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The History of Glasgow
Chapter XXIV - Transfers of Properties—St. Mary's Chapel—St. Enoch's Chapel —Monks' House


TOWARDS the end of the thirteenth century a few documents relating to transfers of Glasgow properties afford information as to the procedure in such transactions and also furnish some incidental particulars regarding the position of the streets at that time. By a charter supposed to have been granted about the year 1290, Finlay Jager, son of Radulf Jager, burgess of Glasgow, being under the necessity of selling his heritage, in relief of his extreme poverty, and having according to the usual manner offered it to his heirs, in three successive courts of the burgh, sold it to Sir James Renfrew, a chaplain. The property must have stood somewhere south of the Drygate. It is described as a house, with yard and buildings, in the street which extended from the wall of the Friars Preachers upwards towards the castle, lying on the south side of the said street, between the land of the abbot and convent of the monastery of Kilwinyn and the land which Robert, the procurator, formerly a burgess of Glasgow, and Christina, his spouse, gave in augmentation of the lights of St. Mary the Virgin, in the crypt of the High Church of Glasgow. Andrew Jager, son of the granter, consented to the sale. and for greater security the seal of the seller, the common seal of the city, and the seal of the official of Glasgow, were appended to the charter. In the list of witnesses are included the names of John Dubber and John, son of Waldeve, "prepositi" of the city. [Reg. Episc. No. 237. When the document was examined by Father Innes all the seals had been worn away.]

The property in the charter next to be noticed probably formed part of a field at the Broomielaw, adjoining seven riggs of land given by John of Govan to the Friars Preachers about the year 1325. [Lib. Coll. etc., p. 155; postea, p. 159.] This charter, which was granted by Oliver and Richard Smalhy, prepositi, and other prepositi and citizens of Glasgow, assembled in the court of the burgh, held on 15th September, 1293, sets forth that Odard, son of the deceased Richard Hangpudyng, for the weal of his soul and the souls of his predecessors, successors, and the rest of the faithful in Christ, gave to St. Mary's Light in the High Church of Glasgow, the half of seven roods of land, lying in the crofts outside the town, towards the west, between the land of St. Mary's light, in the chapel lower in the town, on the west, and the land of Christian, late spouse of Simon Govan, on the east. Sasine or possession was given in presence of Oliver, "prepositus," twelve burgesses, and Roger, son of Philip, and John Dubber, servants of the town, [John Dubber, here called a servant of the town, is designated "prepositus" in Jager's charter and "bailie" in the charter by Alan, the vicar, referred to antea, p. 117.] and the common seal of the city and seal of the official were appended to the charter. [Reg. Episc. No. 248; Glasg. Chart. i. pt. i. pp. 20, 21.]

Thus is got the earliest extant reference to the Chapel of St. Mary, situated on the north side of Trongate, adjoining the Tolbooth. The time and circumstances of the erection of the chapel are unknown, but it is probable that shortly after the foundation of the burgh the burgesses established the chapel with the view of making provision for religious services appropriate to their needs and the custom of the period. The cathedral was a considerable distance from the market cross, in the vicinity of which the mercantile and artizan classes had both their dwellings and places of business, and consequently the site chosen was well adapted for a chapel designed to serve the wants of the community. No other reference to the chapel has been noticed till 1384, in which year Walter Van, of the diocese of Glasgow, was its chaplain. [Papal Reg. i. p. 566.]

Properties in Fishergait belonging to the Knights Templars, to Paisley Abbey and to Neubotle Abbey, respectively, have already been referred to. [Antea, pp. 14, 75, 127.] In a burgh court held by John, son of Waldeve, miller, William, painter, and other prepositi and citizens of Glasgow, on Tuesday before the Feast of St. Katherine, Virgin and Martyr (25th November), 1295, Richard called Bruning, son of the late William Gley, appeared in court and, after the usual procedure in cases of sales on the ground of poverty, sold to the abbot and convent of Neubotle one of these properties, described as land, with houses thereon, lying in the Fishergait, between the land of William Scloyder on the south and the land of John Williamson, called Bradhy, on the north. The writing embodying this grant contains a declaration to the effect that if .the seller failed to fulfil his part of the transaction he should pay £20, whereof one half was to go to the building of the church of Glasgow and the other half to the service of St. Enoch. [Reg. de Neubotle, No. 177.] If by "service of St. Enoch" the chapel of St. Tenu is meant, this is the earliest known reference to the building which was dedicated to the memory of the mother of St. Kentigern. [In the Papal Registers, vol. iv. p. 86, Walter de Roulen is designated rector of the chapel of St. "Thanen" in 1370. Thanen seems here to be a misprint for Thaneu, a common form of the name of Kentigern's mother.] In one view such a destination for part of the money would be quite appropriate, seeing the property in connection with which it was to be contributed lay on the border of the croft on which the chapel was situated.

At the corner, on the south side of Rottenrow and west side of High Street; the abbot and convent of Paisley possessed a property long known as the Monks' House, which seems to have been acquired by them in the end of the thirteenth or the beginning of the fourteenth century. From title deeds recorded in the Abbey Registers it appears that Gilbert de Camera, burgess of Glasgow, to whom the bishop had given the property, sold it in his urgent necessity and under the usual court procedure, in 1283. Nicholas Sprewll was the purchaser, and his son-in-law, William de Bonkel, conveyed it to the abbey, by an undated charter in which it was described as land lying in Rattonraw and bounded by the street called the "Wynde" on the east. In the year 1321 Nicholas Sprowll confirmed the sale and bound himself to defend the monks in their possession of the property. Part of the ground was feued to a burgess in 1413, but the corner portion was retained by the abbey till about the time of the Reformation. [Registrum de Passelet, pp. 382-7 ; Glasgow Protocols, Nos. 2660, 2723.]


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