Auchterderran / Hurkyndorath Parish Church

Auchterderran Church, exterior, from north west

Summary description

The probable site of the medieval church is indicated by the location of an abandoned Mausoleum, and by the north aisle of the present church, which itself dates largely from 1789 and 1890-1.

Historical outline

Dedication: unknown

A church existed here in the second half of the eleventh century when the church of ‘Hurkyndorath’ was granted to the Celi De of Loch Leven by Fothad, bishop of St Andrews (1059 x 1093).(1)  It does not, however, appear to have passed into the possession of the Augustinian priory of St Andrews in the twelfth century when the monastery of Loch Leven was annexed to it, for it was a free parsonage in the fifteenth century.  The church has left few traces in the medieval record, occurring next only in 1243, when its dedication by Bishop David de Bernham on 27 September was recorded.(2)

It was as a free parsonage that the church appears in 1400, when its rector John Meldrum was a charter witness.(3)  A declaration by James Kennedy, bishop of St Andrews, was issued on 7 August 1444 in favour of David Boswell of Craigencat, arising from a dispute between the latter and Robert Livingston of Drumry, over the right of patronage to the church, which was then vacant by the death of the last rector, one sir Andrew Livingston.(4)

As the name of the late rector suggests, the Livingstons had some established family interest in the church and were not prepared simply to yield their perceived rights.  The result was protracted litigation over the patronage of Auchterderran which lasted well into the sixteenth century.(5)  Auchterderran remained a free parsonage at the Reformation, when it was valued at £120.(6)

Notes

1. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree in Scotia (Bannatyne Club, 1841), 117 [hereafter St Andrews Liber].

2. A O Anderson (ed), Early Sources of Scottish History, ii (London, 1922), 525 [Pontifical Offices of St Andrews].

3. St Andrews Liber, 10.

4. NRS Boswell of Balmuto Papers, GD66/1/2.

5. I B Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society, 1967), 10.

6. J Kirk (ed), The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefices (Oxford, 1995), 72.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes: Granted to the Culdees of Loch Leven 1059x83, but does not appear to have passed with them to priory of St Andrews. 15th century patronage in dispute between Livingstones of Drumry and Boswells of Balmult (Boswells win).(1)

No reference to dedication in Place Names of Fife or in Mackinlay.(2)

1400 John de Meldrum, rector of Auchterderran witness to a charter by William de Berkley.(3)

1444 (7 Aug) Declaration by James Kennedy, bishop of St Andrews in favour of David de Boswell of Craigencat, in the dispute between the latter and Robert de Livingston of Drumry, knight, concerning the right of patronage in the parish church of Owchterdera [Auchterderran], made vacant by the death of the last rector, Sir Andrew de Livingston. Witnesses:- Walter Stewart, rector of the university of St Andrews, John Shaw and John de Beaton, doctors of law, Hugh Kennedy, provost of the collegiate church of our Lady [the chapel royal] at St Andrews, John Legati, archdeacon of St Andrews, and John de Methven, provost of the collegiate church of Lincluden.(3)

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: The parish church parsonage valued at £120 [no reference to vicarage etc].(5)

1630 (15 Apr) Record of the stipends of ministers in the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy; the minister gets 70 marks pa and some produce.(6)

1630 (26 Aug) A visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy orders the reordering of the interior of the church. The stool of repentance ordered to be moved from the body of the kirk to the wall upon the north side to be affixed to the middle of the forepart of the last apse. Also ordain that the seat that now stands under it (stool of repentance) with the seat that stands next to the kirk door upon the south side both to be removed and placed in the end of the kirk  the forepart of the apse. The laird of Balmowbo asks for a seat bearing in mind he is a heritor and patron of the church. The kirk session also told to remove the laird of Cardens seat…near the kirk door so that the east part of the window that is nearest to the kirk door within the south side and the gabill of it to be set on the south wall.(7)

1636 (21 July) Visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy approves the minister (John Chalmers), ordains that a school is required in the parish, the brethren think that £80 pa would suffice.(8)

1640 (23 Apr) Visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy finds the two ministers to be competent. The minister complains that the kirk yard dykes have yet to be built (parishioners/heritors to sort it out).(9)

1665 (24 Sept) James Hogge, wright, given a contract for repairing the church yard dykes.(10)

1666 (2 Dec) John Baxter, mason paid £3 2s for cutting out and setting a ‘herologe’ on the west gabell of the church.(11)

1687 (Oct) Dr James Weems (rector of SA) and several others appointed to visit the church of Auchterderran.(12) (no records, kirk session missing for this point)

Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev Andrew Murray, 1791): ‘A new manse was built in 1784, and a new church in 1789’.(13)

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev Andrew Murray, 1791) [different from above]: Nothing to add to above account, neither makes reference to church buildings earlier than 1789.

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland, 10.

2. Taylor & Markus, The Place-Names of Fife. Volume One. pp. 90-93.

3. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, p. 10.

4. NRS Boswell of Balmuto Papers, GD66/1/2.

5. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 72.

6. NRS Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, Minutes, 1630-1653, CH2/224/1, fol. 8.

7. NRS Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, Minutes, 1630-1653, CH2/224/1, fols. 25-26.

8. NRS Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, Minutes, 1630-1653, CH2/224/1, fols. 178-179.

9. NRS Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, Minutes, 1630-1653, CH2/224/1, fols.304-305.

10. NRS Auchterderran Kirk Session, 1663-1736, CH2/21/1, fol. 20.

11. NRS Auchterderran Kirk Session, 1663-1736, CH2/21/1, fol. 28.

12. Selections  from the minutes of the Synod of Fife, p. 198.

13. Statistical Account of Scotland, (1791), i, 459.

Bibliography

National Records of Scotland, Boswell of Balmuto Papers, GD66/1/2.

National Records of Scotland, Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, Minutes, 1630-1653, CH2/224/1.

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

Ecclesiastical Records. Selections  from the minutes of the Synod of Fife, 1611-87, 1837, ed. C. Baxter (Abbotsford Club), Edinburgh.

Kirk, J., 1995, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, (British Academy) Oxford.

Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree in Scotia, 1841, ed. T. Thomson (Bannatyne Club), Edinburgh.

New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, Edinburgh and London.

Taylor, S and Markus G., 2006, The Place-Names of Fife. vol. 1. West Fife between Leven and Forth, Donington.

Architectural description

The church at Auchterderran, referred to as Hurkyndorath, was the subject of a very early grant, when it was given to the Culdees of Loch Leven by Bishop Fothad at a date between 1059 and 1093. For some reason it does not appear to have passed to St Andrews Cathedral Priory along with the other possessions of Loch Leven, and in the later middle ages its patronage was in dispute between the Livingstones of Drumry and the Boswells of Balmutto.(1) Bishop David de Bernham carried out one of his dedications here on 27 September 1243.(2)

Little is known about the structure of the medieval church. After the Reformation there are references to internal re-ordering in 1630 which involved relocation of the stool of repentance and the seat of the laird of Carden amongst other works.(3) This may have been associated with a larger building campaign, since a two-light window in the north gable of the present building’s north aisle, which has a circlet at its head and is set below a horizontal cornice, could also be of around this date. That north aisle is now the sanctuary of the church.

A short distance to the east of the present church is the rectangular rubble-built Kininmonth Aisle, which has dimensions of 6.24 by 7.1 metres. The existence of raised margins at its northern corners, which were clearly intended to be exposed, combined with the evidence of rebuilding at its southern corners, suggest that it projected from the north side of the church as it then existed. In the west face of the aisle is a handsome pedimented door, with the Kininmonth arms set within a strapwork cartouche. The cornice is dated 1676.

Although there could be no certainty of this on present evidence, it thus appears that there may have been a laterally projecting north aisle abutting both the part of the building that had been the medieval nave and the part that had been the chancel. On this basis the Kininmonth Aisle may have been attached to the chancel, and the other north aisle attached to the nave.

However, the church was largely rebuilt in 1789,(4) a process that appears to have involved the abandonment of the site of the chancel, and the creation of a more compressed T-plan church on the site of the western part of the nave, and incorporating its north aisle.

The church was extended towards the south and internally re-ordered by William Constable in 1890-91,(5) and it may be presumed that the present west front is also of this date.

Notes

1. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society), 1967, p. 10.

2. Alan Orr Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History, Edinburgh, 1922, p. 525.

3. National Records of Scotland, Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, Minutes, 1630-53, CH2/224/1, fols 25-26.

4. Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-99, vol. 1, p. 459.

5. John Gifford, The Buildings of Scotland, Fife, London, 1988, pp. 75-76.   

Map

Images

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  • 1. Auchterderran Church, exterior, from north west

  • 2. Auchterderran Church, exterior, north aisle

  • 3. Auchterderran Church, Kinninmonth Aisle, west door

  • 4. Auchterderran Church, Kinninmonth Aisle, west door gable

  • 5. Auchterderran Church, Kinninmonth Aisle, east wall

  • 6. Auchterderran Church, Kinninmonth Aisle, west wall