Dalkeith Collegiate Church

Dalkeith Collegiate Church, exterior, north flank

Summary description

A complex church, with the early sixteenth-century east bays, apse and sacristy of a collegiate foundation of around 1406 surviving as a roofless shell, within which are effigies of an earl and countess of Morton. The aisled nave and transeptal chapels appear to be of 1851-54, but are still largely medieval, but the tower is now essentially of the nineteenth-century.

Historical outline

Dedication: Our Lady, St Nicholas and All Saints

The parish church of Dalekith originated as a dependent chapel of the large parish of Lasswade.  Its progressive rise in importance until eventual attainment of independent parochial status was founded largely on its role as the local focus for the devotions of the increasingly wealthy and powerful family of Douglas of Dalkeith.  The first surviving reference to the chapel as a devotional focus and an object of patronage dates from 1369 when Sir James Douglas founded and endowed a chaplainry in the chapel of St Nicholas of Dalkeith.(1)  This grant was ratified in October 1378 by King Robert II, confirming the allocation for the support of the chaplain and the provision of ornaments for the chapel of rents from land in Peeblesshire.(2)

Major expansion of this establishment was confirmed in a charter of 21 June 1406 whereby James Douglas, lord of Dalkeith, founded six perpetual chaplainries ‘in honour of God, Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St Nicholas bishop and confessor, and All Saints’, in the chapel of St Nicholas.(3)  One chaplain, James Walterson (Walteri), canon of Glasgow, is known through an indult of 10 September 1406, whereby Pope Benedict XIII of Avignon permitted him to hold the rectory of Magna Cavers and the vicarage of Innerleithen in Glasgow diocese along with the chaplainry of St Nicholas of Dalkeith.(4)  A possible second chaplain, James of Fa’side, is recorded in 1411, when he was dispensed by Pope Benedict to hold a third benefice alongside the rectory of Gogar and perpetual chaplainry in the ‘parish’ church of Dalkeith.(5)  This labelling of the Dalkeith as a church of parochial status, however, appears to be a scribal error, for it was only in the 1460s that efforts began to be made to secure the elevation of the chapel into an indepemdent parish church.

On 17 December 1468 the pope confirmed the process instituted by Patrick Graham, bishop of St Andrews, whereby the chapel had been elevated into an independent church.  According to the petition, the bishop had recognised the inconvenience to the inhabitants of the castle and town of Dalkeith, and of Lepark, Cowden and other neighbouring touns, to have to travel to the parish church of Lasswade.  Furthermore, he claimed that the perpetual vicar of Lasswade had sufficient income to sustain two vicars.  So, with consent of the chapter of St Andrews, he had separated it into two vicarages for two vicars, the division to take effect from the death or resignation of the present vicar.  He ordained that one vicar should celebrate at Lasswade and minister the cure of souls of the parishioners, an arrangement which suggests that Dalkeith’s ‘parish’ was limited to the immediate properties of the Douglas lords around the castle.  This seems to be emphasised by the stipulation that the other vicar would serve in what was described as ‘the collegiate church of St Nicholas, in the place of the said castle’.  He would perform parish services at the altar of St Mary in that church.(6)

The parsonage of Lasswade having already been appropriated, the parsonage of Dalkeith was from its inception likewise annexed (see discussion under Lasswade), ultimately ending in the late 1480s annexed to the provostry of the collegiate church of Restalrig.  It remained so annexed at the Reformation, when it was leased at a rental value of £93 6s 8d.(7)  The vicarage of Dalkeith was valued at the Reformation at 50 merks.(8)

James Douglas, earl of Morton, had ambitions for his new collegiate church and in 1475 petitioned successfully for the annexation to it of the fruits of three parish churches of which he was the patron, Kilbucho and Newlands in Glasgow diocese and Mordington in St Andrews diocese, the annexation of Mordington being effected in 1477.(9)  Prebends were to be established funded from the annexed revenues.

A number of altars and chaplainries are recorded in the collegiate church.  Other than the dedicatory St Nicholas, the oldest reference to an additional endowed altar records an altar and chaplanry of St Peter, founded and endowed by Henry Douglas of Logton, which is mentioned in 1459.(10)  Beyond its explicit mention as the parochial altar in 1468, the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary appears to be otherwise unrecorded. The aisle of St John was mentioned in 1481.(11)  In 1503/4 one of the prebendaries, Alexander Gifford, rector of Newlands, secured confirmation at mortmain under the Great Seal of his endowment of two chaplains ‘in the nave or ambulatory’ of Dalekith, one at the altar of the Crucifix in solio, the other at the altar of St John the Baptist in the south aisle.(12)  A subsequent reference to St John’s altar confirms its location on the south side of the church.(13)  There appear to be no subsequent references to the altar of the Crucifix in solio.  The altar of the Holy Rood or Cross, however, appears regularly in the period from 1509 down to the Reformation.(14)  Its final pre-Reformation appearance was in March 1560 when James, earl of Morton, Lord of Dalkeith and Aberdour, descrined as ‘patron of the Rude Altar within the collegiate church of Dalkeith’, granted the altarage or chaplainry to Mr John Douglas, rector of Kirkbride.(15)

Notes

1. Regesta Regum Scottorum, vi, The Acts of David II, ed B Webster (Edinburgh, 1976), 435.

2. Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum, i, 1306-1424, ed J M Thomson (Edinburgh, 1882), no.668.

3. Charters of the Hospital of Soltre, of Trinity College, Edinburgh, and Other Collegiate Churches in Midlothian (Bannatyne Club, 1861), Dalkeith, no.10 [hereafter Midlothian Charters].

4. Calendar of Papal Letters to Scotland of Pope Benedict XIII of Avignon 1394-1419, ed F McGurk (Scottish History Society, 1976), 154 [hereafter CPL, Benedict XIII].

5. CPL, Benedict XIII, 234-5.

6. Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, v, 1447-1471, eds J Kirk, R J Tanner and A I Dunlop (Glasgow, 1997), no.1329

7. J Kirk (ed), The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefice (Oxford, 1995), 141-142.

8. Kirk (ed), Books of Assumption, 110.

9. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Papal Letters, xiii, @@, 467-68; Registrum Honoris de Morton (Bannatyne Club, 1853), vol ii, no.230.

10. Midlothian Charters, 314.

11. NRS, Miscellaneous Executry and Testamentary papers, RH9/8/1.

12. Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum, ii, 1424-1513, ed J B Paul (Edinburgh, 1882), no.2789.

13. NRS Papers of the Montague-Douglas-Scott Family, Dukes of Buccleuch, GD224/315/9.

14. Protocol Book of John Foular, 1503-1513, ed W McLeod (Scottish Record Society, 1940), no. 564; Protocol Book of John Foular, 1514-28, ed M Wood (Scottish Record Society, 1944), iii, no. 117; Protocol Book of John Foular, 1528-34, ed J Durkan (Scottish Record Society, 1985), no. 344.

15. NRS GD86/185.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes:  Origin as a chapel of Lasswade, parochial status, by which time the church is collegiate in 1467. Parsonage teinds stayed with Lasswade who were deans of the college of Restalrig from 1487.(1)

1369 Chaplaincy in the then chapel of St Nicholas in Dalkeith founded by James Douglas of Dalkeith (Regesta Regum Scottorum vi, 435.)

1406 and 1408 Described as chaplaincy of St Nicholas, Dalkeith (held by James Walters (MA).(2)

1411 James de Fawside is rector of Gogar and a perpetual chaplain in the parish church of Dalkeith.(3)

1444 Perpetual chaplaincy in church held by John de Douglas.(4)

1468 Confirmation of recent decision by Patrick, bishop of St Andrews, who taking though that it is very difficult and burdensome for the inhabitants of the castle of Dalkeith and town of Dalkeith to go to Lasswade…therefore separated into two vicarages, new one centred on the collegiate church of St Nicholas with the parochial altar dedicated to Our Lady.(5)

1475 Petition by James Douglas, earl of Morton, for Dalkeith college to be augmented by the fruits of three parish churches in his patronage, Newlands and Kilbinchin in Glasgow diocese, and Mordington in St Andrews.(6)

1477 Church of Mordington annexed to Dalkeith on its foundation as a college by James Douglas, earl of Morton; rents and fruits of the church specified with a perpetual vicarage erected.(7)

1557 M.. Douglas, chaplain of the chaplainry of [illegible] in college of St Nicholas in Dalkeith.(8)

Altars and chaplainries in Dalkeith

Our Lady

1468 Confirmation of recent decision by Patrick, bishop of St Andrews, who taking though that it is very difficult and burdensome for the inhabitants of the castle of Dalkeith and town of Dalkeith to go to Lasswade…therefore separated into two vicarages, new one centred on the collegiate church of St Nicholas with the parochial altar dedicated to Our Lady.(9)

Holy Rood

1509-1522 David Stevenson chaplain of the altar of the Holy Rood in Dalkeith.(10)

1560 (20 March) Grant by James, Earl of Mortoun, Lord of Dalkeith and Abirdour, patron of the Rude Altar situated within the Collegiate Church of Dalkeith, granting to Mr. John Douglas, rector of Kirkbryd, the altarage or chaplainry of the foresaid altar, with the lands, annualrents, profits and other rights pertaining thereto, whenever the same should happen to be vacant by the resignation, demission or decease of Sir Ninian Douglas, vicar of Stobbo, possessor thereof: To be held by the grantee during his life as freely, quietly, fully and honourably as the said Sir Ninian or any of his predecessors possessed the same.(11)

St John the Baptist

1481 Reference to St John’s aisle in College of Dalkeith.(12)

1518 (26 Feb) Mr George Gifford of Sherifhall, patron of chaplainry thereof at altar of St John the Baptist in collegiate church of Dalkeith, on south part thereof, resigned said chaplainry in favour of James, earl of Mortoun, whereupon sir John Crechtoun, vicar of college church of Dalkeith, on behalf of said earl, asked instruments.(13)

St Peter

1459 Chaplaincy at the altar of St Peter founded by Henry Douglas of Logton, mentioned in the foundation charter of the college of Dalkeith.(14)

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: The Parish church parsonage with deanery of Restalrig, set along with Sanderigis for £93 6s 8d. Vicarage valued at £33 6s 8d (50 marks), held by David Andrew.(15)

#1590 Ferguson suggests that the apse was separated from the rest of the church by the building of a partition wall. The building of the ‘East Gavell’ achieved a sealing off the apse.(16)

1591 (9 Dec) Visitation of the church of Dalkeith by the Presbytery of Dalkeith, notes that as to the repairing of the kirk they are (the kirk session) willing to support the minister (they ask the presbytery to speak on their behalf to the lord so he may fund the work [earl of Morton?].(17)

1619 (3 June) Visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Dalkeith mentions that the school is in the church yard, suggest movement to a more commodious site (lord of Morton to be consulted).(18)

1641 (July) Alex Marche, glass wright, paid 16 marks for the kings part in repairing of glass windows of the kirk.(19)

1642 (Feb) Slater paid £3 for mending a rent in the roof of the church.(20)

1654 (4 July) Noted that part of the kirk yard dykes are ruinous, heritors to pay for repairs.(21)

1659 (2 Oct) That day the session taking into consideration the hindrance of the people in hearing the world because of the west flank of the north aisle of the kirk being faulty that the rain comes in and falls on the congregation.(22)

#1660 Ferguson suggests that this is the probable date of the erection of the octagonal steeple (notes that some records suggest that it was built in 1762).(23)

1661 (15 Aug) Visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Dalkeith, notes that it is considered necessary that both the church, the steeple, the bells, and the pulpit be helped and the great windows in the kirk also be taken down for giving more light to the church. The heritors ordained to sort it out.(24)

1675 (19 May) Visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Dalkeith, anent the church, that part which belongs to the earl of Buccleuch is faulty and necessary for reparation, the part that was the vestry was made into a prison. £900 Scots to be taken from the kirk box for the repair of the church.(25)

1723 (18 Oct) Visitation by the Presbytery of Dalkeith includes a report by various tradesmen on the repairs to the kirk, manse and school house. This includes repairs to the roof of the steeple (£112), slating the church (£188) and repairs to the west side of the roof of the ‘Duthies isle’, and on the windows of the kirk £60.(26)

Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev William Scott, 1791):‘The church, though old, is in good repair’.(27)

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev Norman Macleod, 1844): ‘The principal object in the parish … is the ancient choir attached to the parish church. It is 44 feet long by 27 feet wide. It contains…the statues off the Earl of Morton and his lady reclining on a pedestal. It has long been unroofed’.(28)

‘An elegant church of the early gothic style was built in 1840’(29) [by Duke of Buccluech] [not used due to internal division in Church of Scotland]

‘The parish church… is an old gothic building dedicated to St Nicholas and seems to have undergone frequent alterations. It is 78 feet by 53 wide, it is divided by 2 rows of pillars connected to gothic arches supporting the roof. The height of the centre of the church is 35 feet, and on the side divisions 24. The height of the steeple is 35 feet’.(30)

Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches: (George Hay): 1840; William Burn, architect; original pulpit.(31)

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland, 44.

2. CPL, Ben, 151-52, 154, CPP, 636.

3. CPL, Ben, 235.

4. CSSR, iv, no.1056.

5. CSSR, v, no.1329.

6. CPL, xiii, 467-68.

7. Registrum de Morton, ii, no. 230

8. RS Prot Bk of Thomas Stevin, 1548-1565, B30/1/5, fol. 189r.

9. CSSR, v, no.1329.

10. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, no. 564, Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28, iii, no. 117, still there in 1531, Prot Bk of John Foular, 1528-34, no. 344.

11. NRS Sir William Fraser Charters, GD86/185.

12. NRS, Miscellaneous Executry and Testamentary papers, RH9/8/1.

13. NRS Papers of the Montague-Douglas-Scott Family, Dukes of Buccleuch, GD224/315/9.

14. Midlothian charters, p. 314.

15. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 110, 115 & 141-2.

16. Ferguson, Church of St Nicholas, p. 20.

17. NRS Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1582-1630, CH2/424/1, fols. 261r-v.

NRS Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1582-1630, CH2/424/1, fol. 463r.

19. NRS Dalkeith Kirk Session, 1641-53, CH2/84/1, fol. 1.

20. NRS Dalkeith Kirk Session, 1641-53, CH2/84/1, fol. 5.

21. NRS Dalkeith Kirk Session, 1653-1669, CH2/84/2, fol. 10.

22. NRS Dalkeith Kirk Session, 1659-1680, CH2/84/3, fol. 2.

23. Ferguson, Church of St Nicholas, p. 22.

24. NRS Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1652-1662, CH2/424/4, fols. 446-447.

25. NRS Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1673-1688, CH2/424/5, fols. 47-48.

26. NRS Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1711-1726, CH2/424/11, fol. 274.

27. Statistical Account of Scotland, (1791), xii, 22.

28. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1844), i, 501-2.

29. Ibid, 502.

30. Ibid,512-13.

31. Hay, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches, pp. 188 & 264.

Bibliography

National Records of Scotland, Dalkeith Kirk Session, 1641-53, CH2/84/1.

National Records of Scotland, Dalkeith Kirk Session, 1653-1669, CH2/84/2.

National Records of Scotland, Dalkeith Kirk Session, 1659-1680, CH2/84/3.

National Records of Scotland, Miscellaneous Executry and Testamentary papers, RH9/8/1.

National Records of Scotland, Sir William Fraser Charters, GD86/185.

National Records of Scotland, Papers of the Montague-Douglas-Scott Family, Dukes of Buccleuch, GD224/315/9.

National Records of Scotland, Prot Bk of Thomas Stevin, 1548-1565, B30/1/5.

National Records of Scotland, Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1582-1630, CH2/424/1.

National Records of Scotland, Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1652-1662, CH2/424/4.

National Records of Scotland, Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1673-1688, CH2/424/5.

National Records of Scotland, Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1711-1726, CH2/424/11.

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

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

Calendar of Papal letters to Scotland of Benedict XIII of Avignon, 1976, ed. F. McGurk, (Scottish History Society), Edinburgh.

Charters of the Hospital of Soltre, of Trinity College, Edinburgh, and other collegiate churches in Mid-Lothian, 1861, ed. D. Laing (Bannatyne Club), Edinburgh.

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

Ferguson, D., 1951, Six Centuries in and around the Church of Saint Nicholas, Dalkeith, Dalkeith.

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.

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

Protocol Book of John Foular, 1503-1513, 1940, ed. W. McLeod (Scottish record Society), Edinburgh.

Protocol Book of John Foular, 1514-28, 1944, ed. M. Wood (Scottish record Society), Edinburgh.

Protocol Book of John Foular, 1528-34, 1985, ed. J. Durkan (Scottish record Society), Edinburgh.

Registrum Honoris de Morton. A series of ancient charters of the Earldom of Morton with other original papers, 1853, ed. T. Thomson (Bannatyne Club), Edinburgh.

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

Architectural description

The church at Dalkeith had initially been a chapel within the parish of Lasswade but had achieved parochial status by 1467, when a vicarage was established; however, the parsonage teinds passed with those of Lasswade to the college at Restalrig twenty years later.(1) The basis for a college was established within that church when Sir James de Douglas, the land-holder, endowed six chaplains as early as 1406; further endowments were provided by his successors, the first and second earls of Morton, in 1477 and 1503.(2)

The church had evidently declined into a poor state of repair by the later seventeenth century, and in 1661 the presbytery considered works were necessary to the tower, while it was ordered that the windows should be taken down to permit more light, presumably referring to the tracery.(3) In 1686 the presbytery again ordered repairs,(4) and it is likely that by that stage all but the western bay of the collegiate choir had been abandoned. The architect John Adam was apparently consulted about required works in the 1750s, and in 1763 urged that the west tower should be taken down.(5) It is not clear what, if any, work was carried out in response to that recommendation. It has been suggested, on the basis of an early nineteenth-century drawing by Charles Sanderson, that the tower is likely to have assumed the form shown there in the seventeenth century,(6) and certainly it is not of a design likely to date from the second half of the eighteenth century.  

Sanderson’s view, which is taken from the south, shows what appears to be an aisled nave covered by a roof that swept without break over both central vessel and aisles, albeit with a number of skylights within the roof. Low transeptal chapels project from the east bays of the nave, and there is a porch against the south flank that is depicted with a flagged roof that suggests the presence of a barrel vault. The apsidal choir is shown as unroofed, apart from the western bay that was incorporated into the part of the church still in use. Medieval tracery is depicted in the roofless parts of the choir, but throughout the rest of the building the windows are filled with a grid of substantial vertical and horizontal glazing bars, presumably as a result of the modifications ordered in 1661.

The tower, which is shown as partly enveloped by extensions from the west end of the nave, has strongly emphasised quoins and a string course beneath the top stage. That top stage is lit by large pointed windows partly concealed behind clock faces, and rising behind a crenellated parapet is an octagonal belfry capped by a short spire with a flared base.  

The dating of the component elements of the church as it now stands has been confused by the draconian restoration of the nave and tower that was first planned by William Burn and David Bryce in 1847-51,(7) but carried out by David Bryce alone in 1851–54.(8) The first proposals of 1847 would have resulted in the church being greatly enriched, and would also have brought the choir back into use, but the designs were progressively simplified until what is now seen was implemented.

The layout immediately following the restoration is shown on a plan of August 1855 by the Rev’d John Sime.(9) It depicts the situation as it still exists. The aisle-less choir is of three bays terminating in a polygonal apse, with the eastern two bays roofless and the western bay absorbed into the church, and with a sacristy on its north side. The nave is of three bays with an aisle on each side, and there is a porch on the south side of the western bay. A transeptal chapel projects off the eastern bay on each side, and it may be wondered if that on the south housed the chapel of St John the Baptist, which was said to be on the south side of the church in 1518.(10) The axial western tower has a stair turret at its south-east angle, and westward extensions of the nave aisles partly flank its north and south sides.

Although the parts of the church still in use were so extensively restored in 1851-4 that they now appear to be entirely of that date, the discovery in 1936 within the south transeptal chapel of a medieval piscina basin framed by a pointed arch with a filleted and quirked roll moulding demonstrated that parts of the medieval fabric had survived the attentions of Bryce. But close inspection suggests that despite being heavily reworked, the octagonal piers and moulded caps of the two nave arcades are also essentially medieval, as may be the arch from the tower. Much of what we now see within the nave may therefore belong to the church that had become parochial by 1467.(11)

However, Bryce’s work on the exterior of the nave and tower was very much more invasive than his work on the interior, and left little identifiable medieval fabric. These parts, which continued in use for worship, were clad in a new skin of ashlar, and on the most visible side to the south complex curvilinear tracery based on that at Lincluden Collegiate Church near Dumfries was installed, while on the less visible northern side somewhat simpler tracery was provided. The roof over the central vessel was differentiated from that over the aisles by the provision of three courses of exposed masonry above the arcade piers. The greatest changes were to the tower, which was augmented by diagonal buttresses and capped above a corbel table by a broached spire with lucernes.

Although it is now sadly eroded, the part of the building that suffered least interference from Bryce was the two east bays and apse of the choir, with its two-storeyed sacristy and treasury block on the north side. This part is constructed of buff-coloured ashlar rising from a base course and with a string course at the level of the window sills. The bay divisions and angles of the apse are braced by buttresses with multiple offsets, which have tabernacles at mid-height and pinnacles above the wall head. At the wall head there is a foliage-decorated cornice.

There are opposed doorways in the middle bay, between the presbytery and choir areas, as was common in collegiate churches. That in the south wall was the priests’ entrance, and has a round-arched head within an ogee hood mould; there is lavish foliage sculpture to the capitals, the hollows of the arch and the hood mould, comparable with that to the wall-head cornice. The much simpler rectangular door on the north side opened into the sacristy.

The capitals at import level of the three-light windows around the apse and along the south flank have similarly enriched foliage sculpture as on the south door. Each window has tracery in the form of a pair of inward curving loops below an axial upper loop. The sill of the eastern window is elevated, presumably to provide space for a retable. At some stage transoms have been installed below the light heads of the other windows, with the part of the windows below that transom blocked.

The interior was covered by a pointed barrel vault of which only the lower courses survive. On the evidence of the springers, it had ribs set out to a quadripartite pattern, but with a slightly inexplicable additional springer at the centre of the east face of the apse.

The design of Dalkeith’s choir is very like that of the choir at Seton Collegiate Church, where work was started for the first Lord Seton before his death in about 1478. The similarities between the two buildings are so close that it appears likely that one must have provided a closely followed model for the other. Dalkeith is the more lavishly finished of the two buildings, as seen especially in the wall-head cornice, and the south doorway.

But the most important diagnostic feature is the window tracery. The type found at Dalkeith is essentially the same as one of the types at Seton, though there is the important difference that at Dalkeith it is uncusped, and the omission of cusping in this way is generally an indication of a date no earlier than around 1500. Windows without cusping to the tracery are to be found in the later medieval architecture of many countries, and were to be a particular feature of the more restrained expressions of later French Flamboyant architecture. They also became very common in Ireland, and there was a more limited taste for them in England.

The closest parallels for the varieties of such tracery to be found in Scotland, however, are in the Low Countries, where it may have been the use of brick for some windows that particularly encouraged the development of this approach.(12) Amongst other Scottish examples of this approach are windows at Midcalder Parish Church of around 1542 and the Dominican Church at St Andrews of around 1516.

The most precise parallel for the Dalkeith windows is the more compressed south transept window at Tullibardine Church in Perthshire, which can be dated on heraldic evidence to the years around 1500. Taking account of that, it appears unlikely that the choir at Dalkeith can have been built much earlier than the period at which the collegiate establishment was augmented for the second earl of Morton in 1503. On that basis, it must have been the choir of Seton that provided the model for Dalkeith, rather than Seton that copied Dalkeith.

Within the choir, and protected by a timber shelter constructed in 2005, is the tomb of James Douglas, first earl of Morton, who died in 1493, and his countess, Joanna, the daughter of James I. The effigy of the earl is remarkable for the fact that he is depicted in secular costume rather than armour.(13) Amongst the few other effigies depicted in secular dress are those of the first earl of Huntly, who died in 1470, at Elgin Cathedral, and the fifth earl of Douglas, who died in 1439, in Douglas Church.

Only one side of the Dalkeith tomb chest has survived. Beneath a band of tabernacle heads are tablets, one with the arms of the earl, and the other with the earl’s arms impaling those of Scotland. Rather curiously, they are set on lozenges rather than shields. The same arms, also on lozenges, are set up behind the cushions on which the figures’ heads rest. If the construction of the choir can be attributed to the second earl of Morton, as tentatively suggested above, it may be speculated that the tomb was provided by him for his father at the same time.  

Notes

1. Ian B. Cowan, the Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society), 1967, p. 44.

2. Charters of the Hospital of Soltre, of Trinity College, Edinburgh, and other Collegiate Churches in Midlothian, ed. D. Laing (Bannatyne Club), pp. 313–19; Calendar of Entries on the Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Papal Letters, ed. W.H. Bliss et al., London, 1893-, vol.13, pp. 467–68; Registrum Honoris de Morton, ed. Thomas Thomson, Alexander Macdonald and Cosmo Innes, (Banatyne Club), 1853, vol. 2, p. 324, no 230; Register of the Great Seal of Scotland., ed. J.M. Thomson et al., Edinburgh, 1814-, vol. 2, no 230.

3. National Records of Scotland, Presbytery of Dalkeith, Minutes, 1652-62, CH2/424/4, fols 446-47.

4. New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, vol. 1, p. 514.

5. National Records of Scotland, GD 224/390/2/17.

6. The drawing, which was said to be amongst the papers of General George Henry Hutton in the National Library of Scotland, is reproduced in MacGibbon and Ross 1896–7, vol. 3, p. 207.

7. Howard Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, New Haven and London, 4th ed. 2008, p. 188; National Records of Scotland, RHP 7041-4.

8. Valerie Fiddes and Alistair Rowan (eds), David Bryce, 1803–1876, (Exhibition catalogue), Edinburgh, 1976, pp. 66–67.

9. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, DP 027687.

10. National Records of Scotland, Records of the Montague-Douglas-Scott family, Dukes of Buccleuch, GD224/315/9.

11. Accounts of the church will be found in: David MacGibbon and Thomas Ross, The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1896–7, vol. 3, pp. 205–14; Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Inventory of Midlothian and West Lothian, 1928, pp. 58–61; Donald Ferguson, Six centuries in and around the Church of Saint Nicholas Dalkeith, Dalkeith, 1951; Christopher Wilson in Colin McWilliam, The Buildings of Scotland, Lothian, Harmondsworth, 1978, pp. 152–55.

12. Richard Fawcett, ‘Architectural Links between Scotland and the Low Countries in the Leter Middle Ages, in Utrecht, Britain and the Continent, ed. E. De Bièvre, British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions, Leeds, 1996, pp. 172-82, at p. 178.

13. Robert Brydall, ‘Monumental Effigies of Scotland from the Thirteenth to the Fifteenth Century, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol. 29, 1894-5, pp. 329-410, at pp. 393-95.

Map

Images

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  • 1. Dalkeith Collegiate Church, exterior, north flank

  • 2. Dalkeith Collegiate Church, exterior, apse from east

  • 3. Dalkeith Collegiate Church, exterior, nave and tower from south

  • 4. Dalkeith Collegiate Church, exterior, choir, north flank

  • 5. Dalkeith Collegiate Church, exterior, choir from south west

  • 6. Dalkeith Collegiate Church, exterior, south flank

  • 7. Dalkeith Collegiate Church, exterior, choir buttress tabernacle

  • 8. Dalkeith Collegiate Church, exterior, choir, south door

  • 9. Dalkeith Collegiate Church, exterior, choir, south door west caps

  • 10. Dalkeith Collegiate Church, exterior, choir, window cap, 1

  • 11. Dalkeith Collegiate Church, exterior, choir, window cap, 2

  • 12. Dalkeith Collegiate Church, interior from south west

  • 13. Dalkeith Collegiate Church, interior, south transept piscina

  • 14. Dalkeith Collegiate Church, interior, effigy of earl of Morton

  • 15. Dalkeith Collegiate Church, tomb of earl of Morton

  • 16. Dalkeith Collegiate Church, before restoration (MacGibbon and and Ross after Charles Sanderson)

  • 17. Dalkeith Collegiate Church, plan (MacGibbon and Ross)