Inverkeilor Parish Church

Inverkeilor Church, exterior, from south

Summary description

An extensively remodelled church, extended eastwards in 1636, and with a lateral north aisle added possibly in 1799. Restored in 1862 and 1880.

Historical outline

Dedication: St Conon

The lands of Inverkeilor, a former royal thanage, had been granted by King William to Walter de Berkeley around 1170.  The church of Inverkeilor, dedicated to St Conon,(1) was served at that time by one of William’s clerks, Henry, presumably through royal exercise of the rights of presentation to the parsonage of the church which served the thanage.(2) Walter de Berkeley, as lord of Inverkeilor and chamberlain of King William, granted the church to the monks of Arbroath between 1178 and 1180.(3)  His grant conveyed to the abbey the church and everything rightly pertaining to it, including its dependent chapels, kirklands and all teinds.  Royal confirmation followed between 1178 and 1187,(4) while around 1180 Walter’s son-in-law and successor in the lordship of Inverkeilor, Enguerrand Balliol, added his own confirmation of the surrender of his future rights in the church.(5)  Inverkeilor was one of the churches in the diocese confirmed to the monks with all lands, teinds and oblations by Bishop Hugh of St Andrews between 1178 and 1188.(6)  Possession of Inverkeilor in proprios usus was made by Bishop Roger de Beaumont (1198-1202) in a general appropriation of all of the churches in his diocese held by Arbroath, which conceded to the abbey also the right to serve the cure with a clerk or chaplain.(7)  Further confirmations in that tenor followed from William Malveisin and his successor David de Bernham, the former instituting a general settlement of the provision for the cure of souls in every one of the abbey’s appropriated churches, the latter in 1249 instituting a vicarage settlement which resulted in the establishment of a vicarage perpetual at Inverkeilor.(8)

From 1249 the parsonage was annexed to the abbey whilst the cure was served by the newly-instituted vicarage perpetual.  This situation is reflected in the rolls of the papal tax-collector in Scotland, who in 1275 recorded payments of 10s 8d for two years from the vicarage of ‘Fimerkychelechyr’.(9)  Named perpetual vicars are recorded from the 1330s, when Richard of Arbroath was the incumbent.(10)  The settlement instituted in 1249 remained in effect at the Reformation, when the parsonage was recorded as annexed to the abbey of Arbroath. The vicarage was held by Alexander Forrest, provost of the collegiate church of Kirk o’ Field in Edinburgh, and united to the provostry through that personal connection with the consent of the abbot and monks of Arbroath.(11)

Beyond references to the vicarage and disputes over the possession of that office there are few other notices of the church in surviving historical records.  It was noted that the church was dedicated by Bishop David de Bernham on 17 August 1242.(12)  There is one indication of the provision of a secondary altar within the church.  In April 1513, an altar and chaplainry of St John the Baptist was founded in the church by John Davidson, chaplain of Whitefield, and endowed with nine merks of annual rents from lands in the barony of Dysart and 40s from various lands in the baronies of Inverkeilor and Panmure, for the soul’s weal of King James IV and Queen Margaret and for that of Thomas Stewart, lord Innermeath, who held the lordship of Inverkeilor or Red Castle.  David Gardyne of Cononsyth was given the right of patronage of the chaplainry.(13)  The grant was confirmed at mortmain under the Great Seal by King James in June 1513.(14)  There is no reference to the chaplainry at the time of the Reformation.

Notes

1. Liber S Thome de Aberbrothoc, i (Bannatyne Club, 1848), no.57 [hereafter Arbroath Liber, i].  King William confirmed the remission of the grass cain and service due from the kirklands of Inverkeilor payable in the past by the the church of Macconoc of Inverkeilor, Henry its parson, and the tenants of the land, to the king’s thane of Inverkeilor, which Walter de Berkeley had granted them.

2. Arbroath Liber, i, no.57.

3. Arbroath Liber, i, no.54.

4. Regesta Regum Scottorum, ii, The Acts of William I, ed G W S Barrow (Edinburgh, 1971), no.230.

5. Arbroath Liber, i, no.58.

6. Arbroath Liber, i, no.145.

7. Arbroath Liber, i, no.147.

8. Arbroath Liber, i, nos 154, 165, 167, 172, 236.

9. A I Dunlop (ed), ‘Bagimond’s Roll: Statement of the Tenths of the Kingdom of Scotland’, Miscellany of the Scottish History Society, vi (1939), 63.

10. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Papal Letters, ii, 1305-1342, ed W H Bliss (London, 1895), 336.

11. J Kirk (ed), The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefices (Oxford, 1995), 83, 361.

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

13. Liber S Thome de Aberbrothoc, ii (Bannatyne Club, 1856), no.526.

14. Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum, ii, 1424-1513, ed J B Paul (Edinburgh, 1882), no.3855.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes: Granted to Arbroath by Walter de Berkeley in 1178x90 and confirmed by his son in law Ingram de Baliol, the church with all its teinds was annexed to the abbey. A vicarage settlement took place in 1249, with a perpetual vicar and the parsonage remaining with the abbey.(1)

According to Mackinley the church was dedicated to St Conan (known locally as Mochonog).(2)

1173x78 William I confirms church of Mo-Choruc of Inverkeilor and to Master Henry, parson of the same and clerk of the king the remission granted to him by Walter de Berkeley of pasture tribute and every other service which the land of the church and of the men dwelling on it used to render to the thane of Inverkeilor.(3)

1178x87 Grant by Walter de Berkeley of the church of Inverkeilor to Arbroath with lands, teinds etc. Confirmed by William I.(4)

c.1180 Confirmation of the grant of the church by Ingeram de Balliol (heir of Walter).(5)

1200 Church included in papal bull by Innocent III confirming possessions of Arbroath.(6)

1202x04 Possession of church by Arbroath confirmed  by William, bishop of St Andrews, in two charters, the first specifically related to the church, the second including all the churches held by Arbroath in the diocese of St Andrews.(7)

1204x11 Church included in confirmation by Henry, prior of St Andrews, of all the churches held by Arbroath in the diocese of St Andrews.(8)

1213 Church included in confirmation by William I of the possessions of Arbroath.(9)

1214x18 Church included in confirmation by Alexander II of all the lands and churches belonging to Arbroath.(10)

c.1233 Church included in a confirmation by David de Bernham, bishop of St Andrews, all the churches held by Arbroath in the diocese of St Andrews.

1249 Vicarage settlement by the bishop, parsonage with abbey, perpetual vicarage set up.(11)

1331 Richard of Arbroath described as perpetual vicar of Invekeillor.(12)

1352 Suit brought before the bishop of St Andrews between abbey of Arbroath and the vicars of Inverlunan, St Vigean, Barry, Arbirlot, Monifieth, Muirhouse, Newtyle, Glamis and Kirriemuir. ‘The vicars asserted that they had insufficient portions, whereupon the bishop made an ordinance, which the Pope is asked to confirm’.(13)

1404 William Bonar confirmed as perpetual vicar, value 14 marks.(14)

1419 Patrick Scot (chaplain of Muriella, Duchess of Albany), collated to church, then swaps church with Michael Ochiltree. By 1421 John Feldew (papal nuncio in Scotland and part of the entourage of Duke of Albany) is described as rector after exchanging church with Michael for a chaplaincy in Stirling.(15)

1421 John Feldew resigns church of Dalmeny to hold the vicarage of Inverkeilor.(16)

1429-32 Dispute over church. Feldew exchanged church with William de Forest for hospital of St Nicholas in St Andrews. By 1432, after 2 years of litigation, William de Hawick wins suit against John and William for unlawful exchange and is collated to church.(17)

1439 William Samson in rector, along with church of Garvock.(18)

1469 James Brady is described as perpetual vicar (letter is complaint regarding his unlawful imprisonment).(19)

1524 John Bothwell presented to perpetual vicarage on resignation of James Scrymgeour. Inneffective as John Stewart holds vicarage until 1527. On his resignation succeeded until 1529 by David Haliburton and when David resigns, by Alexander Stewart (vicar of Kingoldrum).(20)

1536 James Ged presented to perpetual vicarage on deth of Murdach Leky, £20 from the fruits noted as being reserved for the College of Justice.(21)

1542 Reference in the rental of St Andrews of £42 received from David Crystelson, vicar of Inverkeilor, for the payment due from that vicarage to the Lords of Council.(22)

Altars and chaplaincies

John the Baptist

1511 Altar dedicated to John the Baptist founded in the church by David Gardyne de Cannansyth for the souls of the king and queen and Thomas Stewart of Innermeath. Chaplain John Davison presented by the abbey.(23)

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: The Parish church vicarage described as united to the provostry of Arbroath, held by Alexander Forrest, value £40. Parsonage with Arbroath, payment in produce, no cash.(24)

Account of Collectors of Thirds of Benefices (G. Donaldson): Third of vicarage £13 6s 8d.(25)

1611 (22 Sept) A visitation of the church finds the fabric to be in good care but that the kirk yard dykes require to be built according to the act of parliament.(26)

1630 (30 Apr) Supplication to the synod by Sir John Carnegie of Ethies to build an aisle at the church of Inverkeilor to be a place of burial and for a seat for his family. Consent given by the Archbishop of St Andrews, two ministers to look into and find the most commodious place for building his aisle.(27)

1660 (25 July) Visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Arbroath finds the minister to be competent, regarding the fabric of the church, the heritors uphold the walls and the roof, and the tenants keep the kirk water tight. The kirk dykes were found to be faulty, the heritors are told to repair them with all diligence. The minister gets a free manse and gleib and 615 marks pa.(28)

1662 (1 April) Church along with rector and vicar teinds recorded as in the control of Patrick, earl of Panmure, inherited from his father, George (d.1661).(29)

1667 (8 Jan) John, 1st earl of Northesk died at Ethie on 8th January ….and his body was buried in the family burial-place in the parish church of Inverkeillor.(30)

#1735 [no references in the presbytery records to the building work and the kirk session is not extant for this period]

Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev John Carnegie, 1791): ‘Both kirk and manse are old and need frequent repairs’.(31)

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev Alexander Carnegie): ‘The parish church is situated near the east end of the parish and in not convenient for the western part of it. It was built 100 years ago (c.1735), is in decent repair and was lately enlarged by an aisle’.(32)

Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches: (George Hay): 1735; north aisle 1835, much altered, roofless, 1635 Northesk aisle, 1635 carved loft front.(33)

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland, 88-89.

2. Mackinley, Non-Scriptural Dedications, p. 499.

3. RRS, ii, no. 186.

4. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, nos. 54 & 55. RRS, ii, no. 230.

5. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, no. 58.

6. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, no. 221.

7. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, nos. 154 & 165.

8. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, no. 166

9. RRS, ii, no. 513, Liber Aberbrothoc, i, no. 1.

10. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, no. 100.

11. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, nos  172 & 236.

12. CPL, ii, 336.

13. CPP, 235.

14. CPL, Ben, 124.

15. CSSR, i, 129, 161 & 240-41.

16. Copiale Prioratus Sanctiandree, p.406.

17. CSSR, iii, 28, 58, 111 & 208.

18. CSSR, iv, no.576.

19. CSSR, v, no.1346.

20. Liber Aberbrothoc, ii, nos. 580, 672 & 736.

21. Liber Aberbrothoc, ii, no. 835.

22. Rentale Sancti Andree, p.135.

23. Liber Aberbrothoc, ii, no. 526.

24. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 83 & 361.

25. Donaldson, Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices, 10.

26. NRS Records of the Synod of Fife, 1610-1636, CH2/154/1, fols. 93-94.

27. NRS Records of the Synod of Fife, 1610-1636, CH2/154/1, fol. 356.

28. NRS Presbytery of Arbroath, Minutes, 1659-1689, CH2/15/1, fols. 16-17.

29. Registrum de Panmure, p. 337.

30. Fraser, History of the Carnegies Earls of Southesk, ii, p. 354.

31. Statistical Account of Scotland, (1791), iii, 284.

32. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1835), xi, 243.

33. Hay, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches, pp. 20, 191 & 245.

Bibliography

NRS Presbytery of Arbroath, Minutes, 1659-1689, CH2/15/1.

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 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 1428-32, 1970, ed. A.I. Dunlop; and I.B. Cowan, (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.

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.

Fraser, W., 1867, History of the Carnegies Earls of Southesk and of their Kindred, Edinburgh.

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

Liber S Thome de Aberbrothoc, 1848-56, ed. C. Innes and P. Chalmers, (Bannatyne Club) Edinburgh, i.

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

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

Registrum de Panmure, 1874, ed. J. Stuart, Edinburgh.

Rentale Sancti Andree, 1913, ed. R. Hannay (Scottish History Society), Edinburgh.

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

Architectural description

Inverkeilor was granted to the Tironensian abbey of Arbroath by Walter Berkeley at a date between 1178 and 1180, and soon afterwards was annexed to the abbey by Bishop Hugh. A vicarage settlement was set in place in 1249.(1) Bishop David de Bernham carried out one of his dedications here on 17 August 1242.(2)

On 30 April 1630 Sir John Carnegie of Ethie, the ancestor of the earls of Northesk, supplicated to build an aisle as a burial place and seat for his family,(3) and that aisle, which measures 6 by 7 metres, survives at the east end of the church. It bears the date 1636 on a heraldic plaque between the two windows of the south flank.

The Statistical Account stated that the church was old and needed frequent repair,(4) though this appears to be contradicted by the statement in the New Statistical Account  that ‘it was built 100 years ago, is in decent repair and was lately enlarged by an aisle’.(5) The aisle that was referred to in the New Statistical Account was built for the Rait of Anniston family and possibly dates from 1799; it is on the north side of the church, and measures about 8 metres square.

Extensive works were undertaken by James Maclaren in the second half of the nineteenth century. A first phase was carried out in 1862, the date given in the tympanum above the central window of the triplet in the west wall. In 1880 he heightened the walls and remodelled the interior;(6) the slight change of masonry resulting from the heightening of the wall is particularly evident along the north flank. In its final form the church has an irregular arrangement of windows doors and gables along its principal front, to the south.

Apart from the Northesk Aisle at its east end, the main body of the church is a rectangle measuring about 26 by 7.7 metres. Those dimensions would be consistent with a medieval date of origin, though the possibility of the retention of a medieval plan might be deemed less likely on account of the alignment of the church, which runs from north east to south west. However, beneath the west wall is a chamfered base course that appears to make provision for a clasping buttress at the south-west angle, and that thus appears to be medieval in form. On that basis there are grounds for speculating that, despite the unusual alignment, the plan of the main body is nevertheless of medieval origin.   

Notes

1. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society), 1967, pp. 88-89.

2. Alan Orr Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History, Edinburgh, 1922, vol. 2, p. 522.

3. National Records of Scotland, Records of the Synod of Fife, 1610-36, CH2/154/1, fol. 356.

4. Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-9, vol. 3, p. 284.

5. New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, vol. 11, p. 243.

6. John Gifford, The Buildings of Scotland, Dundee and Angus, New Haven and London, 2012, pp. 537-38.

Map

Images

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  • 1. Inverkeilor Church, exterior, from south

  • 2. Inverkeilor Church, exterior, from north

  • 3. Inverkeilor Church, exterior, from north west

  • 4. Inverkeilor Church, exterior, west part of north flank

  • 5. Inverkeilor Church, exterior, date inscription above west window

  • 6. Inverkeilor Church, exterior, base course at south-west corner

  • 7. Inverkeilor Church, exterior, base course below west wall

  • 8. Inverkeilor Church, exterior, tablet above south-west door

  • 9. Inverkeilor Church, Northesk Aisle, exterior, from south

  • 10. Inverkeilor Church, Northesk Aisle, exterior, tablet in south wall, 1

  • 11. Inverkeilor Church, Northesk Aisle, exterior, tablet in south wall, 2

  • 12. Inverkeilor Church, Northesk Aisle, exterior, tablet in south wall, 3

  • 13. Inverkeilor churchyard, gravestone, 1

  • 14. Inverkeilor churchyard, gravestone, 2