Inchture Parish Church

Inchture Church, exterior, from south west

Summary description

Rebuilt in 1835, and extensively repaired and remodelled after a fire in 1890; the main body may incorporate parts of the medieval church.

Historical outline

Dedication: unknown

Inchture, described as a ‘chapel’, was granted to the priory of St Andrews by Richard, bishop-elect of St Andrews, and granted and confirmed to the canons by King Malcolm IV in 1163x1164.(1)  Between 1165 and 1169, King William granted the ‘chapel’ of Inchture and then around 1170 the ‘church’ of Inchture with its dependent chapel of Kinnaird to the canons.(2)  This grant was confirmed by Bishop Richard, with the land and all other things justly pertaining to the church and chapel around 1172.(3) Bishop Richard’s grant seems to have been intended also to confirm the status of Inchture as a parish church. Papal bulls of Lucius III in 1183 and Gregory VIII and Clement III in 1187 and 1188 confirmed the canons’ possession of the church.(4)  Further papal confirmations follow into the thirteenth century.

Inchture was consecrated by Bishop David de Bernham on 11 August 1243.(5)  According to the chronicler Walter Bower, however, around 1253 Bishop David ‘unjustly’ deprived the priory of possession of the church.(6)  As the church appears in the accounts of the papal tax-collector in Scotland in 1275 as a vicarage only, this account is somewhat problematical,(7) as is the implication that only the patronage of the church had been granted to St Andrews in Ian Cowan’s assertion that ‘parsons continue to appear in the thirteenth century’.(8)  There are two references to Andrew, parson of Inchture, both early in the reign of King Alexander II (r.1214-49), and no subsequent thirteenth-century references to either him or any further parsons of the church.(9)  Cowan suggested that the church may have been appropriated by the bishops of St Andrews from the time of Bishop David until c.1358 as a mensal church,(10) but the only evidence for that is a reference to Inchture as ‘mensal’ in a 1372 confirmation and 1381 reconfirmation of the union of the church to the priory by Bishop William Landallis.(11)  It was Landallis who had confirmed the appropriation of the church to the priory c.1358, with royal confirmation in that year from King David II.(12)  The fruits of the church were to be applied to the fabric of the cathedral at St Andrews which, it was alleged, was threatened by undermining by the sea.  An attempt to dissolve the union on the basis that the reasons given in the original appropriation supplication were fraudulent was made in 1419 but this proved to be unsuccessful.(13)

The union made provision for the erection of a perpetual vicarage, holders of which are on record from the middle of the fifteenth century.(14)  At the Reformation, the parsonage remained with the priory, valued at £178 annually.  The vicarage, with the dependent chapel of Kinnaird, was in the hands of Arthur Tallifer, valued at £30.(15)

Notes

1. Regesta Regum Scottorum, i, The Acts of Malcolm IV, ed G W S Barrow (Edinburgh, 1960), no.240; Liber Cartarum Priorarus Sancti Andree in Scotia (Bannatyne Club, 1841), 201-202 [hereafter St Andrews Liber].

2. Regesta Regum Scottorum, ii, The Acts of William I, ed G W S Barrow (Edinburgh, 1971), nos 2, 283; St Andrews Liber, 218-219.

3. St Andrews Liber, 138-9.

4. St Andrews Liber, 58, 63, 68.

5. A O Anderson (ed), Early Sources of Scottish History, ii (Edinburgh, 1922), 524 [Pontifical Offices of St Andrews].

6. Walter Bower, Scotichronicon, eds D E R Watt and others, iii (Aberdeen, 1996), 395.

7. A I Dunlop, ‘Bagimond’s Roll: Statement of the Tenths of the Kingdom of Scotland’, Miscellany of the Scottish History Society, vi (1939), 39.

8. I B Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society, 1967), 86.

9. Liber Ecclesie de Scon (Bannatyne Club, 1843), no.123; ‘The Erroll Papers: Part IV, Charters and Miscellaneous Documents’, Miscellany of the Spalding Club, ii (1842), 307, no.VII.

10. Cowan, Parishes, 86.

11. Calendar of Papal Letters to Scotland of Clement VII of Avignon 1378-1394, ed C Burns (Scottish History Society, 1976), 58-9.

12. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Records Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Petitions to the Pope, ed W H Bliss (London, 1896), 331.

13. Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, i, 1419-1422, eds E R Lindsay and A I Cameron (Scottish History Society, 1934), 125-6.

14. Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, iii, 1428-1432, eds A I Dunlop and I B Cowan (Scottish History Society, 1970), 82-3, 90, 215, 249-50; Calendar of Scottish Suppliations to Rome, v, 1447-1471, eds J Kirk, R J Tanner and A I Dunlop (Glasgow, 1997), no.97.

15. J Kirk (ed), The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefices (Oxford, 1995), 16, 317, 339.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes: Granted to the priory of St Andrews by William I - appears to be patronage only as independent parsonage continues to appear in 13th century. The parsonage was annexed c.1358, with the revenues appropriated after 1237/8 as it is then referred to as a mensal church of the priory.(1)

1163 x 1164 Malcolm IV confirmed the gift of the chapel of Inchture made by Richard, bishop-elect of St Andrews.(2)

1165 x 1166 Richard, bishop of St Andrews, confirmed (general confirmation) the chapel of Inchture as a gift made by him.(3)

1165 x 1169 William I confirmed (general confirmation) the chapel of Inchture as a gift of Bishop Richard. 1165 x 1170, William I gave (dare) the church of Inchture with the chapel of Kinnaird to the priory (Richard, bishop of St Andrews, attests).(4)

1172 x 1178 Richard, bishop of St Andrews, gave (dare) the priory the church of Inchture with lands pertaining to it and also the chapel of Kinnaird saving synodals. This charter appears to raise the chapel of Inchture to the status of a church and clarify the subordinate relationship of the chapel of Kinnaird.(5)

1178 x 1184 Hugh, bishop of St Andrews, confirmed (general confirmation) the church of Inchture and the chapel of Kinnaird with their tithes and lands as gift of William I.(6)

1189 x 1195 William I confirmed (general confirmation) the church of Inchture to the priory.(7)

1198 x 1199 Roger, bishop of St Andrews, confirms (general confirmation) the church of Inchture with adjacent lands and the chapel of Kinnaird as a gift of William I.(8)

1228 Alexander II confirmed (general confirmation) the church of Inchture (SAL, pp. 232-6).

1183 Pope Lucius III confirmed the church of Inchture with the chapel of Kinnaird with lands.(9)

1187 Pope Gregory VIII confirmed the church of Inchture with its chapels (Scotia Pontificia, no. 148). The church and its chapels were confirmed in bulls of Clement III in 1188, Innocent III in 1206, and Honorius III in 1216.(10)

c.1253 Bower accuses David de Bernham, bishop of St Andrews, of unjustly taking the church of Inchture from the cathedral community of St Andrews (the priory?), the church having been granted to them by William I.(11)

1358 David II confirms appropriation of Inchture and its chapel Kinnaird, to St Andrews cathedral which has suffered from the sea and storms.

1363 Church described as in danger of falling into the sea.(12)

1381 Reconfirmation of the union of the mensal church lands of Inchture to help with repairs to the cathedral church of St Andrews following fire in 1378.(13)

1419 Mandate to investigate claim by Walter Blare (MA and clerk of St Andrews diocese) and the parishioners questioning the right of St Andrews priory to hold church. St Andrews had claimed that the priory required a new sea wall to protect its buildings, which Walter disputes ‘becasue the said monastery has no need of a wall…as it is perched on a lofty rock’. [result of enquiry unclear].(14)

1430 William of Hawick provided to perpetual vicarage (value £10, corrected in later letter to £12).(15)

1432 Dispute between Thomas Punok and John Cassalis over the church caused Thomas to ‘lay violent hands on James, and thrust him from the steps of the choir and cast him to the ground, but without bloodshed’. Thomas was however, successful and was provided in 1432.(16)

1447 Thomas is dead, Thomas Ross (MA and in 1456 described as son of a priest) now perpetual vicar (£7 value).(17)

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: The Parish church referred to as pertaining to priory of St Andrews, parsonage value £178. Vicarage valued at £30, held by Arthur Tallifer with its pendicle of Kinnaird.(18)

[No post-Reformation references to the church in the presbytery]

Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev John Millar, 1791): ‘The church and manse here are both old’.(19) [nothing more specific]

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev J A Harvey, 1842): ‘The parish church is in the gothic style and was built according to the plans of Mackenzie of Dundee in 1835’.(20) [no reference to earlier buildings but presumably on the same site]

Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches: (George Hay):1834, David Mackenzie, architect; recast after fire in 1891. ‘T’ plan with porches and stairs at re-entrant angles and with gable belfries. (Perpendicular Gothic details but following general plan of Thomas Telford ‘parliamentary churches). Gothic revival belfry early 19th century.(21)

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland , 18.

2. RRS, i, no. 240.

3. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 141-4.

4. RRS, ii, nos. 28 & 23.

5. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 138-9.

6. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 147-9.

7. RRS, ii, no. 333.

8. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 149-52.

9. Scotia Pontificia, no. 119.

10. Scotia Pontificia, no. 149; Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 71-6, 76-81.

11. Chron. Bower, iii, 395.

12. CPP, 331 & 343.

13. CPL, Clem, 58.

14. CSSR, i, 125-26.

15. CSSR, iii, 82-83 & 90.

16. CSSR, iii, 215 & 249-50.

17. CSSR, v, no.97, CPL, xi, 268.

18. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 16, 317 & 339.

19. Statistical Account of Scotland, (1791), iv, 194.

20. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1842), x, 835.

21. Hay, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches, pp. 122, 170 & 269.

Bibliography

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

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.

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

Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree in Scotia, 1841, ed. T. Thomson (Bannatyne Club), Edinburgh.

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

Regesta Regum Scottorum, Acts of Malcolm IV (1153-65), 1960, Edinburgh.

Regesta Regum Scottorum, Acts of William I (1165-1214), 1971, Edinburgh.

Scotia pontificia papal letters to Scotland before the Pontificate of Innocent III, 1982, ed. R. Somerville, Oxford.

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.

Architectural description

The patronage of Inchture was granted to St Andrews Cathedral Priory by William the Lion (1165-1214), and the fruits appear to have been annexed to the episcopal mensa. In about 1358, however, the parsonage was annexed to the priory by Bishop William de Landallis, and in 1372 a papal confirmation of the grant specified that the fruits were to be used for the cathedral fabric. Provision was made for a vicarage perpetual.(1) Bishop David de Bernham carried out a dedication on 11 August 1243.(2)

According the Statistical Account the church was still an old building in the 1790s.(3) But the New Statistical Account recorded that it had been rebuilt in 1835 to the designs of ‘Mackenzie of Dundee’,(4) that is David Mackenzie.(5) The building was gutted by fire in 1890, and repaired and remodelled in the following year by Duncan D. Stewart.(6)

The main body of the church is oriented, and projecting north from it is an aisle, with a porch on each side in the re-entrant angles between main body and aisles. The skyline is enriched by angle buttresses rising into pinnacles, and there is an octagonal bellcote capped by a spirelet over the north gable, which faces towards the street. There are three-light windows with curvilinear tracery in the gable walls.

With one exception, the masonry is of vivid red ashlar; the exception is the south face of the main body, which is rendered. This may have been to reduce costs in the least visible part of the building, though the richness of detailing elsewhere suggests that cost was a secondary consideration. Could it be an alternative possibility that an earlier building had been partly retained, and only refaced where it was a visible part of the rebuilding of 1835? There could be no certainty about this on the presently available evidence, though the dimensions of the main body of about 25 by 8 metres would certainly be acceptable in a medieval building.

Notes

1. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society), 1967, p. 86.

2. Alan Orr Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History, Edinburgh, 1922, vol. 2, p. 524.

3. Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-9, vol. 4, p. 194.

4. New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, vol. 10, p. 835.

5. Howard Colvin, Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 4th ed., New Haven and London, 2008, p.669.

6.  John Gifford, The Buildings of Scotland, Perth and Kinross, New Haven and London, 2007, p. 421.

Map

Images

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  • 1. Inchture Church, exterior, from south west

  • 2. Inchture Church, exterior, from north

  • 3. Inchture Church, exterior, from south east

  • 4. Inchture Church, exterior, from west

  • 5. Inchture churchyard, gravestone, 1

  • 6. Inchture churchyard, gravestone, 2

  • 7. Inchture churchyard, gravestone, 3