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Annals of Dunfermline
A.D. 1301 - 1401 - Part 3

1356.—INTERMENT OF CHRISTIAN DE BRUCE AT DUMFERMLINE.—Christian de Bruce, sister of King Robert de Bruce, and wife of the late Andrew de Moravia, the good Regent of Scotland, died and was buried in the Abbey of Dunfermline.  (Hay’s Scotia Sacra; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 494.)

  1358.—THE ABBOT OF DINFERMLINE Versus PRIORY OF UNCHARD.—The Abbot of Dunfermline issued a protest by writ, protesting against the conduct, &c., of the Prior and monks of Urchard.  (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 387, pp. 266, 267.)  The fraternity of this Priory appear to have been a class of “persevering men,” for they continued their malpractices for 100 years after this date.  (Vide Print. Regist. Dunf. pp. 283, 333, 339 (1456).

  1360.—WILLIAM RAMSAY, (14th) Earl of Fife, died about this period and was interred in the Abbey of Dunfermline.  (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 133.)

  1362.—JOHN, (4th) Lord Abbot of Dunfermline.—The exact year of the election and consecration of the John (without a surname) as Lord Abbot is not known; and nothing is known with certainty of the latter years of his predecessor.  He was witness to a Charter of King David II., on Sept. 14th, Anno Reg. 33 [1362].  (Regist. Epis. Aberdeen, vol. i. p. 90.)  He is still Abbot on December 5th, 1363, when he obtained a pass for many Scots about to stay in England; also for six horsemen.  (Rotuli Scotić, i. 875; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 188.)  Nothing more is known of the deeds of this Abbot; but he appears to have held the office of Abbot until 1365.

  1363.—CONFIRMATION CHARTER OF KING DAVID II. to the Regality and Burgesses of Dunfermline.

(Free Translation of the Charter.)

  “David, by the Grace of God, King of Scots, to all the upright men of his whole land, clergy and laity, Greeting,--Know ye that we, from an inspection of the Charters which the religious men, the Abbot and Convent of the Monastery of Dunfermline, have had from our predecessors, Kings of Scotland, have more fully understood the rights and liberties of their regality, and also of their burghs: We, for the safety of our own soul, and for the souls of all our predecessors and successors, have given and granted, and by this our present Charter, by way of a perpetual declaration, have confirmed to the foresaid religious men, viz., that the burgesses and merchants of the same burghs may lawfully and freely buy and sell in each of their burghs, viz., Dunfermlyne, Kircaldy, Muskilburgh, and Queensferry ; and also in these their burghs in regard to any goods whatsoever, coming from any place whatsoever, and within all the limits, confines, and boundaries of the whole regality of these religious men through the whole of our kingdom, they may justly exercise their trades, as well regarding wool, hides, and skins as regarding other merchandise whatsoever, without impediment from our servants or our burgesses whatsoever: Reserving to ourselves always the Great Customs from wool, hides, and skins, and other merchandise accruing beyond the limits and bounds of the said burghs and aforesaid regality, strongly inhibiting any men, our burgesses, or merchants, from our burghs whatsoever, or any other men, burgesses or merchants, of other burghs whatsoever, form presuming to use in any way the right or power to trade, or exercising the grants in the future to the prejudice of the said religious men, or their burgesses or burghs, or to impair our present declaration and confirmation within the boundaries of the regality of the same.  In testimony whereof, we have ordered our seal to be attached to our present Charter.—Witnesses: The venerable Fathers in Christ, WILLIAM, Bishop of St. Andrews; and PATRICK, Bishop of Brechin, our Chancellor;  ROBERT, Seneschal of Scotland, our grandson;  WILLIAM, Earl of Douglas; ROBERT DE ERSKYN, OUR Chamberlain; ARCHIBALD DOUGLAS, and JOHN HERTH KNIGHT.—Given at Edinburgh, the 24th day of October, in the 34th year of our reign” [A.D. 1363].  (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 390, pp. 269, 270.)

  THE GRANGE OF GELLALD AND WESTER ROSYTH PORT OR HARBOUR, &C.—The following is a free translation of part of a Charter by David II., granting to the Abbey of Dunfermline the privilege of a port or harbour at either of the foresaid places:--

  “David, by the Grace of God, King of Scots, to the whole upright men in the kingdom, Greeting,--Know ye that I have given and granted to God and to the blessed Margaret the Queen, to the Abbot and Monks of Dunfermlyn serving God there, and to serve God there forever, for themselves, their burgesses, and merchants, that they hold a port or harbour at Grange, of Gellald, or at Wester Rossyth, with the consent of the owners thereof, for all sorts of goods and merchandise, as well as wool, hides, and skins; and at the said harbour by the merchants of the same, for carrying, importing, exporting, and weighing, freely, lawfully, as they may see most expedient for themselves—reserving to ourselves always the Great Customs,” &c.  (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 891, pp. 270, 271.)

  JOHN, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline, was present at the Convention of the Estates when “the Stewart, the Barons, and malcontents resolved to renounce their associations, and bound themselves to abstain from their confederacies against David II.”  (Fordun, lib. xvi. C. 27.)

  1364.—TRON AND CUSTOMS.—After the receipt of the foregoing Charter, it is probable that a public Tron would be erected, and a table of Customs made for the convenience of the burghers and the primitive merchants of that day.

  1365.—SAFE-CONDUCT PASS obtained by the Abbot, &c.—Abbot John of Balygirnach, along with Sir D. Fleming, received a safe-conduct pass for one company of Scots and six horsemen to England.  (Rotuli Scotić, xiv. 8; vol. ii. p. 349.)

  1366.—THE PATRONAGE of St. Giles’s Church, Edinburgh, conferred on the Abbot and Convent of Dunfermline, by the Bishop of Lindisfarne (Holy Island).  (Arnot’s Hist. Edin. p. 206.)

  MATHILDA BRUCE, the daughter of King Robert the Bruce, and sister of King David II., died and was interred in Dunfermline Abbey, but whether in the old building, or in the Choir, is not known; but it is most likely that she was interred in the Choir, near the High Altar, and near the places of sepulture of her father and mother, King Robert and Queen Elizabeth.

  1368.—THE CAPELLA ET HOSPITIUM DE ST. LEONARD, near Dunfermline, supposed to have been built.  The Chapel and Hospital near the “villa inferior,” or Netherton, on the south, appears from several old writs to have been erected about this period, and dedicated to St. Leonard.  There was a St. Leonard’s Altar in the Abbey, supported partly from ground-rentals near these buildings.  Not a vestige remains of these old erections.

  1374.—THE “THREE MILLS OF DUNFERMLYNG” are mentioned in old deeds as early as this year.  They were corn-mills of very humble pretensions, and were situated as follows:--A small corn-mill at the Collier Row Port, sometimes called the “Mill Port,” at the narrow contraction of the street (top of Bruce Street); 2nd, The Abbey Mill, which, until near the end of last century, stood a few feet east of the present-going flour-mill in Monastery Street; 3rd, The Mill of “our Lady Marie,” in villa inferiore—i.e., lower town, or Netherton.  The site is still well known, and continues to retain the name of “Lady’s Mil.”  The three mills (in ruins) situate on the west side of the water-conduit in Monastery Street, were built early last century.  (See Annals. Dunf. date 1734.)

  1378.—COLDINGHAM PRIORY Annexed to Dunfermline Abbey.—In consequence of the great misrule and irregularities of this Priory, which was held of Durham, King Robert II. withdrew it from Durham and annexed it to the Abbey of Dunfermline, and appointed a colony of monks of Dunfermline to take possession of the Priory, which was accordingly done.  (Vide Charter I full in Carr’s History of Coldingham, pp. 327, 328.)

  1380.—John, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline.—It is not known when this “John” was elected and consecrated Lord Abbot of Dunfermline.  His name occurs for the first time in a Charter dated 1380.  (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 392, p. 272; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. p. 188.)  He was the 21st Abbot of Dunfermline.

  ALDECAMBUS.—In the Register of Dunfermline of this date, there is a Charter regarding Aldecambus, Coldingham, Chirnside, &c., which begins with “To all the Sons of Holy Mother Church, John, by permission, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline,” &c., dated at Dunfermline 10th March, 1380.  (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 392, p. 272.)

  1381.—THE VICARAGE OF DUNFERMLINE ABBEY Confirmed to the Abbot and Convent by Charter from the Cardinal Legate.—This Charter curiously begins thus:--“Walter, by the Divine Pity of the Holy Roman Church, Cardinal,” &c.  This Cardinal belonged to the House of Torrie, near Dunfermline.  (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 594, p. 413.)

  1382.—CUPAR-FIFE Constituted a Royal Burgh in a Court held at Dunfermline.—King Robert II., in his Court held at Dunfermline, this year, constituted the town of Cupar a Royal Burgh.  (Barbieri’s Hist. Gaz. Fife, &c., p. 128.)

  1383.—THE TRON AND CUSTOMS of Dunfermline Arrested by Order of King Robert II.—The Convent of Dunfermline had, for some time previous to this date, been encroaching on the Great Customs due to the King.  He, this year, issued an Order in Council for arresting the Tron and Customs of Dunfermline, and bringing them into his own hands.  Shortly afterwards, at the solicitation of the Abbot and monks, the arrestment was removed, with a warning not to encroach on the king’s rights again.  (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 394, p. 274; Dal. Mon. Antiq. p. 21.)

  1385.—RICHARD II. of England, and his Soldiers set Fire to Dunfermline.—Froissart, referring to this event, says:--“When the King (Richard II.) and his lords left Edinburgh, they went to Dunfermline, a tolerably handsome town, where is a large and fair Abbey of black monks, in which the Kings of Scotland have been accustomed to be buried.  The King was lodged in the Abbey; but, after his departure, the army seized it and burnt both that and the town,” (Frois. Chron. vol. vii. Pp. 68, 69.)

  Hume, in his History of England, mentions that Richard II., in 1385, reduced Edinburgh to ashes, and treated in the same manner Perth, Dundee, and other places in the low countries; and that when he was advised to march towards the West Coast to await the return of the Scots (who had entered England by the west), his impatience to be in England prevailed, and he carried back his army. Some authors refuse to admit that Richard went to Dunfermline; for instance, Guthrie, in his History of Scotland, takes notice of the burning of Edinburgh in 1385, but says, “that thought urged to carry the war beyond the Forth, he refused.”  (Vide Fernie’s Hist. Dunf. pp. II, 132, 133.)

  1386.—THE VICARAGE OF DUNFERMLINE CHURCH.—The Vicarage of the Conventual Church of Dunfermline, which had been bestowed on the Abbot and Convent, was in 1386 confirmed by Charter from Cuthbert, Cardinal Wardlaw, 15th December.  (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 574, pp. 413, 414.)

  1388.—CHARTER from JOHN, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline, to Lord John Lyon of Fothros, regarding certain properties and privileges relative to Mills, Fishings, Warrens, &c. (Regist. de Dunf. No. 393, p. 273.)

  1389.—KIND ROBERT II. and the Truce.—This year King Robert II., and a retinue of his nobility, met with the Ambassadors of England and France at Dunfermline to renew the truce.  (Fordun, vol. ii. p. 415.)

  1390.—ST. JOHN’S CHAPEL, GARVOCK-terra.—It is not known by whom or when this Chapel was erected.  It is alluded to in some old deeds, which refer to 1390.  Its site is still to be traced at Chapel Well, one-and-a-quarter miles east of Dumfermline.  (Register of Dunfermline p. 586; MS Registered Charters, Register Office, Edinburgh.)

  NAMES COMMON IN DUNFERMLINE IN 1390.—In several old Writs the following names occur:--Craufurd, Gilbert, Lindsay, Braidwood, Smyth, Spitale, Henrysone, Wellwode, Wardlaw Forestar, Barrowman, Scot, Trumbul, Morton, Wilson, Coupar, Walcar, Davieson, Dempster; and there appear to have been the Weavers, Litsters, Wrights, Masons, Tailzers, Fullers, Brewsters, and other minor trades.  The High Strret was known as the “Hie-gait,” and Bruce Street as the “Colzier-rawe,” &c.

  1393.—JOHN, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline, granted by Charter to William Scot, the lands of Balweary, in the Viceroyalty of Fife, dated at Dunfermline 13th June, 1393.  (Printed. Register of Dunfermline, No. 397, p. 277.)

  1394.—KING JAMES I. BORN IN DUNFERMLINE.—James I. of Scotland, son of Robert III. and his consort, the Queen Annabella Drummond, was born in the Palace of Dunfermline, in July, 1394 (and in the 37th year of their marriage), regarding which Winton says—

“Oure King Jamys in Scotland syne,
That yhere wes born in Dunfermlyn,” &c.
(Wynton’s Orygynale Cronikil, vol. i. pp. 23, 24.)

(Vide Chalmers’s Lives of Eminent Scotsmen; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. ii. p. 263.)

  1395.—ALDERMEN OF DUNFERMLINE.—It is not known when or by whom the title of “Alderman” was conferred on the Chief Magistrate of the Burgh.  The title occurs for the first time under date 1395, in a Charter in the Register of Dunfermline, No. 336, p. 276.  (See following Charter.)  It would appear from several Charters, that the designation of “Alderman” was abandoned some time before the middle of the following century, when the title of “Provost” came into use.  Still, Alderman is used as a designation, applied apparently to the Chief or Senior Bailie as late as the year 1507.  (See also An. Dunf. date 1176.)  Perhaps, Gillebridus acted as Chief Magistrate at this period.

  INDENTURE or CHARTER from JOHN, Abbot of Dunfermline, to the Alderman and Community of Dunfermline.—The following is a free translation of “The Indenture”:--

  “This Indenture, made at Dunfermline on the tenth day of the month of October, in the year of our Lord, 1395, between the venerable father, John Abbot of the Monastery of Dunfermline on the other side, fully testifies that the said lords, the Abbot and Convent have let, and in farm have demitted, forever to the foresaid Alderman and Community all the revenues of the said burgh belonging to their treasury, with the small customs, stallages, and court receipts, and the whole burgh in full freedom, with all their conveniences, rights, privileges, and easements whatsoever, that belong to the same burgh, or that may belong in any way in future, as freely  in all things and through all things as any burghs of our lord the King hold, have, or possess, in fee-farm, any burgh in the kingdom of our said lord the King,--reserving to the said lords, the Abbot and Convent, the lands purchased, or to be purchased, in the said burgh, through the treasurer by annual payments due to the Monastery from the different lands of the said burgh:  And for correction of the bailies, as often as they, or any one of them, may have failed in their legal duties, or in administering or executing justice, for which concessions, indeed granted above, the foresaid Alderman and Community shall pay annually and forever to the religious men mentioned, thirteen marks of the usual money, at the four ordinary terms of the year, by equal portions, without delay, cavil, guile, or evil intent:  And if at or on any of the terms noted above, they should happen to fail to pay the prescribed sum according to the grant, in part or in whole, all their special property and their possessions, according to the will of the foresaid religious men, will have to be seized, taken, and distributed, until full satisfaction be made to them in regard to the said sum for losses and expenses, if the former participant lords, the religious men, may have sustained or incurred any, by reason of the payment formerly enjoyed not having been made in any of the terms noted before, according to the grant.—In testimony of all which the common seal of the Burgh of Dunfermline is attached to the part of this indenture remaining in the hands of the religious men, the Lord Abbot and Convent; but to the other remanent part for the foresaid Alderman and Community, the common seal of the Chapter of the foresaid religious men is attached on the day, in the year and place stated above.”  (Regist. Dunf. No. 396, p. 276.)

  FIRST SEAL OF THE BURGH OF DUNFERMLINE.—It is not known when the Burgh of Dunfermline first made use of the Seal to affix to their legal documents.  Before 1395 the Seals of the Regality Court and the Chapter of the Abbey appear to have been the only Seals used.  But now, by the preceding indenture between the Abbot, &c., and the Alderman and Community of the Burgh, the Abbot and Conventual Brethren demit in favour of the aforesaid Alderman and Community the whole revenue payable to them by the Burgh, with the customs, stallages, profits, fines, annual payments of lands, &c.  A Seal for the use of the Burgh to legalise these documents and proceedings would now be absolutely necessary; and we fix the date of the first Seal of the Burgh, at the time such important privileges, &c., were conferred upon it in 1395, immediately after the receipt of the preceding Abbey Charter.  The engraving on the following is taken from a wax impression of the oldest known Seal of the Burgh.  It is rude, and in a mutilated condition, and is appended to a Pitfirrane Charter, dated between 1500 and 1523, as shown in the Charter-chest of Pitfirrane.

  From this fragment of the Burgh Seal, it will be seen that the central figure is the representation of Malcolm Canmore’s Tower on Tower Hill, Dunfermline, supported by a lion-rampant on each side of it (the same as is in use at the present day on the Burgh Seal).

The legend round the circumference of this Seal has disappeared, but it may be restored as follows:--


--that is, “The Common Seal of the City of Dunfermline; or,


--VIZ., “The Seal of the Community of Dunfermline.”  Probably this is the proper restoration of the words and their rendering.  The Tower on this Seal, being the oldest known representation of Canmore’s Tower, is of itself interesting, because the greater part of the Old Tower may have been standing in 1395, and it may therefore be taken as an exact, although rude, appearance of the east gable of the renowned Tower.  (See Chalmers’s History of Dunfermline, vol. ii. pp. 39,  40, 50, 51.)

  1396.—THE TOWN PORTS.—These Ports, which appear to have been six in number, were probably erected immediately after the Burgh had obtained such an important Charter from the Abbot.  The West Port (see Annals Dunf. date 1327) is the first-mentioned Port on record; but, as it was a small one—a kind of postern yet—it would be erected in the first instance as a barrier between the Abbey and the Burgh.  In later times it was known as “The Wee Pend.”  Burgh Ports were erected not for defence, but for the protection of Burghal rights, receipt of tolls, dues, &c., although they would do for a slight defence when necessary.  These ports were situated at the following places:--

1.  The Mill, or Collieraw Port……Top of Bruce Street.
2.  The Rottenraw Port……………Near top of S. Chapel Street.
3.  The Crosswynd Port…………..Top of Crosswynd.
4.  East Port………………………..Near the east of High Street.
5.  Tolbooth Port…………………...Foot of Bruce Street.
6.  West Port………………………..Middle of St. Catherine’s Wynd.

And we suspect there would be a 7th at the narrow bent pass, at the east end of the May Gate.  The Burgh then, as will be understood by the site of the Ports, was of small extent; the whole of the houses and “back-yards” were included in a sort of rectangular boundary line of 1000 yards, with a probable population of 700.  Tolls were collected at the Ports, and taken to the clerk at the Booth (a kind of small shop), for entering in his collecting-book—hence the name of Tollbooth; and if the booth was connected with a prison, the prison, through course of time, was called the “Tolbooth.”

  THE MARKET CROSS of Dunfermline was erected about this period.  (See Annals Dunf. date 1499.)

  1397.—COMMISSIONERS MET AT DUNFERMLINE regarding the Breach of Truce which was Concluded in 1389.—Robert III. of Scotland, and Henry VI. of England, charged each other with a breach of the Truce concluded in Picardy, France, in 1389.  They agree that  their differences shall be settled by Commissioners, mutually chosen, “to which end John Shipene and Sir William Elmham met at Dunfermline, on the 2nd October, in the year 1397 (where the Court then resided), with William Stewart of Jedburgh, Sit John de Ramorgeny, Adam Forrester, and Patrick de Lumley—King Robert’s Commissioners.  They came to the following resolution, viz., that the Commissioners again meet on the 10th March following, at Redenburn, Carham, or Hawdenstant.””  (Maitland’s Hist. Scot. vol. i. p. 570; Henry’s Hist. Brit. vol. vii. P. 350.)

  1399.—JOHN DE TORRY, appears for the first time in a Charter of this date.  It is not known when he was elected and consecrated Lord Abbot.  He was the 22nd Abbot of Dunfermline.


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