Kennoway / Kennachin / Kennochy Parish Church

Kennoway, site of old church

Summary description

Nothing remains of the medieval church; it was replaced on a different site in 1850.

Historical outline

Dedication: St Kenneth

On record by the third quarter of the twelfth century when it was granted to the priory at St Andrews by Merleswain son of Colban, the dedication to St Kenneth(1) suggests that the church of Kennoway might have considerably greater antiquity.  Merleswain’s charter, datable to 1172x1178, granted the church with all its associated teinds and oblations, together with various lands held at that time by Simeon the parish priest.(2)  His grant was confirmed by Bishop Richard of St Andrews before 1178 and subsequently by Merleswain’s son and successor, Merleswain.(3)  Bishop Richard’s successor, Hugh, confirmed the canons’ possession of the church in a general confirmation of 1178x1184, naming Richard as the donor, and in 1198/9 Hugh’s successor Roger de Beaumont issued a further confirmation.(4)  Papal confirmations were secured with regularity from the first mention in a bull of Pope Alexander III c.1174 down to Innocent IV in 1246.(5)  Royal confirmation was obtained from King William between 1189 and 1195 in a general confirmation of the priory’s lands and rights.(6)

All of these grants and confirmations down to the 1240s, despite regular repetition of the gifts of the church, kirklands, teinds and oblations, appear only to have involved the patronage of the church.  Indeed, Pope Innocent IV’s 1246 bull stated that it was the advowson of Kennoway that the priory held.(7)  Before 1233, however, a charter of William Comyn, earl of Buchan, had confirmed all of the priory’s rights in the church, just as Merleswain had granted it to St Andrews, the grant being confirmed by his wife, Countess Margery, in her own charter.(8) This re-grant appears to have been the catalyst which enabled the priory to secure greater control of Kennoway, Bishop David de Bernham in 1240 confirming it to them in proprios usus with suitable provision for a vicar.(9)

It was as a vicarage that the church is recorded in the accounts of the papal tax-collector in Scotland in 1275.  It appears first as the vicarage of Kenmanthin (the church is usually named Kennachin in the St Andrews records), paying 10s in tax.(10)  There are very few later medieval references to the church or its clergy, one vicar, John Lawson, being recorded in 1429-1430.(11)  In 1512, on the erection of the College of St Leonard in St Andrews, the vicarage of Kennoway was annexed to the new collegiate foundation.(12)  The attempt, however, was unsuccessful and at the Reformation while the parsonage remained annexed to the priory, valued at £160, the vicarage perpetual valued at £30 was in the hands of one John Row.(13)

Notes

1. S Taylor and G Markus, The Place-Names of Fife, ii, Central Fife between the Rovers Leven and Eden (Donington, 2008), 210-211.

2. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree in Scotia (Bannatyne Club, 1841), 258-9 [hereafter St Andrews Liber].

3. St Andrews Liber, 137-8, 259-60.

4. St Andrews Liber, 144-7, 149-52.

5. Scotia Pontificia: Papal Letters to Scotland before the Pontificate of Innocent III, ed R Somerville (Oxford, 1982), nos 82, 119, 148, 149; St Andrews Liber, 60, 63, 68, 92-5.

6. Regesta Regum Scottorum, ii, The Acts of William I, ed G W S Barrow (Edinburgh, 1971), no.333.

7. St Andrews Liber, 92-5.

8. St Andrews Liber, 251, 253.

9. St Andrews Liber, 165.

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

11. Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, iii, 1428-1432, eds A I Dunlop and I B Cowan (Scottish History Society, 1970), 38, 40-41, 58-59, 61, 127-8.

12. Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum, ii, 14124-1513, ed J B Paul (Edinburgh, 1882), no.3812.

13. J Kirk (ed), The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefices (Oxford, 1995), 14, 17, 83.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes: Granted to the priory of St Andrews by Merleswain, son of Colbanus 1163x67. This involved the patronage alone, until William Comyn, earl of Buchan, granted the church to the uses of the priory in 1240. The parsonage then continued with the priory, and a perpetual vicarage was erected. An attempt to annex these to St Leonards college, St Andrews, in 1512, appears to have been unsuccessful.(1)

According to Mackinley the church was dedicated to St Kenneth.(2)  In Place Names of Fife vol. 2, Taylor/Markus refer to the Aberdeen Breviary (1511) which states that the dedication was to St Caynicus (translates as Kenneth). There is also a reference in Boece to Kennoway being the church of St Kenneth (divi Kennethi templum).(3)

1172 x 1178 Merleswain, son of Colbán, lord of Kennoway, gave (dare) the church of Kennoway with tithes, oblations, and the lands held by Simon, the priest, free from secular service, namely unmeasured lands in six now unidentified areas in the parish. In addition, Merleswain gave to the priory lands called Kilmux in the same parish with common pasture free from all secular service and exaction. Simon, the priest of Kennoway, attested the charter.(4)

1172 x 1178 Richard, bishop of St Andrews, gave (dare) the church of Kennoway with tithes, oblations, and its unmeasured glebe land (which the priest Simon held), free from secular exactions as the charter of Merleswain bears witness; save for episcopal rights.(5)

1178 x 1184 Hugh, bishop of St Andrews, confirms (general confirmation) the church of Kennoway with lands as a gift of Richard, bishop of St Andrews.(6)

1198 x 1199 Roger, bishop of St Andrews, confirms (general confirmation) the church of Kennoway with the lands pertaining to it and the land called Kilmux as a gift of Merleswain.(7)

1214 x 1233 William Comyn, earl of Buchan, confirmed the church of Kennoway with tithes and oblations as the gift of Merleswain. The charter is attested by Prior Germanus and the convent of Restenneth suggesting that it took place at Restenneth.(8)

Papal Confirmations

1174 x 1178 The priory received a papal confirmation from Alexander III of certain lands and churches including the church of Kennoway with its tithes; and the land of Kilmux given by Merleswain The church was confirmed by Lucius III in 1183, Gregory VIII in 1187, Clement III in 1188, Innocent III in 1206, and Honorius III in 1216.(9)

1246 Pope Innocent IV confirmed (general confirmation) that the cathedral priory held the advowson of the churches of Dairsie, Cupar, Markinch, Scoonie, Portmoak, St Cyrus, Lathrisk and Kennoway.(10)

1429 Thomas Archer resigns Kennoway. Leads to litigation between John Lawson (vicar of Haddington), John Hoy, Hugh de Turnyn and Simon Ban. In 1432 John Lawson is confirmed in possession of church (which he has held for 4 years).(11)

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: The Parish church parsonage with priory of St Andrews, valued at £160. Vicarage held by John Row, value £30.(12)

1611 (20 Aug) A visitation of the church finds that part of the roof is found to be ruinous (power is given for a local tax to pay for it).(13)

#1619 In that year there was a reconstruction of the old building, from which emerged the fine pre-Reformation church, which crowned the hill, round which Kennoway clusters.(14) [presbytery records only survive from 1630 and Kirk  Session from 1654, the new building is not mentioned in the synod records].

1630 (15 Apr) Record of the stipends of ministers in the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy; the minister gets produce only.(15)

1632 (26 July) The minister of Kennoway (Frederick Carmichael) asks the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy to minute that he gave 300 marks to his predecessor James Simpson for repairing the manse of Kennoway.(16)

1636 (18 Aug) Visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy finds the minister (Frederick Carmichael) to be competent, and ordains that the school was required the brethren suggesting £80 should suffice.(17)

1637 (3 Aug) Compt presented to the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy by the minister of Kennoway (Carmichael) for the reparation of the manse, £351 10s in total.(18)

1658 (17 Aug) Glass wright, paid for mending of the widows, 13s 4d. Further payment for the cases on 26 Aug.(19)

1662 (7 June) David Miller, glass wright, paid £4 for making two new glass windows for the kirk.(20)

1677 (29 June) The minister and session met with John Reid and James Innes, slaters, anent repairing of the church and did agree with them to lime and slate the whole kirk at a cost of £200.(21)

[no other references to the fabric in kirk session records 1654-75 which are almost illegible]

Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev Patrick Wright, 1793): ‘The church and manse are old, but lately repaired’.(23)

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev David Bell, 1838): ‘The age of the church must, from its structure, and the height at which the surrounding burial ground has accumulated above its foundations, be very great; but there are no means of ascertaining the exact period at which it was built…. The present repair of the church, notwithstanding its great age, is good’.(23)

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland, 93.

2. Mackinley, Non-Scriptural Dedications, p. 63.

3. Taylor & Markus, The Place-Names of Fife.Volume Two, pp. 210-211.

4. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 258-9.

5. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 137-8.

6. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 144-7.

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

8. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, p. 251.

9. Scotia Pontificia, no. 82, 119, 148-149.

10. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 92-5.

11. CSSR, ii, 38, 40-41, 58-59, 61 & 127-8.

12. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 14, 17 & 83.

13. NRS Records of the Synod of Fife, 1610-1636, CH2/154/1, fols. 67-70.

14. Findlay, Story of the church of Kennoway, p. 1.

15. NRS Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, Minutes, 1630-1653, CH2/224/1, fol. 8.

16. NRS Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, Minutes, 1630-1653, CH2/224/1, fol. 71.

17. NRS Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, Minutes, 1630-1653, CH2/224/1, fols. 187-188.

18. NRS Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, Minutes, 1630-1653, CH2/224/1, fols. 215-216.

19. NRS Kennoway Kirk Session, 1654-1675, CH2/206/1, fol. 23.

20. NRS Kennoway Kirk Session, 1654-1675, CH2/206/1, fol. 54.

21. NRS Kennoway Kirk Session, 1654-1675, CH2/206/1, fol. 152.

22. Statistical Account of Scotland, (1793), xiii, 127.

23. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1838), ix, 387.

Bibliography

NRS Kennoway Kirk Session, 1654-1675, CH2/206/1.

NRS Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, Minutes, 1630-1653, CH2/224/1.

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

Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome 1423-28, 1956, ed. A.I. Dunlop, (Scottish History Society) Edinburgh.

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

Findlay, A. M., 1935, Story of the church of Kennoway, Edinburgh.

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.

Mackinley, J.M, 1914, Ancient Church Dedications in Scotland. Non-Scriptural Dedications, Edinburgh.

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

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

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

Taylor, S & Markus G., 2008, The Place-Names of Fife.Volume Two. Central Fife between the Rovers Leven and Eden.

Architectural description

Kennoway was also known in the middle ages as Kennachin and Kennochy. The patronage was granted to the priory at St Andrews by Merelswanus, the son of Colbanus, a grant confirmed by Bishop Richard at a date between 1163 and 1167. The parsonage was appropriated to the priory following a further grant by William Comyn, earl of Dunbar in 1240. In 1512/13 there was an abortive attempt to annex the vicarage to St Leonard’s College in St Andrews.(1)

Part of the church roof was found to be ruinous in 1611,(2) though it is believed that it was wholly or partly rebuilt in 1619,(3) and that date is inscribed in a stone that was relocated to a church that replaced it. It was evidently subsequently kept in good repair, since in the New Statistical Account it was said that ‘the age of the church must, from its structure, and the height at which the surrounding burial ground has accumulated above its foundations, be very great; but...the present repair of the church, notwithstanding its great age is good’.(4)

Since it was in such good repair at that time, it is perhaps a little surprising that it was replaced in 1850 by a new building to the designs of Thomas Hamilton, towards the north end of the village, at NO 35058 02631.(5) There are no longer any physical remains of the old church in the churchyard at NO 35030 02328.

Notes

1. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society), 1967, p. 1850.

2. National Records of Scotland, Records of the Synod of Fife, 1610-36, CH2/154/1, fols 67-70.

3. A.M. Findlay, The Story of the Church of Kennoway, Edinburgh, 1935, p. 1.

4. New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, vol. 9, p. 387.

5. Howard Colvin, Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 4th ed., New Haven and London, 2008, p. 476; National records of Scotland, HR 293/3.

Map

Images

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  • 1. Kennoway, site of old church

  • 2. Kennoway, later church