Lathrisk Parish Church

Lathrisk, presumed site of church, 2

Summary description

Nothing remains visible of the medieval church; the parish was relocated to Kingskettle in about 1636, but there are no remains of the replacement church in the graveyard there. It was superseded by a new church nearby in 1831-32

Historical outline

Dedication: St Atherniscus/Ethernan and St John the Evangelist(1)

The first reference to this church in a surviving source dates to c.1170 x 1178 when Ness, son of William, and his daughter and heir Orabilis gave Lathrisk with its associated kirklands and chapels to the priory at St Andrews. Their charter states explicitly that their intention was to convey all of the tithes and oblations of the church to the canons of St Andrews.(2)  Between 1172 and 1178 Bishop Richard of St Andrews confirmed their grant, again explicitly including the teinds and oblations as well as the kirklands and Lathrisk’s dependent chapels.(3)  Royal confirmation followed between 1173 and 1178, expressed in the same all-embracing and explicit terms.(4)  All of these charters were further reinforced by papal confirmations, beginning in 1174 x 1178 with a bull of Pope Alexander III and continuing down to 1216 when Pope Honorius III confirmed possession. In 1228, moreover, King Alexander II gave a general charter of confirmation to the priory which included the church of Lathrisk with lands and tithes.  In all of these awards the church and its chapels were described as the gift of Ness, son of William, or occasionally as the gift of Bishop Richard.(5)

These charters and papal confirmations seem explicit enough but between c.1165 and 1171 and 1180 and 1198 first Earl Duncan of Fife and then his son, Malcolm, gave and confirmed St Andrews in possession of various properties and churches amongst which was the chapel of Kettle, one of Lathrisk’s two dependent chapels.(6)  Between 1173 and 1178 King William also confirmed gifts made to the priory by Earl Duncan, which included Kettle.(7)  In 1198x1199 Bishop Roger de Beaumont confirmed the priory’s possessions, which included th chapels of Forthar and Kettle which had been given to it by Earl Duncan, and in 1228 King Alexander II’s general confirmation, which had named Ness as the donor of Lathrisk, also named Duncan as donor of Kettle.(8)  Some controversy appears to have underlain these conflicting grants and Ian Cowan suggested that all that St Andrews had gained before c.1200 was the right of patronage.(9)

Patronage does appear to have been at issue, for on 9 June 1206 Pope Innocent III issued a mandate to judge-delegates to investigate the controversy between Saer de Quincy, husband of Ness’s daughter Orabile, and the priory of St Andrews concerning the right of advowson to the churches of Leuchars and Lathrisk.(10)  We ca assume that the panel found in favour of the priory, as between 1209 and 1235 Bishop William Malveisin confirmed the church of Lathrisk and its chapel of Kettle in proprios usus to St Andrews, reserving only the life interest of the incumbent priest, Roger of Huntingfield.(11)  By a bull of Pope Innocent IV, possession of the advowson of the church received papal confirmation, with a further confirmation of the gift of the advowsons of Lathrisk and its chapel of Kettle made in 1257 by Roger, son of Saer de Quincy, his charter naming Ness and his mother, Orabile, as the original donors.(12)  The following year, Bishop Gamelin confirmed the church to the uses of the priory, making provision for the institution of a vicarage.(13

In the midst of the controversy over possession of the church, on 28 July 1243 Bishop David de Bernham performed the rite of dedication, the record in the priory register noting that the patron saints were SS John the Evangelist and Athernase (or Ethernan).(14)  Following Bishop Gamelin’s confirmation of the church in proprios usus and ratification of the vicarage settlement in 1258, the settlement seems to have been instituted rapidly.  Certainly, in the accounts of the papal tax-collector in Scotland in 1274/5 the church of Lathrisk was recorded as a vicarage, assessed for taxation at one merk.(15)  Thereafter the parsonage remained annexed to the priory while the cure was a vicarage perpetual, the former being set by the canons for £160 while the latter, held by David Methven, was valued at £22.(16

Notes

1. According to Mackinlay the church was dedicated to St John the Baptist and St Athernesk: J M Mackinlay, Ancient Church Dedications in Scotland. Non-Scriptural Dedications (Edinburgh, 1914), 139. Taylor and Markus note that the church was recorded in the Register of the Great Seal as dedicated to SS Atherniscus and John the Evangelist, and argue that principal dedication was Ethernan: S Taylor and G Markus, The Place-Names of Fife, ii, Central Fife between the Rivers Leven and Eden, Donington, 2008), 250-251; Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum, ii, 1424-1513, ed J B Paul (Edinburgh, 1882), no.1586.

2. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree in Scotia (Bannatyne Club, 1841), 254-5 [hereafter St Andrews Liber].

3. St Andrews Liber, 136.

4. Regesta Regum Scottorum, ii, The Acts of William I, ed G W S Barrow (Edinburgh, 1971), no.150 [hereafter RRS, ii].

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, 71-76, 76-81, 149-52, 232-36.

6. St Andrews Liber, 243, 244.

7.RRS, ii, no.151.

8. St Andrews Liber, 149-152, 232-6.

9. I B Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society, 1967), 128.

10. St Andrews Liber, 351.

11. St Andrews Liber, 156-7.

12. St Andrews Liber, 92-5, 337.

13. St Andrews Liber, 173.

14. A O Anderson (ed), Early Sources of Scottish History, ii (Edinburgh, 1922), 524; St Andrews Liber, 348.

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

16. J Kirk (ed), The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefices (Oxford, 1995), 9, 14, 17, 21, 75.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes: Granted to Priory of St Andrews by Ness, son of William and Orabile his daughter 1165x78. Patronage alone appears to have been involved; chapels of Kettle and Fordun included. Thereafter parsonage with the priory and perpetual vicarage.(1)

Place Names of Fife (2): Dedicated to St Athernicus and John the Evangelist (Register of the Great Seal of Scotland, ii, no. 1586).

According to Mackinley the church was dedicated to St John the Baptist and St Athernesk.(2)

Place Names of Fife (2) notes that the church was dedicated to Saints Atherniscus and John the Evangelist. Taylor/Markus argue that the church was actually dedicated to Ethernan.(3)

Complex early history of church

 c. 1170 x 1178 Ness, son of William, and his daughter and heir Orabilis gave (dare) to the priory the church of Lathrisk with lands and chapels. The charter goes on to specifically note that the donors’ intention is to convey the tithes and oblations of the church to the canons of St Andrews: Quare volumus ut predicti canonici prenominatam ecclesiam cum decimis et oblacionibus et omnibus rectitudinibus eidem ecclesie pertinentibus eidem ecclesie pertinentibus. This is as explicit as a charter can be about the intention of the gift.(4)

1172 x 1178  Richard, bishop of St Andrews, gave (dare) the church of Lathrisk with chapels, lands, tithes, and oblations to the priory.(5)

1173 x 1178 William I confirmed the church of Lathrisk with chapels, lands, and tithes to the priory as a gift of Ness, son of William.(6)

Papal Confirmations

1174 x 1178 The priory received a papal confirmation from Pope Alexander III of certain lands and churches including church of Lathrisk with the chapels of Forthar and Kettle. 1183; Pope Lucius III confirmed the church of Lathrisk with its chapels, namely Kettle and Forthar as a gift of Bishop Richard. 1187; Pope Gregory VIII confirmed the church of Lathrisk. 1188; Pope Clement III confirmed the church of Lathrisk. 1198 x 1199; Roger, bishop of St Andrews, confirms (general confirmation) the church of Lathrisk with its chapels and lands as a gift of Ness, son of William. 1206; Pope Innocent III confirmed the church of Lathrisk). 1216; Pope Honorius III confirmed the church of Lathrisk. 1228; Alexander II confirmed (general confirmation) the church of Lathrisk with lands and tithes as a gift of Ness, son of William.(7)

Kettle and Forthar

c. 1170 x 1204 Malcolm, son of Duncan, earl of Fife, confirmed the churches of Cupar, Markinch, Scoonie and the chapel of Kettle as grants made by his father.(8)

1173 x 1178 William I confirmed the churches of Scoonie and Markinch with lands and tithes and also the chapel of Kettle as a gift by Duncan II, earl of Fife.(9)

 c. 1165 x 1171 Duncan II, earl of Fife, gave to the priory the chapel of Kettle with lands, tithes, and oblations.(10)

1174 x 1178 The priory received a papal confirmation from Pope Alexander III of certain lands and churches including church of Lathrisk with the chapels of Forthar and Kettle.(11)

c. 1180 x 1198 Malcolm, son of Duncan II, earl of Fife, confirmed the chapel of Kettle. 1198 x 1199 Roger, bishop of St Andrews, confirms (general confirmation) the chapels of Kettle and Forthar as gifts of Duncan II, earl of Fife. In 1228, the chapel of Kettle with lands and tithes was confirmed (general confirmation) by Alexander II as a grant made by Duncan II, earl of Fife.(12)

Lathrisk and the chapels of Kettle and Forthar

1206 (9 June) Innocent III, organises a group of judge-delegates to investigate the controversy between Saer de Quincy and the priory of St Andrews concerning the right of advowson (ius patronatus) to the churches of Leuchars and Lathrisk.(13)

1209 x 1235 Bishop William of St Andrews confirmed to the priory of St Andrews the church of Lathrisk and chapel of Kettle in proprios usus save for the life-tenure of the Roger de Huntingfield.(14)

 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.(15)

1257 Roger de Quincy gave (dare) to the priory of St Andrews for the souls of he and his third wife Eleanor the right of advowson to the church of Lathrisk and its chapel of Kettle. In doing so he ratifies the donations by his ancestors Ness, son of William, and Orabilis, daughter and heir of Ness.(16)

1259 Gamelin, bishop of St Andrews confirms to the ‘canons regular of St Andrews’.(17)

Post 1300 materials

1313 According to Bower, John de Forfar, who became prior of St Andrews  in that year, had formerly been the vicar Lathrisk.(18)

1420 Litigation following exchange between Malcolm de But (Auchindoir) and John de Fyffe (Lathrisk). Challenged by Walter Blare and John of Aberdour as Malcolm had not received dispensation for illegitimacy. Malcolm wins holds church until 1454. (value 20 marks).(19)

1454 John de Carrick (illegitimate, Stewart?) obtains perpetual vicarage (holds along with canonry of Dunkeld.(20)

1465 Attempts by James Lindsay and William Lindsay to have Carrick deprived, accusing him of simony and theft, particularly having ‘made a pact with Malcolm de But (former rector), paid him to resign. 1468 similar accusation made regarding a deal between Carrick and Adam de Montgomery over the archdeaconry of Dunkeld.(21) [unclear whether he is deprived]

1548-51 6 people (1 woman, 5 men) from the parish registered their testaments at the St Andrews Commissary court. 5 did not specify a burial location, but were witnessed in 1548-1550 by the curate of the church, Peter Robertson.(22) William Smyth (16 Sept 1550) specified burial in the cemetery of the church.(23)

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, set for £160. Vicarage held by David Methven, valued at £22.(24)

Account of collectors of thirds of benefices (G. Donaldson): Third of vicarage £7 6s 8d.(25)

[Synod of Fife records patchy for new church c.1636 and no surviving presbytery or kirk session records for that period]

Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev Peter Barclay, 1791): ‘The church appears, by a date on it, to have been built in 1636. It has been twice repaired since and is in good condition’.(26)

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev Peter Barclay [not the same man as above], 1836): ‘The church then stood at Lathrisk [before 1560]….About the year 1636 the parish church… was removed to the village of Kettle’.(27

‘The church has been rebuilt within these two years’.(28)

The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches (George Hay): George Angus, architect; refurnished.(29)

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland, 128.

2. Mackinley, Non-Scriptural Dedications, p. 139.

3. Taylor and Markus, The Place-Names of Fife. Volume Two. p. 250-251.

4. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 254-5.

5. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, p. 136.

6. Regesta Regum Scottorum, Acts of William I (1165-1214), no. 150.

7. Scotia Pontificia, nos. 82, 119, 148 and 149, Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree,  pp. 71-76, 76-81, 149-52 and 232-36.

8. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, p. 244.

9. Regesta Regum Scottorum, Acts of William I (1165-1214),no. 151.

10. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, p. 243.

11. Scotia Pontificia, no. 82.

12. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 149-152, 244 and 232-36.

13. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, p. 351.

14. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 156-157.

15. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 92-95.

16. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, p. 337.

17. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, p. 173.

18. Scotichronicon by Walter Bower in Latin and English, 1987-99, iii, 421.

19. Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome 1418-22, 227-8.

20. Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome 1447-71, no. 554.

21. Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome 1447-71, nos. 1041 and 1321, CPL, xii, 241.

22. National Records of Scotland, St Andrews, Register of Testaments, 1 Aug 1549-12 Dec 1551, CC20/4/1, fols.6, 9, 237-38 and 356.

23. National Records of Scotland, St Andrews, Register of Testaments, 1 Aug 1549-12 Dec 1551, CC20/4/1, fol. 271.

24. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 9, 14, 17, 21 and 75.

25. Donaldson, Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices, 13.

26. Statistical Account of Scotland, (1791), ix, 374.

27. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1836), ix, 102.

28. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1836), ix, 109.

29. Hay, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches, p. 257.

Bibliography

National Records of Scotland, St Andrews, Register of Testaments, 1 Aug 1549-12 Dec 1551, CC20/4/1.

Calendar of entries in the Papal registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland; Papal letters, 1893-, ed. W.H. Bliss, London.

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 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.

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 William I (1165-1214), 1971, Edinburgh.

Scotichronicon by Walter Bower in Latin and English, 1987-99, D. E. R. Watt, Aberdeen.

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

Architectural description

The church of Lathrisk was granted to the Augustinian cathedral priory of St Andrews at a date before 1178 by Ness, son of William, and Orabile, his daughter, though this appears only to have concerned the patronage. Full appropriation took place by 1258, when Bishop Gameline made provision for a vicarage.(1) There was a dedication by Bishop David de Bernham on 28 July, 1243.(2

The parish was relocated to Kingskettle in about 1636,(3) where had there had formerly been a Lathrisk’s chapel of Kettle,(4) with the church being presumably located in the graveyard there. According to the Statistical Account ‘the church appears, by a date on it, to have been built in 1636. It has been twice repaired since, and is in good condition’.(5) It was, however, replaced by a new building located across the road from the graveyard, which was erected to the designs of George Angus in 1831-2.(6)

Nothing remains visible of the church at Lathrisk itself, though it is believed to have been on a plateau at the north-east corner of a field immediately to the south-west of Lathrisk House. An archaeological evaluation of that area was commissioned by the Council Archaeologist of Fife Regional Council in 1995.(7)

That evaluation involved geophysical survey and the excavation of six trial trenches. The tentative conclusion was that ‘the exact location of the church site was not identified but much evidence for material from its destruction and the extent of its surrounding graveyard were found’.

Notes

1. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval  Scotland (Scottish Record Society), 1967, p. 128; Simon Taylor, The Place-Names of Fife, Donington, vol. 2, 2008, pp. 249-51.

2. Alan Orr Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History, Edinburgh, 1922, vol. 2, p. 102.

3. New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, vol. 9, p. 102.

4. Taylor, 2008, pp. 249-51.

5. Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-99, vol. 1, p. 374.

6. John Gifford, The Buildings of Scotland, Fife, London, 1988, pp. 275-76.

7. Hazel Moore and Graeme Wilson, Report on the Archaeological Evaluation at Lathrisk House, Freuchie, Fife (Environmental and Archaeological Services Edinburgh), March 1995. I am grateful to Douglas Speirs of Fife Archaeological Services for making this report available to me.

Map

Images

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  • 1. Lathrisk, presumed site of church, 2

  • 2. Lathrisk, presumed site of church, 1

  • 3. Kettle Church

  • 4. Kettle Old Churchyard, monument

  • 5. Kettle, presumed site of previous church