Glendevon Parish Church

Glendevon Church, exterior, from south

Summary description

The parish church is a small rectangular building with a later vestry and porch added on its north side. Although the only feature that now appears to be of historic significance is a seventeenth- or eighteenth-century bellcote on the west gable, it may be deemed a possibility that the shell of the church embodies parts of a medieval predecessor.

Historical outline

Dedication: unknown

The early history of the parish and church of Glendevon is entirely obscure. The lands of Glendevon were under the lordship of the earl of Strathearn in the early fourteenth century and may have been so controlled from at least the twelfth century.(1) The church itself is first mentioned in Bagimond’s Roll in 1274-5, when it was still apparently a free parsonage,(2) possibly in the gift of the earl of Strathearn, but the attachment of a quarter of its revenues to the episcopal mensa recorded in 1561/2 indicates that it had been included in the papal allocation of parish revenues for the support of the bishop in 1237.(3) In 1362, King David II confirmed a charter by his nephew, Robert Stewart, earl of Strathearn, which granted the lordship of Glendevon amongst other lands to Walter Murray of Tullibardine.(4) No reference is made in this charter to control of the patronage of the church of Glendevon, which could indicate that by the fourteenth century it was no longer in the gift of the secular lords. While it is likely that this absence of reference to the church indicates that its revenues had already been appropriated to support a prebend in the cathedral of Dunblane, it is only in 1499 that record occurs of the existence of the vicarage pensionary which served the cure and it is not until 1504 that such a prebend is named specifically in a surviving document.(5) As the 1499 designation of the incumbent vicar indicates, both the parsonage and vicarage teinds had been appropriated for the prebend and remained so annexed at the Reformation, the cure being served by a vicarage pensionary.(6)

Notes

1. See, for example, RRS, vi, no 482.

2. SHS Misc, vi, 54.

3. Kirk (ed.), Book of Assumptions, 295, 348, 349; Theiner, Vetera Monumenta, no  xci.

4. RRS, vi, no 281.

5. RSS, i, nos 401, 1057. Robert Mure and his successor, James Redheugh, were simple referred to as incumbents of the parsonage of Glendevon in July 1503 (RSS, i, no 970), but in January 1504/5 Mure and another successor, James Murray, were named as holders of the rectory and prebend (RSS, i, no 1057).

6. Cowan, Parishes, 75; Donaldson (ed.), Thirds of Benefices, 14, 15;Kirk (ed.), Book of Assumptions, 312, 337.

Architectural description

In 1794 the author of the entry in the Statistical Account described the church at Glendevon as an old one. However, the only features that can now be seen to be earlier than the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are a birdcage bellcote on the west gable, which is of a type most usually datable to the seventeenth century, and a gravestone set against the west wall that is dated 1716.

As it now stands, the church is a harled rectangular structure of 14.35 metres from east to west and 6.64 metres from north to south, with five rectangular windows along its south wall. Much of this must date from a remodelling of 1803, while the north vestry and porch are evidently of the nineteenth century, and the west window, which has three cusped lights within a segmental arch, is of 1913.

The description of a church as ‘old’ in the Statistical Acount of 1794 is insufficient by itself to support the idea that it might be of medieval origin. Nevertheless, the possibility of a medieval basis for a church of rectangular plan on a site know to have been associated with a parochial foundation since at least the early sixteenth century, cannot be dismissed. While it might be argued that the south-east to north-west axis of the building militates against a medieval origin, this alignment was probably largely conditioned by the steep fall of the ground towards the River Devon to the west. All that can thus be suggested is that, while on existing evidence there is no way to prove or disprove the possibility that the church could embody medieval fabric, this should not be ruled out. 

Bibliography

Cowan, I.B., 1967, The parishes of medieval Scotland, (Scottish Record Society), Edinburgh, 75.

Donaldson, G. 1949, Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices, (Scottish History Society), Edinburgh, 14, 15.

Dunlop, A.I., 1939, ‘Bagimond’s Roll, statement of the tenths of the kingdom of Scotland’ Miscellany of the Scottish History Society, vi, 1-77, at 54.

Gifford, J., 2007, The Buildings of Scotland, Perth and Kinross, New Haven and London, 392-3.

Hay, G., 1957, The architecture of Scottish post-Reformation churches, Oxford, 168, 269.

Kirk, J., 1995, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, (British Academy) Oxford, 295, 312, 337, 348, 349.

Regesta Regum Scottorum, Acts of David II (1329-71), 1982, Edinburgh, nos 281, 482.

Registrum Secreti Sigilli Regum Scotorum, 1908-82, ed. J.M. Thomson et al., Edinburgh, i, nos 401, 970, 1057.

Registrum Secreti Sigilli Regum Scotorum, 1908-82, ed. J.M. Thomson et al., Edinburgh, vi no 281.

Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-9, ed. J. Sinclair, Edinburgh, x (1794), 232.

Vetera Monumenta Hibernorum et Scotorum Illustrantia, 1864, ed. A Theiner, Rome, no xci.

Map

Images

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  • 1. Glendevon Church, exterior, from south

  • 2. Glendevon Churchyard, monument

  • 3. Glendevon Churchyard, gravestone against west wall

  • 4. Glendevon Church, interior, looking west

  • 5. Glendevon Church, exterior, west wall