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The History of Glasgow
Chapter XX - Lands in the Barony of Glasgow and Bishopforest


THE primitive practice of the king travelling from place to place, attended by a retinue of prelates, earls, churchmen and barons, and holding courts for the administration of justice, was gradually superseded by the devolution of such duties upon qualified officials, such as justiciars and sheriffs, acting under direct royal authority, and the judges appointed by bishops, abbots and barons, each presiding over the court applicable to his own prescribed area. The king's justiciars or chief justices traversed the kingdom, holding circuit courts in the central parts of the different districts, the sheriff kept within the limits of his shire, and the attention of the baron-bailie was confined to the area ruled by its lay or ecclesiastical lord. In addition to the burgh court, established subsequent to 1175, the bishops of Glasgow must have had their baronial courts from the earliest times, though no charter containing either an express or implied grant of jurisdiction is known to have been granted previous to 1241, at which time the bishops were authorized to hold the barony lands by the tenure of free forest. Cosmo Innes was of opinion that a forest grant was the most extensive and the most privileged in use in the thirteenth century, and he remarks that the rights of property usually if not invariably preceded the rights of forest. The king gave an extensive grant of lands, and afterwards, sometimes at a considerable interval of time, he improved the vassal's tenure by giving him a right of forest over the same vassal's bounds, thereby conferring all the rights which the king enjoyed in his own forests. The specific advantage conferred by a grant in free forest in Scotland was that it fixed a definite fine against any one cutting the wood or hunting the deer, and the forfeiture was Rio, the same as the king's. [Legal Antiquities, pp. 33, 41.] Though the lands of Glasgow barony were not of very great extent, and though the term "forest" does not necessarily imply the existence of trees, especially those of large growth, it seems significant that the grant of forest rights was made about the time when the rebuilding of the cathedral was commenced, and this may be taken as an indication that the additional powers conferred on the bishop were meant to give him greater facilities in procuring timber to be used in the structure.

The charter of 1241 is short, and as it has not been reprinted in Glasgow Charters a translation may be given here:

"Alexander, by the grace of God, King of Scots: To all good men of his whole land, greeting. Know ye that we have granted to the venerable William, bishop of Glasgow, that he and all his successors, bishops of Glasgow, may have and hold their lands around Glasgow, namely, the lands of Conclud, of Schedinistun, of Ballayn, of Badermonoc, of Possele and of Kenmore, of Garvach, of Neutun, of Leys, of Rammishoren, and the land of the Burgh, and other lands belonging to the manor (manerium) of Glasgow,—in free forest for ever. Likeas we strictly prohibit any one, without their authority, to cut wood or hunt in the said lands, upon our full forfeiture of ten pounds. Witnesses : Clement, bishop of Dunblane; master Matthew, archdeacon of Glasgow ; John, sheriff of Strivelyn; Wairam of Normanvill. At Kirketun, the 12th day of September (1241) in the 28th year of our reign." [Reg. Episc. No. 180.]

The ten leading names of lands here given, coupled with the generality "and other lands belonging to the manor of Glasgow," seem intended to include all the territory belonging to the bishopric north of the river Clyde and east of the river Kelvin, and to leave out the lands of Govan and Partick situated to the south and west of these streams. Conclud, Schedinistun, Ballayn and Badermonoc, places already referred to in previous chapters, may be regarded as combining all the barony lands to the east of the burgh territory. Possele and Kenmore or Kenmure occupied the north-western district of the barony, and Garvach, Neutun and Leys, apparently the lands now known as Garrioch, Kirklee and Newton, or, as it was sometime called, the new town of Partick, completed the western section. Ramshorn which, from at least the year 1518 when it is first noticed in the bishops' rental-book, is always bracketed with Meadowflat, here makes its earliest appearance as Rammishoren, a name which has often attracted the attention of etymologists but has hitherto baffled their powers of satisfactory solution. Originally the name may have been applied to lands of wider extent, just as the name Conclud or Kinclaith is believed to have been formerly the designation of a large stretch of river frontage though it is now applicable to no more than a small portion of the Green. As known in modern times, Ramshorn and Meadowflat embrace the present George Square and extend from St. Enoch's Burn on the west to the High Street properties on the east, and from Rottenrow on the north to Longcroft, in the line of Ingram Street, on the south. Mainly on account of their central position these lands were early acquired by the magistrates and council and were incorporated with the burgh by the first statutory extension of the municipal boundaries.

About the time of the forest grant the bishopric received an important addition to its territory through the bounty of Isabella de Valoniis, lady of Killebride. By a charter granted in or before 1250, this lady, for the weal of her soul, and of the souls of her parents and successors and of Sir David Comyn, her late husband, gave and confirmed to God and St. Kentigern, and the church of Glasgow, her fifteen pound land in the fief of Kirkepatrick, called the Forest of Dalkarne, a name apparently derived from its situation on the border of the vale through which the river Karne or Cairn had its course. The lands were to be possessed as they stood on the day of the grant, or according to limits to be fixed at the sight of good men chosen by the Bishop of Glasgow, and any deficiency in extent was to be made up from Lady Isabella's adjacent lands of Dalkarne. The gifted lands were to be held by the bishop and his successors in pure and perpetual alms, free of all home or foreign service and of all other service or demand. [The witnesses to the charter, which is undated, are Friar David, prior of the Friars Preachers of Ayr; friar Robert de Irewyn; Sir William de Valoniis, the granter's brother; Walter de Mortimer, dean, and Reginald de Irewyn, archdeacon of Glasgow; and Sir Radulf, chaplain, canon of Glasgow. It is stated in "Melrose Chronicle" (Church Historians, iv. pt. i. p. 181) that Master Hugh de Potton, archdeacon of Glasgow, died in 1238, and that after his decease the archdeaconry was divided, Master Matthew de Habirden assuming the title of archdeacon of Glasgow and master Peter de Alingtun being styled archdeacon of Thevidale. The statement is also made (Ibid. p. 185) that in 1242 Master Peter de Alinton died and was succeeded by Master Reginald de Irewin. The latter held that office till 1245, when he was appointed archdeacon of Glasgow, and Nicholas de Moffat then became archdeacon of Teviotdale (Chronicle of Lanercost, quoted in George Watson's "Arch-deaconry of Teviotdale": Transactions of Hawick Archeological Society, 1907). With reference to the first statement here quoted from Melrose Chronicle, Cosmo Innes remarks that some new arrangement of the archdeaconries may have taken place, but that an archdeacon of Teviotdale occurs long before (Reg. Episc. p. xxix).] The charter was confirmed by John of Balliol on 14th September, 1250, and by King Alexander III. on 12th November, 1254 [Reg. Episc. No. 199-201.]

The lands thus obtained lie in the parish of Kirkpatrick-Irongray, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, and have long been known as Bishop's Forest, under which name they were combined with the city and barony in forming the Regality of Glasgow, as erected by crown charter in 1450. [Glasg. Chart, I. pt. ii. p. 28. ]

It is not expressly stated that the Forest of Dalkarne came into the bishop's possession in connection with the rebuilding of the cathedral, but the grant was made while the work was proceeding, and there are other circumstances, all leading to the inference that the main purpose of the gift was the furtherance of Bishop Bondington's great scheme. Of five portraits carved on bosses in the vaulting of the north aisle, near the north porch of the lower church, three are supposed to represent King Alexander II. with his son, afterwards Alexander III., and Bishop Bondington; and it has been suggested [Antea, p. 105. The portraits here given were sketched from the bosses by Miss Mary R. Henderson, artist.] that the other two carved bosses contain the portraits of Lady Isabella de Valoniis and Sir David Comyn. A beautiful tomb, the stones of which are richly moulded, occupied a site near these portraits, thus lending support to the further theory that the tomb is that of David Comyn and his pious and benevolent lady, whose good deeds were thus commemorated in the building which her bounty helped to rear. [Glasgow Cathedral (1901), pp. 14-16; (1914), PP. 54, 55.]


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