Kinnettles Parish Church

Kinnettles Church, exterior, from south east, 1

Summary description

Rebuilt in 1811-12; sold in 2007 and adapted as a house.

Historical outline

Dedication: unknown

Nothing is known of the origins of the church of Kinnettles, the first surviving record to which is a note of its dedication on 11 November 1241 by Bishop David de Bernham of St Andrews.(1)  It is likely that Kinnettles is the church whose name recorded as Kenetar occurs paired with the church of Inverarity in the accounts of the papal tax-collector in Scotland in 1274/5, together valued at 3 merks 2s 8d.(2)  All that can be said is that down to this point it was still evidently an independent parsonage and it is unknown in whose patronage it lay.

A rector of Kinnettles is first recorded in 1334 when the Englishman, Thomas of Wakefield, a chaplain of King Edward III of England, was named in possession but then resigning on his promotion to the see of Durham.(3)  Wakefield had presumably been provided with the support of King Edward Balliol during his brief period of control of the kingdom but whether he ever had effective possession of the church is questionable.  Two further rectors of the church are named in the fourteenth century, Walter Hundbit, who was provided in 1344, and Nicholas of ‘Yewgh’ who had unlawfully detained it until that time.(4)  Such infrequent references to provision, exchanges and litigation continue through the fifteenth century.(5)

Kinnettles’ status as an independent parsonage ended in 1514 when its parsonage revenues were annexed to a prebend on the collegiate church of St Salvator at St Andrews.(6)  The vicarage was expressly exempted from the union, being established as a vicarage perpetual thereafter.  The collation of James Tarbet to the church in 1511, however, where the value of the benefice is given as only 12 merks, raises the possibility that the parsonage had been annexed earlier and Tarbet’s collation was to the vicarage only.(7)  At the Reformation the vicarage, held by George Strachan, was valued at 10 merks.(8)

Notes

1. A O Anderson (ed), Early Sources of Scottish History, ii (Edinburgh, 1922), 521 [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), 37.

3. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Papal Letters, ii, 1305-1342, ed W H Bliss (London, 1895), 334.

4. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Papal Letters, iii, 1342-1362, eds W H Bliss and C Johnson (London, 1897), 153.

5. See, for example, Calendar of Papal Letters to Scotland of Benedict XIII of Avignon 1394-1419, ed F McGurk (Scottish History Society, 1976), 331; Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, iv, 1433-1447, eds A I Dunlop and D MacLauchlan (Glasgow, 1983), no.905.

6. R G Cant, The College of St Salvator (Edinburgh, 1950), 29.

7. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Papal Letters, xix, 1503-1513, ed M J Haren (Dublin, 1998), no.759.

8. J Kirk (ed), The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefices (Oxford, 1995), 390-391.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes: The parsonage was erected into a prebend of St Salvators in 1514, the vicarage being exempt from this arrangement.(1)

1334 Thomas de Wakefield (royal chaplain) described as rector of Kinnettles (£12 value), resigns church on promotion to Durham, supported by Philip of France and Edward of England.(2)

1344 Walter Hundbit provided, church unlawfully occupied by Nicholas de Yewgh.(3)

1415 Robert de Dryden in possession of Kinnettles (value £20), exchanged with Hugh Hunter.(4)

1431 (12 Apr) Charter by Robert of Dryden, rector of the parish church of Kinnettles, founding a chaplainry in the parish church of St Andrews in honour of the Holy Trinity, the Virgin Mary, St Laurence Martyr and all saints with the consent of Henry [Wardlaw] Bishop of St Andrews for the souls of Dryden, the bishop, and Dryden's family. Annual requiem mass to be carried out for Dryden by the chaplain with six other chaplains to be elected by him.(5)

1442 Dispensation for Rector of Kinnettles Robert Stewart (MA, canon of Aberdeen and illegitimate son of a deacon).(6)

1511 James Tarbet collated, value 12 marks.(7)

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: The Parish church: George Strachan holds the vicarage, value 10 marks.(8)

Account of Collectors of Thirds of Benefices (G. Donaldson): Third of parsonage £41 6s 8d.(9)

Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev David Ferney, 1791): ‘The crown is patron. The manse was built in 1777 and was repaired in 1788. The time at which the church was built is not known; it got a repair a good many years ago’.(10)

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev Robert Lunan, 1835):

 ‘Although the old church and tower, which stood in the present churchyard, and which were taken down in 1812, exhibited strong presumptive evidence of their having been erected in the twelfth century, yet no authentic record of the parish can be traced beyond the era of the Reformation’.(11)

‘The church was built in 1812’.(12)

Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches (George Hay): 1812, Samuel Bell architect; late additions.(13)

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland, 115.

2. CPL, ii, 334.

3. CPL, iii, 153.

4. CPL, Ben, 331.

5. StAUL, Burgh Charters and Miscellaneous Writs, B65/23/22c, StAUL Register Book of the City of St Andrews (The Black Book), B65/1/1, fol. 1v-2r.

6. CSSR, iv, no.905.

7. CPL, xix, no 759.

8. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices,  390-91.

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

10. Statistical Account of Scotland, (1791), ix, 205.

11. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1835), xi, 214.

12. Ibid, 226.

13. Hay, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches, p. 246.

Bibliography

StAUL, Burgh Charters and Miscellaneous Writs, B65/23/22c.

StAUL Register Book of the City of St Andrews (The Black Book), B65/1/1.

Calendar of entries in the Papal registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland; Papal letters, 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 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.

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.

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

Architectural description

A church was in existence at Kinnettles by no later than 11 November 1241, when Bishop David de Bernham carried out one of his many dedications.(1) In 1514 the parsonage was erected into a prebend of St Salvator’s College Church in St Andrews.(2)

The author of the entry in the Statistical Account stated that ‘the time at which the church was built is not known; it got a repair a good many years ago’.(3) But the likelihood that the church as it stood at the end of the nineteenth century still had the medieval building as its basis is suggested by the entry in the New Statistical Account, which stated:

The old church and tower, which stood in the present churchyard, and which were taken down in 1812, exhibited strong presumptive evidence of their having being erected in the twelfth century.(4) 

While it may be doubted if the author of that entry would have had sufficient understanding of medieval architecture to recognise that it was of the twelfth century, it does support the possibility that it was still an essentially medieval building up to that time. The reference to the medieval church having ‘stood in the present churchyard’, however, perhaps indicates that the present building is not on the same site as its predecessor.

The church that was rebuilt in 1811-12 was the work of Samuel Bell.(5) It is constructed of grey rubble with droved ashlar dressings. The main front, to the south, has two large pointed-arched windows at the centre, with two levels of smaller segmental-arched windows at each end, lighting the levels above and below the polygonal gallery within. The north elevation has two levels of two segmental-arched windows. There is a birdcage bellcote terminating in a stone pyramid over the west gable, and there is a vestry at the east end.

The church passed out of use and was sold in 2007, since when it has been adapted as a house. In the course of that adaptation a number of deposits of disarticulated bone fragments were found below the floor, which suggests they had been disturbed in the course of building the present church and then re-deposited.  

Notes

1. Alan Orr Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History, Edinburgh, 1922, vol. 2, p. 521.

2. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society), 1967, p. 115.

3. Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-9, vol. 9, p. 205.

4. New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, vol. 11, p, p. 214

5. Howard Colvin, Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 4th ed., New Haven and London, 2008, p. 118.

Map

Images

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  • 1. Kinnettles Church, exterior, from south east, 1

  • 2. Kinnettles Church, exterior, from south east, 2

  • 3. Kinnettles Church, exterior, from north

  • 4. Kinnettles churchyard, gravestone, 1

  • 5. Kinnettles churchyard, gravestone, 2