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Annals of Dunfermline
Addenda 1


  IN the Annals, date 1473, we note (also Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 398) that the Burgh Records were then commenced.  There have been erasures in some of the early dates, and this fact associates with them a degree of uncertainty.  The dates are given in small single letters, as was customary in those times.  The first in the old Record is M°CCCCLXXVIIJ. (1478). The original date appears to have been M°CCCCLXXXVIIJ. (1488), but by a clumsy erasure it has been converted into the former date.  The “L” has been erased, and the first “°C” converted into “L”.  The same process appears to have been performed on several subsequent dates on the first page, which, correctly stated, would be respectively 1487, 1488, 1487, 1487.  The first entry on the second page is M°CCCCLXXIX.  (1479). This may have led to the alteration of dates of the previous entries.  The second, and subsequent dates, are respectively, 1488, 1487, 1487, 1488, 1488, 1487, 1488, 1488 after which they flow on pretty regularly.  The other volumes of the Burgh Records are (1) a small folio, extending from January, 1556, to 15th November, 1575, in parchment covers.  On a fly-leaf at the end of it there is the following note on the coronation of James VI:--

            “Regis Coronatio—The coronatioun and inauguration of our Souirane James, be ye grace of God, King of Scotis, the sext of zat name, was maid and solempnizat the XXIX, day of July ye yeir of Go Javj. V° LXVIJ. (1567) and in the sameyn yeir upoun ye XV, day of December was Ratefeit and approvit in parliament haldyn at Edinburgh.”

  Vol. iii. commences in 1578 and ends in 1580.  Vol. iv. extends from 1580 to 1591, after which there are no records till 1673, where vol. v. begins.  It extends to 1687 and continues in a regular series up to the present time.


  ROYAL BURGHS—An eminent historian, referring to royal burghs, says, “Early in the Twelfth Century, when the land of Scotland began to be divided into royalty and regality, those parts which were known by the term ‘royal’ were subjected to the jurisdiction of the king, he judges, or substitutes.”  At this period the sovereign and his deputies exercised supreme authority over their royalties and the town which had been built on them.  Some of these towns were taken into peculiar favour by the sovereign, and invested with limited burghal privileges.  The kin, in his charter conveying gifts, &c, to one of them, designated it burgo meo, viz., “my burg”—hence, a king’s or royal burgh.  Dunfermline appears to have been so designated as early as 1109, 1112, 1115.  (See Annals under these dates.)  As just noted, the sovereigns were the supreme heads of these little burghs, and deputed judges and other functionaries to “exercise and adjust” all cases in connection with their rights.  Afterwards, in may instances, when ecclesiastics were invested with the power of “ruling in civil affairs,” they wee deputed by the sovereign to act for him, reserving for himself the supreme authority of reversing any judgment that appeared to him to be faulty.  Subsequently these burghs became differently constituted, and were ruled by aldermen, or præpositi, who presided over a council elected from amongst the inhabitants, and who for a long period gave “rule and law” to the burgh.  In course of time, when several trades became of importance, they were incorporated and their heads, or deacons, became members of the burgh council.  With slight alteration this burgh council continued until 1834, when the Reform Bill “completely deranged the old happy family system” and gave such burghs the constitution they now “hold and have.”

REGALITY BURGHS—Those parts or districts which were comprehended under the name of “regalities,” acknowledged the jurisdiction of such ecclesiastics or nobles as had received a grant of land from the Crown, with the rights of regality annexed to it.  Thus originated Burghs of Royalty and Barony.  It would appear that the “ecclesiastics were the first who prevailed with the Crown to convey to them the right of holding their courts in the fullest manner and to five judgment by fire, by water, or iron combat, as also immunity from the superior judges, together with all the privileges pertaining to their court, including the right in all persons resident within their regal territories of refusing to answer except in their own proper courts”.  These rights were endorsed generally by each succeeding sovereign shortly after ascending the throne.  We find such right granted to the Bishop of St. Andrews and the Abbots of Dunfermline, Holyrood, Aberborthic, Kelso, &c and perhaps possessed, at least to some extent, by every religious house in the kingdom.  (See Tyler’s Hist. Scot. vol. ii. pp. 246, 247.)  Dunfermline stood partly on regality land, and its burghers paid annually certain sums to the Abbot as rentals &c so that, in later times, the Royal Burgh Courts and the Courts of Regality sometimes became hostile regarding their “real or assumed rights.”  Regalities and Regality Courts were abolished in 1748.  (See An. Dunf. date 1748.) 

  Tytler, in his History of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 246, 247, in referring to the privileges possessed by Burghs Royal and Burghs of Regality, says:--

            “At a very early period—probably about the middle of the Twelfth Century (Reg. Mal. IV.)—when the land of Scotland began to be partially divided into Royalty and Regality, those parts which were distinguished by the term “Royalty” were subjected to the jurisdiction of the king and his judges.  The districts, on the other hand, which were comprehended under the name of “Regalities,’ acknowledged the jurisdiction of those ecclesiastics or nobles who had received a grant of land from the Crown, with the rights of regality annexed to it.  The clergy appear to have been the first who, in the charters of land which they often procured from the Crown, prevailed upon the sovereign to convey to then the right of holding their own courts, and to grant them an immunity from the jurisdiction of all superior judges.  As early as the reign of Alexander the First a Royal Charter conferred on the monks of the Abbey of Dunfermline and Scone the right of holding their own court in the fullest manner, and of giving judgment either by combat of iron or by water, together with all privileges pertaining to the court, including the right in all persons resident within their territory of refusing to answer except in their own proper court, which right of exclusive jurisdiction was confirmed by successive monarchs.  The same grants were enjoyed, as we know from authentic documents, by the Bishop of St. Andrews, and the Abbots of Holyrood, Dunfermline, Kelso, and Aberborthic and we may presume, on strong ground, by every religious house in the kingdom.”

  Dunfermline Abbey possessed the right of exercising exclusively a civil and criminal jurisdiction over the occupiers of lands or other property belonging t it wherever situated.


  DURING the last twenty years the question,” What is a City?” has frequently been proposed and in too many instances, puerile and unsatisfactory answers to explain the vexed question have been given.  Many appear to think that the designation, “City” can only be applied to a cathedral town, forgetting the while that the term does not originate in an ecclesiastical, but from a civil root, as the name applies.  Again, others imagine that the designation can only be given to a University town, but without giving their reasons for so thinking!

  As far as regards Scotland, the historical and charter reader is aware that all cities must be burghs—must have a municipal constitution, as one of the elements of the superior designation; the other element, or qualification, consists in the burghs having a superior status to the common burghs, viz., a “mother burgh” (metro-burgum), having a jurisdiction over the common burgh.  For instance, Dunfermline was a royal burgh at a very early period; and the Abbots of its Abbey, in their temporal capacity, were, for a lengthened period, the superiors, aldermen, or præpositi of the burgh; and they had, during their official existence, the jurisdiction of the burghs of Kirkcaldy, Kinghorn, Burntisland, and Musselburgh.  Dunfermline being thus the superior of these burghs, it had a higher name than “burgh” to designate its higher position, and the designation, “Civis” or “City” came to distinguish it, and other burghs having similar claims.  It was not until after 1450 that the term of City came to be used in Scotland, and long after this period, the names or words “burgh” and “city” (municipium) were freely used as interchangeable terms of equivalent value.  The Bishops and Abbots of the olden times exercised their functions on a small scale, as did the Pope in his almost universal sway, for they were spiritual and temporal functionaries.  Sitting in their chapter-houses on spiritual cases, they could in a moment, by repeating a word or two become temporal jurists, and convert the court over which they presided into a civil court.  Thus Dunfermline was a royal burgh—a superior burgh, or mother burgh—and hence a Civitas, or City. 

  Those who aver that all cathedral towns are and must be cities, must understand that the cathedral towns of Sodor, Lismore, Dunblane, Dunkeld, &c had no municipal institutions.  Few inhabitants—perhaps no more than fifty or sixty, inclusive of the members of their cathedral—being thus principally resident within the walls of their sacred edifices, the designation of “City” could never apply to such places.  Such were simply Episcopi Sedes, or Episcopal Seats00not cities.  It would be curious to contemplate a city with fifty or sixty of a population, such as those places had in early times!  Besides being a mother burgh or city, the ecclesiastical and civil courts held in Dunfermline were endowed with peculiar and extraordinary privileges.  Alexander I conferred on the judges of its civil court the right to hold their courts “on the fullest manner” and to give judgment either “by fire, by water, or by iron” while the jurisdiction of the Abbot was exempted from “the law and rule” of the Bishop of the Diocese, thus conferring on it Episcopal functions.  The Abbot of Dunfermline was, from A. D. 1244, a mitred Abbot, and sat in the high courts of the realm.  Further illustration of early designations may be here given. 

The designation Empire is superior to that of “Kingdom”.  Am empire has under its jurisdiction one or more kingdoms; hence “empire” covers the lesser designation of “kingdom”.

  A University is superior to that of “College”.  A university has under its jurisdiction, in corporation, one or more colleges; and therefore “university” covers the lesser designation of “college”

  A City is a burgh which has, or has had, under its jurisdiction one or more burghs and is a mother burgh and therefore “city” covers the lesser designation of “burgh”.

  Mother Burgh is the head burgh, just as metropolis signifies “mother” or “head city” in am Empire, Kingdom or State.

  Early in the year 1856, the writer laid before the officials of the War Office in London the claim which Dunfermline had to be called a city, in order that the old designation should be restored.  The following reply to the application came to the writer from Southampton:--

                                                “Ordnance Map Office, Southampton, Feb. 6, 1856

            “Sir,--I beg to acknowledge receipt of your note of the 21st ultimo and to say that, after consulting the Solicitor to the War Department, we have decided on designating DUNFERMLINE A CITY.

                                                “HENRY JAMES, Lieut. Colonel, Royal Engineers.”

  On the appearance of the Government plan of the burgh, it was designated “City of Dunfermline.”  (See An. Dunf. date 1855)

  AS noticed in the “Annals” Dunfermline has an old Matrix Seal, as old as 1570 at least (the older one previous to his date is lost).  With this seal all essential legal documents of the city have been sealed for upwards of 300 years.  Round the inner circumference of this seal are the words—“SIGILLVM * CIVITATIS * FERMILODVNI”—that is, “Seal of the City of Dunfermline.”  the designation “City” is of no practical importance now; cities must use the designation Burgh in their Parliamentary announcements, &c.  It may also be added that, on application being made to W. Anderson, Esq., the Marchmont Herald of Scotland, regarding this legend on the seal, he said, “Unquestionably, it signifies the seal of the City of Dunfermline.”  (For “Cities” see Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. ii. pp. 3-35.)

  LORD PROVOST—It has been thought by may that the chief magistrates of cities are entitled to be designated “Lord Provost.”  It has not been ascertained when or how this title first came into use.  It is certain, however, that on the Records of several very small burghs there are frequent notices of their “Lord Provost.’  For instance, the Town Council Records of Inverkeithing have frequent allusion to their “Lord Provost.”  It appears to us that the title has some connection with the arrangement of the members of old Town Councils.  In the old constitution of the Royal Burghs of Scotland, at least, we find New Provost and Old Provost, New Bailies and Old Bailies, New Dean of Guild and Old Dean of Guild, New Treasurer and Old Treasurer, New Deacons and Old Deacons, &c.  It was those only who were designated New who were the Primus, or who really held office.  The New Provost was the reigning Provost, and hence superior to his neighbour in the Council, who was known as the “Old Provost;” and as the chief magistrate was the highest and first functionary of the burgh and the Council Board, he was Dominus, or the highest in office among the Council.  Dominus was of frequent application in old times to superior personages.  Dominus Præpositus or Lord Provost appears therefore to have been used as a kind of necessity, to distinguish the real Provost from his secondary the Old Provost, he being besides the highest civil dignitary in the burgh.  If this is not the true solution, then it may be left as a puzzle to amuse the future and present historian and antiquarian.  (See “Set of Burghs” in Annals of Dunfermline, date 23rd September, 1724.)  It may be added that the title “Lord Provost,” given to the chief magistrates of Scottish burghs, had come to be a common distinction in the middle of the 17th century.  To reduce the distinction, King Charles II in 1667, sent a letter or writ to Sir Alexander Ramsay, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, which enacted that “the Provost of Edinburgh should have the same precedence in Scotland as the Mayor of London had in England; and that no other Provost in Scotland should have the title of Lord Provost, but the Provost of Edinburgh.”  (Vide Edin. Burgh Records &c.)

  LORD CONSTABLE—It may here be noted, that, from time immemorial, there has been an institution of Constables, whose chief or head is designated Lord Constable.  This institution and designation may have some connection with the days of the Abbey.  (See An. Dunf. dates 1580, 1600, and 1863.)


(From 1128 to 1878)

  As has been previously mentioned, Dunfermline in early times was a hamlet adjacent to the stronghold or tower of Malcolm III and seems to have been erected into a King’s or Royal Burgh about the year 1115 (See An. Dunf. date 1115), the jurisdiction of which appears to have been vested in the sovereign.  In the year 1128, David I conveyed or delegated by charter his rights of ruler of the Burgh to the then Abbot (Gaufrid) of Dunfermline, and to his successors in office, with the exception of his holding the right of “exercising his royal authority for the good of the public should the Abbot and his court decide cases with a disregard to justice.”  Thus, the Abbots of Dunfermline, in their civil capacities, were the early chief magistrates of the King’s Burgh, and his court the tribunal where burghal cases were tried and doom pronounced.

  In the year 1395, the then Abbot (John) conveyed his right of jurisdiction over the Burgh to an Alderman, Bailies, &c.  (Regist. de Dunf. page 276, Charter 396.)  Thus the sway and rule of the Abbot-Provosts of Dunfermline terminated in 1395, after having held the right of office for 267 years, during which long period, as far as has been ascertained by the writer, the following Abbot-Provosts ruled the Burgh, viz:--

            Gaufrid I                                  1124

            Gaufrid II                                 1154              

            Archibald                                1178

            Robert I                                   1198

            Patrick I                                  1202

            William I                                  1223

            William II                                 1223

            Gaufrid III                                1238

            Robert II                                  1240

            John I                                     1251

            Matthew                                  1256

            Simon                              1269-1270

            Ralph                                      1275

            Hugh                                1303-1306

            Robert III                          1313-1316

            Alexander I                       1327-1331

            John II                                   1353

            John III                                  1353

            John IV                                   1362

            John V                               1379-1395

Thus, it will be seen, there were twenty one Abbot Provosts of Dunfermline between the years 1128 and 1395 after which lay Aldermen, Præpositi, or Provosts, were elected.  (See An. Dunf. for date of a Charter in 1322 and also date 1331 in the Bruce’s Funeral Expenses.)


  This list, with few exceptions, has been compiled from the Burgh Records.  The names and designations of the early chief magistrates of the burgh are very irregularly entered in the Burgh Records, and their designations of status, that of “Alderman” and “Præpositus” appears to have been written indiscriminately as interchangeable terms.  These designations continued in use for the year 1395 to about the 1565 after which period the equivalent of that of Provost come to be affixed to the name of the chief magistrate, and has continued so ever since.  The name of the Alderman in 1395 is not mentioned, and the first so named is that of John Wright (Johannes Wright, Præpositus) who was chief magistrate of Dunfermline in the year 1448.  The following list includes the names of those who held the office of Provost from the year 1448 to 1877:--

John Wright*                                                                          1448

David Couper                                                                        1487

Sir John Cockburn                                                                1488

William Stewart                                                                     1489

David Couper                                                                        1489

John Monteith                                                                        1491

Sir John Cockburn                                                                1492

David Couper                                                                        1493

William Symson                                                                    1497

David Couper                                                                        1499

John Fergusone                                                                    1518

The Laird of Pittencrieff                                                        1523

John Wemys of Pittencrieff, Charter                                   1570

George Halket, Laird of Pittencrieff                                    1584

Sir Robert Halket, of Pitrirrane                                   1601-1609

James Reid, Merchant                                                1609-1612

Thomas Wardlaw, of Logie**                                      1617-1623

Alexander Clark, of Pittencrieff                                   1623-1624

Thomas Wardlaw, of Logie                                         1624-1636

James Reid, Merchant                                                1636-1640

Peter Law                 do.                                               1640-1642

James Reid, Merchant                                                1642-1647

William Walker        do.                                                1647-1648

Peter Law                 do.                                               1648-1649

William Walker        do.                                                1649-1654

James Reid               do.                                              1654-1655

Peter Walker            do.                                               1655-1656

William Walker       do.                                                 1656-1658

Peter Walker           do.                                                1658-1661

James Mudie, Manufacturer                                       1661-1662

Peter Walker, Merchant                                              1662-1665

Capt. Geo. Dury, of Craigluscar                                 1665-1666

William Walker, Merchant                                           1666-1668

Peter Walker           do.                                                1668-1674

Robert Walwood                                                          1674-1675

John Walwood                                                              1675-1676

Sir Charles Halket, of Pitfirrane                                  1677-1684

Captain George Dury                                                  1684-1685

Sir Charles Halket, Of Pittirrane                                 1685-1697

Sir Patrick Murray, of Pitdennis                                  1697-1700

Sir James Halket, of Pittirrane                                   1700-1705

Sir Peter Halket         do.                                             1705-1734

  *Register of Dunfermline, page 305, where he is designated as that “prudent and circumspect man, Johannes Wright, Præpositus.”  (See also An. Dunf. p. 155.)

  **Between 1500 and 1617 few of the Provosts are named in the Burgh Records.  The names of the Bailies, however, are always given.

Patrick Black, Merchant                                                       1734

The Marquis of Tweeddale                                                  1734

                               (Records from 1734- to 1739 lost)

Lord Charles Hay, of Blansh                                       1739-1752

Sir Peter Halket, of Pitfirrane                                      1752-1755

Alex. Wedderburn, Advocate                                      1755-1758

Major Francis Halket, Pitfirrane                                  1758-1760

David Turnbull, Merchant                                             1760-1765

John Wilson, jun. Stationer                                          1765-1774

John Kirk, Merchant                                                     1774-1778

David Turnbull                        do.                                 1778-1783

John Wilson, Stationer                                                1783-1787

Adam Low, of Fordell                                                  1787-1789

John Wilson, Merchant                                                1789-1792

James Moodie                         do.                               1792-1807

John Wilson of Transy                                                 1807-1808

Major David Wilson                                                     1808-1822

John Scotland of East Luscar                                     1822-1824

James Blackwood of Colton                                       1824-1830

George Meldrum, Baker                                             1830-1831

John Kerr, Manufacturer                                              1831-1832

Henry Russell, Merchant*                                            1832-1836

George Birrell, Manufacturer                                      1836-1838

James Morriss                        do.                                1838-1842

Erskine Beveridge                 do.                                1842-1843

H. Kidd, Banker, interim Provost                                         1843

James Smith Ronaldson, Banker                              1843-1849

William Kinnis, Manufacturer                                      1849-1853

Erskine Beveridge                  do.                               1853-1854

Robert Robertson                   do.                                1854-1861

John Whitelaw, Ironfounder                                         1861-1868

Henry Reid, Manufacturer                                           1868-1871

Kenneth Mathieson, Contractor                                  1871-1877

James Walls                                                                 1877-1878

  *The Reform Act came into operation on 9th November, 1834, when Mr. Russell was re-elected Provost.


  THE following is a list of those who have been created Free Burgesses of Dunfermline from the earliest known burghal period to the year 1877.  The names were collated from the Town Council Records of Dunfermline by the writer:--

Sir Andrew Peirson, Chaplain of St. Margaret’s Altar      1497

John Thomson, at ye command of my Lord Mar               1499

David Peirsoun                                                                                 July, 1607

Andrew Law                                                                                       Sept. 1607

John Watsoun                                                                                           do.

John Gib                                                                                             June, 1609

Patrick Murray, of Pardeus                                                                     do.

Laurence Alissoune                                                                          Sept. 1609

John Henderson, of Fordell                                                              24th May, 1624

George Dury of Craigluscar                                                                     do.

Philip Abel                                                                                         16th Sept. 1693

The Captain, Serjeants, and the Corporals of Lord Jedburgh’s

     troop, as also William Garrock                                                   25th May, 1695

John Theophilus Desagulier, LL.D., London                                  26th Aug., 1720

William Walls                                                                                             do.

Samuel Walker, Leeds, England                                                    17th Oct. 1720

John Wilson, Dunfermline, Inventor of Fly-Shuttle                         26th Feb., 1780

John Burt, of Baldridge Coal Works                                               31st Jan., 1795

The Hon. John Cochran, M.P.                                                          6th June 1796

William Tate, Advocate                                                                    13th April, 1797

Walter Scott, afterwards Sir Walter                                                13 June, 1831

Right Hon. James Earl of Elgin                                                       16th Dec., 1846

Louis Kossuth, Hungarian General                                                 14th July, 1856

Ebenezer Henderson, LL.D.                                                            31st Aug., 1859

Andrew Carnegie, of New York                                                       12th June, 1877

  It will be observed that John Henderson of Fordell, and George Dury of Craigluscar, were created Free Burgesses of Dunfermline on 24th May, 1624, the day before the disastrous fire.  It has been supposed that this George Dury, grandson of the last Abbot of Dunfermline, was the elected Provost of the Burgh.  Dr. Desagulier was an eminent Lecturer on Natural and Experimental Philosophy in London, and a friend of Sir Peter Halket of Pitfirrane, at whose suggestion it would appear the Doctor and his friend, Mr. Walls, were made Free Burgesses of the Burgh.  Walter Scott, the eminent novelist, is here simply designated by his name, he was not created a baronet until August, 1822.  (See Burgh Records and Annals of Dunfermline under the above dates.)


  PREVIOUS to the removal of the galleries, seats, bughts, &c., from the Old Kirk, in the autumn of 1822, there were to be seen hanging, “diamond fashion,” to some of the stone pillars large escutcheons (about 6 feet square), having black grounds, with armorial bearings, &c. painted on them in white colours.  “They were hung up by heritors and others as deep memorials of their departed relatives.”  It may here be noted, that between each of the stone pillars, on both sides of the kirk, there were double galleries, which were approached by “crooked wooden stairs.”   In the body of the kirk there numerous boughts, pews, forms, chairs, &c.  The galleries had the name of lafts.  There were the Musicians’ Laft, Wrights’ Laft, Bakers’ Laft, Fleshers’ Laft, Tailors’ Laft, Shoemakers’ Laft, Masons’ Laft, and Smiths’ Laft; also, the Magistrates’ Gallery (near the pulpit), the Pittencrieff Seat, Pitliver Seat, Baldridge Seat, Craigluscar Seat, St. Mary’s Aisle, Rood Aisle, and Communion Aisle.  All these relics were swept away in 1822.  (See An. Dunf. date 1822.)  

  THE PULPIT—It was made of carved oak, and was secured to the plain round (stone) Norman pillar, the fourth west from the “spiral pillar” on the north side.  The two iron rods which supported the sounding board are still to be seen projecting from this pillar.  On the top of the pulpit back were the words—

“Who is sufficient for these things?”

  THE KING’S LAFT—The royal gallery occupied the space between the two pillars opposite to the pulpit—a little to the east of the front—the bookboard of which we 10 ½ feet above the floor of the church.  On the lower part of its ceiling were painted and gilded the crowns of Scotland and Denmark, and below them respectively were the initial letters “I. R.” and “A. R.” for James and Ann.  Near the top was the crown of Scotland and under it the letters “I. R.” and the Scotch thistle between them.  On the strip of oak finishing the top of the gallery there were the following nearly worn out words:

“In   Deum   Cogita   Qui    Dat   Vitam   Et   Necessaria.  1610”

That is—“Think on God; He gives life and all things necessary.”  This gallery, it may be mentioned, was about 18 feet in length.  The front was of dark oak, beautifully carved and gilt in many of its parts.  On the western wooden partition of the gallery might have been seen, partially erased, the following inscription 

“Per  Religionem  Deus  Cognoscitur  Neque  Potest  Fieri  Cognitus  Quin
Ametur  Et  Colatur”  and “Hic  Deum  Adora”

That is—“By religion God in known, and he cannot become known without being loved and worshipped.  Here adore God.”

  THE EARL OF DUNFERMLINE’S LAFT.—The laft or gallery of the Earl of Dunfermline (afterwards the Marquis of Tweeddale) was the first to the west of the royal one.  On the ceiling of it were painted and gilt two coronets, with other designs, which had become untraceable.  On the ceiling were the following inscriptions:

Quum  Deum  Vocas  Dominum  Fac  Illi  Servias” &c—“Vita  Christi 
Testatur  Humanam  Ejus  Probitatem  Miracula  Divinitatis  Omni-
potentiam  Lex  Cœlestis  Sapientiam”—“Illi  Omnia  Credere  Debemus
In Cujus  Potestate  Sunt  Rerum  Omnium  Eventus.”—“Petite  a
Edo  Et  Accipietis,” &c—“Hæc  Est  Vita  Æterna  ut  Cognos-
camus  Patrem  Et  Quem  Ille  Misit  Jesum  Christum.”

That is—“When thou callest on the Lord God, see that thou serve Him,” &c.  “The life of Christ bears witness to His human excellence; His miracles to the omnipotence of His divinity; His heavenly doctrine to His wisdom.”  “We ought to trust all things to Him, in whose power are the issues of all things.”  “Ask from God and you shall receive.”  “This is life eternal, that we know the Father, and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent.”

  Between the Earl’s Gallery and the Royal Laft, just above the door, there were four square compartments connected with each other.  On the first one was cut the word COLE i.e., worship; on the Deum, God; on the third, Te Ipsum, thyself; the fourth compartment was much damaged, but COG could be made out and probably when entire, the word would be COGNOSCE, know; there were also the words PRAESTES, mayest thou excel; and a little below it, VIVES, thou shalt live.  On the front of the gallery there was a long panel, on which were cut several words and some curious devices, viz., SEMPER, always the same; NEC SEDE ADVERSIS REBUS NEC CREDE SECUNDIS, neither yield to adversity or trust to prosperity.  The devices were crescents, a coronet, a few mullets and two white horses.  The pulpit was presented to Sir Walter Scott, and is still to be seen at Abbotsford.  (Extracted from Old MS. Notes of 1822.)


  In ancient times the interments were conducted within the consecrated walls of the Abbey and a small strip of ground around it.  The grand old royal tombs were destroyed in great part at the period of the Reformation, perhaps not intentionally, but accidentally, during the process of pulling down the massive walls and pillars of the interior of the Abbey.  There are not now the slightest vestiges of a royal tomb remaining, excepting the plinth base of St. Margaret’s tomb, at the east end (outside), of the new Abbey Church, and such of the tombs or monuments of the ancient nobility remaining are, excepting one, Pitcairn’s tomb, in a fragmentary state and lying about the western area of the Old Church, away from their original sites.  We shall here give a few extracts from our old notes regarding them. 

  The oldest sepulchral stone now extant is the one in the pavement of the Old Church, near the centre; in old worn out church text letters are still to be seen these words—“Johannes Scott: mø bc biii.,”—viz., Johannes, or John Scott, 1508.  No opinion has hitherto been offered as to who this individual was, but as the position of this stone is in such close proximity to the site of the old rood altar, he must have been a person of consequence.  The writer thinks that he was one of the chaplains or secular clergy belonging to the establishment of the Abbey service.  In the Burgh Records, between dates 1485 and 1500, the name Sir John Scot often appears amongst those of the secular clergy of the Abbey who conducted mass-service at one of the many altars which were within its walls, both in the nave and the choir.  Schir and sir were then used as a prefix to the secular clergy instead of Rev., and that of Dean to the monks of the Abbey.  (See An. Dunf. pp. 168-179.)  There is therefore reason to conclude that the remains interred under the gravestone were those of Sir John Scott, a secular clergyman in office, and one of the altar chaplains.

  MONUMENTAL TOMB OF ROBERT PITCAIRN, COMMENDATOR OF DUNFERMLINE ABBEY AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR SCOTLAND.—This large monumental tomb stands in the north east angle of the Auld Kirk—the nave.  It was erected in 1854 to the memory of Robert Pitcairn, Commendator of the Abbey and the Secretary of State for Scotland.  This is a fine specimen of an old monumental tomb; it is of considerable height and breadth; the lower part of the tomb rests on an arch, within which there probably lay, in a recumbent position, a stone effigy of the Commendator and Secretary in his official robes.  The tomb appears to have been painted in different colours at the ornamental parts and the following is a free translation of the very laudatory inscription on the front panel of the stone;

“To Mr. Robert Pitcairn, Abbot of Dunfermline, Archdeacon of St. Andrews,

Royal Legate and Secretary of his Majesty.

“Here is interred, in a plain urn, the Hero Robert Pitcairn, the hope and pillar of his country, whom virtue, gravity, worthy of a generous heart, and fidelity, with sincere piety adorn.  After various changes of life, he now, with the mass of his body left behind, proceeds in spirit to the Elysian Grove.  He died in the year 1584 on 18th October aged 64.”

  Montieth in his Theatre of Mortality, page 209, gives the following poetical translation:

“To Mr. Robert Pitcairn, Abbot of Dunfermline, Archdeacon of St. Andrews, his Majesty’s Ambassador and one of his Privy Council.

“In this small grave here lies his Country’s hope,
Robert Pitcairn, its Confidence and Prope;
Grave, Generous, loyal, Virtuous and true,
With all the Gifts, Kind Stars him did endue;
From various Fleetings of this life, his Clay
Left here, his Soul to Heaven made Way.”

It may be noted that Pitcairn was never Abbot of Dunfermline; there were no Abbots after the year 1560.  He was Commendator of Dunfermline Abbey only.

  WILLIAM SCHAW’S MONUMENT—Until the year 1794, another monumental tomb, but of greater dimensions, stood against the north wall of the church, a few yards to the west of Pitcairn’s tomb—viz.,the massive tomb of the celebrated “Maister William Schaw,” Master Mason, &c., of Scotland.  It was removed in said year to the belfry, in order that the minister might have more light; it stood immediately behind the pulpit.  It is still to be seen in a fragmentary state, in the “bell place” at the foot of the steeple.  We give a free translation of the inscription on this tomb:

“To his most intimate loving friend, William Schaw.
Live with the Gods, thou worthy, live for ever;
From this laborious life, death now doth thee deliver.
“Alexander Seton, D.F.

  “This small structure of stones covers a man of excellent skill, notable probity, singular integrity of like, a man adorned with the greatest virtues, William Schaw, Master of the King’s Works, Sacrist, and the Queen’s Chamberlain.  He died 18th April, 1602.

  “Among the living he dwelt 52 years; he had traveled to France and many other kingdoms for the improvement of his mind;  he wanted no liberal art or science; he was most skillful in architecture; he was early recommended to great persons for the singular gifts of his mind; he was not only unwearied in labours and business, and indefatigable, but daily active and vigorous; he was most dear to every good man who knew him; he was born to do good offices, and thereby to gain the hearts of men; now he lives eternally with God. 

  “Queen Ann caused this monument to be erected to the memory of this most excellent and most upright man, lest his virtues, which deserve eternal commendation, should fail or decay by the death or corruption of his body.” 

  MURRAY OF PER-DIEUS’ TOMBSTONE—There is to be seen amongst the rubbish in the west end of the nave (auld kirk) the gravestone of James Murray, of Perdws, near Dunfermline.  It has been finely carved.  There are two angels’ heads at the top of the stone, with the words, “MEMENTO MORI” in capital letters, between them; underneath is a very large shield decorated, below which are the following words:

Honorabilis  Viri  Jacobi  Mvrravii  De  Perdws
Monvemtvm  Qvi  Obiit  28 Sept. 1592.”

That is, The monument of the honourable man, James Murray, of Per-Dieus, who died 28th Sept., 1592.

  There is another stone belonging to the same family in the same place—the top is mutilated, but it shows an ornamented shield, with “A. L.” in capital letters below; two letters appear to have been at the top, but are nearly broken off.  Round the three edges of this second stone are the following words:

“……..obvs  Jocobvs  Moravivs  De  Perdewis  Filivs
Qvondam  D. Gvlielmi  Moravii  De.”

Regarding this inscription the late Rev. Dr. Chalmers, of Dunfermline, put some queries to W. Anderson, the Marchmont Herald—the initial word appears to have puzzled him—and had given it as his opinion that the mutilated word obvs is simply Jacobus, thus giving the singular repetition of Jacobvs, Jacobvs, and adds that he cannot account for the obvs in any other way.  The writer is of opinion that the “puzzle word” has when entire, been Probvs, and therefore the inscription may be read as follows:  “Here lies the Good James Moray, of Perdewis, son of the late Mr. William Murray, of Kirkforthaur.”  (See Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. ii. p. 151.)

  DURY OF CRAIGLUSCAR’S TOMBSTONE—In the north wall of the old church (inside) there is an old tombstone, having on it, round its border, the following mutilated inscription:  HIC  JACET  HONORABILIS  VIR  HENRICVS  DVRI  D  R  VD  ID  ATIS  SAÆ  63”  On this stone, in the centre, there is a shield, party per chevron, and three crescents.

  THE GASK TOMBSTONE—In the north porch, on the east wall, there is a marble, with an inscription in Latin on it, to the memory of Adam Rolland, Esq., of Gask, who died in 1763.  (See An. of Dunf. date 1763.)

  On the west wall of the porch, opposite the Gask marble, there is a fine specimen of an old tombstone to the memory of Robert Adie, who died when first Bailie of the burgh, in 1710.

  FERGUSON’S MONUMENTAL TOMB—According to tradition and several old notes. “the remains of Rev. David Ferguson, the first Protestant minister, were in 1598 (See An. Dunf. date 1598) interred below that triangular backed monument in the north churchyard, on the west side of the walk, midway between the porch and churchyard gate.”  The inscription is now entirely gone.

  THE ELGIN TOMB—Until 1819, the place of sepulcher of the Elgin family was a few feet to the north east of the mutilated tomb marble of St. Margaret.  Here there was a monumental tomb into which was inserted a white marble slab recording the virtues of Charles, Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, who was interred here in 1771.  This monumental tomb is lying in fragments at the bottom of the south tower of the nave.  (See An. Dunf. date 1771.)

  THE PITTENCRIEFF TOMB stood adjacent to the Elgin place of sepulcher, and was removed to make way for the New Abbey Church, then building.

  “GOD’S ACRE.”—The North Kirkyard of Dunfermline had anciently an area of about 4500 square yards and therefore, about an acre of ground for the interment of the dead and was like other old graveyards, colloquially known as “God’s Acre,” with “The Gospel Oak” in the centre of it.  According to old notes, Dunfermline kirkyard was in the olden time “thickly scattered over with monumental stones great and small, plain and carved,” many of them having cut on their surface pious and quaint inscriptions, as records of the dead.  With their names and years, spelt by the unlettered muse, a few of the old stones still remain; the following are specimens of rhyming inscriptions on some of them:

“Time Cuts Down All
Both Great and Small”

“Of worldly cares we’ve had our share,
When in this world as you now are:
But now our bodies rest in dust,
Waiting the rising of the just.”

“Reader, see how death all doun puls,
And nought remains but shanks and skuls,
For the greatest champion ere drew breath,
Was allwise conquered by death.”

  Another stone, a small one, between the thorn tree and the walk to the porch, has inscribed on I a ludicrous inscription caused by the selection of the “present.” viz.:--

  “Here lyes the corps of Andrew Robertson, present deacon and convener of the weavers of this Burgh, who died 13th July, 1745.”

While, nearer the porch door, we have “a naval one,” viz. (William Westwood’s):--

ThoBoreas’ blasts and Neptune’s waves
Have tossed him to and fro,
Quiet by the order of God’s decree
He harbours here below,
Where now he lies at anchor sure
With many of the fleet,
Expecting one day to set sail
His Admiral Christ to meet.”

  Near the centre of the churchyard stands the “Gospel Thorn,” under which tradition affirms that the mother of Sir William Wallace lies.  The Cross which stood here was removed at the Reformation, and a gospel thorn put in its place.  (See An. Dunf., 1303 and 1784; also for other Epitaphs, see An. Dunf.)


  THE following is a list of Views, Plans, &c (in MS.) by J. Baine, C.E. Edinburgh, done in May and June of 1790.  The MS. quarto book of Baine’s views is still extant, and in good condition; it is and has been, for many years past, in the possession of David Laing, Esq., LL.D., &c., Signet Library, Edinburgh:

         1. Plan of the Church and part of the Abbey (occupies 2 pp.)

         2. Plan of the remaining part of the Ruins.

         3. Plan of the Town of Dunfermline.

         4. Plan of the Royal Cellars, commonly called the Magazine.

         5. Plan of the Royal Kitchen.

         6. View from the Dove cot of the Glebe.

         7. The remains of King Malcolm’s Tower.

         8. Arms on a stone on the outer wall of Clark Black’s Stable.

         9. View of the inside of the Royal Kitchens.

         10. View of the inside of the Royal Cellars.

         11. details of the Arches of the inside of the Royal Cellars.

         12. West Wall of the Royal Kitchen and Cellars.

         13. Walls of the Cells in a sunk Garden east of the Monastery.

         14. View of Dunfermline near Pittencrieff Dove cot.

         15. Windows in the north end of the Transept of the Church.

      16. Outside of the window below the apartments where King Charles I. and

                Princess Elizabeth were born.

         17. View of the Tower Bridge.

         18. Inside of the fine Window below where Charles I. was born.

19. South wall of the Cells in Sunk Garden east of the Monastery.
20. West Wall of these Cells, going towards Frater Hall.

         21. View from the Street of the Cells (from east Arch of the Pends.)

         22. View of Dunfermline from the bend of the Back Burn, below the Bridge

                   at Boufies Brae (north end of town.)

         23. View of Dunfermline from the west side of the Spittal.

         24. View from the Inn, Bridge Street.

         25. View from the Heugh Mills.

         26. View from the corner of the Glebe, showing the Heugh Mills and Ruins.

         27. View of the Heugh Mills from the Dam below them.

         28. View of the outside of Frater’s Hall from the Cells, now filled up with


         29. View of the Church from the same place.

         30. View of inside of the Frater Hall from the east.

         31. View of the Church from the north east corner of the Churchyard.
         32. View of the High Altar in the Psalter Churchyard.

         33. View of the proper Door of the Church, long since filled up (great west


         34. View of the inside of the Palace from the west end of the Church.

         35. View of the outside of the Palace from the walk on the north west.

         36. View of the Archway below the Queen’s House.

         37. View from the east end of the Bowling Green.

         38. The Grande Farm from the south.

         39. View of Inverkeithing Bay.

         40. View of North Queensferry from the point of the Quay.

         41. View of Inch Garvie.

         42. A Pencil View, apparently of the “Spittal Brig.”

         43. St. Margaret’s Cave.

         44. View of Dunfermline from the south east.

         45. St. Margaret’s Stone and Road.

         46. Supposed appearance of Canmore’s Tower, &c.

(Also, Measurements of the Abbey Church Walls, the Walls of the Monastery, the Palace, and the Tower Ruins, for which see Addenda, p. 758.)  To these measures we have added a few of our own, which makes the list more complete and interesting.  Mr. Baine died in 1815 when his effects were disposed of by public sale.  It appears to the writer that the first half of the “Sketches” were drawn in May and June, 1790, the latter half about the end of the same year.


  THE following are the measurements of the Monastery, the Palace and Canmore’s Tower, taken in the year 1790, by J. Baine, C. E. Edinburgh, with which are incorporated several measurements by E. H. taken in 1825:


  Length of the Old Church (inside), west door to east wall, 106 feet; breadth, 55 feet; height of wall supported by the Stone Pillars, 54 feet.  The Columns-5 on each side-from west to east, are 20 feet in height, 13 feet 6 inches in circumference, and 4 feet 5 inches in diameter; they are about 10 ½ feet from each other, and from north side to south side pillar, 20 feet.  The Steeple is 156 feet 4 inches in height; the Bartizan is 98 feet from the ground to the flags; the Steeple is 22 feet In breadth; from Bartizan to Weather Cock, 58 feet 4 inches; the centre of Clock Dial is 59 feet 2 inches; the Dial is 6 feet square; the Walls of the Church and Steeple are 5 feet thick; number of steps from the stone floor of Church to the Bartizan, 122.  From the Bartizan a view of part of 14 counties is to be had, viz., Fife, Kinross, Clackmannan, Stirling, Linlithgow, Edinburgh, Haddington, and the tops of mountains in the counties of Perth, Dumbarton, Lanark, Peebles, Selkirk, Roxburgh, and Berwick.


  Length of New Abbey Church from west to east, including the west adjunct and Session house (inside) 169 feet; breadth, inside, 73 feet; height, 54 feet; the tower is in height 103 feet; height of Great Eastern Window, 34 feet breadth, 16 feet; length outside from outer arch of Great West door of the Auld Kirk to the wall of Session house, 169 feet.


  From south wall of Auld Kirk to north side of wall whereon the small conical tower rests, 105 feet; from ditto to the ruins of Frater Hall Windows, 105 feet; length of Frater Hall Wall, 122 feet; thickness of Wall, 5 feet; number of Windows 7 large Gothic and 2 small ones; height of Frater Hall Wall, east end outside, 45 feet; Ditto inside, 28 feet; the Great West Window inside is 20 feet in height by 16 feet in breadth, the Pillars which support the tracery are each 6 feet 7 inches in height.  Small Tower north corner of top of western window is 63 feet 9 inches in height outside.  On the S. E. lower side of this Tower there is a cutting into the stone for some feet; the western edge of the roof of the Monastery probably terminated and lay in this cutting.  From the inclination and direction this cutting takes, a measure of the altitude of the ridge of the roof of the Monastery may be ascertained.  The Pends, connecting the Palace with the Monastery, is 46 feet in height and 20 feet in breadth.  The Arch spanning the road way is about 17 feet average width, height 12 feet, length of way 31 feet.   The Pends in the lower flat has two rooms; there is a passage leading from the north of these rooms east into the Fratery.  The upper room is 27 feet by 13 ½ feet.

  An addition appears to have been made to the Wall of the Palace Ruins about the year 1540.


  Length of southern portion of Wall, 51 ½ feet; north part, 92 feet-total 132 ½ feet.  Height of Palace Wall inside, 28 ½ feet; on side measure outside, 150 feet.  The breadth appears to have been 29 feet.  The Wall runs in a line N. W. and S. E. nearly.  The Wall, Royal Cellars, and Kitchens form part of the Palace Wall, and being thus continued in a S. E. direction to the extent of about 45 feet.  This added to the Palace Wall of 150 feet, gives a length of 195 feet to the Wall and including, projecting buttresses at the ends, a length of 204 ½ feet.  The King’s Cellar, or “Magazine,” is 44 feet by 24 and above it are the King’s Ovens and Kitchen, of Nearly the same dimensions.

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