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The History of Stirlingshire
Chapter VII. Religious Houses

In 1124, David I., youngest son of Malcolm Canmore, ascended the Scottish throne, which had been successively occupied by three of his brothers. This prince is celebrated on account of many valuable qualities. By his valour, he not only defended the kingdom against the hostile attempts of England, but made several successful inroads upon that nation; by his wisdom, he established the most salutary laws for the internal government of his dominions, and the administration of justice amongst his subjects. To him we are indebted for that system of laws which, from the first two words of it, goes by the name of "Regiam Majestatem." His military prowess, and political talents, were accompanied with great ardour of devotion, according to the religious form of times that had degenerated into the grossest superstition. This led him so far into the common error of the age, that, by erecting and endowing religious houses in different parts of his dominions, he greatly impoverished the revenues of the crown. Not satisfied with repairing such as were decayed by age, or spoiled by the injuries of war, he raised so many new establishments of that kind, that, if we had no full evidence of his activity in civil and military transactions, we should be induced to believe that he had employed his whole life in the affairs of religion.

Four bishoprics, eleven abbeys, two nunneries, besides sundry small religious fabrics, owed their foundations and first endowments to this prince’s mistaken notions of piety, and, in testimony of gratitude, the clergy, finding their interests so much advanced by the liberality of their sovereign, distinguished him by the title of "St. David."

Cambuskenneth, which, in process of time, became one of the most opulent of the Scottish abbeys, was founded by that monarch in 1147. Though it stood in the shire of Clackmannan, it had very large possessions in the county of Stirling, and being situated upon its borders, an account of it can be reckoned no great deviation from our plan. It was situated a mile north-east of the town of Stirling, upon the north bank of the Forth, and in a sort of peninsula formed by that winding river. The adjacent fields had been the scene of some transaction, in which one of those Scottish monarchs who bore the name of Kenneth had been concerned; and hence the place received the name of Camus-kenneth, which signifies "Field or Creek of Kenneth." The situation was both pleasant and convenient, in the midst of a fertile country, where the community could be supplied with all sorts of provisions – grain of every kind, coal, and an abundance of fish from the neighbouring river.

As soon as the house was fit to receive inhabitants, it was planted with a company of monks of St. Augustine, or canons regular, who were translated from Aroise, near Arras, in the province of Artois in France; an order afterwards so numerous in Scotland, as to possess no less than twenty-eight monasteries in the kingdom.

This abbey was sometimes called the Monastery of Stirling, from its vicinity to the town; and the abbots are often designated, in the subscriptions of old charters, abbates de Striveling. The church which belonged to it was dedicated to St. Mary. Hence a lane leading from one of the streets of that town to the monastery, still goes by the name of St. Mary’s Wynd.

The following is a literal translation of the first charter of King David to the religious fraternity of this place: -

"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen. I, David, by the grace of God, king of Scots, with the consent of Henry my son, and of the bishops of my realm, and with the confirmation and attestation of the earls and barons, do grant, and confirm in perpetual peace, to the church of St. Mary of Striveling, and the canons regularly living in it, the subjects under-written. These then are the subjects which I grant to the said church, - The land of Cambuskenneth, and the fishing between the same land and Polmaise, and one net in the water; also the land of Colling, with the wood, and its just divisions; the land also of Tillibody which is between the water of the same land and the land of Loching; forty shillings likewise of my revenues of Stirling; and the cane of one ship; and one salt-pan, and as much land as belongs to one of my salt-pans; and the tenth of the feu-duty of my lordship of Stirling; and the oblations which shall be offered in the foresaid church; and the island which is between Polmaise and Tillibody; and twenty cuderni of cheeses of my revenues of Stirling, I grant and confirm; as I also do, to the same church, the liberty and consuetude which I have granted and confirmed to the other churches of my land. I will, therefore, that whatever things the foresaid church possesses at present, or may possess in future, she do possess as quietly and freely, as I possess the foresaid lands. Saving the defence of my kingdom, and the administration of royal justice, should the prelate, by any impulse, swerve therefrom. The witnesses of this confirmation are, Henry, the king’s son; Robert, Bishop of Saint Andrews; Gregory, Bishop of Dunkeld; Herbert, Elect of Glasgow; G., Abbot of Dunfermline; - Abbot of Saint Andrews; Robert, Prior of Saint Andrews; Gilbert, Prior of Jeddewart; Edward, Chancellor; Earl Duncan, Leodulph de Brechin, Hugh de Morville; Herbert, Chamberlain; Will. de Somerville, Alan de Foulis, Will. de Lindeff, Walter de Riddel."

Besides the subjects mentioned in the foundation-charter, King David made sundry other considerable donations to the monastery. He conveyed a grant of the church of Clackmannan, with 40 acres of land and priest’s-croft near the church; as also of a toft at Stirling, and another at Linlithgow; together with the tenth of all the sums duly payable for obtaining decreets in the courts of Stirlingshire and Callendar. At another time, he bestowed the farm of Kettlestone, near Linlithgow, together with the lands of Malar, near Touch, and certain privileges in the wood of Keltor, now known by the name of Torwood.

The original charter was confirmed by sundry succeeding monarchs, with the addition of other lands and privileges. Large donations were also made by private persons, in so much that, in a short time, the endowments of this erection became very great. Some of those donations bear that they were granted in puram eleemosynam, others that they were made pro salute animae of the donors. Of this sort is a charter by Robert II., 28th February, 1388-9, to St. Lawrence’s altar in the church of Stirling, of a passage-boat on the Forth, with a croft of land annexed, "for our salvation, and our children’s, as also for the soul of our late dear consort Eupheme Queen of Scotland."

Bulls also were obtained from sundry Popes, protecting the churches, lands, and other privileges belonging to the monastery, and prohibiting, under pain of excommunication, all persons whatsoever from withholding from the canons any of their just rights, or disturbing them in the possession of them.

The most curious of those bulls is that of Pope Celestine III., dated May, 1195, as it enumerates the possessions and immunities of the monastery at that time.

It protects the farm of Cambuskenneth; the lands of Colling; the lands of Carsie and Bandeath, with the wood thereof; Tillibotheny; the island called Redinche, situated between Tillibotheny and Polmaise; the farm of Kettlestone, with its mills; the lands upon the bank of the Forth, between Pulmill and the road leading down to the ships; a full toft in the burgh of Stirling, and another in Linlithgow; one net in the water of Forth; twenty cuderni of cheeses out of the king’s revenues at Stirling; forty shillings of the king’s revenues of the same place; one salt-pan, and as much land as belongs to one of the king’s salt-pans; the church of Clackmannan, with forty acres of land, and its chapels and toft; the fishings of Carsie and Tillibotheny; the fishing between Cambuskenneth and Polmaise; the half of the skins and tallow of all the beasts slain for the king’s use at Stirling.

The preceding possessions and privileges were the donations of King David; those that follow have the names of several donors prefixed to them.

From a grant of Malcolm IV., grandson and successor of David I., the mill of Clackmannan, except the multure of the king’s table, as often as he shall come to that village; fifty shillings out of the customs of Perth. By a grant of King William, a full toft in the village of Perth; the church of Kinclething, with lands and other pertinents; the church of Tullicultrie, with all its pertinents; the church of Kincardine, with the lands assigned it, and all its pertinents; the church of Gleninglefe, with all pertaining to it. By a grant of the Countess Ada, widow of Prince Henry, one full toft in the burgh of Crail, and half a carrucate of land, and common pasturage in Pethcorthing; one merk of silver out of her revenues of Crail; one full toft in the burgh of Haddington. By a grant of Robert, Bishop of St. Andrews, the church of Egglis (St. Ninian’s), with its chapels of Dunipace and Lethbert, and all its other chapels and oratories, and all other pertinents. By a grant of Richard, Bishop of Dunkeld, confirmed by the king, the church of Alveth, with its pertinents. By a gift of Allan, eldest son to Walter, Lord High Steward of Scotland, a full toft in the burgh of Renfrew, and one fishing in the water of the same village. By a grant of Philip de Lunding, half a carrucate, or ploughgate, of land, with a meadow pertaining to it, in Balcormack; the pasturage of five hundred sheep, and twenty cows, and a carrucate of land in the farm of Binning. By a grant of Goteline, and William, the son of Thorald, confirmed by the king, the church of Kirkintilloch, with half a carrucate of land, and all pertinents. From a grant of Gilbert de Umfraville, two ox-gangs of the lands of Dunipace chapel.

The bull likewise protects to the monastery the tithes of all the lands which the monks should cultivate with their own hands, or which should be cultivated at the expense of the community; as also, the tithes of all the beasts reared upon the pastures of the community; and inhibits all persons from exacting these tithes. It likewise empowers the fraternity to nominate priests or vicars to the several parish churches belonging to them, whom they were to present to the bishop of the diocese, within whose jurisdiction these churches lay, that, upon finding them qualified, he might ordain them to the charge of the souls. These priests were to be answerable to the bishop for the discharge of their spiritual functions, but to the abbot for the temporalities of their respective churches.

It, moreover, grants to the community the privilege of performing divine service, with a low voice and shut doors, without ringing bells, lest they incur a national interdict.

Another bull of protection was granted by Innocent III., in 1201, in which sundry parcels of lands at Innerkeithing, Duneglin, and Ayr, are mentioned, which had been conferred upon the monastery since the date of Celestine’s bull.

During the space of 200 years after its erection, the monastery was almost every year acquiring fresh additions of wealth and power, by donations of lands, tithes, patronages of churches, and annuities, proceeding from the liberality of kings, earls, bishops, and barons, besides many rich oblations which were daily made by persons of inferior rank.

From the middle of the fifteenth century, there appears a visible decline of that liberality to religious establishments, which, in preceding ages, had been so vigorously exerted by all ranks. Donations became less frequent; and the immense possessions acquired by cathedrals and monasteries had begun to be considered as public burthens; and not without cause, for near one half of Scotland was in the possession of ecclesiastics. Several proprietors of land withheld payments of the tithes due from their estates, until they had been prosecuted, and decreets obtained against them, in the civil courts. John, Lord Fleming, chamberlain of Scotland under the Duke of Albany’s regency, in the minority of James V., relying, no doubt, upon his great power and influence, kept back for seven years payment of the tithes of his land in Kirkintilloch, amounting to thirty-three bolls of meal, and three bolls of barley yearly. He was prosecuted at the instance of the community in 1523; and made a composition for arrears, at the rate of eight shillings four pennies Scots per boll. Much about the same time, the feuars and tenants of Kilmaronock were prosecuted for the tithes of their lands, amounting to a large quantity of victual yearly.

The first abbot of Cambuskenneth was called Alfridus; but of him and his successors, for three centuries, we have found nothing memorable.

From the beginning of the fifteenth century, we find the abbots of this place frequently employed in important national transactions, or advanced to the highest civil offices. The abbot of Cambuskenneth is named among those who, in 1423, were sent into England by Murdo, Duke of Albany, to negotiate a treaty concerning the ransom of James I., who had long been detained a captive in that kingdom, and in whose liberty the negotiation terminated.

Henry, abbot of Cambuskenneth, after having given proofs of his political abilities in an embassy to England, was, in 1493, raised to the office of high treasurer of Scotland, which he held only a short time. The cause of his removal from it is not known; but a discharge, under the great seal, of his intromissions while in that office, is inserted in the chartulary of his abbey, under the title of "Acquitancia Henrici abbatis de Cambuskenneth de officio thesaurarii, vicesimo sexto die mensis Augusti 1495." He died in 1502, having held the abbotship above thirty years.

He was succeeded by David Arnot, formerly archdeadon of Lothian; who, after having been six years at the head of the Abbey, was, in 1509, preferred to the bishopric of Galloway, to which the deanery of the chapel-royal of Stirling was annexed.

The next abbot was Patrick Panther or Panter, who was reckoned one of the most accomplished scholars of that age, as well as an able statesman; he was secretary to James IV., who also raised him to the dignity of a privy counsellor. To his pen the Latin epistles of that monarch were indebted for that purity and elegance of style which distinguished them from the barbarous compositions of the foreign princes with whom he corresponded. He was also appointed preceptor to the king’s natural son, Alexander Stewart, afterwards archbishop of St. Andrews, whose uncommon progress in literature is so much celebrated by Erasmus, under whose tuition he sometime was. In the minority of James V., Panther was thrown into prison, upon suspicion of having been concerned in treasonable designs against the Duke of Albany, then regent; but no proof of his guilt appearing, he was in a short time released, and pitched upon, together with the famous Gavin Douglas, bishop of Dunkeld, and sundry other persons of eminence, to accompany the Duke into France; whither he went in 1516, in order to renew the ancient league betwixt that kingdom and Scotland. He was now left Charge des Affaires at the French court, where he died in 1519. According to Dempster, he wrote a book, entitled "Politicae Observationes," dedicated to James IV., for whose use it was chiefly designed. It is now lost.

To Panther succeeded Alexander Mill, who had formerly been a canon of Dunkeld. He was employed in sundry negotiations with England by James V., and, when that monarch erected the Court of Session in 1532, Mill, on account of his great knowledge of the civil and canon laws, was pitched upon to be the first president. He wrote a history of the Bishops of Dunkeld, which is said to be still extant in manuscript.

David Panther, who was a nephew or some other near relation of the above Patrick, was commendator of this abbey, in the latter end of the reign of James V., and the minority of Queen Mary. His first office in the church was vicar of Carstairs, near Lanark. He was afterwards prior of St. Mary’s Isle, in Galloway; next commendator of Cambuskenneth; and, last of all, he was raised to the see of Ross in 1552. He was an accomplished scholar, and admirably skilled in the Latin language. As he had been assisting his friend, Patrick Panther, in penning the letters of James IV., so it is probable that those of James V. were indebted to him for their elegance and purity; for he was principal secretary of state, and a privy counsellor, in the latter end of that king's reign., and continued to hold both offices in the infancy of Queen Mary. He was much employed in foreign negotiations; and the ability and success with which he managed those public transactions, gained him great esteem at court. He died of a lingering illness in the town of Stirling in 1558. He had been a strenuous opposer of the Reformation.

Much civil as well as sacred business was transacted in religious houses. In 1308, Sir Neil Campbell, Sir Gilbert Hay, with other barons, having met at Cambuskenneth, entered into an association to defend the liberty of their country, and the title of Robert Bruce to the crown, against all enemies of whatever nation; to which they not only affixed their subscriptions and seals, but swore upon the great altar.

The Scottish kings transacted business almost as often in monasteries as in palaces. Many charters are still extant, which were granted by different sovereigns at Cambuskenneth. It was also the place of meeting of sundry conventions of Parliament.

In 1326, the whole clergy, earls, and barons, with a great number of an inferior rank, having convened in the Abbey, swore fealty to David Bruce, as heir apparent to the crown, in presence of Robert his father; as also to Robert Stewart, grandson of the king, as the next heir, in the event of David's death without issue. A marriage was, at the same time, solemnized between Andrew Murray, of Bothwell, and Christian Bruce, sister of King Robert.

At that meeting too, an arrangement was entered into between the king on the one part, and the earls, barons, freeholders, and communities of boroughs on the other, whereby the king obtained a grant, during his life, of the tenth penny of all the revenues belonging to laymen in the kingdom, both within and without the burghs.

It has been observed that this is the first parliament in which burgesses are mentioned as having a seat. Under the feudal governments, that order of men had, long been deemed of too mean a rank to be allowed a place in the national councils. In England, however, they had formed a part of the legislative power, nearly a century before the reign of Robert Bruce. It is not, indeed, certain, whether as yet they were considered as a constituent part of the legislature in Scotland, or only permitted to vote in what immediately concerned themselves, no express mention being made of the three estates till the next reign. Although they were not, however, in the reign of Robert, allowed a constant seat in the national council; yet the principles of both policy and equity suggested to that sage monarch, that, when they were to be taxed for the support of government, they should be called to give their consent, by being represented in that diet at least of parliament which taxed them.

During the wars with England, in the reign of David Bruce, the monastery was pillaged of all its most valuable furniture. The books, vestments, cups, and ornaments of the altar, were carried off. In order to the reparation of that loss, William Delandel, Bishop of St. Andrews, made a grant to the community of the vicarage of Clackmannan.

In 1559, the monastery was spoiled, and a great part of the fabric cast down by the reformers, who, however laudable their intentions were, proceeded, in several instances, to the execution of them in a tumultuary manner. Several of the monks embraced the reformation; and, on that account, had their portions withdrawn by the queen-regent.

Monasteries were places of such general resort, that they were often the stage of mercantile as well as sacred transactions. The great concourse of people that usually assembled around religious houses upon holy days, required provisions for their refreshment. This suggested the idea of a gainful trade to traffickers, who repaired thither, not only with victuals and drink, but different other articles of merchandise, which they disposed of amongst the crowd. This was the origin of fairs. Hence feria, which originally signified "festival," came also to signify " fair "; and the old fairs have generally their name from some popish saint, near whose festival they were held. In 1529, a boat, on its return to Stirling from one of those solemnities at Cambuskenneth, being over-loaden, sank in the river. Fifty persons of distinction, besides many others, were drowned.

David Panther was the last ecclesiastic who possessed the lucrative abbotship of Cambuskenneth. During the commotions which accompanied the reformation, church-benefices were often seized upon by those in power, without any lawful authority. John, Earl of Mar, afterwards Regent, had the disposal of the revenues of Cambuskenneth. He had during the reign of James V., been appointed commendator of Inchmahome. After the reformation had taken place, one of his nephews, Adam Erskine, was, commendator of Cambuskenneth.

In 1562, by virtue of an order from Queen Mary, and the privy council, an account was taken of all the revenues belonging to cathedrals, abbeys, priories, and other religious houses, that stipends might be modified to the reformed clergy, who were to have a third of the benefices. According to that account, the revenues of Cambuskenneth were £930 13s. 4d. Scots, eleven chalders, eleven bolls, two firlots of wheat; twenty-eight chalders, twelve bolls, three firlots, three pecks, two lippies of bear ; thirty-one cha1ders, six bolls, three firlots, three pecks, two lippies of meal; nineteen chalders, fifteen bolls, three firlots, three pecks, two lippies of oats. In whole, ninety-one chalders, fifteen bolls, one firlot, two pecks, two lippies.

No mention is made of the numerous casualties. Nor is it probable that the whole revenue, once pertaining to the house, is contained in this account. Great dilapidations had been made upon benefices, not only by powerful laymen, who had seized upon portions of ecclesiastical benefices during the commotions of those times; but also by the popish clergy, who, in the view of a change of religion, had disposed of parts of the revenue.

After the establishment of the reformed religion, James VI., considering himself the proprietor of the church-lands, erected several abbacies and priories into temporal lordships, in behalf of men of interest, or in high favour, who thus came to have the same title to those lands as the religious houses had formerly. As, however, the revenues of the crown had suffered greatly from those erections, the temporalities of all church-benefices were, by Act of Parliament in 1587, annexed to it. James still continued, notwithstanding, to make new erections; but in 1592, they were, by Parliament, declared null, with the exception of such as had been made in favour of the ennobled members of this body. After the accession of that monarch to the crown of England, the temporality of Cambuskenneth, together with those of the abbey of Dryburgh, and the priory of Inchmahome, was conferred on John, Earl of Mar, son and representative of the late regent of that title; to the end that, in the words of the grant, "he might be in a better condition to provide for his younger sons, by Lady Mary Stewart, daughter of the Duke of Lennox, and a relation of his Majesty." The barony of Cambuskenneth, in which the monastery stood, was settled, by the earl, upon Alexander Erskine of Alva, his brother, whose posterity continued in possession of it till the year 1709, when it was purchased by the town-council of Stirling for the benefit of Cowan's Hospital, to which it still belongs.

The fabric of the Abbey was once large and extensive; but nothing of it now exists, except a few broken walls, and a tower, which was the belfry. Some remains of the garden are to be seen; and the burial-place, where James III. and queen are interred. There is no vestige of the church. Tradition reports that one of the bells was for some time in the town of Stirling, but that the finest was lost in its passage across the river.

There were belonging to this Abbey the lands of Cambuskenneth, Colling, Bandeath, Carsie, Tullibody, Redinche, the lands of Kettlestone, with mills; lands upon the Forth, between Pulle- miln and the road leading down to the ships; tofts at Stirling, Perth, Linlithgow, Haddington, and Renfrew; forty acres, with a toft and mill in Clackmannan; lands at Kinkleven; lands at Kin- cardine, half a carrucate, with a toft at Crail; half a carrucate, with a meadow at Balcormack ; a carrucate at Binning; a carrucate in Kirkintilloch; two ox-gangs in Dunipace; part of the lands of Menstrie; lands at Innerkeithen, Duneglin, and Ayr; Fintilloch in Strathern; of Cambusbarron; Maldar, near Touch; lands, with mills, at Arngask; the lands of Loching, or Greenyards.

The churches, with their tithes and pertinents, belonging to Cambuskenneth, were Clackmannan, with its chapels; Kinkleven, with all its pertinents; Tullicultrie, Kincardine, Glenleafe; Egglis, afterwards called Kirktown, and now known by the name of St. Ninian's, with its chapels of Larbert and Dunipace, and all its other chapels and oratories; Alveth (Alva), Kirkintilloch, Tullibody, with its chapels at Alloa; Forteviot, Kilmaronock, Kinnoul, Lecroch (probably Lecropt), Arngask.

The patronage likewise of many of these churches belonged to the Abbey. When a church was granted to a monastery, the community drew all the tithes and other emoluments, and appointed a vicar to serve the cure, who had an allowance out of the small tithes. Frequently, no vicar was appointed, and many such churches were left destitute of the means of social worship.

Certain privileges and casualties belonged to Cambuskenneth; fishing with one net in the River Forth between Cambuskenneth and Polmaise; the fishings of Carsie and Tullibody; fishing with one net in the River Clyde near Renfrew; one salt-pan, with the necessary quantity of land about it; the half of the skins and tallow of the beasts slain for the king's use at Stirling; the tenth of all sums paid for obtaining decreets in the courts of Stirling and Calantyr; the kane, or custom of one ship; the tenth of the king's feu-duties of the lordship of Stirling; forty shillings yearly out of the customs of Perth; a common pasturage in Pethcorthing; a merk of silver out of the revenues of Crail; pasturage of five hundred sheep and twenty cows at Binning; the privilege of grazing a certain number of cows at Borland, near Kincardine; the tenth of the feu-duties of Bothkennar, amounting to six chalders of grain, and eight pounds five pence Scots yearly; an additional chalder of victual out of Bothkennar, by a grant of Sir William More; a pension of a hundred shillings out of the church of Blare; forty shillings out of the king's revenues of Airth, besides the tenth of the feus; ten pounds out of the revenues of Plean; forty shillings out of the revenues of Stirling; twenty cuderni of cheeses of the revenues of Stirling; certain privileges in Torwood; the oblations presented to the church of the monastery, without any deduction what- ever.

It is not a new observation, that the lands formerly belonging to religious houses are generally fertile. It is a mistake, however, to ascribe this to the designing sagacity of the clergy, as leading them to fix upon the best spots; for they seldom had the choosing of the lands conferred upon them. The donors gave such parts of their estates as they judged proper; and many of those lands are situated in soils far from being naturally fertile. It hence appears that their fertility arose, not from any superior quality of soil, but from industry and cultivation. The monks were skilled in agriculture, and well knew how to turn the donations made them to the best advantage. Meliorations were carried on at the expense of the community; and, at times, the more robust members shared the toils of agriculture with their servants. UsefuI manual labour commonly filled up the intervals of contemplation and devotion; nor had they at first degenerated into those vices by which they were so shamefully distinguished in the ages immediately preceding the reformation. Many lands of the regular clergy wear the marks of industry to this day, being generally well laid down, and free of stones. These had been carefully gathered, and are often to be seen in heaps around them. The monastery of Cambuskenneth had a strong agricultural incitement; which, in all probability, extended to the other religious communities. Such lands as they rendered arable at their own expense were exempted from paying tithes to any cathedral, or to any parochial church.

Add to this, that church lands were generally let, at moderate rents, to tenants who were seldom ejected when their leases had expired. Meeting with so great encouragement, and, moreover, being exempted from military services, and other burdens to which the tenants of laymen were subjected, they applied themselves to the cultivation of farms of which they considered themselves as, in some degree, proprietors.

Several abbots over Scotland complied "With the reformed religion, and kept possession of their revenues. Nor were such of them as did not conform ejected. Each continued to enjoy a part of his benefice during life, unless he had incurred a forfeiture by misdemeanor. At the death, or for- forfeiture of an abbot, his possessions were, generally, either bestowed in pensions upon court favourites, or erected into temporal lordships. The private monks also had an allotment during life, but it was often so ill paid that many of them were reduced to extreme want.

In 1864, a human skeleton was discovered near the site of the high altar of the Abbey, which was believed to be the remains of James III., who, with his consort, was buried here. The ashes, of course, were at once reinterred, and of late an elegant sarcophagus has been erected over the spot by our widowed Queen. The tomb, built of freestone, is about 4 feet 9 inches in height, and 8 feet in length, and has inscriptions cut in raised letters on each side. On the north side is the following:- " This restoration of the tomb of her ancestors was executed by command of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, A.D. 1865." On the south side are the words- " In this place, near the high altar of the Abbey of Cambuskenneth, were deposited the remains of James III., King of Scots, who died on the 11th June, 1488; and of his Queen, the Princess Margaret of Denmark." At the west end the Scottish arms are cut, with the motto, Nemo me impune lacessit; and at the east end the Scottish arms are quartered with those of Denmark, and entwined with representations of the thistle.

The west end of the nave of the Abbey has long been used as a graveyard by the inhabitants of Cambuskenneth and neighbourhood. The entrance to it is by the arch of the original west door, part of which is still entire. With the exception of this arch, however, and the graceful tower, no part of the buildings remains standing. The tower is nearly in the state in which it was at the time of the Reformation, except that the upper part was considerably altered when the Abbey was repaired in 1865.

The Nunnery of Emanuel or Manuel was situated in the south-east border of Stirlingshire, upon the north bank of the Avon, a mile above Linlithgow bridge. But the ruins now consist simply of a portion of the western gable, wrapt in a thick wood-warp of ivy. The fragment, which is of hewn stone, and elegant in its simplicity, contains an arched-door or gateway, with three small Gothic windows over it; and above these a circular one is placed. In 1739, however, the chapel was comparatively entire. There was the eastern gable perfect in form, with a high triple-arched window; also the south wall, which, in addition to a central door, had another close to the eastern gable, with three windows overhead. It is also said that part of the south wall of the nunnery was standing until the beginning of 1788, when, the river having risen to an unusual height, it was swept away by the violence of the flood, with part of the bank that had been used as a cemetery. Luckily, we have all the facts at hand regarding the history of this relic of monasticism. The Manuel Nunnery, as we find from reliable records, was founded by Malcolm IV., in 1156, and consecrated to the Virgin Mary. It was possessed, too, originally by Cistercian nuns - an order that derived its name from a district in Burgundy called Citeaux, where the first convent of that austere school was founded by one St. Robert, but which was simply an offshoot of the great Benedictine epoch. In 1292, the Prioress Christina swore fealty to Edward I., who, as we learn from a writ of his son, visited " Manewell" on the 24th October, 1301. Alice, Christina's successor, also swore fealty to Edward at Linlithgow, in 1296. Her tomb was to be seen here, some years ago, bearing her figure with a distaff - an unusual instrument in the hands of a prioress. The nunnery had possessions in the shires of Edinburgh and Ayr, as well as in those of Linlithgow and Stirling; and when the list of ecclesiastical revenues was drawn up in 1562, those of Manuel amounted to £52 14s. 8d. Scots, three chalders of bere, seven chalders of meal, with a large quantity of salmon. The graveyard lay immediately beneath the nunnery, close upon a slight bend of the river; but for years the water current has been incessantly washing away the very foundations of the monastic burial-ground.


The Dominican order, one of the most considerable in the church of Rome, derived its name from the founder, Dominick Guzman, a native of Spain, and a zealous preacher against the Albigenses, in the beginning of the thirteenth century. He has obtained the appellation of saint; but his memory must ever be held in detestation by Protestants, and every friend of the liberties of mankind, on account of his having been the contriver of the diabolical court.of The Inquisition

This order was brought hither in the reign of Alexander II.; and spread with such rapidity, that, in a few years, it was possessed, in Scotland, of above twenty convents. The brethren were not confined to cloisters, as were the greater part of those strictly called monks, but travelled through the country preaching. Hence they came to have the descriptive appellation of Fratres Praedicatores. According to the rules of the order, they were to enjoy no earthly possessions, except the spots upon which their convents stood, but to subsist by pure alms; whence they had the demi-contemptuous title of Mendicants. Their distinguishing garb was a black cloth thrown over the shoulders. This procured them the familiar name of Black Friars.

The Dominican convent at Stirling was founded by Alexander II., in 1233; and stood upon the east side of the lane leading from the present Meal-Market, to the north side of the town, which is still called Friar's Wynd, from its vicinity to it. It stood outside the town-wall.

The church belonging to the convent was, for above two hundred and fifty years, the chief place of worship for the inhabitants of the town; and adjoining to it was the common burial~place. Only persons of distinction were buried in the church. Duncan, the aged Earl of Levenax, with his son-in-law, Murdac, Duke of Albany, and Walter and Alexander Stewarts, sons of the duke by Duncan’s daughter, were executed upon the Gowling Hill in 1425, and buried in this church, on the south side of the great altar. A person who had personated Richard II., and, under that character, been entertained several years at the courts of Robert III., and of the first regent, Albany, having died in the castle in 1420, was interred at the horn of the great altar. The site both of the convent and burial-place has long been used as a garden, where great quantities of human bones have been often found.

After the battle of Falkirk in 1298, Edward I. advanced to Stirling where he stayed two weeks, taking up his lodgings in the Dominican convent; as Wallace, in his retreat northward, had burned the greater part of the town.

John Rough, an eminent promoter of the Reformation, and a martyr in England under the blood-thirsty Mary, was once a member of this convent. He entered it at seventeen, and having remained sixteen years, was called to be chaplain to the Regent Arran, who, afterwards, renouncing the reformed religion, dismissed Rough, and all who professed to favour the new opinions.

The convent was demolished by those who followed the lords of the congregation, when they came to Stirling in 1559, to disappoint the queen-regent, who intended to have filled the town with a French garrison.

A much greater number of the friars than of the monks embraced the Reformation. This was probably owing to those opportunities of more frequent converse with the world which were fitted to inspire them with more liberal sentiments, as well as to their having fewer possessions.


The Franciscans received their name from Francis, a merchant of Assise in Italy, who founded the order in the beginning of the thirteenth century, an age very fertile in religious orders. These, likewise, were mendicants, professing to possess nothing, but going about barefooted, with wallets upon their backs, craving subsistence. Their habit was a coarse grey gown, with a string around their waist; whence they had the vulgar name of Grey Friars.

The Franciscan convent at Stirling was situated in the higher part of the town, near the present church, which belonged to it. It is difficult, however, to point out the particular spot. It was founded by James IV. in 1494. The church, a stately Gothic fabric, was now erected for the use of the convent; though, in process of time, it became the most frequented place of worship by the inhabitants of the town. This king, although a noted libertine, pretended at times so great devotion, according to the superstitious system of those ages, and often underwent a voluntary penance in his convent, assisting at mass in the choir, and dining in the refectory amongst the brethren. During Lent, too, retiring from all worldly business, he made it his usual residence; and, on Good Friday, he dined on bread and water on bare knees.

This convent, as well as the Dominican, was demolished in 1559, but the church was left untouched; for, though the reformers generally destroyed the monasteries and convents of the regular clergy, as being nurseries of idolatry and superstition, they spared parish churches, as necessary to the maintenance of religion.

At the demolition of these convents, more wealth was found in them than was consistent with their avowed professions of poverty. That of the Grey Friars at Perth, also pulled down in 1559, was well provided, not only with the necessaries, but the luxuries of life. The beds and tables were equal in finery to those of the first nobility; and, though there were but eight persons there, and it was the 11th of May, eight puncheons of salt beef, and great store of other victuals were found in it. So great a quantity of salt beef in May, appears surprising, and supposes a very great store to have been laid up in the beginning of winter. We must consider, however, that, in those days, when agriculture had made so little progress, there was no sown grass, and scarcely any hay, straw, or other provender for the subsistence of cattle through the winter; and that families were obliged to slaughter their cattle, and salt them, at the end of autumn, before they had become lean upon the common pasture, and to provide what would be sufficient for domestic demands, till others had time to fatten next summer.

This order was divided into Conventuals, and Observatines. It had been established in 1206; but, in 1419, Bernadine of Sienna reformed it, and his followers, who went barefooted, and without shirts, were, from their strictness, called Observatines. The order had come into Scotland in 1219, and obtained settlements at Berwick, Roxburgh, Dumfries (the last by favour of Dervorgilla, John Baliol’s mother); Dundee (by Dervorgilla), Haddington, Lanark (by Robert Bruce, 1314), Kirkcudbright, and Innerkeithing. James I. introduced the Observatines. Their first convent was at Edinburgh, founded by the citizens, on the south of the Grassmarket, nearly opposite to the West Bow, in 1446. It was demolished in 1559. Queen Mary had given their goods to the city of Edinburgh in 1566. They had an establishment at St. Andrews, founded by James Kennedy, bishop, and finished by Patrick Graham, archbishop; at Glasgow, by John, bishop, and Thomas Forsyth, rector; and at Aberdeen, about 1450, by the citizens, and Richard Vaus of Many, &c. An extant charter by James III. gives an account of these four Observatine monasteries. A fifth was founded at Ayr, in 1472, by the inhabitants. Here the Virgin Mary’s statue was said to work many miracles. A sixth at Perth, in 1460, by Lord Oliphant, in the south of the town, where there is now a burial place. It was destroyed in 1559, and great store of provisions seized on, as John Knox observes, by "the rascal multitude." Others were established at Striveling, by James IV, 1494; at Elgin, by John Innes, 1479; and at Jedburgh, by the citizens in 1503, thirty-seven years before John Knox began to preach.


Besides monasteries and convents, which belonged to the regular clergy, so called because they professed strictly to observe the rules enjoined to their respective orders, there were twenty-six fraternities of secular clergy in Scotland, called colleges, and governed by an ecclesiastic, who went by the name of Provost or Dean. These were endowed with large revenues, which generally arose from the union of several parish churches.

James III., taking up his chief residence in Stirling castle, erected in it a college of secular priests, which he called "The Chapel Royal." This institution consisted of a Dean or Provost, an Arch-dean, a Treasurer and Sub-dean, a Chanter, a Sub-chanter, and other officers belonging to such establishments. He appointed, moreover, a double set of these officers; so that there were sixteen ecclesiastics and six boys belonging to it.

Lindsay of Pitscottie gives a singular reason for doubling these officers; that the one half should be always ready to pass with the king wherever he pleased, to sing and play to him and hold him merry, while the other remained at home in the chapel, to sing and pray for him and his successors. By the half who were to accompany his Majesty for mirth, is undoubtedly meant the half of the singing boys and musicians, as James is well known to have been fond of music.

As the expenses necessary for maintaining the numerous officers of this institution were very considerable, he annexed to it the revenues of the rich priory of Coldingham in the Merse, for which he obtained the authority of Pope Alexander VI.

In the list of ecclesiastical benefices drawn up in 1562, the revenues of the priory of Coldingham stand as follows: - 808 pounds 10 s. 9d. Scots; six chalders, seven bolls, three firlots, two pecks of wheat; nineteen chalders, twelve bolls, one firlot, two pecks of bere; fifty-five chalders, four bolls, one firlot oats; one chalder, four bolls, and a firlot of rye; three chalders, thirteen bolls, three firlots, and two pecks of pease.

This annexation proved one cause of the ruin of that unfortunate king. The priory of Coldingham had long been holden by persons connected with the family of Hume; and that family, considering it as belonging to them, strenuously opposed the annexation. The dispute appears to have lasted several years. One parliament had passed a vote, annexing the priory to the Chapel-royal, and a subsequent one enacted a statute prohibiting every attempt prejudicial to that annexation. The Humes, resenting the loss of so gainful a revenue, united themselves with the Hepburns, another powerful clan in the neighbourhood, under the Lord Hailes; and both families engaged to stand by each other, and not to suffer the revenues of Coldingham to be possessed by any person not connected with one or other. The heads of both, too, with their numerous vassals and retainers, joining the party that was disaffected to James upon other accounts, brought a considerable addition of strength to it, and were pitched upon to lead the van of the malcontent army in the fatal battle of Sauchieburn.

James IV. completed the institution which is father had begun. Notwithstanding the opposition, Coldingham was annexed. That prince added the abbey of Dundrenan in Galloway; the priory of Inchmahome in Monteith; the parsonage of Dunbar; the lands of Cessnock in Ayrshire; the prebends of Spott, Waltame, Dunn, and Pinkerton; the parish churches of Rosneath in the Lennox, Dalmellington, Alloway, Coylton, and Dalrymple, in Ayrshire, Kellie, and Kirkmoir; with other parishes, chapels, and lands, whose annual revenues were valued, in the time of James VI., at a great sum.

The deanery or provostship of this chapel was annexed, first to the provostry of Kirkheugh in St. Andrews, and then to the bishopric of Galloway, the bishops of which were called deans of the king’s chapel, and appointed confessors to the queen. Besides their authority over their dioceses, they possessed an Episcopal jurisdiction as deans of the chapel. George Vaus was the first who advanced to this office, having been Bishop of Galloway at the time of the erection. James VI. annexed the deanery to the bishopric of Dunblane, by Act of Parliament, in 1621.

Besides these large erections, there were many small chapels, oratories, and chantries, in different parts of the county. The places where they stood commonly go by the name of Kirk-crofts or Chapel-lands, and are, for the most part, well cultivated.

The Abbey of Newbottle had considerable possessions in Stirlingshire. David I. made a donation to that monastery of a salt-pan upon the lands of Callenter, with the privilege of fuel and common pasture in the wood of that name. The place where the salt-pan was situated still goes by the name of Salt-Pow. Adam de Morham, who appears to have had a large estate in those parts, granted to the same monastery a tract of land, called the Grange of Bereford, lying upon the south side of the Carron. It is now known as Abbot’s Grange, and is included in the parish of Polmont. Here the abbot had a country-seat, some remains of which, together with those of the garden, are still to be seen. Several parcels of land, also, about Kinnaird and Stenhouse, together with the mills of the latter, belonged to Newbottle.

The Abbey of Holyrood, or Sancti Crucis, had likewise possessions in this shire. David I. granted it two ox-gangs of land, with a salt-pan in the parish of Airth. In 1166, the Bishop of St. Andrews made a donation of the church of Falkirk, with some lands in its neighbourhood; while sundry parcels of ground in Kinnaird, and upon the banks of the Carron, eastward of Stenhouse, belonged to the same monastery.

The Knights-templars had possessions in Denny, the Carse of Falkirk, and other parts of this county. Mr. Spottiswood mentions a place called Oggerstone, founded by St. David, where that order had a fort and barony. They were introduced into Scotland by David I., who gave them, among other possessions, Balantrodach, on the South Esk, their chief seat, since known by the names of Temple and Arniston. Alexander II. was their friend; and a charter by him is preserved in transcript, conferring upon them great privileges. They formed various establishments over Scotland, subordinate to Balantrodach. Brianus, preceptor Templi in Scotia, swore fealty to Edward., in Edinburgh Castle, July 1291. John de Sautre, maistre de la chivalerie de Templi en Ecosse, did so, August, 1296. Edward commanded the sheriffs of Scotland to restore the property of the Templars. They had an establishment at St. Germains, in East Lothian; others at Inchinnan in Renfrewshire, at Maryculter in Kincardineshire, at Aboyne and Tulich in Aberdeenshire, and elsewhere. They had a small house at Mount Hooly on the burgh-moor in Edinburgh. In digging a cemetery there, several skeletons were found lying cross-legged, with their swords by their sides, after the manner of their order, and indeed of military men connected nearly or distantly with the Holy Land. The Templars had a number of houses in Edinburgh and Leith, on which they displayed the cross of their order. They were suppressed, by a general council held by Pope Clement V., at Vienne in France, in 1312, and their estates and property transferred to the rival order of St. John of Jerusalem, who had their chief seat at Torphichen in West-Lothian, and whose existence terminated in 1563, when their whole lands, converted into a temporal lordship, were, by Queen Mary, bestowed upon their preceptor, Sir James Sandilands.

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