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The History of Glasgow
Chapter XL - Fergus Aisle in Cathedral—Rood Screen—Church of Little St. Kentigern—St. Nicholas Hospital—Church of St. Roche—Liners of the Burgh—Foreign Merchandise


IT is believed that the only part of the fabric of the cathedral which Bishop Turnbull left unfinished was the building which projected to the south of the south transept, and no farther progress was made with that building till the time of Archbishop Blacader, who undertook its repair and supplied a vaulting which has been described as the richest example of that kind of work in the cathedral. The carvings are beautiful and numerous, the arms of King James IV. and the archbishop frequently occur, and the initial of Queen Margaret, whom the King married in 1503, is carved, under a royal crown, upon the pillar in the centre of the south wall. The carving in the vault over the north pier represents a human figure lying on a car which has the inscription: "This is the Ile of Car Fergus," an allusion to the first arrival of St. Kentigern in Glasgow and the interment of the body of the holy Fergus in the cemetery which had been hallowed by St. Ninian. [Cathedral (1901), pp. 21, 22. Referring to the carvings, Mr. Chalmers remarks that "one of the bosses is a beautiful design illustrating the Five Wounds, and another, of particular interest, represents the King and the three Estates, ' burges, barownys and prelatis.'"]

Previous to entering on his work at the south transept, Archbishop Blacader had erected the magnificent Rood Screen at the entrance to the choir. This part of the work was probably begun in 1492 and it must have been completed in 1497, the year in which the chaplainry at the altar of the Holy Rood was founded. [Reg. Episc. No. 476; Book of Glasgow Cathedral, p. 308.] The altar itself would be placed on the gallery of the screen, a fuller description of which is subjoined. [In his book above mentioned (pp. 21, 22) Mr. Chalmers has the following observations:—"The rood screen stands on the level of the choir floor between the eastern piers of the crossing. The low elliptical-shaped arched door in the centre is richly moulded. The wall on each side now looks bare and ineffective, but this is wholly due to the fact that the eight statues which stood upon carved corbels in the panels have been destroyed. The fragment of a statue which is preserved in the chapter-house may be part of one of these. The most important part of the design of the screen is the beautiful parapet of open tracery and tabernacle work. The tracery is of a much later type than the tracery of Bishop Cameron's work in the spire. The carvings on the cornice which supports the parapet are exceedingly interesting. The figures carved at the ends are ecclesiastics, but there is no clue which would lead to their identification. The seven intermediate carvings illustrate the seven ages of man. Old age occupies the centre, as appropriate to the Rood ; Infancy, Youth and Manhood are on the north side, with the schoolboy, the lover, and the sage on the south. A very brief description will suffice: I. Infancy: a young wife sits with an infant on her knee, with her husband alongside. II. The Schoolboy: the master is behind a pile of books, asleep it may be, and the scholar plucks at his chin. III. Youth: a woman pinches the ear of a youth, whose smiling face, and knee drawn up in pretended agony, reveal the age of frolic. IV. The lover : he sits with his arm round his mistress's neck. V. The soldier : armed cap a pie, he fights with a lion. VI. The elderly sage: with his wife beside him, he holds along roll in his hands. VII. Old age: again a married pair is figured, and again the symbolism is con.. fined to the man. The artist was gallant and the wife is comely still. These carvings which are in some parts destroyed, anticipated the words of the melancholy Jacques by just one hundred years." (See also Scots Loge, pp. 89-94.)]

Owing to the rood screen encroaching to a considerable extent on the floor of the choir a new arrangement of the stalls was necessary and in connection with these alterations an agreement was entered into with Michael Waghorn, wright, for the making of the timber canopies. The agreement, dated 8th January, 1506-7, is written in the vernacular, and being, with its detailed description of the work, of special interest as a rare specimen of such writings, is given below. [The contract, as printed in Registrum Episcopatus, No. 543, is stated to be in the British Museum, but there is also a duplicate stitched to the leaf on which Cuthbert Simson's protocol No. 198 is written. The writing runs thus :—" Memorandum, that it is appunctit betuix venerable and wirschipfull men, the dene and cheptour of Glasgw, on the tapairt, and Mychell Waghorn, wrycht, on the toderpairt, that is to say the said Mychell sail mak, Godwilling, to the queyre of Glasgw, fife silouris for the covering of the stallis, tuenty fute lang ilk siloure, on the best fassone, that is to say the gest at the siloure standis in to be hewin and graithit be him, with tua frontellis, ane on ilk syde of the gest, schorne and kersit werk, with five colums to ilk siloure and anglis as efferis, with hede and frontellis fiellis with knoppis and with thre gret hyngaris and knoppis with ryzrufe and foure lefis about ilk knop in ilk siloure, sik lik as is in the chapell of Striviling. And as to the principale frontellis of thir five silouris, to be divisit be the masteris of werk, and specialy eftir the forme of the frontell of the silouris of the hie altare in Glasgu. And as to the sawine of all and sindri burdis and treis neidfull to the said werk, the said Mychell sail mak all burdis and treis at may be sawin with hand saw to be sawin, and the dene and cheptour sail mak ether burdis and treis at mane be sawine with armyt sawis siklik to be sawine. Atour the said Michell oblisis him faithfully to remane still at the said werk and not pas tharfra quhill the completing of the samyn without special leif of the dene or president and cheptour of Glasgu foresaid. And sa to the making of scaflating and wpputting of the said silouris, the said Mychell sail mak the samyn, the saidis dene and cheptour findand the stuffe as efferis tharto and to the laif of werk. And for the completing of the fife silouris the said Michell sail hafe fourty merkis, ay according to the werk, ane quarter before hand geif he pleis. This contract wes maid within the kirk of Glasgw, the acht day of Januare, the yeir of God, jmvc sex yeris, before thir witnes : masteris Rolland Blacader, subdene ; Adame Culquhone, persone of Govane; Mychell Flemyng, persone of Alncromb ; Nicholl Greynlaw, persone of Edulfistoun ; chanonis of Glasgw; with divers wtheris."

Glossary:—Appunctit, appointed; armyt sawis, saws worked by more than one person; at, that; fassone, fashion; fiellis, round tops; fife, five; frontellis, front curtains; gest, joist; graithit, furnished; greit hyngaris, great hangings, tapestry; hede, head; knoppis, knobs; lefis, carved leaves; mane, must; ryzrufe ("rynrufe" in Diocesan Registers), run-roof; sawyne, sawing; scaffeting, scaffolding; schorne and kersit werk, perhaps cut and shaped or dressed work; silouris, canopies; tapairt, one part; toderpairt, other part.]

In the fifteenth century there was, throughout Scotland, a revival in church building; but on account, probably, of the accommodation afforded by the Cathedral for the erection of new altars and chaplainries by those who were so inclined, no separate church or chapel, other than the chapels connected with St. 'Nicholas and the Leper hospitals, appears to have been founded in Glasgow within that period till 1500. [The primitive chapels of St. Mary, St. Tenu and St. Thomas are understood to have been instituted at earlier though unknown dates.] On

3rd October of that year, David Cunninghame, archdeacon of Argyle, provost of the collegiate church of Hamilton and official of the diocese, founded a chaplainry in a church which he erected, on his own charges, in the Gallowgate. The site is described as lying outside the city port, beyond the Molendinar Burn and near the trees called St. Kentigern's, and the original endowments embraced a tenement in Trongate and several acres of land in Dowhill, Gallowmuir and Provanside, with annualrents from the lands of Drips and an orchard near Rutherglen. [Reg. Episc. No. 481; Glasg. Memorials, pp. 236-8. The lands of Drips are in the parish of East Kilbride, Lanarkshire.] The church or chapel so founded usually got the name of St. Kentigern and was sometimes called the Little Church of St. Kentigern. It does not seem to have been fully equipped till a few years after 1500. On 11th January, 1504-5, David Cunninghame, the founder, then acting as vicar-general of the archbishop who was on business abroad, appeared in the chapter-house of the cathedral and in presence of Martin Rede, assistant and successor of Martin Wan, chancellor, and other dignitaries and canons, and in name of the archbishop desired John Gibson, rector of Renfrew, who had been acting as master of work of the church of St. Kentigern, "to lay out money and pay the expenses of the small and minute works about and within that church, as his predecessors, masters of work, had been in the practice of doing." [Diocesan Reg. Prot. No. 91. The editors of the Diocesan Registers understood the works here referred to as applying to the cathedral but it seems evident that the new church in the Gallowgate was meant. A transaction, the particulars of which are recorded a few years later illustrates not only the distinction between the two churches but also the exercise of the subdeanery jurisdiction (antea, p. 4). In an instrument dated 22nd November, 1509, it is set forth that in a full and confirmed head court of the subdean, held, after Michaelmas, in the " Subdenisland," in the house of John Graham (a former bailie of the subdeanery) by Roland Blacader, subdean, and Thomas Hucheson, his bailie, it was found that William Purdhome was lawful and nearest heir of the late John Purdhome, his grandfather, and of Thomas Purdhome, his uncle, and also of Marion Cunigham, his mother, in fourteen rigs of land in Provanside, in which John, Thomas and Marion died vested, at the faith of the king, of holy mother church and of the subdean. Three of the fourteen rigs lay between the lands of the chaplainry of St. Michael in the church of Glasgow, on the east, and those of the chaplainry founded in the church of St. Kentigern in the Gallowgate, on the west. After William Purdhome had been formally vested in the fourteen rigs he conveyed the whole to Roland Blacader, in name of the church, meaning here the cathedral, subject to payment of the annualrents owing to the subdeanery. (Ibid. Nos. 391-3.)]

There is not much known regarding this church of St. Kentigern and its services, but one of the few bits of extant information relates to the induction of a chaplain in 1513. On 24th September of that year, subsequent to the death of Dionisius Achenlek, [a Achinlek is frequently mentioned in Cuthbert Simson's protocols and he was one of the executors on the estate of the founder of the church of St. Kentigern, as stated in protocol No. 366, dated 18th May, 1509.] possessor of the chaplainry, Cuthbert Simson, priest and notary public, by authority of the archbishop, inducted Sir John Symonton into the corporal possession of the chaplainry, by delivery of the keys of the church, the bell rope, book, chalice and ornaments of the altar, to Mr. John Rede, chaplain of the royal chapel of Dundonald, as procurator and in name of Sir John, the procurator touching the delivered articles in token of completed possession. [Ibid. No. 652. Subsequent to the Reformation the endowments of the church came into the possession of the College (see Rental in Munimenta Alme Universitatis i. p. 175). In 1593 the church site was acquired by the magistrates and council and in the deed of transfer it is stated that they were not entitled to alter the Cunninghame arms on the church "sa lang as the wall standis" (Glasg. Prot., No. 2701 ; Glas Rec. iv. pp. 679-80).]

Martin Wan, who had been chancellor of the metropolitan church from at least the year 1475 [Reg. Mag. Sig. ii. No. 1428.] and who has already been mentioned in connection with his supervision of the grammar schools, [ntea, pp. 274-6.] had acquired- various annual rents payable from properties in the city, bestowed these, amounting to 6 12s. 8d. yearly, for the maintenance of one poor person living in the almshouse or hospital of St. Nicholas. By the deed of foundation, which is dated 1st June, 1501, and to which the common seal of the city and the seal of the chancellor were appended, the provost, bailies and council were appointed to be patrons after his death. On a vacancy occurring the patrons were to select as the next beneficiary a native of the parish of Glasgow and present him to the master of the hospital for admission. [Glasg. Chart. i. pt. ii. pp. 92-96. Martin Wan, the chancellor, was a contemporary of Bishop Andrew and on that account it is satisfactory, in the dearth of other direct evidence, to have his express statement that the bishop was founder of St. Nicholas Hospital. A facsimile of Wan's deed of foundation is given in Sir Michael Connal's Memorial on the hospital (1859), printed in Transactions of Glasgow Archaeological Society, 1st series, vol. i. pp. 135-79.] The chaplain of the hospital usually acted as master [The site of Renfrew manse, part of the hospital ground, was conveyed to the prebendary by Sir William Silver, subchanter and master of the hospital on 22nd May 1507, so that Simson does not seem to have been acting as master at that time. (Dioc. Reg. Prot. No. 190.)] though the joint designation may not have been given on appointment. It happens that only two months before the date of Wan's endowment a new chaplain had been inducted. The chaplainry of the hospital having become vacant through the demission of Sir Thomas Bartholomew, last chaplain, the archbishop of Glasgow, with consent of the canons, chapterly assembled, presented Cuthbert Symson, priest, as chaplain, on condition that he should daily attend within the Pedagogy of Glasgow for the instruction of youths in grammar and reading in the same, and he was formally installed and vested in the rule and administration of his office with all the revenues and emoluments belonging thereto. [Munimenta Alme Universitatis, i. pp. 39-41 (30th April, 1501 ).]

Cuthbert Symson was chapter clerk of Glasgow and a notary public, and from his Protocol Book, embracing the period 1499-1513, valuable information on some minute points of Glasgow history is obtainable. Transactions the particulars of which were recorded in a notary's protocols were carried through in the presence of witnesses, so many of whom were named and the remainder were embraced in the formula "and many others." The bulk of such transactions related to heritable properties, where the parties appeared on the open ground in full public view, but in other cases the purpose was served by attendance in a church, the chapter-house of the cathedral or other equally accessible premises. Several of Cuthbert Symson's protocols record proceedings which took place in St. Nicholas' Hospital. By one of the protocols relating to the hospital it is narrated that on 27th April, 1510, the notary and witnesses appeared at a tenement situated in the "Stablegreyn," outwith the city port, when possession of an annual rent, payable from that property, and bestowed by Michael Flemyng, master of arts, as the endowment of a bed in the hospital, was symbolically given to John Curry, one of the poor men therein. [Dioc. Reg. Protocol, No. 434.] On 25th May, 1513, in presence of canons and priests, the subchanter of Glasgow appeared in the hospital and presented John Bull, a poor man, to a bed in the hospital, which bed had formerly been possessed by William Mathy or Johnson, then recently deceased, and the chaplain was charged to admit Bull to the brotherhood and to the privileges of the hospital. [Ibid. No. 637.]

A ceremony of a very different description was witnessed in and adjoining the hospital, in the notary's chamber, on 6th August, 1510, when John Gibson, prebendary or parson of Renfrew, whose manse was only a few yards north of the hospital, assuming his wallet, cloak, cap and staff, and taking leave of the bystanders and advancing a little space began his journey to his holiness Pope Julius II. and the apostolic see, committing himself, his prebend and all his goods, spiritual and temporal, to the protection of the Pope and the holy see. [Ibid. No. 481.]

The hospital and its chaplainry were possessed of several pieces of ground at the New Green, feuduties from which are payable to the hospital at the present time. One of these properties seems to have been acquired in 1512-3, as on 12th February of that year, in presence of the subdean and other members of the chapter assembled in the chapter-house, the vicars of the choir, with consent of the chapter, conveyed in feu-farm to Cuthbert Simson, chaplain of St. Nicholas' Hospital, and his successors, an acre of land lying in the field of Kyncleth, in the Brumelands, and adjoining other lands belonging to the chaplainry. The yearly feuduty payable to the vicars was 30d. [Dioc. Reg. Protocol, No. 664.]

Shortly after the planting of Little St. Kentigern, a church dedicated to St. Roche was founded on the north side of the city. St. Roche was a native of Montpelier, in France. It is said that in his lifetime (A.D. 1295-1327) he effected many miraculous cures on persons stricken by the plague, and belief in his power as an intercessor was not lessened by his canonisation. At the beginning of the sixteenth century there appears, to have been in this country an awakened interest in the saint. As shown by the Lord High Treasurer's Accounts, King James, on 20th March, 1501-2, gave 14s. to the "wrichtis" of a chapel dedicated to St. Roche which had been or was being erected in the burgh muir of Edinburgh, the inhabitants of which city had suffered severely from the trouble; on 11th July he supplied the chapel with fifteen ells of linen cloth; and on 30th October there was paid the large sum of 10 10s. "to the French frere (friar) that brocht ane bane of Sanct Rowk to the King." This relic was no doubt regarded as a powerful antidote to the pest and it was probably placed in the chapel, where in subsequent years the king made occasional offerings. Glasgow seems to have had a visitation of the pest in 1504, as in a protocol dated 5th June of that year it is stated that a. chaplain and vicar of the choir, named Sir John Brakanrig, lay at the point of death "ex mnorbo pestifero" in the house of "Patrick Hammiltoun alias John Elphinstoun." John Knox, who had been appointed by the bailies to keep the chaplain in seclusion, appeared before the door of the house in which he lay and announced to a notary and the witnesses there assembled the will of the dying chaplain as to the disposal of his goods, and the statement was confirmed by Bessy Revoch, "the other keeper of the said Sir John." [Dioc. Reg. Protocol No. 87. The instrument prepared by the notary, embodying these statements, would thus form the chaplain's last will and testament.] It must have been about this time that the movement for the erection of the Glasgow chapel originated, though specific information on the subject is not obtained till a couple of years later. On 10th June, 1506, in presence of the archbishop and the president and chapter, assembled in the chapter-house of the cathedral, Sir Andrew Burell, chaplain, appeared and, with consent of the president and chapter and of the provost and bailies, on behalf of the community of the city of Glasgow, assigned to Sir Thomas Forbas, chaplain of the church of Saint Roche, founded and about to be built in the territory of Glasgow, a tenement and yard lying in the Ratounraw. Burell also gave up the Whitsunday rents and on the other hand the provost and bailies bestowed on him a gratuity of twenty shillings. [Dioc. Reg. Protocol No. 181. At this time Sir John Stewart, of Minto, knight, was provost and Thomas Hucheson and David Lindesay were bailies. The Ratounraw property mentioned in this protocol is probably that which Thomas Forbas, then master of arts, transferred to David Murehede, chaplain in the church of St. Roche, as set forth in an instrument dated 24th November, 1512 (Ibid. No. 602). On this date also several other tenements and annual-rents were vested in the same chaplain in name of the church (Ibid. Nos. 601, 603-5)]

The constitution of another chaplainry in the new church and its endowment was made the occasion of a more imposing ceremony. At the Michaelmas head court of the burgh, held on 10th October, 1508, in presence of the provost, a bailie, and other citizens, gathered "in great and overflowing

numbers," in the tolbooth, Mr. Thomas Muirhead, canon of Glasgow and rector of Stobo, declared that he had founded several chaplainries within the church of St. Roche, newly established within the territory of the city. One of these chaplainries he appointed to be at the presentation of the community of the city, when vacancies occurred, and in exercise of the patronage thus conferred, the provost, bailie and community, at his desire, presented Sir Alexander Robertone, chaplain, to the benefice. These proceedings took place at ten o'clock, forenoon, and in the same surroundings, an hour later, Muirhead endowed the chaplainry with property built by him and lying in the Bridgegate, adjoining the Nether Port. [Glasg. Chart. i. pt. ii. pp. 97-99; ii, pp. 479-81. The witnesses to these proceedings included two canons, acting as vicars-general, in the absence of the archbishop and other clerics and burgesses. The tolbooth in which this large concourse of people had assembled was probably that of which a stone, carved with the royal arms, is still preserved. A photograph of the stone is reproduced in Glasgow Records, vol. viii. p. xxvi., and the stone itself lies in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.] Besides being patrons of one of these chaplainries it is probable that the magistrates and community were the donors of the sites of the church and its surrounding cemetery and croft as these originally formed part of the town's common muir. Though the precise spot where the church stood has not been quite identified it was apparently between the modern Glebe Street and Castle Street near the place intersected by the canal, where through part of the cemetery and croft grounds Tennant Street and Kennedy Street have been formed. But while all trace of buildings and cemetery has long ago disappeared the church is abidingly commemorated by its name which, passing through the variations of Roque, Rowk and Rollock, has for some time settled into the well known form of St. Rollox. [The church will come into subsequent notice but reference may here be made to Glasg. Memorials, pp. 238-41 ; Glasg. Prot. Nos. 1161, 3516.]

The croft and other lands belonging to and adjoining the church of St. Roche were divided into two lots by the liners of the city and were, on 24th November, 1512, vested in Mr. David Murehede and Sir Alexander Robertson, chaplains of the church, each of them obtaining his assigned portion. [Dioc. Reg. Prot. No. 606.]

The liners just referred to were officials chosen in conformity with old Burgh Laws which provided for their appointment by the alderman and community for the purpose of defining the boundaries of land within the burgh according to their old and right marches. [Ancient Laws, i. pp. 51, 58, 96. By the first of these laws it was provided that the liners were to be at least four in number. At the earliest election in Glasgow, the record of which is extant, five liners were chosen. This was in October, 1574. When the dean of guild court was constituted under the provisions of the letter of guildry, in x605, it was ordained that the liners should consist of four merchants and four craftsmen, an arrangement which has subsisted till the present time.] By recognised usage the powers of the liners latterly included the settlement of all disputes among the neighbours regarding their adjoining properties, one example of the exercise of which functions may here be noticed. In 1512 a burgess, named in one place Patrick Lappy and in another Patrick Dunlop alias Loppy, purchased a property on the east side of High Street, and three years later, for the adjustment of a question which had arisen between him and one of his neighbours, Kentigern Mortoun, he "approached the liners of the city, elected and approved for lining and measuring, by suitable inquisition, all and sundry lands wheresoever and whatsoever, to be settled and determined between whomsoever co-burgesses or inhabitants within the burgh." The nature of the complaint is gathered from the verdict of the liners which was delivered in presence of the provost, bailies, and a large number of citizens, assembled in the tolbooth, when the neighbour (named "Kentigernus" in the Latin and "Mowngo" in the vernacular) was ordained "to put up ane hewin spowt of stayne" in part of his wall " to kep the said Mowngous drop off the said Patrikis tenement and skathyne of it in tymis cumyng." [Glasg. Chart. ii, pp. 482, 488.] By this time the ground on the east side of High Street was getting well covered by buildings and protection from the effects of eavesdrop must often have been demanded.

For infringement of the statutes requiring foreign merchants to traffic exclusively with free burghs, and specially the Precept of James IV., dated 10th October, 1490, [Antea, pp. 244-5.] the King's Advocate and the burghs of Glasgow and Dumbarton, in January, 1499-1500, prosecuted Lady Lile and Nicol Ramsay for purchasing, and two merchants of Brittany for selling, quantities of wine and salt, being part of the cargo of a ship called the Christopher of Ceuta, a famous seaport on the Moorish coast which at that time belonged to Portugal. What penalties, if any, were imposed on the accused is not explicitly stated, the recorded decision of the Lords of Council, before whom the proceedings were taken, merely expressing approval of the king's precept, and directing that " it be observed and kept in all particulars, under the penalties therein contained." [Acta Dom. Con. ii. pp. 358-9; where the Precept, the original of which has disappeared from the city's repositories, is printed in full. See also Abstract of the Precept, Glasg. Chart. i. pt. ii. p. 86.]


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