Flisk Parish Church

Flisk, possible site of medieval church

Summary description

There are no structural remains of the medieval church It was replaced in 1790 by a new building a short distance to its north east, which is itself now roofless.

Historical outline

Dedication: St Magridin(1)

Reference to a church of Flisk occurs first in an agreement dated to between 1189 and 1195, where the teinds of the churches of Flisk and Coultra, which had been annexed to the monastery at Abernethy, were specifically excluded from the grant of the teinds of Abernethy to the monks of Arbroath Abbey.(2)  The next surviving reference to the church is a note of its dedication on 7 September 1242 by Bishop David de Bernham of St Andrews.(3)  It was a free parsonage in 1274-5 when the taxation of the rector of ‘Flisc’ or ‘Flosk’ was recorded in the rolls of the papal tax-collector in Scotland, with 2 merks 6s 8d paid in tax in the first year.(4)

Through the connection with the monastery at Abernethy, patronage of the church came in the 1340s to lie in the hands of the Leslies of Rothes, to whom half of the heritage of the Abernethy descendents of the laicised abbots of the former monastery had passed through marriage to one of the Abernethy heiresses.  An early indication of that Leslie control is porbably reflected in the recording in 1342 that one Norman Leslie was to resign the church his on provision to canonry of Moray, while in 1359 a John Leslie was described as rector.(5) A further Leslie rector, Andrew, is recorded in 1488 as a witness to a charter of George Leslie, earl of Rothes.(6)  By a charter of May 1503, issued at Flisk, Andrew Leslie, rector of the church, granted to his brother George Leslie property which he possessed in the Mearns, amongst the witnesses of the deed being three other Leslies, including the rectors of Auchindoir in Aberdeen diocese and Moy in Moray diocese.(7)  In 1517, a royal confirmation of the properties and rights of the Earls of Rothes included the advowson and other rights in the church of Flisk.(8)  The church remained a free parsonage in the patronage of the Leslies at the Reformation, when it was recorded in the possession of James Balfour, parson, but no values were recorded for his charge.(9)

Notes

1. S Taylor and G Markus The Place-Names of Fife, iv, North Fife between Eden and Tay (Donington, 2010), 380-381.

2. Regesta Regum Scottorum, ii, The Acts of William I, ed G W S Barrow (Edinburgh, 1971), no.339.

3. A O Anderson (ed), Earl Sources of Scottish History, ii (Edinburgh, 1922), 522 [Pontifical Offices of St Andrews].

4. A I Dunlop (ed), ‘Bagimond’s Roll: Statement of the Tenths of the Kingdom of Scotland’, Miscellany of the Scottish History Society, vi (1939), 35, 64.

5. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Papal Letters, iii, 1342-1362, ed W H Bliss (London, 1897), 59; Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Petitions to the Pope, ed W H Bliss (London, 1896), 346.

6. NRS Records of Thomson and Baxter, W.S, GD241/200.

7. Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum, ii, 1424-1513, ed J B Paul (Edinburgh, 1882), no.2725.

8. Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum, iii, 1513-1546, eds J B Paul and J M Thomson (Edinburgh, 1883), no.148.

9. J Kirk (ed), The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefices (Oxford, 1995), 60.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes: Granted to Arbroath by William I, but this appears to have been ineffective. The parsonage is listed in Bagimond’s Roll, with the church unappropriated at the Reformation and patronage with the earl of Rothes.(1)

It has a slightly strange dedication. Place Names of Fife vol. 4 makes reference to ‘St Muggin’s hill which is in the New Statistical Account of Scotland (ix 601-2). This is possibly St Magridin, an Irish saint to whom the church of Abdie was dedicated.(2) According to Mackinley, the church was dedicated to St Magridus, but is unable to fully identify the dedication. He suggests possibly Adrian.(3)

However, in 1550 (5 Apr) Katherine Powrie submitted her testament to the Commissary Court of St Andrews, asking to be buried in the church of St Muckolin [not entirely clear]. On 1550 (16 June) Agnes Bett asked to be buried in the church of St Nicholson [again not clear].(4)

1342 Norman de Leslie (MA) is to resign church on provision to canonry of Moray.1359 a John de Leslie is described as rector.(5)

1378-1418 Patrick de Forgund holds the rectory of Flisk.(6)

1418-1448 On Patrick’s death, John Stewart (MA and a kinsman of the royal Stewarts, his patron is Walter Stewart of Atholl) holds the church, until his death in 1448.(7)

1465 Alexander Lumsden is vicar also has a pension from Legerwood. In 1466 accuses Thomas Vaus, dean of Ross, of committing an act of voluntary homicide and in 1469 assigns William Ferguson (vicar of Crombie), a pension of 10 marks from the fruits of Flisk for ‘services rendered’.(8)

1474 (20 Oct) Charter by William Sinclair, Lord Newburgh, son of William, Earl of Caithness, witnessed By Alex Lumsden, rector of Flisk.(9)

1488 (17 Apr) Charter by George, Earl of Rothas, in favour of Robert Lundy of Balgony, of lands of Balcely in barony of Leslie and sheriffdom of Fife, witnessed by Andrew Leslie, rector of Flisk.(10)

1503 (6 June) James IV Confirms a charter of Andrew Leslie, rector of Flisk to his brother George Leslie.(11)

1513 (1 Apr) Charter of the possession of George Leslie, earl of Rothes, mentions the advowson and rights of the church of Flisk.(12)

1534-38 James Weddell, lawyer and rector of Flisk and official of St Andrews in the archdeaconry of St Andrews adjudicates over a series of divorce cases.(13)

1533 (24 Apr) Charter of Confirmation by Hugh Spens, professor of divinity and provost of the collegiate church of St Salvator, St Andrews, and John Weddell, licentiate in canon and civil law, parson of Flisk and official-principal of St Andrews, judges-delegate appointed by Silvester Darrio of Lucca, papal chaplain and auditor of causes in the sacred apostolic Palace, papal nuncio to James V, confirming charter, dated 17 Feb 1533, by Walter Acarsoun, chaplain of the chaplaincy of St Christopher's altar in the old kirkyard of the burgh of Cupar.(14)

1560 Thomas Balfour rector of Flisk.(15)

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: For the Parish church, James Balfour, parson of Flisk is mentioned but there are no references to valuations etc.(16)

1647 (22 July) Visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Cupar, finds the minister to be competent but that the church and church yard dykes are ordered to be repaired.(17)

Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev William Gourley): [No reference to parish church]

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev George Marshall, 1837-38): ‘The parish church. In 1790, the old building after standing for 500 years it is said, was pulled down, and the present small but neat edifice erected near the old site of the former’.(18)

Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches: (George Hay):1790; interior recast.(19)

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland (Edinburgh, 1967), 67.

2. Taylor & Markus, The Place-Names of Fife. Volume Four, pp. 380-381.

3. Mackinley, Non-Scriptural Dedications, p. 492.

4. NRS St Andrews, Register of Testaments, 1 Aug 1549-12 Dec 1551, CC20/4/1, fols. 223-224 & 248-249.

5. CPL, iii, 59, CPP, 346.

6. CPL, Clem, 18, CSSR, i, 200.

7. CPL, Ben, 379, CPP, 117, CSSR, iv, no. 364, CPL, x, 397.

8. CSSR, v, no. 1044, 1050, 1051 & 1157. CPL, xii, 636.

9. NRS Papers of the Sinclair Family, Earls of Rosslyn, GD164/189.

10. NRS Records of Thomson and Baxter, W.S, GD241/200.

11. RMS, ii, no. 2725.

12. RMS, iii, no., 148.

13. Liber Officialis Sancti Andree, nos.81-87 & 91-109.

14. NRS Papers of Phineas Bell Brander, solicitor, Edinburgh, GD63/20.

15. Prot Bk of Dominus Thomas Johnsoun, no. 658.

16. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 60.

17. NRS Presbytery of Cupar, Minutes, 1646-1660, CH2/82/1, fol. 52.

18. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1837 rev 1838), ix, 602.

19. Hay, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches, p. 257.

Bibliography

NRS Papers of Phineas Bell Brander, solicitor, Edinburgh, GD63/20.

NRS Papers of the Sinclair Family, Earls of Rosslyn, GD164/189.

NRS Presbytery of Cupar, Minutes, 1646-1660, CH2/82/1.

NRS Records of Thomson and Baxter, W.S, GD241/200.

NRS St Andrews, Register of Testaments, 1 Aug 1549-12 Dec 1551, CC20/4/1.

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

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

Calendar of Papal letters to Scotland of Clement VII of Avignon, 1976, ed. C. Burns, (Scottish History Society) Edinburgh.

Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome 1418-22, 1934, ed. E.R. Lindsay and A.I. Cameron, (Scottish History Society) Edinburgh.

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

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

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

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

Liber Officialis Sancti Andree, 1845, (Abbotsford Club), Edinburgh.

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

Mackinlay, J.M, 1914, Ancient Church Dedications in Scotland. Non-Scriptural Dedications, Edinburgh,

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

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

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

Taylor, S & Markus G., 2010, The Place-Names of Fife. Volume Four. North Fife between Eden and Tay, Donington.

Architectural description

Flisk evidently originated as a church in the territory of Abernethy, though by the time that Abernethy was granted to the Tironensian abbey of Arbroath Flisk appears to have become parochial.(1) It remained unappropriated, within the patronage of the earls of Rothes.(2)

The medieval church is thought to have occupied a platform within the churchyard to the south-west of the later church, where there are no memorials, but nothing is known of its architectural form. It was demolished in 1790, and replaced by a new building.(3)

That replacement building, which is now itself a roofless shell, is a simple rectangle constructed of grey rubble with limited ashlar dressings. It has two round-headed windows to each of the flanks, and a pair of pointed-arched windows to the east gable wall, all having brick rear arches. There has been a bellcote at the apex of the west gable, and a porch was added against the west wall as part of modifications carried out by T.M. Cappon in 1886.(4)

Notes

1. Simon Taylor, The Place-Names of Fife, vol. 4, Donington, 20102, p. 380.

2. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society), 1967, p. 67.

3. New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, vol. 9, p. 602.

4. John Gifford, The Buildings of Scotland, Fife, London, 1988, p. 226.

Map

Images

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  • 1. Flisk, possible site of medieval church

  • 2. Flisk Church, exterior

  • 3. Flisk Church, interior, 1

  • 4. Flisk Church, interior, 2