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Annals of Dunfermline
A.D. 1101 - 1201 - Part 1

M C I.

  1101.—At the commencement of the 12th century, the Church of the Holy Trinity, Dunfermline, stood unfinished—the western part of its aisles, the west gable, with its two massy lofty towers, and grand entrance between them, were still unbuilt.

 “NOMINA LOCORUM.”—At this early period, Scotland had but a small population, and scarcely any place deserving the name of town.  Of the names of places in the vicinity of Dunfermline, few are on record.  The locality would be dotted here and there with turf and “wattle” huts, &c.  The following are the names of places near Dunfermline about this time, viz., Dunfermline, Perdieus, Pitcorthie, Pitbauchlie, Pitliver, Primrose, Beath, &c. 

  1103.—ROYAL GIFTS TO DUNFERMLINE CHURCH.—About this period, Edgar, the King, bequeathed to the Church of the Holy Trinity, Dunfermline, his property called “SCHYRA DE GELLAND.”

  Confirmed by his brother, David I., and successors in their Confirmation Charters to this Church.  (See Print.  Regis. Dunf. pp. 3-5, &c.)  There are lands, about two miles south of Dunfermline, called “The Gellets”; also lands three and a half miles west of it, called “Gelald,” now Gillanderson.  Which of these two places is referred to is not known.

  1104.—ROYAL GIFT TO DUNFERMLINE CHURCH.—Ethelrade, (Earl of Fife?) sixth son of Malcolm III. (Canmore), about this period, bequeathed to the Church of the Holy Trinity, Dunfermline, his property of “HALES,’ or Hailes.

  Confirmed by his brother, King David I., in his great Charters to this church, A.D. 1127-1130, as also by succeeding Kings in their Confirmation Charters to the same Church.  (See Print. Regis. Dunf. pp.3-5, &c.; also vide date 1226 of the Annals.)  Hailes (Collington) lies near the north-east base of the Pentland Hills, about three miles south-west of Edinburgh.

  “PETER THE PRIOR; “ he is noticed this year as being “Prior of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Dunfermline.  (See Slezer’s “Theatrum Scotiae”; also date in the  Annals, A.D. 1120.)  This is the earliest named “Prior of Dunfermline” on record.

  1107.__EDGAR, THE KING, HIS INTERMENT AT DUNFERMLINE.—King Edgar, second son of Malcolm III., died at Dundee, 7th January, aged 33, and shortly afterwards was interred in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Dunfermline, with great solemnity, in the Royal burial-place before the High Altar, or Grate Awtre of Winton.  (Fordun v. 35; Abrid. Scot. Chron. p. 200; Hailes’s An. Scot. vol. ii. p. 309; Buchanan’s Hist. Scot., &c.)  The following are a few references from old authorities relative to the death and interment of King Edgar:--

  “Edgar regna ix. Aunz er iij. Moys et gist a Dunfermlyn” ( Skene’s Chron. Picts and Scots, pp.206-208)—i.e. “Edgar reigned 9 years and 3 months, and lies at Dunfermlyn.”

  “Edgar, filius, Malcolmi ix. Annis et tribus mensibus et mortuun in Dunde, et Sepultus in Dunfermlyn” (Skene’s Chron. Picts and Scots, 289, 290)—i.e., “Edgar, the son of Malcolm (reigned) 9 years and 3 months; he died at Dundee, and was interred at Dunfermline.”

  Winton, in his quaint old orthography and rhyme, refers to Edgar’s death and interment thus:--

“Of Edgar our nobil Kyng;
The days with honoure tuk endying;
Be-north Tay in-til Dunde
Ty’l God the Spyryte than yald he
And in the Kyrk of Dwnfermlyne
Solemply he wes entery’d syne.”
--(Wynton’s “Orygynale Cronykil,” vol. i. p. 282.) 

  It is singular that the Register of the Priory of St. Andrews should notify that Edgar died at Edinburgh.  No doubt, it is an error of the then “careless scribe” of the Priory.  The register entry reads—“Mirtuus in Den-Edin et Sepultus in Denfemling”—i.e. Edgar “died in Edinburgh, and was interred at Dunfermline.”

  Attached by a silk cord to one of Edgar’s charters to Coldingham Priory, founded by him in 1098, there is a wax impression of his great seal, “having upon it a figure of Edgar in a sitting posture, with a small crown upon his head, holding in one hand a scepter, in the other a sword, with the circumscription, ‘IMAGO EDGARI SCOTTORUM REGIS.’”  This is the only representation of Edgar known to exist.  (See Carr’s Hist. Coldin. Priory, p. 322.)

  At the time when Edgar was buried at Dunfermline (1107) there had been at least two Royal Interments in the Royal burial-place there, viz.—Margaret, his mother, the Queen; and his eldest brother Prince Edward, the heir-apparent.  It may be conjectured that, since this interment was done with great solemnity, that there would be present at it Alexander I., David I., Ethelrade, Turgot (Bishop of St. Andrews, his mother’s confessor), with other bishops, abbots, clergy, earls, and nobility of the kingdom.

ROYAL GIFTS.—It would appear that little or no progress was made with the mason-work of this Church of the Holy Trinity during King Edgar’s short reign (1097-1107).  It is therefore probably (since it is known that Alexander I., his successor, completed the Church) that several of the possessions, which are named under date 1115 (for reasons there given), were donated about 1107, shortly after his ascension to the throne, for the purpose of raising funds to complete this Church of the Holy Trinity, Dunfermline (see date 1115).

  1109.—DUNFERMLINE CREATED A ROYAL BURGH.—The precise year when Dunfermline was created a Royal Burgh is not known.  Alexander in this year erected Stirling into a Royal Burgh, and he would probably grant Dunfermline its Burghal Charter in the same year.  It well be seen, under date 1112, that Dunfermline is then, at all events, written down as a burgh.

   Alexander I. held Dunfermline in high esteem and veneration.  Here was the Royal burial-place of the Kings of Scotland; here the remains of his pious mother, Margaret the Queen rested; also those of his brothers, Edward and Edgar and when his own days ended, here his own body would be deposited; With such reflections always on his memory, he would, no doubt, take the earliest opportunity, it is to be presumed, to show respect and good-will to the adjacent little town of Dunfermline (inhabited by Court retainers, their families and others), by erecting their township into a Burgh Royal, with all the then usual privileges.  If this is not acceded, then A.D. 1112 is to be taken as the date of erection.  (See date 1112)

  ROYAL GIFTS TO DUNFERMLINE CHURCH.—Alexander I., the King, bequeathed to the Church of the Holy Trinity, Dunfermline, about this period, the Chapel of the Castle of Stirling and Teinds. 

1112.—ROYAL GIFTS TO DUNFERMLINE CHURCH.—Alexander I., the King, this year bequeathed to the Church of the Holy Trinity, Dunfermline, a toft in the Burgh of Dunfermline (de toftes Burgorum).  Also, one Mansion in Edinburgh.  (Chron. Scone; Chalmers’ History.  Vol. ii. p. 231; Appendix to Dalziell’s Fragments of Scottish History.” Vol. i. p. 70.)  Eustace de Moreveill, “Grate” Constable of Scotland, is one of the witnesses to this Gift.

  1115.—REMAINS OF MALCOLM III. BROUGHT TO DUNFERMLINE.—Malcolm III. (Canmore) was slain, along with his eldest son Edward, at the siege of Alnwick Castle, in England, on November 13th, A.D. 1093, and was buried hurriedly at Tynemouth (see date 1093).  It is well known that Alexander I., the third son of Malcolm III., got liberty from the English authorities to exhume his father’s remains, and to take them to Dunfermline; but the precise year of this transaction has not been ascertained, and we are therefore forced to lean on probabilities.  The date of the exhumation is here place in A.D. 1115, the middle year of the reign of Alexander I.  In order to reduce any error to its minimum, for the same reason we give A.D. 1115, as the date when the Church of the Holy Trinity was finished, and opened for the celebration of public worship.  It is extremely unlikely that Alexander I. would exhume his father’s remains at Tynemouth, and covey them to Dunfermline before the church he had founded was finished in all its details. 

THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY TRINITY, DUNFERMLINE, FINISHED.—As noticed in the preceding entry, the exact year when this Church of the Holy Trinity was finished, and opened for the celebration of worship, is unknown; it is therefore place in A.D. 1115, the middle year of the reign of Alexander I., in order to reduce any error to a minimum, as previously noticed.

  Historians generally agree in stating that Alexander I. splendidly adorned and finished the Church of the Holy Trinity, Dunfermline, founded by his father, Malcolm III., circa 1072.  Leslie in his “History of Scotland,” when alluding to that part of the work done by Alexander I., uses the words “fastigio imposito,” which flanked the great western entrance, raised the west gable, with its finely adorned grand entrance, with the splendid great west window which was above it, and completing this high gable and the peak’d roof about.

  Thus Dunfermline Church of the Holy Trinity, begun in A.D. 1072, at its east end, was, in A.D. 1115, finished at the west end; thus 43 years were occupied in the building of this church, now known as the (Auld Kirk;) but this length of time was nothing uncommon.  For instance, the Cathedral Church of St. Andrews, founded in A.D. 1159, was not finished in all its details until A.D. 1318, a space of time spreading over 159 years.  Again, the Abbey Church of Aberborthic, founded about the year 1178, was not finished until the year 1223, a space of 55 years.  Other instances could be given, but these will suffice to show, that the 43 years taken up between the founding and the finishing of the Trinity Church at Dunfermline was a not uncommon occurrence in these early times.

  The great churches of the middle ages were built by companies of traveling architects and masons.  The commonly began their work on the eastern parts of the fabric, and continued the work in a westerly direction.  When so much of the edifice was raised as was deemed sufficient for the celebration of worship, they raised a temporary wall which enclosed this built place on the west, and the western portion proceeded slowly to completion, “according to the state of the exchequer of the church and peaceful times.”  When the west portion of these churches was completed, the temporary wall just mentioned was removed, when the interior of the church, in all its “fair proportions and adornments,” was fully exposed to view.  No doubt the building of the Church of the Holy Trinity at Dunfermline was begun and finished in the same way.

  When thus the Church, founded by Malcolm III. in the year 1072, and finished in 1115, it would appear, from a north-west point, as shown in the following print, copied from a drawing made by the author in 1827.

  There are no views of this church extant, bearing a date before 1690; and such early views are not to be altogether relied on.  The view here given is a composition by the author, and it is necessary that he should explain from whence he has had his materials.  This we will proceed to give. 

  The old fabric, now called the “Auld Kirk,” is the original Church of the Holy Trinity, built between A.D. 1072 and 1115, with the following exceptions, which are comparatively modern innovations, viz.:--The heavy, uncouth buttresses, built between 1590 and 1606.  These additions as will be seen by the dates, had no connection with the original design of the building.  It may also be noted that, between the years1750 and 1790, three of the Norman windows in the north front were removed, and plain ugly Gothic ones substituted.  The west gable above the great western entrance was also built at the same time as the steeple.

  The original south-west tower, stood nearly entire until 1807, when it was thrown down by a violent thunderstorm.  There are several printed views of this old tower extant, but few are accurate.  We take our model of this tower from an accurate pen-and-ink sketch of the tower, done by J. Baine, Civil Engineer, in 1790.  The western towers of churches were always exactly alike and therefore the tower which stood on the site of the steeple would be precisely like the view of the south-west one by Baine, and therefore we give the two as in the view.

  If we strip the “Auld Kirk” of the incongruities just noticed, the view we have given will appear (which may be taken as a correct one, at least) as correct a view as can now be had of THE CHURCH of the HOLY TRINITY at FUNFERMLINE, as it appeared when finished  and opened in A.D. 1115.

  The following is a short description of the view:--The Church which in its length lies east and west, is about 112 feet in length, and 65 feet in breadth, outside measures,  In the north front, as seen in the view, are six Norman windows, with six spaces below them, and six  peak’d small windows about, with six flat pilasters between them, rising from the ground to the first roof; the top of the wall is ornamented with a common Norman design; to the right is seen the north entrance to the Church.  The arch of this entrance consists of a series of Norman semi-circles, above which are small pilasters and ornamented semi-circular arches, capped with a splay roof of stone, similar to that above the west entrance.  The under north wall is 36 feet in height and five feet thick; above this wall is the first roof, which rises to another wall, which is supported on the great massive pillars inside the Church.  This top part is the clerestory (54 feet in height), and has six small semi-circular windows, corresponding in position to the large ones in the lower front wall, with short flat pilasters between them.  Above the upper wall rose the high roof, much higher than the present one, reaching from the east to the west gable between the towers.  The south wall of the Church was similar in all of its details to the north wall now described.  The two towers, as already noticed, are representations of the original tower which fell in 1807.  The great western entrance projects a few feet out from the west gable, within which rise ten tall, slender stone pillars, five on each side of the entrance.  The pillars in each row are in close proximity to each other, and recede at a sharp angle into the recess on which they stand, thereby diminishing their respective distances from side to side as they approach the door of the Church.  Each of those pillars rests on a double base, and is surmounted with an ornamented capital, from which spring five semi-circular arches of different heights.  These arches naturally recede with the pillars, and decline in altitude and breadth as they approach the door of the Church.  Thus the large stones of the several arches are exposed to view, showing their beautiful designs, some being a continuation of zig-zags, others floriated and otherwise ornamented.  The front, orouter arch stones are 23 in number, on eleven of which are carved heads, and with floriated work between them.  The front arch is 20 feet in height, and 16 in breadth, and measures the same as the great western window of the Fratery.

  Above this grand entrance is a stone splay roof, larger, but similar to the one over the north entrance already noticed.  This entrance is unique in Scotland.  The gable about the splay roof is comparatively modern, and therefore forms no part of the original design of the Church.  Since it was destroyed at the Reformation, it has been several times repaired.  We fill up this part in our view with details from a pen-and-ink sketch of date `705, which is very likely correct, as it closely resembles that of Durham Church, built about the same time as the Church at Dunfermline and of which the latter Church is understood to be a miniature.  We shall now give a brief description of the interior arrangements of this celebrated edifice.

  The ground-plan of the Trinity Church at Dunfermline is reduced from a larger one made by the author in 1827.  Although so small it will sufficiently indicate the several interesting parts of it.  It will be seen by the plan, that the Church is built in the form of a parallelogram.  The north and south walls measure inside 106 feet, and are five feet thick.  By the indentation in these walls in the plan, it will be seen that there were originally six large windows in each.  Inside, the breadth of the Church is 55 feet.  Along the middle length of the

Founded (circa) A.D. 1072; Finished (circa) A.D. 1115.  Raised to the dignity of ABBEY by David I. in A.D. 1124.

Church, from east to west, in a parallel course, in a  straight line with the outer pillars of the projecting west entrance, is a series of massive Norman pillars, seven on each side originally, but now only six.  These pillars run in a straight line at the distance of 13 feet from the north and south walls; between them and the walls are the north and south aisles, which are arched above and in length are about 80 feet, and in breadth 13 feet, or 17 ½ feet including the pillars.  The east pillars are cut into spirals on their surfaces; the next series, west of these, is ornamented with zig-zag cuttings; the other ones further west are plain, with the exception of the two reeded, or columinated pillars near the west end, which appear to have been built between the years 1506 and 1603, when the then dilapidated Church was undergoing a thorough repair. 

  From the capitals of these pillars spring ornamented Norman arches, which support the high massive walls of the nave, the top of which reach to a height of 54 feet above the pavement of the church.  These walls of the nave consist of two storeys—the first storeys on each side; immediately about the aisles, and above the center of the arches, are the large semi-circular headed openings of the ambulatories.  Above these again are those of the triform. Or clerestory; the upper part of the wall of each appears above the first roof when viewed from without.  The ambulatory and clerestory passages run along like the aisles nearly through the whole length of the Church, or about 80 feet.  The ambulatories are covered by the first roof of the Church and 13 feet in breadth.  The passage of the clerestory is very contracted, being only about two feet in breadth.  From these openings on each side a full view is had of the Church interior underneath.

  Along the lower part of the north and south walls of the Church, inside below the windows, may still be seen in many places the remains of slender pillars, of Norman work, with semi-circular arches springing from their capitals, which are highly ornamented.  These small arches have chiseled into their surfaces the usual Norman zig-zags, &c.  These pillars  and arches originally proceeded along the whole length of the north and south walls of the Church, and against these, in front of them, were the “Alter of the Saints,” and other      benefactors of the Church.  The aisle on the south side, interior of the Church, was known as the “Rood Aisle,” and the ambulatory above it was called the “Rood Laft, or loft.  Adjacent to the zig-zag pillar of this aisle, at the shaded square part shown in the plan, stood the “Rood Altar,” or the “Altar of the Holy Cross,” before which altar in A.D. 1093 were interred Margaret, the Queen-Consort of Malcolm III., and at the same time her eldest son Prince Edward.  (See date 1093.)  Prince Ethelrede, her youngest son, was also interred here.

  Near the extreme east end of the Church stood the “Grate Awtr”—Great or HIGH ALTAR—over which, on an escutcheon, was depicted the scene of the Crucifixion. The space for a considerable way in front of and adjacent to this altar was the area selected for the “Locus Sepulturae Regum” of Scotland, indicated in the ground-plan by the oblong shaped space at the east end of the nave.  With some exceptions, this continued to be the royal burial-place from 1093 till 1250.  (See these dates.)  To us it appears highly probable that the eastern end of the Church terminated in a semi-circular apsis.  (See date 126 for the addition of the choir.)

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