Edinburgh St Giles Collegiate Church

Edinburgh St Giles, exterior, from the north east

Summary description

One of the most complex of the great burgh churches. Around a core that was probably cruciform by the end of the fourteenth century was an irregular accretion of additions dating from between the early fifteenth and the mid-sixteenth centuries, culminating visually in a crown steeple over the central tower. External regularity was imposed in a draconian restoration of 1829-33, with further major works in 1871-84. 

Historical outline

Dedication: St Giles

Foundation and appropriation

It is likely that the parish of St Giles was carved out of the much larger territory of the parish of St Cuthbert (qv) around the time that King David I was encouraging the development of the burgh on the spine of the ridge that extended east from the castle.(1)  The location of the church at around the mid-point of the burgh’s footprint and adjacent to its market area is strongly suggestive of it being part of the original planned burgh layout.  There is, however, no documented evidence to confirm or refute that suggestion and we are equally uncertain as to when in David’s reign the district that formed the urban parish of St Giles was detached from its probable mother-church at the north-west of the Castle Rock.  It can be suggested, however, that it was later than 1128 when David founded the Augustinian abbey of Holyrood at the east end of the ridge and whose appropriated parish of Canongate (qv), which the canons held from the time of their monastery’s foundation, extended westwards as far as Edinburgh’s east gate at what became known as the Netherbow.

Although no original charter recording the grant has survived, it has long been generally accepted that at some point between 1128 and 1153 David I granted the church of St Giles with its associated grange to the house of the Lazarite brethren at Harehope, a claim that has been repeated into even very recent times.(2)  Past identification of the Harehope in question as an otherwise unknown leper hospital located at the place of that name in Eddlestone parish in the Borders are now dismissed in favour of the known house of the order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem at Harehope in Northumberland.(3)  This identification, however, raises other problems, for the Northumberland hospital may have been founded only after 1178 by Waltheof son of Edward and there is no firm evidence for its existence as a functioning hospital before 1230.(4)  Confirmation of the hospital’s possession of St Giles and its associated lands known as the Grange of St Giles was granted only by Pope Innocent III (1198-1216), which would seem to support the probability that the hospital was a very late twelfth-century foundation and, consequently, that David I cannot have been the donor of St Giles to it.(5)  That identification appears to be based on the very garbled account presented by Walter Bower in Scotichronicon of the deprivation of English religious houses of their possessions in Scotland that supposedly occurred at some point in the reign of King David II (1329-1371).  While clearly alluding to the circumstances of the Great Schism (1378-1419), Bower claimed that David II had ordered the expulsion of Englishmen from benefices in Scotland and cited the example of ‘the monks of Harehope, otherwise Holme’, whose monastery had been founded by King David I and endowed with ‘certain lands in Lothian near the royal town of Edinburgh (namely Spitalton and St Giles’ Grange)’.(6)  It appears that Bower was thinking of Holmcultram in Cumbria, founded in 1150 by David I and his son, Earl Henry, which was deprived of its possessions in south-west Scotland in the later fourteenth century and has conflated that event with the deprivation of Harehope of its Scottish properties, which likewise occurred in the later 1300s (see below).(7)  There is thus no historical evidence to support the suggestion that David I was the original donor of St Giles to the Lazarite brethren at Harehope or that the annexation happened at any point earlier than 1178 and more probably nearer to 1200.

The annexation of the parsonage to the hospital had certainly occurred by 1243.  It was recorded twice in that year, on 6 October 1243, when Bishop David de Bernham dedicated it, and at an indeterminate date that year the church first appears as a vicarage when John, its perpetual vicar, was a witness to the authentication of a series of documents relating to Holyrood Abbey.(8)  It is as the vicarage of St Giles of Edinburgh that it was recorded in 1275-6 in the accounts of the papal tax-collector in Scotland, paying 10s tax.(9)  In the surviving late thirteenth-century tax-roll for the archdeaconry of Lothian, the church of St Giles of Edinburgh was valued at only £6 13s 4d and taxed at 13s 4d, a relatively low value that probably reflects the absence of a significant agricultural hinterland attached to the parish and its essentially urban character.(10)  Its appropriation to Harehope, however, is not noted in that later source.

War-damage and dis-appropriation

It has been suggested that the church suffered damage in the major English raids that penetrated through Lothian as far as Edinburgh in 1322 and 1355/6,(11) but there is no explicit reference to the church in contemporary accounts of the expeditions by Edward II and Edward III.  The event that was identified as marking a major step-change in the history of St Giles’ church was the sacking of the burgh in 1385 by the army of King Richard II of England which caused significant damage to the building.(12)  The attack, which occurred in the year of Walter Bower’s birth, was recorded by the chronicler in the 1440s as having seen the burning of ‘the noble royal town of Edinburgh with its church of St Giles’.  Richard II’s targeting of churches in his expedition, which had not been English policy in earlier invasions, related directly to the contemporary religious division of western Christendom into those kingdoms that supported the Roman pope, Urban VI, and those adhering to the Avignonese pope, Clement VII.  England was an adherent of Urban VI while Scotland, as an ally of France, supported Clement VII.  As a consequence, Scottish churches were presented as nests of schismatics and were regarded as legitimate targets for plundering and burning.

It is in the context of the Great Schism that the stripping of St Giles’ from the possession of the brethren at Harehope is sometimes presented but the loss of the hospital’s Scottish properties pre-dates the fissure in the papal allegiances of Scotland and England and was more straightforwardly related to continuing Anglo-Scottish hostility.  A charter of 16 June 1376 issued by King Robert II in favour of his eldest son, John Stewart, earl of Carrick, awarded the earl the lands of Priestfield, St Giles’ Grange and Spitalton, which were in royal hands through the forfeiture of the Brothers of Harehope on account of their being at faith and in the peace of the English king against the faith and peace of the Scottish king.(13)  Carrick’s possession of the lands was to continue for as long as the community at Harehope remained unreconciled with King Robert.  The Great Schism, therefore, simply became the agent which converted a temporary deprivation into a permanent forfeiture.  There was no mention in Robert II’s grant to his son of the rights of patronage of the church of St Giles, but it is likely that this right was taken into royal hands along with the property attached to the church.  The incumbent priest at St Giles’, James Lyon, did not become parson of the church by default through suspension of the appropriation of the parsonage to Harehope and was still styled simply as vicar perpetual in 1378 when he was provided to a canonry of Aberdeen by Pope Clement.(14)  There are, however, indications that the separation of the church from Harehope’s possession saw an effort to reinstate a rector or parson into the service of the cure of souls at St Giles’.  In 1375 a certain Andrew de Ox, who was also rector of the church of Inverarity, was presented and confirmed by Pope Gregory XI as rector of St Giles following the death of the otherwise unknown Brice of Dunblane, the church being said to be in the gift of the bishop of St Andrews.(15)

There was no mention of Andrew de Ox or any other rector but James Lyon was still perpetual vicar of St Giles’ on 15 December 1393 when King Robert III (the former John, earl of Carrick), granted the patronage of the church, together with all of the land belonging to it, to the canons of Scone Abbey.(16)  No mention is made in the king’s charter of the circumstances of the church prior to this point, simply that the right of patronage had lain with him and his ancestors with no reference to the interests of Harehope.  Bishop Walter Traill confirmed the king’s gift of the patronage to Scone on 3 May 1395, adding that on account of the financial precariousness of the monastery, on the death or resignation of Lyon that the church could be annexed to the abbey in proprios usus, the revenues then being devoted to maintaining the fabric of the church at Scone.(17)  Papal confirmation of the grant by Robert III was given on 12 September 1395 by Pope Benedict XIII, rehearsing how Scone was where Scottish kings were crowned and where Robert II was  buried, and that demands were placed on the monastery by nobles and others involved in business, and noting also Bishop Traill’s ratification and authorisation of annexation in proprios usus, but stipulating that thereafter the church was to be served by a vicar portioner with a reserved stipend of 45 merks to sustain him and from which he could pay all episcopal and archidiaconal dues.(18)  Three days later a second confirmation was issued.  This time it was noted as above that the presentation lay in the king’s hands and there were several reasons for why annexation was necessary but it also noted that the church was wont to be governed by a secular priest with a suitable portion reserved for him.  The canons had petitioned that the 45 merks reserved in the previous bull had been too much for them to pay, so it was henceforth permitted that they could serve St Giles’ with one of the brethren of their community.(19)  Despite this papal, royal and episcopal support, it appears that the canons were unable to make their annexation effective.

Petitions for collegiate church status

Opposition to the union perhaps centred on the ambitions for the church that the provost, council and wider community had for it.  Indications of this emerge in a supplication to Pope Martin V on 4 April 1419.(20)  The supplication rehearsed the terms of  Benedict XIII union of ‘the parish church of the town of Edinburgh or its perpetual vicarage’ to Scone, stated that the incorporation and union had not yet taken effect; but if they had taken effect, because they had arisen from misrepresented circumstances they lacked validity.  The provost, baillies and community of the town urged that if they had the right of presentation of a rector or vicar they would be able to make provision for their soul’s weal and peace of conscience.  Having received the permission of King James I (in the person of the Governor, Robert, duke of Albany), who was described as true patron of the parish church or vicarage, they requested a papal mandatory should be appointed to investigate the circumstances of the union.  If the mandatory found the union to be ineffective or to have arisen from doubtful circumstances, they requested that he should be empowered to revoke, cancel and annul it. They went on to request that if they could receive royal consent for their future exercise of the right of presentation, the pope confirm them in that right.  The canons had clearly learned of this supplication, for on 15 May 1419 they requested the pope that he would confirm the donation of the patronage made to them by King Robert III, rehearsing the full circumstances of the original award.(21)  As with the request from the burgh authorities, Pope Martin granted the supplication.

A second supplication repeating the first request was made by the burgh authorities and was granted, subject to consent from the patron (identified as the king or the governor of the kingdom), on 31 May 1419.(22)  It emerged in a third supplication of 19 June 1419 that the probable reason for the burgh’s opposition to the appropriation to Scone was the ambition to have their parish church erected into a collegiate church.(23)   They had the political support of the powerful Archibald, 4th earl of Douglas, whose name headed the supplication made to the pope.  With his support, the provost, bailies and commonalty of the burgh outlined their case to erect St Giles’ into a collegiate church, identifying that there were already thirteen well-endowed perpetual chaplaincies that could be erected into that number of prebends, and that they would divert their available resources to erect other prebends with canonries, and the principal dignities, offices and ecclesiastical benefices of such an establishment.  The chief such office was to be the provostship, the principal dignity, which they proposed to erect out of the perpetual vicarage or rectory.  Here, however, they admitted that by ‘false allegations or unnecessary causes’ the canons of Scone claimed to have the right of patronage.  Setting that aside, they supplicated the pope that he should give mandate to someone in Scotland to erect St Giles’ into a collegiate church, the perpetual vicarage into a provostship, and the chaplaincies into prebends, and do everything else that was necessary to bring about a satisfactory outcome.  The supplicants went on to request that after the erection of the provostship that Edward Lauder, who was then currently the rector of Southwick in Glasgow diocese, should be created provost to enable him to preside in chapter and that he should be provided to the vicarage (valued at £100 of ‘old’ sterling) as soon as it fell vacant by the resignation or death of the present vicar or rector.  They also supplicated that the patronage and presentation to the provostship, prebends and other dignities should be reserved in future to the provost and community of Edinburgh.  After a series of clauses that set out Lauder’s suitability for the office of provost, the provost, baillies and commons of the burgh promised as a sign of endowment of the college to secure income for the establishment in the form of annual rents to a total of 100 crowns of gold and to continue their building-work on the fabric of the church, on which they claimed to have already spent ‘more than five or six thousand … crowns’ in recent years.

Repair and expansion

What building operations had the burgh overseen that could have amounted to such a figure?  Work to not only repair the damage caused by the English burning of Edinburgh in 1385 but to expand significantly the old building commenced two years after the raid by Richard II and his army.  On 29 November 1387 an indenture was drawn up between Adam Forester, provost of Edinburgh, and the council on one side, and a team of masons headed by John Primrose, John of Scone and John Skuyer/Squyer (the last of whom possessed his own seal) on the other, for the purpose of building a new aisle of five chapels on the south side of the still upstanding nave of the parish church.(24)  The chapels were to be built ‘from the west gable lying in a row eastwards as far as the great pillar of the steeple, vaulted in the style and stonework as the vault above St Stephen’s altar standing on the north side of the parish altar of the abbey of Holyroodhouse, the which pattern they [the masons] have seen.  Also, the same men shall make in each chapel of the four a window with three lights in stonework form, the which pattern they have seen, and the fifth chapel vaulted with a door as of good design as the door standing in the west gable of the aforesaid church.  Also the chapel and the aisles where the altars shall stand shall be vaulted all according to the design as said before.  Also the aforesaid five chapels shall be roofed above with stone and [made] water-tight’.  For this work the masons were to be paid 600 merks for the job, with an advance of £40 for materials.(25)  The porch at the south door in the middle of the five bays later carried an upper chamber reached via a stair accessed from a door at the south-east angle of the second bay chapel (that later dedicated to St Crispin and Crispinian).  This is the chamber referred to in the Dean of Guild’s accounts for 1552-3.(26)  The middle chapel, which formed the principal point of regular public access to the nave of the church, was also the location of the font.  In October 1554, Gilbert Cleuth and John Anderson, masons, were paid five merks for laying a new pavement at ‘the south kirk dur, quhar the bairnis ar Baptist (at the south church door, where the children are baptised).(27)  Payments are also recorded in 1553-4 for ‘keiping of the funt’ on Whitsunday, in 1554-5 for making a ‘geirth’ or iron band for the font and a new ‘prike’ with three ‘flowris to carry the candles around the font, and in 1555-6 for three ells of linen cloth to be used there.(28)

It is unclear if the chapel of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist, which formed a lower and narrower northern extension to the north transept, was part of a more general rebuilding programme, but it is first referred to in the mid-1390s and its architectural details suggest that building operations here may have been undertaken around the same time as work on the south-west chapels and on the north-west side of the nave.(29)  Across the period 1389-98 fines pertaining to the Chamberlain court, held in Edinburgh, were gifted by the crown for the restoration of the church.(30)  Work also seems to have been undertaken in the 1390s and early 1400s on the new two-bay outer chapel at the north-west of the nave, known as the Albany Aisle, with payments being recorded to John Primrose in 1399 and 1402.(31)  There are continuing references in the Chamberlain accounts from 1410, 1412 and 1423 of payments by the Duke of Albany towards work on the church.(32)  Although there is no explicit reference to where his patronage was focussed or a contract to identify the specific portion of the building, the prominent display of his arms and those of his associate Archibald, 4th earl of Douglas, on the capital of its pier suggests strongly that this north-western chapel was the result.(33)  Based on this evidence of support from royal resources alone, it can be seen that the claims of investment in the building fabric made by the burgh in their supplications for elevation to collegiate church status for St Giles’ had substance behind them.

Part of the wider development of the chapel of the two saints John and the north choir aisle may have been the first manifestation of the revestry that formerly occupied the re-entrant between the chapel and the choir aisle.  Restoration work in the 1890s on the east wall of the chapel revealed the remains of a blocked-up window of fifteenth-century form, from which it appears that the original structure can only have been of one storey, or at least no higher than the sill of its east window.(34)  This structure was enlarged and heightened over time and ultimately formed a multi-storey tower-like building that contained both a sacristy and a treasury for the valuables of the collegiate church.  Details of this process are sadly lacking but there seems to have been a final programme of upwards expansion in the 1550s, when various elements of work were identified and paid for in the Dean of Guild’s accounts.  The first, in November 1554, was a payment of 30s to Gilbert Cleuth and John Anderson, masons, for carving three roofing stones for ‘the rufe aboun the revestre dur’. (35)  This evidence indicates that the revestry roof by the mid-sixteenth century was finished with cut slabs in a manner such as can still be seen, for example, at Corstorphine church (qv).  That it was already a multi-storey building is revealed in a payment in February 1555 for a repair to the lock of ‘the loft dure in the revestre’, and payment in late summer 1555 of 6s 8d to one mason for three-and-a-half days’ work building up the window in St John’s Aisle should probably be interpreted as removing what was essentially an opening that had been rendered redundant by the heightening of the revestry to its east.(36)  It is probably in this context, too, that payment should be seen in 1555-6 for re-glazing of ‘the windo above the Ravestre’ with three panels containing 23 feet of new glass and 7 feet of old, the work costing 38s.(37)  This item occurs in respect of a wider programme of works at the Consistory Aisle and either relates to a window in the aisle wall or to one at clearstorey level in the north face of the choir.  Early in 1556, a further 6s was spent of ‘dichting (cleaning/putting in good order) and mending’ the glass windows of the revestry.(38)  That one of the chambers within this structure was the jewel-house of the collegiate church is indicated by the record of the weighing there on 8 March 1558/9 of various of the valuables, including the great silver and bejewelled ‘eucharist’ which contained the consecrated Host, a smaller silver eucharist or pyx, and two crucifixes.(39)  It was possibly one of the upper chambers of this building that was used as a charter-house or muniments’ room, but given the use of the chamber over the south-west porch for that function into the 1820s, it seems more likely that these securable chambers elsewhere in the church were used as places of safe-keeping for other valuables including the records.

The elements discussed above relating to the building-programme from the 1380s through to the 1410s underscore the investment that the burgesses and their noble supporters had made in the church by the time that the supplication for elevation to collegiate status was made.  Despite the hard evidence for their investment, however, the proposal failed to gain the papal support that was being sought.  Although as late as 26 Feb 1423 Edward Lauder was still supplicating the pope with a view to his future possession of the provostship of St Giles, it must have been evident by that date that the burgh’s efforts to secure the erection of their burgh church into a collegiate church had failed.(40)  By that time, Robert, duke of Albany, was dead and Archibald, 4th earl of Douglas, was heavily involved in the war in France, removing the town’s two chief supporters and it is likely that their withdrawal from the scene brought an end for the time being to the efforts at Rome.  Lauder himself, however, still had hopes of securing possession of St Giles’ even if not as its provost as the head of a collegiate institution.  In 1424 the longstanding vicar, James Lyon, died.  His death resulted in protracted litigation between William Foulis, the crown candidate presented by James I as patron of the church but refused entry by Henry, bishop of St Andrews, and Lauder, who had been closely associated with Robert, duke of Albany, and was the preferred candidate of Albany’s son, Duke Murdoch.(41)  It may have taken until1433 for William Foulis to secure unchallenged possession, being described surprisingly in that year as provost of St Giles rather than vicar.  He was dead by 1444 when William Turnbull was dispensed to hold the church along with the church of Hawick in Glasgow diocese.(42)

As vicar, Turnbull saw the beginning of another major expansion in the physical form of his church, this time at the eastern limb.  The first major operation was the extension of the church eastwards with the reconstruction of the fourth bay and addition of a new fifth bay to form a range of eastern chapels being commenced around 1453.(43)  When that work was only just underway, on 11 January 1455 the burgh authorities entered into a bond with masons to construct what was in effect a chantry aisle to commemorate one of the church’s most important recent benefactors, Sir William Preston of Gorton, who had secured an arm-bone of St Giles and presented it to the church free of any conditions. The chapel was to take the form of ‘an aisle extending from Our Lady Aisle where the said William lies, the said aisle to be begun within a year [and] in the which aisle there shall be made a [memorial] brass for his lair in embossed work and above the brass a table of brass with an inscription specifying his bringing of that relic into Scotland, with his coat of arms, and his arms to be put in sculpted work in other parts of the aisle’(44).  Work on the new aisle was meant by the terms of the contract to have been completed within seven years of the operation commencing, but it has been suggested that the presence in one of the vaulting bosses of the arms of Patrick Hepburn, lord Hailes, provost of Edinburgh in 1487, points to a much more protracted process.  Indeed, as this building, which is commonly called the Preston Aisle, was still being referred to in 1502 as ‘the new aisle of St Thomas the Martyr’,(45) it is likely that its completion had only been achieved in the closing decades of the fifteenth century.

Erection into a collegiate church

It was in the midst of this protracted building programme that nominal crown support for the erection of St Giles into a collegiate church was secured.  On 21 October 1466, the underage king gave assent through his council, dominated at that date by Robert lord Boyd, to the burgesses’ long-cherished wish.(46)  The royal assent was assuredly politically motivated, presumably being designed to win support from the influential – and wealthy – Edinburgh burgess community.  The enrolled great seal text of the royal charter is simply a registration of the king’s agreement to the proposal, the constitution of the new collegiate church only becoming clear in a supplication to the pope dated 22 February 1468/9.(47)  In that supplication, the provost, baillies, councillors and community of Edinburgh, first set out their case for why St Giles’ should be collegiate.   They argued that because the town was ‘amongst the most populous, famous and splendid in the realm of Scotland’, and a great many people came there, that the king and many bishops, abbots and other nobles of the kingdom were accustomed to reside there, the burgh deserved a more exalted status for its parish church.  They pointed out that the church was well-endowed in rents and that it already possessed a multiple and increasingly large contingent of celebrating clerics.  Their trump card was that they had already received the consent of the king and erected it into a collegiate church, with the rights and insignia of a collegiate church.  Its constitution had been established, with a provostship for one provost as its head and two other key offices, those of sacristan and minister of the choir, and fourteen prebends for fourteen canons.  To support these three officers and canons prebendary, they had assigned adequate annual rents.  It was their intention that the provostship would be deemed a principal ecclesiastical dignity and that the provost therefore should have, to be maintained at his own expense out of the income of his benefice, one perpetual vicar to exercise the cure of souls of the parishioners and perform the other ‘weighty tasks’ that were part of the daily routine of such an important church.  It was otherwise stipulated that the sacristan and the other canons would celebrate mass daily in the church.  To support his operations, the sacristan was also to be permitted to maintain one secular clerk, serving the church and the vicar, who would play the organs and see to the bell-ringing, at his own expense.  The minister of the choir was permitted to maintain one beadle to perform the various duties associated with that office which were unsuitable for the minister to perform personally.  The prebends in the church were known subsequently under the names of Ravelston, Craigcrook, Merchiston [or St Catherine], Grotall, St Andrew, St Michael [or Lesouris], Saint Michael de Monte Tomba, the Holy Rood, St Salvator, St John the Baptist [and/or St John the Evangelist], St Nicholas, Holy Rood of Lucca [or Lucano also, Black Rood or Holy Blood] and St Sebastian.(48)  Collectively, the provost, sacristan, minister of the choir and other canons were to maintain four choirboys or clerks, who were to be removable at the will of the provost and chapter.  To maintain all of this, it was restated, the petitioners had assigned the requisite income in annual rents.  All of the above had obtained formal ratification from Patrick Graham, bishop of St Andrews, but to give the erection into a collegiate church far greater force, the provost, baillies and councillors supplicated the pope to ratify the arrangements.

The process to secure the still-vacant and not yet papally-sanctioned provostship commenced almost immediately.  On 12 March 1468 William Forbes, parson of Pottie or Dunbarney (qv), who claimed to be of royal stock and a nephew of the late James Kennedy, bishop of St Andrews, supplicated the pope to provide him to the provostship after it had been erected, its value being given as £40.(49)

William, however, had a further plan for which he sought papal approval and proposed in his supplication to freely to resign Pottie into the hands of the pope or his deputy, but, with the support of King James III, petitioned that the pope would annexe and incorporate the parish church with certain annexed chapels (valued at £50 in total) to the capitular mensa of the collegiate church (valued at £80).  His stated aim was to ensure that the provost and those serving in the collegiate church ‘might be more suitably sustained’.  Forbes’s supplication was successful and the parsonage of Dunbarney remained annexed to St Giles’ at the Reformation.  A further prebend, founded on the fruits of the church of Kirknewton (qv), was added to the number in 1472.(50)  This represented the total in the pre-Reformation establishment, later references to prebends of St John the Evangelist and St Catherine refer to those of Merchiston and St John the Baptist, and a very late (1579) reference to a prebend of St Gregory is probably a mis-titling of the chaplaincy at that altar.(51)

A further enhancement of the institutional status of St Giles’ was sought in a supplication to the pope of 30 April 1470, made by James III.(52) This rehearsed the circumstances of the erection of the collegiate church and the nature of its institutional organisation, but set out also his intention to free it from the spiritual oversight of the bishops of St Andrews.  His stated reasons were that he was frequently resident in Edinburgh and had a singular personal devotion towards its church, and intended in future to give it and those ministering there many additional immunities and privileges to it.  To ensure that those immunities and privileges were never in future infringed by the bishops of St Andrews, and ‘for the attractiveness and adornment of the church’, he therefore proposed to free it from all superiority of the bishops, like other collegiate churches of the kingdom.  James, together with the provost, baillies, councillors and community of Edinburgh, supplicated the pope for the desired grant of exemption for the church and its provost, canons, chaplains, vicars choral and other clerks.

Consistory courts and the Consistory Aisle

For most of the remainder of the fifteenth century the surviving records of St Giles’ chiefly illustrate the normal functions of a major ecclesiastical establishment, with continuing evidence (discussed below) for the progressive expansion of the provision of altars and chaplaincies as the century progressed.  It is in this period that the first clear evidence emerges for the use of a part of the church building for meetings of the consistory court of the Lothian, which had been identified in the early fourteenth century as the designated meeting-place of that court.(53)  Meetings of the archidiaconal court were recorded more vaguely ‘in the church of St Giles of Edinburgh’ from the late thirteenth century, with two meetings recorded there in 1293 and 1297.(54)  On 9 March 1478, the ‘consistorial place’ of St Giles’ church was the location for the pronouncement of the divorce of Alexander, duke of Albany, younger brother of King James III, and Catherine Sinclair, daughter of William Sinclair, earl of Caithness.(55)  Precisely where that ‘consistorial place’ was within the church we learn only in the 1550s, when the Holy Cross Aisle at the north-east of the building was referred to also by the alternative name of the Consistory Aisle.(56)

Significant repair work was being undertaken in the Consistory Aisle in the 1550s.  On 21 March 1554, payment was made by the Dean of Guild for repairs to a window in the aisle ‘quhar the thevis come in and brak the kirk’, requiring the replacement of two panels of glass containing 17 feet of glass, costing 25s 6d.(57)  Substantial repairs were carried out in April 1554 on the roof above the aisle, requiring 30 deals of timber and carriage from Leith, plus slates for roofing the ‘hous aboun the Consistorie ile’, which provides our only pre-Reformation evidence for a room in the roof-space over the aisle, and additional joists that had to be purchased as an extra expense, and substantial sums on labour and other materials.(58)  In the 1555-6 Dean of Guild accounts, two entries record work on the windows in the aisle.  The first details replacement of 16 panels amounting to 112 feet of new glass and ‘the O in the heid of the said windo’ containing a further 30 feet of new glass, costing in total £10 13s.(59)  The second records the reinstatement of 12 panels of old glass amounting to 96 feet and the ‘west’ window of the aisle containing 14 panels of old glass and extending to 56 feet, all reset in new lead, the whole costing £4 16s.(60)

In November 1482, James III confirmed the award in perpetuity of the office of sheriff of Edinburgh to be held by the provost of the burgh.  As the consideration for that grant, James secured the agreement of the provost, baillies, councillors and community of Edinburgh, and confirmed that agreement under a great seal charter dated 16 November, that they would fund annual services in St Giles’ from a portion of the profits of the sheriffship.  They agreed to provide for the annual celebration of a sung requiem mass with Placebo and Dirige on 3 and 4 August, which was the anniversary of the death of James’s father, King James II, at the siege of Roxburgh, and the day following.(61)

From burgess patronage to Reformist threat

From the 1460s into the 1520s, the bulk of the record evidence relating to the church of St Giles involves the continuing flow of patronage towards it from wealthy burgesses and the craft and trade associations.  This material is discussed below in respect of the individual altars and chaplaincies attached to them.  Otherwise, there is relatively little material that relates to the church in general until the 1540s, when St Giles’ began to emerge as one of the focuses for reformist activity in the years leading up to the Reformation.  A significant driver of much of the agitation for Protestant reform was the flow of ideas from England after Henry VIII’s break with Rome and subsequent English support for Scottish reformers.  The largely Protestant-inclined pro-English party that briefly dominated Scottish politics after the death of James V in December 1542 accelerated the spread of Protestant ideas in Lowland Scotland and the east coast burghs in particular, but their fall from power and the Scots’ repudiation of the Treaty of Greenwich and its provision for the marriage of the infant Queen Mary to Henry VIII’s son Prince Edward was accompanied by a resurgence of support for Roman Catholicism led by David Beaton, Cardinal-Archbishop of St Andrews.  In retaliation for the Scots’ back-tracking on the negotiated deal under the treaty, Henry VIII sent the Earl of Hertford into Scotland with an invasion force – launching what has become known as the War of the Rough Wooing.  Hertford’s naval landing at Leith on 4 May 1544 took the Scots by surprise.(62)  Hertford’s force entered Edinburgh and, although unable to take the castle, subsequently reported that ‘neither within the walls nor in the suburbs was left any one house unbrent’, and that they had also pillaged Holyrood Abbey and the royal palace there.(63)  It is nowhere stated explicitly that St Giles’ was burned or even just plundered in this assault but, given the actions of the English armies towards the visible symbols of the Roman Catholic religious order elsewhere during their invasions of Scotland, it is unlikely that the church escaped unscathed.  Some of the damage recorded as being repaired into the late 1550s may have been first inflicted in this event.  It is evident, however, that any damage to St Giles’ must have been focused on moveable items and furnishings, for the church was functioning again by at least the late summer of 1547.  In advance of the second English invasion of Scotland in September 1547, it was on the door of St Giles’ that one of the printed copies of the Duke of Somerset’s war-proclamation was posted and which the Scottish regent, the Earl of Arran, ordered that none was to read on pain of death.(64)  In the bitter aftermath of the Sottish defeat at Pinkie outside Musselburgh, the mob who blamed Arran for the humiliation of the battle and the heavy casualties, pelted him with stones as he was going down the High Street and forced him to take refuge in the church.(65)  When the English army entered Edinburgh on this occasion, however, they were unable to move into the upper part of the town, including the central area around St Giles’, as they were in range of the artillery mounted in the castle.  In 1547, therefore, St Giles’ escaped any plundering such as was to be inflicted on the burgh church of St Mary in Dundee (qv).(66)

The 1550s: a decade of repair, renewal and Reformation

Through the 1550s considerable expenditure was made on repairing the fabric of the church and on replacing furnishings.  The non-survival of the Dean of Guild accounts from before 1553 renders it impossible to determine whether or not there was any increase in this activity or if what was being recorded in the accounts represented simply a continuation of a rolling programme of long standing.  References to work that was focused on particular altars or chapel buildings is discussed below under the different altars, but other repairs were more of a more general nature involving the repointing of stonework, repairs to the roofs, and significant work on the windows and their glass.  It was the windows in general that were receiving attention in October-December 1552, with work on St Thomas’s Aisle (Preston Aisle), St Anthony’s Aisle, Our Lady Aisle, St Gabriel’s Aisle, and St John’s Aisle, and other windows generally around the church.(67)  A programme of window-washing began on the north side of the church in early March 1553, for which Patrick Hume and ‘Hannislie’ were paid 14s.(68)  That operation may have revealed several issues with the windows, for a major programme of window-glazing repairs began in late December 1553, with work on the choir clearstorey windows, the Holy Blood Aisle and St Gabriel’s Aisle, for which the glass alone cost 43s.(69)  Payment of 28s was made on 14 March 1554 to Walter Binning, painter, for painting eighteen window-panels in the choir and ‘the twa greit pannallis of the north gavill of the quier’ with ‘osure’ (blue pigment).(70)  This was followed by further glazing work in Our Lady Aisle, St Gabriel’s and St Thomas’s aisles, and the re-pointing of all of the glazed windows on the south side of the church.(71)  Work then moved back to the north side of the church, starting in St Salvator’s Aisle at the north-east corner but including also the ‘heich windo in the quier in the south side’ (i.e. one of the south clearstorey windows).(72)  Payment was made on 11 and 28 October 1554 for windows on the north and south sides of the choir.(73)  St Thomas’s Aisle and the adjoining Chepman Aisle had further window repairs in November 1554 and February 1555, work on four windows totalling 59s.(74)  What appears to have been a major piece of work, however, was carried out in February 1555 on ‘ane greit windo on the north side of the croce kirk, aboun the heid of Sanct Johnis Ile’, evidently a window set high in the north transept above the height of the somewhat lower chapel of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist, which was being ‘put up’ using old and new glass at a cost of 58s 6d.(75)  At Easter 1555, it was windows in St Nicholas Aisle, where amongst other repairs ‘twa greit heid pannellis in ane lang windo’ described as ‘all brokin’ were attended to, as well as one in All Saints’ or ‘Lawson’s Aisle’, on in the Consistory Aisle, one in St Thomas’s or Preston Aisle, and one ‘aboun the heid of the quier’.(76)  Repairs of this regularity to windows on all sides of the church continued to be made down to 1558, when there is reference to Guilbert Cleuth and a slater undertaking an inspection of the great east window of the church, which was then followed by a timber prop having to be put up to support it while the stonework was dismantled.(77)  In the records of council meetings, however, on 12 August 1555 James Carmichael, Dean of Guild, formally warned again that he had long been warning that the great window in the east gable was likely to fall and destroy St Denis’s altar in the eastern chapel of the choir and craved the council’s instructions on how to proceed.(78)  Clearly the council did not share his sense of urgency in the matter.  In April 1558 there is reference also to the blocking up of a window above the ‘croce kirk’ on its west side.(79)

Stonework repairs, in addition to the work on window tracery that is alluded to in the references to glazing-work, appear to have been regular operations.  In the surviving accounts, one of the first major jobs was the pointing of the whole church building ‘with the illis’ (aisles) undertaken by Peter Baxter, the slater, for 28s.(80)  Baxter’s biggest such job, however, was undertaken in early spring 1554 when for £6 9s 8d he repointed most of the church.(81)  The account noted that he had repointed the whole of the choir, amounting to 8 roods; St John’s Aisle, 1 rood 3 ells; ‘the bodey of the kirk betuix the stepil and the west gavill’, 9 roods; the mid aisle between St Catherine’s Aisle and St Stephen’s Aisle, 7 roods; the five outer chapels of the south side of the nave between St Ninian’s Aisle and St James’s Aisle, 4 roods 28 ells; St Thomas’s Aisle and St Gabriel’s Aisle, 2 roods; and the Preston Aisle, 5 roods.  Various references in the accounts to the purchase of materials for scaffolding and ‘to hold up the work’ indicate that high-level structural repairs and new-building continued in even this late period, but detail of where and to do what is lacking in the accounts.  Internal stonework operations included the repaving of the choir and parts of the nave aisles, the former requiring the removal of all of the stalls and other furniture from the area.  Work on the choir floor was underway in late November and early December 1553.(82)  The new floor was finished in time for the stalls to be reinstated and the Christmas-period services to be held in the choir.

There is some evidence for the sources of stone and lime for the work on the church in this period.  The quarry at Ravelston appears to have been a major source of stone throughout the later medieval period and when on 4 January 1512 John Rynde, prebendary of Railston/Ravelston leased the quarries on the land from which he drew part of his income, it was agreed that the tenant would provide stone to the ‘kirk wark’ at the old accustomed price.(83)  In 1554, stone was purchased in Craigmillar to be used for the door-checks of the iron door of the charter house.(84)  It is not clear if this was a one-off purchase or if the Craigmillar quarries had replaced Ravelston by this date as the main source of good-quality stone for the church.  The lime used for all of the mortaring and also for the lime-washing of the stonework was obtained from Cousland.(85)

Roof repair and maintenance, as should perhaps be expected, was a major recurring activity and cost.  Work included the cleaning out of the drainage gutters, as occurred in December 1553 and Easter 1554, but in the summer of 1554 its was all of the spouts and gutters above the church that were thoroughly cleaned out.(86)  The first reference to roofing slates occurs in summer 1554, when 92 were delivered to the porter’s lodge.(87)  It was stone slabs that were employed on finishing the revestry roof in November 1554, costing 30s for carving and fitting just three.(88)  Work on roof structures may have been included in the various purchases of ‘eistland burds’ recorded from 1552 down to 1554, but it is only in April 1555 that timber was specifically purchased in respect of an identified roofing project; 30 deals of timber for the sarking of the roof over the Consistory Aisle, plus an additional £5 for ten joists and £11 for two thousand slates to ‘theik’ it with.(89)  An extra 12 ‘great joists’ had to be purchased from ‘a Dutchman’ at a later point in the operation, perhaps suggesting that some of the existing timbers had proven deficient.(90)  The accounts here also record purchases of various kinds of nails for the work on the aisle roof but also indicate that a significant portion of it was prefabricated at ground-level before being lifted up to roof-height (the ‘rigging of the kirk’) and fixed to the couples that had already been set in place.  In 1555-6, a major re-roofing appears to have been undertaken on the nave, with 3900 ‘Dundie sklaitts’ (slates from Dundee, perhaps from the Auchterhouse quarries) being purchased for a cost of £19 10s, with a further 46s 8d to carry them to the church, 9s to raise them up to roof-level.  Added to this were 44 deals of wood to form the frames for the lead-lined roof gutters at £8 16s with 2s to bring them to the church, two oak branches and eight fir spars to make ‘claws’ to fix the slates totalling 32s, 5s for double ‘garroun’ nails.  A further 32 deals were purchased for sarking, more nails and small items for fixing the slates, plus labour costs for four weeks’ work brought the total expenditure to well over £60.(91)

Throughout the surviving pre-Reformation Dean of Guild accounts there are references to work relating to the internal fixtures and fittings of the church, principally the various sets of stalls and screens in the choir and chapels, but also to replacement or repair of doors and door-surrounds, and several reading desks that were quite separate from the brass lecterns in the choir.  Work on the choir stalls by the collegiate church’s retained wright, Andrew Mansioun, was completed in 1554, his work so satisfying the provost, baillies, councillors and craft deacons that they awarded him a ten merk per annum pension for ten years.(92)  In December 1553, John Banks, smith, was paid 12s for two plate locks and all their fittings to be fitted on the book aumbries in the choir, while in 1556-7 the first reference occurs to a sacrament house when 5s was ;paid for a lock and key for the door of the ‘Sacrament almerye’.(93)  In the same accounts, John Ahannay, smith, was paid for 12 bolts for fixing the stalls to the floor, 200 great flooring nails, and for mending the lock to St Thomas’s Aisle, presumably of the gate through the screens which closed off the Preston Aisle and chapel of St Thomas from Our Lady Aisle and St Anthony’s Aisle.  On 22 January 1557, the council passed a resolution stating that they believed it was ‘expedient’ that the Dean of Guild should ‘reperrell our Lady alter and mak ane ile thairof’, adding that if anyone wished to donate pillars – which the Dean of Guild accounts reveal to have been of brazen work – they could have their personal arms displayed on them.(94)  The work on Our Lady Aisle in 1556-7 involved the insertion of sections of panelling, perhaps to form the lower part of the screens – referred to in the entries as ‘perpell wallis’ (partition walls) - that would have filled most of the arcades between it and the choir and the Preston Aisle.  Part of these ‘perpell wallis’, however, were stone-built and also required the lifting of all of the ‘throuch stanis’ in the chapel, trimming some, and relaying them.(95)  In April 1557 work had progressed to cutting timber for the stalls and desks in the aisle.(96)  It is in December 1554 that there is first mention of the organ loft in the choir, when Mungo Hunter, smith, was paid for a new lock for the south door of the choir and repairing the lock of the organ loft.(97)  The door to the organ was again mended in July 1558.(98)  In 1554-5, two ‘eistland burdis’ (sawn eastern Baltic oak plans) were purchased at a cost of 13s 4d from which to form the cornice and mouldings of ‘the nether quier dur’.(99)  The above references provide only some sample indications of the continuing round of repairs and alterations that occurred down to the eve of the Reformation.

The last years of the old order

All of the work outlined above was being undertaken against a backdrop of continuing political and religious upheaval in Edinburgh and in Scotland more generally.  Indications of a mounting level of Protestant activity in Edinburgh are revealed in a council minute of 22 September 1556 when the provost, baillies and councillors responded to Archbishop John Hamilton of St Andrews’ letter requesting to know what action was being taken to apprehend those individuals who had taken down images of the Trinity, Our Lady and St Francis from locations around the burgh.(100)  Hamilton wrote from Aberdeen on 21 September, the letter reaching the council on 23 September, the day after their first meeting on the issue, with a demand that the burgh authorities identify the perpetrators and deliver their names to him.(101)  These attacks on images of saints culminated in late summer 1558 with the removal of the image of St Giles from within the church by a band of Protestants, its ‘drowning’ in the Nor’ Loch and subsequent burning.(102)  In the early months of 1559, as the Protestant Lords of the Congregation established control within the burgh, the churches in and around Edinburgh were ‘purged’ of their images and other symbols of traditional devotion to saints and the elaborate performance of the mass.  This move culminated on 7 July 1559 with the election of John Knox as minister of St Giles’.(103)

In anticipation of the arrival of the Lords of the Congregation, the church authorities and town council took measures to safeguard the treasures of the church.  As early as 7 January 1559 they had overseen the handing over of the ‘jowells’ of the church from the sacristan, Sir Henry Bunch, to the Dean of Guild, John Charteris, following the weighing and assaying of the treasures.(104)  Amongst these items was the arm reliquary of St Giles, which Sir William Preston of Gortoun had obtained in the mid-fifteenth century.  This was described as in the form of his arm, containing the bone, with a diamond ring on the little finger of the hand, and encrusted over with forty pearls and seventeen precious stones.  There was also a great silver crucifix, two silver cruets, a silver chalice and patten, two silver chandeliers, two even larger silver chandeliers, two silver censers, and a silver ‘ship’ for holding incense.  On 8 March 1559, in the revestry, a further collection of ‘jowellis’ was weighed.  These items included a silver eucharist for holding the consecrated Host, two crucifixes (one large and one small), another eucharist, and the chrism stock, all silver or silver gilt, with several gold attachments and adorned with pearls and precious stones.(105)  The council attempted to order Charteris to take charge of the treasures on 14 June 1559 but he refused, arguing that he was old and infirm, and urging that they be kept instead in their lockfast place in the revestry.(106)  In the midst of this upheaval, the councillors received back from Rome David Somer, their agent who had travelled to the curia to appeal against Archbishop Hamilton’s actions against the burgh for their failure to restore the image of St Giles.(107)  As the crisis deepened towards the end of June, eventually on 27 June the council dispersed the treasures of the church around a series of named burgesses.  The list of items handed over, which included vestments and altar cloths as well as the reliquaries, crucifixes, chalices, pattens, pyxes etc, represents an impressive catalogue of the pious gifts of generations of Edinburgh burgesses.(108)  On 29 June the council wrote to the Lords of the Congregation at Linlithgow, basically offering to receive them into Edinburgh but negotiating with them to secure a guarantee that the roofs of the burgh’s religious buildings would be spared and that there would be no wilful destruction of stalls, altar-backs and other such woodwork.  Clearly not trusting in the success of those negotiations, they also undertook and inspection to see how such items could be better protected and on 12 July the choir stalls were removed for safe-keeping to the tolbooth.(109)

As the hold of the Lords of the Congregation on Edinburgh weakened in the late summer of 1559 they began to take measures to secure their position.  One of those, ordained on 30 September, was the mounting of four small artillery pieces known as cut-throats on a platform above the revestry.(110)  On 13 November, after the Protestant army had withdrawn from Edinburgh, the councillors instructed the return of the treasures of St Giles’ to the church.(111)  The church itself was reconsecrated and restored to Roman Catholic worship, but the restoration was to be short-lived.(112)  An instruction to ‘reperrell’ the church in April 1560 was effectively an order to reverse the process once again and begin to strip out all of the manifestations of the old order.(113)  By May, bells from the steeple that were deemed superfluous to the needs of a decent Protestant form of worship and much of the brasswork – including the pillars from Our Lady Aisle so recently installed – were sold off, some of the metal being used for the casting of artillery pieces.(114)  Even before the meeting of the parliament in Edinburgh in June 1560 that formally declared Scotland a Protestant kingdom, the Dean of Guild had paid workmen to remove ‘the hail Altaris of the Kirk, of the Rude loft’ and to cart the rubbish away.(115)

The altars and chaplainries

In the following section, the altars and chaplainries in the church, several of which have already been referred to in the preceding section, are discussed in more detail.  They are set out here in chronological order of first surviving record of their existence but it must be stressed that this by no means is intended to be taken as a definitive statement of the date of their first foundation.  It is very clear in a number of instances that the first mention of an altar is in the context of the foundation of an endowed chaplaincy serving at what was evidently a long-established altar.  Some of the altars provide reasonably precise evidence for when a portion of the building was completed, consecrated and brought into full liturgical and devotional use.  For example, the five-bay south-west aisle begun in 1387 had its four usable chapel spaces occupied by 1405 for the easternmost (Ninian), 1438 for the next (Duthac), and 1448 for the two western bays (Crispin and Crispinian and James).  St Stephen’s altar, however, located at the west end of the south aisle of the nave, is mentioned for the first time only in 1557-8 but is unlikely to have been a recent foundation.  Indeed, its location just inside the west door of the church on its south side suggests that it might have been one of the first altars established in the building after the high altar and altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It should also be stressed that some altar dedications changed over time and that some altars were relocated, for example, Holy Blood.  In cases of multiple dedications at the one altar, it is possible that one saint’s name was used in preference over another in a form of shorthand – as happened frequently with regard to the north transept chapel of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist, which was referred to most commonly as the chapel of St John.  A final point to note is that for this present study not all surviving records could be examined and that material relating to some of the guilds and their altars remains to be studied in far greater depth.

The cult of the Virgin Mary was represented in St Giles’ at more than one altar and reflected more than one dimension of the Marian phenomenon, but its principal and earliest focus was the south aisle of the choir.  This aisle is generally identified as being the Lady Aisle or Our Lady Aisle, and was the location of the principal altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary.(116)  It appears from references in 1487 and 1502 to the altar of St Mary as the ‘parochial altar’ (see below) that after the erection of St Giles into a collegiate church in the 1460s that the main focus of parish devotions had moved away from the high altar and the enclosed choir with its prebendaries’ stalls to the less restricted space of the south choir aisle. This altar and its chapel are possibly the earliest of the secondary altars in St Giles to be mentioned in a surviving document (the grant could refer to the chapel of St Mary in St Mary’s Wynd), being endowed with annual rents to the value of 2s in 1345 by Matthew, son of Julian, burgess of Edinburgh.(117)  It was certainly at the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the parish church that in 1362 John of Alncorn endowed a chaplainry for the souls of King David II, William, earl of Douglas, and his wife and family.(118)  That endowment may have been enlarged on 18 September 1363, when David II confirmed a grant by Sir Reginald Mure to the altar, for the support of a chaplain, which gave rents from the lands of Railston.(119)  A further grant in 1363 from William Mure, lord of Abercorn, resulted in the foundation of a chaplaincy at the altar for the souls of King Robert I and Mure’s family.(120)  On 26 October 1366, David II confirmed a grant of property in Edinburgh made to the altar by William Hare, an Edinburgh burgess.(121)  At some point shortly before 1520, a service was founded at the altar by John Waugh in honour of St Barnabas the apostle, but the dedication of the altar itself remained solely in honour of Our Lady.(122)

William Mure’s and John Alncorn’s perpetual chaplaincies at the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary were next recorded at the end of September 1414 when mandates were issued on 29 and 30 September respectively to the Abbot of Newbattle to confirm and the Bishop of St Andrews to collate John Carketil and John Bridiny to the two benefices.(123)  In respect of Mure’s chaplaincy, it was noted that it was of ‘no value’ and that the right of presentation had been passed to the alderman and community of Edinburgh, with advice from the archdeacon of Lothian.  John Carketil had been chosen and presented to the Bishop of St Andrews, who admitted him to the chaplaincy.  Alncorn’s chaplaincy was likewise said to be of no value and also to have lain in the presentation of the alderman and community of the burgh, but with the rider that if no-one suitable had been presented within two months of a vacancy that the presentation should devolve to the archdeacon.  As several years had elapsed since the death of the previous incumbent, when the burgesses had presented Bridiny the bishop had refused to admit him, forcing the candidate to make a successful appeal to the pope.

No further endowment or litigation affecting the altar is noted in surviving records until 1487, when a gift of 30s was made to the ‘image of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the parochial altar’.(124)  A chaplain of the ‘parochial altar of St Mary’, one John Wright, is recorded in 1502 and in 1505 the lamp of ‘Our Lady’ received a gift of 10s.(125)  As there is no evidence for the presence of an altar with a Marian dedication in the western limb of the church and only the altar of Our Lady of Pity on the north side of the rood screen under the eastern crossing arch (see below), it appears that the principal altar in the Lady Aisle – which was directly accessible through the south aisle of the nave and St Catherine’s aisle formed in the northern half of the south transept - had become the main parish altar of the burgh.  There is little other evidence for the forms of worship at the altar or for its equipment, there being a sole reference in 1556-57 to payment by the dean of guild for mending the bell of Our Lady altar,(126) presumably that rung at the elevation of the Host which is likely to have been damaged during the ransacking of the church by the Protestants.

The wider Lady Aisle adjacent to the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary appears to have been an ‘in demand’ location for burials and was one of the places in the church where there is evidence for a trade in pre-purchased lairs.  In 1521 William Tod exchanged his ‘grave and stone’ near the altar of St Francis at the east end of the church with John Mariorybury, who had his grave and stone on the north side of the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary.(127)

After the altar of Our Lady, the next altar to be recorded in surviving sources was that of St John the Baptist.  First recorded in 1350 when Henry, lord of Braid, and Henry Multrer, burgess, founded a chaplainry at the already-existing altar for their souls and the souls of their family, presentation to which was to remain with them, it was described as being in ‘the choir of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Edinburgh.(128)  From this generalised locational information, Hay suggested that it stood against the third pillar of the choir arcade, one bay west of the high altar.(129)  This altar was distinct from that of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist (see below), which stood in the outer chapel of the north transept.  There are almost no further surviving references to the altar, which may have been relocated as a result of the major rebuilding of the church after 1385.  A reference in 1489 to the altar of St John and the coopers’ guild which was its patrons is probably to this altar, as it is to a St John in the singular, and the altar of St John the Evangelist (as distinct from that of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist), located in Chepman’s Aisle on the south side of the choir’s outer or Preston Aisle, was the guild altar of the wrights and masons.(130)  There appear to be no later references to the altar of St John the Baptist in the south aisle of the choir.

St Catherine’s altar, the next in chronological order of the altars for which there is documented evidence, is suggested to have been located against the south-west crossing pier and gave the name of St Catherine’s Aisle to the northern half of the south aisle.(131)  Its earliest dated occurrence is in an early nineteenth century transcript of a confirmatory charter of King David II, dated 15 December 1358.(132)  The king’s charter confirmed a grant to the chaplain of the altar of St Catherine made for masses to be said for the souls of Roger Hogg, burgess of Edinburgh, and his wife Margaret, supported on rents from property at Over Merchiston, in the sheriffdom of Edinburgh.(133)  The chaplaincy is next recorded in a papal mandate of 29 September 1414 to the abbot of Newbattle, which instructed him to confirm John Craig in its possession.  The mandate stated that the chaplaincy, which was of no value, had been erected by the late Roger ‘Boy’ and King David II, but that the presentation to it pertained to the alderman and the community of Edinburgh with the advice of the archdeacon of Lothian.(134)  A seventeenth-century copy of a crown confirmation of a charter of 24 July 1456 by sir Robert Lyntoune, chaplain of the altar of St Catherine, records the granting of the lands of Over Merchiston from which he drew the main part of his income in feuferme for an annual rent of 20 merks to Alexander Napier of Merchiston.(135)  In 1427, James Cameron, bishop of Glasgow, granted annual rents of £7 4d to a chaplain at the altar, retaining the right to present future chaplains in the hands of his heirs.(136)  This endowment was on a wholly more substantial scale than the original grant from Roger Hogg and either marked the foundation of a second chaplaincy or effectively represented a refoundation of the original establishment, but the charter is ambiguous on this point.

The resources of the altar were augmented in a charter of 20 September 1470, confirmed by a crown charter at mortmain of 6 July 1471, by which Robert Auldocht, burgess of Edinburgh, granted the then chaplain Robert Cottis and his successors, £10 of annual rents from his properties in Leith.(137)  Bishop Cameron’s grant of 1427 was confirmed by his nephew on 26 October 1487, making over the right of presentation to the chaplaincy to the dean of guild and councillors of Edinburgh and adding a further property in the Cowgate.  Both Bishop Cameron’s original award and the surrender of the right of presentation were confirmed at mortmain by charter of King James IV dated 31 Jan 1499.(138)  A further chaplaincy was added in 1503 by Mariota Redshaw, her endowment being made for the souls of James IV, Queen Margaret, her husband William Kerkettil and family, and drawn from various annual rents from properties in the burgh.(139) The new chaplain, furthermore, was to say masses for the spiritual welfare of the named beneficiaries, the rights of presentation and patronage to remain with her heirs.  Further small gifts in 1493 and 1506 complete the known endowments of the altar.(140)

Named chaplains are recorded in1512, when Henry Lawson was identified as chaplain at the altar,(141) and in 1530 when the chaplaincy was held by John Dikson.(142)  In 1561 John Wilson was described as sometime chaplain at the altar.(143)  There is one reference to the aisle of St Catherine in building accounts for March 1554, when Pater Baxter, slater, was paid for repointing of various areas of stonework including a length of seven roods in the ‘myd ile’ (the central compartment of the nave), from St Catherine’s to St Stephen’s aisle at the west end.(144)  No further pre-Reformation record of the altar or its endowments appears to survive.

An altar of the Holy Cross or Holy Rood is first recorded in 1386, when King Robert II confirmed a charter by Janet Sturry, widow of John, burgess of Edinburgh, founding a chaplaincy at that altar.(145)  It is assumed that this reference is to an altar at the rood screen or, more likely, in the rood loft that filled the eastern span of the crossing, rather than in the north choir aisle which later held the altar of St Salvator, Holy Cross, Holy Blood and St Vincent – to which St Mary of Loretto was added in 1525/6 - and was known as the Holy Cross Aisle.(146)  A further chaplaincy was founded at the altar of the Holy Cross in 1392 by John de Whiltnes in memory of his father, also named John.  It was stipulated that on the founder’s death the patronage would fall to the community of the burgh.(147) A papal mandate of 10 October 1414 to the bishop of Orense, the abbot of Newbattle, and the archdeacon of Dunkeld, instructed them to confirm John Lauder, perpetual vicar of Duddingston, in possession of the perpetual chaplaincy at the altar of the Holy Rood, value not exceeding £3 old sterling to a non-resident, which had been erected by the late John ‘de Cuvitensi’ (a garbling of de Whiltnes), burgess of Edinburgh.(148) The mandate rehearsed John’s testamentary intention that the presentation was to pertain to the community, alderman and baillies after his death.  On that basis, John Lauder had been presented to the bishop of St Andrews, admitted and instituted to the chaplaincy.

The second Holy Cross altar is first identified clearly in a royal charter of confirmation of 20 September 1428 of a charter of 20 June 1428 granted by Thomas Fairlie, burgess of Edinburgh.  The was made to God, the Blessed Virgin Mary and a chaplain, endowed with an annual rent of six merks from properties in Edinburgh to provide for a chaplain celebrating annually and for half the year at the ‘altar of the Holy Cross next to and on the north of the high altar of the parish church of St Giles’.(149)  This altar would finally be located in the easternmost chapel of the north aisle of the choir, to which it gave its name of Holy Cross Aisle. It appears to have become a major focus of devotions and was one of the altars around which there developed a confraternity of lay devotees.  In 1536 an instrument of sasine was drawn up in favour of the brothers of the confraternity of the Holy Cross, in respect of rents worth 40s given to the chaplain, Robert Anderson, of their altar in St Giles, to pay for oil and wax.(150)

There are two further references to additional chaplaincies at an altar of the Holy Cross, but which altar is intended is unclear.  The first of these was founded in 1434 by King James I, with provision to celebrate annual and six-monthly masses for his soul and those of his wife, family and all the burgesses and community of Edinburgh.(151)  There is no locational information that clarifies which altar is in question but, given the prominence of a royal grant of this kind it seems likely that it was that in the north-east of the choir.  The second chaplaincy was confirmed at mortmain on 12 August 1527 by King James V.  His confirmation was of a charter by John White, prebendary of Pitcox in the collegiate church of Dunbar, made for the souls of the king, royal family, the Colvilles of Ochiltree and his own family, in honour of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Holy Trinity, St Anne, John the Baptist, John the Evangelist, and saints Giles, Columba, Leonard and Cuthbert, founding a chaplaincy at the altar of the Holy Cross described as lying ‘on the south part’ of the church.  After White’s death the patronage was to fall to James Colville of Ochiltree and his heirs.(152)  There is no known Holy Cross altar located anywhere that could be described as ‘on the south’ of the church, the rood altar being in the crossing arch, but there is one of the Holy Blood altars located in the Holy Blood Aisle which opens off the eastern chapels of the outer south aisle of the nave (see below).

The next of the endowed altars in the church, that of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist, later patronised by the masons, wrights and coopers, occupied a chapel that formed a northward extension of the north transept between the stair turret to the central tower on its west and the revestry on the east.(153)  The chapel housing the altar was in existence by 1395/6 when King Robert III confirmed and ratified a gift by John Peebles, burgess of Edinburgh, who had founded a chaplaincy in the chapel of John the Evangelist ‘in the north part of the church’, for the spiritual benefit of the king and his family and John and his wife Margaret Hog.  Peebles endowed the altar with £10 of annual rents to sustain the chaplain.(154)  There is no further record of the chapel or altar until 1429 when Thomas Halliday, perpetual chaplain at the altar of John the Evangelist, was given further annual rents from lands in the burgh by the provost and council.(155)

In October 1475 space at the altar and aisle was granted to the guild of Masons and Wrights, with permission to build and adorn the chapel as they saw fit, the guild issuing its seal of Causes that same day,(156) while in 1489 the seal of causes of the Cooper guild also named them as patrons of the altar of St John.(157)  The association of masons, wrights, carpenters and wood-turners with the chapel and altar is established by a charter of 12 January 1528 whereby King James ratified a series of three documents, two forming abridgements of the original grant dated 15 October 1475 and one dated 26 August 1489, concerning provision of space in the chapel and payment of the weekly ‘St John’s penny’ for the upkeep of the altar.(158)  The first of the three documents was granted by the church-masters, deacons and master craftsmen of the Carpenters’ and Wood-turners’ guild and ‘others assisters and sustainers of divine service’ at the altar of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist, consenting and assigning to their beloved neighbours of the masons’ craft and wrights, the aisle and chapel of St John in the collegiate church ‘fra the ald herse of irn inwart’.  No evidence survives for where this internal dividing line once lay but the wording suggests a point at which the chapel could be partitioned into two sub-units for the respective guilds.  The third document was a restatement of the Coopers’ 1489 statement, its gathering with the two in respect of the Masons’ and Wrights’ guild confirming that the altar in question was that of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist.

It may be in respect of this altar that in 1554-1558 the fraternity of St John was charged by the Dean of Guild for borrowing silver candlesticks.(159)  There is otherwise only a reference in 1554-5 to a mason being paid for three days work to build up (i.e. to repair) St John’s windows and the door ‘cheiks’ of the chapel.(160)  This appears to be the last pre-Reformation reference to the chapel or altar.  It was probably in association with this aisle and altar that the chaplainry of St John the Evangelist, pertaining in 1567 to sir David Scott, should be identified rather than with the chapel built for Walter Chepman and dedicated to St John the Evangelist on the south side of the Preston Aisle (see below).  In 1567 it was valued at £10 13s 4d, of which 5 merks paid out of one of the rents was given to the poor rather than to the chaplain.(161)

In sequence, the next altar to occur in surviving documentation is that of St Ninian.  This has been identified as occupying the eastern one-bay chapel of the outer south aisle of the nave, bounded on the south by the Holy Blood Aisle and with the altar of St Duthac occupying the chapel in the next bay to its west.(162)  St Ninian’s altar was in existence by 1405when an inquest into inheritance of John Forester referred to lands pertaining to John Scherar, chaplain of the altar.(163)  There is, however, no exact record of when it was founded or by whom, but a 1425 confirmation by King James I of the foundation by John Forester of Corstorphine of a chaplaincy at the altar of St Ninian, plus the involvement of a Forester in the original 1405 reference, points to a likely Forester family connection with its original endowment.(164)   It was this endowment at the altar, although no dedication is given in the enrolled great seal charter, that James I confirmed on 25 February 1426, rehearsing the tenor of the charter of John Forester of Corstorphine by which he granted an annual rent of £6 13s 4d from certain properties in Edinburgh for the maintenance of a chaplain in the church of St Giles of Edinburgh, for the safe state of the king and Queen Joan, and of his late parents Adam Forester and Margaret, and of his late wife Margaret.(165)  The more detailed version of the text in the St Giles’ cartulary records that the chaplain was to celebrate placebo and dirige for the king and for Forester’s own family, for which the rents of £6 13s 4d were assigned to sustain him.

Service provision at the altar was expanded in 1439 when Alan de Farinle/Fernley, burgess of Edinburgh, founded a chaplaincy at the altar of St Ninian in the parish church for the soul of his wife and family.(166)  The first named chaplain, James Inglis, is recorded in 1463.(167)  By a charter of 3 July 1478, confirmed at mortmain by King James III on 24 October 1478, Andrew Mowbray, burgess of Edinburgh, granted an extensive portfolio of annual rents from properties in Edinburgh, yielding in total £13 5s 8d.  The income was to be set towards the sustentation of what was specifically labelled as ‘a new chaplain’ in the by then collegiate church of St Giles, at the altar of St Ninian.  The final 33s of his gift, drawn from the new tenement at the end of his orchard, was assigned for the support of the altar, priests and as alms for the poor, payment to be made for his anniversary.(168)  A second charter of 19 December 1492, confirmed at mortmain by King James IV on 9 January 1493, reveals that Andrew Mowbray expanded on even that original very generous endowment.(169)  Mowbray’s second charter was granted for the salvation of the souls of the king and royal family, and of his wife Elizabeth, of Patrick Cant his son in law, and Agnes his wife, Andrew’s daughter.  In it he granted property to support two secular chaplains at the altar, which was described as lying on the south side of the church near to the altar of St Laurence.  As with the final clause of his original charter, the money attached to the gift was also for distribution to the other priests and the poor on the anniversary of his death, and for the finding of other necessary expenses.  Of the bequeathed money, 20 merks each from the fermes and rents of the property was assigned as stipends to the chaplains and the profit upon 44 merks of the annual rents from the land and houses was to be placed in keeping in a kist with two keys.  One of the keys was to be in the keeping of one of the chaplains, with the kist in the keeping of the other, while the second key was to be kept by the dean of the collegiate church.  The money from the kist was to be employed for the repair of the houses which yielded the income and for provision of mass materials and vestments.  In addition to this, he endowed the altar with a suite of rich vestments and furnishings: a cape of jacinth-coloured silk stitched with gold; five chasubles, four of multi-coloured silk and the fifth of ‘birdealexander’, complete with their albs and amices; a silver-gilt chalice weighing 19oz; two silver vials weighing 13oz; one missal and one breviary for the altar ‘for celebrating the canonical hours’.  Mowbray’s benevolence did not end there; in 1493 he made a further endowment of 5s for the maintenance of a lamp to be burned in perpetuity before the altar.(170)

In 1524 Patrick Coustoun or Cranstoun of Rathobyre, was identified as patron of a chaplaincy at the altar, which was said to have been founded by his predecessors.(171)  This could have been one of the chaplaincies associated with the Forester and Fernlie families established before 1440, but Patrick’s relationship with either of those families cannot be established.  In 1533 Andrew Mowbray, grandson of Andrew Mowbray, was confirmed as patron of the altar which was founded by his grandfather and instituted John Porteous as chaplain, delivering to him the vestments and ornaments as detailed above.(172)

At the Reformation, only two of the possibly four chaplaincies at St Ninian’s altar were recorded.  In 1567 in the Books of Assumption, the chaplainries of saints Ninian and Patrick were held by John Brown, with recorded values of 20 marks and £10 respectively.(173)  At the same date, the altars of St Ninian and St Eloi pertaining to sir John Scott, were valued at £10 3s 8d.(174)  No further record of the chaplaincies at the altar appear to be known.

St Nicholas’s altar first occurs in a surviving record in 1438.  It has been identified as standing in the easternmost of the outer chapels of the nave’s north aisle, immediately west of the tower stairs.(175)  When it first appears it is as an already established altar with an associated chaplaincy, the chaplain John Bridin, having been involved in litigation with John Leiper, burgess, over possession of certain rents in the burgh.(176)  A charter of 1466 confirmed possession of lands in Edinburgh to Robert Logan, chaplain of the altar of St Nicholas.(177)  The resources of the chaplaincy were augmented in February 1467 when Alexander Curroure, vicar of Dunsyre, and John Logtoun, chaplain, granted an extensive portfolio of annual rents in Edinburgh and Leith, totalling £8 12s, for the sustentation of a chaplain celebrating annually at the altar of St Nicholas.(178)  That income had more than doubled by September 1532 when Gilbert Lauder, chaplain, augments the 26 merks at that date belonging to the altar with a further six merks from lands in Fife.(179)  The gift appears to have been made with a view to him surrendering his charge, for on 12 October 1532 he resigned the altarage and service into the hands of the provost and council, who inducted David Purdane in his place.(180)  In the valuation of benefices undertaken shortly after the Reformation, however, the altar of St Nicholas was valued at only £12 5s 2d, presumably reflecting the current yield of the property rentals.(181)

It is unclear whether the repairs to the window of the chapel housing the altar of St Nicholas made in 1554-5 during Passion Week were just part of the general round of maintenance of the building discussed earlier or resulted from vandalism directed against the visible tokens of the cult of saints by Protestants in the burgh.  Whatever the cause, the six panels of glass and two ‘great head panels’ in one long window, which were all broken, were replaced with 27½ feet of new glass.(182)

An chaplaincy of St Duthac, whose shrine was located at Tain in Ross and was emerging as an important cult centre attracting pilgrims from around Scotland in the fifteenth century, was founded in St Giles’ church in 1438 at an already existing altar, a surprisingly early date so soon after Prior James Haldenstone of St Andrews’ efforts to have the saint formally canonised.(183)  The altar was located in the late fourteenth-century outer south aisle of the nave in the bay immediately west of the altar of St Ninian and adjacent to the outermost chapels referred to as the Holy Blood Aisle.(184)  The founders were Thomas Cranston and William his son, whose association with what was still at that time a relatively new official cult is unknown.  Their endowment was generous and the presentation and patronage was to remain in the family’s hands.(185)  Cranstons still held the patronage in 1504, when William Cranston of Swinehope, described as patron of the altar, installed James Haswell in place of Matthew Bovel, his presentation being ‘signified by the delivery of the book, chalice and bell of the said altar’.(186)  The family still held the patronage in 1567, when the chaplaincy of St Duthac’s altar, patron Martin Crichton of Cranstoun Riddell, valued at £8 10d and held by Thomas Westoun, was recorded in the Books of Assumption.(187)  There is no evidence of any beneficiary of the altar or chaplaincy beyond the Cranston family.

It is to be expected that one of the principal parish churches within the diocese of St Andrews would contain an altar dedicated to the diocesan patron.  St Andrew’s altar has not been securely located within St Giles’ church but Hay has suggested that it stood in the crossing against the rood screen south of its central doorway into the choir.(188)  Its first occurrence in a surviving source is in1447 when it was already an endowed establishment.  In this first reference, certain lands belonging to the altar but described as ruinous were resigned by John Errol, its chaplain, to the burgh community and replaced by other annual rents from burgh properties.(189)  The endowment was augmented on 28 May 1478 in a charter confirmed at mortmain by King James III on 22 January 1483.  By this grant, Patrick Barron, burgess of Edinburgh, with the consent of Margaret his wife, granted £3 3s in annual rents for the souls of King James II, the royal family and his own family, to a chaplaincy of St Peter at St Andrew’s altar, which was described simply as ‘on the south side of the church’.  The rights of presentation to the chaplaincy were to remain with Barron’s heirs.(190)  The altar received a further gift of 5s in 1513 from Thomas Livingstone and his wife.(191)

There are few other direct references to the altar but it had apparently become the basis of one of the prebends of the collegiate church by the 1500s.  In 1535 William Cady received the prebend of St Andrew’s altar, described as vacant because the previous prebendary Andrew Johnson had ‘left the land of heresy’ (i.e. because he was a heretic).(192) On St Andrew’s Day (30 November) 1540, the accounts of the chamberlain of the archbishopric of St Andrews recorded payment of 22s to the choristers of St Giles’, for ‘singing solemn mass at the altar of St Andrew on his day’, the cardinal (Archbishop David Beaton) being present.(193)  This appears to be the last pre-Reformation record of the altar.

The altar of St James the Apostle has been identified as standing in the westernmost bay of the outer south aisle of the nave, flanked to its east by the altar of St Crispin and St Crispinian and with the outer chapel housing the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Gabriel the Archangel to its south.(194)  It was in existence by 1448, when a financial transaction was mentioned as being agreed at the altar of St James in the church.(195)  It is as a location for financial transactions that it most often features in the surviving references to it.(196)  Indeed, in the immediate post-Reformation the former chapel of St James continued as a regular place for the drawing up and witnessing of legal instruments.  In 1561-2, several legal transactions were recorded as being done ‘at the pillar near which formerly was situated the altar of St James’.(197)  In a 1562 instrument, the signing was described as being done ‘on the board or table in the place where the altar of St James the Apostle was situated’.(198) An unnamed chaplain was in office by 1451 but there is no evidence for his endowment or with whom patronage of the altar and chaplaincy lay.(199)  A second chaplaincy was endowed at the altar on 26 August 1491 by Master William Fowler, canon of Dunblane, and confirmed at mortmain by the king a month later.(200)  Fowler’s chaplaincy was in honour of St Gregory the Pope, usually recognised for his role in sending the original Roman mission that brought about the conversion of the pagan English at the end of the sixth century.  He bestowed on it an annual rent of 14 merks with half of his tenement in Forester’s Wynd.  Fowler’s charter makes no mention of with whom the rights of presentation or patronage were to lie in future, but when in 1543 John Wilson was made chaplain, the provost, council and community were described as patrons of the altar.(201)

The last pre-Reformation record of the altar is an account of 1556-7 for payment for a panel of glass above St James’s altar, containing 8½ feet of new glass.(202)  The date suggests that this replacement might have been required due to damage inflicted in the Protestant disturbances in the burgh around that time.  Equally, however, a general round of maintenance on the building was underway in the mid-1550s (see above under St Nicholas’s altar) and the repair of the window may have been part of that scheme.

It is suggested that the altar of St Martin and St Thomas lay at the north-east crossing pier immediately north of the altar of Our Lady of Pity.(203)  The first record of the altar dates from 20 May 1444, when Master Thomas Lauder, canon of Aberdeen and Master of the Hospital of Soutra, later bishop of Dunkeld, granted a charter, confirmed at mortmain by King James II on 3 January 1450, which bestowed annual rents totalling 46s 8d from certain properties in the High Street and Cowgate of Edinburgh, for the sustenance of a chaplain and the ornaments of the altar.(204)  The version of Lauder’s charter in the St Giles’ cartulary describes it as founded for the souls of King James I and his own family, and gives its location as in the Holy Cross aisle.(205)  Lauder’s endowment was augmented on 31 October 1477 when Bishop James Livingstone of Dunkeld (1475-83) made a grant for the souls of James III and Queen Margaret, his predecessor Bishop Thomas Lauder (resigned1475, died 1481) and his own family, founding a chaplainry in honour of St Columba at the altar of SS Martin and Thomas.  This was described as situated at the west pier – which would fit with the suggested location against the north-east crossing pier - in the aisle of the Holy Cross. To sustain the chaplain he bestowed ten merks of annual rents, reserving presentation rights to the future bishops of Dunkeld.(206)  A 1493 charter by James IV confirmed a further gift of 40s to sustain the chaplain of St Columba by James Livingstone.(207)  This charter reveals that the Thomas of the altar’s dedication was Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, rather than Thomas the Apostle.  Apart from a 1556 reference to the taxation of booths situated in between the buttresses at the back of the St Martin and St John’s aisles, there appears to be no further pre-Reformation reference to this altar.(208)

One of most important altars established in the church was that of the Holy Blood of Our Lord, which from December 1518 was associated with the merchant and guild brethren of the burgh.  It is clear from the records relating to the Holy Blood altar that the two-bay outer chapel to the south of the two eastern bays of the naves outer south aisle which carried the name of the Holy Blood Aisle was not the first location of an altar with that dedication.  It is also possible that even after the erection of that southern chapel that the Holy Blood continued as a secondary dedication at another altar elsewhere in the church, possibly that of the Holy Cross at the east end of the north choir aisle.(209)  Hay suggests that its first location was at that altar,(210) his source probably being reference in 1450 to a rent that was owed to the chaplain of the altar of the Sacred Blood ‘near the northern entrance’ of the church.(211)  This doorway was almost certainly that at the east end of the north wall of the choir aisle, accessed by what were known as Our Lady’s Steps.(212)  It is likely that the original north-east choir altar of the Holy Blood was also that which between 1497 and 1507 was referred to as the altar of the Black Rood.(213)  This identification appears to be confirmed by a charter of 1505 which speaks of the ‘altar of the Holy Blood, called the Black rood altar’, and in 1506 Alexander Tod was named as chaplain of the altar of the Holy Blood and the Cross of Lucano, which had been founded in St Giles with the consent of the provost, baillies and community of the burgh, patrons of the said altar.(214)  It was again at this altar that on 10 July 1512 Thomas Ewan, chaplain founded a chaplainry, for anniversaries to be said after his death, when the patronage was to fall to the confraternity of the Holy Blood.  Masses were to be said for Ewan on the day of ‘Iconi Salvatoris’ (9 Nov).(215)

It is unclear if the chaplaincy and associated endowments relating to the Holy Blood dedication moved in 1518 to the new altar of the Holy Blood on the south side of the nave.  On 10 December 1518 a petition from the Merchant and Guild Brothers requested and received permission that ‘ws [use] the Ile now laitly biggit within our paroche kirk of Sanct Geill on the south syde of the samen, in honour of the Haly Blude to be assignit and given to thame’.   It was also agreed that ‘the Haly Blude [would] be thare patrone, and to haif the Octavis of Corpus Christi to be their procuratiounn dais’.(216)  The new chapel was, as mentioned earlier, a two-bay structure inserted into the space between the south porch of the nave and the southern extension of the south transept known as St Anthony’s Aisle.(217)  Work on the new chapel appears to have been completed by 1522 when the altar of the Holy Blood was described as newly created, and the vicar of St Giles, David Young, was to say mass there.(218)

Endowments flowed to the new altar.  On 15 August 1527, sir John White, priest, prebendary of Pitcox in the collegiate church of Dunbar, granted a charter that was confirmed at mortmain by the king on 18 August 1527, endowing the present and future chaplains of the altar for masses to be said for the souls of the late Robert Colville of Ochiltree, director of chancery, James Colville of Ochiltree his son and heir, director of chancery.(219)  A further money gift came in 1529 from William Baillie to Matthew Symson, chaplain of the altar, in the name of the confraternity of the Holy Blood.(220) This gift was followed on 10 July 1529 by a major gift by sir Thomas Ewan, chaplain, confirmed at mortmain by King James V only on 15 Feb 1542, whereby for the salvation of the souls of King James IV, Queen Margaret his wife, the late Patrick Bellenden and Mariota Douglas his wife and their children, Master Thomas Bellenden of Auchnoule, director of the king’s chancery, and his children, Katherine Bellenden and the late Adam Hoppar her husband, the late Oliver Sinclair of Roslin, knight, his wife and children, Oliver Sinclair of Pitcairn, husband of the said Katherine and son of said Oliver the knight, and his children, Henry lord Sinclair and Margaret Hepburn his wife, the late Patrick Richardson, their wives and children, with their husbands, John Tennent and Mariota Atkinson his wife, he endowed the altar and future chaplains with an extensive portfolio of annual rents.(221)  Of this, nine merks was to be distributed annually in seventy-six portions as alms, while a further £13 10s was allocated to the chaplains.  At the Reformation the effect of these endowments can be seen in the three chaplaincies associated with the Holy Blood altar recorded in the 1567 assessment of benefices in the Books of Assumption.  The first, a joint figure for the chaplaincies held by sir John Littlejohn at the altars of Nomine Jesu and the Holy Blood, totalled £28 12s; the second held by John Lockhart at the Holy Blood altar only was worth 18 merks; and the third held by William Johnson at the Holy Blood altar only was valued at £9.(222)

The altar of St Christopher, which was associated from the mid-fifteenth century with the skinners and furriers guild, has been identified as standing in the second bay from the west in the north aisle of the nave, with St Cuthbert’s altar to the west and that of St Mary Magdalene to the east.(223)  It is first mentioned, described as ‘recently founded’, in an instrument of 12 January 1451, drawn up before a gathering of the skinners guild brethren in the Kirk o’ Field, whereby they made formal arrangements for its future maintenance as their guild altar.(224)  References from 1508 confirm that the guild of skinners and furriers are the patrons of the altar but between 1512 and 1525 when Thomas Ewan was chaplain it was recorded that the founder of the altar had been Sir Henry Loureston.(225)  A very late reference dating from 18 April 1606 reveals the identity of the founder of the chaplaincy at the altar.  It is a record of the presentation by the deacon and brethren of the skinners, as patrons, to Eleazar Moffett, schoolmaster and reader in Edinburgh, of the chaplaincy or prebend that had been founded by Gilchrist Turnbull, skinner, burgess of Edinburgh, and Christian Haliwell, his wife.(226)

It may be this altar that was referred to in 1554-1557 when the Dean of Guild charged the ‘Fraternite of St Cristell’ for the use of silver candlesticks belonging to the town.(227)  If that is so, this single reference indicates the existence of another confraternity of laymen associated with one of the altars in the parish church.  No further references to this confraternity – or the altar – appear to have survived from the pre-Reformation period.

St Mungo or St Kentigern’s altar, the next in the chronological sequence of first references, was associated from at least 1505 with the confraternity of the barbers and surgeons.(228)  Hay identified its location as in the middle bay of the south arcade of the nave, flanked to the east by the altar of St Michael the Archangel and with the altar of St Severin(us) to the west.(229)  It was first recorded in 1451 as St Kentigern’s altar, founded by John Gray, rector of Kirkliston, who had stipulated that the patronage of it would fall on his death to the burgh.(230)  It occurs next – this time as St Mungo’s altar – in an instrument of sasine drawn up in front of it on 13 February 1465.(231)

There is no evidence for significant endowment of the altar after Gray’s original foundation bequeast until 1505, when John Vallange gave to John Lithgow his ‘thruch’ stone – or graveslab – marking the burial-place that he had pre-paid-for before the altar of St Kentigern.(232)  A second such transaction in the same chapel occurred in 1522 when Isobel Fyfe, daughter and heir of the late John Fyfe, flesher/burgess, resigned ‘the grave and stone of her said father, in St Giles before the altar of St Kentigern, in favour of John Cunningham.(233)  It is unlikely that Cunningham would have removed Fyfe’s remains from the grave but, rather than Fyfe’s heirs following him into the same lair, Cunningham and his family presumably secured the spiritual benefits of burial in the presence of this altar.  These deals point to the value attached to lairs in prominent places within the church and identifies St Kentigern’s altar as a favoured location for which Vallange had probably paid substantially.  Vallange’s payment for his burial place had most probably been received by the burgh authorities, particularly as it was located in the nave which was their primary responsibility to maintain.  As a consequence, it is unlikely that any significant part of his lair charge was passed to the altar.  Direct benevolence, however, came in 1518 when Henry Livingstone made a bequest to William Franche, who was at that time chaplain of the altar of St Mungo.(234)  An additional service was in place by 1523, when Robert Stalker was described as chaplain of the service founded by the late John Baty at the altar of St Kentigern,(235) and in 1526 John Thomson (husband of Margaret Baty, heir of John) gave the patronage of the chaplaincy to James Foulis.(236)

Like St Christopher’s altar, that of St Kentigern appears to have become the focus of a spiritual confraternity of laymen.  Also like St Christopher’s altar, in 1557-58 the fraternity of St Mungo was charged by the Dean of Guild for the use of silver candlesticks.(237)  This appears to be the only surviving reference to the brethren.

The next bay of the nave to the east in the south arcade was occupied by the altar of St Michael, which appears next in sequence in the surviving records.(238)  It was already in existence when first recorded in 1454 when Patrick Lesouris, rector of Newton, founded a secular chaplaincy at altar of St Michael the Archangel for the salvation of the souls of kings James I and James II, John Forester of Corstorphine and for his family, providing various annual rents to sustain the chaplain and furnish the altar equipment and mass materials. Lesouris was to exercise the right of patronage during his lifetime, his rights passing to the burgh council after his death.(239)  Apart from a few incidental references, one of which identifies the altar as the basis of one of the prebends of the collegiate church, there is little further pre-Reformation evidence for the altar.(240)  In 1567, when the altarage was held by Thomas Grey, St Michael’s was valued at £10 per annum.(241)

A second altar in the aisle of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist is on record from 1456.  This was the altar of St Aubert, known also variously as Cobert, Hubert and Ubert, patron saint of the trade association of baxters.(242)  It already clearly existed by the date of its first surviving record in 1456, when Patrick Donald granted two merks annually for reparation of the altar of ‘St Ubert’, which was described as founded by the Baxter craft.  He gave sasine to the altar for his ‘stane and lair’ that he had purchased in front of it.(243)  The location of the altar is confirmed by a reference in 1508 to the altar of saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, which was described as being to the north and immediately after the altar of ‘St Cobert’.(244)

The craft evidently wished to have elaborate services performed at their altar but appear to have been less willing to pay for the costs associated with that.  On 20 May1536 Thomas Boys, deacon of the Baxters’ craft, and Henry Heriot, master of the fabric of the altar of St Hubert, were brought before the court of the Official of St Andrews by the sacristan of St Giles, for failure to pay charges incurred for certain services.  The court found against Boys and Heriot, who were ordered to pay the costs of having the church bells rung and the organ being played on St Hubert’s day.  The craft seems to have been a serial offender in failing to pay for these additional special services, on 26 October 1536 the same two men being ordered to pay the sacristan 18d for ringing the bells as part of the 1 March service of St Monan at their altar of St Hubert.(245)  The Baxters appear also to have formed a confraternity at their altar, in 1554-1558 the Dean of Guild charging the fraternity of ‘St Chowbert’ for the use of silver candlesticks.(246)  This appears to be the last pre-Reformation reference to the altar.

Next in the sequence comes the altar of St Anne, which was associated with the tailors’ craft.  It is believed that this altar, dedicated to the supposed mother of the Virgin Mary, was located in the easternmost chapel of the south choir aisle, behind the altar of Our Lady.(247)  It occurs first in an indenture dated 24 July 1473 between the provost of the collegiate church of St Giles and a confraternity described as comprising ‘worthi and famouss men the brethir sisteris gud doaris suplearis and mantenaris with thar almus ande cherite to Sanct Annys altar fundit on the south side of the queyr of Edinburgh’.  The clergy bound themselves to perform certain services at the altar, for which the confraternity were bound to pay them 20s yearly.(248)  This fraternity was still operating in 1552/1555-56/1557/1558, when they were charged by the Dean of Guild for the use of silver candlesticks.(249)  By 26 August 1500, however, the tailor craft had entered into an undertaking to maintain the altar of St Anne and the confraternity and the trade association evidently became the secular and religious arms of the craft.(250) Their association with the altar brought further endowments, as in 1513 when John Rae made an offering that was accepted by Thomas Foular, who was described as deacon of the tailors and master of the confraternity of St Anne and their altar.(251)  There is reference to repair work in St Anne’s Aisle in 1556, with payment made on 27 April for the replacement of ‘ane gret pannell’ of glass in one of the windows, which required 11 feet of new glass at a total cost of 16s 6d.(252)  That appears to be the last record of the altar and chapel, other than in respect of the fraternity, in any pre-Reformation source.

St Severinus’ altar, associated with the weavers’ craft, was located in the second bay from the west of the south aisle of the nave, flanked by the altars of saints Stephen and Kentigern.(253)  The first reference to it occurs in 1475 when the weavers were confirmed as patrons of the altar, which was then already in existence.(254)  A 1508 reference to land belonging to the altar suggests that there was an endowed chaplaincy in existence by that date,(255) but firm evidence for such an institution occurs only in 1532 when the chaplaincy was noted as being held by John Mekill, who was also chaplain of St Bartholomew altar.(256)  There appears to be no further records surviving of the altar.

Although the high altar with its dedication to St Giles had presumably existed in the church from the time of its foundation in the twelfth century, it was only in a charter of 9 September 1477 and confirmed at mortmain by King James IV on 28 February 1491 that specific reference to the altar of St Giles is made.(257)  The 1477 charter was granted by John Dalrymple (see below under St Eloi’s altar), son and heir of the late David Dalrymple, burgess of Edinburgh, endowing a chaplain celebrating at the altar of St Giles for the salvation of the souls of the king and royal family, and of the late Adam Dalrymple, goldsmith, and also John Dalrymple his grandfather, and Elizabeth, wife of the said John senior, and the late David and Isabel, his father and mother, and of all the smiths of the said burgh.  The chaplain was supported on an annual rent of £10 drawn from certain lands within the burgh, all to be held in free alms.  The 1491 ratification was secured at the instance of Master Alexander Inglis, archdeacon of St Andrews, who was described as ‘conqueror’ (effectively purchaser) and patron of the chaplainry.

Detailed references to the high altar and either its physical appearance or the arrangements for chaplains serving there are otherwise scarce.  Hay highlighted a reference to an incident at Easter 1498 while a plague epidemic was raging in Scotland, when a fire in the choir destroyed the reredos or retable of the high altar, the event being recalled in a poem of 1509-10 by James Foulis.(258) The poem describes the retable as being adorned with carvings or pictures of such sacred objects as the Annunciation, Visitation and Nativity and events from the life of Christ.  There is no record of this event in any of the surviving church or burgh accounts but the detail in Foulis’ poem suggests that the incident was not invented.

A further endowment was added to the income of the high altar chaplains by charter of Robert Vaus, burgess of Edinburgh, dated 23 January 1504, confirmed at mortmain by King James IV on 31 January 1505.(259) By his charter, Vaus, for the salvation of the soul of the late Cristine Stanely, his wife, John Vaus his son, Elizabeth Vaus his sister, and others, granted to sir Edward Bog, secular chaplain, and his successors, celebrating at the high altar of St Giles in the collegiate church of the burgh of Edinburgh, annual rents amounting to £11 6s 8d.  This gift brought the endowment of the chaplaincy at St Giles’ altar to over £21, making it one of the best-endowed in the church.

An altar of St Eloi was already in existence by 1477 when a chaplaincy was founded at it by a private individual but it seems to have had already an association with the Hammermen, as John Dalrymple and his family were described in his simultaneous foundation of a chaplainry at the high altar as ‘smiths’ or ‘goldsmiths’.(260)  It is believed to have been located in the easternmost bay of the north aisle of the nave, adjacent to the former position of the pulpit.(261)  The chaplaincy endowment was made on 9 September 1477 by John Dalrymple, son of the late David Dalrymple, for the soul of King James II, the royal family and his own family, presentation rights to remain with his heirs.(262) On 12 April 1496 a second seal of causes of the Hammermen guild specifically mentioned the upkeep of their altar in the parish church, dedicated to St Eloi.(263)  The following year, they paid for two silver images of St Eloi at a cost of £5 each.(264)  Their confraternity was effectively organised, with masters of the fabric of the altar being in place by at least 1501.(265)  Between 1525 and 1527 various small bequests were made to the altar by individual members of the association.(266)  On 31 January 1525 an act of the council of the burgh of Edinburgh granted the goldsmiths’ craft a place at an altar, with St Eloi nominated as their as patron.(267)  Confusingly, however, that altar does not appear to have been St Eloi’s in the nave, but the altar of St Salvator etc in the Holy Cross Aisle, where they developed a cult focus for their patroness, St Mary of Loretto, in an image of the saint which they had imported from Flanders.(268)

Despite both the seal of causes of the Hammermen and the act extending the use of the altar to the Goldsmiths, on 1 October 1525 the burgh and community of Edinburgh was named as patron when Thomas Forbes, chaplain of St Eloi’s altar, resigned his charge, David Frissell being instituted as chaplain in his place.(269)  At the next presentation in 1533, the provost, council and community again exercised the patronage of the chaplaincy.(270)  Private individuals, too, made bequests to the altar and maintained priate rights of patronage, a reference in 1531 naming a service founded at the altar by the late Elizabeth Wood, the patronage of which was by that date with John Spens.(271)  The confraternity associated with the weavers was still in existence, however, and in 1555-1558 the Dean of Guild charged them for use of silver candlesticks.(272)  That was the last pre-Reformation reference to the altar or chaplaincy, which was valued as a joint benefice with the chaplaincy of St Ninian in 1567, held by John Scott, and valued at £10 3s 8d.(273)

A charter of 10 October 1477 granted by James Livingstone, bishop of Dunkeld, confirmed at mortmain on 31 October by King James III, represents the first surviving record of the emergence of a chaplainry and possible altar foundation dedicated to Dunkeld’s patron, St Columba.(274)  Livingstone’s charter was granted for the salvation of the souls of the king, Queen Margaret, Bishop Thomas Lauder his predecessor and others, and made provision for the maintenance of a chaplain ‘in the aisle of the Holy Rood, at the western column at the altar of saints Martin and Thomas’ supported on an annual rent of £10 from property in Edinburgh.  Livingstone also granted an annual rent of two merks to maintain three lamps in perpetuity in the church.  A confirmation at mortmain by James III dated 17 March 1481, confirmed a charter by Thomas Lauder which founded the chaplainry as detailed in Bishop Livingstone’s charter.(275)  This chaplainry, it emerges, was dedicated to St Columba and by 1491 it appears that this secondary dedication had begun to take over in common usage as the principal dedication at the altar of St Martin and St Thomas the Martyr, no doubt aided by the additional endowment of £3 6s 8d that Adam Williamson, chaplain of the chaplainry of St Columba, added to the £10 bequeathed by Livingstone.(276)  In the valuation of benefices for taxation undertaken in 1567, the altar was referred to simply as ‘St Colm’s’.  Unfortunately, the figure for its income value was not recorded.(277)

An altar dedicated to St Francis existed before 20 December 1477 when Walter Bartram, burgess of Edinburgh endowed a chaplaincy there, for the salvation of the souls of kings James II and James III, Queen Margaret, and for the souls of his own family, and allocated £12 of annual rents towards the sustenance of the chaplain with an additional five merks annually to be distributed to paupers.  The altar was described as located ‘behind the great altar’, placing it in the row of chapels along the east gable of the choir.(278)  A second service was founded at the altar before 1525 by Thomas Dickson, but no charter of endowment for this chaplaincy survives.  It is first referred to in a charter by which Janet and Elizabeth Turing added a further gift of 5s to the endowment.(279)  This location, immediately to the east of the high altar and with important subsidiary altars to its north and south made the altar of St Francis a favoured place for burial.  In 1521 one William Tod exchanged his ‘grave and stone’ below the altar of St Francis with John Mariorybury, who gave in exchange his grave and stone on the north side of the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Lady Aisle.(280)  In post-Reformation records the chaplaincy was recorded as being held in conjunction with that at the altar of St Denis, located immediately to its south, the two being valued jointly at £18 7s 8d.(281)

Amongst the altars which have left almost no record trace, that of St Mary Magdalene is perhaps the most enigmatic.  Hay suggested that it was located in the third bay of the north aisle of the nave, directly opposite the main north door of the church and based his evidence for the existence of the altar on its citation in J Smith’s 1906 study of the Hammermen.(282)  The existence of an altar before 1478 is perhaps supported by an incidental reference in a charter by John Otterburn, archdeacon of Whithorn, which identifies land held by the chaplaincy of St Mary Magdalene in Peebles’ Wynd in the burgh.(283)  It is mentioned again in a similar context in respect of land in the High Street in 1510. (284)  The first clear evidence for the existence of an altar with this dedication in the church is an act under the privy seal dated 10 April 1556, which provided George Robson to the chaplaincy of the altar of St Mary Magdalene within St Giles’.(285)  The altar was described as lying at that date in the patronage of the crown.

Amongst the various expressions of the character of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one of the first to be reflected in a separate altar in St Giles was that of Our Lady of Pity (or Piety), which before 1536 had come to be associated with the confraternity of Candlemakers.  The altar already existed by 28 March 1484 when James Towers, burgess, founded a chaplaincy there to say the masses de Profundis and Ave Maria after his death.  Presentation to the chaplaincy was to remain with his heirs.(286)  In 1530, when William McDowell was installed as chaplain it was recorded that the patronage by that date lay with the provost, baillies and community of the burgh.(287)  On 23 March 1536, however, William Bell, heir of the late John Bell, was described as patron of the altarage of Our Lady of Pity in an agreement which permitted the candlemakers to have their own chaplain at his altar.  The altar, moreover, was described as being ‘on the north side of the entre of the qweir of the said kirk’, that is, on the north side of the door through the centre of the rood screen.(288)  An undated copy of the seal of Causes of the Candlemakers subsequently refers to the upholding of their altar of Our Lady of Piety.(289)  This altar, too, attracted burials in its vicinity, an assignation of 1512 recording the alienation by Alison Dustan, daughter and one of the heirs of the late Robert Dustan, of her third part of a ‘thruch’ stone there to Alexander Dickson.(290)  There appears to be no reference to this altar in the post-Reformation valuation of benefices.

A third altar in the Lady Aisle, located in the second bay from the west, was dedicated to St Blaise.(291)  It was first recorded on 30 May 1486 in a charter of Alexander Barker, vicar of Pettinain, which was confirmed at mortmain by King James IV on 2 June 1486.(292)  Barker granted annual rents of 21 merks from properties in Edinburgh towards the support of a chaplain celebrating at the altar, reserving the right of presentation to his heirs.(293)  A second confirmation at mortmain was received from King James IV on 1 May 1501, with no apparent variation in the terms other than the removal of the reservation of the rights of presentation.(294)  A second chaplainry was founded at the altar in 1517 by William Brown, rector of Mouswald.  Brown’s charter recorded how since there was no foundation in honour of the Name of Jesus in the church of St Giles he wished to have the anniversary of his death to be kept on the feast of the Circumcision of Christ (1 January). By 1527, however, the celebration of Brown’s anniversary had changed to 7 August, the feast of the Name of Jesus and in 1562 it emerges that the chaplaincy had been styled as the perpetual chaplaincy of Name of Jesus.(295)  A further service was added to the altar before 1523, when Gilbert Fisher was recorded as chaplain of the service founded by the ‘late’ Sir William Brown in honour of St Augustine.(296)  William Broun, rector of Mowswald, was recorded in 1524 as patron of the altar when he instituted Thomas Richardson as chaplain on the death of Gilbert Fisher is dead.(297) Although this new presentation was clearly to the chaplainry of St Augustine, it was not named as such.  A reference to the charging of the confraternity of ‘St Bla’ by the Dean of Guild for the use of silver candlesticks might indicate that this altar, too, was the focus for the religious devotions of a lay association but there is no further evidence for its activities or its wider identity.(298)

A second altar in St Catherine’s Aisle is believed to have been that dedicated to the Holy Trinity.(299)  It is first mentioned, without any locational detail, as the venue for a loan repayment in 1487.(300)  In 1491 the right of right of patronage of altar was recorded as being in the hands of James Towers; again with no locational information.(301)  No subsequent record of the altar or any chaplaincies at it appears to survive.

An important cult of St Denis, the patron saint of Paris and the kings of France, was located at an altar in the eastern chapels of the choir behind the high altar.(302)  The altar appears to have been in existence before 17 June 1488 when Richard Robertson or Robson, priest and canon of the collegiate church, granted an annual rent of 20 merks to a chaplain at the altar of ‘St Dionysius bishop and martyr’, described as ‘behind the high altar’.(303)  It was stipulated that after his death the presentation to the chaplaincy was to be exercised by the burgh.  The burgh’s exercise of that right was confirmed in 1535 when the provost and council were recognised as patrons of the altar.(304)  There is a suggestion in the tone of a complaint made to the council by James Carmichael, Dean of Guild, that they may have been neglectful of their duties towards the altar, James stating on 12 August 1555 that he had warned them several times about the state of the window in the east gable of the church, which was liable to fall down at any time and destroy St Denis’s altar which stood below it.(305)  The chaplainry at this altar, together with that at the adjacent altar of St Francis, were recorded in 1567 as having a combined value of £18 7s 8d.(306)

Like St Francis’s altar, that of St Denis was a favoured burial location probably on account of its close proximity to the high altar of the church.  In 1510 Margaret Aitchison, sister of the late Sir Robert Aitchison, chaplain, assigned to her cousin, George, her part, equalling one half, of the ‘thruch’ stone that lay in front of the altar.(307)  A testament of 1 January 1515 of John Murray, burgess of Edinburgh, identified his burial-place as a tomb in front of St Denis’s altar.  In his bequests, Murray also left a payment of £20 towards the maintenance and ornament of the altar, and to provide a tabernacle and new chalice.  Despite such generous endowments, the altar was not amongst those valued in the post-Reformation assessment of benefices.(308)

An altar of St Laurence the Martyr is believed to have been located at the south-west crossing pier by the late fifteenth century.(309)  A royal confirmation at mortmain of 4 March 1491 of a charter of 3 August 1489 granted by Isabel Bras or Williamson, widow of the late Thomas Williamson, burgess of Edinburgh, gave an annual rent of ten merks from properties in Edinburgh to sustain a chaplain at the clearly already existing altar.(310)  This provision was augmented substantially in a charter of 4 February 1494, confirmed at mortmain by King James IV on 14 March 1495, whereby Walter Bartram, for the safety of the soul of Elizabeth Cant his wife and other, granted for the support of one chaplain celebrating at the altar of St Laurence and St Francis annual rents from several properties.(311) The chaplain was to celebrate mass himself and accompanied by sixteen other chaplains of the choir of St Giles on the anniversary of the day of Walter’s death, to each of whom he gave 12d from the annual rents, and also 6d each to twenty-one other chaplains to celebrate mass that day outside the choir in a private manner.  The charter goes on to give extended detail of payments for mass paraphernalia, arrangements for bell-ringing and so forth, and for alms that were to be distributed to the poor.  In the assessments for taxation of the pre-Reformation benefices, drawn up in 1567, two chaplainries were identified at St Laurence’s altar.  One, held by William Bannatyne, was valued at £9 6s annually.  The second, described as founded by the late William Barton and pertaining to James Hunter, was given no value in the surviving records.(312)

An altar of St Salvator, which at various times seems also to have had additional dedications to St Vincent, the Holy Cross and the Holy Cross of Loretto/Lucano, existed before November 1493 in the north-eastern chapel of the choir at the east end of the Holy Cross Aisle.(313)  As discussed above, it acquired a further dedication to St Mary of Loretto through the goldsmiths’ guild in 1525/6.  It is mentioned first in a surviving charter in the crown confirmation at mortmain under the great seal, dated 22 February 1495 of a charter of Archibald Napier of Merchiston dated 9 November 1493.(314) By that charter, with the consent of Elizabeth Menteith his mother, lady of Rusky, he granted to one chaplain and his successors celebrating at the altar of St Salvator (described only as being in the collegiate church of St Giles and on the north part of the same) for the souls of the late Sir Alexander Napier of Merchiston, knight, his grandfather, John Napier of Merchiston his father, his mother Elizabeth Menteith, and Katherine Douglas his wife, an annual rent of 20 merks from property in Edinburgh.  It is believed to have been at this altar that the prebend of the Holy Cross and Holy Cross of Lucano was located, in respect of which the chaplain of the prebend, Alexander Tod, received an allocation of new sources of rent as the properties from which his prebend was meant to be maintained were ruinous.(315)  A St Vincent dedication is first mentioned in1509, but not explicitly in connection with the altar of St Salvator, when Thomas Frank was referred to as chaplain of the chaplainry of St Vincent founded by Master David Vocat.(316)  None of the other supposed dedications are named at the altar in the instrument of resignation drawn up of 20 August 1512 by which £10 of annual rents were given to James Kincaid and his successors, chaplains at the altar of St Salvator.  On 29 October same year reference was made to annual rents due to Walter Towers, chaplain of the altar of St Salvator in St Giles.(317) In 1556 Patrick Douglas was referred to as prebend of St Salvator’s altar, with no indication of any multiple dedication.(318)  The absence of additional dedications continues to be the case in post-Reformation sources, in 1567 the chaplainry of St Salvator’s altar being recorded as having an annual value of 17 merks to James Cor, its chaplain.(319)  In the same source, the altar of St Salvator, described as pertaining to sir Simon Blyth was valued at £7 10s.(320)  The altarage of St Salvator, pertaining to Andrew Napier and valued at 20 merks, was also recorded in 1567.(321)  This group of valuations as part of the Thirds of Benefices process does point to the existence of multiple chaplaincies at the altar but, frustratingly, only St Salvator is named as a patron of any.  A final reference to a chaplainry of St Salvator in the Holy Blood aisle, pertaining to sir William McKie and valued at £11 15s 2d, might relate to a secondary altar in the aisle on the south side of the nave rather than to the altar at the east end of the north choir aisle.(322)

Also in the Holy Cross Aisle was the altar dedicated to saints Mark, Philip and James, which Hay suggested stood behind the north stalls of the choir in the first bay east of the crossing.(323)  A seal of causes of 1500 of the Walkers’ craft guild identified them as patrons of the altar.(324)  In 1520 a further seal of causes of the incorporated guild of Walkers, Shearers and Bonnet-makers names the altar as dedicated solely to St Mark.(325)  The last pre-Reformation reference to the altar is a note from 1557-58 of a payment for ‘the putting up at St Mark’s altar, on the north syde of the choir’, of a panel of glass comprising of 3 feet of new and 5 feet of old glass.(326)  There is no reference to the maintenance of any chaplains at this altar.

St Sebastian’s altar, which stood in the fourth bay from the west in the nave’s north aisle, was in existence by 2 September 1494.(327) On 20 June 1523, King James V, with advice from his regent, John, duke of Albany, confirmed at mortmain the charter of James Paterson, burgess, and Janet Paterson his daughter, dated 2 September 1494, made for the soul of the king and royal family and Paterson’s own family.  By that charter Paterson made Andrew White chaplain at the altar of St Sebastian and provided him and his successors with annual rental income totalling 20 merks from properties in Edinburgh. The patronage of the chaplaincy was to remain with Paterson’s heirs.(328)  Between 1501 and 1510, references occur to Andrew White, chaplain of the altar, which by 1510 was described as founded by the late James Paterson, burgess.(329)  Possession of the patronage passed through Janet Paterson to her second husband, John Carkettill, who was dead by 1523, and from him to their son, also John Carkettill, who in 1537 was described as the undisputed patron of the altar, of which Alex Swanston was chaplain.(330)  The only later reference to this chapel appears to be an entry in the 1565-6 Dean of Guild accounts which records repairs to ‘ane part of the kirk above St Bastianis Ile’.(331)

The principal dedication of the Preston Aisle chapel on the south side of the Lady Aisle was apparently St Thomas the Martyr but that, referred to in the following discussion, emerges only from a charter of January 1502 concerning the foundation there of an additional altar of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Roch.(332)  What may be a reference to a prebend founded on the revenues of the chapel of St Thomas occurs in 1532, when the provost and council instituted Walter Turnbull as prebendary of St Thomas’s altar on the resignation of Robert Steill.(333)  Most references to St Thomas’s Aisle occur in the 1550s and relate to repairs entered in the account books of the Dean of Guild.  The first dates from 15 October 1552, when the glass-wright was paid 12s for putting 6 feet of new glass in one of the window-panels and 4 feet of old glass.(334)  In 1553/4, it was 6s 6d spent on the ‘great lock’ of the aisle’s vault door, i.e. the door in the burial place beneath the chapel proper, and on 9 December 1553 13s on various items of ironwork, including bolts for the stalls, flooring nails, and door-lock.(335)  On 14 March 1554, two window panels in St Thomas’s Aisle ‘callit Prestonis ile’ were replaced as part of a much larger glazing programme on the south side of the church.(336)  Further work in the aisle paid for around that time included what appears to be the construction of new graves in the floor, roof repairs and repointing of the exterior walls.(337)  Further window repairs were undertaken in November 1554, costing 18s.(338)  Repairs to what was referred to as the ‘heich round’ or ‘high roundel’, presumably in the east gable of the chapel, were undertaken at a cost of 4s 8d in October 1555.(339)  Repairs continued in the early 1560s, to keep the building wind and water-tight.

It was the secondary altars in St Thomas’s Aisle aisle that occur more regularly in the surviving records.  On 18 January 1503 King James IV confirmed at mortmain a charter of Richard Hoppar, burgess of Edinburgh, dated 17 Jan 1502, by which Hoppar had granted towards the maintenance of one chaplain celebrating at the altar of the ‘Blessed Virgin Mary and her Visitation’, and of St Roch confessor, which he himself had caused to be built by him in ‘the new aisle of St Thomas the Martyr’, to which he assigned annual rents in Edinburgh. The chaplain was to say various masses on Hoppar’s obit and distribute food for 40 poor people. For the ornamentation of the altar, he provided it with a chalice, books and other vestments.  The patronage was stipulated as remaining with his heirs.(340)  In 1505 we learn that Richard Hopper who founded the altar had it served by his son, Robert Hopper, as chaplain.(341)  The Roch dedication is interesting and unusual, as there are very few dedications to this ‘plague’ saint associated with altars in churches or chapels with urban areas (see Perth, St John’s).  Most Roch dedications are in rural or suburban chapels usually located on or near the ‘foul muirs’ to which the plague-stricken were sent for quarantine purposes during epidemics.  Roch was the saint to whom those already afflicted with plague prayed for recovery, whilst Sebastian was favoured by those seeking to avoid infection.  The date of Hopper’s foundation of this altar is also revealing, as it occurred during one of the most severe national epidemics of plague in the years around 1500.

Robert Hopper occurs on 1526 as a prebendary of St Giles and chaplain of the service of St Triduana at the altar of St Roch.(342)  There is no record of when that chaplainry was established or by whom, but it was the focus of Robert’s patronage at St Roch’s altar which expanded substantially on his father’s foundation.  In a charter of 21 March 1527, confirmed on 29 March 1527 by King James V, Hopper, who by that time held the office of sacristan of St Giles’, made a very elaborate series of provisions for requiem masses with Placebo and Dirige, including sung masses on the feast of St Triduana, and the distribution of alms for the souls of his late father, and Elizabeth Hiltsoun, his mother, and others.  The performance and discharge of those responsibilities, however, was founded on the grant in perpetuity to the chaplain of St Triduana celebrating at the altar of St Roch of a substantial raft of annual rents from properties in Edinburgh.(343)  Robert Hopper was noted in 1534 as ‘late’ chaplain of the service of St Triduana at the altar of St Roch,(344) his successor probably being Thomas Young, who was noted as chaplain of St Roch’s altar on 20 March 1533.(345)  The chaplainry of St Triduana continued to exist and was recorded in 1557 in a charter of Patrick Govan, burgess, as being held by the chaplain, Robert Liddell.(346)  It has otherwise left no record in the surviving material relating to St Giles’.  In the assessment for taxation of the former benefices undertaken in the 1560s, only the chaplainry of St Roch, pertaining to sir William Murray and valued at £15 3s 4d annually, was recorded in the Books of Assumption.(347)

St Cuthbert’s altar apparently lay in the first bay from the west of the nave’s north aisle, immediately to the north of the west door.(348)  Given the likelihood that the parish of St Giles was carved out of the older and much larger parish of St Cuthbert, and the status of that saint as the former patron of the territory that became the burgh of Edinburgh, it is probable that there had been an altar in his honour from very early in the church’s history.  It is only in 1504, however, in a writ by Robert Gray, senior, burgess, concerning his ‘thruch stane’ or grave-slab in front of the altar, that St Cuthbert’s altar is first mentioned.(349)  By this document, Gray gave his grave-slab in perpetuity to Thomas Anderson, the chaplain of the altar of St Cuthbert, reserving only to himself his right to burial under the said stone. This appears to be the only surviving reference to a chaplain of St Cuthbert but in 1512 it was recorded that the altar pertained to the guild of Fleshers, the chaplain presumably providing services for the guild.(350)  The altar does not occur amongst the altars and chaplaincies recorded in the endowed benefices of St Giles’ in the immediate post-Reformation period, references to ‘St Chowbart’ and his confraternity being to St Aubert/Hubert (see above) not St Cuthbert.

A double foundation in 1509-1510 led to the construction of a two-bay outer chapel at the south-west corner of the nave, south of the two westernmost of the 1380s chapels.  The eastern of the new chapels was dedicated to All Saints, St Thomas the Apostle and St Appollonia the Virgin, that in the west being dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Gabriel the Archangel.(351)  The first-conceived of these, although apparently formally instituted later, was the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Gabriel the Archangel chapel and altar.  On 24 July 1510 letters were issued by baillies, council and community of the burgh of Edinburgh, granting permission to the provost, Sir Alexander Lauder of Blyth, power to found an altar in ‘the new chapel of the collegiate church of St Giles, on the west end thereof towards the south’.(352)  The wording of this document implies that the chapel building was already completed by that date.  Lauder then issued a formal charter on 11 October 1510, confirmed at mortmain under the great seal by King James IV on 17 August 1513.(353)  Lauder’s charter, made for the soul of the king, the royal family and his family, with the consent of his wife Janet Paterson, founded a chaplainry at the altar of Blessed Virgin Mary and St Gabriel the Archangel that had been founded by him  ‘in the new chapel, near the south west corner of the church’.  Patronage of the chaplainry was to lie with his heirs, but was to fall to the burgh if the benefice was left vacant for more than fifteen days. The chaplain was to be sustained on a raft of annual rents totalling 20 merks from property in the burgh, with a further 13 merks 5s 4d left to pay for the costs of performing the various masses stipulated in his charter and for providing materials for celebrating at the altar.  On 1 June 1523 Janet Paterson, widow of Alexander Lauder and of John Carkettill, issued a charter in her own right for the souls of her late husbands and the salvation of King James V and royal family, which the king confirmed at mortmain on 20 June 1523.(354)  By this charter she founded a chaplainry at the altar of St Gabriel, possibly in honour of St Jerome (it is not explicitly stated but the whole grant was in honour of that saint), supported on an extensive group of annual rents from properties in Edinburgh.(355)

There are few later records of the altar and chaplainry as functioning entities, but from the 1550s there are records of a series of repairs undertaken to ‘Sanct Gabryell’s ile’.  The earliest surviving reference, from 29 October 1553, was for 6 feet of new glass in the window, costing 10s, with further glazing work carried out there the following month and in March 1554.(356)  It was window repairs that were again addressed in October 1555 and spring 1556, costing a further 20s and 14s 3d respectively.(357)  Significant work on the roof and guttering had to be undertaken in 1561-2.(358)  What appears to be the only other surviving reference to St Gabriel’s altar is a note from 27 May 1558 of the drawing up of legal deeds in Gabriel’s Aisle.(359)

Work actually appears to have been far advanced on the two bays of the new chapels by 30 April 1509, when Janet Elphinstone, widow of Richard Lawson of Highriggs, endowed a chaplain at the altar of All Saints, Thomas the Apostle and Appollonia the Virgin there.(360)   The enrolled great seal confirmation at mortmain by James IV, dated 4 May 1510, narrated that Janet’s charter had been made for the souls of the king, royal family, her late husband and family, and by it she gave £10 to William Lintoun and his successor chaplains.  The altar was described as ‘within the collegiate church of St Giles of Edinburgh, on the south side of the same within the west door, and by the altar or ‘sacellum’ newly founded by Alexander Lauder, then provost of Edinburgh’. Her heirs were to hold the presentation rights but these would pass to the burgh and community if the chaplaincy was left vacant for fifteen days.  This altar has apparently left no further trace in surviving records.

An endowment made in 1513 by the king’s printer, Walter Chepman, resulted in the establishment of the altar of St John the Evangelist in what became known as the Chepman Aisle on the south side of the Preston or St Thomas’s Aisle opening off the chapel of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Roch.(361)  Chepman’s charter of 20 August 1513, confirmed under the great seal at mortmain by the king on 21 August, was granted for the safety of the king and queen, his own soul, and of Agnes Cockburn his wife, and the late Mariote Kerketill, his first wife.  By it, he endowed a perpetual secular chaplain at the altar of St John the Evangelist in the ‘sacellum’ or chapel ‘newly founded by him in the south side of the collegiate church of St Giles of Edinburgh’, providing him with annual rents in Edinburgh extending to 10 merks. The chaplain was bound to celebrate the anniversary of Chepman’s death with Dirige and Placebo masses and it was specified that four candles should burn perpetually and that the altar was to be ornamented with a silver cross and candlesticks.(362)  On 20 November 1537, confirmed at mortmain under the great seal by King James V on 29 December 1537, John Chapman of Shelis, son of Walter Chepman, confirmed and expanded his father’s endowment.(363)  John’s charter was for the salvation of the souls of King James V, his predecessors and successors, himself, Isobel Henderson his wife, his late father Walter Chepman of Everland, founders of the altar.  In addition to the annual rents, John’s charter includes details of the furnishings of the altar at mass and payments to be given to those undertaking duties during its celebration.  The list included four candles of 2lbs weight, two torches, money for the ringing of the great and little bells, money for the decoration of the altar and his tomb, for cross and candelabra of silver, money for carrying the torches, oil for the lamps burning at the time of vespers and up to the 6th hour in winter from the feast of All Saints to the Purification of the Virgin Mary.  The chaplainry of St John’s aisle, founded by the late Walter Chepman and pertaining to Ninian Brydin, was one of those in the collegiate church valued for taxation in 1567.  At that date it was endowed with annual rents of 10 merks from Walter Chepman’s ‘grete tenement’ in the Cowgate and another 13 merks of rents in Edinburgh.(364)

It is only in 1507 in a reference to sasine of land by Marjory Doby, widown of the late Thomas Hume, tanner and burgess of Edinburgh, that the altar of St Crispin and St Crispinianus, patronised by the tanners’ guild, is first mentioned.(365)  The altar, which was closely associated with the cordwainers’ and shoemakers’ fraternity, occupied the second chapel from the west in the range of five chapels on the south side of the nave built in the late fourteenth century.(366)  It is possible, therefore, that the altar was already at least a century old at the time of its first documented recording. A 1510 seal of causes of the cordwainers’ guild confirmed them as patrons of the altar.(367)  This position was again confirmed in letters issued by the cordwainers’ craft on 7 September 1533, confirmed by King James V on 2 October 1533, concerning their chaplain at the altar of St Crispin and St Crispinianus.  The last pre-Reformation references to the altar appear to charges made by the Dean of Guild between 1553 and 1558 to the fraternity of St Crispin and Crispinian for the use of silver candlesticks.(368)

An altar dedicated to the Ascension was apparently founded in 1529 in the western bay of the Holy Blood Aisle on the south of the church.  Nothing apparently survives of the records of endowment of his altar.  According to Hay, it also had a secondary dedication to St Erasmus.(369)

In structural terms, one of the most significant early sixteenth-century developments at St Giles’ was the southern extension of the south transept, almost doubling it in length, to form St Anthony’s Aisle.(370)  The altar was associated with the taverners’ and vintners’ confraternity from 1510, when Thomas Baird, master of the craft of taverners, ‘in the name of the confraternity of St Anthony at his altar’, received a gift from Patrick Richardson of 26s 3d of annual rents, to sustain the chaplain, John Jackson.(371)  Despite its very prominent location, neither the altar nor the aisle has left significant traces in the historical record.  It is next noted on 21 May 1536 in a note of redemption money to be paid at the altar of St Antony in the collegiate church of St Giles of Edinburgh.(372)  What appears to be the final pre-Reformation reference to the altar’s confraternity, in 1557/1558 the fraternity of St Anthony were charged by the Dean of Guild for the use of silver candlesticks.(373)

At least two further altars appear to have existed in the church but almost no evidence survives for their presence.  St Stephen’s altar, which was located at the west end of the nave in the first bay of the south aisle, is only formally named in 1553 in a Dean of Guild account for pointing of the whole of the wall of the middle compartment of the nave from St Catherine’ aisle (in the south transept) to ‘Sanct Stevenis ile’, extending to seven roods of stonework.(374)  Further work at St Stephen’s altar was undertaken in 1556-7, when payment was made for the putting up of two panels of glass, totalling 17 feet of glass plus lead-work, amounted to 17s 6d.(375)  The second altar was that of St Paul, for which the only reference is a 1555-56 entry in the Dean of Guilds accounts for payments of 13s for 8 feet of new glass and 2 feet of old, set in two panels above St Paul’s altar.(376)  There is nothing that enables that altar to be located anywhere in the church, with at least nine positions offering themselves as possibilities. 

At places in the foregoing discussion of the secondary altars and chapels, and in the discussion above of the repairs to the church undertaken in the 1550s, reference has been made to the furnishings of these subsidiary liturgical spaces.  A significantly greater volume of material than has been included here survives for St Giles’ which illustrates the richness of the late medieval and early renaissance period furnishings that once existed.  Hay discussed certain of these furnishings but a greater level of discussion is offered in Mgr McRoberts’ extended examination of the ‘lost interiors’ of Scotland’s pre-Reformation churches.(377) The Dean of Guild accounts contain a wealth of data relating to the repair of these items, but also to the construction of benches, desks, rails and screens, the purchase of cloth for hangings and for frontals and other altar dressings, for paying cleaners to scour the brasswork throughout the church, and even for paying for a tin liner for a holy water stoup.  The accounts abound with references for the purchase of candles and wax, for the repair of the great ‘trene’ chandeliers and the iron ones, and especially for the great number of candles needed in the winter months to illumine the interior of the great building.  All of these items added to the richness of the interior of what was one of the greatest churches of medieval Scotland.

To conclude this discussion, some general trends in the pattern of dedications at the altars will be discussed briefly.  It is not the intention to offer a detailed analysis here, simply to draw attention to some of the main characteristics of the selection of dedications represented and to offer some general observations on what circumstances might be reflected in the group chosen.  In the panoply of saints represented in the altar dedications within St Giles’ by the eve of the Reformation, what is most striking is the marked conservatism – with the exception of some late ‘exotic’ cults – in the choice of saints.  There has been little comment on the primary patron of the church, St Giles himself, who is otherwise represented in a major Scottish church only in the burgh church of Elgin in Moray, but to whom two early urban parish churches in London were also dedicated.  In his preface to the Bannatyne Club edition of the surviving late medieval register of the church’s charter and the surviving extraneous documents, the editor David Laing observed that St Giles ‘from some unexplained causes, was chosen by the burgesses of Edinburgh as their tutelary Saint’.(378)  Both the English and the Scottish dedications display a wholly urban focus and it may simply be that the common denominator was an individual deeply involved in the laying out of David I’s new burgh at Edinburgh who was drawn from an urban centre with an already established Giles cult presence.  Perhaps because of his prominent association with the burgh kirk of the politically most influential and economically most powerful urban community in later medieval Scotland, that cult did not expand beyond the immediate Edinburgh area and did not share in the spread of cults through the proliferation of altars in especially the burgh churches of eastern Scotland in the fifteenth and earlier sixteenth centuries.

What is very striking is the paucity of recognisably ‘Scottish’ saints beyond three of the traditional ‘big names’ – Andrew, Kentigern and Ninian - in the known dedications within the church.  An altar to St Andrew is to be expected in one of the major parish churches within a diocese with that Apostle as its patron saint and which held an institutional role as meeting-place for consistory courts of one of the archdeaconries into which that see was divided.  Kentigern is less easily explained, given his very close association with the see that was the major rival of St Andrews for primacy in the Scottish church, but it must not be forgotten that he was a saint of the Firth of Forth associated with locations dispersed from Haddington/Traprain at the eastern end of the estuary region to Culross towards its western extremity, and who had a significant cult presence in churches within Lothian, such as Borthwick (qv).  The establishment of a Ninianic presence in St Giles before the first decade of the fifteenth century is also unsurprising.  Thomas Owen Clancy has drawn attention for a number of years to a distinctly ‘Northumbrian’ distribution in the locations outside Galloway where his cult is attested before its efflorescence in the later Middle Ages when there was a marked promotion of Ninian as another ‘national’ saint.(379)  At St Giles, however, the ‘Northumbrian’ saint represented was Cuthbert.  There is, nevertheless, clear evidence for more than simply awareness of Ninian as a significant saint with a strong tradition of miracles attached to him arising from the well-connected former royal official Ailred of Rievaulx’s production of a hagiography in the twelfth century, indicated by the presence of Ninian as one of the saints whose feast was celebrated at Holyrood Abbey by the thirteenth century.(380)  There is no surviving evidence for any cult presence of Ninian in St Giles’ before the recording of the existence of an altar dedicated to him in the easternmost of the suite of five new chapels erected after 1387 along the southern flank of the nave, but the late fourteenth-century production of a ‘legend’ of St Ninian in Scots rather than Latin points to an upsurge of interest in this saint around this time.  That he was the dedication of one of the most prestigiously-located of the new altars in the repaired and enlarged church, however, is a strong indicator of his widespread – or at least well-supported – attraction as a patron in the Edinburgh area.

Only two saints from Scotland north of the Forth-Clyde line were represented in the church.  The presence of Duthac, whose shrine at Tain became a focus for national pilgrimage in the second half of the fifteenth century and especially after its popularisation by King James IV, is unusually early.  Significant, too, is the fact that he was sole patron of the altar and not paired with any better-known saint(s) as seems to have occurred at St John’s church in Perth (qv) and St Mary’s in Dundee (qv).  In both those cases, however, the foundations appear to be late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century and linked closely with the spreading popularity of the Duthac cult at that time.  The presence of an altar with a sole dedication to St Duthac in a prominent location within the new south aisle chapels by the 1420s suggests a strong personal link with Easter Ross, but there is no known circumstance which would connect its patrons, the Cranstouns, with that district.  The second saint is Columba, whose cult did not merit an individual altar and whose later fifteenth-century arrival at St Giles’ was a consequence of two bishops of Dunkeld, of whose see Columba was patron, founding a chaplaincy at another altar.  While the feast days of other Scottish saints, especially from north of the Forth, were no doubt celebrated in the church in accordance with the calendar promoted throughout Scotland from 1510 by Bishop Elphinstone of Aberdeen’s new Breviary, which had been published in 1510, the absence of any distinctively Scottish additions to the panoply of saints established at St Giles’ altars or among the new foundations of the period down to the 1550s – the most striking omission is perhaps St Margaret, whose cult centre was relatively close at Dunfermline and who had, after all, died in Edinburgh in 1093 - is surely indicative of their lack of resonance and, indeed, relevance to the burgesses of Edinburgh.

Of more clearly local relevance were Cuthbert, the probable significance of whose presence has already been discussed, and Triduana, whose main cult centre was at Restalrig a short distance to the north-east of the medieval burgh.  Her cult was promoted strongly by King James III, who in 1477 had established a chaplaincy – apparently in her honour - at Restalrig and then in 1487 founded a collegiate church attached to the parish church but institutionally separate from it (qv).(381)  She did not, however, immediately attract attention in St Giles itself and only gained a presence in the church in 1527 through a chaplaincy founded at the altar of St Roch.  Again, the relatively late appearance of this cult and its clearly personal connection to its founder, Robert Hopper, underscores the strikingly conservative character of the congregation of saints represented in St Giles’.

For the most part, the saints represented in the church are associated closely with the various crafts and trades, many of whose formalised guild organisations had a religious arm represented by a confraternity which focused on ‘their’ saint’s altar.  It is, for example, to the bakers/baxters that St Aubert no doubt owed his presence in St Giles’ and likewise St Eloi to the hammermen.  Trade connections might explain the presence of an altar of St Denis or Dionysius, the patron saint of Paris and the French monarchy, but it could equally well be the result of the close political and military ties between the two kingdoms through the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.  There may be a mercantile origin for the cult of St Nicholas, patron of mariners.  Trade, however, has been linked far more closely and directly with the development of the Holy Blood cult in Scotland and, as at Dundee, Haddington, Linlithgow, Perth, St Andrews and Stirling (all qv), in St Giles’ it was linked strongest with the merchant guild.(382)  Certainly, as the surviving documentary and artefact evidence for the cult in Edinburgh shows, it was capable of attracting a high level of endowment by prominent members of the burgess community down to the eve of the Reformation.

The Holy Blood cult represented one of several in St Giles’ that can be seen as local adoption of a universally popular or papally-promoted cult.  Corpus Christi, which was promoted as a universal observance in the western Church in the early fourteenth century, possibly through the efforts of Pope John XXII (1316-34),(383) had reached Scotland by 1327 and was to secure widespread popular support and a focus in processions and publicly-performed plays.(384)  In St Giles’, the church was regularly ‘dichted’ in preparation for the Corpus Christi celebrations into the 1550s, although there was no formal presence of the cult represented in any altar with that dedication.(385)  That situation alone, as with the absence of almost every one of the saints who populated the pages of the Aberdeen Breviary, should alert us to the fact that the recorded dedications in the church represent only one facet of the multiple ways in which cults could be expressed and that the formal establishment of an altar or chaplaincy need not reflect popular support while the failure to secure such a locus equally need not reflect a lack of popularity.

Notes

1. I B Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society, 1967), 177; I B Cowan, ‘The emergence of the urban parish’, in M Lynch, M Spearman and G Stell (eds), The Scottish Medieval Town (Edinburgh, 1988), 82-98 at 90; M H Hammond, ‘Royal and aristocratic attitudes to saints and the Vigin Mary in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Scotland’, in S Boardman and E Williamson (eds), The Cult of Saints and the Virgin Mary in Medieval Scotland (Woodbridge, 2010), 61-85 at 64. 

2. The Charters of David I, ed G W S Barrow (Woodbridge, 1999), no.256.  For the uncritical acceptance of that view, see Cowan, Parishes of Medieval Scotland or Hammond, ‘Royal and aristocratic attitudes’, 64, note 16.

3. I B Cowan and D E Easson, Medieval Religious Houses: Scotland, 2nd edition (London, 1976), 199.

4. Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland, i, 1109-1272, ed J Bain (Edinburgh, 1881), no.1712; J Hodgson, ‘The Hospital of St Lazarus and the Manor of Harehope’, Archaeologia Aeliana, 3rd series, xix (1922), 76-82 at 77.

5. Cowan, Parishes of Medieval Scotland, 177, citing BM Cottonian Nero c. xii, f.99.

6. Walter Bower, Scotichronicon, eds D E R Watt and others, vi (Aberdeen, 1991), 63.  In their notes, the editors of Scotichronicon identified the beneficiary as the leper hospital at Harehope in Northumberland but suggested that ‘the alternative name “Holme” may refer to nearby Hulne’.  Hulne, however, was a Carmelite friary (the first foundation of the order in England), not a house of monks, and was established in only 1242. 

7. For the confusion of Harehope and Holmcultram, see J Stewart Smith, The Grange of St Giles (Edinburgh, 1898), 2.

8. A O Anderson (ed), Early Sources of Scottish History, ii (Edinburgh, 1922), 525 [Pontifical Offices of St Andrews].  Liber Cartarum Sancte Crucis (Bannatyne Club, 1840), 55 [hereafter Holyrood Liber].

9. A I Dunlop (ed), ‘Bagimond’s Roll: Statement of the Tenths of the Kingdom of Scotland’, Miscellany of the Scottish History Society, vi (1939), 55, 56.

10. The Correspondence, Inventories, Account Rolls and Law Proceedings of the Priory of Coldingham, ed J Raine (Surtees Society, 1841), cviii.

11. D Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the high Kirk of St Giles, Edinburgh’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 107 (1975-6), 242-260 at 243.  Barbour simply mentions that Edward II’s army reached Edinburgh in 1322 but makes no mention of the sacking of the burgh or burning of the church: John Barbour, The Bruce, ed A A M Duncan (Edinburgh, 1997), 680.  Bower likewise mentions that Edward III reached Edinburgh in February 1356 and left there ‘after burning everything that would burn’: Walter Bower, Scotichronicon, eds D E R Watt and others, vii (Aberdeen, 1996), 291 [hereafter Bower, Scotichronicon, vii].  Again, the church is not mentioned specifically but the implication is clear that the devastation of the burgh was fairly comprehensive.

12. Bower, Scotichronicon, vii, 407.

13. Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum, i, 1306-1424, ed J M Thomson (Edinburgh, 1882), no.582.

14. Calendar of Papal Letters to Scotland of Clement VII of Avignon 1378-1394, ed C Burns (Scottish History Society, 1976), 14 [hereafter CPL Clement VII].

15. Calendar of Entries in the Papal registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Papal Letters, iv, 1362-1404, ed W H Bliss and J A Twemlow (London, 1902), 206-7.

16. Liber Ecclesie de Scon (Bannatyne Club, 1843), no.189 [hereafter Scone Liber].

17. Scone Liber, no.190.

18. Calendar of Papal Letters to Scotland of Benedict XIII of Avignon 1394-1419, ed F McGurk (Scottish Record Society, 1976), 48-9 [hereafter CPL Benedict XIII].

19. CPL Benedict XIII, 49.

20. Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, i, 1418-22, eds E R Lindsay and A I Cameron (Scottish History Society, 1934), 30-1 [hereafter CSSR, i].  I B Cowan and D E Easson, Medieval Religious Houses: Scotland, 2nd edition (London, 1976), 22.

21.CSSR, i, 47-8.

22.CSSR, i, 62.

23.CSSR, i, 77-8.

24. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the high Kirk of St Giles’, 248.

25. Charters and other Documents Relating to the City of Edinburgh (Scottish Burgh Record Society, 1871), 35-37: ‘fra the west gavyl lyand in an rayndoun est on to the grete pyler of the stepyl, vouyt on the manner and the masounry  as the voute abovyn Sant Stevinyns auter standard on the north syde of the of the parys auter of the Abbey of Halyrudehous, the quilck patronne they haf sene. Alsua the ilk men sal mak in ilk chapel of the foure a window with thre lychtys in fourme masonnelyke, the quilk patronne they haf sene, and the fyfte chapel woutyt with a durre als gude manner as the durre standand in the west gavyl of the forsaid kirk. Alsua the chapel and the ils qhuare the auterys sal stand sal be vouytyt all under maner as it is before spokyn. Alsua the forsayde v chapels sal be thekyt abovyn with stane and water thycht’.

26. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ed R Adam, ii (Scottish Burgh Record Society, 1899), 11 [hereafter Edinburgh Burgh Accounts].

27. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 38.

28. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 29, 38, 57.

29. Registrum Cartarum Ecclesie Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh (Bannatyne Club, 1859), no.22 [hereafter Edinburgh St Giles Registrum]; Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the high Kirk of St Giles’, 248.

30. The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, iii, 1379-1406, ed G Burnett (Edinburgh, 1880), 237, 340, 373, 398, 425, 456; C Lees, St Giles Edinburgh, Church, College and Cathedral (Edinburgh, 1889), 19.

31. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, x.

32. The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, iv, 1406-1436, ed G Burnett (Edinburgh, 1880), 129, 162, 188.

33. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the high Kirk of St Giles’, 249.

34. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the high Kirk of St Giles’, 251.

35. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 38.

36. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 39, 43.

37. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 56.

38. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 59.

39. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, cvi-cvii.

40. Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, ii, 1423-28, ed A I Dunlop (Scottish History Society, 1956), 2 [hereafter CSSR, ii].

41.CSSR, ii, 41, 55; Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland, vii, 1417-1431, ed J A Twemlow (London, 1906), 247, 355, 360.

42. Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, iv, 1433-1447, ed A I Dunlop and D A MacLauchlan (Glasgow, 1983), nos 89, 1073.

43. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 249.

44. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no 77: ‘ane ile furth fra our Lady ile quhare the said Williame lys the said ile to be beginnyn within a yhere in the quhilk ile thare salbe made a brase for his lair in bosit werk and abone the brase a table of brase with a writ specifiand the bringing of that rillyk be him in Scotland with his arms, and his armis to be putt in hewyn werk in uther partis of the ile’. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 250.

45. Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum, ii, 1424-1513, ed J B Paul (Edinburgh, 1882), no 2685 [hereafter RMS, ii].

46. RMS, ii, no.887.

47. Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, v, 1447-1471, eds J Kirk, R J Tanner and A I Dunlop (Glasgow, 1997), no.1253 [hereafter CSSR, v].

48. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, xxxi-xxxii.

49.CSSR, v, no.1260.

50. The Apostolic Camera and Scottish Benefices 1418-1488, ed A I Cameron (Oxford, 1934), 172.

51. Cowan and Easson, Medieval Religious Houses: Scotland, 220.

52.CSSR, v, no.1441.

53. Concilia Scotiae: Ecclesiae Scoticanae Statuta Tam Provincialia Quam Synodialia Quae Supersunt, ii (Bannatyne Club, 1866), no.159.

54. Holyrood Liber, 81, 82.

55. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, xciii.

56. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 40-42, 56.

57. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 40.

58. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 41-2.

59. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 56.

60. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 56.

61.. RMS, ii, no.1526; Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, xciii.

62. M Merriman, The Rough Wooings: Mary Queen of Scots 1542-1551 (East Linton, 2000), 143-9.

63. Quoted in Merriman, Rough Wooings, 149.

64. Merriman, Rough Wooings, 274-5, 277.

65. Merriman, Rough Wooings, 303.

66. A Ryrie, The Origins of the Scottish Reformation (Manchester, 2006), 78.

67. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 10, 11.

68.. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 13.

69. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 25.

70. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 26.

71. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 26.

72. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 28-29.

73. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 37.

74. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 38, 39.

75. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 39.

76. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 40.

77. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 87.

78.. Edinburgh Burgh Records, ii, 1528-1557 (Scottish Burgh Record Society, 1871), 220.

79. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 87.

80. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 25.

81. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 27.

82. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 23-4.

83. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, xlii.

84. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 44.

85.. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 23-5, 27, 28, 118.

86. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 25, 27, 29.

87. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 28.

88. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 38.

89. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 40-41.

90. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 42.

91.. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 57-8.

92. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 22-23; Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, xlii-xliii.

93. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 24, 77.

94. Edinburgh Burgh Records, ii, 1528-1557 (Scottish Burgh Record Society, 1871), 261 [hereafter Edinburgh Burgh Records, ii].

95. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 71-2.

96. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 73, 74, 75.

97. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 25.  A window above the organ in the choir was repaired in 1556 (Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 56).

98. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 89.

99. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 38.

100. Edinburgh Burgh Records, ii, 251.

101. Edinburgh Burgh Records, ii, 252.

102. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, xliii-xliv.

103. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, xliv-xlv.

104. Edinburgh Burgh Records, iii, 1557-1571 (Scottish Burgh Record Society, 1875), 27-8 [hereafter Edinburgh Burgh Records, iii].

105. Edinburgh Burgh Records, iii, 30.

106.. Edinburgh Burgh Records, iii, 40-41.

107. Edinburgh Burgh Records, iii, 41.

108. Edinburgh Burgh Records, iii, 42-44.

109. Edinburgh Burgh Records, iii, 44-5.

110.. Edinburgh Burgh Records, iii, 58.

111. Edinburgh Burgh Records, iii, 59-61.

112. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, xlv.

113. Edinburgh Burgh Records, iii, 62.

114. Edinburgh Burgh Records, iii, 64-5.

115. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, xlv-xlvi.

116. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

117. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no.2.

118. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no.8.

119. RMS, i, no 201.

120. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no.11.

121. RMS, i, no 261.

122. Protocol Book of John Foular, 1514-28, ed M Wood (Scottish Record Society), no.53 [hereafter Prot Bk of John Foular, iii].

123. CPL Benedict XIII, 300, 301.

124. Protocol Book of James Young, 1485-1515, ed G Donaldson (Scottish Record Society, 1952), no.89 [hereafter Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515].

125. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515, no. 1009, 1564.

126. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 70.

127. Protocol Book of John Foular, 1514-28, M Wood (Scottish Record Society, 1944), no. 320 [hereafter Prot Bk of John Foular, iii].

128. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no.3.

129. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

130. Edinburgh Burgh Records, i, 57.

131. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

132. NRS GD103/2/4/17.

133. NRS Papers of Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, GD/103/2/4/17.

134.CPL, Benedict XIII, 300-301.

135. NRAS156/1/1.

136. RMS, ii, no.2477.

137.. RMS, ii, no 1035.

138. RMS, ii, no 2477.

139. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 107.

140. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515, nos 651, 1640.

141. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515, no.1925.

142. Protocol Book of John Foular, 1528-34, ed J Durkan (Scottish Record Society, 1985), no.294 [hereafter Prot Bk of John Foular, iv].

143. Edinburgh Burgh Records, iii, 114.

144. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 27.

145. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 16.

146. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

147. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 19.

CPL, Benedict XIII, 302-3.

149. RMS, ii, no 116.

150. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 137.

151. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 36.

152. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 130; NRS Edinburgh Commissary Court. Register of Testaments, 1515-1532, CC8/8/1A, fol. 21.

153. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

154. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no.22.

155. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no.39.

156. Edinburgh Burgh Records, i, 30-31.

157. Edinburgh Burgh Records, i, 57.

158. RMS, iii, no 536.

159. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 36, 53, 83.

160. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 43.

161. Kirk (ed), Books of Assumption, 138.

162. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

163. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 28.

164. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, App 1, no. 1.

165. RMS, ii, no.34.

166. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 47.

167. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Papal Letters, xii, 1458-1471, ed J A Twemlow (London, 1933), 189.

168. RMS, ii, no.1400.

169. RMS, ii, no.2120.

170. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515, no. 663.

171. NRS Haddington Burgh Protocol Books, James Meldrum, 1520-33, B30/1/1, fol. 77.

172. Protocol Book of John Foular, iv, no. 483.

173. Kirk (ed), Books of Assumption, 134.

174. Kirk (ed), Book of Assumptions, 134-5.

175. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

176. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 38.

177. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, nos 83, 84.

178. RMS, ii, no.908.

179. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol. 38v.

180. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol. 39v, Edinburgh Burgh Records, ii, 58.

181. Kirk (ed), Books of Assumption, 137.

182.. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 40.

183. Copiale Prioratus Sanctiandree: the Letter-book of James Haldenstone Prior of St Andrews (1418-1443), ed J H Baxter (Oxford, 1930), no. 3.

184. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

185. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 44.

186. Protocol Book of John Foular, 1503-1513, ed W McLeod (Scottish Record Society, 1940), no.37 [hereafter Prot Bk of John Foular, i].

187. Kirk (ed), Book of Assumptions, 124.

188. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

189. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 56.

190. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 89; RMS, ii, no. 1544.  The Great Seal version does not identify the chaplaincy as being dedicated to St Peter.

191. Prot Bk of John Foular, i, no. 869.

192. Edinburgh Burgh Records, ii, 69.

193. Rentale Sancti Andree (Scottish History Society, 1913), 109.

194. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

195. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 62.

196. Prot Bk of John Foular, ii, nos 2, 36-37;  Prot Bk of John Foular, iii, nos 111, 130, 233, 240, 260, 280, 344, 358, 550, 883; Protocol Book of Sir William Corbet, 1529-1555, eds J Anderson and W Angus (Scottish Record Society, 1911), no. 56 [hereafter Prot Bk William Corbet].

197. Protocol Book of James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, eds J Beveridge and J Russell (Scottish Record Society, 1927), volume ii, nos 50, 65 [hereafter Prot Bk  of James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564].

198. Protocol Book of Mr Gilbert Grote, 1552-1573, ed W Angus (Scottish Record Society, 1914), no. 205 [hereafter Prot Bk of Mr Gilbert Grote].

199. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 69.

200. RMS, ii, no. 2058.

201. Edinburgh Burgh Records, ii, 111.

202. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 76.

203. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

204. RMS, ii, no. 298.

205. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 67.

206. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum,  no. 87.

207. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 108.

208. Edinburgh Burgh Records, ii, 229.

209. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

210. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 251.

211. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 68.

212. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 253.

213. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515, nos. 874, 895, 904, 907, 1744.

214. Prot Bk of John Foular, ii, nos. 203, 224, 295.

215.. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 126.

216. Edinburgh Burgh Records, i, 181-186.

217. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 251.

218. Prot Bk of John Foular, iii, no. 302.

219. RMS, iii, no. 491.

220. Prot Bk of John Foular, iv, no. 132.  Amongst the surviving items relating to the Holy Blood cult and the religious confraternity that operated within the merchant guild at Edinburgh is the so-called ‘Fetternear Banner’, a processional banner dating from c.1520 displaying the blood-drenched figure of Christ Crucified and the instruments of the Passion.  For discussion of the banner and the symbolism within the depiction of the Crucifixion which it displays, see D McRoberts, ‘The Fetternear Banner’, Innes Review, 7 (1956), 69-96; A-B Fitch, The Search for Salvation: Lay Faith in Scotland 1480-1560 (Edinburgh, 2009) and the summary discussion in A-B Fitch, ‘Mothers and their sons: Mary and Jesus in Scotland, 1450-1560’, in S Boardman and E Williamson (eds), The Cult of Saints and the Virgin Mary in Medieval Scotland (Woodbridge, 2010), 159-176 at 172.

221. RMS, iii, no. 2600.

222. Kirk (ed), Books of Assumption, 117, 130, 131.

223. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

224. Edinburgh Burgh Records, i, 9-11, Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, App 1, no.2.

225. Prot Bk of John Foular, ii, nos 392, 841;  Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515, no. 1925; Prot Bk of John Foular, iii, nos. 14, 600.

226. NRAS214/5.

227. Edinburgh Records. Extracts, ii, 335.

228. Edinburgh Burgh Records, i, 101-02, copy from 1533 in ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol. 50r.

229. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

230. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 73.

231. NRS GD1/1088/2.

232. Prot Bk of John Foular, ii, no. 167.

233. Prot Bk of John Foular, iii, no. 303.

234. Prot Bk of John Foular, ii, no. 61.

235.. Prot Bk of John Foular, iii, nos. 462, 59.

236. Prot Bk of John Foular, iii, no. 734.

237. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 83.

238. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

239. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 76.

240. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515,no. 1096; Prot Bk of John Foular, iv, no. 268; Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 144.

241. Kirk (ed), Books of Assumption, 140.

242. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

243. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol., 35r, Edinburgh Burgh Records, i, 15.

244. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, App 1. no. 8.

245. Liber Officialis Sancti Andree (Abbotsford Club, 1845), 133-4, 135.

246. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 36, 53, 67, 83.

247. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

248. NRS Records of Incorporation of Tailors of Edinburgh, GD1/12/2.

249. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 8, 53, 67, 84.

250. Edinburgh Burgh Records, i, 82-83; C Lees, St Giles Edinburgh, Church, College and Cathedral (Edinburgh, 1889), App 1, 340.

251. Prot Bk of John Foular, ii, no. 871.

252. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 74.

253. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

254. Edinburgh Burgh Records, i, 33.

255. Prot Bk of John Foular, ii, no. 483.

256. Prot Bk of John Foular, iv, nos. 397, 455.

257. RMS, ii, no. 2014.

258. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 256, gives the reference as Jacob Follisii Edinburgensis; Calamitose pestis. Elega deploratio…,  apud G de Gourmont (Paris, 1510?).

259. RMS, ii, no. 2818.

260. For full details of the accounts and possessions of the altar from 1494-1558 see Hammermen of Edinburgh and Their Altar in St Giles Church, ed J Smith (Edinburgh, 1906), passim.

261. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

262. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 86; NRAS3326/Bundle 1.

263. Hammermen of Edinburgh, App, 181-87.

264. Hammermen of Edinburgh, 13.

265. Prot Bk of John Foular, i, no. 276.

266. Prot Bk of John Foular, iii, nos. 630, 753, 762.

267. NRS GD1/482/21.

268. D Ditchburn, ‘The “McRoberts Thesis” and patterns of Sanctity in late medieval Scotland’, in S Boardman and E Williamson (eds), The Cult of Saints and the Virgin Mary in Later Medieval Scotland (Woodbridge, 2010), 177-194 at 181; Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 257.  For the obtaining of the image, see Edinburgh Goldsmiths’ Minutes 1525-1700, eds J Munro and H Steuart Fothringham (Scottish Record Society, 2006), nos A2, A6.

269. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol. 18v.

270. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol. 40r.

271. Prot Bk of John Foular, iv, no. 284.

272. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 52, 66, 83.

273. Kirk (ed), Books of Assumption, 134-5.

274. RMS, ii, no. 1328.

275. RMS, ii, no. 1469.

276. RMS, ii, no. 2194.

277. Kirk (ed), Books of Assumption, 123.

278. RMS, ii, no. 1392; Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

279. Prot Bk of John Foular, iii, nos. 598, 627.

280. Prot Bk of John Foular, iii, no. 320.

281. Kirk (ed), Books of Assumption, 132-3.

282. Hay, ‘Late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255, 258; Hammermen of Edinburgh, xxv.

283. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no.90.

284. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no.120.

285. The Register of the Privy Seal of Scotland, iv, 1548-1556, ed J Beveridge (Edinburgh, 1952), no.3192.

286. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum,  no. 98.

287. Prot Bk of John Foular, iv, no. 204.

288. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 138; Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

289. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol. 53r.

290. Prot Bk of John Foular, ii, nos. 318, 801.

291. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

292. RMS, ii, no. 1655.

293. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 100.

294. RMS, ii, no. 2582.

295. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, nos 122, 129, 150, 151; ECA ED12/42 fo16v; H Brown, ‘Lay Piety in Later Medieval Lothian, c.1306-c.1513.  Edinburgh University PhD Thesis (2006), 227.

296. Prot Bk of John Foular, iii, no. 375.

297. NRS Haddington Burgh Protocol Books, James Meldrum, 1520-33, B30/1/1, fol.83.

298. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 9.

299. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

300. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515, no. 91.

301. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515, no. 456.

302. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

303. RMS, ii, no. 1778.

304. Edinburgh Burgh Records, ii, 70.

305. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes, 1551-1558, SL1/1/2, fol. 55r; R K Marshall, St Giles. The Dramatic story of a Great Church and its People (Edinburgh, 2009), 39.

306. Kirk (ed), Books of Assumption, 132-3.

307. Prot Bk of John Foular, ii, no. 633.

308. NRS Edinburgh Commissary Court. Register of Testaments, 1515-1532, CC8/8/1A, fol. 1-2.

309. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

310. RMS, ii, no 2015.

311. RMS, ii, no 2238.

312. Kirk (ed), Books of Assumption, 125-6, 132.

313. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

314. RMS, ii, no. 2233.

315. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 116.

316. Prot Bk of John Foular, ii, no. 552.

317. Prot Bk of John Foular, ii, nos. 829, 849.

318. Edinburgh Burgh Records, ii, 365.

319. Kirk (ed), Books of Assumption, 96.

320. Kirk (ed), Books of Assumption, 129.

321. Kirk (ed), Books of Assumption, 141.

322. Kirk (ed), Books of Assumption, 135-7. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255, suggests that the second altar in the Holy Blood Aisle was in honour of the Ascension of Christ.

323. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

324. Edinburgh Burgh Records, i, 80-81.

325. Edinburgh Burgh Records, i, 199.

326. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 86.

327. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.  Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, appendix 1, no.14.

328. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, App 1, no. 14.

329. Prot Bk of John Foular, i, no. 95; Prot Bk of John Foular, ii, no. 637.

330. RMS, ii, no. 234; NRS Prot Bk of Edward Dickson, 1537-45, NP1/5B, fol. 8.

331. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 221.

332. RMS, ii, no. 2685.

333. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol. 39v.

334. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 10.

335. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 23, 24.

336. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 26.

337. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 27.

338. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 38.

339. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 55.

340. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 114.

341. Prot Bk of John Foular, ii, no. 117.

342. NRS Haddington Burgh Protocol Books, James Meldrum, 1520-33, B30/1/1, fol. 105r.

343. Registrum Magni Sigilli, iii, 1513-1546, ed J M Thomson and J B Paul (Edinburgh, 1883), no. 438 [hereafter RMS, iii].  For the more expansive charter text, see Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no.130.

344. Prot Bk of John Foular, iv, no. 554.

345. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol. 40r.

346. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 148.

347. Kirk (ed), Books of Assumption, 138-9.

348. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

349. Prot Bk of John Foular, ii, no. 34, Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, xcix.

350. Prot Bk of John Foular, ii, nos. 734, 787.

351. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

352. NRAS832/83.

353. RMS, ii, no. 3878; Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no.120.

354. RMS, ii, no. 234.

355. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, App 1, no. 14.

356. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 11, 25, 26.

357. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 56, 74.

358. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 159.

359. NRAS482/box 30/16.

360. RMS, ii, no. 3455; Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, App. 1, no.11.

361. Hay, ‘The later medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

362. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, no. 121; RMS, ii, no. 3872 (where the confirmation date is given as 1 August).

363. RMS, iii, no. 1738.

364. Kirk (ed), Books of Assumption, 140.

365. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515, no. 1765.

366. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

367. Edinburgh Burgh Records, i, 127.

368. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 9, 37, 52, 66, 83.

369. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 258.

370. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 250, 255.

371. Prot Bk of John Foular, ii, nos 671, 682, 718.

372. NRS GD25/1/337.

373.. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 83.

374. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 27.

375. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 74.

376. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 56.

377. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 254-7, 258-60; D McRoberts and S M Holmes, Lost interiors: The Furnishings of Scottish Churches in the Later Middle Ages (Edinburgh, 2012).

378. Edinburgh St Giles Registrum, xv.

379. Summarized in T O Clancy, ‘The Big Man, the Footsteps, and the Fissile Saint: paradigms and problems in studies of insular saints’ cults’, in Boardman and Williamson (eds), Cult of Saints, 1-20 at 5-9.

380. F Wormald, ‘A fragment of a thirteenth-century calendar from Holyrood Abbey’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 69 (1935), 471-9.

381. For discussion of the cult centre and the collegiate church see A A MacDonald, ‘The chapel of Restalrig: royal folly or venerable shrine?’ in L A J R Houwen, A A MacDonald and S L Mapstone, A Palace in the Wild: Essays on Vernacular Culture and Humanism in Late-medieval and Renaissance Scotland (Leuven, 2000), 27-59; H Brown, ‘Saint Triduana of Restalrig? Locating a saint and her cult in late medieval Lothian and beyond’, in D Higgs Strickland, Images of Medieval Sanctity: Essays in Honour of Gary Dickson (Leiden, 2007), 45-70.

382. Ditchburn, ‘The “McRoberts Thesis”’, 179.

383. M Rubin, Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture (Cambridge, 1991).

384. A J Mill, Medieval Plays in Scotland (Edinburgh, 1927), 61-73.  For Corpus Christi processions in Edinburgh in the sixteenth century, see Edinburgh Burgh Records, ii, 49

385. Edinburgh Burgh Accounts, ii, 13, 14.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes:

  • Along with its grange it was granted to the Lazarites by David I, who utilised it for their house at Harehope. The church was a vicarage by 1243, and the annexation continued until severed by schism and wars.
  • The patronage was ineffectively granted by Robert III to Scone in 1393; attempts to erect the church into college in 1419 also failed.
  • A college was finally erected in 1468-69, with the parsonage and vicarage revenues annexed to the provost, who was required to maintain a vicar pensioner.(1)

#1208-43 John, the first recorded vicar of the parish church.(2)

#1243 Dedication of the church by David de Bernham, bishop of St Andrews.

#1322 Damaged during invasion by Edward II.(3)

#1355 Further damage during invasion by Edward III.(4)

1375 Andrew de Ox (3rd year student of canon law) presented as rector of St Giles following death of Brie de Dunblane; church in the gift of the bishop of St Andrews.(5)

1385 Significant and catastrophic damage to the town and St Giles during Richard II invasion of Scotland, referred to by Bower and Wyntoun (Wyntoun and Bower specifically mention that the kirk of Edinburgh was burnt).(6)

Rebuilding after 1385 destruction

1387 (29 November) Indenture between Adam Forester, Provost, and the council of Edinburgh on one side, and certain masons (John Primrose, John of Scone and John Skuyer/Squyer (the latter has his own seal) on the other, in regard to building 5 chapels on the south side of the parish church of Edinburgh.

The chapels to be built ‘fra the west gavyl lyand in in rayndoun est on to the grete pyler of the stepyl, vouyt (vaulted?) on the manner and the masounry  as the voute abovyn Sant Stevinyns auter standard on the north syde of the of the parys auter of the Abbey of Halyrudehous, the quilck patronne they haf sene. Alsua the ilk men sal mak in ilk chapel of the fourea window with thre lychtys in fourme masonnelyke, the quilk patronne they haf sene, and the fyfte chapel woutyt with a durre als gude manner as the durre standand in the west gavyl of the forsaid kirk. Alsua the chapel and the ils qhuare the auterys sal stanfd sal be vouytyt all under  maner as it is before spokyn. Alsua the forsayde v chapels sal be thekyt abovyn with stane and water thycht’

Masons to be paid 600 marks for the job, £40 beforehand for materials.(7)

#1389-95 Fines pertaining to the Chamberlain court, held in Edinburgh gifted by the king for the restoration of the church.(8)

1395 Confirmation of a grant by Robert III of the church to Scone; church to pertain to abbey on death of current rector James Lyon. In same year further petition by Scone that 45 marks is too much for vicars portion, henceforth church is to be governed by a canon of Scone which priory will present to bishop of St Andrews.(9)

#1395 St John’s chapel built.

#1401-1424 Building of the Albany aisle which is decorated by heraldic devices of Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany (d.1420) and Archibald, 4th earl of Douglas and Duke of Touraine (d.1424). Two bay chapel built in the North West corner ‘built in much the same idiom as the five chapels from 1387.(10) References in the Chamberlain records to gifts by Albany to the church.(11)

1419 Revocation of union of the church to Scone (union had not taken effect); community supplicate for presentation rights. In the same year Scone responded with an unsuccessful attempt to have union confirmed by Martin V.(12)

1419-23 Series of supplications [ultimately unsuccessful], with the support of Archibald, 4th earl of Douglas, to have church erected into a college.

1424 Vicar James Lyon dead, long litigation between William de Foulis (crown candidate presented by James I) but refused entry by Henry, bishop of St Andrews, and Edward Lauder (MA, illegitimate) preferred candidate of Murdoch, Duke of Albany.(13) By 1433 William de Foulis seems to have been successful as he is described as provost of St Giles. He is dead by 1444 when William Turnbull is dispensed to hold church and Hawick; he is still vicar in 1446.(14)

[Considerable work carried out 1450s and 1460s - remodelling of the choir]

#1453 Reconstruction of the choir was commenced around 1453.(15) The entire chancel was heightened. Higher arches were built to support a superb elaborately vaulted roof.  Elegant new fluted pillars were put in the two bays nearest the east wall.(16)

1455 (11 Jan) Burgh authorities entered into a bond to commemorate William Preston of Gorton by building ‘ane ile furth fra our lady ile quhare the said William lys’.(17) The presence of the arms of Patrick Hepburn, Lord Hailes (provost in 1487) in one of the roof bosses suggests the building work took longer to complete than the 7 years originally mentioned.(18)

# 1460 A great bell was purchased from Flanders, cast by John and William Hoerhan.(19)

#c.1460 Three west bays of the choir aisles of ‘a primitive ungroined type with a suggestion of domical form not unlike the mid-15th century brick vaults of Denmark’. Dated by RCAHMS (1951) to the early part of the 15th century. The north pier cap bears the royal arms of James II and his queen Mary of Gueldres, and differenced royal arms for Prince James (later James III). The south pier displays the arms of Edinburgh, Halkerston (the treasurer or master of works), James Kennedy, bishop of St Andrews (d.1465) and those of Preston of Gorton.(20)

#1466 By the time this status (collegiate) had been secured and ‘the choir had been heightened and lengthened by a bay and the three bay Preston aisle’.(21)

#c.1500 Extension of the south transept to about double its former length (the addition became known as St Anthony’s aisle with additional chapels flanking it).(22)

#c.1500 The tower was erected and the crown steeple added shortly after. Reconstructed in 1634 after destruction by a major storm.(23)

 1507-13 Building of the single bay Chepman aisle dedicated to John the Evangelist. Bears the arms of Walter Chepman [printer and publisher] and his 1st wife Mariota Kerketill.(24)

c.1509 New chapel in southwest corner of church of similar date to Chepman aisle. Contained two altars: the eastern one founded by Richard Lawson in 1509 dedicated to All Saints, Thomas the Apostle and St Appollonia.(25) and the other founded in 1513 by the provost Alexander Lauder of Blyth ‘in the new chapel, near the south west corner of the church’ in honour of God, Our Lady and Gabriel the Archangel.(26)

1511 (10 Aug) James Shearer, kirk master of the Walkers craft, ordains that new members of the craft to contribute 15s to the kirk work and 5s to the upkeep of their own altar [SS Mark etc, not specified].(27)

1511 (23 Aug) Alexander Mauchlyne gifts lands in the Buthraw for the honour of the common weil of the kirk and the building thereof. [expansion of grave yard?](28)

1518 (10 Dec) A petition from the Merchant and Guild Brothers to ‘us the Ile now laitly biggit within our paroche church…on the south syde of the same, in Honour of the Holy Blude to be assignit and given to thame’. This is a two bay chapel built between the south porch and St Anthony’s aisle.(29)

1543 Thomas Watson, glasing wright, employed to ‘uphold the whole glass and windows of the kirk of St Giles and to furnish glass, lead and tin’, paid 6 marks pa.(30)

1553-54 Peter Baxter, slater, paid for the pointing of the whole body of the choir including St John’s aisle, the body of the kirk between the steeple and west gavill, the mid aisle between St Katherine and St Stephen’s aisles, St Ninian to St James’ aisle, St Thomas to St Gabriel’s aisle and Preston’s aisle.(31)

1554 (20 July) Andrew Mansion paid a yearly pension for ‘building of the wall of the choir’, for his diligence and labour. [amount obscured, possibly £10] (32) Payments to Mansion (described as a wright) and his three servants were made quarterly in 1552-53, in 1554 for completing the stalls of the choir and in 1554/55/56 when payments are described as his yearly pension.(33)

1554-55 Items in the Dean of Guild Accounts refer to work done on the roof of the ‘revestry’.

1555-56 Payments for glass and mending of the windows of the revestry.(34) In 1558-59 this location was where the church treasures were weighed and valued in front of the town council.(35)

1555 3900 Slates were purchased from Dundee at a cost of £19 10s, to re-roof the body of the kirk from the steeple to the west door.(36)

1555 Holy Cross aisle holds the Consistory court (sometimes known as the consistory aisle). Required a new roof; dean of guild purchases 12 great timber joists from a Dutchman along with further timber and nails from other sources.(37)

1555 (12 August) Complaint to council by James Carmichael, dean of guild, that he had on several times warned them about the state of the window in the east gable, which was liable to fall down at any moment, destroying St Denis’ altar below it.(38)

1555-56 Lady Aisle refurbished; it was enclosed with stone partition walls panelled with wood, the gravestones in the floor were taken up, and then carefully replaced, and brass pillars from the continent were erected. Various costs for ‘gestis, boards, lime, timber and winshot for the Lady aisle included in the Dean of Guild accounts for 1556-57.(39)

1556 (22 Sept) John Hamilton, archbishop of St Andrews, sends a letter to the council of Edinburgh ordering them to find out who took down the images of Our Lady, the Trinity and St Francis. Reprimands the burgh for poor security arrangements. The breaking of these images described as ‘slanderous of the people’, perpetrators to be delivered to the archbishop for punishment.(40)

1557 (20 Jan) Dean of Guild ordered to repair Our Lady altar and provide stones to make pillars.(41)

1558 (July/Aug) Payments made to several workmen for their expenses upon the building of the platform above the revestry.(42)

#1559 In anticipation of the religious problems partial inventory of the ‘kirk geir’ carried out.

Aisles and chapels

(taken from Hay 1975-76, and primary sources)

Lady aisle, next to Preston aisle, south side of the choir.(43)

Holy Cross or Consistory aisle, on the north side of the choir, pre-1385.(44

St Katherine’s aisle, in the transept to the north of St Anthony’s aisle and west of Lady Aisle pre-1385?(45)

St Nicholas’s aisle, to the east of the north Romanesque door (popularly but wrongly called St Eloi’s aisle), can be dated to reign of David II.(46

Albany aisle. Two bay chapel in the North West corner of the church, c.1401-1410.(47)

St John the Evangelist aisle. First mentioned in 1395, beyond the transept east of Nicholas aisle and described as ‘narrower and lower’.(48) 1579 reference to the aisle as located ‘on the north side of the church’. To be closed up in that year by order of the burgh council.(49)

Preston aisle. (Sometimes known as aisle of St Thomas) c.1454-1500 (see Altar of Visitation and St Roche founded in the ‘new aisle’ in 1502). Three bays roofed with a stellar form vault like that of the choir, separated from the Lady aisle by an ornate arcade.(50)

St Anthony’s aisle, c.1500, in the south transept.(51)

Chepman aisle. Single bay aisle adjacent to St Anthony’s aisle and entered from the west bay of Preston aisle, 1507-13 and dedicated to John the Evangelist. Bears the arms of Walter Chepman [printer and publisher] and his former wife Mariota Kerketill.(52)

New chapel in southwest corner of church of similar date to Chepman aisle. Contained two altars; the eastern founded by Richard Lawson in 1509 dedicated to All Saints and Thomas the Apostle and St Apollonia, and the other founded in 1513 by Alexander Lauder of Blyth’ in the new chapel, near the south west corner of the church in honour of God, Our Lady and Gabriel the Archangel.(53)

Holy Blood aisle. A petition from 1518 (10 Dec) by the Merchant and Guild Brothers to ‘us the Ile now laitly biggit within our paroche church…on the south syde of the same, in Honour of the Holy Blude to be assignit and given to thame’. This is a two bay chapel built between the south porch and St Anthony’s aisle.(54) 

St Anne’s aisle?(55

St Bastian’s aisle? 1565-66 Dean of guild pays William Robeson, slater for the mending and pointing of a part of the kirk above ‘St Bastanis’ aisle.(56)

St Gabriel’s aisle? 1552-3 6 foot of new glass bought for St Gabriel’s aisle and the following year glass right Thomas Watson paid to put up a panel of glass there.(57)

Altars/chaplainries in the church of St Giles

Hay suggests altars dedicated to Mary Magdalene (in 1468), Stephen (by 1558) and Our Lady of Loreto (by 1525) for which there is no reference in St Giles chartulary.(58)

High Altar (St Giles)

1498 In Easter of that year while the plague was raging in Scotland a fire in the choir destroyed the reredos or retable of the high altar (recalled in a poem of 1509-10 by James Foulis). The retable was adorned with carvings or pictures of such sacred objects as the Annunciation, Visitation and Nativity and events from the life of Christ.(59) (Hay notes that official records do not mention this event)

Blessed Virgin Mary (also parochial altar) (St Barnabas)

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; in Lady aisle, south part of choir.(60)

1345 Matthew son of Julian, Edinburgh burgess, gives 2s annual rents to the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the chapel of the same name in the burgh of Edinburgh [presumably in St Giles but possibly a separate chapel].(61)

1362 John of Alncorn, for the souls of David II, William, earl of Douglas and his wife and his own family, founds a chaplainry at the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the parish church of St Giles.(62)

1363 William More, Lord of Abercorn, for the souls of Robert I and his own family, founds a chaplaincy at the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the parish church.(63)

1414 John de Carketil (MA) chaplain at altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary erected by late William More, lord of Abercorn.(64)

1487 Gift of 30s to the ‘image of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the parochial altar’.(65)

1502 John Wright is the chaplain of the ‘parochial altar of St Mary’.

1505 Lamp of ‘Our Lady’ receives 10s gift.(66)

#1520 Service founded by John Vaiche at the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary in honour of St Barnabas the apostle.(67)

1521 William Tod gave in exchange his ‘grave and stone’ below the altar of St Francis; John Mariorybury gives in exchange his grave and stone on the north side of the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary.(68)

1556-57 Payment by the dean of guild for mending the bell of Our Lady altar.(69)

1577 Reference to chaplaincy of altar called ‘Mother of Jesus’, Andrew Bauchlin last chaplain.(70)

Our Lady of Loretto

Goldsmiths confraternity

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; no location.(71)

Our Lady of Pi(e)ty

Candlemakers confraternity and private altar by 1536

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; on transept, perhaps in St Andrews aisle.(72)

1484 (28 Mar) James Townis, burgess of Edinburgh, founds a chaplainry at the altar of Our Lady of Piety in St Giles to say masses (de Profundis and Ave Maria) after his death. Presentation to remain with his heirs. Presents Alex Cockburn as chaplain.(73)

1512 Alison Dustan, daughter and one of the heirs of the late Robert Dustan, assigns her third part of a ‘thruch’ stone at the altar of Our lady of Pity to Alexander Dickson.(74)

1530 William McDowell installed as chaplain of Our Lady of Pity, presented with ‘the chalice, book, and other ornaments of the said altar. Altar founded by late James Towris, patronage with the provost, Baillies etc.(75)

1536 (23 Mar) William Bell, heir of late John Bell, burgess of Edinburgh and patron of altarage of Our Lady of Piety ‘on the north side of the entre of the qweir of the said kirk’, agrees to allow the Candlemakers to have their own chaplain at his altar.(76)

Undated copy of the seal of Causes of the Candlemakers refers to the upholding of their altar of Our Lady of Piety.(77)

Blessed Virgin Mary and St Gabriel

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; in chapel in southwest corner of church.(78)

1510 Chaplainry founded at the altar by Sir Alexander Lauder of Blithe, provost of Edinburgh.(79)

1513 James IV confirms mortification of Alexander Lauder of Blyth for the soul of the king, royal family and his family, to found a chaplainry at the altar of Blessed Virgin Mary and St Gabriel the Archangel founded by him   ‘in the new chapel, near the south west corner of the church’. Patronage with his heirs; reverts to burgh if vacant for more than 15 days.(80) (founded in 1510).

1523 Janet Paterson, wife of Alexander Lauder, for his soul and James V and royal family, founds a chaplainry at the altar of St Gabriel [no ref to Blessed Virgin Mary] possibly in honour of St Jerome (no explicit but whole grant is in honour of that saint).(81)

Holy Blood

Merchant and Guild Brothers (from 1518)

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; south of church in aisle of same name.(82)

#No date. First location of dedication attached to altar on north side of choir (see SS Salvator and Vincent).(83)

1450 Gilchrist Turnbull refers to a rent owing to the chaplain of the altar of the Sacred Blood ‘near the northern entrance of the same [St Giles].(84) [altar of SS Vincent and Salvator?]

1497-1507 Various references to altar of Black Rood, no location.(85)

1505 Altar of the Holy Blood, called the Black Rood altar.

1506 Alexander Tod is chaplain of the altar of the Holy Blood and the Cross of Lucano, founded in St Giles with the consent of the provost, baillies etc, patrons of the said altar.(86)

1512 (10 July) Thomas Ewin, chaplain founds a chaplainry at the altar of the Holy Blood, for anniversaries to be said after his death. The patronage then to revert to the confraternity of the Holy Blood. Masses to be said for Ewin on day of ‘Iconi Salvatoris’ (9 Nov).(87)

1518 (10 Dec) A petition from the Merchant and Guild Brothers to ‘us the Ile now laitly biggit within our paroche church…on the south syde of the same, in Honour of the Holy Blude to be assignit and given to thame’. This is a two bay chapel built between the south porch and St Anthony’s aisle.(88)

#1522 Altar of the Holy Blood newly created, vicar of St Giles, David Young to say mass there.(89)

#1529 Gift by William Baillie to Matthew Symson, chaplain of the Holy Blood altar in the name of the confraternity of Holy Blood.(90)

1554-1557 The dean of Guild charges the fraternity of St Cristell [St Christ? Holy Blood?] for the use of silver candlesticks.(91)

1567 in Thirds of Benefices - chaplaincy of the Holy Blood altar held by William Johnson, value £9.(92)

Holy Cross (1)

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; Rood altar at rood screen between nave and choir.(93)

1386 Robert II confirms charter by Janet Sturry, widow of John burgess of Edinburgh founding a chaplaincy at the altar of the Holy Cross.(94)

1392 John de Whiltnes founds a chaplaincy at the altar of the Holy Cross in memory of his father John, patronage to revert to the community of the burgh after his death.(95)

1414 John de Lauder perpetual chaplain of Holy Cross altar (value £3, still chaplain in 1426).(96)

1434 Further chaplainry founded at the altar by James I to celebrate annual and 6 monthly masses for the his soul and those of his wife, family and all the burgesses and community of Edinburgh.(97)

1527 (12 Aug) James V confirms a mortmain charter by John White, prebendary of Petcokkis in church of St Baye the virgin, Dunbar, for the souls of the king, royal family, the Colville’s of Ochiltree and his own family, in honour of Jesus, Mary Trinity St Anne, John Baptist and Evangelist, and SS Giles, Columba, Leonard and Cuthbert, John founds a chaplaincy at the altar of the Holy Cross  ‘on the south part’ of the church of St Giles’, Edinburgh. After his death, patronage to James Colville of Ochiltree and his heirs.(98) (original testament considerably shorter).(99)

1536 Instrument of sasine in favour of the brothers of the confraternity of the Holy Cross of rents worth 40s given to the chaplain of their altar in St Giles, Edinburgh (Robert Anderson) to pay for oil and wax.(100)

Holy Trinity

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; in St Katherine’s aisle.(101)

1487 Payment made at altar, no location.(102)

1491 Right of patronage of altar in hands of James Towris of Heregles, no location.(103)

St Salvator/ St Vincent/ Holy Cross and Holy Cross of Loretto/Lucano

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; in north east corner of church to east of Holy Cross aisle.(104)

1506 Alexander Tod, chaplain of the prebend of Holy Cross and Holy Cross of Lucano, assigned new rents as those pertaining to the prebend are ruinous.(105)

1509 Thomas Frank, chaplain of the chaplainry founded by Master David Vocat in honour of St Vincent dimits certain lands into the hands of the said David (his uncle). [no references to it being a joint dedication or to where the chaplaincy is located].(106)

1512 (20 Aug) Resignation of £10 annual rents given to James Kincaid and his successor chaplains at the altar of St Salvator, Alexander Rhynd. 29 Oct of same year reference to annual rents due to Walter Touris, chaplain of the altar of St Salvator in St Giles.(107) [no references to joint dedication]

#1528 Chapel dedicated to St Salvator by Walter Chepman, for masses to be said for James IV and all the fallen at Flodden.(108)

1556 Patrick Douglas referred to as prebend of St Salvator’s altar.(109)

1567 Thirds of Benefices, chaplainry of St Salvator’s altar in the Holy Blood aisle, held by James Cor, value £11 15s 2d.(110)

Iconi Salvator

1583 Reference to prebend in the church called Iconi Salvator.(111)

All Saints, Thomas the Apostle and St Appollonia

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; no location.(112)

1509 James IV confirms mortmain charter of Janet Elphinstone, widow of Richard Lawson of Highriggs, for the souls of the king, royal family, her late husband and family, Janet gives £10 to William Lintoun and his successor chaplains at the altar of All Saints, Thomas the Apostle and Appollonia the virgin, in church of St Giles, Edinburgh, located in the south part of the church below the door to the west of the chapel founded by Alexander Lauder of Blyth. Her heirs to hold presentation rights but to revert to the burgh and community if vacant for 15 days.(113)

St Andrew (St Peter)

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; in centre of transept, probably in aisle of same name.(114)

1447 Certain lands resigned by John Errol, chaplain of the altar of St Andrew to the community; they are described as ruined.  Replaced by other annual rents.(115)

1478 Patrick Baroun, burgess for the souls of James II, the royal family and his family founds a chaplaincy dedicated to St Peter at the altar of St Andrew, £3 3s annual rents, presentation rights to remain with his heirs.(116)

1494 Deal done at altar, no location.(117)

1513 5s gift by Thomas Levingstone and wife.(118)

1535 William Cady made prebend of St Andrew’s altar, vacant because Andrew Johnson ‘left the land of heresy’ [because he was a heretic].(119)

#Rental of St Peter recorded. (120)

St Anne

Tailor confraternity

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; in south east corner of the choir, east of the Lady Aisle.(121)

1473 (24 July) Indenture between the ‘provest of the College of Edinburgh chanonis [canons] ande prebendaris of that ilke, on the ta part, ane worthi and famouss men the brethir sisteris gud doaris suplearis and mantenaris with thar almous ande cherite to Sanct Annys [St Anne's] altar fundit on the south side of the queyr of Edinburgh on the tothir part’, for the performance by the first parties of certain services at said altar, for which the second parties were bound to pay them 20 shillings Scot yearly. At Edinburgh.(122)

1500 (26 Aug) Seal of causes of the Tailor craft by which they undertake to maintain the altar of St Ann in the parish church of St Giles.(123)

#1513 Gift to altar by John Raa, accepted by Thomas Foular, deacon of the Tailors and master of the confraternity of St Anne and their altar.(124)

1518-1527 Further references to altar belonging to Tailor’s guild.(125)

1531 Seal of causes of Tailors guild, confirmed as patrons of altar.(126)

1552/1555-56/1557/1558 The fraternity of St Ann were charged by the Dean of Guild for the use of silver candlesticks.(127)

St Anthony

Taverners and Vintners confraternity

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; in south transept within aisle of same name.(128)

1510 Thomas Bard, master of the craft of Taverners, in the name of the confraternity of St Anthony at his altar received gift from Patrick Richardson (26s 3d of annual rents), chaplain is John Jackson.(129)

1557/1558 The fraternity of St Anthony were charged by the Dean of Guild for the use of silver candlesticks.(130)

St Aubert/Cubert/Hubert(131)

Fleshers/Baxters?

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; in north transept, next to revestry (possibly in St John’s aisle).(132)

1456 Patrick Donald grants 2 marks pa for reparation of the altar of St Ubert founded by the Baxter craft, gives sasine to said altar for his stane and lair that he has before the said altar.(133)

1508 Altar of SS John the Baptist and Evangelist described as to the north and immediately after the altar of St Coberti.(134)

1536 (20 May) The deacon of the Baxter’s craft Thomas Boys, and Henry Heriot master of the fabric of the altar of St Hubert, lose a case in St Andrews court and are ordered to pay the costs of ringing the bells and playing the organ on St Hubert’s day. On the 26 October of 1536 the tow men were ordered to pay the sacristan 18d for ringing the bells as part of the 1 March service of St Monan at their altar of St Hubert.(135)

1554-1558 The dean of Guild charges the fraternity of St Chowbert [on one occasion spelt Howbert] for the use of silver candlesticks.(136)

# Seal of causes of the Baxter confirms patronage of altar of St Cubart.(137)

St Blaise (Augustine and Name of Jesus)

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay, in Lady aisle.(138)

1486 Alexander Barker, for souls of James III and family and his own family founds a chaplainry at the altar of St Blaise in parish church. Sustained by 17 marks annual rents. Presentation rights to remain with his heirs.(139)

1517 Chaplainry founded at the altar by William Brown, rector of Mouswald Brown states that as there is no foundation in honour of the Name of Jesus that he wishes to have his anniversary to be kept on the feast of the Circumcision (1 Jan). By 1527 the celebration of Brown’s anniversary is noted as having changed to 7 August, the feast of the Name of Jesus.(140)

#1523 Gilbert Fisher, chaplain of the service founded by the late Sir William Brown in honour of St Augustine at the altar of St Blaise.(141)

1524 William Broun, rector of Mowswald, patron of the altar, institutes Thomas Richardson as chaplain, Fisher is dead.(142) [no reference to St Augustine]

1552/3 Dean of guild charges confraternity of St Bla (?) for the use of silver candlesticks.(143)

1562 (15 Sept) James Carmichael presents Andrew Bartherem  to the perpetual chaplaincy of the Name of Jesus located at the altar of St Blaise, vacant by the demission of George Littlejohn.(144)

SS Crispin and Chrispinian

Cordwiners/Shoemakers confraternity

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; in south west corner of church next to the font and flanked by the altars of St James and All Saints.(145)

#1507 Sasine of lands by Marjory Doby, spouse of deceased Thomas Hume, tanner and burgess (altar with tanners guild).(146)

1510 Seal of causes of Cordwiners guild, confirmed as patrons of the altar.(147)

1553-1558 The dean of Guild charges the fraternity of St Crispin and Crispinian for the use of silver candlestick.(148)

St Christopher

Skinners and Furriers

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; on the north side of the nave between altars of SS Cuthbert and Magdalene.(149)

1451 (12 Jan) Skinners guild undertake the maintenance of the altar which is described as recently founded by them.(150)

1508 Stephen Bell is deacon of the altar, patrons are the guild of Skinners and Furriers.(151)

1512-25 Thomas Ewan is chaplain, altar described as founded by Sir Henry Lourestoun.(152)

1533 Seal of causes of Skinners guild, confirmed as patrons of altar.(153)

St Cuthbert

Baxters confraternity?

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; on the north side of the nave next to altar of St Christopher.(154)

1504 Robert Gray, senior, burgess, of his free will gave to master Thomas Anderson, chaplain of the altar of St Cuthbert, his ‘thruch stane’ lying before the said altar in perpetuity, reserving to himself burial under the said stone, for his services and singular faith which he bears to him’.(155)

1512 Altar pertains to guild of Fleshers.(156)

St Denis/Dionisious

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; behind the high altar next to altar of St Francis.(157)

1488 (2 Oct) Richard Robeson, rector of Suthlik (?) and canon of St Giles, for souls of James III, James IV and his family etc.,  gives an annual rent of 20 marks to found a chaplain to celebrate at the altar of St Denis situated behind the great altar; after his death presentation to pertain to the burgh.(158)

1510 Margaret Achinson, sister of the late Sir Robert Achinson, chaplain, assigned to her cousin George Achinson, her part…half of the ‘thruch’ stone in St Giles before the altar of St Dionisious.(159)

1515 (1 Jan) Testament of John Murray, burgess of Edinburgh, refers to his tomb in the church of St Giles before the altar of St Dionysius. John also leaves £20 to ornament the fabric of the altar and provide a tabernacle and chalice. (reference in the same testament to £6 for the reparation of the church of Hendeirland?).(160)

1520 Thomas Gray is chaplain.(161)

1535 James Barrow, resigns the chaplaincy, replaced by John Ker. Provost; council confirmed as patrons.(162)

 1555 (12 Aug) Complaint to council by James Carmichael, dean of guild, that he had on several times warned them about the state of the window in the east gable, which was liable to fall down at any moment, destroying St Denis’ altar below it.(163)

1567 in Thirds of Benefices- chaplainries at the altars of SS Denis and Francis held by Richard Robson, value £18 7s 8d.(164)

St Duthac

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; south side of the nave next to altar of St Ninian and Holy Blood aisle.(165)

1438 Thomas and William Cranstoun (his son) found the altar of St Duthac  in church of St Giles, presentation and patronage to remain in the family.(166)

1504 William Cranston of Swynhop patron of the altar installs James Haswell in place of Matthew Bovel, ‘signified by the delivery of the book, chalice and bell of the said altar’.(167)

1521 Michael Dysert described as chaplain of the altar.(168)

1567 in Thirds of Benefices - chaplaincy of St Duthac’s altar, patron Martin Crichton of Cranstoun Riddell, £8 10d, held by Thomas Westoun.(169)

St Eloi

Hammermen confraternity(170)

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; north side of the nave next to the pulpit on one side and altar of St Sebastian on the other.(171)

Chaplains according to J. Smith: Thomas Linlithgow-1494-1508, William Brown-1504-21, John Smith-1524-44, William Wodhall-1544-46, William Bannatyne-1544-58.(172)

1477 John of Dalrymple for the soul of James II, the royal family and his own family founds a chaplainry at the altar of St Eloi in the parish church of Edinburgh. Presentation rights to remain with his heirs.(173)

1496 (12 April) 2nd seal of causes of the Hammermen guild specifically mentions the upkeep of their altar dedicated to St Eloi in the parish church [previous seal of causes from  2 May 1483 mentions an altar but does not specify a dedication](174)

1497 The Hammermen pay for two silver images of St Eloi at a cost of £5 each.(175)

1501 Alexander Muncar described as master of the fabric of the altar.(176)

#1525-27 Altar belongs to the Hammermen; various small bequests to it.(177)

1525 (1 Oct) Thomas Forbes, chaplain of St Eloi’s altar, resigns into hands of the patrons (described as burgh and community), who institute David Frissell as chaplain.(178)

#1531 Service founded at altar by the late Elizabeth Wood, patronage now with John Spens.(179)

1533 (21 Mar) David Frissell dead, chaplainry described as in the patronage of the Provost etc of Edinburgh.(180)

1555-1558 Dean of guild charges fraternity of St Eloi for use of silver candlesticks.(181)

St Francis (Patrick)

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; behind the high altar next to the altar of St Denis.(182)

1478 (20 Dec) Walter Bertram for the souls of James II, James III and Queen Margaret and for souls of his family etc founds a chaplainry at altar of St Francis located behind the great altar, 12 70s annual rents. Chaplain to say the dirige, Pater Noster and De Requie. (Bertram makes various other bequests to other religious sites in Edinburgh).(183)

1521 William Tod gave in exchange his ‘grave and stone’ below the altar of St Francis, John Mariorybury gives in exchange his grave and stone on the north side of the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary.(184)

#1525 Gift of 5s by Janet and Elizabeth Turing to Philip Darly, chaplain of the service founded by the late Thomas Dickson at the altar of St Francis.(185)

St James (Gregory)

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; in south west corner of the nave, next to SS Crispin and Crispinian and Blessed Virgin Mary/Gabriel.(186)

1448 First financial transaction mentioned at the altar of St James.(187)

1451 Reference to the chaplain (unnamed) of the altar of St James in parish church of St Giles.(188)

1487-1512 Altar is the site for numerous financial transactions (unrelated to the chaplainry).(189)

1491 James IV confirms a charter of William Fowler, canon of Dunblane, for the souls of the king, royal family and William Scheves, archbishop of St Andrews and his own families, founds a chaplainry in honour of St Gregory the Pope at the altar of St James in St Giles, Edinburgh. Patronage to remain with his heirs.(190)

1514-28 The altar continues to be used as a site for financial deals.(191)

1543 John Wilson made chaplain, provost, council etc described as patrons.(192)

1556 Deal done at the altar.(193)

1556-67 Payment for a panel of glass above St James altar containing 8.5 foot of new glass.(194)

1561-2 Deals done ‘at the pillar near which formerly was situated the altar of St James’.(195) In a 1562 instrument described as ‘on the board or table in the place where the altar of St James the Apostle was situated’.(196)

St John the Baptist

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; no location.(197) Lees suggests it was located ‘in the choir of the Blessed Virgin Mary. [In the Lady aisle?](198)

1350 Henry, lord of de Brade and Henry Multerer (burgess) for their souls and family etc found a chaplainry at the altar of John the Baptist in the choir of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Edinburgh. Presentation to remain with them.(199)

1489 Seal of causes of the Cooper guild, patrons of the altar of St John (not specified as Evangelist or Baptist, but probably Baptist, as John the Evangelist altar held by Wrights and Masons).(200)

St John the Evangelist and Baptist

Masons, Wrights and Coopers

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; north side of church in aisle of St John next to the revestry.(201)

1396 Robert III confirms and ratifies a donation by John de Peebles, burgess of Edinburgh who founded a chaplain in the chapel of John the Evangelist in the north part of the church in honour of the king and his family and John and his wife Margaret Hog. £10 annual rents to sustain the chaplain.(202)

1429 Thomas Halliday, perpetual chaplain at the altar of John the Evangelist given annual rents from certain lands by the provost and council.(203)

1475 Altar and aisle granted to the Guild of Masons and Wrights.(204)

1489 Seal of causes of the Cooper guild, patrons of the altar of St John (not specified as Evangelist or Baptist, but probably Baptist, as John the Evangelist altar held by Wrights and Masons).(205)

1508 George Coates holds the prebend of John the Evangelist in St Giles.(206)

1513 (21 Aug) Walter Chepman of Ewirland, burgess, for the souls of James IV and Margaret, and his wife Agnes Cockburn and previous wife Mariota Kerkettil,  and family etc, founds a chaplaincy at the altar of John the Evangelist, in the chapel founded by him in the south part of the church, sustained by an annual rent of 10 marks. Chaplain is to celebrate the anniversary of his death with Dirige and Placebo masses. Specifies that 4 candles short burn perpetually and that the altar be ornamented with a silver cross and candlesticks.(207)

1554-1558 The fraternity of the St John [probably John the Evangelist as no fraternity connected with John the Baptist mentioned elsewhere] charged by the Dean of Guild for borrowing silver candlesticks.(208)

1554-55 Mason paid for 3 days work to build up St John’s windows and the door ‘cheiks’ of it.(209)

1567 In Thirds of Benefices – chaplainry of St John the Evangelist held by David Scot, value 25 marks.(210)

St Katherine

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; in aisle of same name in the transept.(211)

1358 (15 Dec) Transcript of Extract from Town Court Books of Edinburgh, 8th December, 1800, of Charter by David, King of Scots, confirming to the chaplain of the altar of St. Katherine in the parish church of Edinburgh, for masses for the souls of Roger Hog, burgess of Edinburgh, and Margaret, his spouse, the lands of Over Merchameston, in the sheriffdom of Edinburgh.(212)

1414 John de Crag described as perpetual chaplain of altar of St Catherine erected by Robert Hog (burgess of Edinburgh) and David II late king.(213)

1460 Alexander Carruthers (vicar of Dunsyre, Glas) is perpetual chaplain at altar of St Catherine (value £4.(214)

#1493 & 1506 Small endowments of altar.(215)

1503 Mariota Redshaw, for souls of James IV, Queen Margaret, her husband William Kerkettil and family, founds a chaplaincy at the altar of St Katherine various annual rents. The chaplain is to says masses for the foresaid people, presentation and patronage to remain with her heirs.(216)

1512 Henry Lawson is chaplain.(217)

1530 Chaplaincy held by John Dikson.(218)

1561 John Wilson described as sometime chaplain at the altar.(219)

St Kentigern/Mungo

Barbers and Surgeons confraternity

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; in the south side of the nave, flanked by altars of SS Michael and Severinus.(220)

1451 Altar of St Kentigern founded by John Gray, rector of Kirkliston. To revert to the patronage of the burgh on his death.(221)

1505 John Vallange gave to John Lithgow his ‘thruch’ stone before the altar of St Kentigern.(222)

1505 Seal of causes of the Barbers craft guild, confirmed as patrons of the altar of ‘St Mongow’.(223)

1518 Henry Levinstone makes bequest to William Franche, chaplain of the altar of St Mungo.(224)

1522 Isobel Fyfe, daughter and heir of the late John Fyf, flesher/burgess, resigned ‘the grave and stone of her said father, in St Giles before the altar of St Kentigern, in favour of John Cunningham.(225)

#1523 Robert Stalker described as chaplain of the service founded by the late John Baty at the altar of St Kentigern.(226)

 1526 John Thomson (husband of Margaret Baty, heir of above John) gives patronage of the chaplaincy to James Foulis.(227)

1557-58 Fraternity of St Mungo charged by Dean of Guild for use of silver candlesticks.(228)

1566 Chaplain James Terbet dead, Edward Henderson presented in his stead.(229)

1566-67 Payment for mending of the seats and nails of the saints around St Mungo’s pillar.(230)

St Lawrence (and Francis?)

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; on south side of the nave next to altar of St Michael .(231)

1454 Patrick Lesouris, rector of the parish church of Newton, for souls of James I, James II, John Forester of Corstorphine and for his family founds a secular chaplain at altar of St Michael the Archangel, to say masses for the soul of the above mentioned. Various annual rents specified. Patronage to revert to burgh council after his death.(232)

1490 James IV confirms a charter of Isabella Bras (alias Williamson), widow of Thomas Williamson, burgess, by which for the souls of James III, royal family and her family founds a secular chaplainry at altar of St Lawrence ‘one the south side near the middle of the said church’(of St Giles), sustained by 18m 8s annual rents. Presentation and patronage to remain with her heirs and if they fail the burgh and community.(233)

1495 James IV confirms a charter of Walter Bertram, provost of Edinburgh, for souls of James III and royal family and his own family and wife Elizabeth Cant, by which he founds a chaplainry at the altar of St Lawrence and St Francis in the parish church of Edinburgh. Patronage to remain with his heirs; if vacant for more than 20 days to revert to burgh and community of Edinburgh.(234)

1497 Deal done at altar.(235)

1567 Thirds of Benefices, Chaplaincy of St Laurence held by William Bannatyne, value £9,6s.(236)

St Martin and Thomas of Canterbury (Columba)

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; in the north transept next to altar of Our Lady of Pity.(237)

1449 Thomas de Lauder (canon of Aberdeen and later bishop of Dunkeld) for the souls of James I and his own family founds a chaplainry in the parish church  at altar of SS Martin and Thomas (situated in the Holy Cross aisle).(238)

1477 (31 Oct) James Livingstone, bishop of Dunkeld (1475-83) for the souls of James III and Queen Margaret, his predecessor as bishop Thomas Lauder (d.1475) and his family etc, founds a chaplainry in honour of St Columba [called our patron ie patron of Dunkeld] at the altar of SS Martin and Thomas situated at the west pier [columpnan?] in the aisle of the Holy Cross. £10 marks annual rents, presentation rights to remain with bishops of Dunkeld.(239)

1493 Charter by James IV confirming a further gift of 40s to sustain the chaplain of St Columba at the altar of SS Martin and Thomas the martyr by James Livingstone [presumably some years earlier], chaplain is Adam William.(240)

1556 Taxation of booths situated in between the buttresses at the back of the St Martin and St John’s aisles (both therefore on north side of the church).(241)

SS Mark (Philip and James)

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; in the Holy Cross aisle behind the north stalls of the choir.(242)

Walkers, Shearers and Bonnet makers

1500 Seal of causes of the Walkers craft guild, patrons of the altar.(243

1520 Seal of causes of the incorporated guild of Walkers, Scherers and Bonnet makers, altar now dedicated solely to St Mark.(244)

1557-58 Payment for the putting up at St Mark’s altar, on the north syde of the choir, a panel of glass, 3 foot of new and 5 foot of old.(245)

St Michael

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; in the south side of the nave, flanked by altars of SS Lawrence and Kentigern.(246)

1454 Patrick Lesours, rector of church of Newton, for the souls of James II and his own family founds a chaplainry at altar of St Michael the Archangel in parish church of Edinburgh.(247)

1500 Deal done at altar.(248)

1530 Chaplaincy held by Alexander Harper.(249)

1551 John Symson presented to the prebend of St Michael (at altar of the same) vacant by resignation of Edward Henrison.(250)

1567 Thirds of Benefices, Altarage of St Michael held by Thomas Gray, £10.(251)

St Nicholas

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; on the north side of the choir next to the tower stairs (in aisle of the same name?).(252)

1438 John Bridin, chaplain of altar of St Nicholas  reaches agreement regarding certain rents with John Leper, burgess.(253)

1466 Charter confirming lands pertaining to Robert Logan, chaplain of the altar of St Nicholas.(254)

1501 Clement Curry resigns chaplaincy, George Newton collated, given the ‘the horn of the altar, the book, chalice and vestments of the same’.(255)

1532 (26 Sept) Gilbert Lauder, chaplain, augments the 26 marks belonging to the altar with 6m more from lands in Petrayer in Fife.(256)

1532 (12 Oct) Gilbert Lauder resigns altarage and service into the hands of the provost, council etc who induct David Purdane.(257)

1554-55 In the Passion ‘oulk’ at St Nicholas altar the 6 panels of glass and two great head panels in one long window, which were all broken, replaced with 27.5 foot of new glass.(258)

1567 Thirds of Benefices, Altar of St Nicholas, valued at £12 5s 2d.(259)

1583 Walter Haliburton renounces prebend of St Nicholas founded in the aisle of the same name.(260)

St Ninian

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; on the south side of the nave next to altar of St Duthac and Holy Blood aisle.(261)

1405 Inquest into inheritance of John Forster refers to lands pertaining to John Scherer, chaplain of the altar of St Ninian in the parish church.(262)

1425 Confirmation by James I of the foundation by John Forster of Corstorphine of a chaplaincy at the altar of St Ninian in the parish church of St Giles, to celebrate placebo and dirige for the king and his own family, £6 13s 4d to sustain the chaplain.(263)

1439 Alan de Farinle/Fernley, burgess of Edinburgh, for the soul of his wife and family, founds a chaplaincy at the altar of St Ninian in the parish church.(264)

1463 James Inglis held the chaplaincy at the altar of St Ninian.(265)

#1489 Reference to aisle of St Ninian.(266)

1492 Confirmation by James IV of a charter by Andrew Mowbray, burgess for souls of royal family and his family and friends, he founds two chaplainries at the altar of St Ninian located ‘in the south part of the church near the altar of St Lawrence’. Chaplains to celebrate his obit annually and provide services for the poor; specifies various rents. [long specific list of the types of masses to be carried out by two chaplains, including Dirige, Placebo etc.]. Patronage to remain with his heirs.(267)

1493 Andrew Mowbray is patron of altar, 5s endowment for the maintenance of a lamp to be burned before the altar. Chaplain is Hugh Lawson.(268)

1521 Peter Hachwe chaplain of altar founded by Andrew Mowbray.(269)

1523 Chaplainry described as founded at the altar by the late Andrew Mowbray, David Rannyed collated, given the ‘chalice, book and other ornaments and vestments’.(270)

1524 Patrick Coustoun [Cranstoun? Name is unclear] of Rathobyre, patron of a chaplaincy at the altar of St Ninian founded by his predecessors, institutes John Faw as his new chaplain on resignation of James Thompson.(271)

1533 Andrew Mowbray confirmed as patron of the altar which was founded by his grandfather (also Andrew Mowbray). Institutes John Porteous as chaplain, delivers him of ornaments as above.(272)

1559 John Scot instituted as chaplain.(273)

1567 Thirds of Benefices, chaplainries of SS Ninian and Patrick held by John Brown, value 20 marks and £10.(274)

St Paul

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; no location specified.(275)

1555-56 Reference in the Dean of Guilds accounts to payments for new glass above St Paul’s altar.(276)

St Roch(e), Blessed Virgin Mary and the Visitation (Triduana)

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; in the west part of the Preston Aisle.(277)

1503 James IV confirms charter of mortification by Richard Hopper, burgess for the souls of James III, royal family and his own family and wife Elizabeth Hilton, to sustain a chaplain at the altar of the Visitation, Blessed Virgin Mary and St Roch (Rocho) newly built by him in the ‘new aisle of St Thomas the martyr’. Chaplain to say various masses on his obit and distribute food for 40 poor people. Altar ornamented with a chalice, books and other vestments, patronage to remain with his heirs.(278)

1505 Richard Hopper founded the altar served by a chaplain, Robert Hopper.(279)

1526 Robert Hopper, prebendary of St Giles and chaplain of the service of St Triduana at the altar of St Roch.(280) [no further mention of Visitation or Blessed Virgin Mary]

1527 James V confirms charter by Robert Hopper, prebend of St Giles, for his soul and the royal family makes a gift of various annual rents to the chaplainry of St Triduana at the altar of St Roch. Chaplains to celebrate masses for himself and Richard Hopper the founder of the altar.(281)

1533 ( 20 Mar) Thomas Young is chaplain of St Roch’s altar.(282)

1534 Robert Hopper still chaplain of the service of St Triduana, at the altar of St Roch.(283)

1557 Copy of a charter of the late Patrick Govan refers to Robert Liddell, chaplain of the Virgin Triduana at the altar of St Roch.(284)

1567 Thirds of Benefices, chaplainry of St Roch’s altar, held by William Murray, value £15 3s 4d.(285)

St Sebastian

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; on the north part of the nave, flanked by altars of SS Eloi and Magdalene.(286)

1494 James, duke of Albany confirms charter of James Paterson, burgess, and Janet Paterson his daughter, for the soul of the king and royal family and his own family, by which he makes Andrew White (and after his death a secular chaplain) chaplain at the altar of St Sebastian in the parish church of Edinburgh. Patronage to remain with his heirs.(287)

1501-1510 Andrew White chaplain of the altar, founded by the late (dead by 1510) James Paterson, burgess.(288)

1537 (14 Dec) John Carkettil described as the undisputed  patron of the altar, chaplain Alex Swanston.(289)

St Severinus

Websters

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; on the south part of the nave, flanked by altars of SS Stephen and Kentigern.(290)

1475 Seal of Causes of Weavers, confirmed as patrons of the altar.(291)

1508 Reference to land belonging to the altar.(292)

1532 Altar referred to as pertaining to the craft of Weavers, chaplaincy held by John Mekill (also chaplain of St Bartholomew altar).(293)

St Stephen

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; no location.(294)

1556-57 Payment for the putting up of two panels of glass, amounting to 17 foot at St Stevin’s altar.(295)

St Thomas (martyr or apostle?)

Provisional altar location suggested by Hay; on the east part of the Preston aisle.(296)

1532 Provost and council institute Walter Turnbell as prebender of St Thomas altar in College kirk of St Giles on resignation of Robert Steill.(297)

Post-medieval

1560 (19 June) Decision taken by burgh council that St Giles is too large for a parish church; proposal for it to be divided into a church, schoolhouse, tollbooth, prison and clerks chambers. School to be in the east part of church and a partition wall to be built beginning in the south kirk at the church yard and stretching north to the north kirk at the stinking style. At the east end another partition wall to be built beginning at Our Lady steps along to the bred of the church in the south sidewall.(298)

#1560 (June-Oct) Various payments for workmen engaged in the purging of the kirk. This included blocking the door way to St Salvator’s (Chepman) aisle.(299)

1561 Ten workmen were employed for 9 days to remove all altars as well as to dismantle the roodscreen.(300) The same year the west gable was rebuilt.

1562 (24 February) Further reference to the tollbooth to be made for the Lords of Session in the west end of the kirk. Master of Works David Somer to be in charge, initial cost 600 marks.(301)

1563 Dean of Guild instructed to adapt the old revestry as Town Clerk chambers ‘to caus repair the said revestryre bayth laych and heich in maist honest and sure manner’.(302)  References in 1560-61 & 61-62 to timber being stored in the room.(303)

1563-64 William Robson, slater given burgess-ship for his work in covering the new tollbooth, the choir, St Thomas aisle, St Gabriel’s aisle and pointing and mending of the whole remaining church.(304)

#1578 A wall was erected separating the former choir from the central area of the building thereby forming the ‘new’ or ‘east’ kirk.

1579 Order by the baillies for the aisles of the church to be built up, especially in the south kirk (described as now being a place of filth inundated by water), also to the same with St John’s aisle on the north side of the church.(305)

1596 (26 Mar) General Assembly reports that although progress has been made in the work of dividing the over populous congregation of Edinburgh, the work remains in pefect through not dividing the by a partition wall. Assembly requests that council investigate and then divide the said church with a wall.(306)

1598 (26 Sept) Visitation of the west quarter of the church of Edinburgh by the Presbytery of Edinburgh finds the minister competent, finds that the church is ‘over narrow and not able to contain the half of the people of the parish’. (discussion to be had amongst the Edinburgh minister).(307)

#1633 Subdivision of the church reversed by Charles I who makes St Giles the cathedral of the newly created diocese of Edinburgh. Lasts until 1638 when subdivisions re-inserted under resumed Presbyterian worship.

#1648 Extensive repairs to the steeple under the direction of John Mylne [recorded in Dean of Guild accounts].(308)

#1758, Though not fully documented the 2 bay south west chapel was removed to widen access to Parliament close.(309)

#1797-1798 The Romanesque north doorway was demolished.(310)

Statistical Account of Scotland: [No reference in account]

New Statistical Account of Scotland: Contains extensive writing on state of St Giles in 1844.(311)

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland (Edinburgh, 1967), 177.

2. Marshall, St Giles, p.6.

3. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 243.

4. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 243.

5. CPL, iv, 206-7.

6. Chron. Wyntoun, vi, 314, Chron. Bower, vii, 407,  Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 243, Marshall, St Giles, p. 9.

7. Charters Relating to the City of Edinburgh, 35-37.

8. Lees, St Giles Edinburgh, p.19

9. CPL, Ben, 48-49 & 49.

10. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 248.

11. Lees, St Giles Edinburgh, p. 22.

12. CSSR, i, 30-31 & 47-48.

13. CSSR, i, 77, CSSR, ii, 41 & 55, CPL, vii, 247, 355 & 360

14. CSSR, iv, nos. 89 & 1073.

15. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 249.

16. Marshall, St Giles, p. 25.

17. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 77, Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 250.

18. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 250.

19. Marshall, St Giles, p. 25.

20. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 249.

21. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 243.

22. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 250.

23. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 252.

24. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 121, Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 250-251.

25. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, App 1. no. 11.

26. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 120, Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 251.

27. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol. 3r.

28. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol. 3v.

29. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, i, 181-186Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 251.

30. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, ii, 112-113.

31. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, ii, 27.

32. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes, 1551-1558, SL1/1/2, fol. 30r.

33. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 10-15, 22, 26, 38, 44, 60, 76 & 90.

34. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 56 & 59.

35. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 251.

36. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 57, Marshall, St Giles, p. 39.

37. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 42, Marshall, St Giles, p. 39.

38. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes, 1551-1558, SL1/1/2, fol. 55r, Marshall, St Giles, p. 39.

39. Marshall, St Giles, p. 41. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 69 & 71-75.

40. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes, 1551-1558, SL1/1/2, fol. 82v.

41. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes, 1551-1558, SL1/1/2, fol. 92v.

42. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, i, pp. 268-69. Further payments for the revestry work in 1558, Ibid, pp.283-84.

43. 1488 reference to aisle of BVM, Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515, no. 137. 1504 Janet Swift, daughter of the late Thomas Swift, grants to George Newton her whole right in the ‘thruch’ stone of her said father , adorned with brass in the aisle of St Mary the Virgin. Same year George alienates his stone, formerly of Thomas Swift, in the aisle of St Mary etc to William Hopper, Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, nos. 80 & 91. 1552-53 payments for glass for the Lady aisle and for Thomas Watson to install them in 1553-54, Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 10 & 26. 1555-56 Lady Aisle refurbished, it was enclosed with stone partition walls panelled with wood, the gravestones in the floor were taken up, and then carefully replaced, and brass pillars from the continent were erected. Various costs for ‘gestis, boards, lime, timber and winshot for the Lady aisle included in the Dean of Guild accounts for 1556-57, Marshall, St Giles, p. 41. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 69 & 71-75. 1557-8 accounts include payments for glass, scouring of the brass work and and for the ‘Queen’s seat’ which was placed in the aisle, Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 86 & 87.

44. 1554-1555-1556 Holy Cross aisle holds the Consistory court (sometimes known as consistory aisle). Required a new roof, dean of guild purchases 12 great timber joists from a Dutchman along with further timber and nails from other sources. Two panels of glass were also required for where the thieves had come in and ‘broken the church’. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 40-42, Marshall, St Giles, p. 39.

45. 1553-54 Peter Baxter, slater, paid for the pointing of the whole body of the choir including St John’s aisle, the body of the kirk between the steeple and west gavill, the mid aisle between St Katherine and St Stephen’s aisles, St Ninian to St James’ aisle, St Thomas to St Gabriel’s aisle and Preston’s aisle, Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 27.,

46. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 249. 1485 reference to aisle of St Nicholas, Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515, no. 27, 1583 Walter Haliburton renounces prebend of St Nicholas founded in the aisle of the same name, Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, iv, 282.

47. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 49.

48. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 22. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 249. 1475 altar and aisle granted to the Guild of Masons and Wrights, Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, i, 30-31, 1501 reference to aisle of John B, Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515, no. 1134, 1553/4 dean of guild pays for ‘calsotting of St John’s aisle and St Anthony’s aisle with pik, tar, coffing hards, poil, collis and the workmanship thereof’.(35s 8d total), 1553-54 Peter Baxter, slater, paid for the pointing of the whole body of the choir including St John’s aisle, the body of the kirk between the steeple and west gavill, the mid aisle between St Katherine and St Stephen’s aisles, St Ninian to St James’ aisle, St Thomas to St Gabriel’s aisle and Preston’s aisle, 1554-5 payment for putting up of a great window on the north side of the cross kirk, about the head of St John’s aisle, containing 49 foot of glass, 1556 taxation of booths situated in between the buttresses at the back of the St Martin and St John’s aisles (both therefore on north side of the church), 1560-61 two new panels of glass amounting to 20 foot, for the aisle, 1561-62 one side of the aisle covered and the other mended and pointed, 1565-66 reference to a door in the aisle, mending of the lock and key the following year, Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 27, 39, 131, 161, 219-20 & 229.

49. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, iv, 100.

50. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 250. 1526 reference to the aisle of St Thomas in St Giles, Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28, iii, no. 234, 1552-53 payment for a glass wright for 6 foot of new glass n a panel in St Thomas’ aisle, 1553-54 payment for a great lock for the vault of St Thomas’ aisle, same year further payments for mending of the lock and to Thomas Watson for putting in two panels of glass in St Thomas’ aisle, ‘callit Preston aisle’, 1553-54 Peter Baxter, slater, paid for the pointing of the whole body of the choir including St John’s aisle, the body of the kirk between the steeple and west gavill, the mid aisle between St Katherine and St Stephen’s aisles, St Ninian to St James’ aisle, St Thomas to St Gabriel’s aisle and Preston’s aisle, 1554-58 further payments for putting up and replacing panels of glass in the aisle, 1563-64 William Robson, slater given burgess-ship for his work in covering the new tollbooth, the choir, St Thomas aisle, St Gabriel’s aisle and pointing and mending of the whole remaining church, Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 10, 23, 24, 26, 27, 38, 55 & 87.

51. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 250. 1552/3 3 panels of glass for St Anthony’s aisle windows, 12 foot of new glass, 18 foot of old paid for by Dean of Guild, 1553/4 dean of guild pays for ‘calsotting of St John’s aisle and St Anthony’s aisle with pik, tar, coffing hards, poil, collis and the workmanship thereof’.(35s 8d total), 1555-6 further payment for 6 foot of new glass and 35 foot of old for the aisle, 1560 payment by dean of guild for the ‘braid window in St Anthony’s aisle, 18 stone and 2 pounds lead, 1560 Alexander Sauchie, tailor, confesses to having the three brass pillars of St Anthony’s Aisle, 1564 reference to a small door in St Anthony’s aisle, Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 11, 23, 55, 69, 97 & 100, iii, 187.

52. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 250-251. 1513 (21 Aug) Walter Chepman of Ewirland, burgess, for the souls of James IV and Margaret, and his wife Agnes Cockburn and previous wife Mariota Kerkettil,  and family etc, founds a chaplaincy at the altar of John the Evangelist, in the chapel founded by him in the south part of the church, Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 121. 1527 chapel newly founded and built by the said Walter (Chepman) in honour of the Holy Cross in the lower end of the cemetery of St Giles, Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28, iii, no. 785, 1554-55 payment for a 18 foot panel of glass and a further 12 foot panel in Walter Chepman’s aisle. Further panel put up with 6 foot of glass in 1556-57, Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 38, 39 & 74, 1561-62 payment to workmen for closing and building up of the door in the nether kirk yard that enters into the Chepman aisle,  Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 161.Marshall, St Giles, p. 51, 1562-3 various payments to mason, wrights and labourers for building up the glass window of the aisle in stone. Window required 50 foot of new glass, Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 171-72.

53. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 120. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 251. 1554-55 & 155-56 payments for new glass windows in ‘Lawson’s aisle’? (refers to this part of the church?), Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 40 & 77.

54. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, i, 181-186. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 251. 1528 deal done in the ‘aisle of the Holy Blood’, Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28, iii, no. 918, 1553-54 Thomas Watson, glasswright, paid for betterment of a panel of glass in St Salvator’s aisle (presumably refers to Holy Blood), 1555-56 reference to work on St Salvator’s door (presumably in this aisle) and the same year payment for mending of the glass panels in the aisle with 20 foot of new glass, Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 28, 54 & 55.

55. 1556-57 Dean of Guild accounts include the ‘put up of a great panel containing 11 foot of new glass at 18d a foot in St Anne’s aisle, 1560 three ‘corsallit bands and a chek lok with 4 keys with ring, roiss and nails to the seat in St Anne’s aisle, paid for by dean of guild Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 74 & 100.

56. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 221.

57. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 11 & 26. 1553-54 Peter Baxter, slater, paid for the pointing of the whole body of the choir including St John’s aisle, the body of the kirk between the steeple and west gavill, the mid aisle between St Katherine and St Stephen’s aisles, St Ninian to St James’ aisle, St Thomas to St Gabriel’s aisle and Preston’s aisle, 1556 further purchase of glass for the aisle, a panel put up the following year , 1561-2 Clany, candle maker paid for 3 great geists for upholding the roof of the vault above St Gabriel’s aisle,  1563-64 William Robson, slater given burgess-ship for his work in covering the new tollbooth, the choir, St Thomas aisle, St Gabriel’s aisle and pointing and mending of the whole remaining church , Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 27, 56, 74, 159 & 186.

58. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 257-58. St Stephen altar is recorded in Dean of Guild accounts, see below.

59. Mentioned in Hay, no full reference, merely Jacob Follisii Edinburgensis; Calamitose pestis. Elega deploratio…,  apud G de Gourmont (Paris, 1510?), Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 256.

60. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

61. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh,  no.2.

62. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 8.

63. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 11.

64. CPL, Ben, 303. See CPL, vii, 136, for fuller account.

65. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515, no. 89

66. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515, nos. 1009 & 1564.

67. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28, iii, no. 53.

68. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28 iii, no. 320.

69. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 70.

70. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, iv, 126.

71. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

72. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

73. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh,  no.98.

74. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, nos. 318 & 801.

75. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1528-34, no. 204.

76. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 138.

77. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol. 53r

78. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

79. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, no. 669.

80. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 120. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 251.

81. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, App 1. no. 14.

82. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

83. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 251.

84. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 68.

85. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515,nos. 874, 895, 904, 907 & 1744.

86. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, nos. 203, 224 & 295.

87. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh,  no. 126.

88. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, i, 181-186, Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 251.

89. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28, iii, no. 302.

90. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1528-34, no. 132.

91. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 8, 53 & 67.

92. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 130-131.

93. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

94. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 16.

95. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 19.

96. CPL, Ben, 301. See CPL, vii, 136, for fuller account.

97. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 36.

98. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 130.

99. NRS Edinburgh Commissary Court. Register of Testaments, 1515-1532, CC8/8/1A, fol. 21.

100. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 137.

101. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

102. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515, no. 91.

103. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515, no. 456.

104. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

105. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh,  no. 116.

106. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, no. 552.

107. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, nos. 829 & 849.

108. Marshall, St Giles, p. 29.

109. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, ii, 365.

110. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 129.

111. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, iv, 281.

112. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

113. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, App.1. no.11.

114. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

115. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 56.

116. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 89.

117. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515,no. 715.

118. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, no. 869.

119. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, ii, 69,

120. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 161.

121. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

122. NRS Records of Incorporation of Tailors of Edinburgh, GD1/12/2.

123. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, i, 82-83, Lees, St Giles Edinburgh, App 1, 340.

124. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, no. 871.

125. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28,  ii, no. 108, iii, nos. 3 & 885.

126. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, ii, 52.

127. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 8, 53, 67 & 84.

128. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

129. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, nos. 671, 682 & 718.

130. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 83..

131. A number of the references to Cubart/Chowbert/Aubert have been (probably) wrongly attributed to St Cuthbert of Durham. See Perth and Haddington for similar examples.

132. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

133. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol., 35r, Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, i, 15.

134. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, App 1. no. 8.

135. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, i, 214-216.

136. Liber Officialis Sancti Andree, no. 22 & App. no.20.

137. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 36, 53, 67 & 83.

138. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

139. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 100.

140. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. ECA ED12/42 fo16v, Brown thesis p.227.

141. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28, iii, no. 375.

142. NRS Haddington Burgh Protocol Books, James Meldrum, 1520-33, B30/1/1, fol.83.

143. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 9.

144. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no.150.

145. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

146. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515,no. 1765.

147. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, i, 127.

148. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 9, 37, 52, 66 & 83.

149. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

150. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, i, 9-11, Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, App 1, no.2.

151. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, no. 392

152. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515,no. 1925, Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, no. 841, Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28, iii, nos. 14 & 600.

153. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, ii, 62.

154. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

155. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, no. 34, Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, p.xcix.

156. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, nos. 734 & 787.

157. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

158. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 101.

159. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, no. 633.

160. NRS Edinburgh Commissary Court. Register of Testaments, 1515-1532, CC8/8/1A, fol. 1-2.

161. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28, iii, no. 110.

162. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, ii, 70.

163. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes, 1551-1558, SL1/1/2, fol. 55r, Marshall, St Giles, p. 39.

164. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 130-131.

165. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

166. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 44.

167. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, no. 37.

168. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, i, 204.

169. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 124.

170. For full details of the accounts and possessions of the altar from 1494-1558 see Hammermen of Edinburgh, passim.

171. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

172. Hammermen of Edinburgh, xxxix.

173. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 86.

174. Hammermen of Edinburgh, App, 181-87.

175. Hammermen of Edinburgh, 13.

176. Prot Bk of John Foular, 9 March 1500 to 18 September 1503, 1930, no. 276.

177. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28, iii, nos. 630, 753 & 762.

178. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol. 18v.

179. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1528-34, no. 284.

180. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol. 40r.

181. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 52, 66 & 83.

182. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

183. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 92.

184. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28, iii, no. 320.

185. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28, iii, nos. 598 & 627.

186. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

187. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 62

188. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 69.

189. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515, nos. 90, 102, 690, 987, 1181, 1243, 1628, 1652, 1724 & 1936, Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, nos. 78 & 502.

190. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 105.

191. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28, ii, nos. 2 & 36-37, iii, nos. 111, 130, 233, 240, 260, 280, 344, 358, 550 & 883.

192. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, ii, 111.

193. Prot Bk of William Corbet, no. 56.

194. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 76.

195. Prot Bk  of James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, ii, nos. 50 & 65.

196. Prot Bk of Mr Gilbert Grote, 1552-1573, nos. 205.

197. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

198. Lees, St Giles Edinburgh, p. 91.

199. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 3.

200. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, i, 57.

201. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

202. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 22.

203. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 39.

204. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, i, 30-31.

205. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, i, 57.

206. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, no. 506.

207. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 121.

208. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 36, 53 & 83.

209. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 43.

210. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 138.

211. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

212. NRS Papers of Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, GD/103/2/4/17.

213. CPL, Ben, 300, See CPL, vii, 136, for fuller account.

214. CSSR, v, no.804.

215. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515,nos. 651 7 1640.

216. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 107.

217. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515,no. 1925.

218. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1528-34, no. 294.

219. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, iii, 114.

220. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

221. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 73.

222. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, no. 167.

223. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, i, 101-02, copy from 1533 in ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol. 50r.

224. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28, ii, no. 61.

225. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28, iii, no. 303.

226. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28, iii, nos. 462, 59.

227. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28, iii, no. 734.

228. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 83.

229. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, iii, 214.

230. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 235.

231. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

232. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 76.

233. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 104.

234. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 110.

235. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515,no. 858.

236. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 125-126.

237. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

238. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 67

239. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh,  no. 87.

240. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 108.

241. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, ii, 229.

242. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

243. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, i, 80-81.

244. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, i, 199.

245. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 86.

246. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

247. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 76.

248. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515,no. 1096.

249. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1528-34, no. 268.

250. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 144.

251. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 140.

252. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

253. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 38.

254. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, nos. 83 & 84,

255. Prot Bk of John Foular, 9 March 1500 to 18 September 1503, no. 92.

256. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol. 38v.

257. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol. 39v, Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, ii, 58.

258. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 40.

259. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 137.

260. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, iv, 282.

261. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

262. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 28.

263. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, App 1, no. 1.

264. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 47.

265. CPL, xii, 189.

266. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515,no. 222.

267. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 106.

268. Prot Bk of James Young, 1485-1515, no. 663.

269. NRS Haddington Burgh Protocol Books, James Meldrum, 1520-33, B30/1/1, fol. 19v.

270. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1514-28, iii, no. 386

271. NRS Haddington Burgh Protocol Books, James Meldrum, 1520-33, B30/1/1, fol. 77.

272. Protocol Book of John Foular, 1528-34, no. 483.

273. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, iii, 37.

274. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 134-135.

275. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

276. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 56..

277. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

278. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 114.

279. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, no. 117.

280. NRS Haddington Burgh Protocol Books, James Meldrum, 1520-33, B30/1/1, fol. 105r.

281. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 130.

282. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol. 40r.

283. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1528-34, no. 554.

284. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, no. 148.

285. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 138-139.

286. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

287. Registrum Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, App 1. no.14.

288. Prot Bk of John Foular, 9 March 1500 to 18 September 1503, no. 95, Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, no. 637.

289. NRS Prot Bk of Edward Dickson, 1537-45, NP1/5B, fol. 8.

290. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

291. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, i, 33.

292. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1503-1513, no. 483.

293. Prot Bk of John Foular, 1528-34, nos. 397 & 455.

294. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

295. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 74.

296. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 255.

297. ECA Edinburgh Town Council Minutes 1456-1550, SL1/1/1, fol. 39v.

298. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, iii, 66-67.

299. Marshall, St Giles, p. 51

300. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 92-93.

301. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, iii, 130-131.

302. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 176. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 251.

303. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 143 & 156.

304. Edinburgh Records. The Burgh Accounts, ii, 186.

305. Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, iv, 100

306. Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, iii, 861.

307. NRS Presbytery of Edinburgh, Minutes, 1593-1601, CH2/121/2, fol. 251r.

308. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 244.

309. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 244.

310. Hay, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles’, 244.

311. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1845), i, 658-59.

Bibliography

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NRS Edinburgh Commissary Court. Register of Testaments, 1515-1532, CC8/8/1A.

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NRS Papers of Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, GD/103/2/4/17.

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

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

Original Chronicle of Andrew Wyntoun, 1903-14, ed. F. J. Amours (Scottish Text Society), Edinburgh.

Protocol Book of James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, 1927, eds. J. Beveridge & J. Russell (Scottish Record Society), Edinburgh.

Protocol Book of James Young, 1485-1515, 1952, ed. G. Donaldson (Scottish Record Society), Edinburgh,

Protocol Book of John Foular, 9 March 1500 to 18 September 1503, 1930, ed. W. McLeod (Scottish record Society), Edinburgh.

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.

Protocol Book of Mr Gilbert Grote, 1552-1573, 1914, ed. W. Angus (Scottish Record Society), Edinburgh.

Protocol Book of Sir William Corbet, 1529-1555, 1911, eds. J. Anderson & W. Angus (Scottish Record Society), Edinburgh.

Registrum Cartarum Ecclesie Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, 1859, ed. D. Laing (Bannatyne Club), Edinburgh.

Scotichronicon by Walter Bower in Latin and English, 1987-99, D. E. R. Watt, Aberdeen.

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

Relevant secondary works

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

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

Hay, G., 1975-76, ‘The late medieval development of the High Kirk of St Giles, Edinburgh, PSAS, cvii, 242-260.

Lees, C., 1889, St Giles Edinburgh, Church, College and Cathedral, Edinburgh.

Marshall, R. K, 2009, St Giles. The Dramatic story of  Great Church and its People, Edinburgh.

Architectural description

The parish of Edinburgh St Giles was initially granted to the Lazarite order by David I, at some time before his death in 1153, and it served as an endowment for their house at Harehope in Northumberland.(1) In the course of the later middle ages the church grew in scale to become one of the largest and most complex in Scotland.(2) Views taken before nineteenth-century modifications show that externally there was little attempt to create any uniformity of approach in making all these additions, and they projected from the main body in a range of ways. Beyond the irregularity of their planning, parts had flat wall heads, some were finished with openwork foliate cresting, while others had gables to each bay that created a saw-tooth effect, the latter perhaps taking a lead from the treatment of the chapels added around the periphery of churches in the Low Countries. In none of this, however, does there seem to have been any attempt to create anything that might be understood as a unified west front, and the principal entrances continued to be through porches in the two flanks of the nave.(3) In contrast to the external appearance of rather haphazard growth, internally there was a more closely regulated approach to the architectural detailing, if not to the planning, as seen particularly in the design of the arcades of the added aisles and chapels. The high aspirations underlying the later medieval additions are perhaps especially evident in the fact that stone vaulting was eventually constructed over all parts other than the central vessel of the nave and the outer parts of the transepts.

Our understanding of the process of growth is inevitably obscured because several of the stages have no known documentation associated with them, and also because of the extent to which the church has undergone highly invasive changes since the Reformation. Such a fragmented building was not suited to the needs of a single reformed congregation, and it was progressively subdivided to meet the needs of a number of congregations, together with several ancillary functions. The process of subdivision began immediately after the Reformation in 1560,(4) though it was temporarily reversed when Charles I had the interior opened up once more to serve as the cathedral of the newly created diocese of Edinburgh in 1633; but with the reintroduction of Presbyterian governance of the church in 1638 the divisions again began to be inserted.

It seems likely that much of the process of subdivision and adaptation was carried out in a rather utilitarian manner, with little intention of making far-reaching – and thus unacceptably expensive – structural changes to the underlying architecture. There certainly were significant losses of medieval fabric, but these were largely incidental to the process of adaptation and the lack of rigorous maintenance. A plan of the church by the architect Archibald Elliot of 1818 shows the High Kirk occupying the choir and flanking aisles, with space for the General Assembly of the Church in the Preston Aisle against the south flank of the choir. The Old Kirk was in the south transept and the eastern part of the south nave aisles, while there was a police office in the corresponding area on the north side. Haddow’s Hole Kirk was housed in the three western bays of the nave and the aisles to its north, and the Tolbooth Kirk was in the three west bays of the south nave aisles.(5)

The approach of make do and mend was to change when, with the very best of intentions but the worst of consequences, William Burn was commissioned to carry out a major restoration between 1829 and 1833, and at the same time that he was required to reduce and rationalise the number of functions that had come to be accommodated within the walls of the church. Burn’s operation was draconian, and any assessment of the architecture of the church has to start with awareness that, apart from the central tower and crown steeple, virtually all that is now seen of the exterior dates from his or later restorations. His work involved the removal of a number of parts of the building in order to achieve a general external symmetry, including two outer chapels and a porch on the north side of the nave, one bay of a two-bay outer chapel together with the adjoining porch on the south side of the nave, and the northward relocation of the south nave wall to the west of that porch. He also gave a greater architectural presence to the tranepts Further changes and additions date from a second and more ‘archaeologically correct’ restoration by William Hay between 1871 and 1884, when he opened up the interior as a single church, further remodelling the nave interior at the same time, created a more imposing west front, and added a session house. The final significant addition was Robert Lorimer’s Thistle Chapel of 1909–11, at the south-east corner of the choir, whose lavish detailing, attenuated proportions, battered plinth and apsidal termination are in stark contrast with Burn’s work.

The impression of late Georgian symmetry, corseted within walls formed of large and regular blocks of polished ashlar, which was created in the 1820s and ‘30s, was very different from what the final late medieval appearance of the church had been. Whereas at most of the burgh churches as they took final shape in the later middle ages it proved possible to contain the addition of chapels within walls that presented a relatively regular appearance to the outside world, as seen supremely at Haddington St Mary, this did not happen at Edinburgh. This was largely because the sheer numbers of fresh endowments of chaplainries that were made at what was the most important church of the nation’s most prosperous burgh made any other course difficult to achieve. Here it should also be remembered that the physical limitations on the heart of medieval Edinburgh, which was confined to a narrow ridge running from the castle to Holyrood Abbey, meant that buildings had to be very tightly crowded together. There would thus have been few medieval viewpoints from which more than a small part of St Giles was externally visible, so that the irregularity of the additions would have been barely apparent externally, and would have been less of a factor than at churches set within spacious churchyards.

Nothing identifiable survives in place of the church that was granted to the Lazarites, and the only physical relic is an ex-situ scalloped capital re-set into the west wall of the chapel formed by Burn to the west of his new north transept. Nevertheless, by the middle years of the twelfth century the church was clearly a building of significantly high quality on the evidence of engravings of a lost doorway that had parallels with the west doorway at Dunfermline Abbey and the south doorway at Dalmeny parish church.(6) That doorway had been relocated at some stage for use as the north nave doorway and its original position is unknown, but it was lost in William Burn’s remodelling. Views before its destruction suggest that its arch was supported by three orders of shafts in the jambs, which carried what may probably be understood as corinthianesque capitals. The arch may have had as many as five orders. The innermost order was evidently plain, while the second order is shown as decorated with dogtooth, though that is presumably a misunderstanding of a variety of chevron, particularly since the third order is shown with undercut chevron to its soffit and face, with the points evidently meeting at their apices. The fourth order had radially set masks, while the fifth order appears to have had grotesque beasts, perhaps including signs of the Zodiac.

By the late fourteenth century the church had almost certainly become a cruciform structure with a central tower, an arrangement that had a precedent at Aberdeen St Nicholas, where there was a crossing tower and widely projecting transepts by the later twelfth century. At St Giles, however, the first transepts may not have projected beyond the north and south lines of the first nave aisles. Although a low transept took shape in the later middle ages on the south side (and was heightened by Burn), later extensions on the north side took the form of a series of smaller outer chapels rather than a full-height transept, and the transept now seen there is a nineteenth-century creation. The existence of a central tower is made clear by a contract of 29 November 1387 for the addition of five chapels against the south flank of the nave, which says that they were to run between the west gable and the steeple.(7) The prompt for the commissioning of those chapels, which appear not to have survived in identifiable form - if, indeed, they were ever built -  is most likely to have been the attack on Edinburgh by the army of Richard II in August 1385.(8) This was perhaps also the reason for the rebuilding of the choir, crossing and transepts, and work on them must have been largely complete by 1395, when it appears that a chapel dedicated to St John had already been added to the north of the north transept, for which endowments were confirmed in that year.(9)

The chief remains of the late fourteenth-century building campaign are: the three western bays of the two choir arcades and the piers under the central crossing; the vaulting of the three western bays of the choir aisles, though that over the south choir aisle, which was evidently the Lady Chapel and was wider than its northern counterpart, was modified when the Preston Aisle to its south was added after 1454;(10) the vault over the bay of the south transept adjacent to the central tower. It is the western bays of the north aisle that now best represent the original design of the eastern parts. The arcades are carried on octagonal piers that rest on bases of water-holding profile, a type of base that saw a limited revival in the early fourteenth century; the piers have moulded capitals, and the arches are of three chamfered orders.

The vaulting over these eastern parts was an unusual hybrid for its time. The surviving portions (and presumably the missing parts as well) have a diagonal arrangement of ribs to each bay, giving a first appearance of quadripartite vaulting, and there is a slightly domical swelling in each bay that gives some sense of each bay of vaulting being a distinct entity. But there are only minimal lateral intersections over the arcade and window arches, meaning that the vaulting is essentially a form of pointed barrel vaulting, but with a quadripartitite surface pattern of ribs. On present evidence, the only vault that may have foreshadowed this combination of pointed barrel section and a quadripartite arrangement of ribs is that on the upper floor of Dundonald Castle in Ayrshire, on the ancestral estates of the Stewart family, which heraldic evidence suggests was built by Robert II after he succeeded to the throne in 1371.(11)

Although pointed barrel vaults, with a range of approaches to the provision of ribs were to become relatively common in Scotland, before this date it seems they had been found most often over the interiors of major tower houses, where they had been either unribbed or supported by a series of parallel transverse ribs. In such contexts they were of square or rectangular plan and supported by walls on all four sides, as was the case at Dundonald. But at St Giles, the space to be covered was a central vessel flanked by aisles, which meant that the vaults had to be constructed above arcades as well as walls, a situation that was structurally more demanding. On the combined evidence of the surviving bay of the south transept vault and of truncated transverse rib springers above the arcade capitals, it can be concluded that the vaults over the central space of the choir and the transepts sprang from the same level as those of the aisles. The late fourteenth-century eastern limb must thus have been in essence a hall-church rather than being of basilican section. However, the vaults of the central space and transepts presumably rose slightly higher at the apex than was the case in the north aisle, because of the greater width of those parts.

Hardly before rebuilding of the eastern parts of St Giles’ can have been completed, a process of progressive enlargement began that was to continue virtually up to the Reformation. The start of the process had been initiated with the signing of a contract for five chapels down the south side of the nave, for which, as has already been said, there is a contract of 1387, with the masons John Primrose, John of Scone and John Skuyer carrying out the work.(12) That contract is of great value in helping us to understand the grounds of agreement that would have to be in place before a major building operation could be instigated. The vaults were to copy that above St Stephen’s Chapel in Holyrood Abbey (which appears no longer to exist), and there were to be three-light windows to an agreed pattern in four of the chapels, and a door in the fifth. Great stress was placed on adequate provision being made for the roofs to drain properly to avoid the risk of water damage. 

It has assumed by many that the existing outer arcade on the south side of the nave was built for those chapels. In fact, however, it would be difficult to accept that an arcade with such details could be as early as 1387, and it might even be questioned if the chapels were in fact ever built. The absence of any reference to piers in what is a relatively detailed contract may indicate that the chapels were intended to be treated as a sequence of individual spaces separated by solid walls, rather than being set out in the form of a longitudinal aisle entered through an arcade. That was certainly the case with two chapels added against the eastern bays of the north nave aisle. Those chapels were destroyed in Burn’s restoration, but their plan is known, and one may wonder if they were also of a fourteenth-century date, like the five south chapels detailed in the contract , possible having been built as an extension of the operation that resulted in St John’s Chapel by 1395. The two north chapels, together with the porch to their west were finished with lateral gables, and perhaps this was what was intended for the south chapels when it was required that there should be gutters between the chapels to throw the water out, though it must be admitted that such a description could also be applied to gargoyles.

From what we can now understand of the nave against the south flank of which those chapels were to be added, it must have had five-bay arcades of relatively squat proportions, essentially like those in the choir, and the springing of the eastern arch of the south arcade still survives within the heightened south-west crossing pier. There was a low clearstorey, for which there is evidence in the form of a series of blocked window arches above the arcade arches on the south side. In considering this evidence for the central vessel of the medieval nave it must be taken into account that, as part of William Burn’s restoration of 1829-33, the whole arcade was heightened, and the arcade piers rebuilt to the same form as those in the Albany Aisle (discussed below); it was because of this that the lower part of the clearstorey was blocked. A new clearstorey was then added, which raised the nave to about the same height as the choir in its late medieval state, and a plaster tierceron vault was inserted. But Burn’s arcade piers did not survive the 1881-3 restoration by William Hay, when the heightened piers and arches were replaced by the present octagonal piers and arches. It is clear that in the medieval nave there were clearstorey windows only on the south side, a situation that is paralleled in the mid-fifteenth century nave of Stirling Holy Rude, where the wall above the nave arcade was similarly unpierced. On this evidence it may be seen that the medieval nave with its clearstorey must have risen higher than the choir in its late fourteenth-century state, though there is no evidence that the central space was ever vaulted. We shall see that the choir was later heightened by the addition of a vaulted clearstorey stage, after which it rose to a greater height than the nave, and it was only in the nineteenth century that equality of height between the two parts was achieved. It is unfortunately the case, however, that the nave has been so completely modified that it is difficult to say more about either its date of construction or its final medieval form.

The contract for the addition of the five chapels demonstrates that in that case there was an aspiration for homogeneity of appearance within the constituent parts at least, though the construction before 1395 of St John’s Chapel against the north transept suggests that overall regularity was already becoming difficult to maintain. The presumed fragmentary remains of this chapel, in the east wall of William Burn’s north transept offer an interesting illustration of the range of sources of inspiration to which the patrons of the work at St Giles were prepared to look. This is because it has been suggested that it may have contained one of the rare Scottish examples of English-inspired rectilinear tracery,(13) of which the only other surviving examples dating from the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries are at Melrose Abbey and the churches of Corstorphine and Carnwath (in Lanarkshire). The reason for suspecting that there was rectilinear tracery is that the decorative blind panelling of the lower walling has mouldings that extended up into the mullions of the window, in a way that is strikingly English in character. That English character is also evident in the casement mouldings and embattled transom of the chapel. Yet it is significant that the fragmentary remains of the vault springing suggests that the chapel was covered with ribbed barrel vaulting of essentially the same form as in the choir aisles, a type of vaulting that may be seen as characterising a growing wish by Scottish masons and patrons at this time to generate approaches to architectural design in which alternatives to English guidance was being sought. This is a response that is perhaps especially understandable at St Giles, where the rebuilding programme was perhaps necessitated by the devastation caused by an English attack. There is a comparable ambivalence between elements of English and Scottish origin in the few other buildings that have English-inspired rectilinear tracery, all of which have – or had – ribbed pointed barrel vaulting.

The next significant addition for which an approximate date can be assessed was the two-bay chapel that was added against the western bays of the north nave aisle, which has come to be known as the Albany Aisle. It seems that by the stage that this addition was made, any aspiration for external regularity had been abandoned, and all that was hoped for so far as external appearances were concerned was that new works should be architecturally homogeneous in themselves. The chapel is separated from the north nave aisle by an arcade of two arches. The pier has eight filleted shafts separated by tiny spurs of masonry that were perhaps meant to read as an octagonal core, which may have been intended to establish at least some residual relationship with the octagonal piers of the choir and nave. The pier rests on a deep base that has an octagonal sub-base moulded with a bottom chamfer and a hollow chamfer, above which are individual bases to each shaft that have bands of filleted rolls above and below the flared main element to each shaft. The richly detailed caps echo the bases in having an individual cap over each shaft, which is decorated with foliage, above which is an octagonal upper cap, also decorated with foliage. There are shields on the north and south sides of the capital, the former having the arms of the fourth earl of Douglas, and the latter the arms of Robert duke of Albany , which presumably places construction of the aisle to before the deaths of Albany in 1420 and Douglas in 1424. The responds at each end of the arcade are treated as halved versions of the pier between them.

In these piers and responds a design was established that was to be copied with only minor modifications for many of the additions that were to be made over many decades, indicating a greater desire for architectural homogeneity internally than was to be displayed externally. However, for modern observers, this does have a disadvantage, in that it makes attempts to date undocumented parts of the church on stylistic grounds inherently hazardous. The chapel is covered with quadripartite ribbed vaulting, but regrettably, nothing is known of the tracery that must once have filled its windows. By this stage the north nave aisle was probably covered by the quadripartite vaulting now seen, though it would have been elevated well above the arches of the north nave arcade because of the need to accommodate the arches into the Albany Aisle.

The next phase of operations involved a major remodelling of the choir. At arcade level this called for the reconstruction of the eastern bays. Excavation in 1981 established that the choir was lengthened by no more than 2.5 metres in this process,(14) which suggests that a principal aim had been to enhance the presbytery area around the high altar, and it is likely that the two eastern bays were widened rather than that an additional bay was constructed. The new arcade pier and east arcade respond take their lead from those of the Albany Aisle, albeit with greater enrichment of the detailing. In the piers themselves the only change from the Albany Aisle is that the diagonally-directed shafts are keeled rather than filleted, while the spurs between them are enlarged. The bases and sub-bases in this case have ogee mouldings, and there is foliage decoration to the individual bases. There is similarly enhanced enrichment to the caps, which have winged angel heads to the parts immediately above the shafts of the pier. Quadripartite vaults were constructed over the two eastern bays of the aisles like those in the north nave aisle. Early views show intersecting tracery in the aisle windows, though it cannot now be known if that was of medieval date. Those same views suggest that the remodelled choir aisle buttresses rose above the walls to be capped by pinnacles, and that the aisle wall heads were finished with large-scale foliate cresting, which was copied by Burn throughout the building. Within the north wall of the remodelled north aisle is a mutilated tomb recess with an arch of depressed two-centred form.

The choir was also heightened at this time, which necessitated the removal of the late fourteenth-century vault over the central space, leaving no more than some traces of its springing between the arcade arches. The new clearstorey is demarcated from the arcades by a string course a short distance above the arch apices, and vaulting shafts extend up from the arcade spandrels to the tierceron vault, which springs from caps at clearstorey sill level. All of this was presumably carried out in anticipation of the granting of collegiate status in 1467/8, following failed attempts to receive permission in 1419 and 1423.(15)

The work on the choir can be dated to around the 1450s from the arms of James II, Queen Mary of Guelders, Prince James and Bishop James Kennedy of St Andrews on the new piers. It may be mentioned that by the mid-fifteenth century patronage of the church had evidently reverted to the crown,(16) which presumably explains the royal heraldry of the extended choir. The royal connections may also explain some apparent cross-fertilisation of architectural ideas with Trinity College Church in Edinburgh, which had a similar elevation and proportions to the heightened choir at St Giles. Trinity College was founded by Queen Mary of Guelders in 1460 to provide for the soul of her husband, James II,(17) who had been killed at the siege of Roxburgh that year, and it may be noted that one of the beneficiaries of the prayers offer at Trinity College was Bishop James Kennedy, whose arms, as we have seen, were also carved on the pier at St Giles.

The next documented phase of work at St Giles was the addition of the three-bay Preston Aisle against the western part of the south choir aisle, which commemorated the gift of a relic of the church’s patron saint by Sir William Preston of Gourton. Work was scheduled to begin in 1454–5,(18) and the bond for its building stipulated it was to be finished within seven years; however, the depiction of the arms on one of the bosses of Lord Hailes, who was provost of the burgh in 1487, suggests that all did not go as speedily as hoped. The piers and arches of the new outer aisle follow those of the adjacent remodelled choir, albeit with slightly lesser levels of enrichment and, like the choir, the aisle is covered by tierceron vaulting, suggesting that this was deemed to be a space of high importance. The addition of this aisle involved some modifications to the vault of the Lady Chapel in the adjacent south choir aisle, in order to accommodate the slightly higher arcade arches. 

It is difficult to be certain what came next in the building sequence, but a leading candidate is the outer aisle on the south side of the nave, which presumably replaced the five chapels contracted for in 1387. The reason for suggesting this is that the porch that is shown in early views as projecting from its middle bay appears to have borne a strikingly similarity to the south nave porch at Linlithgow St Michael, in having image tabernacles flanking the entrance arch and a most unusual polygonal oriel lighting an upper storey. The work on the nave of Linlithgow is not closely dated, though it is likely to have been drawing to a close when James IV made a gift to the work in 1489,(19) because it was complete enough for the master mason John French to be buried in the north aisle in the same year. A replica of the oriel was made by Burn for the west end of the truncated aisle. The round-headed door within the porch was eventually relocated to the east side of Lorimer’s vestibule to the Thistle Chapel. The piers of the outer south nave aisle follow the form that was established in the Albany Aisle and continued in the extended choir and Preston Aisle, though the closest similarities are with the last of those; as with the two latter cases, the diagonally-directed piers are keeled rather than filleted. It was perhaps only at this stage that quadripartite vaults were constructed over both south nave aisles. That in the inner aisle survives and is differentiated from the north aisle vault by the provision of longitudinal and transverse ridge ribs. The vault in the outer aisle was removed when Burn remodelled that aisle, and only the wall ribs remain visible along the north side, below those of Burn’s plaster vault.  

The external climax of St Giles is the tower capped by a crown steeple that was raised over the central crossing, and which is thought most likely to date from around 1500. The upper stage of the two-stage tower is of a similar design to that at Haddington St Mary, in having groups of three single lights to each face, and within the tower is what appears to be the medieval bell frame. The crown steeple was probably built soon afterwards, since provision was made in the tower’s upper internal walls for the seating of the flyers that carry the top pinnacle. The St Giles crown steeple is one of only three known to have been built in Scotland, the others being at King’s College Chapel in Aberdeen, and at Linlithgow St Michael, the latter of which has been destroyed. It is possible however, that they were also planned for Haddington St Mary and Dundee St Mary on the evidence of the treatment of the wall-heads there. At St Giles the crown steeple has eight flyers, and it appears that the same number was planned at Haddington and Dundee, though the two others that were built had only four flyers.

Crown steeples must be understood as the culmination of a long process that can be traced from the later thirteenth century onwards, in which masons working at a wide variety of scales had shown a growing fascination with extremes of architectural complexity combined with an apparent wish to suggest that the masonry with which they were working was able to defy gravity. This fascination with micro-architectural detailing is perhaps first evident in two-dimensional drawn and inscribed designs, from manuscripts to tomb slabs and monumental brasses, in which the absence of weight imposed no restrictions on the fantasies of the artist. It is also seen at a relatively small scale in artefacts such as shrines worked in precious metals, in choir stall canopies and episcopal thrones carved from timber, in tombs cut from stone, and in screens constructed of both timber and stone. But perhaps inevitably, it was in proposals for church towers, which were the parts of buildings intended to aspire most effortlessly towards the heavens, that the supremely daring experiments were to be made.

It seems that Scotland had played little part in those earlier experiments, so it is unlikely that it was in Scotland that the idea of the crown steeple was generated. Within Britain it seems that the earliest buildings where the daring step was taken of cutting out any vertical connection between tower and superstructure, which is the defining feature of crown steeples, was at the parish churches of Newcastle St Nicholas (now the cathedral), and St Mary le Bow in London. In the former case the crown steeple is thought to have been built for Robert Rhodes, who died in 1474 and whose arms are on the tower vault; the latter is said to have been complete by 1512. The way in which the elegant ogee curves of Newcastle’s crown steeple flyers rise to embrace the lower angles of the traceried square lantern was handled in such a seemingly effortless way was only possible because of what had already been achieved elsewhere in Britain and the Continent, and it is attractive to think that is was from there that the idea was brought to St Giles. The close concentration of eight supporting pinnacles around the edge of the tower, which have diagonally-set secondary pinnacles rising from one of their off-sets, further emphasises the overall sense of verticality. This is developed in the slender three stages of the central pinnacle on which the flyers converge, though it is not clear how far that pinnacle still represents the intentions of the original master mason, and how far the design was modified when it was reconstructed by John Mylne in 1684.(20)

The final medieval additions to the church about which anything can be said with any certainty involved the outward extension of the south transept, known as St Anthony’s Aisle, and the addition of chapels on each side of it. In its medieval state the transept rose no higher than the flanking chapels to east and west, but Burn added a clearstorey and plaster vault to it, while retaining the single bay of the late fourteenth-century pointed barrel vault next to the crossing. He supported the south end of that vault on an inserted arch, above which he built up a new wall incorporating a relocated window with reticulated tracery. The single bay chapel on the east side of the transept projects out from the west bay of the Preston Aisle, the window arch of which was slightly modified to provide an entrance to the new chapel. This chapel, which was built for the printer Walter Chepman between 1507 and 1513,(21) was covered by a pointed barrel vault with a quadripartite arrangement of ribs, a type of vault first seen in the late fourteenth century choir, but that had by this date become widely fashionable. At the intersection of the ribs is a finely carved boss, with an angel holding a shield emblazoned with the impaled arms of Chepman and his first wife, Mariota Kirkettle.

On the other side of the south transept from the Chepman Aisle was the two-bay Holy Blood Aisle, in the re-entrant angle between the south transept and the outer south nave aisle; it was truncated to a single bay by William Burn, to create a symmetrical pendant to the Chepman Aisle on the east side of the transept. This chapel was completed by no later than 1518, when the altar was assigned to the Confraternity of Merchants.(22) The tracery of one of the two windows is recorded in early views of the church, and the uncusped loop forms show some relationship with the south transept window at Trinity College, which can probably be associated with the resumption of work there in 1531/2. The chapel was presumably built as the last resting place of the individual whose tomb is known from early views to have been set between the two windows of the aisle within a salient framed by a stepped foliate border, but that tomb was relocated further east within the chapel by Burn. The identity of the tomb’s occupant is unrecorded, though if a tradition that it was for one of the earls of Caithness, the most likely candidate could be the Earl William who fell at Flodden in 1513. The tomb canopy is flanked by pinnacles and its arch has cusped cusping to the soffit and lavish crocketing to the extrados with a finial at the apex.

Notes

1. Scotichronicon by Walter Bower, ed D.E.R. Watt et al., Aberdeen and Edinburgh, vol. 6, p. 407; Ian B. Cowan, the Parishes of medieval Scotland, (Scottish Record Society), 1967, pp. 177-78.

2.  Detailed accounts relating to the architecture will be found in Registrum Cartarum Ecclesie Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, ed. D. Laing (Bannatyne Club), Edinburgh, 1859; J.C. Lees, St Giles’ Edinburgh, Church, College and Cathedral, Edinburgh, 1889; D. MacGibbon and T. Ross, the Ecclesiastical Architecture of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1896–7, vol. 3, pp. 419–55; Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Inventory of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, 1951, pp. 25–36; George Hay, ‘The Late Medieval Development of the High Kirk of St Giles, Edinburgh’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland,vol. 107, 1975–6, pp. 242-60; Christopher Wilson in Gifford, McWilliam and Walker 1984, pp. 102–18.

3. See the elevations of the pre-restoration state in Registrum Sancti Egidii.

4. Lees, St Giles’, pp. 359-60.

5. Published in Lees, St Giles’, facing p. 262.

6. N.M. Cameron, ‘The Romanesque Sculpture of Dunfermline Abbey’, R. Fawcett (ed.), Royal Dunfermline, (Society of Antiquaries of Scotland), Edinburgh, 2005, pp. 72–74.

7. Registrum Sancti Egidii, p. 24, reprinted in Salzman 1952, pp. 466–67.

8. Scotichronicon, vol. 7, p. 407

9. Registrum Sancti Egidii, p. 32.

10. Registrum Sancti Egidii, pp. 106–07.

11. Gordon Ewart and Denys Pringle. ‘Dundonald Castle Excavations 1986-93’, Scottish Archaeological Journal, 26 (2004), 65-68 and 144-45.

12. Registrum Sancti Egidii, p. 24, reprinted in L.F. Salzman, Building in England down to 1540, Oxford, 1952, pp. 466–67.

13. MacGibbon and Ross 1896–7, p. 439; Wilson in Gifford, McWilliam and Walker 1984, pp. 111–12.

14. Nicholas M.McQ. Holmes, St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh: Archaeological Excavation, 1981, unpublished interim report, 1982.

15. Registrum Sancti Egidii, nos 20-21, 23-24; Register of the Great seal of Scotland, vol. 2, no 887; Ian B. Cowan and David E. Easson, Medieval Religious Houses, Scotland, London and New York, 2nd ed. 1976, p. 220.

16. Cowan, Parishes, pp. 177-78.

17. James D. Marwick, Charters and Documents Relating to the Collegiate Church and Hospital of the Holy Trinity...Edinburgh, (Scottish Burgh Record Society), 1871, no 1.

18. Registrum Sancti Egidii, p. 106.

Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, vol. 1, p. 124

20. R.S. Mylne, The Master Masons to the Crown of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1893 p. 137.

21. Registrum Sancti Egidii. p. 203.

22. Lees, St Giles’, p. 80.

Map

Images

Click on any thumbnail to open the image gallery and slideshow.

  • 1. Edinburgh St Giles, exterior, from the north east

  • 2. Edinburgh St Giles, exterior, from the south east

  • 3. Edinburgh St Giles, exterior, from the south west

  • 4. Edinburgh St Giles, exterior, from the west

  • 5. Edinburgh St Giles, exterior, the crown steeple from the north east

  • 6. Edinburgh St Giles, exterior, the crown steeple from the south west

  • 7. Edinburgh St Giles, exterior, crown steeple soffit, 1

  • 8. Edinburgh St Giles, exterior, crown steeple soffit, 2

  • 9. Edinburgh St Giles, exterior, tower, foliate corbel for flyer

  • 10. Edinburgh St Giles, exterior, tower, north face

  • 11. Edinburgh St Giles, detail of St John's Chapel

  • 12. Edinburgh St Giles, exterior from south in 1790 (Cameron Lees)

  • 13. Edinburgh St Giles, exterior, east and west flanks before restoration (Registrum Sancti Egidii)

  • 14. Edinburgh St Giles, exterior, north flank before restoration (Registrum Sanct Egidii)

  • 15. Edinburgh St Giles, exterior, south flank before restoration (Registrum Sancti Egidii)

  • 16. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, Chepman aisle, heraldic boss

  • 17. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, Chepman Aisle, vault, 1

  • 18. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, Chepman Aisle, vault, 2

  • 19. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, choir vault

  • 20. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, choir north aisle vault, looking east

  • 21. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, choir north aisle vault, looking west

  • 22. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, choir, north arcade wall

  • 23. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, Holy Blood Aisle, tomb

  • 24. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, Holy Blood Aisle, tomb (MacGibbon and Ross)

  • 25. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, Holy Blood Aisle, tomb (Skene)

  • 26. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, nave, Albany Aisle pier

  • 27. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, nave, south arcade wall

  • 28. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, nave, south chapel pier

  • 29. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, north-east choir pier

  • 30. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, south transept vault from south

  • 31. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, St John's Chapel, east wall

  • 32. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, St John's Chapel, east wall, canopy head

  • 33. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, St John's Chapel, east wall, traces of vault

  • 34. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, tower, bell frame, 1

  • 35. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, tower, bell frame, 2

  • 36. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, tower, seating for angle flyer

  • 37. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, tower, seating for mid-wall flyer

  • 38. Edinburgh St Giles, relocated south door (Registrum Sanct Egidii)

  • 39. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, Preston Aisle

  • 40. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, ex-situ early cap

  • 41. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, Preston Aisle base

  • 42. Edinburgh St Giles, interior, presbytery pier base

  • 43. Edinburgh St Giles, lost early door

  • 44. Edinburgh St Giles, west front in 1829 (Shepherd)