Barry / Fethmures Parish Church

Barry, remains of church, 1

Summary description

Rebuilt in 1800 and augmented by an aisle in 1818; abandoned in 1952 and reduced to its lower courses.

Historical outline

Dedication: St Stephen and St Marnock

With its dedication to St Stephen and St Marnock(1), the church of Barry or Fethmures was granted by King William to Arbroath Abbey between 1183 and 1189.(2)  In 1198x1202, Roger de Beaumont, bishop of St Andrews, confirmed the grant of Barry to Arbroath in a general confirmation of the churches in his diocese held by the abbey.(3)  Possibly as early as 1202x1204, Bishop William Malveisin confirmed the church to Arbroath in proprios usus, the grant being confirmed by Prior Henry and the chapter of St Andrews.(4)  Shortly afterwards, a vicarage settlement was agreed,(5) establishing a vicarage pensionary.

Before 1218 King Alexander II confirmed possession of Barry to the monks of Arbroath in a general confirmation of their lands and rights.(6)  Around a decade later, however, he gave the lands of Barry/Fethmures to his mother’s foundation at Balmerino as part of its founding endowment.(7)  Around 1230, Balmerino’s interest in Barry was extended when King Alexander and Bishop William Malveisin arranged for the lease of the church to the new abbey in return for an annual payment to Arbroath of 40 merks.(8

Barry remained a property of Arbroath and c.1233 was included in a confirmation by the bishop of St Andrews of all of the churches held by Arbroath in his diocese. Similarly, it was with Arbroath that a new vicarage settlement was agreed in 1249 by the bishop; both parsonage and vicarage remained with the abbey, while the vicar pensioner was to receive 5 merks annually and would hold the land of the church of Barry.(9

This settlement held for over a century, but in 1352 a suit was brought before the bishop of St Andrews between Arbroath and the vicars of Inverlunan, St Vigean, Barry, Arbirlot, Monifieth, Murroes, Newtyle, Glamis and Kirriemuir. The vicars asserted that portions assigned to them were insufficient and the bishop made an ordinance on the matter, which the pope was asked to confirm.(10)  Exact details of the new settlement are lacking from the record of proceedings.

In 1235, Alexander II secured Balmerino’s freedom from the 40 merk annual payment through the grant to Arbroath of land at Tarves in Aberdeenshire.   Despite this new arrangement, however, as nominal appropriator Arbroath remained responsible for the repairs of the church and payment of all financial burdens due to the bishops of St Andrews.(11)  The settlement must initially have been regarded as satisfactory by Arbroath as it was only in 1461 that they complained of the imposition that this arrangement involved and demanded that Balmerino should shoulder the expenses.(12)  No outcome is recorded and in 1463 the abbey appears to have been continuing to meet obligations towards the parish that included the presentation of the vicar pensioner.(13

The following year, however, agreement was reached between Arbroath and Balmerino over Barry, through the arbitration of Patrick, bishop of Brechin, and David Lindsay, earl of Crawford.  By this new settlemenht, Arbroath was to continue to pay episcopal and archidiaconal fees, and also meet the costs of finding, presenting and paying the vicar pensioner, but Balmerino would thenceforth pay for the maintenance of the choir of the church.(14)  This agreement remained in force at the Reformation, where the parsonage and vicarage were held by Balmerino but the vicarage pensionary, valued at £4, was attached to Arbroath.(15)

Notes

1. J M Mackinley, Ancient Church Dedications in Scotland. Scriptural Dedications (Edinburgh, 1910), 299-300

2. Regesta Regum Scottorum, ii, Acts of William I, ed G W S Barrow (Edinburgh, 1971), no.284.  Barrow suggested a date of April 1189 as most likely.

3. Liber S Thome de Aberbrothoc, i (Bannatyne Club, 1848), no.147 [hereafter Arbroath Liber, i].

4. Arbroath Liber, i, nos 156, 165, 166.

5. Arbroath Liber, i, no.167.

6. Arbroath Liber, i, no.100.

7. Liber Sancte Marie de Balmerinoch (Abbotsford Club, 1841), nos 1, 9 [hereafter Balmerino Liber].

8. Arbroath Liber, i, nos 258, 259.

9. Arbroath Liber, i, nos 172, 236.

10. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland; Papal Petitions, ed W H Bliss (London, 1896), 235.

11. Arbroath Liber, i, no.102; Balmerino Liber, nos 70, 71.

12. Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, v, 1447-1471, eds J Kirk, R J Tanner and A I Dunlop (Glasgow, 1997), no.869.

13. Liber S Thome de Aberbrothoc, ii (Bannatyne Club, 1856), no.147 [hereafter Arbroath Liber, ii].

14. Arbroath Liber, ii, no.152.

15. J Kirk (ed), The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefices (Oxford, 1995), 58, 360-361.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’ s Parishes: Church granted to abbey of Arbroath by William I. Abbey leased church to Balmerino for annual payment of 40 marks. Payment relieved by grant of land at Tarves in 1235 (by Alexander II); Arbroath still responsible for repairs and episcopal dues, leading to protest in 1461. 1464 agreement reached between the abbeys - Arbroath still responsible for presentation and payment of vicar pensioner while Balmerino enjoyed parsonage and vicarage fruits.(1)

According to Mackinley the church was dedicated to Saints Stephen and Marnock/Merinach.(2)

1183x89 Church granted to Arbroath by William I with chapels, lands, all teinds, oblations, easements and liberties. 1213 church in included in confirmation by William I of the possessions of Arbroath.(3)

1198 Church included in a confirmation by Roger, bishop of St Andrews, of the churches held by Arbroath in the diocese of St Andrews.(4)

1200 Church included in papal bull by Innocent III confirming possessions of Arbroath.(5)

1202x04 Possession of church by Arbroath confirmed  by William, bishop of St Andrews in two charters, the first specifically related to the church, the second including all the churches held by Arbroath in the diocese of St Andrews.(6)

1204x11 Church included in confirmation by Henry, prior of St Andrews of all the churches held by Arbroath in the diocese of St Andrews.(7)

1214x18 Church included in confirmation by Alexander II of all the lands and churches belonging to Arbroath.(8)

c.1230 Church leased (vicarage and parsonage) to Balmerino for an annual fee of 40 marks at request of Alexander II and William, bishop of St Andrews.(9)

c.1233 Church included in a confirmation by David de Bernham, bishop of St Andrews of all the churches held by Arbroath in the diocese of St Andrews. 1249 vicarage settlement by the bishop, parsonage and vicarage with abbey; vicar pensioner to receive 5 marks per annum and hold the land of the church of Barry.(10)

1352 Suit brought before the bishop of St Andrews between abbey of Arbroath and the vicars of Inverlunan, St Vigean, Barry, Arbirlot, Monifieth, Muirhouse, Newtyle, Glamis and Kirriemuir. ‘The vicars asserted that they had insufficient portions, whereupon the bishop made an ordinance, which the Pope is asked to confirm’.(11)

1461 Complaint by Malcolm, abbot of Arbroath that expense of parish church of Barry (dues, repairs etc) should be met by Balmerino. [outcome not recorded].(12)

1463 Alexander Thornton presented as vicar pensionary, vacant by death of Michael Monypenny.(13)

1464 Agreement between Arbroath and Balmerino about Barry, overseen by Patrick, bishop of Brechin and David Lindsay, earl of Crawford. Arbroath to continue to pay bishop and archdeacon fees and vicar pensioner; Balmerino to sustain the choir.(14)

1466 (29 Sept) John Forsyth, vicar of Barry witnesses a charter in St Andrews.(15)

1485 John Dundee mentioned as perpetual vicar of Barry.(16)

1489 Robert Colisoun (vicar of Rhynd) obtains the vicarage pensionary through exchange with John of Dundee.(17)

1533 Walter Nawthy presented to vicarage on resignation of John Nawthy.(18)

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: Payment by Arbroath of £4 for the vicar of Barry. Balmerino has vicarge and parsonage, value £266 14s 8d. Figure includes rental from entire barony of Barry which includes the church.(19)

Account of Collectors of Thirds of Benefices (G. Donaldson): Third of vicar pensionary, £1 6s 8d.(20)

1611 (10 April) John Gardine, minister, removed from the church after accused and found guilty of fornication with Eslpat Balfour, widow. Gardine denies the charge, moderator to remove him if found guilty.(21)

1665 (1 June) Report to the Presbytery of Arbroath that the parishioners of the church have paid 100 marks to the minister to make his manse habitable.(22)

1720 (19 May) Visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Arbroath, at the request of the minister Alexander Archibald finds the church, church yard dykes and the manse to be ruinous. Alex Brown, mason, Peter Skirling, wright, Peter Stephen, slater, estimate that c.£700 are required for mending the manse and church offices. For slates, lime, nails and slate pins and workmanship on the church of Barry, they estimate £109 + £30 for top boards.(23)

Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev David Sim, 1791): ‘The kirk is an old and sorry building’.(24)

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev James Lumsden, 1843):‘The refusal of the heritors to enlarge the church 7 or 8 years ago induced many of the local people to withhold their weekly contributions’.(25) [no other references to fabric of church, new one built in Carnoustie in 1837].

Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches: (George Hay, 1806): 1800; enlarged 1818, refurnished.(26)

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland, 14

2. Mackinley, Scriptural Dedications, pp. 299-300.

3. RRS, ii, nos. 284 & 513, Liber Aberbrothoc, i, nos. 1 & 21. In all these charters and those below called Fothmures/Fethmures rather than Barry.

4. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, no.147.

5. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, no. 221.

6. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, nos. 156 & 165.

7. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, no. 166

8. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, no. 100.

9. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, no. 258.

10. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, nos  172 & 236.

11. CPP, 235.

12. CSSR, v, no.869.

13. Liber Aberbrothoc, ii, no. 147.

14. Liber Aberbrothoc, ii, no. 152.

15. StAUL, Burgh Charters and Miscellaneous Writs, B65/23/43c.

16. CPL, xv, no.39.

17. Liber Aberbrothoc, ii, no. 323.

18. Liber Aberbrothoc, ii, no. 783.

19. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 58 &360-61.

20. Donaldson, Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices, 11.

21. Selections  from the minutes of the Synod of Fife, pp. 13-14.

22. NRS Presbytery of Arbroath, Minutes, 1659-1689, CH2/15/1, fol. 70.

23. NRS Presbytery of Arbroath, Minutes, 1712-1721, CH2/15/3, fols. 253-57.

24. Statistical Account of Scotland, (1791), iv, 240.

25. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1843), xi, 662.

26. Hay, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches, p.245.

Bibliography

National Records of Scotland, Presbytery of Arbroath, Minutes, 1659-1689, CH2/15/1.

National Records of Scotland, Presbytery of Arbroath, Minutes, 1712-1721, CH2/15/3.

St Andrews University Library, Burgh Charters and Miscellaneous Writs, B65/23/43c.

Calendar of entries in the Papal registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland; Papal Petitions, 1893-, ed. W.H. Bliss, London.

Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome 1447-71, 1997, ed. J. Kirk, R.J. Tanner and A.I. Dunlop, Edinburgh,

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

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

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

Hay, G., 1957, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches, 1560-1843, Oxford.

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

Liber S Thome de Aberbrothoc, 1848-56, ed. C. Innes and P. Chalmers, (Bannatyne Club) Edinburgh, i.

Mackinley, J.M, 1910, Ancient Church Dedications in Scotland. Scriptural Dedications, Edinburgh.

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

Regesta Regum Scottorum, Acts of William I (1165-1214), 1971, Edinburgh.

Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-9, ed. J. Sinclair, Edinburgh.

Architectural description

The church was granted to Arbroath Abbey by the founder of that abbey, William I, at a date between 1178 and 1189. However, in about 1227 it was instead granted to Balmerino Abbey by Alexander II. After some dispute, in 1230 Arbroath granted a lease of the parish to Balmerino, which itself caused some difficulties, and in 1464 it was agreed that Arbroath should pay for a pensionary vicar.(1) On 18 August 1243 Bishop David de Bernham carried out one of his many dedications.(2)

On 19 may 1720 a visitation by presbytery found the church to be in a ruinous condition. Works costed at £139 were itemised by the mason Alex Brown, the wright Peter Skirling, and the slater Peter Stephen,(3) though it is not known if those works were carried out.

Proper maintenance of the fabric was evidently an ongoing problem, and in the 1790s it was said that the church was ‘an old and sorry building’.(4) It appears to have been largely rebuilt in 1800 and augmented to a T-plan in 1818,(5) but in the New Statistical Account it was said that the refusal of the heritors to enlarge the church had resulted in many parishioners refusing to pay their weekly contribution.(6)

The church was abandoned in 1952,(7) and has since been reduced to its lower walls. From what remains it can be seen to have had a rectangular main body with a lateral aisle projecting from the centre of its north face and small projections, which were presumably porches, at the centre of the east and west gable walls. Although there are no visible medieval features, the approximate orientation, together with the dimensions of 18.93 by 8.04 metres might suggest that the rectangular core, which presumably dates from the rebuilding of 1800, was raised on the footprint of its medieval predecessor.

The church now in use for worship was built as a Free Church in 1888 by James Maclaren.(8)

Notes

1. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society), 1967, pp. 14-15.

2. Alan Orr Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History, Edinburgh, 1922, vol. 2, p. 524.

3. National Records of Scotland, Presbytery of Arbroath, Minutes, 1712-21, CH2/15/3, fols 253-57.

4. Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-9, vol. 4, p. 240.

5. A.J. Warden, Angus or Forfarshire: the Land and People, Descriptive and Historical, 5 vols, Dundee, 1880-5, vol. 2, p. 399; John Gifford, The Buildings of Scotland, Dundee and Angus, New Haven and London, 2012, p. 351.

6. New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, vol. 9, p. 662.

7. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Canmore online resource.

8. John Gifford, The Buildings of Scotland, Dundee and Angus, New Haven and London, 2012, p. 350

Map

Images

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  • 1. Barry, remains of church, 1

  • 2. Barry, remains of church, 2

  • 3. Barry churchyard, gravestone

  • 4. Barry, later church