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Annals of Dunfermline
A.D. 1501 - 1601 - Part 1

M D I.

  1501.—BEGINNING OF THE 16TH CENTURY—JAMES STUART, Second Son of James III., Commendator of Dunfermline Abbey.—At this period there were 38 monks and about 1 officials connected with the Abbey.  Population within the walls of the Abbey, about 50.  The population of the burgh, about 1300.  David Coupar, Alderman or Provost.  Trades: Smiths, weavers, shoemakers, tailors, masons, wrights, bakers, and fleshers.  At this period there was much “religious discontent” in Dunfermline, as in other monastic towns. (See Annals, “Destruction of the Abbey in 1560.”)  Annexed is a Plan of Dunfermline in 1501, compiled by the writer from old sketches of “landes, yairds,” &c., in the burgh, and from title deeds and charters, which the reader may with confidence receive as a correct “Plan of the Burgh and the Abbey Grounds of Dunfermline in 1501.”

  1502.—THE ABBACY OF DUNFERMLINE held in Perpetual Commendam by James Stuart, Second Son of James III.—In the year 1502 the Abbacy of Dunfermline was bestowed in commendam on James Stuart, son of King James III., who, although then very young, was Archbishop of St. Andrews, Abbot of Arbroath, Duke of Ross,  Marquis of Ormond, Earl of Ardmenach, Lord of Brechin and Nevar, and Chancellor of the Kingdom of Scotland.  This Prince was then only 26 years old!  (See Annals, date 1478, “Lord Abbots of Dunf.;” Keith’s Scot. Bishops, p. 33; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 193.)  This James is styled James I., and is the 30th, acting as Abbot of Dunfermline.

  1504.—JAMES STUART, Commendator of Dunfermline, died in the winter of 1503-1504, in the 28th year of his age, and was interred at St. Andrews.

  JAMES BETON, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline.—In the year 1504, James Beton or Bethune, youngest son of the Laird of Balfour, in Fife, and Provost of Bothwell, succeeded James Stuart, as Lord Abbot of Dunfermline.  (Bannatyne Club Miscel. p. 162; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 193.)  This Abbot, styled James II., is the 31st Abbot of Dunfermline.  It may be here noted that this Abbot became a Lord of Session in 1504-1505; Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, in 1505; Bishop-elect of Glasgow, in 1508; Archbishop of Glasgow, in 1509 (when he resigned the office of Treasurer); Chancellor of the Kingdom, in 1514; and in 1524, became Abbot of Arbroath and Kilwinning, and one of the Lords of the Regency; and, lastly, Archbishop of St. Andrews, from 1522 to 1539.  Plurality of offices, such as noted here, was very prevalent at this period.  Such abuses hastened on the Reformation.

  1505.—DUNBAR’S POEM and the Sojourning of the King at Dunfermline.—King James IV. resided much in his palace at Dunfermline during this year.  On one of his visits, it would appear, that “he had indulged in some libertine pranks,” which was made the subject of a poem by the witty Dunbar, entitled “The Tod and Lamb, or the Wooing of the King when he was at Dumfermling,” for which see Dunbar’s Poems.  (Mercer’s Hist. Dunf. p. 59.)

  1506.—EAST HAILES.—The lands of East Hailes, in Collington parish, near Edinburgh, granted by James, Abbot of Dunfermline, to Thomas Forrester, of Strathenry.  (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 506, p. 379; see Annals, dates 1128, 1484, &c.)

  1507.—“ENDENTOURE OF SYMON KARWOUR, WRYCHT, AND HIS PRENTICE.”—The following “Endentoure,” made this year, is to be found in the Register of Dunfermline (No. 463, p. 361).  As it is curious, somewhat we give it in full:--

  “Thir Endentoures maid at Dunfermlyn ye xiv day of ye moneth of May, the zhere of God l. v. vii zeires (1507) proportis and beris witness in ye self, yt it is appointit and finaly concordat betuix ane venerable fadir in Crist James be ye permissione of God abbot of Dunfemrlyn and ye convent of yt ilk on ye ta part and ane discret man, Simon Karuore on ye tothye part in form, maner, and affek as eftir followis—yt is to say yt ye said Symon is bundyn and oblist to ye said venerable fader and ye said convent, for all and hail ye dais of his lyfe yt he sall remane and wirk in ye said abba in ye craft of ye wryt craft and repare all neidfull werks of ye samyn als far has he hafe knawlege and ye said venerable fader and convente and yair successors is bund and oblist to pay ye Symon for his labor doing zeirly xxti merks of vsual monet of Scotland, ane chalder of meil, with thre bollis of mault, to be payt at four tymes in ye zher, yt is to say, at Whitsonday, lames, martynmes, and candilmes; and at ilk ane of ye termes v merks of siluer wt ye victail afferand yrto and ane quartit terme to begyn wy—and ay sa furth, terme efter followand.  the said Symon sall haiff till prestyss four merkes of siluer and ane chalder of meil till his met, and his clathes ilk zere, sa lang as he is prentyss, and ye said venerable fader and convent and yr successors sal wphald ye said Symonis werk lumys, or ellis ane conter yrfor till wphald yaim—and gif ye case be yt ye said WF (venerable fader) lenys ye said Symon till ony outwt ye place ye said Symonis fee sall stand haill till his self, sik like as he had wrocht his werk in ye said place, and till all and syndry ye puntces articles, and condicions be fullillie and hailily completit, observit, and keipit—for ye part of thir endentouris remanand wt ye said Symon Karwour ye commone seil of ye said abbay sall be hungin—and to ye ta part remenand wy ye W.F. and convent, ye said Symon has procurat, wt instans, ye seil of ane honorable man Dauid cupir, aldirman of ye said burgh to be hungin.—before ys witnesses Maistr Jhone trumbil Vicar of Cleigh (Cleish),--Schir JHONE GUDSWAYNE, chaplains and ARCHEBALD STEWART, wyt synis devirsis.”  (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 463, p. 361; Fernie’s Hist. Dunf. pp. 197-199.)

  THE SWORD OF STATE, CONSECRATED HAT, AND THE ABBOT OF DUNFERMLINE.—The year Pope Julius II. presented a Sword of State and a Consecrated Hat to King James IV.  “They were delivered with great solemnity and ceremony in the Abbey Church of Holyrood, by the Papal Legate and the Abbot of Dunfermline.  (Dundee Weekly News, 19th February, 1876.)

  1508.—JOHANNES SCOTT.—On a gravestone, in the pavement of the original Choir, viz., near the middle of the center flagstones in the Auld Kirk, there will be found the –


There have been many surmises as to whose remains are here indicated, but without any result; as this stone is so near the site of the old Rood Altar, it would appear that he must have been a man of position.  Dr. Chalmers, in his History of Dunfermline (vol. i. p. 123), says, “It is believed to be the now oldest legible inscription of the once lettered pavement of the Abbey Church.”  He was probably the John Scott mentioned in the list of Chaplains at p. 179 An. of Dunf.

  1509.—COLDINGHAM PRIORY again Annexed to Dunfermline Abbey (see “Annals,” date 1487).—This year, by order of Pope Julius II., the Priory of Coldingham was again and finally withdrawn from Durham, and annexed inalienably to the Abbey of Dunfermline, under the jurisdiction of which it continued till the Reformation in 1560.  (Carr’s Hist. of Coldingham, p. 310; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 241, &c.)

  1510.—THE ABBOT RESIGNED HIS OFFICE.—James Bethune, or Beton, in consequence of the intrigues and disputes with those in power, resigned his position as Abbot of Dunfermline.  (Keith’s Scot Bishops, p. 35, &c.: vide Annals, date 1522.)

  ALEXANDER STUART SUCCEEDED JAMES BETHUNE, OR BETON AS LORD ABBOT OF DUNFERMLINE.—Towards the end of this year, King James IV. prevailed on the Pope to confirm his presentation of the offices of Archbishop of St. Andrews and Abbot of Dunfermline on his natural son, Alexander Stuart, then a boy under 15 years of age!  (Mercer’s Hist. Dunf. p. 58; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. pp. 194, 240.)  This is another instance of the Royal interference in the affairs of Dunfermline Abbey, &c—a boy under 15 the Abbot!  He was the 32nd Abbot of Dunfermline. 

  1511.—THE ABBOT OF DUNFERMLINE elected Lord Chancellor and the Pope’s Legate.—Through the supreme influence of his father, King James IV., Alexander, his natural son, the Abbot of Dunfermline, &c., is make Lord Chancellor of Scotland and the Pope’s Legate a latere (i.e., at his side).  This Abbot, Legate, &c., was then only about 16 years old!

  1512.—MARGARET, QUEEN OF SCOTLAND, IN DUNFERMLINE.—Margaret, Queen of Scotland, consort of James IV., appears to have been residing in Dunfermline Palace early in May this year.  Leslie in his History of Scotland (published in 1830, p. 32), notifies that “this yeir, in the beginning of May, the Quene tuik voyage furth of Dumfermling to St. Duthois in Ross, and in all her Journey wes honourablie intertenit, and come to Edinburgh agane abaout the x day of July.”  Margaret was daughter of Henry VII. of England.  (“St. Duthois’s Shrine in Ross-shire.”)

  REGARDING A CARRUCATA OF LAND IN COLDINGHAM .—Alexander, Archbishop of St. Andrews, Commendator of Dunfermline, Superior Prior of the Priory of Coldingham, &c., confirms to Christian Lumsden, daughter of John Lumsden, in Coldingham, the spouse of Alexander Ellem, “three parts of one carrucate of land near the village and territory of Coldingham, within the vice comitatus of Berwick, called the ‘bichil,’ which said John resigned; Reddendo, 2 shillings,” &c.; dated Dunfermline, 10th August, 1512.  (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 508, p. 279.)

  1512.—ALEXANDER STUART, ABBOT OF DUNFERMLINE, SLAIN.—Alexander Stuart, the youthful Abbot of Dunfermline, accompanied his father, King James IV. to Flodden, and was, along with his ill-fated father and the flower of the Scottish army, slain on Flodden Field, on 9th September, 1513, being then in the 21st year of his age.  (Mercer’s Hist. Dunf. p. 59; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 195.)  The great Erasmus was this Abbot’s tutor, from whom he had a noble character.  (Crawford’s Offices of State, pp. 59, 60; Keith’s Scottish Bishops, pp. 33, 34.)  His skeleton was found in 1820, near the High Altar site of St. Andrews Cathedral.  The skull had a deep sword-cut wound, penetrating through the thickness of the bone.  (Newspapers of 1820.)

  1514.—THE PEST, OR PLAGUE, rages in Dunfermline.—This plague was general throughout Scotland, for which vide Hist. of Scot.  

  1515.—JAMES HEPBURNE, ABBOT OF DUNFERMLINE.—It would appear that the Abbey had no Abbot for nearly two years (from 1513 to 1515).  In 1515, James Hepburne, the third son of Adam, Lord Hailes, and brother of Patrick, first Earl of Bothwell, was elected Abbot of Dunfermline.  (Crawford’s Offices of State, p. 369.)  Andrew Forman disputed the election of this Abbot.

  THE POSTULATE OF DUNFERMLINE.—In the year 1515, the Postulate of Dunfermline (a legal functionary) attended the Council at Edinburgh, on 15th May, and was witness to the declaration of the Council, to an application of the French Ambassador on the part of Francis I., for being at peace with England.  (Maitland’s Hist. Scot. vol. ii. p. 762.)

  THE ABBOT KELSO and Others Imprisoned in Dunfermline.—In the month of August, 1515, the Abbot of Kelso, and several of the friends of Lord Home, were imprisoned in Dunfermline by the Duke of Albany, Regent of Scotland.  (Morton’s Annals, p. 96.)

  1516.—JAMES HEPBURNE, elected Abbot of Dunfermline by the Convent, resigned his office of Abbot this year, having come to an understanding with Andrew Forman.  (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p.197, &c.)  He died in 1525, and was interred at Elgin.

  1517.—ANDREW FORMAN, elected Abbot of Dunfermline early in the year 1517.  (Chalmers’s Hist. Dunf. vol. i. pp. 195, 296; vol. ii. pp. 220, 221.)  He was the 34th Abbot of Dunfermline.

  INCH GARVIE.—Inch Garvie, on the Firth of Forth, became a State Prison this year.  Secretary Panter was imprisoned in “the fort on the ile, because he did not please the rulers of the day.”  (Histories of Scot.)

  1519.—JOHN FERGUSONE was Provost of Dunfermline in 1519.  Bailies of Dunfermline this year: Alexander Henderson and William Moubray.  (Burgh Record.)

  1520.—CRAIGLUSCAR HOUSE BUILT.—The stone which was on the front wall of this mansion-house is still to be seen, built into the lower part of a wall there.  It is a triangular stone.  “Near the top is the date 1520; below it there is a shield, on the dexter side of which is a St. Andrew’s cross, and on the sinister side a cheveron, enclosing a crescent, with two crescent above.  There are on each side, parallel to each other, the capital letters G.D. and M.B.”  It is not known with certainty to whom these initial letters refer.  (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. ii. p. 399.)

  1522.—ANDREW FORMAN, Abbot of Dunfermline, died, and was interred at Dunfermline.  (Keith’s Scot. Bishops, pp. 35, 146; Morton’s Annals, pp. 298, 299; Pitscottie’s Hist. Scot. p. 254.)  This abbot was a great man.  In 1498 he was the Pope’s pronotary, and afterwards his legate a latere.  He was Prior of the Isle of May; was bishop of Moray in 1501; and held at the same time the Priories of Coldingham and Pittenween, and was Commendator of Dryburgh in 1512.  Through the favour of Louis of Louis XII. He was made Archbishop of Bourges, in France, in 1513; Archbishop of St. Andrews in 1514.  When the Duke of Albany came back from France, and assumed the regency in 1516, Forman resigned into his hands, as the law of Scotland required, all the benefices which he had hitherto held only by the Pope’s nomination, and was reappointed only to the See of St. Andrews and the Abbey of Dunfermline.  Forman is the reputed author of “Contra Lutherum,” of “De Stoica Philosophia,” and of “Collectanea Decretalium.”  (Morton’s Annals, pp. 288, 289; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. pp. 195, 196, 197.)

  The following short account of a banquet given by Forman to the Pope and his cardinals while in Rome is from Pitscottie’s (Lindsay’s Chron. Scot. p. 254:--“Then the Bishop Forman made a banquet to the Pope and all his cardinals, in one of the Pope’s own palaces; and when they were all set, according to their custom, that he who aught the house for the time should say the grace, he was not a good scholar, nor had good Latin, but began rudely in the Scottish fashion, saying, Benedicite, believing that they should have said Dominus.  But they answered Deus, in the Italian fashion, which put the bishop past his intendiment, that he wist not well how to proceed forward, but happened out in good Scots, in this manner, saying (which they understood not), To the devil I give you all, false cardinals, in nominee Patris, Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.  The all the bishop’s men leugh; and the Bishop shewed that he was not a good clerk, and that his cardinals had put him by his text and intendiment.  Therefore he gave them all to the devil in good Scots, whereat the Pope himself leugh very earnestly.”

  JAMES BETON, Re-elected Abbot of Dunfermline.—James Beton, who had been Abbot of Dunfermline from 1504 till 1510, was again elected Abbot, which office he held until his death in 1539.  (Keith’s Scottish Bishops, pp. 35, 36, &c.)  While holding the office of Abbot of Dunfermline he was also Archbishop of St. Andrews, &c.  (See date 1504.)

  THE LANDS OF ORROCK-SELLYBALBE, &C.—“James, Commendator of Dunfermline, &c., and Chancellor of the Kingdom, granted to Marjorie Orrok, daughter of Alexander Orrok of Sellybalbe, the third part of the lands of Orrok, Sellybalbe, and Dunearn adjacent, in the regality of Dunfermline and vicecomitatus of Fife, quam dictus Alexander resignaverat Reddendo 2 merks six shillings and eightpence, &c.  Dated Dunfermline, xx January, 1523.”

  1524.—THE LANDS OF CLUNYS AND THE CAPTAIN OF EDINBURGH CASTLE.—“James, Archbishop of St. Andrews, regni Primas Apostolicæ sedis legatus, and Commendator of Aberborthok and Dunfermline, confirms to James Crechton of Cranstoneriddale, Captain of the Castle of Edinburgh, and to Margarite Hume, his spouse, our landis of Clunys adjacent to and within the vicecomitatus of Fife, in Gaitmylk schire, which the same James Crechtoun resignaverat.  Dated Dunfermline, vi. Jan. 1524.”  (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 512, pp. 380, 381.)

  THE ABBOT OF DUNFERMLINE’S HOUSE IN EDINBURGH.—As early as this period, that house at the junction of High Street with Canongate (north side), in after times known as John Knox’s House, belonged to the Abbots of Dunfermline, and here they resided during the meetings of “The Estates,” &c., and when on official duties.

  1526.—The following is a free translation of an interesting Charter in the Printed Register of Dunfermline, and is here given because it is one of the few Charters in the Register which has the names of many places now obsolete, but nevertheless interesting to the local antiquary:--

  “James, Archbishop Primate of the Realm, has granted to James Murray the lands of Pardew, otherwise Broomhill, along with certain acres, viz., the Stane acre, Short acre, and the Boot acre, as pertinents of this same land of Pardew, lying within the Regality of Dunfermline, on the south part of the lower town (Nether-town) on either side of the rivulet commonly called the Lyne, bounded as follows:--Beginning at the Gardens of St. Cuthber, descending by certain stones fixed for boundary stones, and proceeding by the land of David Bothwell, named the Haugh, to the south, even to the goodly lands belonging to the altar of the blessed Mary, within the Parish Church of Dunfermline, even as far as the water and the King’s high way, which leads to the Grange of Dunfermline, and thence proceeding by the said way towards the north as far as the water of Lyne, and descending by the rivulet or burn as far as the Boot acre, lying on the western part of the meadow lands, and then proceeding by the marsh of said meadow as far as the lands of the laird of Pittencrieff, called in like manner the Boot (buyt), and ascending to the said stream called the Lyne as far as the Short acre, on the northern part of the said water, which acre has the King’s high way on the west, and is almost inclosed on the other sides by the said water.  Reddendo 8 shillings yearly in name of annual rent.  Given at Dunfermline 28th June, 1526.”  (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 514, p. 381.)

  The acre here called the Buyt aiker may perhaps mean Butt acre, the acre for the practice of archery in the olden time; Stone acre may be so called from some now obliterated stone quarry; and Short acre from its small dimensions.  Whirlbut, or Whirlbutt, is in the immediate vicinity on the south side of the Lyne burn, probably also connected with “the art of archery.”  “Buyt aiker” has hitherto been translated Boot acre; and the writer has followed his predecessors, although he strongly suspects that But or Butt acre is the proper rendering. 

  THE ABBOT OF DUNFERMLINE A FUGITIVE.—On September 4th, 1526, “the feud battle of Avonbridge, near Linlithgow, was fought between the Earls of Arran and Lennox.” When the Abbot of Dunfermline, “being on the losing side, had with others to fly from the field, and took refuge among the mountains, lurking about in the disguise of a shepherd.”  (Lindsay’s Hist. Scot. vol. ii. pp. 280, 281; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. ii. p.222, &c.)

  DUNFERMLINE ABBEY “SPOILZED.”—Shortly after “the affair at Avonbrige,” Angus, advancing to Fife, entered Dunfermline with his soldiers, and spoilzit (pillaged) the Abbey.  (Mercer’s Hist. Dunf. p. 59; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. 2. p. 222; and Histories of Scotland.)

  1527.—MARTYRDOM OF PATRICK HAMILTON, 1st March, w527.—This is a black letter day in the history of Dunfermline, for “the Abbot of Dunfermline (Archbishop of St. Andrews, &c.) superintended the martyrdom of Patrick Hamilton”—a pious young man, only 23 years of age—almost at the door of his castle at St. Andrew.”  (Histories of Scotland; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 194; Grierson’s Hist. St. Andr. P. 23, &c.)

  1529.—“THE PEST AND ‘HET SICKNESS’ prevails generally, and particularly in the towns on the north side of the Forth.  Dunfermline and vicinity suffered much in July, August, and Septr.”  (Histories of Scotland.)

  1530.—WALTER RYNGANE AND WILLIAM DURYE were the Abbey Janitors at this period.  (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 515, p. 381.)

  1531.—USUFRUCTUARIUS OF DUNFERMLINE ABBEY, &C.—In the Register of Dunfermline, of date, February 1531, there is a Charter granted to the Lord of Belwerye, by the Archbishop of St. Andrews and the Abbot of Dunfermline, regarding certain lands, &c., which has the singular introduction of –“James, Archbishop of St. Andrews, Vsufructuarius of the Monastery of Dunfermline, and George Dury, Abbot of the Convent of the same place; James, Earl of Morton and Dalkeith and Baron of Aberdour; George de Dundas, knight and templar in the preceptory of St. John of Jerusalem at Torphichen, &c.”  (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 516, p. 382.)

  1532.—PRESENTATION OF THE ALTAR OF THE HOLY CROSS, KIRKCALDY.—“George, Abbot of Dunfermline, presented to Lord William, Chaplain of James, Archbishop of St. Andrews, to the altarages of our altar of the Holy Cross, within the burgh of Kirkcaldy, and in the Parish Church of the same place.  Dated at Dunfermline 18th April, 1532.  Witnesses, Walter Ryngane, David Duncan, and Walter Shorthouse.”  (Print. Regist.of Dunf. No. 517, p. 383.)

  1533.—THE VICARAGE OF THE CHURCH OF CLEISCHE.—“George, Abbot of Dunfermline, and James, Archbishop of St. Andrews, presented Maister David Young, Presbiter, to the perpetual Vicarage of the Parish Church of Cleish.  Dated March, 1533.  (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 518, p. 383.)  Cleish is about 8 miles north of Dunfermline.

  1534.—THE MILLS AND LANDS OF EASTER HAILES.—“James, Archbishop of St. Andrews, and George, Abbot of Dunfermline, granted a Charter, conferring to certain parties named, part of the lands and the mills of Easter Hailes, near Edinburgh.  Dated at Dunfermline, vi. Nov. 1534.”  (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 522, p. 384.)

  1535.—THE PRIORY OF PLUSARDINE AND DUNFERMLINE.—“The Priory of Pluscardine, in Moray, which had been subject to Dunfermline for a long period previous to this date, was this year (1535) erected into a Regality by James, Archbishop of St. Andrews and George, Abbot of Dunfermline, who appointed four persons (who are named) to hold Justiciary Courts of the Regality in Dunfermline and administer justice.”  Dated “Dunfermline. . . . die . . . 1535.”  (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 526, p. 385.)

  1536.—THE CHURCH OF MELVILLE presented to Lord Archibald Hay, Clericum Parisiss, studentem, James, Archbishop of St. Andrews, and George, Abbot of Dunfermline.  Nov. 7th, 1536.  (Print. Regist. Dufn. No. 527, p. 586.)  Probably Hay studied at Paris.

  THE CHURCH OF MOULEN.—James, Archbishop of St. Andrews, and George, Abbot of Dunfermline, presented to Lord David Hervey, Presbyter, the Vicarage of the Parish Church of Moulen.  (Print. Regist. Dunf.No. 528, p. 586.)  These two churches were for many centuries subject to Dunfermline.

  DUNFERMLINE GUILD COURT.—In a minute of a Guild Court held this year, the selling of hides and skins, &c., is noticed.  (Burgh Records.)

  1537.—THE LANDS OF CLUNYS, &C.—James, Archbishop of St. Andrews, “vsufructuarius and administrator-generalis fructuum” of the Monaster, and George, Abbot of Dunfermline, granted a writ in favour of Jacobus Creichtoun, heres patris, Jacobi Creichtoun, in dictis terries.  8th May, 1537.  (Print, Regist. Dunf. No. 529, p. 386.)

  1539.—JAMES BEATON, Abbot of Dunfermline, died this year.  He was also Archbishop of St. Andrews.  Since his re-election in 1522 he had held the abbacy for seventeen years; but, “from about the year 1535 he appears to have committed the duties of Abbot to George Dury.”  Lesley, in his History of Scotland, says that “James Beatoun, before he died, had providit successouris to all his benifices, quilkis were Mr. David Betoun, then being Cardinal, to the Archbishopric of St. Andrews and to the Abbey of Arbroath, and Mr. George Durie, quha was Archdene of St. Androis, to the Abbacye of Dumferling, wha enterit with the Kingis benevolens, and without any stoppe to thair benefices efter his deceis.”  (Lesley’s Hist. Scot. Ban. Club, edit. 1830, p. 158.)

  GEORGE DURIE, Archdean of St. Andrews, made Abbot of Dunfermline, not by “divine permission” or “God-tholing,” but by permission and the “tholing” of James Beaton, his predecessor.  The moral degeneracy of the age “was now hastening on affairs, making them ripe for the close-at-hand reformation.

  THE ABBEY SEAL.—It would appear, from wax impressions still attached to Monastic Charters and Deeds, of dates between 1539-1560, that George Dury, the new Abbot and Commendator of Dunfermline Abbey, had a Seal-stamp engraven during the first year of

his office (1539).  The above is taken from the engraving in Fermie’s History of Dunfermline, p. 76.  Of this Seal Mr. Henry Laing, at page 181 of his excellent work on Ancient Scottish Seals, says—“It is a fine round Seal, of a rich design, consisting of three Gothic niches; in the centre of one is a figure of the Virgin and infant Jesus; in the dexter,  a figure of St. Andrew, holding his cross before him; and, in the sinister, a figure of St. Margaret, holding in her left hand a scepter.  In the lower part of the Seal is a shield, bearing a chevron between three crescents, the armorial bearings of Durie; behind the shield, a crozier; and, around the circumference, in old letters, the legend, viz.:--


that is—“Seal of George, Abbot of Dunfermline, and Archdean of St. Andrews.”

ADAM BLACKWOOD.—Born in Dunfermline in 1539.  In after life he held a Professorship in the College Poitiers, in France, and was the author of several learned works.  (See Annals Dunf. date 1623.)

  A CHARTER OF THE ABBOT OF DUNFERMLINE relating to Lands in and near Dunfermline.—“George, Archdean of St. Andrews, and Commendator of Dunfermline, concedes to Helena Stewart, daughter and apparent heiress of Adam Stewart, of Brerhill, and David Lundy, sponso dictæ Helenæ, the lands of Breryhill, adjacent to the burgh of Dunfermline on the east part, and the land of Mylhillis, on the east part of the ‘Newrow’ croft, commonly called the ‘Newraw-crofts’; the lands of Penelandes, near the lands of Breryhill, on the north part; and the lands of Mylhillis on the east part; the lands of the Spittel on the south part; and those of Elliotshill on the west part.  Also a small parcel of land, commonly called the ‘Cluttis’ croft, adjacent, within the regality of Dunfermline; and the narrow crofts in the burgh of Dumfermline, on the west part of the lands of Halbank; and the north part of the lands of Brerehill, on the east and south parts; and the lands of Halbank adjacent, in the regality of Dunfermline.”

  1540.—ROYAL PALACE, DUNFERMLINE, Enlarging, Altering, and Repairing.—The Royal Palace of Dunfermline appears to have been much enlarged and thoroughly repaired about this period.  “Large mullioned windows were introduced into the original architecture,” and in the present upper storey, then added to the building, besides having mullioned windows, had also bay, or projecting windows in west wall fronting the glen, as shown in ruin still standing.  The accompanying plate is a north-west view of the Palace, when thus completed, taken partly from Sleizar’s view, of date, circa 1690, and a more correct print published about the middle of last century.

  The following are the measurements of the Royal Palace Kitchen and Cellar, taken by the writer in 1825:--The west wall overlooking the glen is 205 feet in length (including the cellar and kitchen walls), the height, 59 feet, and breadth 28 ½ feet.  The west side of the wall is supported by eight buttresses.  (For notices of the “Annunciation Stone,” see Annals of Dunf. dates 1812 and 1859.)

  1541.—THE ABBOT OF DUNFERMLINE, elected an Extraordinary Lord of the Articles,--George Dury, Abbot and Commendator of Dunfermline, was “on July 2d, 1541, chosen an Extraordinary Lord of the Articles,” as also often afterwards.  (Acts of Scot. Parl. ii. pp. 366, 443, 603; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 198.)

  1542.—THE ABBOT OF DUNFERMLINE elected a Member of the Earl of Arran’s Council, which at the meeting confirmed the Earl in his guardianship of the infant Queen Mary during hr nonage.  (Mait. Hist. Scot. vol. ii. p. 839.)

  1543.—THE ABBOT OF DUNFERMLINE, one of the Privy Council.—On 15th March, 1543, the Abbot of Dunfermline was one of those appointed of Governor the Earl of Arran’s “Secret Counsale,” and was one of the Secret Council frequently afterwards.  (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vil. i. p. 198; Acts of Scot. Parl. ii. pp. 366, 443, 603.)

  BURNTISLAND, or Wester Kinghorn, from a very early period belonged to Dunfermline Abbey.  It was also known as Cunyngayrland.  This year George Dury, Abbot of Dunfermline, by Charter, conceded to Peter Dury, the Castle, &c., and certain lands known as Grasslandes, and Cunyngayrlands, &c., vulgarly called Burntisland. (Regist. Dunf. pp. 393, 399.)

  1544.—MR. JOHN DAVIDSON, an eminent divine, was born in the Parish of Dunfermline this year.  At a very early age he was sent to school in the Abbey, completing his scholastic education there.  He became a monk of the Order of Benedictines.  Afterwards he embraced the Protestant faith, and became celebrated as a divine and a poet.  (See dates 1573 and 1604.)

  1549.—CONFIRMATION CHARTER OF GEORGE DURY to the Burghesses, &c., of Dunfermline.—As this Charter confirms the Charters of Abbot Robert (1322) and that of Abbot John (1395), &c., a full and free translation of it is here given, viz.:--“Charter of Confirmation, Innovation, and New Concession, made by Lord George, the Commendator, and the Convent of the Monastery of Dunfermlyn, concerning and regarding all and several the liberties, concessions, donations, and privileges of the Community of their Burgh of Dunfermlyn, made and granted by their predecessors on account of the age of the Charters and letters previously executed and granted:--

  “George Dury, Archdeacon on St. Andrews, and perpetual Commendator of Dunfermline, on account of the distinguished services of the present Provost, Bailies, Council, Burgesses, and community of the Burgh of Dunfermline, for which they are well known, like their progenitors and predecessors, has confirmed the Charter which follows, viz.:--‘To all who shall see or hear this Charter, Robert, by Divine permission, Abbot of the Monastery of Dunfermline, and the humble Convent of the same place, eternal safety in the Lord, Know ye that we,’ &c.  Likewise the Charter in these words:--‘’To all who shall hear or see this Charter, John, by the Grace of God, Abbot of Dunfermline and the most humble Convent of the same, eternal safety in the Lord, know ye that we, with the consent and assent of our Chapter, have given and granted, and by this our present Charter, have confirmed for us and our successors, to our burgesses of Dunfermlyn, those, viz., who are now Guild brethren, and their heirs forever, and to others, our burgesses received, or in future to be received, into the Guild by our burgesses and their heirs, a Merchant Guild, with all the liberties, rights, conveniences, easements pertaining, or that may by any right whatever pertain, to a free Merchant Guild, along with the houses belonging of old to the said Guild (reserving the right of any one), to be held and kept by our foresaid burgesses and their heirs of us and our successors, in sales and purchases, and all other grants as freely, quietly, fully, honorably, well, and in peace, as any burgesses or our Lord the King, in any burghs of our same Lord have, hold, and possess a Guild, reserving to ourselves and our obedientiaries, and their servants, for the use of ourselves and our obedientiaries for purchases and other ancient usages, according to justice.’—In testimony whereof, to the present Charter has been attached the common seal of our Chapter.—Witness: The Chapter; likewise the indenture witnesses: Master Abraham Creichtoun, Provost of Dunglas and Official of St. Andrews, within the Archdeanary of Laudonia; Rober Dury of the ilk, principal baillie of the Regality of Dunfermline; Robert Steward, junior, Lord of Rossyth; David Martyne, of Cardven; John Betoun, of Capildray: Likewise, Messrs. (Landlords) William Murray, Treasurer of Dunblane; John Lauder, Archdeacon of Tweeddale; Adam Kingorne, Vicar of Lynton; and John Coupar and Thomas Malcolm, Chaplains and Notaries Public.—2d August, 1549.”  (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 569, pp. 397, 398.  See also Confirmation Charter of James VI. 1588, which confirms this Charter, and also the Charter of Abbots Robert and John, 1322, 1363, and 1395.)

  1550.—CHARTER-KEEPER AND NOTARY OF DUNFERMLINE ABBEY.—It would appear from various Charters of date circa 1550, that John Henrisone was Keeper of the Abbey Charters and Notary-Public, at least, as early as this period; also, vide Annals, date 1573, probably the same person. 

  THE LANDS OF FYNMONTH.—George, Commendator of Dunfermline, conceded to James Kircaldy of Grande, the King’s Treasurer, and Jonete Melville, his spouse, the lands of Fynmonth, lying in the regality of Dunfermline, within the vice comitatus of Fyfe, reddendo, 17lb. 8s. 8d.; dated at the Monastery of Dunfermline, 1550.  (Print. Regist. Dunf., No. 570, p. 398.)

  1551.—KINROSS AND ORWELL.—George, Commendator of Dunfermline, presented, by Writ, Sir John Mowss, presbyter, to the Vicarage and pensions of the Churches of Kinross and Orwell.  (Regis. Dunf. No. 572, p. 398.)

  1552.—WESTER KINGHORN.—George, Abbot and Commendator of Dunfermline, by Charter, conceded to Peter Dury and his heirs “our lands of Nethir Grange of Kyngorne, with the Castle,” and Custodier of Cwnyngerlandis commonly called Burntisland, dated 22nd October, 1552, and has the following names as witnesses appended to it:--Robert Pitcairn; Alan Cowttis, Chamberlain of Dunfermline, &c.  (Regist. Dunf. No. 574, p. 399.)

  1554.—KEEPER OF THE PRIVY SEAL.—George Dury, Abbot of Dunfermline, was this year chosen Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland.  (Diurnal of Occur. Ban. Edit. P. 64; Acts of Parliament, vol. ii. pp. 443, 603, &c.: Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 198.)

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