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lands of Buchan by the chiefs, as well as the endowment of the church of the district with a revenue from the tithes of lands within it.
This church was granted before 12141 by Marjory, Countess of Buchan,2 to the monks of Arbroath.
especially full regarding the Scolocs of Ellon, the church of which place also belonged to the See of St. Andrews, and had an endowment of certain lands in the possession of Scolocs, called the scolog or scholar lands. These lands were held by them in such wise, that from them were to be provided for the parish church of Ellon four clerks, with copes and surplices, able to read and sing sufficiently.
The Scolocs of Ellon evidently occupied a very different position from their brethren of Arbuthnott. The latter could be turned out of their possessions by the Baron of Arbuthnott, the only right alleged on their behalf being that inherent in them as nativi of the Bishop of St. Andrews. The Scologs of Ellon were hereditary occupants or tenants of the scolog or scholar lands, so that, on the death of a Scolog, his heir, whether male or female, was entitled to be entered to his or her heritage, either by the bailie of the lands, without letter of inquest from the overlord, or by inquest and seisin thereupon following, after the manner and common use of the realm; while the tenure by which they held the lands was that of maintaining four clerks for the parish church of Ellon, of providing a certain number of wax candles for the "park" before the high altar, and of
finding a smithy at Ellon.-(Miscell. Sp. Club, vol. v. Appendix to the Preface, pp. 58-59.)
It may be doubted whether sufficient evidence has been adduced for holding that all the persons called Scolocs or Scologs in our early records were of the same character, or were in all cases, as has been assumed, scolastics, or the lowest members of the clerical order; but, on the contrary, were in some cases simply the husbandmen or tenants of the land. What we know of the Scolocs of Arbuthnott and Ellon seems irreconcilable with such an idea. The former were many in number, and cultivated the soil of the Kirktown under the tenants called "parsons;" while the Scologs of Ellon were hereditary occupants of certain lands which descended to sons and daughters, with the burden of maintaining from the lands four clerks for the parish church of Ellon, besides the additional burdens above specified; the title of Scholar Lands, applied to them in later times, having arisen apparently from the tenure by which the tenants were bound to maintain four clerks in the parish church of Ellon.
1 Registr. de Aberbroth, p. 6.
2 Daughter and heiress of Fergus, the mormaer or earl of Buchan.
In the year 1273, her son William Cumyn, Earl of Buchan, founded at Turriff an almshouse for a master, six chaplains, and thirteen poor husbandmen of Buchan, by a charter dated at his house of Kelly, and witnessed, among others, by King Alexander III.1
To this foundation he granted a tract of ground around the town of Turriff, which he describes as "terre ecclesiastice ville de Turreff," being probably what had formed the territory of St. Congan's monastery.
It extended from Kinermit, on the west side of the town of Turriff, towards Delgaty on the east, and one of the boundaries expressed in the charter serves to connect it with the earlier establishment. The march is said to run by the standing stone of Balmaly and Kokuki, and so from that stone to the monks' gate (et sic ab illo lapide usque ad uiam monachorum),2 an expression which seemed without meaning till the Book of Deer made us acquainted with the monks of St. Congan settled there.
The gift of the church of Turriff to the monks of Arbroath by the Countess Marjory appears to have been revoked by her, and it was included in the grant by her son to the hospital founded by him in honour of St. Congan.
In the year 1412, the church of Turriff was erected into a prebend of the cathedral of Saint Machar at Aberdeen, and the whole fruits of the benefice, in which the hospital
1 One of the witnesses was the writer of the charter, who had added to his name the soubriquet of "Pater Noster."—(Collections on the Shires of Aberdeen and
Banff, p. 470; Registrum Aberdonense, vol. i. p. 30.)
Registrum Aberdonense, vol. i. p. 31.
of St. Congan seems to have merged, were assigned to the prebendary.1
In the year 1512, King James IV. erected the ecclesiastical lands of the church of Turriff, with its town and glebe, into a burgh of barony, with the privilege of a Sunday market and two fairs, one of which was to be held (and till lately continued to be held) on the 13th of October, being the feast of St. Congan.
In the year 1588, the church-lands conferred on the hospital of St. Congan in the thirteenth century, and probably granted to St. Congan himself five centuries earlier, were alienated to Francis, Earl of Erroll, by Mr. John Philp, parson of Turriff.2
The old parish church of St. Congan was a long narrow structure, 120 feet in length by 18 feet in width, without any architectural features suggestive of its date. When the new church was erected in 1794, the earlier building was left to decay, and the eastern end, still known as "the quire," is the only part now remaining.
The erection of the quire can be satisfactorily assigned to the first part of the sixteenth century, when it was built by Mr. Alexander Lyon, Chanter of Murray, and a son of John, fourth Lord Glamis. Of this man we read in an unprinted pedigree of the house that "he was a singular scholar in these tymes, and was tutor to his brother's sones, and lyeth buried in the quire of Turreffe, which he built; of whom, being a churchman and unmarryed,
1 Illustrations of the Antiqs. of the Shires of Aberdeen and Banff, vol. ii. p. 337.
2 The charter, dated 14th May 1588,
describes the lands as the Kirk lands of Turreff, Knockiemiln, Miln of Turreff, and Mill lands.-(Erroll Writs.)
came no laufull succession. He dyed in the year of God 1541."1
In December 1861 portions of the choir were taken away, and on removing the stones from a window in the south wall, which had been built up, there appeared on the splay of one of the sides a human figure painted on the plaster in bright colours. Another similar painting was on the other splay of the window, but unfortunately it was destroyed before any drawing could be obtained.
Of the first, sketches and photographs were secured before the plaster was broken up, showing it to be the figure of a bishop fully habited—the right hand raised in benediction, with the pastoral staff in his left. The background was painted in large lozenge patterns, and an inscription in Gothic letters above-S. NJN JARUS.
There is reason to believe that there was a series of similar pictures round the church, and as the choir was erected in the first half of the sixteenth century, we might, perhaps, have inferred that fresco-painting was then in use for the decoration of parish churches in Scotland.
A curious passage, however, in the History of the Abbots of Kinloss, by Ferrerius, affords evidence that this was really the case. In describing the many beneficent works of Abbot Robert Reid, we are told that in the year 1538 he engaged a painter, Andrew Bairhum, whom he retained at Kinloss for three years, during which time this artist painted three pictures on panel for adorning the chapels of the Magdalene, of St. John the Evangelist, and St.
1 See Illustr. of Antiqs. of the Shires of Aberdeen and Banff, vol. ii. p. 388.