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Annals of Dunfermline
A.D. 1401 - 1501 - Part 1

M C C C C I.

1401.—DUNFERMLINE ABBEY AND BURGH.—John Wardlaw, of Torry, was Abbot of Dunfermline. There were about 45 monks in the Abbey, and at least 12 other officials connected with its “domestic economy.” The population within the walls of the Abbey was about 60; the population of the Burgh, about 1200. It would appear that there were smiths, weavers, plumbers, slaters, masons, wrights, tailors, shoe and clog makers, bakers, fleshers, fishmongers, glovers, spurriers, &c., in the Burgh at this period.

1403.—ROYAL INTERMENT IN THE ABBEY.—Queen Annabella Drummond, consort of King Robert III., died at Inverkeithing, and was interred in “haly sepulture” in the Abbey of Dunfermline, but whether in the original building or in the Choir is not known. This was the last of the Royal Interments at Dunfermline, excepting the infant son of James VI. in 1602. (Chalmers’s Gaz. Scot. pp. 584, 585; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 137; vol. ii. p. 242.)

Note.—Robert III., husband of Annabella, gave a gift of the whole revenue belonging to St. Leonard’s Chapel and Hospital at Lanark, in 1393, to Sir John Dalziel, upon condition that he and his heirs should cause say three masses every week—“Pro salute Dominm Regis et Annabellæ Reginæ proliumque eorum”—vbiz., three masses “for the salvation of our lord the King, and Annabella the Queen, and their offspring. (Chambers’s Gaz. Scot. p. 689.)

1404.—JOHN, Lord Abbot, and Safe-Conduct Pass to England.—John de Torry, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline, “Obtained a Safe-conduct Pass from Henry IV. of England, with Sir Richard Comyn and six horsemen,” dated at Westminster, 20th March, 1404. (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 189.)

1409.—DUNFERMLINE MONKS’ VESTMENTS.—The monks of Dunfermline represent to the Abbot the great rise in the prices of vestments. John de Torry, Lord Abbot, after a full consideration of the matter, agrees to allow each monk in future 40s. of the current money of the realm annually. (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 399, p. 279; Dal. Mon. Antiq. p. 15; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 214, &c.)

JOHN OF TORRY (WARDLAW), Lord Abbot of Dunfermline, appears to have been indisposed for several years about this period (1409-1413). It has also been supposed that John Wardlaw of Torry, died in1409, and that a now unknown Abbot was then elected, and was in office until 1413; but the Registrum de Dunfermlyn makes no mention of this.

1414.—WILLIAM DE SANCTO ANDREA, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline.—It is not known when William of St. Andrews was elected and consecrated Lord Abbot of Dunfermline. His name for the first time appears in a Charter of date 1414. He was the 23rd Abbot of Dunfermline. (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 401, pp. 280, 281, 282; Chal. Hist. Dunf. col. i. p. 180.)

1419.—ROBERT STUART, Duke of Albany, Earl of Fife, and Regent of Scotland, died in 1419, and was buried in the Abbey of Dunfermline. (Heron’s Hist. Scot. vol. ii. p. 206; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 133.)

SEISEN.—The earliest notice of Seisen, in connection with the Abbey, is to be found in a Charter in the Register of Dunfermline of date 23rd March 1419. (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 402, p. 281, 282; Dal. Mon. Antiq. p. 62.)

1423.—WILLIAM BROWN, the Learned and Eminent Theologian.—William Brown of the Abbey of Dunfermline, “strenuously opposed the election of William Drax to be Prior of Coldingham, but was unsuccessful.” (Carr’s Hist. of Coldingham, p. 285; Chalmers’s Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 240.) Drax, a man of questionable virtue, had raised a process against William Brown, Robert Bowmaker, and Stephen Bryce, “monks of Dunfermling.”

1425.—PROCESS OF LAW SERVED ON THREE MONKS AT CUNFERMLINE.—William Drax took action at law against William Brown, Robert Bowmaker, and Stephen Bryce, monks of Dunfermline, for opposing him in the Priorate of Coldingham. (Carr’s Hist. of Coldingham, p. 285; and MS Deeds in the Advo. Lib. Edin.)

1426.—DAVID I., “A sair Saint to the Crown.”—James I. visited Dunfermline this year, just after his long captivity of 19 years in England. He entered the Abbey, and, on the tomb of King David being pointed out to him, remarked that “David wer ane soir sanct for the Croun.” Kames I. at the time was low in his finances; and, no doubt, the lavish expenditure of Crown money, &c., made by David I. on cathedrals, abbeys, and religious houses, would come to his remembrance, and hence his often-quoted remark. (Boece’s Chronicles, by Ballenden, lib. xii. Ch. 17.)

1427.—WILLIAM OF ST. ANDREWS, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline, died. (General Allan’s MSS.)

LORD ABBOT OF DUNFERMLINE.—Andrew de Kircaldy was elected and consecrated Abbot of Dunfermline on 13th September, 1427. (General Allan’s MSS.)

1428.—KING JAMES I. IN DUNFERMLINE.—Several Charters were granted by James I., and dated from Dunfermline, in December, 1428. One of them under the Great Seal, “whereby, with consent of the burgesses and merchants of Edinburgh, and in augmentation of the fabric and reparation of the Port of Leith,” certain tolls are authorized to be uplifted of all ships and boats entering therein; dated Dunfermline, 31st December. 1428. (Marwick’s Edin. Burgh Records, p. 323.)

1429.—MALPRACTICES IN THE PRIORY OF URQUHART.—There are several letters, writs, &c., of admonition in the Register of Dunfermline, at this period, from the Abbot of Dunfermline, regarding certain malpractices and irregularities which had recently arisen in the Priory of Urquhart, which was under the jurisdiction of Dunfermline Abbey. (Vide Regist. de Dunf. pp. 282-284.)

1432.—ARCHERY.—Agreeably to the Act of Estates, Dunfermline established “bow-butts” adjacent to the villa inferior (Nethertown), “for the practice of archery,” and “set aside the Butt-acre for the purpose.” The Butts are mentioned in Charter 443 of Registrum de Dunfermlyn. (See Annals of Dunfermline, dates 1455 and 1526.)

1435.—THE BARONY OF ROSYTHE, four miles south of Dunfermline, was purchased, about this period, by Sir David Stewart. (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 422.)

1436.—DUNFERMLINE, along with other Towns, declared to be incapable of protecting Royalty.—After the murder of James I. at Perth this year, it was declared that “neither Perth, Stirling, Scone, of Dumlermline, had the power of protecting royalty against the designs of the nobility,” and hence Edinburgh and its Castle were selected as the future place of residence for the Royal Families of Scotland. It was in consequence of this “declaration and act” that Edinburgh became the metropolis of Scotland—1436-1437. (Chal. Gaz. Scot. art. “Stirling,” p. 957, &c.)

1437.—A CHARTER of this date is the first one in the Register of Dunfermline in the Scotch language.

ANDREW, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline.—It is not known when Andrew was elected and consecrated Lord Abbot of Dunfermline. He appears for the first time in the Register of Dunfermline, in a Charter dated July, 1437. He was the 24th Abbot of Dunfermline.

THE LANDS OF CLUNY fell into the hands of the Abbot and Convent of Dunfermline by the forfeiture of Murdac, Earl of Fife, and were given by them to David Stewart of Rossyth.

1439.—GREAT FAMINE AND PEST SEVERELY FELT AT DINFERMLINE.—A great famine this year prevailed all over Scotland, and was severely felt in Dunfermline and its vicinity. Lindsay, in his Chronicle, alluding to it, says—“Thair raise ane great dearthe of victuallis within the realm, pairtly because the labouraris of the ground might no sow nor win the cornes, throw the tumultis ans cumberis in the countrie, and pairtly, quilk is most apparentlie to be true, was the verie wraith and ire of God, to cause us to know our selffis, and throwe that scourg to provock us to amendment of lyfe. Thair rand also at thys time ane terrible pest in the ocuntrie, for all men that was affected thairwith dyed that same day he tuik it bot ony remedie or help.” (Lind. Chron. Scot. vol. i. pp. 23, 24; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. ii. p. 262, &c.)

1440.—THE PROTEST OF THE MONKS OF DUNFERMLINE and the Town of Perth.—The Monks of Dunfermline, in an agreement between their Abbey and the Town of Perth, protested that they did not relinquish special general emoluments, offerings of wax, money, horses, and other mortuaries pertaining to funerals. (Print. Regist. Dunf. Nos. 413-417, pp. 291-300; Dal. Mon. An. p. 27.)

PERTH.—There are various Charters, &c., in the Register of Dunfermline relative to Dunfermline Abbey possessions, privileges, &c., in Perth. Three of these Charters, or Writs, were granted in the summer of 1440, viz., on May 20th, 1440, on June 9th, 1440 and on June 14th, 1440, which were confirmed by the Prior of St. Andrews (in the absence of the Bishop) on September 1st, 1440. (Print. Regist. Dunf. pp. 291-299; Nos. of Charter, 413, 414, 415; and Confirmation Charter, No. 416.)

A VICAR’S PENSION.—It is mentioned in a Writ or Charter of this date, in the Register of Dunfermline, that the Pension given by them to their vicars was 35 merks, with wine, bread, and wax. (Print. Regist. Dunf. Nos. 413, 414, &c., p. 291, 295; Dal. Mon. An. p. 35.)

1441.—CONSECRATION OF THE NEWLY-ELECTED BISHOP OF DUNKELD in Dunfermline Abbey.—“James Bruce, son of Sir Robert Bruce, of Clackmannan, whom King David II. calls his beloved cousin, was consecrated Bishop of Dunkeld in Dunfermline Abbey.” (Crawford’s Officers of State, p. 34; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 266.)

1442.—THE LORD ABBOT OF DUNFERMLINE takes the Precedence of other Abbots.—“In a Writ, dated 8th February, 1442, the Abbot of Dunfermline takes precedence of the other Abbots who are witnesses to it—viz., Aberborthick, Cambuskenneth, Inchcolm, and Culross, in the order of signing.” (Vide Thompson’s Acts of Parliament, vol. ii. p. 58; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 190.) This precedence probably arose from Dunfermline Abbey being the senior Abbacie.

1444.—“ANDREW OF KIRCALDY,” Lord Abbot of Dunfermline, died April, 1444. (Gen. Allan’s MSS.)

1445.—RICHARD DE BOTHEUL, Lord Abbot of Dunfermline.—It is not known when Richard de Botheul was elected and consecrated Lord Abbot of Dunfermline. He is for the first time noticed in a Charter, dated January, 1445. (Wilk. Concil.; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 190. See also Annals, date 1472.)

1448.—THE ABBEY REPAIRING—The Body of a Child Found.—Boece, in his History of Scotland, notes, that in “this yeare, while pulling down the royall wallis at Dunfermling, the bodie of ane young child was found in ane heap of leid, rompled up in Sandill, als fresch and vncurrupted, and als weill in cullor as the fyrst hour it was buried. This was judged of thame that had curiositie of old antiquities, to be that sone of Queine Margaret, quha deceist in his infancie.” (Hect. Boece’s Hist. Scot. date 1448; Lindsay’s Chron. Scot. vol. i. pp. 61, 61; Chamb; Gaz. Scot. art. “Dunfermline,” &c.)

SACRIST OF DUNFERMLINE ABBEY.—William de Boyis, one of the monks of the Abbey, held the office of Sacrist early in the year 1448. He afterwards became Prior of the Priories of Pluscardine and Urquhart.

PRIOR AND SUB-PRIOR OF DUNFERMLINE ABBEY.—In the same Charter (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 424, p. 309) Richard is mentioned and is designated as Prior and Sub-Prior of Dunfermline Abbey.

PROVOST OF DUNFERMLINE.—A Charter in the Register of Dunfermline mentions that name John Wright, Præpositus, or Provost of Dunfermline, in 1448. (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 424, p. 305.) This appears to be the earliest notice of a Provost of Dunfermline on record. In the same Charter Thomas Bra and Thomas Chepman are mentioned as being the Bailies; and John Bothwell and John Cupir as Burgesses.

THE ABBEY OF DUNFERMLINE empowered to Repledge Lands, Inhabitants, &c.—In a Writ of this date, in the Register of Dunfermline, the Abbot Richard “empowers the Abbey to repledge any of the inhabitants on the lands of Luscreviot and Dollar which belonged to it, detained by his courts, to the courts of regality.” (Vide Print. Regist. Dunf. Nos. 427, 428, pp. 312, 313.)

DUNFERMLINE ABBEY TO BE HELD IN VENERATION.—James II. declares in a Charter, “the Abbey of Dunfermline was a place to be held in the highest veneration, in consequence of many of the bodies of his progenitors, Kings of Scotland, being interred in it.” (Dal. Mon. Antiq. p. 51.)

1449.—SITE OF ST. MARGARET’S ALTAR IN DUNFERMLINE ABBEY.—In a Writ of date 1449, there is the following entry:--

“Istud est Rentale ad altare beate Margarete Regine situatum in Ecclesia parochiali de Dunfermlyn ex parte australi ejusdem ecclesie factum xxx vvi°due menis Junii anno domini 1449 et habitum ex vero conquestu domini Johannis Willelmi tunc temporis capellani domini nostril Regis ex parte bone memorie Cristiane de Broyis.” (Vide General Hutton’s Collection MS. Charters, Advo. Library, Edin. p. 121.)

That is—

“The rental made at the altar of the blessed Margaret, the Queen, situated in the parochial church of Dunfermline, on the south side of the same church (27th June, 1449), and derived from the real property of Mr. John Williams, at that time chaplain to our lord the lord the King, on the part of Christian de Brosis of blessed memory.”

From this entry, it is evident that St. Margaret’s Altar was situated in the Parochial Church (the Abbey) and in the south side of it; but whether in the original building (the “Auld Kirk”) or in the Choir, is not known.

REPLEDGING OF MEN BELONGING TO THE ABBEY.—Any of the men on the territories of the Abbey committing a crime could be repledged from the supreme criminal judges of the kingdom, and be brought to trial at the Abbot’s courts, by virtue of a Charter granted about this period. (Dal. Mon. Antiq. p. 19.)

THE MONASTERY AND COURTS OF LAW.—It is mentioned in a Charter in the Register of Dunfermline, of date 1449, that “the Monastery was exempted from attendance at courts of law, which was a common burden on other subjects. (Print. Regist, Dunf. No. 427, p. 312; Dal. Mon. Ant. p. 22.)

1450.—KIRKCALDY.—The privileges and immunities of Kirkcaldy were, on the 20th January, 1450, disponed by Richard, Abbot of Dunfermline, and the Convent, to the Bailies and the Council of the Burgh of Kirkcaldy, by an indenture made betwixt them. (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 432, pp. 318, 319; vide also pp. 269, 270.) Under date 1363 of Annals, it is shown that the Burgh of Kirkcaldy was then given to the Abbey of Dunfermline by King David II. Kirkcaldy had therefore been under the Abbey rule about 87 years.

CONFIRMATION CHARTER BY KING JAMES II. TO DUNFERMLINE ABBEY.—The following is the last of the great Regal Confirmation Charter made in favour of the Abbey, in the Register of Dunfermline, by James II., dated 22nd March, 1450; and as it contains the last account of the Abbey possessions and privileges to date 1450, a free translation may prove acceptable to the reader:--

“James, by the grace of God, King of Scots, to all honest men of the whole kingdom, clergy and laity, greeting,--Though, indeed, we care bound to give the utmost heed to the quiet and tranquility of all in our kingdom, who belong to the order of regulars, when the pious majesty of royal excellence requires it, or a feeling of glowing charity demands it, we ought more especially and watchfully to provide, with our usual foresight, for the stability and peace of our Monastery of Dunfermline, when we reflect how much and with what special veneration that place deserves to be regarded by us, in which not only the most sacred pledges of our most renowned and most glorious progenitor, the blessed Margaret queen, rest in venerable repose; but where also so many of the bodies of our ancestors, Kings of Scotland, lie most honourably entombed. We are therefore moved, and not without just cause, with a solicitude so to act, that the tranquility, peace, and freedom of the said Monastery may be secured, and that it may not be hereafter harassed by the disturbing influence of any fluctuating affairs, but enjoy its possessions, as we earnestly desire, in quiet and perpetual prosperity: And that this our desire may become public, know ye that we have approved, ratified, and, by this our present Charter, confirmed, all and every the grants, donations, incorporations, annexations, exonerations, declarations, renovations, contracts, and all and every the things underwritten, made and granted to the said Monastery of Dunfermline, to the Abbot and Convent of the same, and to their successors, viz.: The gifts of Kings Malcolm the First [III.?] and his Queen, the blessed Margaret, which, being enumerated, are these—Parcy, Blacklaw, Pitbauchly, Pitcorthy, Pitliver, Bolgy, the Shire of Kirkaldy, Inveresk the Lesser: The gifts of King Duncan, the two villas called Luscar: The gifts of King Edgar, the Shire of Gellald: The gifts of King Ethelrede, Hailes: The gifts of King Alexander the First, Primrose; the Shire of Gaitmilk, with the pertinents: The gifts of Queen Sibilla, Beath: The gifts of the most excellent King David the First, Dunfermline on this side the water on which the Monastery is situated; Kinghorn, lying nearest to Dunfermline (Burntisland), with its appendages; Fod, the greater Inveresk, with its mill and fishing; Carbarrin, and the Church of Inveresk; Wemoth, with its right divisions; also, Fothris, near St. Andrews, with its divisions; Pityhochir (Pettycur?) and the Shire of Newburn, with its appendages; Balvaird and Balchristie, with their divisions; a mansion in Berwick; another in Roxburgh; a third in Haddingtion; a fourth in Edinburgh; a fifth in Linlithgow; a sixth in Stirling; and, in the same town, two churches, and a carucate of land adjacent to the Church if Stirling (now called Southfield); and all the tithes of our lordships in fruits and animals, and in fishes and also in money; and the mansions of Roger the presbyter; a net and a-half; and a mansion in the burgh of Perth, and the church of the same place, and also the chapel of the Castle, and a mansion belonging to the said church; the eighth part of all the fines and profits of Fife and Fothrik; and that the Abbots and monks of the said Monastery have a right, in the Forest of Clackmannan, to all things necessary for their own, and their men’s fire and buildings; also of the seals which shall be taken at Kinghorn after being tithed, let them have every seventh; and in Berwick the tract of Ardstell, and all that justly pertains to it; and no poind must be taken of the land or men of the same Monastery, save for their own proper obligations; and that there be justly restored to the said Abbey all their Cumirlauch, with all their money, wheresoever they may be found; and that they may have all their own men, with alltheir money, in whosesoever land they may be on when these were granted; and that the said Abbot and Convent have, through the whole Kingdom of Scotland, exemption from toll on everything which they may have sold for their use; and that they have the Passage and Ship of Inverkeithing, and a certain fishing at Perth, freely and quietly: The gifts of King Malcolm the Second [IV.?]—Masterton, with its right divisions; and twenty-three acres of land, and a certain meadow near Dunfermline; and whatever whale which shall happen to be stranded or taken in Scotland, let there remain with the said Monastery the whole head, save the tongue, and the half of the blood of all the whales which are taken between the Forth and Tay, for light before the altars of the Church of Dunfermline; and that all the men of the said Abbey be free from working at bridges and castles, and other works; and the Church of the Holy Trinity of Dunkeld, with the whole lands belonging to it, and with its proper pertinents; and one toft in Edinburgh, which Robert de Lundoniis had; and an entire toft, with a croft, in the town of Clackmannan: The donation of King William, the rent of 100 shilling out of the revenue of the burgh of Edinburgh, which he gave on the day of his brother King Malcolm’s burial, and twenty acres of land: The gifts of King Alexander the Second—the Shire of Dollar, by its right divisions, in free forest; and the lands of Gask, and the lands of Smetion, near Musselburgh; and the lands of Beath-Waldefe, and of West Beath: From the donation of King Robert the First—the Ferry-field near Inverkeithing, with its pertinent; Coketam, with the new great custom, as well of the burghs of Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy, Musselburgh, and the Queensferry, as of all their other lands within the Kingdom of Scotland, beside five merks sterling to be received yearly out of the revenues of the burgh on Inverkeithing, by the hands of the bailies of the said burgh. And all the things above mentioned, which, by our good ancestors, King Malcolm and blessed Queen Margaret, by King Duncan, by King Edgar, by Ethelred his brother, by King Alexander, by King Robert, have been given, granted, and confirmed, as in their authentic documents are contained, to the Church and Monastery of the Holy Trinity, and of the most blessed Queen Margaret, of Dunfermline, we, with like fullness and entireness, concede and hereafter to serve God, and confirm to them, to be held for ever entire and undiminished: And that they may rejoice in having found the fruit of new favour in the eyes of our majesty, we grant the lands of Ardlovy, with the pertinents lying within the town of Kinross, which, when we were in our minority, we freely conceded and granted to the venerable father in Christ, Richard, Abbot of the foresaid Monastery, for founding a chaplainry in the said Church: And by these presents, we concede and grant them anew to the same; and we have incorporated andannexed them, as by the tenor of these presents we do annex them, to the regality of the foresaid Monastery for ever, with exception from compearing or making suit in service in our Sheriff Courts of Fife and Clackmannon, on account of their lands of Luscrevyoth and Dollar: Also the declaration, which we have prudently made, in favour of the said Abbot and Monastery, concerning the receipt of the eighth penny of our gains of Fife and Fothrik : Also, the renovation regarding the repledging of the men of their regality, and of those inhabiting the said lands of Luscrevyoth and Dollar, from the courts of all justiciars, chamberlains, sheriffs, provosts, bailies, and officers whatsoever, which concession, donation, incorporation, annexation, exoneration, declaration, and revocation, as in their authentic letters, sealed with our seal, in each and every point and article of them, we do indeed, by the special munificence of our serene highness, and with our certain knowledge, for ourselves and our successors for ever, renew, approve, ratify, and freely confirm: And also to the said Monastery, the form and effect in which we on another occasion conceded and gave them, we do likewise anew, by these presents, concede and grant them: And, besides, we do providently wish them, and the letters made to the said Monastery upon the donation of the same, to continue in full force, as if they had been granted or made by us upon the day of the date of these presents, notwithstanding whatsoever revocation may have been made by us in time past: And we desire, and by these presents command, that our foresaid donations and grants be preserved unimpaired in all time to come, in the form and effect in which we gave them to the said Abbey: Likewise, the contract entered into between the said Abbot and Convent, and the Provost, bailies, and community or our burgh of Perth, regarding the perpetual rebuilding, upholding, repairing, and furnishing of the ornaments and vestments of the choir of the church of the foresaid burgh; also the obligation of the said Provost and their successors for ever, made and sealed with the common seal of the said burgh (of Perth), and the resignation or renunciation made by George, Lord of Lesly, of the lands of Balvaird, in the hands of the said Abbot, as lord superior of the same, as is more fully contained in the letters of resignation or renunciation executed thereupon, we do for ourselves, our heirs and successors, approve, ratify, and for ever confirm: The said Monastery, and Abbot, and Convent of the same, and their successors, to hold and have all the aforesaids for ever as freely, quietly, fully, entirely, honourably, well, and peacefully, with all and every their liberties, commodities, privileges, and pertinents whatsoever, as the charters, letters, muniments, and evidence executed, as the aforesaid more fully bear and testify.—In testimony whereof, we have commanded our great seal to be appended to the present Charter—Witnesses: The Reverend Father in Christ, William, Bishop of Glasgow; William, Lord Creichtoune, our Chancellor, and beloved kinsman; the Venerable Father in Christ, Andrew, Abbot of Melros, our Confessor and Treasurer; our beloved kinsmen, William, Lord Somerville, Patrick, Lord Glammis; Masters John Arous, Archdeacon of Glasgow, and George of Schoriswode, Rector of Culter.—At Edinburgh, the twenty-second day of the month of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand four hundred and fifty, and of our reign the fifteenth.” (vide Printed Regist. Dunf. No. 424, pp. 320-326; Chal. Hist. Dunf. Sup. vol. i. pp. 577-580, &c.)

1451.—BUTTER, MILK, &C., may be Used in the Abbey “without Scruple of Conscience” during Lent.—“In the year 1451, in the fourth year of his Pontificate, Pope Nicholas V., at the request of James, Bishop of St. Andrews, who was personally present at the Holy See, issued a Bull, granting to the inhabitants of the diocese of St. Andrews (which included Dunfermline Abbey), permission to make use of butter, and other products of milk, without any scruple of conscience, during Lent when animal food is forbidden, oil of olives not being produced in the country.” (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 433, p. 319, 320; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 208; Tytler’s Hist. Scot. vol. ii. p. 45; Lard. Cab. Lib. p. 193, for date of Pontificate of Nicholas V.)

1453.—THE ABBOT OF DUNFERMLINE SENT ON A MISSION TO THE ENGLISH KING.—Richard, Abbot of Dunfermline, was sent, along with the Earl of Crawford and Robert Liddale, on a pacific mission to the King of England, when a pacific treaty for four years was effected. (Maitland’s Hist. Scot. vol. p. 637.)

1455.—CROFT AND ALTAR OF ST. LAURENCE—Aqua de Ferm, &c., Dunfermline.—The Croft and Altar of St. Laurence, and the Ferm Water, are now for the first time mentioned in the Register of Dunfermline,viz.:--“Richard, Abbot of Dunfermline, and the Convent thereof, grant in feu-ferm to their servitor, Thomas, the Chamberlain the Croft of St. Laurence, near the lower gate of the Abbey, in the lower nethertown of the burgh of Dunfermline, in the road or street which runs from the said gate to the Water of Ferm, commonly called the Tourburn, on the west side of the said road, lying between the garden of Saint Laurence on the north, and the said water on the south, together with that rood of land which lies on the west side of the said garden, between the said garden and the said water, in which rood the Butts for archery are situated, to be held of our Monastery and of the Altar of St. Laurence, in our Monastery Church, in fee, payable to the said Altar and its procurator, eight shillings yearly in name of feu-ferm and the burgh-ferm, use and wont. Sealed with the common seal of the Monastery, 1st May, 1455.” (Regist. de Dunf. No. 443, p. 335.)

DUNFERMLINE ABBEY LANDS ANNEXED TO THE CROWN.—James II., in a Parliament held at Edinburgh, annexed to the Crown several lands, &c., belonging to the Abbey of Dunfermline. (Murray’s Acts of Par. vol. i.)

1456.—WILLIAM DE BOYIS, the Sacrist of Dunfermline, Elected Prior of Pluscardyn.—In consequence of what was ascertained by a Commission of Inquiry regarding the irregularities prevailing in the Priory of Pluscardyn, John de Benaly, the Prior, was dismissed, and William de Boyis, “ane venerable and religious man,” a monk of Dunfermline, was elected in his place. (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 445, pp. 337, 338.)

Abbey of Pluscardyn
Thanks to Stan Bruce for this picture

History of the Religious House of Pluscardyn
Covent of the Vale of Saint Andrew in Morayshire by Rev. S. R. MacPhail, A.M., Liverpool (1881) (pdf)

RICHARD, Abbot of Dunfermline, the Abbot of Lindores, &c., represent (by appointment) the Barons on the Administration of Justice, in the Sessions, held at Edinburgh, 8th November. (Maitland’s Hist. Scot. vol. ii. p. 644.)

1457.—ST. RYNAN’S TEIND SHEAVES.—There is a short Charter regarding these Teind Sheaves (in the Scottish language) in the Register of Dunfermline. The following are extracts:--

“This appoyntment, made at Dunfermelyn ye xxv day of Julii, Anno MCCCC LVII, betwixt a venerabill fader in crist, Rechart, be godds tholyng Abbotte of Dunfermelyn and ye convente of yt ilke on ye to pairt, And a vorshipfull clerk, master patrik sandiland parsoun of Caldore comits on ye to pairt yt is to say yt ye said venerabill fadir and convent hafe set to ye said Mastr patrik thyare tends chafe of ye croft of Sanct rynanis [St. Ninian’s] chapel lyand vithin ye parsonage of thare kyrk of ye croft of Strueling for all ye dais of his lyfe, ye said Mastr patrik payand yarefore zierly one boll of bere and a boll aits at ye fest Sanct martyn, &c. . . . . And be his present vryt ye saidvenerabill fader and convent discharges him thereof for his lyffetyme. All things occurynge ye said mathow o tyme bygane strekly by and fullely remyttyt forevermare langand ye said Mastr patrik,” &c. (Print. Regist. Dunf. No. 451, p. 344; Dal. Mon. Antiq. p. 32.)

1460.—RICHARD, ABBOT OF DUNFERMLINE, Chosen Ambassador to England, along with Others—“With order to confirm and amend the breaches of the truce.” (Maitland’s Hist. Scot. vol. i. p. 650.)

1462.—THE PATRONAGE OF ST. GILES’S CHURCH, EDINBURGH, which had been held by the Abbey of Dunfermline since the year 1366, was this year (1462) alienated from the jurisdiction of the Abbey.

WEAPON-SHAWING.—“Agreeably to the Act then recently passed in parliament, Dunfermline (like other burhgs) provided its valiant men with guid axes and large ledders to resist the schot of England.” (Acts Scot. Parl.)

1463.—HOUSE AND PRIVILEGES IN THE BURGH OF STIRLING.—“Thomas de Bully, Canon of the Cathedrals of Glasgow and Dunkeld, granted to Richard, Abbot of Dunfermline and the Convent thereof, on account of favours received—ut accipiantur et hospitentur in toto et integro hospicio meo intra burgem de Strivelin pro perpetuo—as often and whenever the Abbot of his successors choose to go thither, and to remain there as long as they please, holding the said tenement,” &c. Also, the grant adds: “When they do go to Strivelin, the Abbot shall be absolved and free from all claim, demand, or payment,” &c. (Dal. Mon. Antiq. p. 58; and Regist. de Dunfermelyn.)

1466.—WALWOOD.—There was “a learned monk of the name of Walwood in the Abbey at this period.” (Shaw’s Marayshire.) Before this year Waldoode or Wallwood was a common name in Dunfermline, and several of the name attained high positions in the Council of the burgh. (Burgh Records.)

THE COMMUNITY OF MUSSELBURGH have bequeathed to them, by the Abbot of Dunfermline, Right to Customs, Stallages, &c.—An indenture was made this year between “Richard, the Abbot of Dunfermline, on the side, and the baillies and community of the burgh of Muskilburgh, on the other side, by which indenture the customs, stallages, and revenues of the courts and the whole burgh, are given up to the baillies and community of Muskilburgh in fee-firm for ever, excepting the lands purchased or to be purchased by the Abbot and Convent; and, for the correction of the baillies, as often as they should fail in the execution of justice, the bailiies and community were to pay annually four merks of the usual money of the King of Scotland, at the two usual terms of the year, Pentecost and Martinmas, in equal portions; and if they should fail to pay, in part or in full, then the goods of the community, which not sufficing, all their special goods and possessions were to be taken, seized, and distrained, until the religious be compensated for the loss and expense, if any, which they may have sustained. (Regist. Dunf. No. 460, p. 357.)

1472.—STIRLING: Land, Fruit, Teinds, and Parsonage Right to the Kirk of Stirling, let by the Abbot of Dunfermline to Matthew Forster,--“Henry, Abbot, settis to ferm and latis til Mathou Forster burgess of Stirling all and hale ye parsonage of ye Kirk of Stirling with all and sundry tendis &c. belang and ye forsaide parsonage to termis of xix years. . . . and fourti acres of land callit ye Southfelde lyand within ye parochen of ye forsaid Kirk for al ye terms of zers before [noticed] to ye forsaid Mathow giffand zerli tyuety lib for ye teinds and freuits of ye said parsonage. And viii lib of ye mail of the foresaid xl acres of land of ye Southfeld,” &c. (Print. Regist Dunf., No. 476, p. 369.)

LORD ABBOTS OF DUNFERMLINE (Double Election).—Alexander Thomson, a monk of the Convent, elected by the Abbey Chapter; Henry Creichton, Abbot of Paisley, promoted to the Abbotship by King James IIII. An old account of this illegal act of the King says:

“The abbacye of Dunfermeling vacand, the convent chesit ane of their awn monkis, callit Alexandyr Thomsoun; and the King promovit Henry Creychtoun, abbot Paislay, thairto, quha wes preferrit be the Paip, through the Kingis supplications, to the said abbacye. And siclik, Mr. Robert Schaw, persoun of Mynto, was promovit be the King to the abbacye of Paislay.—And sua than first began sic maner of promotione of secularis to abbacies by the Kingis supplicationis; and the godlie erectionis war frustrate and dekayde, because that the Court of Rome addmittit the princes supplicationis, the rather that thai gat greyt proffeit and sowmes of money thairby; quhairfore the bischoppis durst not conferme them that wes chosen be the convent; nor thay quha wer electet, durst not persew their awn right. And sua the abbays cam to secular abussis, the abbots and pryouris being promovit furth of the court quha levit court lyk, secularlye, and voluptuouslye. And than ceissit akk religious and godlye myndis and deidis; quhairwith the secularis and temporall men beand sklanderit with thair evill example, fell frae all devoisioun and godliness to the warkis of wikednes, quhairof daylie mekil evill did increase.” (Lesslie’s Hist. Scot. 1830, p. 39.)

This “outrage on the Convent of Dunfermline” is supposed to have been the first committed on the Church, and which culminated at the Reformation in 1560. Morton, in his Annals, in referring to this matter, says:

“The privilege of electing their own superiors, originally enjoyed by all the monastic communities, had now fallen generally or rather universally into disuse, and was become a mere form—the power itself being virtually exercised by the King, who, when an abbey or priory became vacant, found little difficulty in obtaining a mandate from the Pope directing the monks to choose the individual whom he nominated or recommended. This began to grow into use about the year 1472, when the King presented to the vacant abbey s of Dunfermline and Paisley. It soon led to the more corrupt practice of granting the superiority and revenues of religious houses to bishops and secular priests, who, not having taken the monastic vows, were not duly qualified to preside in a monastery. Out of this grew the still greater abuse of committing charges of this nature to laymen and even to infants. All these things were done with the sanction of Papal authority, and the monasteries thus disposed of were said to be held in commendam or in trust until it should be found convenient to appoint a regular Superior,” &c.

HENRY CREICHTOUN was elected and consecrated Lord Abbot Dunfermline by a Pope’s Bull, through the intercession of King James III. Alexander Thomsoun, a monk of the Abbey, and elected Lord Abbot, was thus illegally extruded from office. This King-and-Pope-Abbot was the 26th Abbot of Dunfermline.

PITCONNOCHY.—The family of Halket of Pitfirrane become, by charter, proprietors of the lands of Pitconnochie, two miles west of Dunfermline. (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 294.)

1473.—BURGH RECORDS OF DUNFERMLINE.—Dr. Chalmers, in his elaborate History of Dunfermline, vol. i. p. 398, says that “The most ancient burgh records extant commence as early as 28th July, 1473. It is a large, broad folio volume, on strong paper, in a leathern envelope, to which the leaves are attached. One of the outer boards has various designs embossed on it relating to the Virgin Mary, one of which is a representation of the visit to her of the three kings from the east, one of them being in the attitude of kneeling, and presenting an offering, with the star above which guided them. The deeds consist chiefly of instruments of possession in burgh tenements or other adjoining property of the abbacy. They usually begin with the word Memorandum, written in full or contracted. The Court House or Tolbooth of the burgh is mentioned as the place of meeting, along with the name of the provost or bailie presiding. Walwood is one of the prevailing names in them, being several times mentioned in one deed of 1488. At the end of this volume there is a Burgh Roll de terra, or of annual rents payable for land, somewhat similar to a cess roll.” (Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p. 398, &c.) Between the oldest of these Records (1473 and 1687) there are five volumes, which will be noticed under their several dates. From the Burgh Record of date 1473 the Rev. Dr. Ross, of Bridge of Allan, composed a very excellent lecture in 1864, which he delivered in the Music Hall, Dunfermline, titled “Burgh Life in Dunfermline in the Olden Time.” The lecture was published the same year. We shall be indebted to it for several interesting notes. The writer had these old volumes placed before him in the Town-house of Dunfermline forth years or so ago, and then made a variety of extracts from them. From this rich mine of local history numerous selections will be found under their proper dates, throwing light on “the age and body of these times.”

1475.—THE “NEW RAW” AND THE “NETHERTOWNE” are frequently mentioned in the Burgh Records between this date and 1380.

1477.—PATRICK GRAHAM, First Archbishop of St. Andrews, a Prisoner in Dunfermline.—This the first Archbishop of St. Andrews had been accused of heresy, &c., through malice, by Scheve’s, who succeeded to the See. He was long confined in prison at Inchcolm; afterwards, for greater safety, he was taken to Dunfermline, and for some tome confined in the prison of the monastery there; from thence he was taken to Lochleven Castle, where he died of a broken heart in 1478. (Spottiswode Hist. Church Scot. p. 59; Keith’s Scottish Bishops, pp. 30, 31; Chal. Hist. Dunf. vol. ii. pp. 263, 264.)

JOHN OROK, Town Clerk of Dunfermline; David Weir, Assistant. (Dunf. Burgh Records.)

COLZAR RAW, or Collier Row, is mentioned in the Burgh Records at this period in connection with property belonging to a Henry Kyncaid.

1478.—ROBERT HENRYSON, Notary and “Schoolmaster of Dunfermling.”—This eminent man is, for the first time, mentioned this year in connection with the Abbey. He appears as one of the attesting witnesses on a charter relating to the lands of Spittlefield, near Inverkeithing, dated 19th March, 1477-78. He is styled “Robertus Henrison, Notarie.” (Vide MS. Chartul. Ad. Lib. Edin. fol. 63, 64; An. Dunf. date 1449.)

THE NETHER-YET AND COMMON VENNEL.—The Nether-yet, or Port, is mentioned in a minute in the Burgh Records, of date 22nd November, 1478, viz.:--“David Litster, ane of the balzies of the burgh of Dunfermlin receivit resignatioun fra Gilbert Robertson of the north end of a land liand at the nether yet of Dunfermling, betwixt the causay gangand doun to ye nethertoun on the west sid, and the common vennel gangand evin est to the new raw, or north part, yan incontinent the said balzie deliverit heritabil statand possession to Willie Gilbert ye sone of ye said Geilber of ye said northt halfe yeard,” &c.

COLLIER-ROW PORT.—In the Burgh Records, of date July 28th, 1478, there is a minute which refers to the resignation of a house lying “fra the yet South, and a part of the yard extending downe as far as John Pinnock’s zard, quhilk landis lies in the Colzar-raw,” &c. The zet, or yet, here referred to is the Collier-row Port, sometimes called the Mill Port, and was situated across the contracted part of the street, top of Bruce Street. This is the second-named pPort on record in the burgh. (See Annals, date 1327 and 1488.)

TOWN CLERK OF DUNFERMLINE.—David Bra was Common Clerk of the burgh this year. He is one of the witnesses whose name is affixed to the foregoing. (Vide Burgh Records, 28th July, 1478.)

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