Inverarity Parish Church

Inverarity, site of church, 1

Summary description

Nothing remains in place of the medieval church. A new church was built on a different site in 1754-55, to which porches were added in 1854.

Historical outline

Dedication: unknown

What appears to be the first surviving reference to the church of Inverarity is a note of its dedication by Bishop David de Bernham on 6 September 1243.(1)  It was a free parsonage in 1275 when recorded in the rolls of the papal tax-collector in Scotland, where the churches of Kinnettles and Inverarity were together assessed for the first tax-year at 3 merks 2s 8d.(2)  Rectors of the church are recorded from the 1340s onwards and at the Reformation the church was still an independent parsonage.  At that time, it was noted that the patronage of the church was held by the Archbishop of St Andrews and the Earl of Crawford, who presented rectors in alternation.  At the Reformation the parson was Hugh Lindsay, the fruits of the church valued at £40 annually being feued to the Earl of Crawford.(3)

Notes

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

2. A I Dunlop (ed), ‘Bagimond’s Roll: Statement of the Tenths of the Kingdom of Scotland’, Miscellancy of the Scottish History Society, vi (1939), 37.

3. J Kirk (ed), The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefices (Oxford, 1995), 381-382.  

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes: Unappropriated in Bagimond’s Roll, the church remained an independent parsonage in the patronage of the archbishops of St Andrews and earls of Crawford.(1)

1345 William de Coventre succeeds John de Coventre as rector of church.(2)

1364 Andrew de Ox (described as kinsman of Walter de Coventre, bishop of Dunblane, 1361-72) provided to the church. By 1375 Andrew is rector of St Giles, Edinburgh (to resign Inverarity on obtaining St Giles).(3)

1378 Robert Fleming provided to church held unlawfully by Walter de Coventre [presumably relative of Andrew/William etc].(4)

1404 David de Edery (archdeacon of Brechin), scholar of Canon law, provided to church held unlawfully by John de Leys (calling himself priest). Value £16.(5)

1413 Henry de Ogilvy (illegitimate son of a nobleman) collated to church.(6)

1419 Robert Clerici (MA) collated to church void by resignation of a William Bell.(7)

1465 John Thomas, described as rector of Inverarity.(8)

1466 John Thomas described as rector (chancellor camerius of James Kennedy).(9)

1475 (27 Sept) Charter by John Thomson [same as above?], rector of the parish church of Inverarity, to the chaplains of the church of the Holy Trinity in the city of St Andrews to the number of thirty persons 'in principali' and twelve choristers 'in particulari', of an annual rent of 15s from his tenement lying on the north side of Market Street. The thirty chaplains of the said church shall celebrate a trental of masses yearly on his anniversary.(10)

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: The Parish church: at presentation of archbishops of St Andrews and earls of Crawford, alternately. The parson is Hugh Lindesay, value £40 (feu fermed to earl of Crawford).(11)

Account of Collectors of Thirds of Benefices (G. Donaldson): Third of parsonage £13 6s 8d.(12)

1754 (15 May) Petition to the Presbytery of Forfar by Mr Young on behalf of the heritors of Inverarity for a visitation as the ‘kirk and kirkyard dykes’ are in a great measure ruinous and the situation thereof greatly inconvenient. Visitation to consider rebuilding the kirk in a more commodious place.(13)

1754 (6 Jun) Visitation of the church noted that ‘the roof is entirely ruinous’. Mr Paterson, wright, and William Nicol, mason, asked to give their opinion on the fabric of the church. They report that the whole ‘lath is gone and a 1/3 part of the couple insufficient to hold up the walls’. They heritors decide that rather than attempt to repair the church a new one should be built in a more commodious spot. The costs of the new church amount to £1079.(14)

1755 (26 Jan) The session met for the first time in the new church (to organise the seats).(15)

Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev John Webster): [No mention whatsoever of church buildings]

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev George Loudon, 1835): ‘Until 1754, when it was built on its present site, the church of Inverarity had, for a considerable period at least, been situated near the present house of Fotheringham’.(16)

Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches: (George Hay): 1754; renovated and porches added 1854, 1614 van den Gheyn bell. Increasing timber imports from Scandinavia in 18th century led to ‘gawky’ new churches like Inverarity and Airlie and Carnbee.(17)

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland, 87.

2. CPP, 89.

3. CPP, 325 & 375. CPL, iv, 206-07.

4. CPL, Clem, 12.

5. CPL, Ben, 118-19, CPP, 625.

6. CPL, Ben, 271.

7. CSSR, i, 66.

8. Perth Guildry Book, no. 103.

9. CPL, xii, 501.

10. StAUL, Burgh Charters and Miscellaneous Writs, B65/23/63c.

11. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 381-82

12. Donaldson, Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices, 9.

13. NRS Presbytery of Forfar, Minutes, 1749-1774, CH2/159/5, fol. 109.

14. NRS Presbytery of Forfar, Minutes, 1749-1774, CH2/159/5, fols. 109-111.

15. NRS Inverarity Kirk Session, 1742-1769, CH2/381/2, fol. 161.

16. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1835), xi, 234 & 238.

17. Hay, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches, pp. 80 & 245.

Bibliography

NRS Inverarity Kirk Session, 1742-1769, CH2/381/2.

NRS Presbytery of Forfar, Minutes, 1749-1774, CH2/159/5.

StAUL, Burgh Charters and Miscellaneous Writs, B65/23/63c.

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 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.

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.

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

Perth Guildry Book, 1452-1661, 1993, ed. M. Stavert (Scottish Record Society), Edinburgh.

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

Architectural description

Inverarity continued as an independent parsonage through the middle ages, and was in the patronage of the bishops of St Andrews and the earls of Crawford.(1) There was a dedication by Bishop David de Bernham on 6 September 1243.(2)

The original site of the church is thought to have been at NO 4596 4395. The author of the New Statistical Account  recorded that ‘until 1754, when it was built on the present site, the church of Inverarity had, for a considerable period at least, been situated near the present house of Fotheringham’.(3)

By 15 May 1754 the church was said to be in a ruinous state and at an inconvenient location, and it was suggested that a more commodious place should be chosen.(4) On 6 June of that year the wright Mr Paterson, and the mason William Nicol prepared a report on the existing church, which was followed by a decision to build a new church elsewhere at a cost of £1079.(5)

The presumed site of the medieval church is a platform in a wooded enclosure on the Fothringham estate, to the south east of the home farm. Nothing now remains in place, with the possible exception of a single large block of stone.

The new church, which was built at NO 4529 4434 in 1754-5, remains structurally much as it was built, albeit with the addition of a porch at each end in 1854.(6) It is a rectangular structure with rendered walls and ashlar dressings. The south face has three arched windows, the sill of the central one, which is slightly higher than the others, being inscribed with the date 1754. The north, east and west walls have two tiers of smaller rectangular windows, reflecting the location of the polygonal gallery internally, which looks towards the pulpit at the centre of the south wall. There is a birdcage bellcote at the apex of the west gable. 

Notes

1. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society), 1967, p. 87.

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

3. New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, vol. 11, pp. 234-5.

4. National Records of Scotland, Presbytery of Forfar, Minutes, 1749-74, CH2/159/5, fol. 109.

5. National Records of Scotland, Inverarity Kirk Session, 1742-69, CH2/381/2, fol. 161.

6. John Gifford, The Buildings of Scotland, Dundee and Angus, New Haven and London, 2012, pp. 537.

Map

Images

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  • 1. Inverarity, site of church, 1

  • 2. Inverarity, site of church, 2

  • 3. Inverarity churchyard, gravestone, 1

  • 4. Inverarity churchyard, gravestone, 2

  • 5. Inverarity Church, exterior, from north west

  • 6. Inverarity Church, exterior, from south east

  • 7. Inverarity Church, exterior, from south west

  • 8. Inverarity Church, exterior, south face, dated windowsill

  • 9. Inverarity Church, interior, looking east