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Annals of Dunfermline
A.D. 1201 - 1301 - Part 3

1275.—SIMON, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline, was deposed for “obstinacy and crosses to the poor,” by Bagimont, the Papal Legate.  He was the twelfth Abbot of Dunfermline, and held the abbotship for nearly six years.  Simon’s name appears frequently in the Register of Dunfermline.  He was sent, with William Earl of Mar, as ambassador to the King of England, for recover of the King’s Earldom of Huntingdon.  He granted Charters of Confirmation for the lands of Ballard, of Pitbauchly, near Dunfermline, and of Bendachen, belonging to the Church of Dunkeld.  (Print. Regist. Dunf. pp. 178, 184, 213, 215; Fordun, ii. 123.)

  RALPH DE GREENLAW, Sub-Prior of the Abbey, elected and consecrated Lord Abbot of Dunfermline, successor to Simon, deposed.  He was the thirteenth Abbot.

  LORD ABBOT RADALPHUS: HIS CHARTER TO THE QUEENSFERRY BOARMEN.—The Abbot grants eight oars in the new passage boat to seven persons, one of whom is a woman, for payment of 8d. yearly for each oar, and performing the usual services, as also paying the old rent to the tenant of the passage.  One of the persons, Johannes Armiger, his heirs and assignees, ecclesiastics excepted, shall have two oars, and the rest one only.  Farther, the Abbot declares that the successor of any of them “per vos, vel per ballivos nostros saysinum remi sui habebit.”  This is one of the earliest instruments of seisin in constituting the right to a ship or boat.  (Print. Regist. Dunf. pp. 216, 217, No. 320; Dal. Mon. An. P. 63.)  The names of the persons to whom this grant was make are—John Armiger; Peter, the son of Adam; Thomas, the son of Bernard; Richard de Kirkeland; Magote de Craggy; John Floger; and Eue, the daughter of John Harloth.  The Charter is designated “Carta de viij. remins in batello passagii.”

  RESIGNATION OF LANDS, &c.—About this period several lands, crofts, &c., are resigned into the hands of Alexander III. “cum omnibus hominibus et cotariis” (with all the men and cottars on them, &c.), and the King immediately, by charter, conveys them to the Abbey.  (Print. Regist. Dunf. 1270-1275; Dal. Mon. An. P. 42.)

  1276.—POPE GREGORY X., between 1273 and 1276, granted two bulls to the Abbot and Convent of Dunfermline.  (Print. Regist. Dunf. pp. 188, 189 and  Nos. 297, 298.)

  1277.—A CHARTER GRANTED BY Alexander III., of this date, confirming the gift of the land of Lumphennens by Constantine de Lochor to his son Adam, is still to be seen at Pirfirrane House, near Dunfermline.  It is beautifully written on vellum, and has the Great Seal of Scotland appended to it.  It is still in a remarkably fine state of preservation.  (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. pp. 526-573.)

1278.—RESIGNATION OF LANDS (and men, &c., on them) into the King’s hands—viz., the lands of Beeth Waldef by Sir Ranulp de Strathechyn, “cum omnibus hominibus et cotariis.”  (Print. Regist. Dunf. p. 52, No. 8; Dal. Mon. An. p, 43.)

  “THE BLESSED MARGARET’S CHAMBER.”—In a Charter of Alexander III. (the King), dated 1278, reference is made to a resignation of lands—“Apud castrum puellarum de Edenburg in Camera nra q de. Camera be. Margerite regine,”  &c., i.e. at the Maiden’s Castle of Edinburgh, in our chamber which is called the blessed Queen Margaret’s Chamber.  This would be a chamber in the Castle Palace, where she so often had her residence, probably the chamber in which she died on November 16th or 17th, A.D. 1093.  (Print. Regist. Dunf. p. 53, No. 87, entitled, “ Carta dni Regis de terra Beeth Waldef;”  Dal. Mon. Antiq. p. 54.)

  1279.—JOHN DE INCHMARTYN AND THE LANDS OF ABBETHAYN.—In the Register of Dunfermline there is a Writ of Agreement between the Abbey and John de Inchmartyn, by which it is agreed that John must pay three merks sterling for the lands of Abbethayn, and declaring, if payment be delayed three weeks beyond the stipulated period, he shall be excommunicated by the Bishop of Dunkeld (or his substitute for the time) renouncing for him and his heirs all letters obtained or to be obtained, and all remedy of law, both canon and civil.  (Print. Regist, Dunf. pp. 144, 145; Dal. Mon. An. p. 59.)

1280.—DAVID (Prince), Son of Alexander III., died at Stirling, and was interred in the Abbey of Dunfermline.  (Hay’s Scotia Sacra, p. 329.)  According to Winton—

“A thowsand and twa hundyr yhere,
Foure scor oure tha, to rekyn clere,
Of Daivy thys third Alysawndry’s sone,
Of thys lyf all the sayes war done.
Dede he wes into Stryvelyn,
And enteryd in Dwnfermelyn.”
(Wynton’s “Orygynale Cronikil Scot.” vol. ii. p. 392.)

  ALEXANDER (Prince), Son of Alexander III., died at Lindores, and was interred in the Abbey of Dunfermlin—(Hay’s Scotia Sacra, p. 329)—of whom Winton says—

“The ferd Alysawndyre, our Kungis sone,
At Lundorys deyde, and syne
Enteryd wes in Dwnfermelyn.”
(Wynton’s “Orygynale Cronikil Scot.” vol. ii. p. 396.) 

Nothing is known of these two Princes.  David appears to have been about 18 and Alexander 20 years of age.  Their deaths (the deaths of the heirs apparent), and that, too, in the same year, was the cause of deep-felt sorrow throughout Scotland.  In what part of the Abbey they lie is not known.  If they were interred beside their mother, the place of interment would be near the east end of the nave (the Auld Kirk).  If near their father, their graves would be somewhere near the pulpit of the present modern Abbey Church.

  THE MILL POOL OF KIRKCALDY.—In a Charter of the Register of Dunfermline of the date, granted by Lord Abbot Ralph to Sir Michael Scott of Balweary, the Abbot enters into a convention with Sir Michael for the same, notifying “the he and his heirs shall possess the course of the water running between Balweary and Invertiel and the land of Milneton.”  An engraved fac-simile of this Charter is given in the Register.  (Vide Print. Regist. Dunf. p. 145, 422.)

  1281.—“THE KING SITS IN DUNFERMLING TOUNE, DRINKING THE BLUID-RED WYNE.”—These often-quoted lines are to be found in the fine old ballad of Sir Patrick Spens, composed to commemorate a sad disaster that occurred near the end of this year (1281).  As the lines are associated with Dunfermline in the olden time, a few words regarding the ballad in question will be necessary.

  The Princess Margaret, only daughter of Alexander III., was espoused to King Eric of Norway.  The marriage was arranged to take place before winter of that year.  Probably she was at the time residing with her father in his royal residence on Tower Hill (Canmore’s), which was a favourite abode of the King, and here he often domiciled for long periods. 

  In the ballad the King and his Courtiers are represented as being in Dunfermline discussing over their wine, the forthcoming marriage, a suitable ship, and a trusty captain.  Such were the weighty matter talked over in “Dumfarlin toon” over the bluid-red wine—

“The King sits in Dunfermling toune
Drynking the bluid-red wyne.” 

He asks— 

 “Oh, where will I get a saylor bold
To sayl this schipe of mine?” 

Sir Patrick Spens is recommended to the King, who writes to Sir Patrick, and he accepts the office of captain.

“O up and spake an eldern knight,
Sat at the King’s right knee;
Sir Patrick Spens is the best saylor
That ever sayl’d on sea.
Our King has written a braid letter,
And seal’d it with his hand,
And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens,
Who was walking on the strand.”

It has been suggested by some critics that the strand here alluded to was the strand at Aberdour, in the Firth of Forth.  Had this been so, the King would not have troubled himself writing “a braid letter” to Sir Patrick.  Aberdour-on-Forth is within an hour’s ride of “Dunfermling toun;” and instead of writing to him, a special messenger on horseback, demanding his attendance at Dunfermline, would have answered the purpose at once.  We, with others, suspect that Sir Patrick was then residing in Montrose, or some other North-eastern port, and that the Aberdour brought into the ballad, if it means anything, refers to the Aberdour in Aberdeenshire.

  All the necessary preparations are made, the ship splendidly fitted up, and on 31st July, 1281, it leaves some now unknown port, with Margaret the Princess and her numerous retinue.

“The ship, it was a guidlie ship,
The tapmast was o’ gowd,
And at ilk tak o’ the needle-wark,
A silver bell it jow’d
To Noroway, to Noroway,
To Noroway, o’er the faem;
The King’s daughter of Noroway,
‘Tis thou maun bring her hame.”

The “guidlie ship” arrived in safety at its destination, but on the return voyage a great storm arose; the ship becomes a wreck, and sinks with all on board, when approaching the Orkney Isles (near Papa Stronsay), which is rather more than half-way between “(Noroway” and Aberdour, on the Moray Firth.  Here, about

“Half owre, half owre to Aberdoure,
It’s fifty fathoms deep,
And there lies guid Sir Patrick Spens,
And the Scots lords at his feet.”

So ended this disaster, over which great lamentation was made—

“Oh, lang, lang, may the laydes look,
Wi’ their gown-tails ower their croun,
Before they see their ain dear lords
Come sailing to Dunfermling toun.”

It may be here noted that in the little island of Papa Stronsay there is a large tumulus which has been known to the inhabitants from time immemorial as “the grave of Sir Patrick Spens.”  (Vide “Aytoun’s Ballads of Scotland.”)

  There has been much discussion from time to time as to who was the author of this famous old ballad,  We strongly suspect that it was composed by Lady Wardlaw (whose maiden name was Elizabeth Halket), the reputed authoress of the well-known poem entitled “Hardyknute.”  The construction of the lines and expression used in Sir Patrick Spens have a close resemblance to those in Hardyknute.  We shall extract a stanza from each to show the extreme probability of the author of Sir Patrick Spens being the composer of Hardyknute.  From Sir Patrick Spens—

“The King sits in Dunfermling toune,
Drynking the bluid-red wyne,” &c. 

From Hardyknute—

“The tidings to oure good Scots King
Came as he sat at dine,
With noble chiefs in brave array,
Drinking the blood-red wine.”

We have never seen the original print of Sir Patrick Spens, and, therefore can say nothing about the spelling of the toune.  It has been supposed that toune is a misprint for toure.  There can be no doubt that if toure is the original spelling, it would be more correct, for the Kings of Scotland resided in Dunfermling toure, and not, strictly speaking, in Dunfermling toune.

Elizabeth Halket, or Lady Wardlaw, died about the 1727. 

  SEAL OF THE ABBOT RADULPHUS.—The Seal of Lord Abbot Ralph appears to have been made about this period.  The following is a fac-simile of the Seal.  A fine impression, in gutta percha, was sent to us, in 1850, by Mr. Henry Laing, medallist, Elder Street, Edinburgh.  It is oval in shape, and is thus described by Mr. Laing:--“A Seal in excellent preservation; within a Gothic niche, a representation of the Eternal Father and Son—the Father sitting with the cruciform nimbus, holding  between his knees the Son, extended on the Cross.  Above the right shoulder of the Father is a star, and above the left a pellet with a crescent.  At the sides of the niche are the words, ‘ECCLA XRI’  In the lower part of the Seal, within a niche, is a figure of an Abbot in pontifical vestments kneeling at prayer, and ‘S: RADVLPHI ABBATIS DE DVNFERMELIN,’ in letters of the period, are within ornamented dotted curves along the circumference.”  (Laing’s Catalogue of Seals.)

At the time the writer received the impression of this fine Seal from Mr. Laing, he suggested to him that the Church which crowns it was probably intended to represent the east view of the Abbey, or new Choir, and in this view he agreed, and, since then, all antiquaries who have taken the matter into consideration.  Therefore, although rude, still we have a faint resemblance of the Abbey, in 1280, from the east.  (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 94; and Descrip. vol. ii. pp. 216,217.)

  1285.—ROYAL INTERMENT OF KING ALEXANDER III.—“This King, in the dusk of the evening, riding between Burntisland and Kinghorn, was, on March 16th, thrown from his horse over a high rocky cliff, and killed on the spot.”  Some accounts state that the horse went over the precipice with the rider.  (Hailes’ An. Scot. vol. i. p. 183; Fordun, x. 40; Foedera, iv. 370; Abrid. Scot. Chron. p. 203.)

  The remains of the King were embalmed and according to Hay’s Sacra Scotia, p. 323, his heart was extracted and buried in the Church of St. John the Baptist at Perth.  Fordun, in his account of the violent end of Alexander, says, “And he was buried in the Abbey of Dunfermline as became a King.”  (Fordun, x. 40.)

  In the “Chronicon de Lanercost,”  mention is made of the site of the tomb of this Alexander, viz., “1285.  He lies at Dunfermline alone, in the middle part, and is buried near the Presbytery;” to which the writer in the Chronicon appends:  “Where when we see a multitude lamenting as much his sudden death as the desolation of the kingdom, they alone did not moisten their cheeks with their tears, who closely adhered to him for his acts of friendship and good deeds.”  At his death Alexander was 44 years of age and had reigned about 36 years.

  The following are other references to the violent death and interment of Alexander III.:--“Alexandre le fits Alexandre qi de vviij. aunz de age comensa a regna xxxvij aunz Qi roumpy de cole a Kinkorn, sours de quoyen uevnt grant mal, et Sepultus Dunfermelin:--i.e., Alexander, son of Alexander, who at eight years of age commenced to reign; he reigned 37 years, and broke his neck at Kinghorn, from which arose great evil, and he was buried at Dunfermline.  (Skene’s Col. No. 32, pp. 206-208.)  “Alexander, filius Alexandri, regnavit xxxix annis et mortuus apud Kingorin,et sepultus in Dunfermelin”—i.e., Alexander, the son of Alexander, reigned 39 years, died at Kinghorn, and was buried at Dunfermline.  (Skene’s Chron. Scots and Picts, p. 290.)  It is singular that these notices give 37 and 39 years for Alexander’s reign.  He reigned 36 years.

  Winton refers to the death, &c., as follows:--

“A thowsand twa hundyr foure-score of yhere
The fyft, frae that the Mayden clere,
Jesus Cryst oure Lord had borne;
Alysawndyr oure Kyng deyd at Kyngorne
Fra that place he wes had syne,
And entered in Dunfermlyne;
In that Collegyd Kirk he lyis:
His Spyryt in –til paradays,” &c.
(Wynton’s Orygynale Cronikil, vol. ii. p. 390.)

  The Chronicon de Lanercost noted that he was buried in the “middle part near the Presbytery.”  In 1285, the Presbytery was situated near the east end of the new Choir, or a little to the south of the site of the pulpit of the present modern church.

  Barbour, in his notice of the death of this King, says—

“When Alexander the King was dead,
That Scotland had to steer and lead,
The land six years, and more perfay,
Lay desolate after his day.”
(Barbour’s “Bruce,” p. 2, 36-40 lines.)

  1291.—COAL AND STONE CHARTER OF WILLIAM DE OBERWIL TO DUNFERMLINE ABBEY.—This very interesting Charter is in the Register of Dunfermline; it is the oldest Coal Charter in Scotland.  It appears that coal was dug at Tranent in 1285; but Dunfermline coal had become subject for a charter in 1201.  The later workings may therefore be older than those at Tranent; being first noticed does not always imply the first in reality.  The following is a copy of the Charter, with our translation:--

  “Omnibus has literas visuris vel audituris, Willelmus de Oberwill, cominus de Pethyncreff, eternam in Domino salutem.—Noveritis me ex mera gratia et perpetua voluntate concessisse religiosis viris Abbati et Conventui de Dunfermelyn unam carbonariam in terra nea de Petyncreff, ubicunque voluerint, eexcepta terra arabili, ita quad sufficienciam ad usus suos inde percipient et aliis vendere non presumant; una vero deficiente aliam mpro voluntate sua facient quociens viderent expedire sibi.  In super volo et concede eisdem liberam potestatem fodiendi, capiendi et caedendi, lapides in dicta terra mea ad usus suos pro voluntate eorum excepta terra arabilli. Concedo etiam (eis) et ad eos pertinentibus quod libere uti possint omnibus viis et semitis per terras meas de Petyncref et de Galurig sine aliquot impedimento, quibus aliquot tempori usi sunt vel uti consueverunt.  In cujus rei testimonium presentibus sigillum meum apposui uns cum sigillo officiali domini Episcopi Sancti Andrea et sigillo Roberti de Malavilla, qui sigilla sua ad instanciam meam presentibus apposuerint.—Datum apud Dunfermelyn die Marti proximo ante festum sancti Ambrosii Episcopi et confessoris.—Annp gratie millesimo Ducentesimo Nonagesimo Primo.”  (Print. Regist. Dunf. pp. 218, 219, No. 323.)

  “To all who shall hear or see this Charter, William de Oberwill, owner of Pittencrieff, wishes eternal salvation in the Lord.  Be it known to you that I have granted, from my mere good pleasure and of my own free will, to the religious men, the Abbot and Convent of Dunfermline, a coal pit in my land of Pittencrieff, wherever they may wish, excluding the arable land, in such a way that they may get from thence sufficiency of coal for their own use, and may not presume to sell to others; moreover, one failing, they will make another, according to their own free will, as often as they may see it expedient for themselves.  In addition, I am willing to grant, and do grant to the same, free power to quarry , take, and cut stones in the said land of mine, for their own use, according to their own free will, excluding the arable land.  I grant also to them, and to those belonging to them, that they may use freely all the roads and paths through my lands of Pittencrieff and Galrig, without any hindrance, which they have used at any time, or have been wont to use.  In testimony whereof I have attached my seal to these presents, along with the official seal of my Lord Bishop of St. Andrews and the seal of Robert Melville, who have attached their seals to these presents at my instance.  Given at Dunfermline on the Tuesday next before the Feast of St. Ambrose, Bishop and Confessor, in the year of grace 1291.”

  EDWARD I., KING OF ENGLAND, arrived in Dunfermline 17th July, 1291 (his first visit).—King Edward I. of England, in his route from Berwick to Perth, arrives in Dunfermline on 17th July, as he had done at other places, to ascertain the disposition and strength of the people,  and imperiously calls upon persons of all ranks—Earls, Barons, Bishops, Abbots, Burgesses, &c.—to sign his roll of homage as his vassals.  (Vide Tyler’s Hist. Scot. vol. i. p. 87.)  The “Ragman Rolls” gives the following account of Edward’s visit:--“In the year of our Lord, and Indication (MCCXCI.), upon 17th day of month of July, there came to the said Lord King at Dunfermline, Radulph, Abbot of the same place, and noble men, Sirs Andrew Fraser, William of Haye, Andrew of Moray, and Constantine de Loghor, Sheriffs of Fife, and to the same Lord King of England, as over and immediate lord of the kingdom of Scotland, made fidelity, and swore, some of them, upon the High Altar of the said Abbey, and some in the Chapter, in the presence of the venerable fathers in Christ, Sir Antony of Durham, and Alan, Bishop of Caithness, along with noble men, Sirs John of St. John, Patrick of Graham , and Galfrid of Moubray, knights, and many other nobles, clergymen, and lay men.”  (Vide Ragman Rolls, print. at Edin. 1835; Rymer’s Foedera, i. 773, A.D. 1291-1296, p. 15; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. ii. p. 260.)

  1295.—JOHN BALIOL, KING OF SCOTLAND, at Dunfermline, relative to his Son and Heir’s Marriage.—There is a treaty still extant regarding this affair, between John Baliol, King of Scotland, and Philip IV., King of France, for Philip to give his niece, the eldest daughter of Charles, Count of Anjou, in marriage to Edward, the son and heir of Baliol, which was ratified by John Baliol at Dunfermline on the vii. Kal. Marcii (23rd Feb.), 1295, where it received the assent of the clergy, nobility, and burghs.  This treaty was registered at Paris, 23rd October, same year.  (Vide Rymer’s Foedera; Anderson’s Diplomata Scotia; Chal. vol. i. p. 510.)

  1296.—EDWARD I. KING OF ENGLAND, IN DUNFERMLINE (second and third visits).—Edward I. had a twenty-one weeks’ march through Scotland during the summer of this year, his object being, according to Tytler and other Historians, “to destroy everything of antiquity in Scotland, to carry off it Records and men of learning.”  He appears to have been twice in Dunfermline during his progress, viz., on June 17th, when the Sheriff of Stirling swore fealty to Edward before the Great Altar, and again on the 13th August, on his returning journey.  On his return, he came to Dunfermline by way of Markinch, and then went on to Stirling.  (Fordun, xi. 26; Tytler’s Hist. Scot. vol. i. pp. 88 and 432; Crawford’s Remarks on the Ragman Roll, vol. i. p. 13; Hect. Boeth, xiv. Fol. 305; Hemingford, p. 97; Nimmo’s Hist. Stirlingshire, vol. i. p. 496.)

  1297.—ARNOLD BLAIR, “a Monk of the Benedictine Cloister of Dunfermline,” left the monastery and became chaplain to Sir William Wallace (at the hero’s request).  (See date 1327; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 530; Nicholson’s Scot. Hist. lib. pp. 248, 249.)

1300.—DUNFERMLINE ABBEY in High Repute for Sanctity.—In the “year 1300, William de Lamberton, Bishop of St. Andrews, in premising the great perfection of discipline, the commendatory life and charity of the monks, gives them the vicarage of a church to render them still more fervent.”” (Print. Regist. Dunf. p. 73; No. 122; Dal. Mon. Antiq. pp. 16, 17.)


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