalties and higher ecclesiastical censures, from which they were not to be absolved till they had given the utmost satisfaction. ’

All the prebendaries were to be priests, or at least in deacorfs orders, and were to be well skilled in literature, plain song, invocation, and discant; and, each day, were to take their places at the altars, and in a private manner celebrate mass for the souls of those by whom these altars were founded. They were to possess all the advantages common to the Romish Church, provided they made personal and continued residence at the College; but, in the event of any one of them absenting himself for five days without liberty, the provost, or, in his absence, the president and members of the Chapter, were, unless a necessary cause of absence was shown, to declare his office de facto vacant. At their admission, they were to take a solemn oath of obedience to the provost and the founder, so long as he lived, to observe the statutes and rules laid down in the constitution and ordinances of the College, and drawn up and ordained by the founder and others to whom he gave authority.

In the event of any prebendary being prevented by infirmity or indisposition from celebrating mass when it was his turn, another of the brethren was to occupy his place; but should he refuse to perform this service when required by the provost or president, he was to be fined twelve pence Scots. Should any prebend be of a quarrelsome disposition, and provoke his brethren to fight, or engage in other improper contentions, he was, on his offence being proved, to be removed without further process from his office. A prebendship becoming vacant in this or any other way, was not to be filled up till after the lapse of thirty days, so that sufficient time might be afforded for obtaining a suitable and well-qualified successor, who, previous to his admission, was to undergo an examination by the provost and prebendaries.

The charter ends by calling upon Cardinal Beaton, with concurrence of the Lord Archbishop of Glasgow, to approve, ratify, and confirm, to add, correct, or otherwise amend, the statutes, rules, and constitution laid down for the College, its endowments, and officials. Malcolm Lord Fleming, in faith and testimony of all and every one of the articles stated in connection with his religious foundation, subscribed the charter with his own hand, and appended to it his armorial seal; and the Archbishop of Glasgow, and the Chapter of the Church of Glasgow, in token of their full concurrence and assent, attached to it their respective seals, on the 10th of January 1545, in presence of the following witnesses:—William, Bishop of Dunblane ; Robert, Bishop of Orkney; John, Abbot of Paisley; Thomas, Commendator of Dryburgh; Malcolm, Prior of Whithorn; William, Earl of Montrose ; John Lord Erskine; Alexander Lord Livingstone; John Lindsay of Covington; William Fleming of Boghall; Thomas Kincaid of that Ilk; Andrew Brown of Hartree, and many others. This charter was confirmed by the Pope's Legate on the 14th of March 1545. The „ charter of confirmation is a very lengthy document, written on parchment, and is still preserved.


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