Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed. Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.

Click here to get a Printer Friendly Page

History Of The Scottish Nation
Vol 3, Chapter 21 - King David's Ecclesiastical Policy; Suppression of the Culdees


The genius of King David did not incline him to the battlefield, yet there were times when he deemed it right to put on armour and appear at the head of armies. On these occasions he bore himself with a chivalry and a valour which showed that had he given himself to the study of war he would have shone in arms. As it was he was accounted the first knight of the age. His more genial sphere was the cabinet, and glad he was when he could dismiss his soldiers to their homes, put off his coat of mail, and retire into his closet, or take his seat at his palace gate, and hear the complaints, and redress the grievances of his subjects. When the last suitor had parted, David would vault into the saddle, gallop off to moorland or forest glade, and forget the cares of state in the excitements of the hunting field.

David’s reign would have been one of the happiest and most peaceful in our early annals but for two fondly cherished projects. The one was to restore the Saxon line to the throne of England. This would have made the balance of power in the coming centuries incline to the side of the Papal domination. The Saxon line would have been as clay in the astute hands of the Papal managers. There was more iron in the Norman princes, and the battle betwixt English liberty and priestly domination was in consequence a more equal one. It was a mighty blessing to England that David failed in all his attempts to reverse the verdict of the field of Hastings, by bringing back the exiled family to the throne. The other project on which David’s heart was set was to change the religion of Scotland, and substitute the priests of a foreign faith for the native clergy. In this he but too well succeeded.

Many things may be pleaded in excuse of David in adopting a policy the issues of which were so disastrous to his country. He was the son of Queen Margaret. He had been the witness of her austere devotions. With her throne there had been transmitted to him, he doubtless believed, the sacred obligation of taking up and prosecuting her work. That work had been hers, and was therefore holy. He had been educated in England, and had lived there to the mature age of forty. With Columbia and his Church he could have no sympathy. He had heard the Columbines spoken of as dwellers beyond the bounds of the civilized earth, as intractable men who obstinately clung to b barbarous rites, and had no reverence for the mighty name of Rome. Though the religion of the age was weak, its ecclesiasticism was powerful, and was every year becoming more so, and David was not the only monarch who was borne along with the current, believing that in addition to the grandeur of Rome he was adding to the power of Christianity. This helps us to understand, though it does not enable us to justify, a policy which, a few generations after, cost the family of Margaret the throne of Scotland, while the church which she hoped to extinguish lived on, and came forth in the dawn of a new era refined and transformed to inhabit her old land.

When David came to the throne he found four Romish sees in existence in Scotland. During Margaret's lifetime Fotadh reigned alone as the "one bishop of Alban." But Rome knew him not. Fotadh drew his ecclesiastical lineage, not from the Seven Hills, but from Ina. He was the last representative of that famous line which had so long swayed the spiritual sceptre over Scotland, but which Rome held to be a rival and rebellious house. Had Margaret lived, Scotland would not have long remained in the care of but one Shepherd, and he not validly consecrated. Other shepherds would have been found with the oil of the pope upon him. But Margaret’s death put a stop to the work. The succession of her sons to the throne was contested. They followed wars and confusions in the country. There were years when there was neither Columbite nor Romish bishop in the land. There was nothing but an empty chair at St. Andrews, a monument, alas, of the spiritual desolation of Scotland! When Alexander I. ascended the throne the work which had been stopped by the death off his mother was vigorously resumed, and considerable progress was made in it. Before Alexander’s death four centres of Romish action had been established in Scotland.

Let us look at the four ecclesiastical sees, with the territories or dioceses assigned for their spiritual oversight and jurisdiction. St Andrews comes first in honours as in time. If a history springs out of legend and mystery can make a place sacred, the spot where the first Romish see was set up in Scotland is truly venerable. When the pontiff first came to Rome he was content to borrow the fisherman’s chair. When he first came to Scotland he over again had to be content with a borrowed chair. He set himself down in what had been the seat of Columba. It had stood vacant for some time, but after many vexatious delays an occupant was now found for it, and a diocese assigned it which stretched across the Forth, and comprehended the Lothians.

The second see was that of Moray. The extensive plains, watered by the Findhorn and the Spey, formed its diocese. Truly the lines had fallen in pleasant places to this bishop, seeing the territory placed under his spiritual sceptre may challenge comparison with any in Scotland in point of a fruitful soil and a salubrious and kindly climate. The bishop was content to have as his cathedral one of the humble parish churches of the district, probably a building of wood or wattles like most of the Columbite churches of the period. Eventually he and his canons removed to Elgin, where a sumptuous pile, worthy the church whose representative he was and whose jurisdiction he exercised, rose to receive him.

The third ecclesiastical see was established at Dunkeld. Here the air was filled with the memories of Columba. The traditions of his church clung to the very rocks which bound the little valley through which, broad and clear, rolls the Tay. Rome in this invasion is seen to tread in the footprints of the great Apostle of Iona. She steals in under the mighty prestige of his name while anathematising his followers, and treading out the foundations of his church. From this little central valley the bishop’s spiritual kingdom extended far and wide around. On the west it included the rich straths and the grand mountains of the modern Perthshire, onward to the historic boundary of Drumalban. On the south Strathearn and on the east Angus were subject to his sceptre. A numerous flock verily! Truly he had need to be a wise and vigilant shepherd, if he were to give in his account "with joy," when a greater master than the Pope should come to call him to a reckoning. Nor were even these the limits of his diocese. On the south it stretched to the banks of the Forth, comprehending Inchcolm with its little colony of Augustinian monks, and Loch Leven with its Columban brotherhood, soon to have the alternative presented to them of submission to the Roman rule or ejection from their monastery.

A fourth see was added to these three earlier ones, that of Glasgow even. The erection of this bishopric was the work of David before he had come to the throne, and while governing the southern provinces of Scotland as prince of Cumbria. David caused inquisition to be made by "the elders and wise men of Cumbria" into the lands and buildings which in former ages had belonged to the Christian Church in those parts. An account was compiled and laid before him of all the old ecclesiastical property which the many revolutions in that part of Scotland had diverted from its original uses to secular ends, sweeping away therewith almost all traces of Christianity itself. Acting on that document, David in 1121 constituted the bishopric of Glasgow, and appointed his tutor John to the see. The property was not rightfully either David’s or John’s. It had belonged to an earlier church. The Culdees were the true heirs, but they were powerless against Prince David, whose pleasure it was that their ancient inheritance should pass to a church which their fathers had not know.

The diocese of Glasgow extended from the banks of the Clyde to the shores of the Solway on the south, and from the Lothians to the river Urr on the west. In this instance, too, we find the Romanizers building on the old foundations. The readers of this history know how famous this whole region was in the evangelical records of Scotland. Its atmosphere was redolent of the memories of patriarchal men. Here, while it was yet night, Ninian had kindled the lamp of the faith, and the dwellers by the Solway and in the vales of Teviotdale and by the waters of the Nith saw a great light rise upon them. In after days when war, with its attendant lawlessness and wickedness, had all but obliterated the footprints of the apostle of Galloway, Kentigern, the friend and contemporary of Columba, came forth to sow over again, with the good seed, the fields from which the early cultivation of Ninian had well-nigh been entirely swept away. Ninian and Kentigern carried no commission from Rome, and did not teach the name of the Pope. In those days that name carried no weight with it in these northern parts. But since that time this ecclesiastical functionary had shot up into a great personage. He claimed to carry the key of the gospel kingdom, and in the exercise of that power he had given admission to the Gothic tribes which had now for centuries been folded beneath his crook, and tended by him as their shepherd. Learning that there were still a few wanderers in these remote parts, he sent thither his messengers to say to these lost sheep that yet there was room. These four bishoprics were the beginning of Rome’s kingdom in Scotland.

When David came to the throne the work of uprooting the ancient Scottish church and rearing the new ecclesiastical fabric went forward with increased diligence and speed. The zeal of Alexander was coldness itself compared with the enthusiastic ardor of David. The former during his lifetime had added two new sees; when the latter died he lift nine bishoprics in Scotland. The first of these was the see of Ross or Rossemarkie. It was founded about 1128, for the name of "Macbeth, Bishop of Rossemarken," is appended, along with that of others, to a charter granted to the monks of Dunfermline in that year.1 Rossemarkie was originally a Columban foundation, established by Molonc, Abbot of Lismore. In the eighth century it was still an establishment of the Culdees. In the ninth it had been brought more into line with Rome, and now under David its transformation was completed by its erection into a Romish bishopric. The cathedral, now a ruin, was built in the fourteenth century.

The next see to be established was that of Aberdeen. The diocese was bounded by the Dee on one side and the Spey on the other. Its first historic appearance is in a bull of Pope Adrian IV. In 1157. The bull confirms to Edward, Bishop Aberdeen, the churches of Aberdeen and St Machar, with the town of Old Aberdeen, the monastery of Cloveth, the monastery and town of Mortlach, with five churches and the lands belonging to them.2 Fordun records the tradition of an earlier see which Malcolm II. was said to have established at Mortlach in gratitude for the great victory he here gained over the Norwegians. This, however, is inconsistent with the undoubted fact that in that age there was but one bishop in Scotland. If Malcolm founded anything on the scene of that eventful battle it was a house or monastery of Culdees. The documents which were thought to authenticate Fordun’s tradition have since been shown to be spurious. The cathedral came two hundred years after the institution of the see, being begun 1272 and finished 1377.

The diocese of Aberdeen included within its boundaries the two famous monasteries of Deer and Turriff. The first, as our readers know, was founded by Columba, and committed to the care of his nephew Drostan. The second arose in the century following, having for its founder Comgan, a disciple of Columba. Of the archaic discoveries of our day not the least important is the "Book of Deer." This venerable relict of the Columban Church shows these two monasteries—and if these two, why not others?--resting on their original constitution and retaining their Culdean character down to the reign of David I. Besides its more sacred contents the Book of Deer contains a memoranda of grants to the monastery, "written in the Irish character and language."3 These grants are engrossed on the margin of the first two pages of the book, and on the three blank pages at the end of the MS. There are two grants by Gartnait, Mormaer or Earl of Buchan, who lived in the earlier years of King David. We can trace in these grants the change which was passed upon the age as to ecclesiastical affairs. One of the grants is made to Columcile and Drostan alone. It is evident from this that the founders of the Celtic Church have not yet come to be overshadowed and displaced by the mightier saints of the Roman Church. But the prestige that once invested the names of Columba and Drostan is waning, and accordingly the other grant by Gartnait is dedicated to St Peter, and is accompanied by a refounding of the church. When we read of this and other dedications it relieves to reflect that the Peter who figures in them is not the fisherman of Galilee, but the Jupiter Tonans of the Vatican. He, and not the apostle, is the Atlas on whose shoulders Rome imposes her mighty burden. The scribe who wrote these grants has warned off every profane or greedy hand that would snatch these gifts either in whole or in part from their proper use. His words are very emphatic. "They are made," he says, "in freedom from Mormaer and Toisech, till the day of judgment, which his blessing on every one why shall fulfill, and his curse on every one who shall go against it."4

 

The fourth bishopric established by David was that of Caithness. As regards extent of diocese this was the greatest of the four. It was assigned the wide territory betwixt the Moray and the Pentland firths, comprehending the counties of Caithness and Sutherland. This see, so imposing in point of area, was nevertheless somewhat unreal. It does not a pear that the holder of it could meanwhile reside within the bounds of his diocese, or gather the revenues of his see, or exercise the spiritual oversight of his flock. The political situation of the region was anomalous. It was subject to the Earl of Orkney, who, although he held nominally of the Scottish crown, oftener rendered real obedience to the Norwegian King. Meanwhile David provided for the suitable maintenance of the bishop by conferring upon him the Church of the Holy Trinity at Dunkeld, which was dowered with numerous estates in Perthshire. The principal church of the diocese was that of Dornoch, on the northern shore of the Cromarty firth. This was a Columban foundation, and one of no little distinction as well from its high antiquity as from the eminence of its founder. The district owed its first evangelisation to St Finnan of Maghbile, the preceptor and friend of Columba, and it does not surprise us that down till the days of King David there existed here a community of Culdees. Their numbers we do not know, but after the institution of the new see they appear to have rapidly declined; and in a century after, the brotherhood was reduced to a single cleric who ministered in the church of Dornoch. And now he too disappears, and in his room comes a chapter of canons, ten in number, with dean, chancellor, precentor, treasurer, and all the other officials of a regularly equipped cathedral staff. By this time (1235-1245) the humble church of Dornoch had been replaced by a cathedral, built by Gilbert de Moravia, now Bishop of Moray. In the deed establishing the chapter the bishop sets forth, "that in times of his predecessors there was but a single priest ministering in the cathedral, both on account of the poverty of the place and by reason of frequent hostilities, and that he desired to extend the worship of God in that church, and resolved to build a cathedral church at his own expense, to dedicate it to the Virgin Mary, and in proportion to his limited means to make it conventual."5

So close the annals of the Columban Church in the region beyond the Moray Firth. For six centuries that church had kept her lamp burning on that northern shore. At no time does she appear to have been very prosperous or flourishing. She suffered all but total extinction during the storms of the Viking age. She flourished a second time under the more settled rule of the Norwegian monarchs. But again decay set in. The Columban brotherhood diminished in numbers as in zeal, till only one solitary watcher is seen going his round on the ramparts of this distant outpost of the evangelical kingdom. At last he too disappears, and his vacant place is filled by a dean and chapter of canons-regular, whose ministrations are performed in a cathedral which the munificence of Gilbert de Moravia, Bishop of Moray has reared for their use.

The Culdees of Dornoch passed gradually and peacefully out of existence. Not so some of the brotherhoods in the south. They had a more violent ending. Let us speak first of the demolition of the Monastery of Lochleve. Lochleven is the tamest of all the Scottish lakes. Its level shores offer themselves invitingly to the husbandman whose labours they repay with a bounteous harvest, but they present no attractions to the tourist in search of the picturesque or the grand in scenery. But although without adornment of rock or tree, Lochleven, in point of historic interest, has no equal among the lakes of Scotland. Its name in Gaelic is "Loch Leamnah," that is, the "Lake of the Elm." Its interest centres in a small island which rises not far from the northern shore, and which has been the scene of events older than the union of the Picts and Scots. Like the great outside world this little island has seen many changes in its population. Diverse have been the professions and the fortunes of those who have made it their abode. The recluse has sought its quiet that he might here meditate and pray, while others after playing their part in the busy world have welcomed it as a refuge from the storms of State. Different faiths have reared their sanctuaries upon it. Now it is the old Hebrew psalms, sung by Columbite anchoret, that float out their majestic melody from the isle of St Serf: now it is the chant of mass or vespers, hymned by medieval monk, that is heard stealing softly over the calm face of the waters, and now in days more recent it is the sighs of an imprisoned Queen that break upon the stillness. On this little isle lived Andrew Wyntoun, who occupied the years of his laborious solitude in the composition of his famous history of Scotland from the creation to the captivity of James I.6 Brude, the last King of the Picts, founded here (842) a colony of Columbites, and David I., in the twelfth century, found them living on their ancient island.7 They form one of the most notable links betwixt the early church of Columba and the later church of the Culdees. "They were," says Dr Skene, "the oldest Keledean establishment in Scotland, and thus exhibited its earliest form."8 Retaining their ecclesiastical and spiritual characteristics to the very last, they present an unbroken continuity of lineage from before the days of Kenneth MacAlpin to those of David I." a fact which effectually dispels the illusion that the Columbans of the eighth century and the Culdees of the twelfth are two different sects of religionists, and constitute two different churches. No! the two have manifestly sprung from the loins of the same great progenitor. Both are the children of Columba.

The monastery of Lochleven was dedicated to Servanus, or St Serf, one of the early evangelists of Scotland, who, when the monastery was founded, had been some centuries in his grave. His legend, which we have given in a form chapter, is one of the main props of the theory that the Culdees were in some sort Roman monks. According to the legend, Servanus was born in Canaan, where his father was a king. He traveled to the west, and for seven years filled the Apostolic chair at Rome. Vacating the See of Peter, Servanus wandered as far northward as Scotland. There he met Adamnan, who led him to Lochleven, and installed him as Abbot on the island which he and his followers were afterwards to make so famous. Under this ci-devant pontiff there grew up a family of monks, of course, according to the legend, of the Roman genus. King David found them still nestling in their island, and stupidly mistaking them for the children of Iona, and the professors of an evangelical creed, he compelled them to enter the communion of the Church of Rome, and those who stubbornly refused he drove from their monastery. Not by a single word would we weaken the force of this most ingenious explanation of the Romish origin and alleged Roman proclivities of the Scottish Culdees.

 

Few in number, broken in spirit by oppression, and despoiled of nearly all the lands with which the kings and mormaers of other days had, perhaps too amply, endowed them, some of the Culdees yet dared to offer resistance to David’s peremptory mandate that they should cease being Culdean eremites and at once become Roman canons. All that they had ever possessed now passed to the foreign ecclesiastics who came in their room, down to the last rag of their ecclesiastical vestments and the last volume of their little library. In the royal charter now given to the Bishop of St Andrews David declares that "he had given and granted to the Canons of St Andrews the island of Lochleven, that they might establish canonical order there; and the Keledei who shall be found there, if they consent to live as regulars shall be permitted to remain in society with and subject to the others; but should any of them be disposed to offer resistance, his will and pleasure was that such should be expelled from the island."9 A century later (1248) the monastery of Lochleven is found to be occupied solely by canons-regular of the Augustinian order, and the Keledei are extinct.

This glimpse of the last days of the Culdees of Lochleven shows us how speckled was the religious aspect of Scotland during the twelfth century. Two faiths were contending for possession of the land: neither as yet had got the mastery and held exclusive occupancy. The age was a sort of borderland betwixt Culdeeism and Romanism. The two met and mingled often in the same monastery, and the religious belief of the nation was a mumble of superstitious doctrines and a few scriptural truths. The monastery of Lochleven is an illustrative example. The Culdee establishment there had, prior to 961, become connected with the Abbey of St Andrews through the bishop of that place, himself a Culdee. This Culdee bishop would seem to have exercised a superintendence, not only over the Culdees of Lochleven, but over all the Culdee communities in the district of St Andrews, forming thus a foreshadowing of the diocesan jurisdiction under the Papacy in days to come.10

As it fared with the Culdees of Lochleven, so it fared with the Culdees of Monimusk. This monastery was of earlier institution doubtless than the days of its reputed founder, Malcolm Canmore. The Big Head was on his way northward to chastise the men of Moray (1078) who had fallen under his displeasure. Halting at his barony of Monimusk, in the valley of the Don, he vowed that if his expedition were successful he would devote his barony to St Andrew. Returning victorious he kept his word to the letter and beyond it. Many a fair acre on the pleasant banks of the Don became the property of the saint. Others, who wished to earn a name for piety, followed the example of the king, and pasturage and moor, woodland and mountain, swelled the possessions of the monastery. "There is a time to gather," says the wise man. To the monks of Monimusk it was now the "time to gather," but already the cloud of coming tempest was in the sky. Their monastery was on the north of the Grampians, but their spiritual fealty was due on the south of these mountains. The Bishop of St Andrews claimed them as under his episcopal care, and this gave him a pretext for drawing their possessions into his net. William, Bishop of St Andrews, picked a quarrel with them and carried it (1211) to Rome. The Papal chair was then filled by one of the most astute popes that ever sat in it, Innocent III. The man who had launched the crusades against the Waldenses was not likely to look with a favourable eye upon the Keledei of Monimusk. Judgment finally was given against them. The bulk of their property was transferred to the See of St Andrews, and any one who should dare to disturb this arrangement was threatened with "the indignation of the Omnipotent God, and the Apostles Peter and Paul." In 1245 the Culdees of Monimusk finally disappear, and the Augustinian canons come in their room.11

We pass over the Culdee establishments of Abernethy and Dunblane. It is the same story of gradual suppression, attended with more or less violence, and ending in utter spoliation and entire extinction. After the same fashion were all the Culdee communities throughout Scotland dealt with. We turn to St Andrews, the most important of all the Columban seats.

The Culdee community of St Andrews was a flourishing body down till the middle of the twelfth century. The Bishop of St. Andrews, at least so long as he was the one Bishop of Scotland, was held to be the representative of Columba, and to sit in his chair, which had then been transferred from Iona to St Andrews. In fact, with a change of title from "abbot" to "bishop,." This functionary presided over the one Church of Scotland, which, down to the days of King David, continued to be Columban in doctrine and ritual. We should therefore expect to find the Culdees grouped in greater numbers and stronger vitality around the chair of the Bishop of St Andrews than elsewhere in Scotland. They had elected him. He was their immediate head. They held in him the image of the great founder of their church, and while he sat there by their suffrages, that once mighty church which had sent her missionaries into all lands from the Po to the Elbe, and established a chain of evangelical posts from the Apennines to the shores of Iceland, was not yet extinct, nor the glories of Iona altogether departed. At St Andrews, if anywhere, we should expect a stout fight for the old cause. Nor are we disappointed. Two hundred long years the Culdees of the old city "on the brink of the waves" maintained their battle for church and country against this foreign invasion.

Till the year 1144 the Culdees were in sole possession at St Andrews. Roman monk had not been seen within its walls. But in that year Prior Robert of Scone, whom we have already met with, crossed the Tay with a little colony of Augustinian canons, whom he established at St Andrews. He provided a maintenance for them out of the lands of the Culdees, he gave them moreover two of the seven portions of the altar offerings, and various other perquisites besides. A bull of Pope Lucius II. of the same year confirmed the new foundation. The disinherited Culdees were told that they might recoup themselves in part by enrolling their names in the new fraternity to which their lands had been conveyed. In the charter which King David now granted to the prior and canons of St Andrews was the following provision: "That they" (the prior and canons) "shall receive the Keledei of Kilrimont into the canonry, with all their possessions, if they are willing to become canon-regular; but, if they refuse, those who are now alive are to retain their property during their lives; and, after their death, as many canons-regular are to be instituted in the church of St. Andrews as there are now Keledei, and all their possessions are to be appropriated to the use of the canons."12 David doubtless thought that he acted generously in opening this door to the Culdees. Will they enter it? Their recantation is made a very simple affair; it is but to don the frock of the Augustinian and then sit down at the same refectory-board, and share in the good things which fall to the lot of those who worship as kings are pleased to enjoin.


Stript of half of their property, the King and the Pope in league for their destruction, one half of the Columban brotherhoods already suppressed, and sentence of doom hanging over themselves, we are expected to hear the Culdees say, "It is vain longer to resist. The battle is lost before it is begun." So would worldly policy have counselled. But the Culdees took counsel neither of worldly wisdom nor of self-interest. They preferred a good conscience to wealthy emoluments. And now we have to speak of one of the grandest combats of religion against power, and of a little party against tremendous odds, which is to be met with the annals of our country. Prelatist and Romanist historians have found only a few commonplace sentences to bestow on this conflict. They see neither patriotism nor chivalry in it because the combatants were Culdees. But let us gauge the affair at its true magnitude. The war which we now see commencing betwixt these two parties so vastly dissimilar in numbers and in worldly resources was maintained, not for a few years, not for a generation, but for two centuries. Father handed it down to son. This shows the sort of men the Church of Columba could produce. "Your worship is barbarous," said bishop Turgot to the Culdees of his day. Yet from these humble Culdee sanctuaries came forth men of colossal statue, spiritual heroes. At the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland, with superb cathedrals rising on every side, and churchmen blossoming into baronial rank and princely revenues, we see the Culdees maintaining, for two hundred years, on end, a living protest that there was an earlier church in Scotland than the Roman, and by their steadfast loyalty giving most emphatic expression to the depth of their conviction that the church was founded on the truth of Scripture, and was the church of prophets and apostles, and displaying their undying faith, that despite the violence by which she had been overborne, she would yet rise from her ruins and flourish in the land.

Of the history of this long was we have only snatches. It is, in fact, an unwritten epic. The bull of pope flashes light at times upon it, for the Culdees are of sufficient importance to be mentioned in the Vatican, and to be the object at times of its thunders. Occasionally this long conflict comes to view in the "Register of the Priory of St Andrews." In that document we read of their disputes with the canons-regular; of their claim to take part in the election of the Bishop of St Andrews, sometimes granted, sometimes denied; and of their appeals to Rome, where they are only half welcome, and hardly ever once successful. These fragmentary notices give us no just idea of the conflict, beyond its general set. We see the "House of Columba" growing weaker and weaker, and the "House of the pontiff" growing stronger and stronger, and we easily forecast the issue.

In 1144 the scheme for the extinction of the St Andrews Culdees was commenced, as we have said, in the establishment of Augustinian canons. In 1147 they were deprived by a Papal bull of their right to elect the Bishop of St Andrews. This was appealed against, and for more than a century the right of the Culdees to take part in the episcopal election was confirmed and disallowed by various popes.13 In 1162 their share in the seven portions of the altar-offerings was forbidden them. In 1220 we find them refusing to surrender the prebend of a deceased Keledeus to a canon-regular, but at the interference of Pope Innocent IV. they were obliged to submit, making over at the same time the possession attached to the post to its new occupant. In 1258 they are deprived of their status as vicars of the Parish Church of St Andrews. In 1273 they were finally excluded from their right of participating in the election of the bishop. In 1309 the Barony of the Keledei is classed as one of the three baronies within the bounds of what was termed the "Boar’s Chase."14 In 1332 their name occurs for the last time in the formula of exclusion ever renewed when a new bishop was to be elected. All these years the Culdees assembled in their "nook" and ate their eucharistic supper "after their own fashion." Henceforward the continued existence of the Culdee community is notified by the new designation of "Provost and Prebendaries of the Church of St Mary," sometimes styled St Mary of the Rock.15 They now pass out of view, but not out of existence. Their battle of two hundred years, save twelve (1144-1332) was over, but their testimony was still prolonged. Under the name of the "Provost and Prebendaries of St Mary of the Rock," they kept their place before the world till the Reformation, as the survivors and representatives of the once powerful apostolic church of early Scotland.


FOOTNOTES

1. Registry of Dunfermline, p. 3.

2. Regist. Episc. Aberdon., p.5.

3. Skene’s Celtic Scotland, ii. 381.

4. Ibid., ii. 381.

5. From the original charter in the archives of Dunrobin Cvastle, quoted in Belsheim’s History of the Catholic Church of Scotland, i. 293.

6. Wyntoun wrote his history in verse. The original is in the Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh. He was a native of Portmoak, which belongs to the Monastery of Lochleven. This village was also the birth place of John Douglas, the first tulchan Archbishop of St Andrews.

7. For numerous interesting notices of the Culdee houses and their suppression see Chalmers’ Caledonia, vol. i. pp. 434-440. London, 1807.

8. Skene, Celtic Scotland, ii. 388.

9. Dr Reeves, British Culdees, p. 42. The name was first latinised into Keledeus in Irish documents, where it is first met with, subsequently into Colideus; whence in English, Culdees.

10. See Monasticon, i. 94.

The ruins of the conventual buildings are still to be seen on the island. The island is about half a mile from east to west, but of late has been enlarged by the drainage of the lake. The ruins of the chapel of St Serf lie toward the east end of the island, where the ground rises some forty feet above the level of the lake. The ruins are simply the under storey of the building, and are now used as a shed or stable. On the east of them are the foundations of buildings. In front of the south wall human bones have been found in great quantities, some of them at the depth of six feet, showing that the spot had been used as a burying ground.

11. Monasticon, i. 104.

12. Register Prior. St Andr., pp. 122-123; Reeves, British Culdees; Skene’s Celtic Scotland, ii. 385.

13. Regist. S. Andr., pp. 29, 30.

14. Ibid., Appendix to Preface, p. xxxi.

15.The reputed foundations of the ruined cell or chapel of the Culdees at St Andrews are on a rock to the east of the Cathedral, on the very brink of the waves, and are still to be seen.


 

 


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus

Quantcast