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The History of Glasgow
Chapter XXVII - King Robert—Reign of King David and Episcopate of Bishop Rae —Temporalities of Bishopric — Bishopforest — Papal Registers — Endowments of Friars Preachers — Glasgow Bridge


A CHARTER granted to Aberdeen in 1319, and another to Edinburgh in 1329, by King Robert I., bear early evidence of the practice which latterly became general of substituting for the rents payable by burghs fixed annual feu duties, not subject to those fluctuations which were liable to occur under earlier arrangements. The burghs thus became feudal vassals of the crown, a position which was apparently open to the acceptance of any royal burgh, and it was perhaps, as has been surmised, in consequence of their being viewed in this relationship that the burghs were represented in the famous parliament, held at Cambuskenneth on 15th July, 1326, when the lay estates of the kingdom, specially named as the earls, barons, burgesses and free tenants of the realm, granted an annual revenue to the king, certain crown exactions were freely abandoned, and all taxes and impositions without the authority of parliament were declared illegal. [A.P.S., i. p. 475.]

As the burgh of Glasgow did not hold direct of the sovereign, or pay rent to the crown, it could not apply for a feu-charter, but apparently those in authority considered it desirable to have the burgh's market and trading privileges renewed, and on 28th July, 1324, King Robert ratified and confirmed the charter granted by King Alexander II., in 1225, which original charter was repeated verbatim in the body of the new grant. Under the authority thus renewed the burgh was fortified with all the liberties and customs possessed by any royal burgh, and the burgesses were to have the king's firm peace and protection in their trading journeys throughout the kingdom. [Glasg. Chart. i. pt. ii. p. 23. This charter was granted while the king was at Scone but he had been at Glasgow on 10th and 13th, and perhaps other days in June preceding (Marquis of Bute's "Itinerary of King Robert," Scottish Antiquary, xiv. p. 19).]

Bruce's charter being mainly for the advantage of the trading community was put into the custody of the magistrates and was not among the cathedral muniments which were removed to France at the time of the Reformation. It forms No. 1 of the Inventory of the City's Writs, compiled in 1696, and must then have been in its place, but through some not very creditable want of care it had disappeared by the time it was required for the purpose of being included in the printed volume of Glasgow Charters. A like fate has unhappily befallen No. 2 of the Inventory of 1696. This was a charter, also by King Robert, dated 15th November, 1328, and confirming the charter granted by King Alexander III. in 1275, whereby the bishop and his men of Glasgow were authorised to go to and return from Argyle with their merchandise freely and without any impediment. [Ib. p. 24. The king was in Glasgow at this time.] The loss of this charter is of the more consequence seeing it embraced verbatim that of 1275, of which neither original nor transcript exists.

Following on the treaty of Northampton, in 1328, and the marriage of Prince David with the Princess Joanna, sister of the English king, Edward III., amicable intercourse between the two countries was resumed, and one of Bruce's latest acts. was the writing of a letter to King Edward calling attention to the custom duty exacted from Scottish merchants on entering or leaving English ports, by sea or land, and asking that the same privileges should be given to Scottish merchants as the English would wish their merchants to enjoy in Scottish ports. The letter is dated 3rd May, 1329, and was written from Cardross, where Bruce died on the 7th of the following month. [Bain's Calendar, iii. No. 984.]

King David II. was only five years of age when he succeeded to the throne, and at first government in his name had to be conducted by successive guardians of the kingdom. In aggravation of the usual disadvantages of minority rule, Edward Balliol, son and heir of the unlucky King John, assisted by an English army, partly composed of those barons who had been disinherited of their Scottish estates, invaded the country and met with such an amount of success that he took the title of king and was crowned at Scone in September, 1332. Like his father, "King" Edward of Scotland manifested no zeal for Scottish independence, and he not only acknowledged the English king as "lord paramount," but also formally conveyed to him the southern counties of Scotland, and these districts were thereupon placed under the charge of English officials. As an illustration of the working of this transfer it may be mentioned that Edward's sheriff of Roxburgh, in the years 1335-7, accounted for his intromissions with the rents of the manors of Lillesclif, Alncrum and Ashkirk, parts of the temporalities of the bishopric of Glasgow, and out of these rents the abbots of Melrose and Neubotle were allowed the sum of 50. [Ib. pp. 322, 375.] In 1335-6 the sheriff of Dumfries accounted for 1s. 4d. received from the land of "Benneueryk," belonging to the bishop of Glasgow, and formerly valued at 20 merks, which land was then in the king's hand on account of the vacancy in the see. The lands here referred to are apparently those of Bishopforest, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright and near the Dumfriesshire border. [Antea, p. III; Bain's Calendar, iii. P. 318.] The right of disposal of these lands, but under a different name, was shortly after this claimed by Edward Balliol. By a charter dated 21st September, 1347, Edward, "king of Scots," granted to John de Denton, an Englishman, for his good and praiseworthy service, "the forest of Garnery, which with all its belongings was possessed by William, bishop of Glasgow, an enemy and rebel against us, and which by forfeiture of the same bishop came into our hands." [Transactions of the Dumfries and Galloway Antiquarian Society (1916-18), 3rd series, vol. v. p. 257.] As in the sheriff's account the lands in the charter are stated to be of the value of 20 merks yearly, there seems to be no doubt as to their identity, especially as the bishops of Glasgow were not possessed of temporalities other than Bishop-forest in this locality. [In the charter whereby the archbishop of Glasgow granted Bishopforest to feuars, in 1613, it is described as a 20 merk land of old extent (Reg. Mag. Sig. vii. No. 1025).]

During the invasion of Scotland in July, 1335, King Edward, with a numerous force, entered the country by Carlisle, while another army, commanded by Balliol, advanced by Berwick. After ravaging the country the two divisions united at Glasgow, and thence marched towards Perth. They met with no organized opposition, the country through which they passed being completely deserted by the inhabitants, who retired to inaccessible districts, taking their cattle and provisions with them. [Hailes' Annals, ii. pp. 219-20; Pictorial History, i. p. 190.]

Bishop Lindsay, unlike the "rebel" William, adhered to the party of Edward Balliol, and when the latter was at Glasgow, on 25th September, 1333, in the second year of his "reign," he confirmed his father's charter securing the church in annual revenues payable furth of the farms of Cadihou and Rutherglen. In this confirmation charter many of the disinherited lords are named as witnesses. [Reg. Episc. No. 283.] It would almost appear that the bishop's adherence to Balliol did not, at least in later years, embrace attachment to the English king, as it is stated that in the year 1335, while on one of two ships sailing from Flanders, with many Scots on board, he was taken prisoner by the English and died from wounds which he received at the time of the capture. The see remained vacant till February, 1336-7, when John Wyschard, archdeacon of Glasgow, was chosen bishop and duly consecrated, but his episcopate was brief, as in consequence of his death another vacancy is noted on 11th May, 1338. [Dowden's Bishops. p. 313. Some uncertainty, formerly entertained regarding the succession of bishops between 1316 and 1339, has been almost wholly removed by information contained in recent publications and summarised by Bishop Dowden (Ib. pp. 309-13).]

William Rae, precentor of Glasgow, was appointed bishop in 1338-9, and he retained the episcopate till his death in 1367. His name does not often occur in connection with the public affairs of the period, but in the published Calendars of Papal Registers there are notices of many missives transmitted to him from Rome. One of the more interesting of these was a mandate, dated 23rd January, 1347-8, authorising the bishop to give dispensation to the future king of Scotland, there designated "Robert, Lord of Stratgrif, knight," and Elizabeth More, parents of a "multitude" of children, allowing them to intermarry, notwithstanding the impediments of consanguinity and affinity. This concession was granted at the request of David, king of Scotland, Robert's uncle, and of Philip, king of France, and on condition that Robert should found a chaplainry within the church of Glasgow. [Papal Reg. iii. p. 265. The stipulated chaplainry was founded by Robert on 12th January, 1364-5, with an endowment of ten merks yearly payable from lands in Stirlingshire (Reg. Episc. No. 302).] Again, by a man

date dated 2nd May,1355, the bishop was entrusted with another dispensation, this time for the marriage of Robert, here designated "steward of Scotland," and Euphemia, relict of John, earl of Moray, who were related in the fourth degree of kindred and the third of affinity. [1b. p. 547.] These dispensations were not known to Hector Boece and George Buchanan, who in their historical works expressed doubts as to the legitimacy of Robert III.; and, in refutation of this calumny, Father Innes and the other charter scholars of the Scots College in Paris who, in the end of the seventeenth century, came upon documents preserved among the Glasgow muniments disclosing evidence on the subject, were elated with their success. The information contained in the Glasgow collections led to investigation at the Vatican and the discovery of the original documents, [Reg. Episc. pp. xxxix, xl.] the purport of which was communicated to the bishop of Glasgow by the mandates above referred to.

Notwithstanding the many disappointing events which happened during David's reign, and the occasional discouragements resulting from the acts and conduct of the king, Scotland was never without its band of loyal subjects, an irresistible barrier to the complete surrender of its independence. Fortunately Edward of England, in consequence mainly of the drain upon his resources in the long contest with France, was eventually disposed to adjust terms with this country, and by a treaty entered into in 1357, about a year after Edward Balliol had renounced the "royal dignity" in his. favour, [Bain's Calendar, iii. No. 1603 (27th January, 1355-6). Taken prisoner at the battle of Durham (or Neville's Cross) on 17th October, 1346, David had been eleven years in captivity.] he consented to King David being released from captivity, in consideration of a ransom which, exorbitant as it was, all classes of the community agreed to pay. [Ancient Laws and Customs, i. pp. 194-9; Bain's Calendar, iii. 1648, 1650.] But though the prelates, secular and regular, as well as the nobles and merchants of the realm, had entered into this undertaking, Pope Innocent VI., on being applied to for a ratification, stated that "considering the loss it would cause to the said prelates he is in conscience unable to grant it." [Papal Reg. iii. p. 595.] Though the evidence on the subject is not quite complete, there are grounds for believing that the ransom money, payment of instalments of which was a heavy burden on the country for many years, was never fully settled. [Exchequer Rolls, iii. p. lv. Contributions for the ransom as well as for the maintenance of King David were levied from Glasgow along with the other burghs. Thus between the years 1365 and 1373 the burgh, by six consecutive payments, contributed in all 28 7s. 9d. (lb. vol. ii. pp. 257-432).]

Subsequent to his return from captivity there are confirmations by King David of several endowments of the church of Glasgow, [Reg. Episc. Nos. 298, 312.] but on the other hand there is indication that part of the dowry of his second queen, Margaret Logie, was obtained from the bishopric. By a charter, granted at Edinburgh on 18th May, 1367, Margaret, Queen of Scotland, constituted Sir William of Kirkyntulach, master of the hospital of Polmadie, within the bishopric of Glasgow, which hospital, it is added, was at her disposal through the grant by the king to her of part of the bishopric. Sir William was to have the full administration of the goods and rents of the hospital for his lifetime, he sustaining all burdens and services exigible therefrom. [Reg. Episc. No. 307.]

Letters of protection were granted by King David to the Friars Preachers in general, in 1357, and by letters patent, in 1362, he specially took the prior and brethren of Glasgow, their lands and men, their whole goods, movable and heritable, spiritual and temporal, into his lasting peace and protection. In 1360, also, he had made a donation of two merks to the convent of the Friars Preachers in Glasgow. [Fratrum Predicatoruns, pp. 159-60; Exchequer Rolls, ii. p. 52.] By this time the Friars had received several other donations and endowments. In 1314, Guyllascop MacLauchlan, of Argyll, bestowed on them forty shillings, yearly, for the upkeep of their buildings and repair of their church ornaments, or for any other pious uses in the services of the church, the money to be payable from the rents of the granter's lands of Kilbryd, near his tower called Castellachien, on the shore of Loch Fyne. [Lib. Coll. etc. p. 252.] In the following year King Robert gave for the lights and other works of the church twenty merks, yearly, from the rents of Cadihou in the Vale of Clyde. [lb. p. 153. The charter was sealed at Ayr on 28th April, 1315, in presence of Edward Bruce, the king's brother, Thomas Ranulph, his nephew, Walter the steward, Bernard, abbot of Arbroath, his chancellor, and Sir James of Douglas, knight.]

The next grant to be noticed is embodied in a charter without date but supposed to belong to this period, or perhaps about 1325. By this charter John of Govan, burgess of Glasgow, for the weal of his soul and of the souls of his ancestors and successors, and all the faithful dead, in praise and glory of Almighty God, and of the glorious Virgin Mary and St. John the Evangelist, in honour of whom the church of the Friars was named, gave to the prior and convent of the Friars Preachers of Glasgow, for the support and necessary repair of their church, and of the ornaments of the chief altar thereof, several lands, tenements and annual rents. These consisted of eight riggs of land lying in the field of Broomielaw and yielding five shillings yearly, seven of these riggs being described as lying between the land of Sir Walter of Roule on the east and the land of St. Mary, [Antea, p. 133. John of Govan had probably succeeded to the land which belonged to Christian, spouse of Simon of Govan, in 1293.] possessed by John Wyschard, on the west, and the eighth rigg as lying between the land of Walter Rule on the west and the land of Agnes Brown on the east ; three riggs of land held by Richard Schort for payment of Sod. yearly, and described as lying in the Croupis, being perhaps part of the land latterly known as Cribbs Croft, which occupies part of the space between the present George Street and Square and Rottenrow; two tenements, one of them yielding thirty pennies and the other three shillings yearly; six shillings and "two days in harvest," being the yearly rent of a house in High Street; forty pennies payable yearly from a tenement on the east side of Fishergait; a tenement on the north side of Gallowgait, yielding four shillings yearly; and five shillings yearly payable furth of a tenement on the north side of the place or cloister of the Friars. [Lib. Coll. etc. pp. 155-8.] The last of the endowments known to have been bestowed on the Friars during King David's reign was that of Alan, lord of Cathcart, who gave to them twenty shillings yearly from his lands of Bogtowne, near Cathkert, for the purchase of oil for their lamps. The charter embodying this grant is dated at "Cathkert," 14th August, 1336.

[lb. pp. xlv. 158-9. The Lord of Cathcart had fought by the side of Bruce and survived to recount his adventures to Barbour, who thus refers to him in his Metrical History

A knycht, that then wes in his rowt
Worthi and wycht, stalwart and stout,
Curtaiss, and fayr, and off gud fame,
Schyr Alane off Catkert by name
Tauld me this taile, as I sail tell."

—Barbour's Bruce (1869), b. vii. 1. 113-7.]

It is in consequence of his name having been associated with speculations regarding the erection of the first stone bridge over the River Clyde, at Glasgow, that Bishop Rae comes prominently into notice in connection with the history of the city. "This prelate," says M'Ure, "was no small benefactor to the town: for, upon his own charge, he built the stately bridge of eight arches over the river of Clyde ; the third arch at the north end thereof was built by the Lady Lochow, and the bishop built the other seven, which still remains a monument of his bounty and liberality to his episcopal seat." [M`Ure's History of Glasgow (1830 edition), p. 15.] M'Ure also states that the lady who built the third arch was Marjory Stuart, daughter of Robert, first duke of Albany, who married Duncan Campbell, Lord Lochow, the first of the family to assume the designation of Argyle. [lb. pp 53.] But the bracketing of Bishop Rae and Lady Lochow as contemporaries seems an anachronism, for Duncan Campbell lived till the year 1453 and could not have been married till long after the death of Bishop Rae in 1367. Nor can reliance be placed on the statement, presumably a tradition in M'Ure's time, that the bridge owed its construction to Bishop Rae. For one thing, the time was unpropitious. Added to the distractions caused by national and civil wars and the frequent want of a settled government, Scotland was ravaged by the pestilence in 1350. For these and other reasons the country was not in a prosperous condition, and Glasgow, sharing in the general depression, could scarcely have been then in a position to enter upon such an extensive undertaking. Nor is it likely that seven arches of such a structure could be built on the sole charge of the bishop. On this point tradition, voiced by M'Ure, could not be expected to speak with authority in 1736. In the MS. of Henry the Minstrel, written in 1488, it is stated that the bridge of Wallace's time "was of tre," [The Wallace, b. vii. 1. 533. Again in b. iv. 1. 100, "Our Clyd that tyme thar was a bryg of tre."] the inference being that the bridge of 1488 was built of a different material. There is no extant document of an earlier date bearing on the subject. In 1571 the bridge was referred to as having been damaged by "great trowpes" of ice, and in 1618 it was described as " ane of the most remarcable monuments within this kingdome," and as being very much decayed and at the point of ruin. In 1654 stones were falling off, showing signs of dilapidation; and in 1671 the southmost arch gave way. These facts indicate considerable age, and it seems evident that if the bridge was not erected in the fourteenth century, it probably belonged to the early part of the fifteenth century. Originally it was only twelve feet in width. In 1777 ten feet were added to the upper side, and as thus widened the bridge remained till about the year 1850, when it was replaced by the present Victoria Bridge. [Glasg. Chart. i. pt. ii. pp. 146, 300; Glasg. Rec. ii. p. 296; iii. pp. 153, '6'; vii. pp. 450, 532. Dr. Macgeorge says: "The old foundations had been laid on beams of oak, and it is interesting to know that when these were taken out after the lapse of five hundred years, they were found to be as fresh as when first put in" (Old Glasgow, 1880 edition, p. 254). When the works for the. preservation of the "Auld Brig" of Ayr were in progress a few years ago, it was found that there also the structure had been raised on oak foundations (The Brig of Ayr, by James A. Morris, 1910).]

In confirmation of the statement that the third arch of the bridge was built by Lady Lochow, M'Ure mentions that "her head is cut out of stone upon the pillar or but-ridge thereof   and, having mentioned that she also built the Leper Hospital, near the south end of the bridge, he adds that " her effigies was likewise cut out in stone, and erected upon the buildings of the said hospital." [M'Ure's History of Glasgow, p. 53.] Lady Lochow was probably married towards the end of the fourteenth century and was alive in February, 1419-20, when she and her husband were granted the privilege of a portable altar. But she seems to have died shortly thereafter, as on 17th January, 1422-3, a dispensation was granted to her husband to enter into a second marriage. [Papal Reg. Vii. pp. 259, 336.] Taking all these circumstances into account, it appears that if Lady Lochow had any hand in its construction the bridge can scarcely have been erected in Bishop Rae's time. M'Ure cites no documentary evidence in support of the statement that this lady endowed the hospital, and, on the other hand, most of his statements on the subject are clearly erroneous. The discrepancies are, perhaps, partly to be explained by supposing that tradition had confounded the leper hospital with the hospital of Polmadie, and the daughter of the first duke with the wife and widow of the second duke of Albany. Isabella, eldest daughter of Duncan, Earl of Lennox, was espoused to Murdoch, afterwards second duke of Albany, in 1391. On his return from captivity, King James I. wreaked fearful vengeance on the Lennox and Albany families, and this lady, in the course of two days, lost her eldest son, her father, her husband, and another son, all by the hands of the executioner. The remaining son fled to Ireland, and died soon afterwards. Retaining her titles, the Countess of Lennox and Duchess of Albany lived till about the year 146o, having a few years previously transferred the endowments of the hospital of Polmadie to her collegiate church of Dumbarton. Contemporaneously with that transfer, the Friars Preachers received from the lady an endowment from her lands of Balagan, for the weal of her soul, of the souls of her husband, her father and her three sons. Not improbably, therefore, it was the good deeds of the Duchess of Albany which, through errors in memory and tradition, had, in the course of three centuries, been inadvertently attributed to Lady Lochow.


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