Garvock Parish Church

Garvock Church, exterior, from south

Summary description

Rebuilt in 1782, possibly on the site of its medieval predecessor. It appears to be no longer in ecclesiastical use. 

Historical outline

Dedication: St James

With its dedication to St James,(1) evidence for an independent parish of Garvock is entirely lacking before the 1280s.  It is not amongst the many parishes in the Mearns dedicated by Bishop David de Bernham in the 1240s and it is not listed in the account rolls of the papal tax-collector in Scotland in the 1270s.  The earliest surviving record of the church is the charter of August 1282 whereby High Blundus, lord of Arbuthnott, granted it to the monks of Arbroath Abbey.(2)  Hugh’s charter conveyed to the monks the oxgang of land in which the church stood together with the rights of patronage of that church, and a share in the common pasture of the parish for 100 sheep, 4 horses, 10 oxen, 20 cows and 1 bull.  He promised also to secure the confirmation of his superior lords, Robert de Ros.  De Ros’s confirmation was received shortly afterwards.(3)  The following year, Bishop William Wishart confirmed the church to the abbey, permitting them to apply the teind revenues in proprios usus, and establishing a perpetual vicarage to serve the cure of souls, with confirmation of the chapter of St Andrews following immediately thereafter.(4)  The annexation and vicarage settlement continued at the Reformation when the parsonage was listed amongst the properties of Arbroath, valued at £80 annually and the perpetual vicarage was held by Mr John Wardlaw but set by him to two others for £40 annually. It is only at this time that the presence of a separate chaplainry of St Andrew within the church is recorded, valued at 40 merks.(5)

Notes

1. Mackinlay notes that the church was dedicated to St James and that a bell situated in the parish was dedicated to the same saint. It long survived the Reformation and was thought to work miraculous cures: J M Mackinlay, Ancient Church Dedications in Scotland: Scriptural Dedications (Edinburgh, 1910), 241-242.

2. Liber S Thome de Aberbrothoc, i (Bannatyne Club, 1848), no.314 [hereafter Arbroath Liber].

3. Arbroath Liber, i, no.315.

4. Arbroath Liber, i, nos 316, 317.

5. J Kirk (ed), The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefices (Oxford, 1995), 82, 359.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes: Granted by Hugh, lord of Arbuthnott to the abbey of Arbroath in 1282. A perpetual vicarage was erected; parsonage with the Abbey.(1)

Mackinlay notes that the church was dedicated to St James and that a bell situated in the parish was dedicated to the same saint. It long survived the Reformation and was thought to work miraculous cures.(2)

1282 Grant to Arbroath by Hugh Blundus [the blond?], lord of Arbuthnott, of one oxgang of land in which the church of Garvock is situated, rights of patronage of that church with common pasture, 100 sheep, 4 horses, 10 oxen, 20 cows and 1 bull. Confirmations in same year by Robert de Ros, Lord of Bennere and in 1283 by William Fraser, bishop of St Andrews and the chapter of the priory of St Andrews.(3)

#1425 (14 Apr) James I  has confirmed by this charter the endowment and grant which his beloved kinsman, Patrick Ogilvie, knight, of Grandon, made with the agreement of the late Alexander Ogilivie, sheriff of Forfar, his father, of one chaplain to celebrate mass in the chapel of St Mary the Virgin at Garvock.(4)[separate chapel?]

1438 Supplication for perpetual vicarage of Garvock by William Sanquhar (illegitimate), is unsuccessful; by 1440 John Monypenny (MA) is described as perpetual vicar (value £10) and by 1442 John Jory was rector.(5)

1484 Garbal teinds set to John Straton of Rhynd for 9 years for victuals.(6)

 1484 Robert Merteyn presented to the perpetual vicarage by Archbishop of St Andrews, vacant by resignation of John Fordyce.(7)

1492 Reference in charther that the teind sheaves of Garoch are used to sustain the abbey’s cellarer.(8)

1497 Teinds set for 15 years to the current vicar Robert Martin; £46 to be paid to the cellarer. In 1506 set again to Robert for 19 years for same terms.(9)

1502 On resignation of above, Robert Walter Straton (rector of Dunnottar) is presented to the vicarage. Ineffective as in 1512 church described as vacant for 10 years, Dionysius Auchlek presented to vicarage.(10)

1513 Robert Martini described as perpetual vicar.(11)

1524 Garbal teinds set for 9 years to Elizabeth Martin, widow of John Martine, burgess of Aberdeen (£80 but includes further vills outside of the parish).

1529 Teinds set for 19 years (to commence in 1535) to Thomas Arkyn de Halton, royal secretary.(12)

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: The Parish church parsonage with Arbroath, value £80. Vicarage with John Wardlaw value £40.

Altars and Chaplainries

Chaplainry of St Andrew, value £26 13s 4d.(13)

Account of Collectors of Thirds of Benefices (G. Donaldson): Third of vicarage £6 13s 4d.(14)

1610 (7 Sept) Visitation of the church of Garvoch finds the minister (Robert Arbuthnottt) to be competent and the kirk fabric to be in good estate and the kirk dykes are required to be built according to the act of Parliament.(15)

1681 (3 Aug) Visitation of the church of Garvoch by the Presbytery of Fordoun notes that the minister (John Milne) has a stipend of 200 marks. (no reference to fabric).(16)

Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev Alexander Thomson, 1791): ‘There is a commodious and sufficient church built in the year 1782’.(17)

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev John Charles, 1836): ‘At the east end of the old church, within, was erected a funereal monument dated 1666 (Marischal family)’. Patronage of the church (no information on pre-1782) given by Hugh Arbuthnott to the Abbey of Arbroath in 1282’.(18)

Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches: (George Hay): 1778 with 17th century details; renovated 1913-15.(19)

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland, 73.

2. Mackinlay, Scriptural Dedications, pp. 241-242.

3. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, nos. 314, 315, 316 & 317.

RMS, ii.

5. CSSR, iv, 121, 176 & 216.

6. Liber Aberbrothoc, ii, no. 239.

7. Liber Aberbrothoc, ii, no. 243.

8. Liber Aberbrothoc, ii, no. 343.

9. Liber Aberbrothoc, ii, nos. 377 & 459.

10. Liber Aberbrothoc, ii, nos. 431 & 533.

11. CPL, xvii, no.986.

12. Liber Aberbrothoc, ii, no. 729.

13. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 82 & 359.

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

15. NRS Records of the Synod of Fife, 1610-1636, CH2/154/1, fol. 1.

16. NRS Presbytery of Fordoun, Records of Visitations, 1677-1688, CH2/157/13, fols. 37-40.

17. Statistical Account of Scotland, (1791), iii, 547.

18. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1836), xi, 33.

19. Hay, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches, p. 260.

Bibliography

NRS Presbytery of Fordoun, Records of Visitations, 1677-1688, CH2/157/13.

NRS Records of the Synod of Fife, 1610-1636, CH2/154/1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Architectural description

Garvock was granted to the Tironensian abbey of Arbroath in 1282 by Hugh, lord of Arbuthnott. It was confirmed to the uses of the abbey by Bishop William in the following year, after which a perpetual vicarage was erected.(1

Following the Reformation the church appears to have been retained in repair, because in 1610 it was said to be ‘in good estate’.(2) The eastern parts of the church may have been taken over by the Marishcal family as their burial place, because it is said that a monument to that family dated 1666 was located there.(3

The church was rebuilt in 1782,(4) leaving no visible evidence of its predecessor. It is a rectangle aligned from north-east to south-west, which is built of grey rubble; added offshoots to ‘north’ and ‘south’ accommodate a vestry and porch respectively. There is a birdcage bellcote above the west gable.

Flanking the porch on each side is a pointed-arched window with timber Y –tracery, but there are no openings to the ‘north’. The ‘west’ wall has a single pointed-arched window, while the ‘east’ wall has two tiers of pointed-arched windows, the lower one, which has timber Y tracery, appears to have replaced a door at this point. There are also traces of a blocked door in the ‘west’ wall.

The interior is covered by a coved timber ceiling. The communion table and pulpit are now at the west end, though they were presumably previously at the centre of one of the long walls.

The relationship with the churchyard suggests that the present building is likely to be on or near the site of its predecessors. The eccentric alignment might suggest that it has been somewhat shifted from the precise location of the medieval building. However, the dimensions of 7.63 metres by 16.85 metres would be acceptable for a building that has perpetuated the footprint of a pre-Reformation church, and this possibility may find some support from the finding of a medieval thurible below the floor during works carried out in 1840.(5)

The church appears to be no longer in use for worship.

Notes

1. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society). 1967, p. 73.

2. National Records of Scotland, Records of the Synod of Fife, 1610-36, CH2/154/1, fol. 1

3. New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, vol. 11, p. 33.

4. Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-9, vol. 3, p. 547.

5. J. Gammack,  ‘Notice of a bronze censer found under the floor of the old church of Garvock, Kincardineshire’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol. 21, 1987, pp. 180-2.

Map

Images

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  • 1. Garvock Church, exterior, from south

  • 2. Garvock Church, exterior, from north east

  • 3. Garvock Church, exterior, from south west

  • 4. Garvock Church, exterior, west gable bellcote

  • 5. Garvock Church, interior, looking east