Gogar Parish Church

Gogar Church, exterior, from south

Summary description

Abandoned for worship in the late sixteenth century and adapted as a mausoleum. The main body of a new church was built on its east side in 1890-91. It became derelict after passing out of ecclesiastical use in 1955, but was restored as a cabinet maker’s workshop in 1979.

Historical outline

Dedication: unknown

Gogar’s first appearance in a surviving historical record dates from 23 May 1247 when it was noted that the church was dedicated by Bishop David de Bernham of St Andrews.(1)  It was an independent parsonage when it next appears, in the rolls of the papal tax-collector in Scotland in the 1270s.  In 1275, the procurator acting on behalf of the rector paid 1 merk in tax, with the rector paying two subsequent terms at 8s.(2)  It remained an independent parsonage in 1298 in the next surviving tax roll, where the full value of the church was given as £10 19s 9d, with taxation at 21s 11½d.(3)  Named rectors of the church are on record from 1380, when the incumbent was Augustin of Gogar.(4)

It was noted in 1411 that the church was in the gift of the Bishop of St Andrews, with the prior and chapter of St Andrews.(5)  The last certain reference to an independent parsonage is in 1430-1437 when Robert Heriot was rector.(6)  Shortly after that, in 1444, Bishop James Kennedy of St Andrews annexed certain teinds from the parish to support the new collegiate church at Corstorphine, but the parsonage and vicarage appear to have remained independent.(7)  At some date before 1507 the parsonage and vicarage were annexed to Trinity College in Edinburgh to support a prebend, but the date of the original annexation is unknown.(8)  The church remained annexed to the prebend at the Reformation, parsonage and vicarage then being valued at £66 13s 4d, while the prebend of Half Gogar and Half Addiston that was funded on the teinds allocated to Corstorphine by James Kennedy in 1444 was valued at £26 13s 4d in full.(9)  The cure was served by a curate.

Notes

1. A O Anderson (ed), Early Sources of Scottish History, ii (Edinburgh, 1922), 526 [Pontifical Offices of St Andrews].

2. A I Dunlop (ed), ‘Bagimond’s Roll: Statement of the Tenths of the Kingdom of Scotland’, Miscellany of the Scottish History Society, vi (1939), 33, 55, 56.

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

4. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Petitions to the Pope, ed W H Bliss (London, 1896), 557

5. Calendar of Papal Letters to Scotland of Benedict XIII of Avignon 1394-1419, ed F McGurk (Scottish History Society, 1976), 234-5.

6. Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, vi, 1433-1447, eds A I Dunlop and D MacLauchlan (Glasgow, 1983), 304, 351.

7. Charters of the Hospital of Soltre, of Trinity College Edinburgh, and other Collegiate Churches of Midlothian (Bannatyne Club, 1861), 301 [hereafter Midlothian Charters].

8. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Realting to Great Britain and Ireland: Papal Letters, xviii, 1503-1513 (Dublin, 1989), no.770.

9. J Kirk (ed), The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefices (Oxford, 1995), 107, 112, 113, 115 & 117.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes: Certain tithes within the parish were assigned to Corstorphine collegiate church by James Kennedy in 1444. The parish church remained independent until annexed to Trinity college, Edinburgh in which it constituted a prebend before 1543, the charge served by a curate.(1)

1380 Augustin de Gogare has the church until 1403 when on his death he is replaced by James de Fauwside (MA university of Paris).(2)

1416 James is dead, Edward de Lauder (MA, illegitimate) is rector.(3)

1419 Edward and William de Croysar in litigation over church; both resign and William, bishop of Orkney is enjoined to hold the church.(4)

1422 Robert de Strathbrock resigns the church in favour of John de Kirriemuir.(5)

1430-37 Robert Heriot is rector of the church.(6)

1462 Erection of Trinity college by Mary of Gueldres; chapel of ‘Ochtergartre’ annexed to it; editors suggest it is Gogar.(7)

1507 Prebend of Gogar in the church of the Holy Trinity, Edinburgh, is resigned by Adam Whitelaw; John Hepburn is collated (only 14 years old and son of an Augustinian canon).(8)

1544 Described as a prebend of Trinity College, Edinburgh.(9)

1549 (29 Oct) John Forrest, appears as procurator for William Manries, rector of Gogar, regarding rents owing to the church of Cupar.(10)

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: The Parish church parsonage and vicarage valued at £66 13s 4d. Half Gogar and Half Addiston constitutes as prebend of the college of Corstorphine, value £26 13s 4d.(11)

Account of Collectors of Thirds of Benefices (G. Donaldson): Third of parsonage and vicarage £33 4s 5 1/3d.(12)

1591 (16 July) A visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Edinburgh finds that the church is too small for the congregation and, lying close to Corstorphine, suggest that they should be united.(13)

1598 (8 Aug) Visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Edinburgh found the reader (John Cross) to be competent, but the kirk yard dykes need repairing; decision taken by the presbytery to plant the church with a minister (many of the congregation of the church often go to Edinburgh churches).(14)

1599 (3 Apr) Agreement made between the heritors of Gogar and Corstorphine that the churches should be united.  24 April commission from the Presbytery of Edinburgh ordered to sort out the details, agreement from the Laird of Corstorphine on 26 May 1599.(15)

Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev James Oliver, 1791):

[After Reformation Gogar split between parishes of Corstorphine, Kirkliston and Ratho]

‘There is in the parish [of Corstorphine] another place of worship, but which appears never to have been used since the Reformation. It is a small chapel at Gogar, there is a burial ground around it’.(16)

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Thomas Thomson, 1839): ‘A small part of the kirk of Gogar, which still exists was converted not a family burial ground soon after the Reformation’.(17) [Myreton family]

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland, 77.

2. CPP, 557 & 627.

3. CPL, Ben, 234 & 33-34.

4. CSSR, i, 58 & 120, CPL, viii, 118.

5. CSSR, i,295.

6. CSSR, iv, nos. 304 & 351.

7. CPL, xviii, 450-51.

8. CPL, xviii, no.770.

9. St Andrews Formulare, ii, 316-318.

10. StAUL Cupar, Court & Council Records, 1549-1554, B13/10/1, fol. 3.

11. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 107, 112, 113, 115 & 117.

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

13. NRS Presbytery of Edinburgh, Minutes, 1586-1593, CH2/121/1, fol. 211.

14. NRS Presbytery of Edinburgh, Minutes, 1593-1601, CH2/121/2, fol. 243.

15. NRS Presbytery of Edinburgh, Minutes, 1593-1601, CH2/121/2, fols. 277-278 & 282.

16. Statistical Account of Scotland, (1791), xvi, 450.

17. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1839), i, 241.

Bibliography

NRS Presbytery of Edinburgh, Minutes, 1586-1593, CH2/121/1.

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

StAUL Cupar, Court & Council Records, 1549-1554, B13/10/1.

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 Benedict XIII of Avignon, 1976, ed. F. McGurk, (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.

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.

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

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

St Andrews Formulare, 1514-46, 1942-44, eds. G. Donaldson & C. Macrae (Stair Society), Edinburgh, i.

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

Architectural description

There was a church at Gogar by no later than 23 May 1247, when Bishop David de Bernham carried out one of his many dedications here.(1) In 1444 some of the teinds were assigned to Corstorphine Collegiate Church by Bishop James Kennedy, but at an unknown date both parsonage and vicarage were annexed to Trinity Collegiate Church in Edinburgh, after which the cure was served by a curate.(2)

Following the Reformation, in 1591 the church was deemed to be too small, and it was suggested that the parish should be united with that of Corstorphine.(3) Agreement was eventually reached on this on 3 April 1599.(4)

In the 1790s it was said that the church ‘appears never to have been used since the Reformation’,(5) though the entry in the New Statistical Account recorded that ‘a small part of the kirk of Gogar, which still exists, was converted into a family burial ground soon after the Reformation’.(6) That ‘family burial ground’ was evidently the property of the owners of the Gogar Castle estate, and it may be wondered if the adaptation was carried out for John Cowper, who built the castle in 1626, or for one of his descendants.

The burial aisle is a rectangle of 7.4 by 5.44 metres, which is presumably too small to reflect the dimensions of the medieval church, and which supports the statement that it was only ‘a small part of the kirk’ that was adapted. It is rubble-built with dressed quoins, and has crow-stepped gables over the east and west walls. Entrance to the aisle was through a door in the west wall that has narrowly chamfered arrises and raised margins; the lintel appears to have been replaced on the indications of the diagonal tooling. A relieving arch is built into the east wall, possibly for a now-lost window.

Any other features of either medieval or seventeenth-century date were lost when the aisle was incorporated as a south transeptal termination of a new church that was built to the designs of J.A. Williamson in 1890-91.(7) It was modified by the addition of a crow-stepped gable at the centre of its south face, which framed a two-light plate-traceried window, and a porch was placed over the door in its west gable wall.

The main body of the new church is of low-set unicameral form, set out on a north-south alignment, with a squat tower-porch at the north end of its west wall. It is covered internally by a ribbed timber barrel ceiling of polygonal profile.

The church was last used for worship in 1955, and subsequently became derelict. It was restored as a cabinet maker’s workshop in 1979, a function it continues to serve.   

The bowl of a medieval baptismal font is recorded at the church, whose present whereabouts is unknown.(8) Drawings show it to have been of circular form, with a roll moulding around the upper edge and an ogee moulding around the lower edge.

Notes

1. Alan Orr Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History, Edinburgh, 1922, vol. 2, p. 526.

2. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society), 1967, p. 77.

3. National Records of Scotland, Presbytery of Edinburgh, Minutes, 1586-93, CH2/121/1, fol. 211.

4. National Records of Scotland, Presbytery of Edinburgh, Minutes, 1593-1601, CH2/121/2, fols 277-8 and 282.

5. Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-9, vol. 16, p. 241.

6. New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, vol. 1, p. 241.

7. John Gifford, Colin McWilliam and David Walker, The Buildings of Scotland, Edinburgh, Harmondsworth, 1984, p. 588.

8. J. Russell Walker, ‘Scottish Baptismal Fonts’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol. 21, 1886-7, pp. 356-7.

Map

Images

Click on any thumbnail to open the image gallery and slideshow.

  • 1. Gogar Church, exterior, from south

  • 2. Gogar Church, exterior, from north east

  • 3. Gogar Church, exterior, from south west

  • 4. Gogar Church, north flank

  • 5. Gogar Church, door at south end of east aisle

  • 6. Gogar Church, interior, from north

  • 7. Gogar churchyard, gravestone

  • 8. Gogar Church, Font (Walker)