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A History of Moray and Nairn
Chapter II. The Bishopric of Moray


The death of Eadgar, son of Malcolm Ceannmor, in 1107, had been followed, as we have seen, by the partition of his kingdom between his two brothers, Alexander and David.

Alexander was the younger of the two; yet to him, probably on account of his more energetic temperament, Eadgar had bequeathed the more important portion of his principality —the whole of the kingdom of Scotia, — leaving to David only the region south of the Firths of Forth and Clyde, with the title of Earl of Cumbria.

Alexander’s father had been a soldier; his mother had been a saint. He himself combined the characters of both. Whilst to his enemies he was “terrible beyond measure,”

“fierce and implacable,” “a right high-hearted and right manly king,” towards the Church he was humble and submissive, “most zealous in building churches, in searching for relics of saints, in providing and arranging priestly vestments and sacred books; most open-handed, even beyond his means, to all new-comers, and so devoted to the poor that he seemed to delight in nothing so much as in supporting, washing, nourishing, and clothing them.”

One of his first cares on succeeding to the Crown was to provide for the spiritual wants of his kingdom. There was at this time but one bishopric within its borders — that of St Andrews. It was a very ancient foundation, dating from the beginning of the tenth century; and being the only one, its bishops were accustomed to call themselves Episcopi Scottorum. But one bishopric was clearly not sufficient for so large a country as Scotland beyond the Firths. Alexander accordingly determined to create two others. The one was the bishopric of Dunkeld; the other was that of Moray. The first in order of foundation was the bishopric of Moray.

If any definition of its original limits ever existed, it probably perished, like so many other old writs and titles, in the great fire of 1390. It is unlikely, however, that its boundaries ever extended farther north than the Moray Firth. For in 1128 we find David I.—Alexanders brother and successor—establishing a bishopric of Ross, with the Firth for its eastern boundary.

Beyond the facts that it was founded in 1107—the first year of Alexander’s reign—and that its first bishop was a monk of the name of Gregorius, we know almost nothing about it.

In the Laigh of Moray—the low-lying district between the mouths of the Spey and the Findhom—there were in those

days three churches of more than ordinary importance, all lying close together, and none of them more than five miles from the town of Elgin. These were Bimie, Kinneddar, and Spynie. Each of these churches was in turn the cathedral of the early bishops of Moray.

The church of Bimie, when it became the cathedral of the newly-erected diocese, was probably, like all the early Celtic churches, a building of wood and wattle. But the present quaint old parish church, which succeeded it, is undoubtedly a very ancient structure, and is possibly, after that of Mort-lach in Banffshire, the oldest place of worship still in use in the north of Scotland. The date of its erection was certainly not later than 1150, and possibly not much earlier. Its walls are built with square ashlar-work of freestone. It has a nave and a chancel, connected by a handsome Norman arch. And in it is still preserved an old square-sided Celtic altar-bell of malleable iron, riveted and covered with bronze, known as the Ronnell bell, similar in character to that of St Fiilan’s at Glendrochat, and of many others found in different parts of Scotland. The peculiar sanctity of this venerable church is recognised in the old local saying that to be thrice prayed for in the kirk of Bimie will “either mend ye or end ye.” According to Lachlan Shaw, the historian of Moray, the word Bimie is derived from brenoth, a brae or high land, which very accurately describes the nature of the ground on which the church stands. Bimie seems to have been the cathedral of the diocese during the rule of its first four bishops—that is, up to the death of the English bishop Simon de Toeny in 1184. After that, for a short time, possibly for not much more than a quarter of a century, Kinneddar—a name which, according to Shaw, is derived from Cean Edir, “the point between the sea (the Moray Firth) and the loch (the Loch of Spynie) ”—takes its place.

The distance between Bimie and Kinneddar is about eight miles from south to north as the crow flies. Why the old bishops removed their see from the sunny slopes of the Mannoch Hill to the bleak shores of the Moray Firth is a matter of which we must be content to remain in ignorance. But if sanctity of locality had anything to do with it, there was much to justify the change. For Kinneddar, for at least two centuries before this, had been regarded as one of the most holy places within the diocese.

Hither, somewhere about 934, had come a certain Irish Culdee or Deicola (a servant of God), burning with zeal to preach the Gospel to the benighted dwellers of these parts. His name was Gervadius or Gernadius. Like all of his order at first, he was an ascetic and an anchorite. Selecting one of the many caves which the winds and the waves had scooped out of the soft freestone of the Lossiemouth rocks, he took up his residence there — his bed the damp rock, his food the bread of charity, his drink the water of a spring which trickled down above his solitary cell. But his work was blessed. He managed to associate with himself “many other fellow-soldiers in Christ,” and at last, under angelic direction, he established an oratory at “ Kenedor.” And here, after his death, the church of Kinneddar was erected. In 1842 the foundations of this church were still said to be visible in the centre of what is now the kirkyard of the parish church of Drainie.

More fortunate than others of his kind, his memory is not yet forgotten in the district. A picturesque tradition relates how on stormy nights he used to pace the shore beneath his cell, lantern in hand, to warn passing vessels off the rocks; and, with admirable propriety, the corporate seal of the newly-constituted burgh of Lossiemouth and Branderburgh has embodied the story in its armorial bearings. But the very promontory on whose “braeside” he found a home—it is named Holyman Head in ancient charters—has been nearly all quarried away in recent years; and with it “St Geraldine’s ” home and fountain. Up to 1870 the former, indeed, still existed, and was secluded from the intrusion of the profane by a “Gothic door and window.” But a drunken ship-captain broke them down, and the quarryman’s pick soon after completed the destruction of the sanctuary. The episcopal residence of the bishops of those times — the “Castle” of Kinneddar, as it came in after-years to be called —was only a few yards distant from the church. Nothing remains of it, however, but a small and shapeless block of ancient masonry, from which no idea of its size or its architecture can be obtained.

Sometime between 1203 and 1222, during the rule of Bishop Bricius, the sixth bishop, the episcopal seat was removed to Spynie. Bricius is the first of the bishops of Moray who is anything more to us than a name. A scion of the house of Douglas, and closely connected with the powerful family of De Moravia, he had been Prior of Lesmahago, and had travelled both in England and on the Continent An enlightened and energetic prelate, Bricius may be said to have laid the foundations of the glorious future of the bishopric. To him is attributed the creation of a chapter of eight secular canons, and the establishment of a constitution for the cathedral, based upon, if it was not a literal transcript of, that of Lincoln. His benefactions to the church were large; his benefactions to his own family were greater. The one blot upon his reputation is his character for nepotism.

Spynie was certainly a pleasanter place of residence than bleak Kinneddar. It was about three miles farther inland, and had a more genial climate. The litde knoll on which two hundred years later was erected the magnificent baronial residence of the bishops of Moray, and under the lee of which Bishop Bricius proceeded to build his cathedral, stands on the shores of what was at the time the finest lacustrine sheet of water in the kingdom.

The old loch of Spynie, before the costly drainage operations of the early part of this century converted it into an almost stagnant pool of some 120 acres, was a wide expanse of water stretching from the Moray Firth up to within two and a half miles of Elgin, varying at different periods of its history from four to six miles in length, and covering an area of more than 2000 acres. Its convenience was only equalled by its beauty. Ships from all parts of the world could land their goods right beneath the castle walls. Its waters were full of salmon, sea-trout, and pike. Its surface was covered with islets which went by the old Norse name of holms—Long Holm and Lint Holm and the Picture Holm, Tappie’s Holm and Skene’s Holm, and many another. Majestic swans sunned their gleaming breasts on its waters, or shed their snowy plumage on its emerald eyots, or fed upon the “swan-girss” that grew by its shores. Bulrushes edged its banks, bitterns boomed from the surrounding swamps, wild geese and ducks, herons and coots, sought out its quiet pools, otters haunted its shores; and in spring the black-headed gull (Larus ridibundus) laid its green eggs, delicate as those of plovers, amongst the reeds and rushes that grew in graceful luxuriance on its sides. The high ground that surrounded it became covered with prosperous farms basking under the genial protection of their ecclesiastical landlords. A thriving village uprose beneath the castle walls. Ferry-boats with brown sails plied between it and Covesea. A foot-walk known by the name of the Long Steps—formed by placing large blocks of stone in the water and covering them with a flat pavement—bridged its upper end. The once solitary loch became the scene of much busy traffic and wellbeing. All this is changed now. A dreary marsh, bisected by the county road from Elgin to Ix>ssie-mouth, has replaced a scene of almost ideal beauty. Yet to this day there are those who cling to the hope that the avenging sea will break down the barriers which now exclude it, and the prophecy of William Hay, a local poet, will be fulfilled

“The Loch o' Spynie’s cornin’ back, an' spite o' sinfu' men,
Bullsegs will wave their nigger pows, and geds will bite again!”

No traces now remain of the cathedral church of Spynie; but within the last forty years an old Gothic gable—plainly the fragment of an ecclesiastical edifice—might have been seen standing in mournful isolation on a spot adjoining the present site of the kirkyard, which lies on the southern slope of the hill Whether this belonged to Bishop Bricius’s cathedral, or whether it was a fragment of a post-Reformation structure, has never yet been determined.

It appears that Bricius was hardly established in his episcopal seat before he was desirous of having it altered. We find him at Rome in 1215, attending the Lateran Council there, and pestering Pope Honorius III. to consent to its transfer to Elgin. Spynie, he said, was a solitary place; it was not safe; the clergy had great difficulty in procuring the necessaries of life; divine worship was much obstructed. A much better situation would be the Church of the Holy Trinity near Elgin, a building of whose existence we now learn for the first time. Convinced by the bishop’s representations, the Pope wrote to King Alexander II. recommending him to accede to the bishop’s request, provided he was himself satisfied with its propriety. But it was not till two years after Bishop Bricius’s death that the transfer actually took place.

It was during the incumbency of his successor and kinsman, Andrew de Moravia (i 222-1242), that the Cathedral of Moray was finally established on the banks of the Lossie. This bishop had all his predecessor’s ecclesiastical ambition, with a much greater share of wisdom and prudence. He is supposed to have been the son of Hugh de Moravia, Lord of Duffus, and before his elevation to the bishopric he had been parson of Duffus. The site of the present cathedral was at that time occupied by a church dedicated to the Holy Trinity. Though not within the boundaries of the burgh, but merely “juxta Elgynit was the only place of worship available to the burghers. It was a handsome and spacious building, with transepts, choir, and nave. It had only lately been erected; for the gable of it, which still remains, shows that it may have been built any time between 1180 and the beginning of the thirteenth century. In addition to this it was situated on a piece of low-lying, sheltered, and very fertile land, close to the river Lossie, and in convenient proximity to the town of Elgin. The selection of this church as the cathedral seat of what was even then one of the greater dioceses in Scotland, was thus abundantly justified.

Hither accordingly, on a brilliant summer’s day in July 1224, repaired a stately procession of bishops, priests, and regulars, with sacred banners and solemn chants. Entering the holy edifice, High Mass was sung; the Papal Bull was read ; the impressive ceremony of consecration was performed by Gilbert, Bishop of Caithness; and when the imposing pageant was over, the Church of the Holy Trinity had been transformed into the Cathedral of Elgin. The sacred lamp had been lighted which was to blaze forth to after-ages as the “Lantern of the North.”

Bishop Andrew immediately began the secular alterations necessitated by the church’s augmented dignity. Very little, if any of it, was demolished, but the whole edifice was doubtless considerably enlarged. The transepts of the old building were retained, and the southern one is standing to this day. If the choir and nave were proportionate to these, it must have been a structure of ample size and of very considerable beauty. There is a tradition that Andrew de Moravia lived to see the completion of his work. One would fain hope it is true. Yet when Master Gregory the mason, and Master Richard the glazier, and many another master of his craft, had lavished all the gifts of his art upon its adornment, much remained for after-ages to do.

Bishop Bricius had done his best to establish the temporal power of the bishopric upon a solid foundation. Andrew de Moravia continued his predecessor’s work. Still further to increase its dignity, he proceeded to add thirteen new canons to the eight—or ten, the number is not certain—endowed by Bishop Bricius, making twenty-three in all; and of this number the chapter consisted for more than two hundred and fifty years, until it was increased to twenty-four during the incumbency of William de Spynie in the end of the fourteenth century.

Dealing with the chapter as finally constituted, we find the canons divided into two classes. Eight of them, in addition to their prebends, had offices of dignity in connection with the cathedral. The remaining sixteen had none.

The eight dignified clergy who resided permanently within the college, their duties as parish ministers being discharged by vicars, were :—

1. The bishop. As bishop he had no spiritual pre-eminence in the chapter. His place there, as well as his stall in the choir, was assigned to him solely in virtue of his prebendary of the lands of Ferness, Lethen, Dunlichty, and Tullydivie (in Edinkillie).

2. The dean, whose church and prebend was the church of Auldearn.

3. The precentor, who had for prebend the churches of Lhanbride and Alves.

4. The treasurer, with the churches and parishes of Kinneddar and Eskyl for his prebend.

5. The chancellor, who was provided for by the churches and parishes of Strathavon, and Urquhart in Inverness-shire.

6. The archdeacon, whose endowment was the churches and parishes of Forres and Logie.

7. The sub-dean, who had the altarage of Eryn (Auldearn), the chapelry of Invemairn (Nairn), and the church and parish of Dolles, now Dallas.

8. The succentor, who had the churches and parishes of Rafford and Fothervaye.

The prebends of the remaining canons, who were in residence only for a certain time each year, were:—

9. The churches and parishes of Spynie and Kintrae. The last was one of the most ancient foundations in the diocese. An “ old church ” is mentioned as existing there in the days of Bishop Bricius.

10. The churches of Ruthven1 and Dipple.

11. The church and parish of Rhynie 2 (now in Aberdeen shire).

12. The churches of Dumbennan and Kynnore.

13. The church and parish of Innerkethny.

14. The churches of Elchies and Botarie.

15. The parsonage tithes of the parish of Moy.

16. The churches and parishes of Cromdale and Advie.

17. The churches of Kingussie and Insh.

18. The churches of Croy and Dunlichtie.

19. A hundred shillings of the altarage of St Giles of Elgin, to which was afterwards added the vicarage of the same.

20. The parsonage tithes of Petty and Brackla in Nairn shire.

21. The tithes of Boharm and Aberlour in Banffshire.

22. The church and parish of Duffus.

23. The church and parish of Duthil.

24. The chapelry of the Blessed Virgin in the Castle of Duffus, erected into the prebendary of Unthank in 1542.

Such was the chapter, and such were the sources from which its benefices were derived.

We shall have to consider the value of these benefices later on, when the bishopric had reached its utmost height of wealth

1 The old parishes of Ruthven and Botarie (or Pittarie), which formerly belonged to Banffshire, have changed both their name and their county. They now form the united parish of Cairnie, in the north-west of Aberdeen shire.

2 The parishes of Essie (Banffshire) and Rhynie (Aberdeenshire) were united at a very early period. and magnificence. Meantime it is sufficient to say that the splendid basis on which Bishop Andrew established his college was largely due to his own personal exertions and to the munificent endowments of his relatives and friends.

From the list we have given of the prebends we obtain a fairly accurate idea of the extent of the diocese as it was in the days of Andrew de Moravia. It will be observed that they were situated in the modem counties of Aberdeen, Banff, Elgin, Nairn, and Inverness. With trifling variations, incident to the subsequent establishment of conterminous bishoprics, its boundaries remained the same to the end of the chapter. “It seems,” says Professor Cosmo Innes, “to have extended along the coast from the river Forn, its boundary with Ross, to the Spey. Bounded by Loch Aber on the south, it included the country surrounding Loch Ness, the valleys of the Naim and Findhorn, Badenoch and Strathspey, the valleys of the Avon and Fiddich, and all the upper part of Banffshire, comprehending Strathyla and Strathbog in Aberdeenshire, but not extending into the district of Einzie and Boyne.” In short, its limits were almost identical with those which Lachlan Shaw assigns to the province, in the later and more restricted signification of the word, and slightly more contracted than those of the earldom when it was granted by Robert the Bruce to his “dear nephew” Thomas Randolph nearly a hundred years later.

What must have rendered the work of Andrew de Moravia easier was the favour in which he stood with his king. Alexander II. not only gave the land on which it was erected, but afterwards endowed the cathedral with a chaplaincy for prayer for his own soul and those of his predecessors, especially for that of King Duncan his ancestor. And, sometimes alone, sometimes with his queen, Marie de Couci, he visited Elgin at various times both before and after the death of the bishop. He was there in 1221, and again in 1228. He spent his Yule there in 1231, and we find him back in 1244. To these repeated visits Moray, and especially the country around Elgin, owes much. The Priory of Pluscarden, the Maisondieu of Elgin, the Greyfriars’ and Black friars’ monasteries in the same town, were all founded during his reign. Religion—and in those days religion was equivalent to civilisation—never had a truer friend than this pious, well-meaning, and often much harassed king. As for Bishop Andrew, he is a prelate of whom we would gladly have known more. There are few names more illustrious in the history of the diocese. He died in 1242. Where he was buried is not even recorded.

Pluscarden Abbey

The next three bishops—Simon (1242-1251); Ralph, a canon of Lincoln, who seems to have died before consecration ; and Archibald (1253-1298)—have left no traces of their incumbencies beyond the fact that the last seems to have selected the Castle of Kinneddar as his usual place of residence.

During this period the cathedral had its own share of vicissitudes. In 1244 it received some considerable injury— no one knows exactly what; in 1270 it was seriously damaged by fire. Each of these events seems to have been seized upon as a fitting opportunity to add to its beauty and its convenience. After some considerable fluctuation of opinion, the most competent judges are now prepared to admit that to the first of these dates may be referable the choir central aisle, nave, outer south aisle, and the two west towers; and to the latter the choir aisles, south-west porch, perhaps the two buttresses north and south at the east part of the choir, and the chapterhouse.

The next bishop, David, was also a member of the house of De Moravia. He was consecrated in 1299 and died in 1325. He lived in stirring times. The country was in the throes of the War of Independence. Robert the Bruce was striving thew and sinew to rescue his native country from English supremacy. Every man was a politician in those days. David of Moray was a strong partisan of the patriotic party. Hailes tells us that he preached to the people of his diocese that it was no less meritorious to rise in arms to support the cause of Bruce than to engage in a crusade against the Saracens. If a churchman has a right to meddle in politics at all, these remarkable utterances of a minister of the Gospel of peace need no apology. David has another claim to the grateful recognition of his countrymen. He is said to have been the founder of the Scots College at Paris. Little as we know about him, that little seems to impress his personality upon our imagination. He stands out amongst all the vague, visionary, and venerable figures of the earlier holders of the see, a strong, commanding, and chivalrous individuality, like all the other recorded members of his race.

The next of the bishops of Moray whose career deserves attention is Alexander Bur or Barr, who held the see from 1362 to 1397. During his incumbency occurred the most lawless raid to which the Cathedral and its precincts were ever exposed.

Robert II., the first of the Stewart kings, died in 1390. By his first wife, the daughter of Sir Adam Mure of Rowallan, he left four sons and six daughters. The eldest of these sons succeeded him on the throne as King Robert III. The second, Alexander, was invested with the lordships of Badenoch and Buchan, which had been part of the inheritance of the Comyns, and in addition to these he held the earldom of Ross in right of his wife, Euphemia, the widow of Walter de Leslie. He was also his brother Robert’s seneschal or lieutenant for the whole of the kingdom north of the Forth.

The name by which he is best known in history—the Wolf of Badenoch—describes him to the life. Cruel, vindictive, and despotic,—a Celtic Attila, as he has been called,—he resembles one of those half-human, half-bestial barons depicted in Erckmann-Chatrian’s romances, who were the terror of France and Germany during the middle ages.

By his wife, the countess, he had no children, and he had accordingly left her to live with another woman,—a certain Mariot, daughter of Athyn,—who had already borne him several sons. The outraged countess applied to the bishops of Moray and Ross for redress, and in 1389 they, as con-sistorial judges, pronounced at Inverness decree of adherence in her favour against her husband, ordering him at the same time to find security for his future good behaviour towards her in the sum of ^200. This was more than the Wolf could brook, and he determined upon revenge. He seized upon some lands belonging to the Bishop of Moray in Badenoch. The bishop promptly excommunicated him. All the savagery in his nature was now roused. Sending out the fiery cross, he gathered his fierce caterans together, — “wyld wykkyd Hieland-men” Wyntoun calls them,—and swooping down from his stronghold of Lochindorb, he burned the town of Forres, the choir of the church of St Lawrence there, and the manse of the archdeacon in the neighbourhood of the town. Intoxicated with success, he resolved on still further reprisals. Tramping over the twelve miles of heather and holt which in those days separated the towns of Forres and Elgin, he arrived in the cathedral city one morning early in June 1390. It was the day of the feast of the Blessed Abbot Botulph. The honest burgesses were awakened from their peaceful slumbers by the noise of crackling timbers and blinding clouds of smoke. The whole town was in flames. Meantime the ruthless incendiaries were at work on the public buildings. The parish church of St Giles was blazing, the hospital of Maison-dieu was in a similar condition; so were the eighteen noble and beautiful manses of the canons situated within the precinct walls, “ and, what is most grievously to be lamented, the noble and highly adorned church of Moray, the delight of the country and ornament of the kingdom, with all the books, charters, and other goods of the country placed therein.”

For such an outrage no punishment would have been too great We may well believe that if the Church had had the power to inflict a sentence upon the miscreants commensurate with the enormity of their offence, it would not have failed in its duty. But the Wolf was already an excommunicated person. No human authority, not even that of the Pope himself, could do him further harm.

Alexander cared as little for excommunication as he did for its symbol—the blowing out of a candle. His vengeance accomplished, he rode off chuckling and uninjured.

The popular tradition, that before his death, which occurred on the 20th February 1394,3 he repented of his crimes, and actually did penance for his sacrilege, rests on no higher authority than that of the clerical scribe who wrote the ‘Quaedam Memorabilia’ — an unauthoritative chronicle of events in Scottish and English history between the years 1390 and 1402—appended to the Chartulary of Moray. None of the old historians mention it. Fordun says nothing about it; neither does Wyntoun; neither does the ‘Liber Pluscardensis.’ It is hardly likely that an event which would have so imminently vindicated the authority of Mother Church should have been omitted by such devoted churchmen. Until further confirmation is obtained we must set down the story as one of those pious fibs which, unfortunately, are not uncommon in the writings of ecclesiastical chroniclers, whose zeal for the honour of their subject was often in inverse proportion to their own veracity.

This wanton outrage, besides ruining the bishop, nearly broke his heart. The petition which he shortly after (2d December 1390) addressed to King Robert III. to aid him in the rebuilding of his cathedral is pitiful in its pathos. It was the supplication of a man, he said, so weakened by age, so impoverished by depredations and robberies, so altogether broken down, that he could scarcely keep himself and his few poor servants in life. Yet aged and debilitated as he was, he ventured to appeal to the king to assist him in the re-erection of his church ("pro remedio retdificationis eeclesia mea”). It had been the special ornament of the country, the glory of the kingdom, the delight of strangers, the praise of visitors. Its fame was known and lauded even in foreign lands on account of the multitude of its servitors and its most fair adornments; and in it, he thought he might say, God was duly worshipped. He would not refer to its lofty belfries, to the rich magnificence of its internal decorations, to its wealth of jewels and relics, to the zeal with which he and his canons had laboured in its behalf. All he would do would be to commit the matter into the hands of his most religious and gracious prince, feeling confident that, for the sake of justice, for the proper service of God, and for the advancement of the holy and orthodox faith, the king would grant his most humble and earnest prayer.

Something came of it, we cannot doubt; for twelve years later—William of Spynie (1397-1406) being then the bishop —we find the chanonry again in a state worth despoiling.

“These were the days,” says the ‘Registrum Moraviense,’ “ when there was no law in Scotland; when the strong oppressed the weak, and the whole kingdom was the prey of freebooters (totum regnum fuit unum latrocinium); homicides, depredations, fires, and other misdeeds remained unpunished, and Justice, deported beyond the limits of the kingdom, shrieked aloud.”

Translated into sober prose, the meaning of this impassioned burst of rhetoric is, that in 1402 another band of Highland robbers had dared to lay their impious hands on the patrimony of the Lord’s anointed.

The leader of this new troop of marauders was Alexander, third son of Donald, Lord of the Isles. In July he made a foray upon the chanonry, carried off everything he could lay his hands on, and made off with his booty, after burning down the greater part of the town of Elgin. In October he returned with a great company, meaning to make a clean sweep of everything portable which he had been unable to remove on the former occasion. This time the bishop and his canons were ready for him. Meeting him at the precinct gate, they pointed out to him that the chanonry had enjoyed the privileges of a sanctuary ever since its foundation; that its violation would entail upon him and his followers the pains of excommunication; and, in short, so worked upon the feelings of “Alexander and his captains” that, “their hearts returning to them,” they “confessed their fault, and earnestly begged to be absolved.” Then the bishop, clothing himself in full pontificals, proceeded to the great west doorway of the cathedral, and first there, and afterwards in front of the great altar, solemnly absolved them from their crimes.

The price paid for their absolution was, we are told, a great sum of money. And as an enduring memorial of the triumph of the Church, a cross, now known as the Little Cross, to distinguish it from the town cross, was erected at the east end of the High Street, to mark the spot where the immunities of the chanonry began. This time the entry in the cathedral chartulary is ample and complete as the victory.

For many years after this the restoration of the cathedral to its pristine, and more than pristine, glory, was the lifework of every holder of the office.

Monteith, in his ‘Theatre of Mortality,’ tells us that on the tomb (now unfortunately demolished by the fall of the great steeple in 1711) of Bishop John Innes, who succeeded William of Spynie in 1407, it was recorded “that he began [the restoration of] this distinguished edifice, and for seven years ”—that is to say, during the whole course of his incumbency—“sedulously continued the buildings.” He died on the 25th April 1414. And when, on the 18th May following, the chapter met to elect his successor, before proceeding to the weighty business on hand, they solemnly passed the self-denying ordinance that if any of its members was promoted to the bishopric, he should be bound to devote a full third of his benefice to the restoration of the cathedral.

To Bishop John Innes also we owe the erection of the Castle of Spynie. It is, after the cathedral itself, the most splendid ruin in the county; and considering the date of its construction, it must have been, when finally completed, the most magnificent specimen of domestic architecture in the north of Scotland. The bishops of Moray were not only great spiritual princes, but great temporal lords. Hence Spynie is both a palace and a castle; but when first begun, the principal purpose which it was intended to serve was that of a residence for the chief ecclesiastical magistrate of the diocese. It was nearly seventy years later before it was thought necessary to convert it into a fortress.

The present building consists of a large strong keep at the south-west corner of an extensive quadrangle, finished at each of its three other comers with smaller towers, surrounded by the ruins of other buildings, which appear to have been of an unusually fine and commodious description. These in all probability consisted of reception-rooms, offices, and servants* rooms; and the remains of arches, which at one time contained large traceried windows, justify the tradition that the enclosure also included a chapel.

The gateway in the eastern wall of the courtyard is unique in its way. There is nothing like it in Scotland. In general design and in the style of its mouldings it closely resembles the architecture of France or England. The probable explanation of this is, that it was the work of those foreign builders who were at the time engaged in restoring the cathedral, and whose masons’ marks are still to be seen on its pillars and walls. This gateway is the oldest remaining part of the building, and bears the arms of Bishop John Innes. It was defended by a portcullis, and the small stair by which access was gained to the battlements from which the portcullis was worked is still to be seen.

The keep, however, is the most interesting portion of the building. It was built by Bishop David Stewart, who died in 1475, and it still goes by the name of “Davie’s Tower.” According to the legend, the Earl of Huntly, with whom the bishop had a protracted feud, had threatened to pull the proud prelate  out of his pigeon-hole.” To this the bishop retorted that he would build him a house out of which the earl and his whole clan would not be able to drag him. He seems to have kept his word. As a tower of defence and offence there are few castles so admirably constructed as that of Spynie. The keep is so placed as to form a main defence on the landward side—from which attack was most to be apprehended—to the rest of the buildings; and “it is projected in such a manner beyond the enceinte as to protect it on the east and north.” Its walls are ioj4 feet thick; it contained six storeys; and the height of the corbels which carried the battlements is 70 feet from the ground.

Its internal arrangements are commodious and complete. The basement is divided into two compartments, one of which has evidently been the wine-cellar, for there is a hatch in its south-east comer for hoisting up supplies to one of the small chambers adjoining the great hall; and in the southern and western walls of this cellar are two splayed port-holes for guns, with an aperture to the exterior 6 feet wide and 2 feet high. On the floor above this is the great hall, 42 feet long by 22*4 feet wide. It is a very handsome apartment, with vaulted roof and large windows, and stone seats in their deep bays. The upper storeys were occupied by sleeping-rooms, and in the massive eastern wall was a series of five vaulted chambers, each 6 or 7 feet wide, placed one on the top of the other. These, however, have all now disappeared.

Seen as we see it now, a bare and utterly neglected ruin, with no signs of life about it but the daws cawing round its battlements, and the sheep nibbling the rank grass at its base, it needs an effort of imagination to picture what it was in the days of its glory. Yet for two hundred years and more—till it ceased to be the residence of the bishops in 1686—it must have been the vivifying centre of most of the political, social, and religious life of the district. Busy brains worked in its celllike chambers; furious passions, uncontrolled ambitions, paced the floor of its majestic hall; dark plots were hatched within its courtyard. Its ruins are haunted by the ghosts of great names and great reputations—sometimes for good, sometimes for evil. Here the wise Forman taught himself those diplomatic arts which enabled him to settle a dispute between the King of France and the Pope of Rome, and ultimately rewarded him with the primacy of the kingdom. Here the licentious Hepburn told his filthy tales and trolled out his merry songs. Here the notorious Earl of Bothwell, his nephew, learned in his boyish days to look upon principle and morality as but empty names. Here Douglas, the first Protestant bishop, indulged, if we may believe his detractors, his unbridled tastes for the pleasures of the table.

A pleasant place of residence it must have been in those dim and distant days—for dim and distant, indeed, they appear to us when we try to read their history on the spot. The air was pure ; the soil was dry and warm ; the site commanded a wide and smiling prospect. In front was the quiet loch; in the middle distance, to the north and north-west, stretched the fertile plains of Kinneddar and Duffus; beyond them was the sea, with the dim shores of Ross and Cromarty and the truncated cone of Morven framing the landscape like a picture. Towards the south the scene was no less happy and restful. There flowed the placid stream of the winding Lossie; there rose the noble towers and steeple of the great and grave cathedral; there smoked the chimneys of the peaceful little town of Elgin ; while surrounding the frowning walls of the castle itself, enclosed with a high and strong stone precinct wall, were ten acres of garden-ground, of grassy plots, and of shady walks, the remains of which are still to be seen in the avenue of old trees on the side adjoining what was once the loch.

Bishop Innes was succeeded by Henry de Lychton or Leighton, who was translated to Aberdeen in 1421, and when bishop there was appointed one of the commissioners to England to obtain the release of James I. Then comes Columba de Dunbar (1422-23-1435), Dean of Dunbar, younger son of George, tenth Earl of March, and nephew of John Dunbar, Earl of Moray. He held the bishopric for upwards of twelve years. We hear of his obtaining a safe-conduct from King Henry VI. of England to pass through his dominions with a retinue of thirty servants, on his way to Rome in 1433, of his attending the Council of Basle in the following year. He died at Spynie in 1435, w*s buried in the aisle of St Thomas the Martyr, now called the Dunbar aisle, at the northern extremity of the transept of the cathedral, where his recumbent figure in episcopal robes may be seen to this day.

At length we come to a real and vivid personality in John of Winchester, Clericus Regis, who succeeded Bishop Dunbar in April 1437. He was an Englishman, as his name denotes, and he came to Scotland as one of the suite of King James I., when that unfortunate prince returned from his dreary nineteen years’ captivity in England in 1424. His favour with the king stood him in good stead. He was successively appointed Prebendary of Dunkeld, Provost of Lincluden, and finally Lord Clerk-Register. James trusted and confided in him as he trusted and confided in few men. He employed him in numerous and weighty affairs of State. He visited him in his Castle of Spynie. Nor did the bishop’s influence cease when the unfortunate king fell beneath the daggers of Sir Robert Graham and his followers in the Blackfriars’ Monastery at Perth in 1437. During the minority of his son, James II., he was trusted with various embassies to England. He died in 1458, after a longer tenure of office than almost any of his predecessors, and was buried in the St Mary’s aisle of the cathedral. It is recorded that during his incumbency the lands pertaining to the church were erected into the barony of Spynie with full right of regality and the little village of the same name that had grown up beneath the castle walls was erected into a burgh. The temporal influence of the bishops of Moray was growing even more luxuriantly than their spiritual.

From this time forward till the suppression of Roman Catholicism in the middle of the sixteenth century, we find the bishops of Moray occupying a place amongst the greatest in the land. There is hardly one of them who did not combine the functions of the politician with those of the cleric to his own personal advantage, and in a lesser degree to the exaltation of his office, though not always to the interests of his diocese. Lords High Treasurer, Lords Clerk - Register, Keepers of the Privy Seal, Ambassadors,—we shall find instances of them all in the bishops that are to come. After the Reformation the bishops sank into mere spiritual chief magistrates. During at least the last century and more of the four hundred and fifty years when Roman Catholicism was the religion of the kingdom they were princes, not only of the Church, but also of the State.

That the bishopric of Moray was one of the great prizes of the Church is shown by the men who held it. With few exceptions they belonged to the great governing families either of the district or of the realm. Representatives of the Douglases, Inneses, Dunbars, Hepburns, and others are to be found among them. Nor was royalty itself indisposed to find in its cathedral seat a comfortable provision for relatives or connections of its own. The register of the diocese includes the name of four Stewarts who were either allied to or offshoots from the royal family of Scotland.

James Stewart, the first of the four, is said to have belonged to the family of the Stewarts of Lorn. The connection of that family with the royal Stewarts was as follows: Alexander, fourth High Steward of Scotland, and Regent in die minority of Alexander III., had as second son Sir John, who married the heiress of Bonkyll. His eldest son, Sir James of Per-sham, had as third son Sir Robert of Maormeath, whose eldest son, Sir John, married the heiress of Lorn. The eldest son of this marriage was also a Sir Robert, and it is probable that one of his sons was James Stewart, Bishop of Moray. Bishop James Stewart held the see for only two years. He was succeeded in 1461 by David, who is said to have been his brother, and who, as the builder of the great tower of the Palace of Spynie, bulks more largely in modern eyes than almost any other of these medieval prelates.

Bishop “Davie” is a man of whom we would gladly have known more. His troubles with the Earl of Huntly have been already referred to. For some offence, probably connected with the non-payment of certain dues claimed by the Church, Huntly had incurred ecclesiastical censure; and if there were no reprisals, there were at any rate threats in abundance. But the power of the Church was even greater than that of the king’s lieutenant-general, and the earl had to yield. With bare head and bended knee he made his submission to the bishop in the Cathedral of Elgin on 20th May 1464, obtained absolution, and received the kiss of peace,—not, however, it may well be believed, without paying heavily for the privilege. Bishop David Stewart died in 1475, an(* was buried beside his brother in the aisle of St Peter and St Paul in the south transept of the cathedral. His antagonist the Earl of Huntly, who predeceased him by five years, lies not a stone’s throw off under the east window of the Gordon aisle, where are buried so many generations of that powerful family.

The next bishop, William Tulloch, who was translated from Orkney to Moray in 1477, was Keeper of the Privy Seal, and seems to have been much more of a politician than a cleric. He was one of the ambassadors sent to Denmark in 1468 to negotiate the marriage between the king, James III., and “ the Ladey Margarett, eldest daughter to Christierne, first of that name, K. of Denmark and Nouruay and Suethland”—an alliance which first placed the Orkney and Shetland Islands in the possession of the Scottish Crown. He died in 1482.

After him comes another scion of royalty, Andrew Stewart, third son of the Black Knight of Lorn by Jane Beaufort, widow of King James I. But beyond the facts that he was consecrated in 1482 and died in 1501, nothing is known about him.

Andrew Forman, who followed him, however, was one of the most remarkable men of his day. Shrewd, supple, fertile in resource, with an argument ready for every emergency, not too painfully scrupulous when it was necessary to make concessions to the frailties of our imperfect nature, a perfect believer in expediency, with an unerring perception of where his own interest lay, and with a deep-rooted confidence in himself, despite a hot temper and a brusque manner, he rose to high place and preferment by sheer dint of character and mother wit. He was in the fullest sense of the word the architect of his own fortunes. He was no aristocrat though he came of gentle birth, being descended, according to Keith, from the Formans of Hatton, a respectable Berwickshire family. But he owed nothing to his connections. Without influence, acting and thinking independently—and perhaps in some cases only for himself—he stands forward as one of the most accomplished and successful diplomatists of his age.

We first hear of him as Protonotary Apostolic in Scotland in the year 1499. Two years after that he was postulated to the see of Moray, and in that capacity was one of the commissioners sent to England to negotiate a marriage between King James IV. and Margaret, Henry VII.’s eldest daughter, and at a later date to arrange the terms of the treaty of peace between the two nations, necessitated by that event In the same year he was put in full possession of the bishopric, holding at the same time in commendam the priories of Pittenweem in Scotland and Cottingham in England. Another friendly embassy to England followed in 1510. By this time, however, the clouds were gathering. Henry VIII.’s relations with his “dearest brother of Scotland ” were becoming strained in consequence of the importunate demands made upon him in connection with certain jewels and monies claimed by his sister Margaret which Henry declined to surrender, and latterly he had shown himself disposed to interfere in Scottish politics in a way more active than pleasant.

Under these circumstances it was thought advisable by James IV.’s advisers to renew and confirm the ancient league and alliance between France and Scotland, which diplomatic courtesy always affected to believe had existed ever since the time of King Achaius (Eochaig, son of Aeda Fin, King of Dalriada), who, though he lived a century before his day, was said to have been the ally of Charlemagne. Forman was sent to France to work out the details of the treaty. He was eminently successful. The league was not only renewed, but the full rights of citizenship were conceded to natives of Scotland in France, and to natives of France in Scotland. Henceforward it was to be a union not only of hearts but of interests, private as well as political. It was a great concession for the most civilised nation in Christendom to make to what was then one of the rudest, especially when we remember how jealously France confined her privileges to her own free-born children. Naturally the price that Scotland was called on to pay for it was proportionate. It was nothing less than the invasion of England.

From France Forman went on to Rome, where he was received by Pope Julius II. with distinguished favour. And it was not long before he found the opportunity of doing the Pope a signal service. For some time past differences had existed between the French and Papal Courts. These had now attained to such a height that both sovereigns had taken the field, and there seemed no other mode of determining them than by the arbitrament of war. Forman begged and obtained the Pope’s assent to try the effect of mediation. The result was another triumph for his diplomacy. Each side dismissed its forces, and at a personal interview which followed between the French king and the Pope, “all matters debateable betwixt them” were arranged. In return for his services Julius appointed Forman Papal legate for Scotland.

It is in connection with this fortunate visit to Rome that Pitscottie tells a story which has been repeatedly adduced as evidence of Bishop Forman’s ignorance of Latin, though it would rather appear to be proof of his want of knowledge of foreign customs. “Then this bischope maid ane banquett to the Pope and all his cardinallis, in on of the Pope’s awin palaces, and when they war all sett according to thair custome, that he who ought the hous for the tyme should say the grace; and he was not ane guid scholler, nor had not guid Ladnc, but l>egane rudlie in the Scottise faschioun saying Benedirite, Ixrlievand that they schould have said Dominus, bot they answeired, Deus in the Italian faschione, quhilk pat the bischope by his intendment that he wist not weill how to proceid fordward, bot happened, in guid Scottis in this manner, ‘The divill I give you all false cardinallis to, in nomine Patris, Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, Amen.* Then all the bischope’s men leugh, and al the cardinallis thamselffis; and the Pope inquyred quhairat they leugh, and the bischop schew that he was not ane guid dark, and that his cardinallis had put him by his text and intendment, thairfoir he gave thame all to the devill in guid Scottis, quhairat the Pope himselff leugh verrie eamestlie.”

The return which in his turn the French king felt constrained to make for the Scottish bishop’s good offices followed not long after. As the bishop was on his way back to Scotland in the early summer of 1513 the archbishopric of Bruges became vacant. Louis, after having unsuccessfully supported another candidate, preferred a claim on Forman’s behalf, basing his nomination not on what Forman had done for him personally, but on the services he had conferred on religion by inducing his master James IV. to declare war against the arch-heretic of England. Louis’s letter to the Chapter is dated the 7th August; and on the 22d of the same month James crossed the Border. Little was it then foreseen that in less than three weeks from that time the campaign would be at an end, and the brave but misguided James, with all his chivalry, lying lifeless on the fatal field of Flodden.

This disastrous event made no difference in Forman’s fortunes. He was appointed to the office, and on the 13th November he made his solemn entry into Bruges. The nature of his reception, however, soon made him sensible that his appointment was not a popular one. Nor did things improve as time went on. The death of his patron, Pope Julius II., made matters still more difficult. Accordingly, when in 1514 Leo X., coveting the archbishopric for his nephew, Cardinal Abo, proposed that he should exchange it for St Andrews, which had become vacant by the death of the Scottish primate at Flodden, Forman eagerly jumped at the proposal. Leo issued a bull appointing him to the office, and Forman, though he must have known that this was ultra vires of his Holiness, discovered that he had no conscientious scruples in accepting it. There was some clamour, of course. The Chapter, rightly resenting the Pope’s interference, placed obstacles in the way. But through the good offices of Louis of France and the Regent Albany matters were ultimately arranged. Forman was inducted, and held the see for eight years. He died in 1522, and was buried at Dunfermline.

During the incumbency of his successor, James Hepburn, third son of Adam, Lord Hailes, and brother of Patrick, first Earl of Bothwell (1516-1524), the bishopric appears to have reached its utmost height of wealth and magnificence.

Seventy years of steady and continuous work had been required to make good the structural injury to the cathedral caused by the Wolf of Badenoch in 1390. When this was accomplished there yet remained much to be done in the way of embellishment and decoration. Each succeeding bishop strove to outvie his predecessor in adding something to its glory and its splendour. In Bishop Spynie’s time the cathedral tower was begun; in Bishop Columba de Dunbar’s (1422-1435), the large Alpha window was inserted in the western gable, and to the same period is referable the exquisite carving of the western doorway; Bishop David Stewart in 1462 restored the chapter-house, and dedicated it to the Passion. In 1507, the central tower having fallen, Bishop Forman began its re-erection on a still more magnificent scale. Though it was not completed till 1538, during the incumbency of the last Roman Catholic Bishop of Moray, the credit of the work is due to its originator. By the pious labours of these successive prelates the Cathedral of Elgin had become not only the largest but the most splendid specimen of ecclesiastical architecture in the north of Scotland.

It was built in the orthodox form of a Jerusalem or Passion cross; its length from east to west over walls is 282 feet; and it consisted of—

1. A choir, 100 feet long by 70 broad, terminating in a rich gable with octagonal turrets at its angles, pierced by two tiers of five lancet lights and a large rose-window (locally called the Omega window) above. It was divided into three aisles for five bays (or 80 feet) of its length. The remaining portion of 80 feet, which was screened off from the rest, was one-aisled only, and at its extremity was the site of the high altar,4 approached by a short flight of wide and spacious steps. Three bays of the southern aisle were known by the name of St Mary’s (now more commonly called the Gordon) aisle: in one bay of the northern aisle was also a small chapel, where masses were long wont to be sung for the soul of Thomas Randolph, first feudal Earl of Moray.

2. A transept, 90 feet long by 25 broad, consisting of a single aisle supported by four massive columns. Its north end went originally by the name of the aisle of St Thomas the Martyr; but it is now better known by that of the Dunbar aisle, as being the burial-place of so many of that distinguished family. The corresponding end of the southern extremity was dedicated to St Peter and St Paul. The doorway in this southern gable is of exceptional interest, from the bold character of its dog-tooth ornamentations. At the crossing of the nave and transept roofs rose the great tower. This tower fell twice—first in 1506, and again in 1711. After the first fall it was rebuilt, as has been already mentioned, by Bishop Forman and his successors. It was square in form, with side-lights in each face and a corner turret at the north-west angle, and was topped with a lofty steeple. Its height is believed to have been 198 feet. After its second fall it was not restored.

3. A nave. Excluding the western porch, its length is exactly 100 feet and its breadth 60. It is five-aisled, with a porch at the extremity of its northern and southern sides respectively. Its plan is unique, or nearly so, in Great Britain. The five aisles are separated by rows of slender clustered columns, which must have added immensely to its effect, by giving it an appearance of unusual width and lightness. The grand entrance to the cathedral was by the western door. The exterior carving of this porch is of the richest description. Above it was the great window locally known as the Alpha window, and this was flanked by two massive square towers 84 feet in height.

4. The chapter-house occupies its proper place to the northwest of the building. As the ground-plan of every cathedral is intended to represent a cross, so the shape and position of the chapter-house are designed to represent the drooping head of our crucified Saviour. It is octagonal in construction, is 37 feet broad and 34 feet high, and is supported by a clustered shaft with elaborately carved capitals 9 feet in circumference supporting the central groining of the roof. Stone seats surround the walls—one for each of the grave dignitaries who formed the Chapter. That of the dean, its head, is more elevated than the rest. It is the most richly decorated |>art of the whole structure, and is lighted by seven windows of great beauty. The chapter-house is attached to the choir by a small vestibule, off which is the small chamber containing what seems to have been a piscina, locally known by the name of the Lavatory, in connection with which an interesting story is told.

In the early part of the eighteenth century there lived at Drainie a young woman of remarkable beauty of the name of Marjory Gilzean. In 1745 she married, against the wishes of her parents, who occupied a respectable position in life, a soldier of the name of Anderson, a native of the neighbouring village of Lhanbryde, and left the country with him. Three years later she reappeared in Elgin carrying an infant in her arms, her beauty all gone and her mind unhinged by trouble and the privations incident to the hard life of a soldier’s wife. Her husband was dead ; her parents were either dead or would have nothing to do with her. Homeless, friendless, and penniless, she could find no other shelter than the ruins of the cathedral. The Lavatory was then in good repair, and here she took up her quarters, cradling her child in the piscina and depending on charity for the support of herself and her son. When the boy was old enough he was sent to school as a pauper — that is to say, a boy who in return for his education cleaned out the schoolroom and performed whatever other menial duties might be required of him. His schooling finished, he was apprenticed to an uncle—a stay-maker in his father’s village of Lhanbryde. But he was badly used, and in the end he ran away. Finding his way to London, he enlisted in a regiment under orders for India. His good conduct, his indomitable perseverance, and his aptitude in acquiring a knowledge of the oriental languages, soon brought him promotion. Having amassed considerable wealth, he retired from the army with the rank of major-general; and after living some years in Elgin, died in London in 1824, leaving his whole fortune—about j£70,000—to build and endow the “Elgin Institution for the education of youth and support of old age ”—the richest and most useful charity in the county.

Outside the precinct wall of the cathedral was an irregular quadrilateral area, surrounded by a wall 12 feet high. Its circumference is said to have been 900 yards; but it was probably considerably greater, for it is difficult to see how within such circumscribed limits there was room for the large number of ecclesiastical buildings which it certainly contained. This area was called the Collegium. Here stood the manses and gardens of the twenty-four canons—the bishop’s town-house being counted as one of them,—and the lodgings of the vicars and inferior clergy. A paved causeway ran in front of them, and in the circuit wall were five gates, each defended by a portcullis. Until the beginning of the present century a large portion of this wall remained, and, with a little trouble and investigation, its boundaries might have been easily delineated. Nowadays its correct limits must be largely matter of conjecture.

Few places have suffered more from modem neglect than the old and venerable College of Elgin. Of its circuit wall there exist but two fragments—one a shapeless block of decayed masonry in a field within the grounds of the house now called the South College; the other attached to the only one of the ports which still remains. This port is known by the name of the Pann’s Port, from panms or pannagiumy a Low Latin word signifying the meadow-land outside it. It was the eastern gate of the college, and is, fortunately, in a fair state of preservation. It is in the form of a Gothic arch. The grooves in which the chains of its portcullis slid are still distinctly visible.

Persons but recently deceased could remember when there were four of these old manses existing — the dean’s, the archdeacon’s, and those of the prebendaries of Duffus and Unthank. Now the first two alone remain. They have been converted into modem residences, and go by the name of the North and South College respectively. But for their massive walls and a certain air of gravity which seems to cling around them, one might almost be inclined to doubt their venerable antiquity, so much has their appearance been altered by modem improvements. The two others have long since been levelled to the ground; but their position is ascertained, and drawings of them are to be found in Rhind’s ‘ Sketches of Moray.'

The situation of the remainder of the manses within the college cannot be stated with absolute accuracy. Six of them, we know, stood within what are now the grounds of the North College. These were the dean’s, the treasurer’s, and the manses of Bodtery, Inverkeithny, and Croy. Spynie manse occupied the site of a little old house set back from the street, with a small courtyard in front, adjoining Unthank manse, at the foot of North College Street Advie manse stood where Advie House now stands in South College Street; and Moy manse was in the immediate vicinity. The vicar of Elgin had his official residence within what are now the grounds of Grant Lodge. And here also was the bishop’s manse or town-house.

The builder of this residence is supposed to have been Bishop John Innes, and the date of its erection about 1407; but its south wing, as a stone turret upon it seems to indicate, was erected by Bishop Patrick Hepburn in 1557. Judging from its size, it can never have been intended to be more than a mere temporary lodging for the bishop, when his presence on the spot was required in connection with the business of the diocese or the great festivals of the Church. It was for long the residence of Alexander Seton, who was Commendator of Pluscarden after the Reformation, and Provost of Elgin for a considerable period. When he was made a peer by the title of Earl of Dunfermline, it acquired the name of Dunfermline House. It ultimately came into the possession of the Seafield family, and was gifted to the town in 1885 by Caroline, Countess-Dowager of Seafield.

Among the dignitaries who occupied these manses there was much diversity both of rank and of duties.

The Dean {decanus) was the head of the Chapter, and had the greatest responsibility. All the canons, vicars, and chaplains connected with the cathedral were under his control To determine all causes relating to the Chapter, to punish the delinquencies of the vicars and clerics, to instal the canons, to conduct the services of the church and to give the benediction in the absence of the bishop, to inspect, and if need be to correct, any irregularities in the books, vestments, and ornaments of the prebendal churches, were among his manifold duties. In return for this he was entitled to an honour and a reverence which were awarded to none of the other dignitaries of the Chapter. And members of the choir, great and small, were enjoined to bow to him in his stall as they entered or left the church. Without his leave no member of the choir was to absent himself from the precinct even for a single night. When he entered or passed through die choir or chapter-house every one was to rise to his feet. Matins and vespers were not to begin until he was seated in his stall, or had sent a message that he did not intend to be present. And the same rule was to be observed with the sprinkling of holy water, and with the procession and collect in Lent at compline.

Next to the dean in capitular rank came die Archdeacon {irckidiai.vnus) In old charters and local records he is sometimes* though improperly, called the Archdean—a term, according to Professor Cosmo Innes* in all probability denied from “Arsdene” or “Ers-dene,” which was the vernacular form of the word.1

The special function of the archdeacon was to administer the whole jurisdiction of the bishop, and he was by law as well as by practice the judge in the episcopal court In a diocese where the business was heavy, as in Moray, he had the right of delegating his legal duties to a deputy who went by the name of the Official.

The Chanter or Precentor, though of less exalted position, was quite as useful an official within his own peculiar sphere. To him was intrusted the superintendence of the whole musical services of the cathedral. He had to admit and to instruct the choir, and to keep them in order; to correct the music-books, and to see that they were properly bound. The “sang schules” over which such officials presided, often, and indeed as a rule, did more than afford a mere musical education to their scholars. Many of them at the Reformation were converted into the grammar-schools of their respective burghs.

The duties of the Chancellor were bewilderingly multifarious. He was rector of the theological school—in other words, the head of the ecclesiastical training college. The preaching in the cathedral also was under his charge. It was his particular province to see that nothing approaching heterodoxy should be promulgated from the pulpit. He was at times to preach to the choir, at others to the Chapter, and on certain great festivals of the Church to the people. He was to correct the books containing the legends of the saints and to see to their binding. He was to look after the readers and servants. He was to have the custody of the Chapter seal, and to see it safely locked up in the treasury under double locks. He was to write the letters and draw up the charters of the Chapter, and to have the supervision of the theological library. His importance may be estimated by the multitude of his functions.

To the Treasurer belonged the care of the ornaments, the relics, and the other treasures of the cathedral; the keeping in order of the clocks; the providing of the Communion elements; of the lights, wine, coals, incense, and the necessary utensils of the church; the supply of straw for the chapter floor and of rushes at the great festivals; the providing of mats for the choir and in front of the various altars; the payment of the wages of the church servants, et multa alia que longutn est enarrare.

Each of these chief dignitaries had his deputy. There was a sub-dean, a sub-chancellor, a sub-chanter, and so on. Very probably the care of his deputy was not the least onerous of a dignified cleric’s duties.

But if their functions were heavy, their emoluments were great. The revenues enjoyed by the various members of the Chapter were derived from two sources — from the profits accruing to them from the lands in which they were invested in virtue of their offices, and from certain pecuniary payments due to them in respect of the discharge of their ecclesiastical functions. The one was called their temporality, the other their spirituality. Their income from the land was payable partly in money, partly in kind. Hence the difficulty—one might almost say the impossibility—of conveying to the modem reader anything like an accurate idea in pounds, shillings, and pence of the actual value of their benefices, from whatsoever source derived. But something like an approximate notion may be obtained.

Beginning with the bishop, who of course was the most highly remunerated member of the Chapter, the first point to be ascertained is how the bishopric of Moray stood as regarded emoluments in relation to the other bishoprics of Scotland. In 1256 it stood fourth. In a taxatio or valuation of that year preserved in the ‘ Registrum Aberdonense,’ the relative values of the principal sees are given as follows :—

1. St Andrews .... /8023
2. Glasgow .... 4080
3. Aberdeen 1611
4. Moray ..... 1418

These figures, however, give us no idea of the actual income of the bishop. They show only the net sum on which the various bishoprics were liable to be assessed.

One might not unreasonably suppose that in the Chartulary, which is such a mine of information as to everything relating to the diocese, we would find data that would enable us to arrive at a satisfactory estimate of the bishop’s income, at least at some period of the bishopric’s existence. But this is not the case. There are, indeed, certain documents—apparently, from the character of their handwriting, of the end of the thirteenth century—which bear upon the subject But they do nothing more than enlighten us as to particular items of his revenue.

The first of these is a return seemingly prepared for the purpose of estimating the rents due to him from the four deaneries of the diocese—Elgin, Inverness, Strathspey, and Strathbogie. The Dean of Elgin was the only one of these four dignitaries who had a seat in the Chapter. The others were rural deans only, whose jurisdiction over the clergy of their respective districts was “made up of a delegation of the general pastoral authority of the bishop and of the jurisdiction of the archdeacon.” What the exact nature of their functions was we need not here stop to inquire. No doubt within his own district every rural dean was a dignitary of very considerable importance. But whatever he may have been, the document now under consideration shows that he had to pay pretty smartly for his position.

The return which follows gives the amount of the procurations due to the bishop. Each church in the deanery was taxed in a certain sum for the purpose of entertaining the bishop in his annual visitations. This was called a procuration. The amount levied on the four deaneries came to about

Another return gives the amount of the synodical dues payable to the bishop; but these only came to a small sum yearly, apparently to little more than ^4.

The only other paper in the register which throws any light upon the matter is the rental prepared by Master Archibald Lyndesay, the chamberlain, in 1561. It shows the value of the temporality of the bishop at a time when it had reached its apogee of wealth and magnificence. At this date the bishop was lord of no less than nine baronies—Spynie, Kinneddar, Birnie, Rafford, Ardclach, Keith, Kilmyles, Strathspey, and Moymore, in the four shires of Inverness, Elgin, Nairn, and Banff. Every feu-duty, every mart, mutton, lamb, capon, dozen of poultry, boll of oats and barley, all multures, grassums, rights of service, upkeep of mills—in short, every return in labour, money, or kind which he could claim from his tenants, is set forth in this elaborate document The result, after deducting what was actually expended by the bishop himself, was as follows:—

1. The “haill ferme and teind victualls” of the bishopric amounted to 77 chalders, 6 bolls, 3 firlots, and 2 pecks, with 10 bolls of wheat It is noted that “in tymes bypast ” these had been much greater, “ extending to fourscore and fourteen chalders or thairby ”; but inundations, “ the sanding of the lands by watteris,” and “ the wound and povertie of tennentis and truble of this tyme,” had reduced the return to the sum above stated.

2. Money, “ the salmond comptit thairwith,” ^2633, 7s. 3^d. As for the “procurations and synodals,” which could formerly be computed at j£So a-year, nothing had been got from them for three years past.

In addition to the various sources of revenue above mentioned the bishop had at least another. The fruits of certain churches and parishes were appropriated to his special maintenance. From these he derived what would now be called his table-allowance. It was in keeping with his state. The mensal churches of the bishopric of Moray were no fewer than twelve in number, and consisted of the churches of Elgin, St Andrews, Dyke, Ugstoun, Rothemaye, Keith, Grantully, Dulbateiauch or Wardlaw, Rothiemurcus, Davit, Tallarcie, and Inverallan.

The incomes of the other canons were on the same magnificent scale. The sources, too, were similar. In a greater or less degree each had his tithes, his “ maills and duties,” his payments in money and in kind, his Easter offerings, his dues on marriages, baptisms, and funerals—these last the heaviest and most oppressive of all. Certain churches, too, known as common churches, were assigned to provide a general table-allowance for the Chapter. They are stated to have been—

Artendol, Ferneway, Aberihacyn, Logykenny, Kyncardin, Abirnethy, Altre, Ewain, Brennath. Some of these are recognisable under their modern names; others can only be guessed at In addition to his manse and garden within the collegium, each had also his “ croft ” outside the precinct walls. These crofts varied in size, probably according to the rank of the dignitary, from 2 to 4 acres, and embraced in all, perhaps, some 50 or 60 acres. The names of places in the vicinity of Elgin still preserve their memory. The lands of Dean’s Haugh were part of the croft of the dean; Moycroft was that of the parson of Moy; a “tail” of land now within the grounds of South College is still known as the Sub-Chanter’s Croft; and so on.

From a collation of the original records of the valuation of 1561, the late learned editor of the ‘Registrum Moraviense/ Professor Cosmo Innes, who was himself Sheriff of Moray, has given details of the values of the prebends of the various members of the Chapter, so far as this was possible from his imperfect materials. These we may thus abridge:—

The dean had in victual 31 chalders, 5 bolls, 1 firlot, and 3 pecks; of kain wedders no; of kain oats, 6 bolls; of capons, 24. From the sale of his marts he derived 26s. 8d. The value of his teinds “ sett for money ” was £114, 13s. 4d ; that of “the temporal landis mailis” £14, 0s. 10d.

The full particulars of the sub-dean’s income do not seem to have been available; but he had for the parsonage of Dollas 5 chalders, 2 bolls, and 3 firlots of victual, and the altarage of Auldearn brought him in ^40 more.

The chanter had 18 chalders of victual and 180 merks of money.

The rental of the chancellary of Moray (only a portion, it must be kept in view, of the chancellor’s revenue) was £100.

That of the archdeacon was £146, 13s. 4d.

The sub-chanter had 335 merks from the profits of the kirk of Rafford, and £40 from that of Ardclach.

The prebend of the parson of Duffus was valued at 16 chalders of victual and ^152, 10s. of money; that of Moy at 80 merks; that of Kinnoir at jQioo ) Advie and Cromdale at 40 merks ; Rhynie at 80 merks; Kingussie at jQZo ; Dipple at ^98, 3s. 4d. and 2 chalders 4 bolls of victual; Spynie at 200 merks; the vicarage of Elgin at 2 chalders of victual only, “the resoun thair is na payment maid nothir of woll, lamb, nor utheris dewties payit to vicaris in tymes bypast, quhilk had wont to be sett in assedatioun for four score merkis.”

We need not pursue the subject further. Nor, indeed, beyond a few fragmentary notices of special endowments to this or that parsonage or chaplainry, has the Chartulary much more to telL Sufficient, however, has been said to show that, taking into account the poverty of the country generally and the immense difference between the purchasing power of money in those days and in our own, Mother Church at the end of the sixteenth century was no injusta noverca to her secular children.

After the death of Bishop James Hepburn, Robert Schaw, a son of the Laird of Sauchie, in Stirlingshire, succeeded him. He was “ a man of great virtue,” and perhaps for that very reason has left behind him no history worth recording. He held the see for three years only—from 1524 to 1527.

His successor, Alexander Stewart, was the son of Alexander, Duke of Albany, younger brother of King James III., and of Catherine Sinclair, daughter of William, Earl of Caithness and Orkney. Albany having divorced his wife on the convenient ground of propinquity, in order to marry Cecilia, the daughter of Edward IV., and thus to secure the English king's aid in his treasonable designs upon the Scottish crown, his son was rendered illegitimate. Albany’s ambition was frustrated. He neither succeeded in marrying the princess nor in becoming king of Scotland. But his cruel conduct towards his wife clouded his son’s whole future life, and forced him to adopt the Church as a profession. In due time he became Prior of Whitheme, Abbot of Inchaffray, and Abbot of Scone in commendam. Finally, in 1527 he was promoted to the see of Moray, and died in 1534.

Patrick Hepburn, the next Bishop of Moray, and the last Roman Catholic holder of the see, was a man of a very different type. He was the son of Patrick, first Earl of Bothwell, and consequently nephew of his predecessor in the see, Bishop James Hepburn. He succeeded his uncl John, by whom he had been educated, as Prior of St Andrews in 1522; he was secretary from 1524 to 1527; in 1535 he was promoted to the see of Moray, and he afterwards received the rich abbacy of Scone in commendam. All his family had been clever men, and in talents he took after his family. He was one of the commissioners who negotiated the marriage of Mary Stewart with Francis, the Dauphin of France, though he was not one of those who assisted at its celebration. But his licentious life and the gross obscenity of his manners and conversation have marred his reputation. History and tradition have handed him down to us as not only the last but the worst of the old bishops of Moray. The memory of his irregular life still survives in the district No doubt many of these tales are exaggerated, and there is no need to repeat them here. But authentic history records that he had at any rate ten illegitimate children by four different mothers, and all these he managed to provide for at the expense of the Church. In truth he was the greatest dilapidator of Church possessions that the bishopric had ever known. Wise in his generation, he saw that the Reformation was not a thing to be opposed.

by spiritual weapons at any rate; and he had been but a short time in possession of the see when he began a system of alienation of the Church lands, in order to provide for his own future maintenance and that of his numerous family. The feu-charters and assedations granted by him occupy many pages of the Chartulary, and as the most were granted to the surrounding proprietors on easy terms, he was able, when the storm did burst, not only to brave but to defy the Reformation. It was of little consequence to him that the General Assembly deprived him of his spirituality. So long as they were unable to take his temporality from him, he cared not a whit And that they were never able to do. Shutting himself up in his palace of Spynie, he carried on his wild, merry, unprincipled life to the end, and died there—not, however, in the odour of sanctity—on the 20th June 1573.

The year 1560 had seen the triumph of the Congregation. Mary of Guise, who had latterly been the sole obstacle to its success, died on the 10th June. The Estates met in August; and on the 17 th they approved the Confession of Faith as containing the only “ hailsome and sound doctrine, grounded upon the infallible truth of God’s Word.” This was followed up by Acts prohibiting any other form of belief or worship, and making the celebration or attendance at mass a highly criminal offence. “On the morning of the 25th of August 1560,” says Burton, “the Romish hierarchy was supreme: in the evening of the same day Calvinistic Protestantism was established in its stead.”

The change from Roman Catholicism to Protestantism in Moray was attended with none of the friction which might reasonably have been expected to ensue in a district which owed so much in the way of material advantage to the old religion. Nor was there any solution of continuity in the episcopal succession. Within two months after Bishop Hepburn’s death his Protestant successor had been elected The “licence” to the Chapter “to cheis a bishop of Moray” is dated the 12th August 1573; and the “consecration of the bishop” took place on the 5th February following. The person on whom the choice of the Chapter fell was George Douglas, a natural son of Archibald, Earl of Angus. He held the bishopric for sixteen years, and is buried in the chapel of Holyrood.

On his death in 1589 James VI. seized the opportunity to convert the bishopric into a temporal lordship. Alexander Lindsay, on whom the king conferred it in 1590 with the title of Lord Spynie, was a brother of Alexander, Earl of Crawford. He was an old and intimate friend and boon companion of the king. He had accompanied his master to Norway on his venturesome matrimonial expedition in quest of the King of Denmark’s daughter, and there he had fallen. James proceeded to Denmark, leaving Lindsay behind. But he did not forget his sick comrade. To cheer him in his sickness, and to make up to him for all he had endured in his service, he wrote him a long gossipy letter, in which he promised that on his return to Scotland he would, with the consent of Parliament, “erect you the temporality of Moray in a temporal lordship, with all honours thereto pertaining.” “Let this,” he adds, “serve for cure to your present disease;” and he dates this genial characteristic letter from the “Castell of Croneburg [Elsinore], quhair we are drinking and dryving our in the auld maner.” This promise he religiously fulfilled.

The year 1592 saw the abolition of Episcopacy, and the establishment of Presbyterianism as the religion of the State. This condition of affairs, however, was of short continuance only. James’s sufferings, when king of Scotland, at the hands of his Presbyterian masters, as they made him feel that they were, had been too galling to engender in him any particular love either for them or for their doctrines. Accordingly, he was hardly seated on the English throne when he began to have grave and heart-searching doubts as to the orthodoxy of their teaching on such important subjects as his ecclesiastical supremacy and the Presbyterian form of Church government. Very soon he discovered that a Scottish Presbytery “as well agreeth with a monarchy as God and the Devil.” From that moment his conscience would give him no rest until Episcopacy was revived. With characteristic impetuosity he set about the work at once. The story of his efforts to achieve his object—of his squabbles with the Presbyterian party, of his attempts to win over this or that of its leaders, of his disputations, public and private, of his wheedlings and coaxings and flatterings—is one of the most amusing chapters of our annals. He succeeded, of course. Presbyterianism was as yet a plant of too young and weakly a growth to be able to withstand the efforts of a king backed by all the bishops and clergy of the Church of England, and in due time it yielded to their united efforts. Episcopacy was restored in 1606. The king was delighted. His first care was to provide the new bishops with robes befitting their resuscitated dignity, and to fix their social position. He would have been glad if he could have stopped there, and let the bishops shift for themselves in finding the means to support their blushing honours; but that was out of the question. The new dignitaries gave him no peace until they had forced him to take in hand the difficult question himself, and in the end he was compelled to do so.

Among others, Alexander Douglas, the Bishop of Moray (1606-1623), applied to him for a restoration of his temporalities. James was forced to open negotiations with his “dear Sandy.” Lord Spynie had to make a virtue of necessity. He surrendered his lands for the sum the king offered him, though with a very bad grace. But being a sharp man of business, he refused to accept the royal obligation in the shape of his kingly word; he insisted on getting the bishop’s bond also. Lord Spynie’s death from the wounds sustained in a street brawl in 1607, between his nephew the Master of Crawford and the young Lord of Edzell, was the cause of much subsequent litigation over this edifying transaction. Spynie’s representatives were obdurate; the poor bishop had nothing wherewith to pay; and it ended by the Crown having to satisfy the claim.

Bishop Douglas’s successor was John Guthrie, minister of Edinburgh. The fifteen years during which he held the see (1623-1638) were years of trouble and confusion. James VI. was dead. The Covenanters were in arms against their king, Charles I., and their cause was distinctly prospering. At last in 1638 their triumph came. Guthrie, with others of his order, was cited to appear before the General Assembly that met at Glasgow in the autumn of 1638, to answer to crimes and misdemeanours, not one out of ten of which had any foundation save in the imagination of their enemies. From the * Letters of Robert Baillie,’ who was one of his judges, and not one of the most bigoted, we learn what the charges were against Guthrie. “Moray,” he writes, “had all the ordinary faults of a bishop, besides his boldness to be the first to put on his sleeves in Edinburgh”—in other words, to wear the proper dress of his order. For these offences he was deposed. More fortunate than some of his brethren, he was “not at this tyme excommunicat.” He continued the even tenor of his ways, teaching and preaching with exemplary assiduity just as if no such sentence had been pronounced against him, and living a quiet domestic life with his wife and

family in the castle of Spynie. Foreseeing the troubles that were likely to ensue, he had six months previously taken care to “furnish it with all necessary provisioun, men and meit, ammvnition, pudder and ball.” But nothing was further from the bishop’s intentions than actual resistance. The leaders of the Tables, however, thought differently. Accordingly in July 1640 they directed General Monro “to take order ” with the redoubtable old churchman. “Therevpon,” says Spalding, “Monro resolues to go to sie the bischop and the hous of Spynnie. He takis 300 mvskiteiris with him, with puttaris and peicis of ordinance, with all vther thinges necessar, and leaves the rest of his regiment behind him lying at Strathbogie abyding his re-tume. Be the way, sindrie barronis and gentilmen of the countrie met him and convoyit him to Spynne. The bischop of Morray (by expectatioun of many) cumis furth of the place, and spak with Monro, and presentlie but more ado, vpone Thuirsday 16th July, randeris the hous well fumeshit with meit and mvnitioun. He deliveris the keyis to Monro, who with sum soldiouris enteris the houss, receavit good inter-tynnemint Thairefter Monro mellis with the haill armes within the place, plunderit the bischopis ryding horss, sadill and bryddill; bot did no more iniury, nor vsit plundering of anything within or without the houss. He removit all except the bischop and his wyf, sum bames and seruandis, whome he sufferit to remin vnder the gaird of ane capitan, ane liveten-nand, ane serjand and 24 mvskiteiris, whome he ordered to keep that houss, quhill forder ordour came from the Tables, and to leive vpon the rentis of the bischoprik, and onnawayes to trable the bischopis houshold provisioun, nor be burden-abill vnto him. Bot the bischop vsit the thrie commanderis most kyndlie, eiting at his owne table, and the soldiouris wes sustenit according to directioun forsaid. Monro haueing thus gottin in this strong strenth by his expectatioun, with so litele panes, quhilk wes nather for scant nor want given ower, he returns bak agane to Strathbogie trivmphantlie.”

In September Monro returned to Edinburgh, taking with him the Bishop of Moray, whom he brought a captive at his victorious chariot-wheels, “up the streitis and presentit him to the Estates,” who “incontinent causit waird him in the tolbuith of Edinburgh, where he remaint with a havie hart ” till November 1641, when he was released on baiL He retired to his native county of Forfar, and died there “in the time of the great rebellion,” sometime before the restoration of Charles II.

The year 1641 saw the Covenant burned by the hand of the common hangman, and Episcopacy re-established for the last time. The first bishop under the new regime was Murdoch Mackenzie (1662-1677), who, according to Keith, was “descended from a younger son of the laird of Gairloch, the first branch of the family of Seaforth.” It is very difficult to arrive at a proper estimate of his character, so hardly, and, as it seems, so uncharitably has this prelate been dealt with by the Covenanting writers of his time. The charge which has been most persistently pressed is that of an absorbing avarice. Wodrow. who is especially prejudiced against him, declaims as to his hypocrisy in preaching about the deceitfulness of riches "while he was drawing the money over the board to him." And Alexander Brodie of Brodie, one of die Covenanter? in his diocese, expresses himself to die effect. well exemplified in the proceedings of the General Assembly of 1656. An Act had been introduced “for promoving pie-tie.” Mackenzie had the manliness to object to it He did not see, he said, why masters of families or parents should be bound under high ecclesiastical pains and penalties to “explain, catechiz or scriptur ” those under their charge. And if, he went on, in terror of the Act, they were so “ impudent ” as to say they had discharged their duties when in point of fact they had not, he could not understand why they should be censured, removed from office, or debarred the sacrament. The fault was not theirs. It was that of the Act or of the men who made it. Wodrow tells an amusing story of Bishop Mackenzie in the days when he was the parish clergyman of Elgin. “As a minister,” he says, “he was famous for searching people’s kitchens on Christmas day for the superstitious goose, telling them the feathers of them would rise up in judgment against them one day.” In due time, after sixteen years of Episcopal work in Moray, there comes the rumour that Mackenzie is to be translated to Orkney, which was not only a richer benefice, but was then, as now, famous for the excellence of its geese. Brodie, whom nothing could restrain from interfering in other people’s affairs, must needs speak to the bishop on the subject “ I askd at him, if he wer to remov to a fatter benefice: Orkney was twice as good. He said, ‘A goose was good, and the fatter the better.’” A man who could thus make good-humoured reference to a story against himself cannot have been altogether without good points. Robert Baillie describes him as a “bold, weel-spoken man.” And even Brodie admits the strength of his personal influence over his flock, which went so far as to induce them to receive the communion kneeling. His kindness to a boat-load of poor Nonconformist prisoners taken at Bothwell Brig, who were shipwrecked in Orkney on their voyage to the West Indian “plantations,” to which they had been sentenced to be transported, is one of the most creditable and best remembered incidents of his career.

The truth seems to be that Bishop Mackenzie was a man much in advance of his time. He probably owed this to his history. His life had been full of changes and chances. We first hear of him as chaplain to the troops taken over to Germany by Lord Reay and the Baron of Fowlis to assist— not for conscience* sake only — Gustavus Adolphus in his crusade against Papacy known as the Thirty Years* War. From that he passed to a quiet country cure—that of Contin in Ross-shire. From Contin he was transferred to Inverness (1640-1645), and from there to Elgin. His elevation to the bishopric of Moray took place in 1662 ; in 1678 he was promoted to Orkney; and he died, according to Keith, at Kirkwall in 1688, the year of the Great Revolution.

James Aitkin, who succeeded him, was an Orcadian—the son of Henry Aitkin, sheriff and commissary of those islands. His education was begun at Edinburgh and finished at Oxford. He was chaplain to the Marquis of Hamilton while he was the king’s commissioner to the General Assembly of 1638, and must have witnessed, and perhaps condemned, its treatment of the bishops. His next appointment was that of minister of Birsay, a parish on the mainland of Orkney; and Keith records that in that obscure sphere he won the general esteem of all classes. In 1650, when Montrose landed in Scotland on that last expedition of his, which ended in his defeat and capture before it could be said to have begun, Aitkin was deputed by his brethren of the Presbytery to draw up a declaration in their name expressing their loyalty to the Crown and their resolution to adhere to their allegiance. For this he and all the other signatories were promptly deposed. Aitkin was excommunicated, and an order for his apprehension issued. He had, however, a friend at Court. His kinsman, Sir Archibald Primrose, was clerk to the Council, and gave him private notice of his danger. Aitkin, leaving his family behind him, fled to Holland, where he remained for the next three years. He returned to Scotland in 1653, and sending for his family, lived in hiding in Edinburgh, like so many others of his cloth, until the Restoration in 1660.

No sooner had the king got his own again than Aitkin emerged from his concealment. Thomas Sydserf, who had been Bishop of Galloway, was the only survivor of the old Scottish bishops. He at once went up to London to offer his congratulations to his restored king. Aitkin accompanied him. He was not yet of sufficient importance to be promoted to a bishopric, but his long devotion to the royal cause was not suffered to go unrewarded. He was presented by the Bishop of Winchester to the rectory of Winfirth in Dorsetshire, and in that pleasant seclusion he spent the next seventeen years of his life. In 1677 he was consecrated Bishop of Moray. Three years later he was translated to the see of Galloway. The vicissitudes of such a life would have been worth recording. Unfortunately no memoir of him exists.

The memory of none of the Protestant bishops is more cherished than that of Colin Falconar, who occupied the see from 1680 to 1686. He was a native of the district. His father, William Falconar, was proprietor of Downduff, a small estate on the banks of the river Findhom. His mother was Beatrice, daughter of Dunbar of Bogs,—now part of the Sanquhar estate near Forres,—and one of the many families of that name who claimed kinship with the old Dunbar Earls of Moray. The Falconars of Downduff were cadets of the family of Falconar of Halkerton,—the ancestors of the Earls of Kintore,—who were also proprietors of the lands of Lethen in Nairnshire. Hence on both sides Colin Falconar could claim connection with the landed gentry of the district.

His career is in striking contrast to’ that of his two immediate predecessors. Before his promotion to episcopal rank he had taken no further part in public business, nor seen any more of the world than was to be found in the path of a conscientious parish minister. His first charge was that of Essil in the Speymouth district; his next was that of Forres, where his arms, impaled with those of his wife, Lillias Rose, granddaughter of William Rose, eleventh Baron of Kilravock, are still to be seen on a stone built into the back wing of the Free Church manse of the town. As minister of Forres he also held the titular rank of Archdeacon of Moray. But his first see was not that of the district where he had spent twenty-seven of the most useful and hard-working years of his life, but the wild, half-Highland diocese of Argyll. This appointment, however, he held for only a few months. In July 1680 he was translated to Moray, and died at Spynie on nth November 1686 in the sixty-third year of his age. Personal piety and the blessed art of peacemaking were his principal characteristics. He is said to have healed more feuds among the landed gentry of the district than any other bishop of the diocese either before or after him.

With Colin Falconar the list of the Bishops of Moray may be said to have practically come to an end. There were, indeed, two bishops after him,—Alexander Rose, descended from the family of Kilravock, consecrated in March 1686; and William Hay, of the family of Park, a cadet of the old knightly family of Hays of Lochloy in Nairnshire, consecrated in February 1688. But the one was translated to Edinburgh after he had been little more than half a year Bishop of Moray; and the other suffered the common fate of the order, and was ejected at the Revolution. The Errol MS. describes Bishop Hay as a man “of very mild and gentle temper, willing neither to persecute Papists nor Presbyterians ; so he neither approved of the rigour of penal laws against the one, nor allowed his clergy to vex the other. And they having once asked him, ‘ What, then, shall we do? for the schismatick preachers will prevail,* he said, ‘Excel them in life and doctrine.'”

The Act finally abolishing Prelacy was passed in 1689, and with it Bishop Hay’s episcopal functions ceased. He might perhaps have been allowed to continue in the incumbency of St Giles, the parish kirk of Elgin, if he had consented to pray for William and Mary by name. But this his conscience would not allow him to do, and in October of the same year he was deprived of his benefice. He retired to Inverness, and lived for sixteen years afterwards, a martyr to disease and ill-health. He died on 19th March 1707 in the sixtieth year of his age. A monument, which may possibly have been intended to adorn the walls of the old High Kirk there (replaced in 1770 by the present building), describes him as “a prelate of primitive piety and of the highest eloquence, and everywhere the faithful champion of the Church and of the royal dignity.”

The bishopric of Moray lasted 581 years in all. During the whole of that long period its influence upon the district had been one distinctly for good. To it Moray owes almost everything—its high standard of civilisation, the growth of its towns, its unbroken peacefulness, all those memories and traditions which are its proudest inheritance. Until within very recent days Elgin had all the quiet, all the stateliness, all the amenity of a cathedral city. Little of that exists now. What alone distinguishes it from other provincial towns of Scotland is the ruins of its cathedral.

The sure and steady decadence of that once magnificent structure is a story as painful as it is discreditable. It reached its lowest depth in the beginning of the present century, when it was saved from utter dissolution by the pious efforts of an obscure cobbler. Its present ruined condition is due much more to the indifference of those whose duty it was to protect it, than to religious or political fanaticism, or to the vicissitudes of troublous times.

No doubt the storms of the Reformation had not suffered it to rest unscathed. In 1567 or 1568, during the regency of the Earl of Moray, the Privy Council issued an order in which, after stating that it was necessary that “provisioun be maid for the enterteining of the men of weir quhais services cannot be sparit,” “it was appointed that the lead should be taken from the cathedral churches in Elgyne and Aberdeen, and sauld and disponit upon for sustentation of the said men of weir.” Young, the annalist of Elgin, suggests with considerable probability that the spire of the great steeple and the steeples of the two western towers were made of wood, and that it was their leaden roofing which was removed. But removed some lead assuredly was, and this lead was sold and placed on board a ship to be conveyed to Holland. Tradition asserts that it never reached its destination. The ship, its crew, and its cargo were lost on the voyage, and the sacrilege was atoned.

In 1569, the political atmosphere being for the moment more serene, an attempt was made to repair the damage. The bishop and some of the canons intimated that they were willing to “pay ane ressonabill contributioun, for mending, the king, and reparaling of the Cathedrall Kirk of Moray”; and the Privy Council, never unwilling to countenance any project of the kind so long as it was not to cost the national exchequer a farthing, accordingly published an edict directing the “Abbot of Kinloss, the Prior of Pluscarden, the Dean, Canons, Parsons, and Vicars and utheris beneficit men within the boundris of the said Diocie of Murray,” to go and do likewise, under pain of being denounced rebels and put to the horn. But nothing came of it, notwithstanding the heavy penalty attached to disobedience of the order, and the gradual decay of the structure went on unchecked.

In 1637 the roof-tree of the choir was destroyed by a violent wind-storm. In 1640 Gilbert Ross, minister of Elgin, aided and abetted by the lairds of Innes and Brodie and others, all ardent Covenanters, without authority from presbytery or council, in an outburst of bigotry demolished the rich timber screen which separated the nave from the choir. It had survived the Reformation nearly “ sevin scoir yearis,” and its merits as a work of art might have saved it In its very beauty these intemperate bigots probably detected a snare and a delusion. “ On the wast syde,” says Spalding, “wes painted in excellent culloris, illuminat with starris of bright gold, the crucefixing of our blessed Saueour Jesus Christ This peice wes so excellentlie done, that the cullouris nor starris never faidit nor evanishit, bot keipit haill and sound as thay were at the beginning notwithstanding this college or channourie Kirk wantit the roof sen the refourmatioun, and no haill wyndo thairintill to saif the same from storme, snaw, sleit, or weit, quhilk myself saw, and mervallous to consider. On the vther syde of this wall, towardis the east, wes drawin the day of judgement Aluayes all is throwne doun to the ground. It wes said this minister causit bring hame to his hous the tymber thairof, and bume for serving his keching and vther vses: bot ilk nicht the fyre went out that it wes burnt, and could not be haldin in to kyndle the morning fyre as vse is; whairat the servandis and vtheris mervallit, and thairupone the minister left of and forboor to bring in or bume ony more of that tymber in his hous. This wes markit, spred throw Elgyne, and crediblie reportit to myself.”

In 1711, on Pace Sunday, the great tower fell. “It had probably,” says Young, “been undermined by masons of the town removing stones from it.” Some children and people had been walking about it in the morning, but it fell during breakfast-time and no one was hurt For more than a century afterwards the ruins were used as a quarry; the precinct wall fell; the churchyard became overgrown with weeds, and littered with every kind of rubbish.

And so things continued till the year 1824, when a certain John Shanks, “an idle gossiping creature,” who had been a “drouthy cobbler” in the High Street of Elgin, was for some services rendered to the winning party at a parliamentary election appointed to the keepership of the cathedral He was a thin, lank, spider-like being, with a quiet earnest enthusiasm in his manner, who dressed habitually in a red Kilmarnock bonnet, short breeches, and rig-and-fur stockings, —“a sort of Old Mortality,” says Billings, “whose delight it was to labour among ruins and tombs.” No sooner was he appointed than he set vigorously to work to clear away the accumulated rubbish. With his own hands he removed nearly three thousand barrowfuls of litter. The Morayshire Farmers’ Club, hearing of the good work he was doing, sent him horses and carts to carry away the sweepings. When he had finished his labours he had not only made the place tidy and approachable, but had laid bare the traces of its original plan, the elevations at the high altar, the stairs at the western gate, and discovered many tombs and ornaments buried deep within the waste. But, as he said to Lord Cockbum, who made his acquaintance in 1838, “the rubbish made an auld man of me.” He died on the 14th April 1841, aged eighty-three. A stone, now built into the precinct wall of the cathedral, bearing an epitaph written by Lord Cockbum, preserves, in language not one whit too strong, the memory of his pious work. “For seventeen years,” it says, “he was the Keeper and the Shower of this Cathedral, and while not even the Crown was doing anything for its preservation, he with his own hands cleared it of many thousand cubic yards of rubbish, disclosing the bases of its pillars, collecting the carved fragments, and introducing some order and propriety. Whoso reverences the Cathedral will respect the memory of this man.”

The Reformers had, on the whole, dealt gently with the cathedral They had shown no desire to injure it except when the exigencies of the political situation rendered it necessary to take advantage of its riches. So long as nothing more than the abolition of Roman Catholicism was aimed at, so long as Prelacy should continue an institution of the State, the preservation of the cathedral as the chief church of the diocese was, if not an absolute necessity, at any rate in the highest degree expedient.

And it was the same with the other religious edifices within the bishopric, which belonged not to the secular clergy but to the regulars. They all ceased to exist, no doubt, as institutions, but the buildings themselves were uninjured. “The rooks were driven away, but their nests were not harried.” Of these establishments one of the most important was the Priory of Pluscarden. Six miles south-west of Elgin is an oval valley, or rather basin, completely surrounded by fir-clad hills. Those on the north are called the Heldon, those on the south the Kellas, hills. A little stream—the Lochty or Black Burn—runs through it from end to end. The soil is fertile, the air is pure, the surroundings in the highest degree attractive. The first things the traveller observes as he enters this peaceful valley are the ruined tower and sharp roofless gable of what has evidently been an important religious edifice. The rest of the building is invisible, concealed under a rich growth of dark ivy, or screened from sight by the thick foliage of magnificent old trees. This valley is what was known in medieval days as the vale of St Andrew, and the ruins are those of the Priory of Pluscarden. Few more picturesque exist in Scotland. They remind one of Dryburgh in much the same way as those of Elgin Cathedral remind one of Lincoln, and for the same reason. They both belong to very nearly the same period.

Though the hand of time has dealt hardly with the building, the remains that still exist bear unmistakable evidence that no priory in the kingdom was better furnished with all the comforts and conveniences for a monastic life. There was a choir, used as a chapel, with a suitable vestry; there was a Lady's chapel, a calefactory, a refectory, and a spacious cloister-couit. On the second floor were the dormitories, and perhaps also a scriptorium. The prior’s house stood apart from the main building, and close beside it stood the mill of the monastery. There may have been other buildings within the precinct wall —a guest-house at any rate—but of these there are now no distinguishable traces. Nothing that would conduce to the material wellbeing of the inmates seems to have been omitted. Spacious vaults for the storage of fuel and provisions; a kitchen with a great fireplace at the eastern end, and two windows opening into the refectory, one large for the heroic feasts of festival days, the other smaller for everyday repasts; pantries, cellars, and “awmries”; a lake which may have done service as a fish-pond; and a spacious garden full of all manner of vegetables and fruit-trees, some of the latter of which are alive to this day. In one of the walls are still to be seen the recesses where the monks placed their beehives.

In addition to all this the monks possessed broad acres, granges, rights of fishing, multures, casualties, and all those other pertinents of land which in those days made heritable property the most desirable of all earthly possessions. An abstract of the rental of the priory at the time of the Reformation shows an annual income of £796 of money and 2274 bolls of victual, besides 468 barrels or 39 lasts of salmon, not counting such trifles as the customary dues of “muttons, kyddis, and pultries.”

The owners of this great estate were a community of monks who followed the rule of the monastery of the Vallis Caulium (Val des Choux) in Burgundy. It was a combination of Carthusian strictness with Cistercian relaxation. The monks met together at certain stated periods in the calefactory and refectory, but at other times led a life of the most absolute seclusion and solitude. The only other monasteries of the order known to have existed in Scotland are Beauly in Ross-shire and Ardchattan in Argyll. All the three were founded in the same year (1230). The rule, which had only received the papal sanction twenty-five years before, was for the moment the fashion. Pluscarden owed its establishment to the king himself (Alexander II.),— Beauly and Ardchattan to the piety of private founders.

The head of the monastery was the prior, and he had sixteen monks under his rule. As for the lay brothers and fratres adscripti their number must have been considerable; for a monastery established by royal munificence was not likely to be deficient in anything that would conduce to its comfort or importance.

At first the priory was independent of the bishopric. But in 1233 the bishop took the house under his protection, and the thin edge of the wedge was introduced, which ended a century later in his successors claiming and extorting full visitorial, institutional, and deprivatory rights over it.

As for its history, it is unfortunately too similar to that of many another religious house in Scotland. For a time its influence was entirely for good. But with its increasing riches came an increasing relaxation in the morals of its inmates. And before what is called its reformation—a term which, however, has nothing whatever to do with its morality —the irregularities of profession which prevailed within it were, if we may trust tradition, considerable. But it was no worse than other religious houses in the district Within its nearest neighbour, the Priory of Urquhart, which was distant eleven or twelve miles farther east, the same state of affairs existed, if indeed things there were not somewhat worse. It was a house that belonged to the Benedictines or Black Monks, and was an older establishment than Pluscarden, having been founded by David I.—that “sair sanct for the croun”—in 1124-25, after his succession to his brother Alexander’s share of the kingdom.

It was not, however, the laxity of discipline that prevailed in either, but the diminution of the number of their inmates, that was put forward as the plea for the union of the two houses which subsequently ensued. In the middle of the fifteenth century the monks of Pluscarden were reduced to six, those of Urquhart to two. On the 12th March 1453*54 Pope Nicholas V. published a bull uniting the two housesi with the assent of their respective priors. The buildings of Pluscarden were the larger and the more commodious. But Urquhart was a cell of Dunfermline—an abbey whose heads were sufficiently powerful to exercise a considerable influence in affairs both secular and ecclesiastical in the kingdom. This consideration prevailed. The Black Monks displaced the White Monks, and continued in possession of the properties of both until the secularisation of the religious houses which ensued after the Reformation. Such was the manner and such were the circumstances under which the Priory of Pluscarden was reformed. Its last ecclesiastical head was Alexander Dunbar, of the family of Dunbars of Westfield, heritable sheriffs of Moray, who died in 1560.

Much of our interest in this establishment arises from the fact that within its walls the ‘Liber Pluscardensis' was compiled. Based largely on Bower’s ‘Scotichronicon,’ which in its turn is founded on Fordun’s ‘Chronica Gentis Scotorum,’ it is nevertheless in many respects the narrative of an eyewitness to the events which it relates; and as such it has been accepted as one of our most valuable authorities for early Scottish history. Like the ‘Scotichronicon,' it closes with the death of King James I., though it was apparently intended to have been brought down to a later period. The writer’s name is nowhere given. Internal evidence, however, points to its having been written about the year 1461 by Maurice Buchanan, a cleric, who had been treasurer to the Dauphiness of France, the Princess Margaret of Scotland.

Within what is now the town of Elgin were two other religious houses—those of the Greyfriars, who were Observances of the Franciscan order, and of the Blackfriars, who were Benedictines. The monastery of the Greyfriars was at the time of the Reformation a comparatively modem structure, having been built by Bishop John Innes (1407-1414) in substitution for an older building on a different site.5 The other was contemporary with the cathedral itself.6 Both were allowed to fall into decay, and beyond the fact of their existence they have no history. The same fate befell the preceptory of the Maisondieu, which was built in the time of Alexander II., and rebuilt after its destruction by the Wolf of Badenoch.

A few miles north-east of Forres, on land whose principal characteristics are its flatness and fertility, stand the ruins of the Abbey of Kinloss. The legend of its foundation is not unlike that of Holyrood.

King David I., while hunting one day in the vicinity of Forres, lost his way in the hopeless tangle of a very thick wood. He was alone; the thicket appeared impenetrable; outlet he could find none. In his emergency he betook himself to prayer. His petition was answered by the apparition of a white dove, which, flying gently before him, at last guided him to an open spot, where he found two shepherds tending their flocks. They offered him the shelter of their humble dwelling for the night. In his sleep the Virgin appeared to him and directed him to erect a chapel on the spot where he had been so miraculously preserved. Before he left in the morning he had marked out, with his sword, on the greensward the limits of the building he meant to erect. As soon as he got back to the Castle of Dufius, where he was for the moment residing, he sent for architects and masons; and on the 20th June n50 the foundations of the Abbey of Kinloss were laid.

The monks whom he placed there belonged to the Cistercian Order, for which he had a very strong predilection; and in their hands it remained till it was suppressed along with the other religious houses at the Reformation. Long before that time, however, it had grown over-rich and over-luxurious, and one can hardly say that its fate was undeserved.

The only one of its abbots who achieved distinction worth recording was Robert Reid, who ruled it from 1526 to 1540.

He was a very wise, learned, cultured, and generous prelate; and his sudden death at Dieppe in 1558—not without sus> picion of poisoning—on his way home from France, where he had been sent as one of the commissioners from Scotland to witness the marriage of Mary Stewart with the Dauphin, is a well-known story. He was President of the Court of Session and one of its ordinary judges in 1554; and being the first person who “mortified” a sum of money “towards founding a college in Edinburgh for the education of youth,” he may, as Keith says, “be justly reckoned as the founder of its University.”

It is, however, with his connection with Kinloss that we are more particularly concerned. Even in that obscure sphere of influence he found an outlet for his unwearied and enlightened energy. Moray, with its genial climate, has long been famous for its gardens, and especially for its orchards. It owes this taste in great degree to Abbot Reid. He brought a gardener from France who was an expert in the planting and grafting of fruit-trees—a man who in his younger days had been a soldier, and had lost a leg in a sea-fight with the Spaniards at Marseilles. How many of the 123 varieties of pears and 146 varieties of apples which are still to be found within the district—including such local celebrities as the pear called “the grey guid-wife” and the oslin apple — we owe to the abbot and his one-legged gardener we cannot tell. But the memory of both the one and the other is surely more worthy of grateful remembrance than that of many another whose “storied urn or animated bust” once adorned the great cathedral of Elgin.

Abbot Reid was also a great patron of the fine arts, and we are told how he invited the celebrated painter Andrew Bairhum to Kinloss, and employed him for three years in painting altar-pieces for the three chapels in its church, which were dedicated to the Magdalene, St John the Evangelist, and St Thomas of Canterbury respectively. He erected a spacious fire-proof library, too, within the abbey, and furnished it with many a valuable tome. And on his return from Rome, carrying with him the papal bull which conferred upon him the abbacy, he induced his friend, the celebrated Piedmontese scholar Ferrerius, to accompany him to Scotland, and installed him at the abbey, where he spent the next five years of his life in the instruction of the monks and in the preparation of certain literary works, some of which yet survive. Amongst these is a life of Thomas Crystall, who was abbot from 1504 to 1535, and another of his friend and benefactor, Abbot Reid.

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