Duddingston / Traverlen Parish Church

Duddingston Church, exterior, from south east

Summary description

A largely earlier twelfth-century two compartment church with good detailing including a chancel arch and south door, to which a lateral north aisle was added in 1631; the tower is probably of 1806. Restorations in about 1840 and 1889.

Historical outline

Dedication: unknown

Sometime between 1138 and 1147, Earl Henry and his father, King David I, granted the lands of ‘Treverlen’, later known as Duddingston, as they had formerly been held by Uviet following a perambulation and division of the land between him and the canons of Holyrood, to the monks of Kelso Abbey.(1)  Possession of the land was confirmed to Kelso by King William between 1165 and 1174, along with the other properties occupied by ‘Dodin’, from whom the parish derived its current name.(2)  The church of Traverlen/Duddingston appears to have been included from the outset with the land, and in 1198-1202 Bishop Roger de Beaumont confirmed it (along with thirteen others) in proprios usus to the monks of Kelso.(3)  A vicarage settlement was instituted with the parsonage thereafter remaining in the hands of the abbey.  As first ‘Doddingeston’ and then as the vicarage of ‘Coingeston’, the church appears in the roll of the papal tax-collector in Scotland in the mid-1270s, being assessed for taxation at one merk.

Perpetual vicars of the church are recorded from the early fifteenth century.  The first for whom record appears to survive was John Lauder, who in 1414 was also instituted into the perpetual chaplainry of the Holy Rood in the church of St Giles in nearby Edinburgh.(5)  In 1447 a ‘rector’ of Duddingston – Patrick Elphinstone – is recorded.(6)  Elphinstone, who was presumably a monk of Kelso to whom the parsonage revenues of Duddingston had been individually assigned, was supplicating the pope for the grant of a five-year indulgence for all of those who came to the chapel of St Anthony in the parish – presumably the chapel of that dedication on the north flank of Arthur’s Seat – and contributed towards the costs of its maintenance.  It was, however, as a perpetual vicarage that the parish remained at the Reformation when, held by William Blackwood, it was valued at £20.(7)

Notes

1. G W S Barrow (ed), The Charters of David I (Woodbridge, 1999), no.70.

2. Regesta Regum Scottorum, ii, The Acts of King William, ed G W S Barrow (Edinburgh, 1971), no.74.

3. Liber S Marie de Calchou (Bannatyne Club, 1846), no.83.

4. A I Dunlop (ed), ‘Bagimond’s Roll: Statement of the Tenths of the Kingdom of Scotland’, Miscellany of the Scottish History Society, vi (1939), 34, 55.

5. Calendar of Papal Letters to Scotland of Pope Benedict XIII of Avignon 1394-1419, ed F McGurk (Scottish History Society, 1976), 302-303.

6. Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, iv, 1433-1447, eds A I Dunlop and D MacLauchlan (Glasgow, 1983), no.1341.

7. J Kirk (ed), The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefices (Oxford, 1995), 99.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes: Church confirmed to use of Kelso by Roger, Bishop of St Andrews (1188x1206). Parsonage revenues remained with abbey.(1)

1414-30 John de Lauder is perpetual vicar, value £5 (son of a priest; also chaplain of altar of Holy Rod in St Giles).(2)

1430-32 On death of Lauder there are supplications for the vicarage by John Dede, Henry Nut, Gilbert Herry and Alexander Herry.(3)

1436 John de Hamill presented (on death of William Leishman) by Kelso, described as ancient patrons, but Alexander Herry prevented him from being instituted and intruded himself (Alexander supported by Henry, bishop of St Andrews).

1438 Alexander appealed to curia and lost; John described as vicar.(4)

1438 Patrick Penven supplicates for church on death of William Leishman or deprivation for simony of John Hamill and Alexander Henrich [same as Herry above?].(5)  [appears to have been unsuccessful, see below]

1459 Archibald Whitelaw, provided to perpetual vicarage on resignation of Alexander Herry. By 1466 Thomas Lathrisk is vicar and exchanges church with William Lawson who is still recorded as vicar in 1471.(6)

1537 Robert Dennestoun holds the vicarage.(7)

References to liturgical provision/architecture/building indulgences etc

1447 Indulgence. Within the parish church of Duddingston a chapel has been long established to St Anthony, to which the inhabitants of those parts flock on feast days, but fierce weather has reduced it beyond its faculty for repair. Patrick Elphinstone, rector, supplicates for a five year indulgence for those visiting and contributing to the fabric.

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: The Parish church parsonage with Kelso, set for £66 13s 4d. Vicarage held by William Blackwood, valued at £13 6s 8d.(9)

Account of Collectors of Thirds of Benefices (G. Donaldson): Third of vicarage £4 8s 10 2/3d.(10)

1598 (11 July) Visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Edinburgh; Charles Lamisdon (the minister) is found to be competent. The choir is mentioned as being somewhat ruinous and the kirk yard dykes are fallen, a taxation is to be organised for the same. The visitation also found that there is a lot of ‘piping and fiddling’ in the parish on the Sabbath.(11)

1599 (23 July) Visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Edinburgh finds the minister to be competent, the kirk dykes are still unbuilt despite the previous visitation.(12)

#1631 Sir James Hamilton of Prestfield had a dispute with John Lawson of Humbie as to the erection of an aisle or addition to the church….which Hamilton proposed to build for the benefit of himself and his tenants of Priestfield.(13)

Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev William Bennet, 1794): ‘The probable antiquity of the church has already been noted (see p359). Its present appearance resounds not so much to its praise… A very beautiful semi-circular arch divides the choir from the chancel, and the walls and roof are in a very respectable state’.(14)

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev J Gardiner, 1843): ‘The parish church…stands at Wester Duddingston, upon the south east base of Arthur’s seat and is a very ancient building. A very beautiful semi-circular arch divides the choir from the chancel…. The church was enlarged, repaired and painted about 4 years ago’.(15) (c.1839)

Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches: (George Hay): Small kirk adapted for Protestant use, pulpit against south wall, baptism basin bracketed to side of pulpit, aisle adapted to accommodate heritor’s loft, resulted in a ‘T’ plan church.(16)

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland, 49.

2. CPL, Ben, 302-03, CPL, vii, 469.

3. CSSR, iii, 106, 108, 110, 217 & 218.

4. CPL, viii, 618 & 665.

5. CSSR, iv, no.457

6. CSSR, v, nos. 757 & 1123, CPL, xii, 466-67 & 797.

7. Prot Bk of Dominus Thomas Johnsoun, no. 149.

8. CSSR, iv, no.1341.

9. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 99, 229, 232, 234 & 237.

10. Donaldson, Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices, 27.

11. NRS Presbytery of Edinburgh, Minutes, 1593-1601, CH2/121/2, fol. 237.

12. NRS Presbytery of Edinburgh, Minutes, 1593-1601, CH2/121/2, fols. 292-293..

13. Fraser, Memorials of the Earls of Haddington, p. 185.

14. Statistical Account of Scotland, (1794), xviii, 380.

15. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1843), i, 394.

16. Hay, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches, pp. 20, 39, 52, 231, 236 & 240.

Bibliography

National Records of Scotland, Presbytery of Edinburgh, Minutes, 1593-1601, CH2/121/2.

Calendar of entries in the Papal registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland; Papal letters, 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.

Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome 1428-32, 1970, ed. A.I. Dunlop; and I.B. Cowan, (Scottish History Society) Edinburgh.

Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome 1433-47, 1983, ed. A.I. Dunlop and D MacLauchlan, Glasgow.

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.

Fraser, W., 1889, Memorials of the Earls of Haddington, 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.

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

Protocol Book of Dominus Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578,  1920, eds. J. Beveridge and J. Russell (Scottish Record Society) Edinburgh.

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

Architectural description

The church at Duddingston, which was earlier known as Traverlen, was a possession of Kelso Abbey from at least the late twelfth century, when the abbey’s ownership was confirmed by Bishop Roger of St Andrews.(1)

As initially built the church was made up of two rectangular compartments, with pilaster buttresses at the angles of the chancel and defining four bays along the nave (only those along the south flank have survived the post-Reformation augmentation of the nave). The walls of pink rubble rise from a chamfered base course, and there is a substantial string course with top and bottom chamfers at mid-height of the east and north walls of the chancel, which presumably once continued around the rest of the building.

Along the south and north flanks of the chancel there are corbel tables with block-like corbels, some treated as heads, which support a simple cornice. Any cornice around the nave wall head must have been lost when the walls were heightened at some uncertain stage, though there is still a string course to the two central bays on the south side, at what may have been the original wall head level.

The most significant primary feature externally is a blocked doorway in the west bay on the south side, which has two orders of chevron in the arch, within a hood mould that appears to have had lozenge decoration. The inner order is carried on en délit shafts with caps whose decoration is now too eroded to permit identification. The most remarkable feature of the shafts is their carved decoration. The east shaft has lozenge patterns. The west shaft has chevron patterns; but it also has figural decoration, which is unique in Scotland. At the top of the shaft is a crucifix above a number of other figures that may include Peter’s denial of Christ and the cock crowing.

The exterior of the church has been modified on a number of occasions, though the dating of many of these interventions is uncertain. There are no windows of primary construction, though a blocked lancet head in the easternmost bay on the south side of the church could suggest that the fenestration was being modified as early as the thirteenth century. The three middle pilasters on the south side of the nave have been augmented as full buttresses, with two stages of offsets, and it is possible that this was also a medieval intervention. Alternatively, it may be work of the sixteenth or seventeenth seventeenth centuries, which seems to be the most likely period for the crow-stepped east gable of the chancel.

As early as 1598 the choir was said to be in a poor condition,(2) but the first documented seventeenth-century works are datable to 1631, when the presbytery of Edinburgh are said to have agreed to the construction of an aisle for the owners of the Prestonfield estate,(3) and that date is inscribed on the blocked door on the east side of the lateral north aisle. There was evidently a major campaign of works in 1806, since a plan of 20 September 1847 by the Rev’d John Sime gives that date for the tower and the main body of the north aisle, though it may be suspected that the earliest part of the tower could be of the seventeenth century.(4)

Apart from the addition or augmentation of the west tower and the probable westward extension of the north aisle,(5) it seems reasonable to attribute a number of modifications to this phase of works on stylistic grounds. Amongst these are the large pointed windows along the south side of the nave and the south and east sides of the choir, and the plethora of obelisk pinnacles that were added to the buttresses and the angles of all parts of the building.

There was evidently a further phase of works in about 1840, since the New Statistical Account, in which the chapter on Duddingston was revised in 1843, refers to the church as having been ‘enlarged, repaired and painted about four years ago’.(6) In support of the this, the Imperial Gazetteer of 1865 says the church was enlarged and repaired about 25 years ago’.(7) There was a further nineteenth-century intervention under the direction of Robert Rowand Anderson in 1889, the main external impact of which was probably some remodelling of the north aisle.

The final form of the north face of the aisle, however, may date from modifications after the First World War, when an incised memorial tablet was inserted to the west of the entrance door. There are heraldic tablets to the frieze over that door, and a trio of loop-traceried windows has been inserted at the upper level, which may have taken a lead from windows of 1631.(8) A number of early carved stones, including a quatrefoil and Maltese cross on a shaft, were incorporated in the pediment-like gable.

Much of the present internal appearance of the church, including the galleries in the north aisle and in the tower is attributable to Anderson’s campaign of work of 1889, with further modifications to the furnishings by the ubiquitous Whytock and Reid in 1968.(9) The massive organ that one filled the chancel was removed in the latter re-ordering, and unfortunately the internal walls were stripped to the bare stone at the same time.

The fine chancel arch is the only clearly Romanesque internal feature, though it has evidently undergone a significant amount of stone renewal. The responds take the usual form of a half-shaft attached to a pilaster that is flanked by three-quarter nook shafts, and they carry scalloped caps with cable-moulded neckings and chip-carved abaci. The arch is of two orders, the inner order having quirked angle rolls to the overall rectangular profile, and the outer order having lightly incised chevron towards the nave, but nothing towards the chancel. The hood mould has a single order of billet.

Within the north wall of the chancel is a round-arched recess that was presumably for a tomb, and around its arch are traces of what could be a cut-back ogee-arched hood mould. In this location, it is possible that a tomb would also have been intended to serve as an Easter Sepulchre. To its east is a small aumbry that could have been the locker of a Sacrament House.

Notes

1. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland, Scottish Record Society, 1967, p. 49.

2. National Records of Scotland, Presbytery of Edinburgh, Minutes, 1593-1601, CH”/12/2, fol. 237v.

3. Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-9, vol. 18, p. 360.

4. National Monuments Record of Scotland, DP/027687.

5. Sime’s plan of 1847 shows the north aisle as extending the full length of the north side of the nave, but he also appears to show by means of the depiction of shadowed walls that it had earlier been confined to the eastern part of the north flank.

6. New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, vol. 1, p. 394.

7. Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, London and Edinburgh, 1865, p. 408.

8. David MacGibbon and Tomas Ross, The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Scotland, vol. 1, 1896, p. 336–38, state that there were only two of these windows at that time.

9. John Gifford, Colin McWilliam and David Walker, The Buildings of Scotland, Edinburgh, Harmondsworth, 1984, pp. 554-5.

Map

Images

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  • 1. Duddingston Church, exterior, from south east

  • 2. Duddingston Church, exterior, from east

  • 3. Duddingston Church, exterior, chancel from north east

  • 4. Duddingston Church, exterior, chancel south face

  • 5. Duddingston Church, exterior, chancel, north wall head corbel table

  • 6. Duddingston Church, exterior, nave south face, traces of blocked window in east bay

  • 7. Duddingston Church, exterior, oblique view of buttresses

  • 8. Duddingston Church, exterior, augmentation of nave buttresses

  • 9. Duddingston Church, exterior, north aisle from north east

  • 10. Duddingston Church, exterior, north aisle, carved stones above central window of north face

  • 11. Duddingston Church, exterior, north aisle, dated door in east face

  • 12. Duddingston Church, exterior, south nave door

  • 13. Duddingston Church, exterior, south nave door, arch

  • 14. Duddingston Church, exterior, south nave door, east jamb

  • 15. Duddingston Church, exterior, south nave door, east jamb cap

  • 16. Duddingston Church, exterior, south nave door, west jamb

  • 17. Duddingston Church, exterior, south nave door, west jamb shaft, 1

  • 18. Duddingston Church, exterior, south nave door, west jamb shaft, 2

  • 19. Duddingston Church, interior, carved tablet in chancel north wall

  • 20. Duddingston Church, interior, chancel arch, from east

  • 21. Duddingston Church, interior, chancel arch, from north west

  • 22. Duddingston Church, interior, chancel arch, from west, 1

  • 23. Duddingston Church, interior, chancel arch, from west, 2

  • 24. Duddingston Church, interior, chancel arch, mouldings

  • 25. Duddingston Church, interior, chancel arch, north respond

  • 26. Duddingston Church, interior, chancel arch, north respond cap

  • 27. Duddingston Church, interior, chancel arch, south respond

  • 28. Duddingston Church, interior, chancel arch, south respond cap

  • 29. Duddingston Church, interior, chancel, recess in north wall

  • 30. Duddingston Church, plan (MacGibbon and Ross)