Linlithgow Parish Church

Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, from south east

Summary description

A major burgh church with an east apse, transeptal chapels and a west tower capped by a crown steeple (dismantled around 1821). Built in two main phases: about 1450 to 1490 for the nave and tower, and about 1497 to 1540 for the choir. Re-ordered in 1812-13 and again in 1894-96. A modern reinterpretation of the crown steeple was installed in 1964.

Historical outline

Dedication: St Michael(1)

Around 1140x1141 King David I granted the canons of St Andrews the church of Linlithgow with its dependent chapels and lands, the revenues from the parish to be used for the provision of lights at St Andrews and any surplus being used to support the clergy of St Andrews.(2)  A slightly different version of the charter, apparently issued at the same time by the king, granted Linlithgow for the lighting of the church of St Andrews with any surplus revenue going towards the provision of clothing or vestments for the clergy there.(3)  Possession of Linlithgow was confirmed to the canons by Pope Adrian IV in 1156 in his general confirmation of the priory’s lands and rights,(4) and around 1160-1 by King Malcolm IV in a general royal confirmation which also stated that the gift included the teinds of the parish.(5)  Further confirmations followed from Bishop Arnold of St Andrews (1160-1162) which included the teinds of Linlithgow and its mill which had been granted by King David and in the same terms in 1165x1166 by Bishop Richard.(6)  Confirmations by King William in 1165x1169 and Bishop Hugh in 1178x1184 identified Bishop Robert as the initial donor, referring presumably to a now lost charter of the bishop ratifying David I’s gift of the teinds.(7)  A further general confirmation by Bishop Hugh and another by Bishop Roger de Beaumont in 1198x1199, however, identify David I as the donor of the church of Linlithgow.(8)  A final confirmation in this sequence of royal and episcopal charters, granted by King Alexander II in 1228, named King David I and Bishop Robert as joint donors.(9)

Across the same period the canons of St Andrews were assiduous in securing papal confirmations of the gifts that it received, building on the original bull of 1156 from Pope Adrian IV.  The bulls show a steady enlargement of St Andrews’ interest in Linlithgow and its resources.  In 1163 Pope Alexander III confirmed the church of Linlithgow with lands and houses within/without the burgh, teinds, rents, and chapels; and added a mill in Linlithgow as gifts by David I. This was clarified in 1183 when Pope Lucius III confirmed the church of Linlithgow with its lands and houses within and outwith the burgh, chapels, teinds, and rents; but specified the teinds of the mill of Linlithgow rather than outright possession of the mill as gifts of David I. Pope Gregory VIII in 1187 confirmed the church of Linlithgow with lands and houses both within and outwith the burgh and with chapels, teinds and the addition of a school there. This same suite of possessions was confirmed in bulls by Clement III in 1188, Innocent III in 1206, and Honorius III in 1216.(10)

Although papal, royal and episcopal charters and confirmations down to the beginning of the thirteenth century had already placed the church of Linlithgow with all of its dependencies, lands and teinds in the hands of the canons of St Andrews it was only in 1202 x 1204 that Bishop William Malveisin conceded the church of Linlithgow (and also Holy Trinity, St Andrews) in proprios usus reserving his episcopal dues and the requirement to have future chaplains presented to the bishop for confirmation.(11)  A formal vicarage settlement followed in 1235 x 1238, assessed at 30 marks, which was based on lesser teinds only; all lands, garbal teinds and other specified teinds (including from mills, chapels, etc) were reserved to the priory.(12)  The appropriation was confirmed by Bishop David de Bernham in January 1241 and on 22 May 1242 he consecrated the church of St Michael of Linlithgow.(13)

Vicars are identified in the record from 1264, when a ‘Dominus J’, vicar of Linlithgow, witnessed a charter of Sir Gregory de Melville concerning Linlithgow’s dependent chapel of St Leonard of ‘Retrevyn’.(14)  It is as a vicarage that the church was recorded in 1275 in the accounts of the papal tax-collector in Scotland, recorded as paying 21s 4d in the first tax period.(15)  In 1286 a certain Robert, formerly a chantry priest at Haddington, was instituted as vicar at Linlithgow by the bishop of St Andrews in accordance with the requirement for the incumbents to first be presented to the bishops for assessment of their suitability for institution.(16)

The occupation of the royal residence on the hilltop adjacent to the church during the opening stages of the Wars of Independence saw St Michael’s incorporation within the defensive peel that was constructed there on the orders of King Edward I.  Between 5 and 20 September1302 Richard de Bremmesyne, the English quartermaster in the peel, ordered supplies to be sent from Berwick to Linlithgow.  The 200 quarters of wheat, 60 casks of wine, 300 quarters of malt, 60 quarters of beans, 400 quarters of oats, 30 quarters of salt and 200 quarters of sea coalwere  to be stored within the ‘the great church there’.(17)  It is unlikely that the church was available for normal public worship during much of the period down to the fall of the English garrison-post to King Robert I.

For most of the remainder of the fourteenth century references to the church of Linlithgow involve mainly the institution of vicars or gifts in their favour.(18)  In 1384, however, the church building makes a reappearance as a physical entity when King Robert II granted 26s 8d towards the fabric of the tower.(19)  It is unclear if this was for repair work on an existing tower or for the construction of a new one.  Over the next four decades the church appears in the records principally as the subject-matter in litigation conducted in the papal curia over possession of the valuable vicarage.(20)

At some point in 1424 a major conflagration swept through the burgh of Linlithgow and spread to the church and royal palace.  According to the chronicler Walter Bower, the nave of the church was burned in the blaze.(21)  King James I used this disaster as the opportunity to begin the complete rebuilding of his palace at Linlithgow; the parishioners bore the responsibility of replacing their damaged church.  The king, however, had ambitions for the parish church, for on 7 October 1430 a supplication was received by the pope which set out a proposal to erect the parish church or vicarage of ‘Lithgow’, which was described as ‘conspicuously notable and situated in a famous town and near a royal palace’ but distant by about 20 miles from other colleges or collegiate churches.  It was, claimed the supplication, richly endowed in fruits, rents and profits amounting to £150 sterling.  On that basis, King James, ‘for the augmentation of divine worship and honour of church, palace and town’, requested that it should be erected into a collegiate church with a provostship as principal dignity and canonries, prebends and other offices.  To help fund the erection of the college he proposed that the rectories or vicarages of Strabrock and Calder and others which happen to become void up to the value of £400 sterling, should also be united and incorporated with consent of their patrons, rectors, vicars and other interested parties.  The supplication went on to state that James intended to endow the church from his own goods, if the pope agreed to its erection into a collegiate church.  The proposed constitution was for a provostship, a principal dignity, and two canonries, prebends and offices similar to other collegiate churches.  It was requested that the pope would create and institute the incumbent vicar of Linlithgow as provost or head, and also create canons and officers, to be chosen by king for the first time.  James would provide the incumbent vicar to the provostship and unite and incorporate the other named rectories and vicarages when they became void, reserving fit portions for perpetual vicars.  The right of presentation to dignities, canonries and prebends would thereafter be reserved to the king of Scotland.(22)

Clearly with an eye to this proposal, earlier in1430 James had secured the collation of the vicarage to John Bening, his secretary. Bening became involved in litigation over other benefices, justifying his uplifting of the fruits of the church of Kilpatrick in Glasgow diocese and some from Linlithgow in that ‘he converted (them) totally to the repair of the building’ (i.e. the church of Linlithgow).(23)  Following on from the October 1430 supplication, on 14 April 1431 the king and his wife, Joan Beaufort, made a direct supplication to the pope which stated that they, ‘bearing special devotion to St John the Baptist’, planned to found a collegiate church dedicated to the ‘glory of God Omnipotent and of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of St John and all the choir of Heaven’ but, surprisingly, making no mention of St Michael.  The constitution of the proposed collegiate church was set out in more detail than in the 1430 supplication, with provision to be made for one provost and twelve perpetual chaplains and for its endowment with books, vestments, jewels and other ornaments.  It was James’s intention, however, that this was to be a royal collegiate church and no longer serve as the parish church of Linlithgow, the supplication further requesting that the pope grant an indult to James and Joan that, with the consent of the parishioners, the parish church could be relocated ‘to another honourable place and cause it to be built anew’.  In place of St Michael’s it was proposed that the king and queen would found and build the new college with church or chapel, a bell tower and other collegiate insignia.  Presentation to the provostship and chaplaincies would remain in the gift of the kings of Scots.(24)

There is no evidence that the project for the collegiate church had advanced far by the time of the king’s assassination in 1437.  Insofar as James seems to have been the driving force behind the proposal, his death seems to have ended permanently the plans for a royal collegiate church attached to his splendid new palace and the displacement of the parish function of St Michael’s to a new site in the burgh.  The parishioners, however, seem to have had their own ambitions for their burgh church, perhaps spurred on by the ambitious building programmes being undertaken at this time at the parish churches of other Scottish burghs.  An indulgence granted by Pope Nicholas V on 6 November 1447, however, hints that the burgesses’ ambitions outstripped the financial resources available for the project.  The rationale for the indulgence was that the parish church had been ‘lately’ destroyed by fire in what was termed ‘an unfortunate accident’.  Rebuilding and repair work had begun ‘very sumptuously by a marvellous new restoration’, but the expenditure on the portion already rebuilt had shown that the overall cost would be beyond the means of the parishioners without ‘the greatest possible help from Christ’s faithful’. The pope granted an indulgence of two years to all who contributed towards the fabric fund.(25)

In terms of the extent of the damage to the building in 1424, Bower was quite specific in stating that it was the nave that was burned.  That the east end and other parts of the building were still functional is indicated by payment of £6 13s 4d recorded in 1425-6 and 1428 to William Lany, the king’s chaplain, celebrating in the parish church of Linlithgow.(26)  In 1429 and 1431 it was again noted that Lany was celebrating in the parish church, but on those occasions specifically at the altar of St James there.(27)  Few notices of the progress of building-work and the overall condition of the church are otherwise recorded.  In respect of the nave, the burial in 1489 in the north aisle of John French, the mason employed to oversee the rebuilding of the church, indicates that the work in that area must surely have been long completed.(28)  In November 1489 there is a record in the Treasurer’s Accounts of a payment of 5s by ing james IV towards ‘Sanct Mychellis werk in Lythquo’ but no more detail of what work was being undertaken on the church at that time is given.(29)  At the east end, a mortification of 24 September 1456 by Robert of Amysfelde, burgess of Linlithgow, of an annual rent of 4s from tenement in Linlithgow, was made for the upkeep of a lamp to burn perpetually before the sacrament in the choir of St Michael’s, suggesting that the east end of the building had been refurbished and provided with furniture such as a sacrament house by that date.(30)  This portion of the structure was the responsibility of the canons of St Andrews as appropriators of the parsonage and it is likely that the burgesses were pressing for either the rebuilding of the choir area to the same quality and scale of what was being undertaken on the nave or that the convent yield to them its rights and responsibilities in respect of the choir to enable the town to undertake the desired rebuilding work.  The latter course was eventually accepted in 1497, when an indenture of appointment was drawn up between the canons and the burgh.  By its terms, the canons were to pay 200 merks and thereafter 5 merks yearly to be relieved by the burgh of all responsibility for the choir of the church.(31)

There are sporadic references to work at the east end of the church through the 1520s.  George Crichton, who held the vicarage of Linlithgow 1520-1522 before his promotion to the abbacy of Holyrood and then bishopric of Dunkeld in 1527, is said to have been responsible for the construction of the apse and the re-roofing of the chancel ‘with a very durable roof’on which were displayed the arms of his see and his own initials.(32)  It may have been in respect of this work that on 12 November 1528 Patrick Fishe, or possibly French, was hired with his servants to work on St Michael’s ‘kirk werk’ for the following year, for which they would be paid 30 marks.(33)  A similar contract dated 25 August 1530 was agreed with Thomas Franch and his servants, who were to be paid 40 merks per annum for all labour pertaining to the kirk of St Michael.(34)  A second contract was agreed with Franch, designated master mason in the document, on 16 November 1532 for a further year’s work on the church.(35)  No further contracts are recorded and it is possible that the operations concluded in 1533 marked the completion of the major structural work on the church.

As the plans for the establishment of the collegiate church in the 1430s hint, there was probably already a significant religious community present in St Michael’s whose resources would have been diverted to the uses of the new canonries, prebends or chaplaincies.  Other than notices of payments made to the vicar in the 1360s, the earliest surviving record of additional altars and chaplainries dates from 1425 when an obit was founded ane endowed with 20s of annual rents by Mariota Weir and James Robinson her husband to be celebrated at the altars of the Holy Trinity, St Nicholas and John the Baptist, with requiem mass and music, to be performed twice yearly on the anniversary of their deaths.(36) Aside from these three altars there seems have been an altar of St James, referred to in the Exchequer Rolls in 1429 and 1431when payments were made to William Lany, chaplain of King James, who had been celebrating mass at that altar in the parish church.(37)  Those two references appear to be the only surviving record of the existence of this altar.

Holy Trinity, as referred to above, was in existence by 1425.  There seems to be no further record of the altar until 23 April 1487 when King James III confirmed at mortmain a charter granted the previous day by the brothers Henry and James Erkill, chaplains, by which they granted annual rents to a chaplain at the altar of the Holy and Undivided Trinity. Around June 1496 King James IV also confirmed at mortmain a second endowment by the Erkills which they granted to a chaplainry described as founded by them at the altar of the Holy Trinity.(38)  James IV had no real interest in this altar, but in 1492 when he happened to be in Linlithgow on Trinity Sunday (17 June) he made a donation of 10s to the Trinity light in the church.(39)  There are few other references to the altar or chaplainry, but in 1536 it was noted the patronage lay with the burgh.(40) A late endowment occurred in 1540 when 20s of annual rents were given to Henry Louk, chaplain, for two annual obits for Katherine Hamilton to begin on the eve of St Andrew following her death and for George Bell (late Angus Herald and her former husband).  The services were to be held at the altar of the Holy Trinity, which was described as situated ‘in the aisle of the parish church’.(41)

The second altar first referred to in 1425 was that of St Nicholas.  After that initial endowment, however, it effectively vanishes from the frecord until 3 August 1552 when a land transaction made reference to lands pertaining to the chaplain of the altar of St Nicholas lying in the area known as Magdalenside at the east end of Linlithgow.(42)  It occurs in no further pre-Reformation source, being noted only on 17 April 1580 in an instrument concerning former properties of the altars of the Holy Saviour, Our Lady, and St Nicholas in the parish church.(43)

The third of the 1425 altars, St John the Baptist, emerged as one of the more popular of the dedications in St Michael’s.  The prominence of the altar – or at least the popularity of the cult of the Baptist with the king – might be reflected in the identification of St John as the possible principal dedication of James I’s proposed collegiate church in 1431.(44)  It is next recorded on 11 April 1478 when the properties from which the annual rents with which it was endowed were surrendered by Patrick Young, precentor of Dunkeld, with their regrant following on 17 June to Robert Nenmath, with his precept of sasine noting that Young had founded the altar or more probably the chaplainry.(45)  More detail is provided in a royal confirmation at mortmain under the Great Seal, dated 5 July 1491, of the charter granted at Dunkeld on 26 March 1478 by the late Patrick Young, precentor of Dunkeld.  By that charter and with the consent of his late brother Master John Young, provost of the collegiate church of Methven, for the salvation of Patrick’s soul, he granted a portfolio of properties in and around Linlithgow from which annual rents were to be drawn and also provided a chamber for the chaplain.(46)  This chantry function of the chaplainry was reinforced by subsequent grants, St John the Baptist’s altar being one of several in the church to receive endowments to support further anniversary ‘obit’ services.  In 1481 Patrick Hyne awarded 10s annually for his obit to be celebrated at the altar by 13 chaplains and a parish clerk,(47) and in 1496 St John’s chaplain was one of seven from the parish church specified by Henry Livingstone of Middle Binning to celebrate annual obits at the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary which he had founded at the East Port of the burgh, for the souls of himself his family.(48)  On 24 July 1506, when King James IV was resident at the palace, he attended the mass of the Nativity of St John the Baptist in the church of St Michael and made an offering of 14s at the altar.(49)  It was recorded in1536 when Archibald Fawup was invested as chaplain that it lay in the patronage of the burgh.(50)

The next recorded altar was dedicated to one of the more ‘exotic’ saints to whom there were dedications in the church.  On15 March 1444/5 Thomas Bartholomew, burgess of Linlithgow, granted a charter to the bailies and community of the burgh which settled his tenement there on the burgh community with the stipulation that the rents from it would be used for the upkeep of a chaplainry at the altar of ‘St Sithe’ in the parish church.(51)  Sithe or Sitha is the name form common in England for St Zita of Lucca, a thirteenth-century Italian serving-maid who won a reputation for piety, devotion and a degree of mysticism, whose cult became very popular with housewives and domestic servants.  The altar of St Zita at Linlithgow appears to be the only dedication to her known in Scotland, her cult in the British Isles being much more popular in the south and east of England, and it is unknown how it became established at Linlithgow or whether Thomas Batholomew was the founder of the altar as well as its benefactor.  It does appear to have enjoyed some popularity in the burgh in the mid-fifteenth century, for in 1452 an annual rent was awarded for the celebration of a mass there on 16 August to mark the obit of one James Melville.(52)  Thereafter, however, it disappears from the record until 1534 when James Newland was recorded as the chaplain of St Zita’s altar and was still in possession in 1541, when he held it along with a chaplainry of St Ninian.(53)  There is no record of where this altar was located within the church.

In light of the reference to the paired chaplaincy of St Zita and St Ninian in 1541 that the next altar for which there is reference in the church is that of St Ninian.  It occurs first in 1446 when an obit was established for Patrick Harkes, burgess of Linlithgow, which was to be celebrated at the altar on the feast of St Remigius (1 October), for the souls of Patrick and his parents, 10s annual rent being assigned to maintain the service.(54) This date is relatively early for a Ninian dedication, occurring before the great late medieval efflorescence of the cult, but perhaps reflects the early regional influence of the saint’s cult as reflected in the church of St Ninian’s east of Stirling.  The altar in Linlithgow maintained its popularity and in 1465 received an endowment for a second obit, for John Coupare, which was to be celebrated yearly by 10 chaplains and a clerk, paid for by 7s of annual rents.(55) A third obit was founded in 1480 by Andrew Ruch, to be celebrated at the altar on 25 March by 13 chaplains, with assignment of 10s of annual rent to pay for it(56) and a fourth in 1483 by David Cupar to be celebrated  on 7 February, paid for by 5s annual rent.(57) All of these gifts paid for services rather than provided for a named chaplain of St Ninian’s altar.  Such a man is first recorded in a notarial instrument of 9 June 1523 recording an agreement made in the burgh court of Linlithgow between sir David Smyth, chaplain of the altar of the Trinity, and sir James Newlands, chaplain of the altar of St Ninian, both in St Michael’s church, concerning a dispute over an annualrent.(58)  Newlands remained chaplain down to at least 1541, when as mentioned above he was recorded as also holding the altar of St Zita of Lucca.(59)

A third altar first recorded in the 1440s was that dedicated to St Eloi, which was perhaps associated with the Hammermen’s craft, although there is no reference to that link in any surviving source.  In 1447 an obit was endowed at the altar by Patrick Kaa, to be celebrated at altar twice yearly on day after feast of John the Baptist and the day after feast of St Andrew, for souls of Patrick and his parents, for which he provided 10s of annual rents.(60)  This was followed in 1485 by an obit for Thomas Liston, which he stipulated was to be celebrated at the altar by six chaplains and a clerk yearly on 29 September, the service to be paid for from 5s of annual rents in the burgh.(61) As with St Ninian’s altar, these obit endowments paid for services rather than a specific chaplainry, which is not recorded until 1561 when Thomas Pollart held that position.(62)

St Anthony’s altar is first recorded in 1448 when an obit was established there for Elizabeth Livingstone, late spouse of Robert Livingstone.  This was to be celebrated on 21 July at the altar, which was described as having been founded by Henry Livingstone of Middle Binning, with thirteen chaplains and one clerk celebrating mass, paid for by 14s of annual rents.(63)  A probable second Henry Livingstone of Middle Binning specified the chaplain of this altar in 1496 as one of seven from within the parish church to celebrate annual obits at the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary that he had founded in the burgh.(64) The association with the Livingstones was maintained in 1499 when Agnes Livingstone settled an additional 10s a year to supplement the family obit service celebrated annually at the altar.(65)  As with the previous examples, the endowments were in respect of services rather than for the support of a specific chaplain at the altar, the first named chaplain there occurring only in 1530 when Andrew Fleming held the chaplainry.(66)  In 1561, a charter of Alexander Livingstone, chaplain of the altar of St Anthony in the church of St Michael the Archangel of Linlithgow, noted that the patronage of the altar belonged to the Livingstones of Middle Binning.(67)

It is perhaps a reflection of the growing popularity of the cult of the Holy Saviour or St Salvator in Scotland that an altar of St Salvator had been established at Linlithgow by 1451.  In that year an endowment for an obit was made by John Palmer, to be celebrated annually at the altar on the feast of St Scholastica the Virgin (10 February) by no less than thirteen chaplains and a parish clerk, the service to be paid for from 10s of annual rent.(68)  Further similar endowments followed, commencing in1460 by one for John Henry, priest, to be celebrated on 2 October by the parish chaplain and nine others, sustained on 10s of annual rent.(69)  A specific chaplain was established at the altar before June 1465, referred to in an instrument of resignation and sasine by John Forest son of Thomas Forest and Janet Palmer, made in favour of Robert Beggs, burgess of Linlithgow and Janet, his spouse, of various annualrents of 40s Scots in value from tenements in the burgh; and of resignation and sasine by John Galbraith and Elizabeth Palmer, his spouse, in favour of Robert and Janet of various annualrents of 41s in value; and of sasine by Robert and Janet in favour of sir John Heriot, their chaplain of the altar of St Salvator in the parish church of Linlithgow, of those annualrents and narrating also that Thomas and Janet and said John and Elizabeth had granted to Heriot a chaplainry founded by the late John Palmer.(70)  A further obit was established in 1484 obit for David Anderson, to be celebrated on 29 September yearly by ten chaplains and a clerk, sustained from 10s annual rent.(71) James IV was present at the altar of 5 August 1488, the eve of the Feast of the Holy Saviour, where he made a mass offering of 18s.(72) It seems to have been a relative well-endowed altar and chaplainry which by 7 October 1532 was in the hands of the notary, Thomas Johnson.(73)

St Andrew’s altar first occurs in 1453 when it received an endowment for an obit from Andrew Cavers, which was to be celebrated at the altar on the vigil of Thomas the Apostle, sustained on annual rents of 8s.(74)  The Cavers family evidently had a close association with this altar and on 20 November 1472 Thomas of Cavers, burgess of Linlithgow, gave a bond to the bailies and community of the burgh for payment of an annualrent of 13s 4d due to the chaplain of the altar.(75)  Between 1529 and 1541 the chaplainry was held by Andrew Fleming, who appears also as the chaplain of St Anthony’s altar (see above), and possibly at his institution he paid half of the cost of a new chalice and paten for the altar, the balance being paid by the town.(76)

Another mid-fifteenth-century altar to be recorded had an altogether more conventional dedication, St Katherine the Virgin or St Katherine of Alexandria.  It was one of the most popular cults to be established within the church and continued to attract additional endowments into the 1490s.  What appears to be the first surviving reference to the altar occurs on 5 October 1454 when Robert Hamilton of Torvens mortified property in Linlithgow, to provide two annual rents (20s and 13s 4d respectively) to the chaplainry of St Katherine the Virgin’s altar.(77)  A second endowment was made on 13 April 1462 when John Weir, burgess of Linlithgow, settled an annual rent of 13s 4d on the altar.(78) A flurry of endowments followed in the early 1480s, beginning c.1481 when an obit was established for John Blackburn, chaplain, to be celebrated annually at the altar on the second Sunday after Corpus Christi, funded by 10s of annual rents.(79)  This was followed on 3 October 1483 by a grant from Michael Hamilton of Lochhouse and Gilbert, his son and heir, providing an annual rent of 8s to establish another obit to be celebrated annually from the time of Michael’s death.(80)  A third obit was established at the altar in 1484 for David Wilson.  This was to be celebrated annually on 16 August, funded from 10s of annual rent to pay 10 chaplains and 1 parish clerk to perform the mass.(81)  On St Katherine’s Day (25 November) 1490 King James IV was at Linlithgow and offered 16s at St Katherine’s mass, presumably at her altar in the parish church, and did likewise in 1497.(82)  The flow of endowments to establish obits at that altar resumed in 1492 when John Pumfrey arranged for a requiem mass to be celebrated at the altar for his soul and those of his parents, providing 13s 4d of annual rent.(83)  Pumfrey, who was himself chaplain of the altar, received a charter in 1495 of additional annual rents for the maintenance of the altar and chaplainry from the lands of the laird of Hawkhead.(84)  A reputation for skill in the performance of such anniversary services might explain why in 1496 the chaplain of St Katherine’s was one of seven from the parish church who were specified by Henry Livingstone of Middlebinning to celebrate annual obits at the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary that had been founded by him near the East Port of the burgh, for his soul and those of his family.(85)  No more gifts to the altar are recorded after the 1490s but more detail relating to it occurs from the late 1520s until the Reformation.  On St Katherine’s Day 1529, for example, it was recorded that the burgh council was the patron of the altar.(86)  References then occur through the 1530s to the chapel or aisle of St Katherine and its chaplain.(87)  Only in 1564, four years after the Reformation, was it noted that the south aisle of the church was commonly referred to as ‘St Katherine’s Aisle’.(88)

Next in the sequence of mid-fifteenth-century first appearances is the altar of Corpus Christi or the Holy Blood.  It has been claimed that it was founded by William Foulis, the archdeacon of St Andrews, who at times held various benefices local to Linlithgow including the prebendary of Strathbrock, but the source for that claim is not known and no date of foundation is offered.(89)  Foulis was active in the 1440s and 1450s, however, and those dates accord well with the altar’s first securely dated appearance in 1456, when Patrick Brone, chaplain of the altar of Corpus Christi, gave a bond to the bailies and community of Linlithgow for the faithful performance of his duties at the altar.(90)  In1496, by the terms of the endowment made by Henry Livingstone of Middle Binning in respect of his chapel of St Mary at the East Port referred to previously, the Corpus Christi chaplain was one of the seven from the parish church who were to perform obit services in the chapel.(91) The mass of the Holy Blood appears to have been one to which James IV showed special personal devotion and when present at Linlithgow he appears to have made a particular effort to attend that service in St Michael’s.  He is found, for example, offering 14s on 3 July, 11 September and 4 December 1505, and on 17 June 1507.(92)  By 22 November 1529, whn James Cornwall was chaplain, the altar had fallen into the patronage of the burgh council.(93)  On 21 November 1551 7s annual rents were paid to Andrew Fleming (chaplain) for the obit of Dominus Henry Louk, late chaplain and curate of the church of Linlithgow, to be celebrated at the altar of the Corpus Christi.(94)   The Louk connection was underscored in 1556 when an obit for James Naismith and Elizabeth Louk his wife, was founded at the altar by Peter Newlands, burgess of Linlithgow, and endowed with 7s annual rent.(95)  This is one of the last new services to be founded in the church before the Reformation.

There is a gap of several decades between the first mentions of the previous group of altars in the mid-fifteenth century and what might be a second group of relatively recent foundations.  The first of these was dedicated to St Duthac, which may have been founded by King James IV soon after his accession in 1488, but there is no surviving record of its establishment.  James, however, patronised the altar and made offerings of 40s in 1497 for sir William Sandilands to say two trentals of masses of St Duthac,(96) one of his largest single mass offerings in the church, which reflects a personal devotion to the cult that he was to maintain throughout his life.  Apart from the record of the king’s personal offerings at the altar, there is no other surviving evidence relating to St Duthac’s altar or chaplaincy in the church and it is possible that it may have been a subsidiary dedication at an already existing altar rather than a new foundation, although the king’s interest in the saint perhaps makes that less likely.

More evidence relates to the altar of St Stephen, which was associated with the cordwainers or shoemakers’ craft in the burgh.  It first appears in the surviving record in 1488 when King James IV made an offering at the altar.(97)  In 1506 reference was made to two altars that were under the patronage of the shoemakers or cordwainers, the other having the more common dedication to Crispin and Crispinianus, who occur widely as the patron saints of the craft.(98)  There are few other notices of the altar but it seems that by 1533 some difficulties were emerging concerning the guild’s meeting of its obligations for the proper maintenance and support of the altar, with the burgh’s Head Court instructing the cordwainers to maintain the lights and services at both of the altars of which they were patrons.(99)  That decree was evidently ineffective, for on 20 January 1538/9 the head court of issued a verdict that again required the craft to maintain the lights and services at their altar of SS Crispin, Crispinianus and Stephen in the parish church.(100)  The singular in this decree is important and it would seem that the guild had been unable to bear the cost of supporting two altars and at some point in the 1530s the Stephen and Crispin and Crispinianus dedications had been united at a single altar.  There is no further pre-Reformation reference to the St Stephen dedication.

Somewhat surprisingly given the popularity of the Marian cult across Europe from the twelfth century onwards, it is only from 1490 onwards that the presence of an altar dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary is recorded in the church.  It was joined in 1522 by a second Blessed Virgin Mary dedication (see below).  The first reference to the altar dates from 1490 and is clearly to a foundation of some antiquity but how old is unknown.  In that year its chaplain, Robert Mane, was present in the court of the Knights Hospitaller at Torphichen, south-west of Linlithgow, regarding a 7s annual owed to the altar from a tenement owned by the Knights in the burgh.(101)  In 1496 the chaplain of the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary was one of the seven from St Michael’s specified by Henry Livingstone of Middle Binning to celebrate annual obits for himself and his family at the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary which he had founded near the burgh’s East Port.(102) An instrument of sasine of 26 February 1498/9 suggests that the Blessed Virgin dedication might have been one of three attached to a single altar, the sasine being in favour of the chaplain of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St John the Evangelist and All Saints in the parish church of Linlithgow, but equally this could have been a personal union with the same man serving three separate altars.(103)  In a royal confirmation at mortmain of 2 February 1502/3 of various lands that had been granted to specific altars and chaplainries by his royal predecessors, James IV referred specifically to an altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary with no secondary dedications.(104)

The altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the only one in the church at which there was certainly a second endowed chaplainry.  This was established by the burgh council at some point very shortly before October 1540, the priest Robert Aikenhead being instituted on a stipend of 4 merks per annum and with the additional stipulation that he was to sing in the choir of the church.(105)  In an order of masses ordained by the burgh council to be delivered daily, dated October 1540, an 8am mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary ‘quilk the gud burgh fundit’ is recorded.(106)  By January 1541 Patrick Newlands was the chaplain of Our Lady Altar, delivering the morning mass.(107)  He was succeeded in 1546 by Thomas Mustard, who was still in possession in August 1557.(108)  The 1557 reference to Mustard appears to be the last pre-Reformation notice of the altar and chaplaincy.

Although the first surviving reference to a specific altar dates only from 1496, with reference from 1489 of the existence of a ‘Rude lycht’ to which James IV made payment of 5s(109), it is likely that the Holy Cross or Rood altar was one of the oldest in St Michael’s.  Its first recorded occurrence is when its chaplain was one of the seven from the parish church who were specified by Henry Livingstone of Middle Binning to celebrate annual obits for him and his family at the chapel he had founded near the burgh’s East Port.(110)  There are surprisingly few references to the altar, its endowment and to the men who served at it.  The first named chaplain, Henry Mitchell, occurs only in documents from 1530 to 1541.(111)  On the last occasion that he is named in 1541, there is a suggestion that the tailors’ guild was the patron of the altar, with Mitchell being paid an additional 4s to augment the chaplaincy by Michael Gibson, deacon of the guild.  Two years later in 1543 Henry Marshall was described as chaplain of the altar of ‘Saint Crux’, presumably Holy Cross.(112)  A last pre-Reformation chaplain, William Davidson, is recorded in 1549.(113)

An instrument of sasine dated 26 February 1498/9 was made in favour of the chaplain of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St John the Evangelist and All Saints.(114)  It is possible that this deed is referring to a single altar with multiple dedications or to a man who held three distinct chaplainries in the parish church, but the wording is not clear on that point.  In 1502, however, a royal confirmation at mortmain under the Great Seal of a charter dated 1 May 1502 issued by Robert Mane, rector of Moniabroc in Glasgow diocese, establishes that All Saints was a separate altar.(115)  Mane had endowed a chaplainry at the altar to offer masses and prayers for the souls of King James III, Queen Margaret, King James IV, James, lord Hamilton and Mary Stewart, his wife, Sir James Hamilton their son, Master Gavin Hamilton, provost of Bothwell, and Sir Patrick Hamilton of Kincavil, providing it with tenements in Linlithgow and Blackness, annual rents from other Linlithgow properties totalling 70s 8d, and an acre of arable land at the east end of the town.  His gift was one of the most generous to any altar in St Michael’s for which record survives.  References to actual chaplains are, however, few, with the first named individual being Henry Mitchell, chaplain also of the Holy Cross altar, who was recorded in 1534.(116)  Although Mane had been the principal benefactor of the altar it appears that he had given the patronage to the Hamilton family, with which he seems to have had a very close relationship.  On 6 December 1542, the advowson, gift and right of patronage of the altar was amongst a raft of properties and rights granted to William Danielston, servitor of the king, the patronage having fallen to the crown on account of the forfeiture of James Hamilton of Kincavil for heresy.(117)  By 1561, when the altar was described as no longer standing, the patronage rights to the chaplainry had be restored to the Hamilton family, resting in the hands of James Hamilton of Kincavil, sheriff of Linlithgow.(118)

St Bridget’s altar is first recorded in a royal confirmation of 2 February 1502/3 by which James IV granted to a number of burgesses; and also to three named chaplains and their successors - sir Thomas Bartholomew at the altar of St Bridget, sir Peter Hill at the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and sir Andrew Logan at the altar of St Katherine – several properties in and around Linlithgow that had been given for their support.(119)  In 1532, when Thomas Davidson was chaplain, it was recorded that the chaplainry had been founded by Robert Beggs, who was a benefactor of other altars in the church (see below).(120)  Little else is recorded of the altar before the Reformation.

The first of the two altars associated with the shoemakers or cordwainers guild, St Stephen’s, has already been discussed (see above).  Their second altar, dedicated to Crispin and Crispinian who are more commonly identified as patron saints of that craft, is first recorded in August 1506, when an instrument of resignation and sasine was made in favour of John Henderson, tanner and deacon of the guild, and others, of an annualrent of 5s from a tenement in Linlithgow towards the maintenance of the altar.(121)  It was in that same year that the altar was identified as one of the two specifically in the patronage of the guild.(122)  As already discussed in respect of St Stephen’s altar, the shoemakers and cordwainers may have found the burden of maintaining two altars a heavy one and in 1533 the head court of the burgh instructed them to ensure that they properly provided for the lights and services at their two altars.(123)  By 20 January 1538/9 when the head court delivered a further judgement involving the shoemakers’ and cordwainers’ endowments in St Michael’s, which again  required them to maintain adequate lights and services, the commitment had been consolidated into a single altar of saints Crispin, Crispinianus and Stephen.(124)  There is no further surviving pre-Reformation reference to this altar.

Robert Beggs, whose involvement in the endowment of St Bridget’s altar has already been mentioned, appears to have been responsible for the endowment before 1516 of a chaplainry at the altar of St Anne.  A named chaplain, William Jack, is recorded in 1536.(125)  Jack also occurs as chaplain of another of Beggs’ foundations, the second chaplainry of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and also of the altar of St Peter.(126)  There is no further pre-Reformation record of this altar.

In June 1522 an obit was established for Lucas Lichtman, burgess of Linlithgow, to be celebrated at the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was specified as that one founded by the late Robert Beggs.  The obit was to be celebrated with a requiem mass and music for his soul and those of his wife and family, for which 5s annual rent was provided from Lichtman’s land in the burgh.(127) Henry Louk, whose obit was earlier mentioned in respect of the Corpus Christi altar, was chaplain of the altar by 4 October 1529 and on 13 April 1539 was made a burgess of Linlithgow.(128)  He was dead by 1551 when the obit for him was established.  No further pre-Reformation reference to this altar is known

The final two altars and chaplainries have left very little record of their existence.  On18 March 1522/3 there occurred the notarially attested collation by the bailies of the burgh of sir William Jack to the chaplainry of the altar of St Peter in the parish church, vacant by demission of sir James Newlands.(129)  On 30 February 1530 William Jack was again instituted as chaplain of the altar of St Peter, the patronage of which lay with the burgh.(130)  There is no indication of when this altar and chaplaincy was established, there being no reason to believe that it was of recent creation at the time of Jack’s appointment to it.  Jack held other chaplainries in the parish church at the altars of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Anne and appears to have been a man of some substance, being made a burgess of Linlithgow in 1541.(131)  Jack was still alive and in possession of the revenues of the chaplaincy in 1561.(132)  The second altar, that of St John the Evangelist, is only recorded for the first time in 1537 although a chaplain of that saint is recorded as early as February 1498/9.(133)  In 1537 James Hamilton of Finnart received the right of patronage of the altar from William Hamilton of Kincavill.(134)  Between 1552 and1570 the chaplaincy was held by Thomas Johnson, the Linlithgow-based notary whose protocol book is one of the principal sources of evidence for the altars and chaplainries in the parish church.(135)

Somewhat bizarrely, the one altar that is almost invisible in the record throughout the pre-Reformation period is the high altar of the church, which was dedicated to St Michael.  There are references from 1490 and 1491, and to St Michael’s bread on Christmas Day 1490, of King James IV making offerings of 18s at high mass on Michaelmas Day, presumably at the principal altar of the church.(136)  December 1541 that a specific reference to it occurs, when arrangements were made for the safe keeping of albs, tunics, copes, chalice and books belonging to the high altar.  There is no indication of the existence of any additional chaplains attached to the high altar, which was the source of the revenues which sustained the vicar throughout the period from the appropriation of the parsonage to the priory of St Andrews.

Some indication of the sequence of services offered up in the parish church on a daily basis is provided by a table produced in October 1540 that set out the order of the morning masses.  These started at 6am at the altar of St Ninian, followed at 6.30am by the mass of St John the Baptist.  At 8am there was mass at the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was described as that ‘quilk the gud burgh fundit’, with subsequent masses at 8.30am at St Katherine’s altar, 9am at St Andrew’s, 9.30am at Corpus Christi, and 10am at St Peter’s.(137)  References to what were in all probability other daily masses have already been alluded to, and to the numerous anniversaries that had been established at the altars in the church through the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.  There were, however, other masses for which our only record is the note of disbursement for offerings made by the king recorded in the accounts of the Treasurer.  Although many of these are either at identified altars or can be assumed to be at a particular altar because of the nature of the mass being celebrated, others have no clear association with any given altar.  On 4 July 1505, for example, King James IV offered 14s for the mass of the Name of Jesus.(138)  We have no record of an altar with that dedication in the church and it is possible that the mass was celebrated at one of the many other altars in St Michael’s.  There is also reference to other forms of endowment associated with the altars, most notably in the form of payments for the lighs that were kept burning at several of the altars.  In 1564 the council ordained that the new readerin the church was to be paid from the moneys previously pertaining to specific altars but also from the Lady Lamp and St Michael’s Lamp, this last being one of the only mentions of any specific endowment associated with the church’s patron saint.(139)

Of the twenty-four altars in St Michael’s for which there is some pre-Reformation record, most have left very little detailed information regarding their foundation and endowment, some possibly having a very short period of existence; fewer still have left any clear record of their location within the church.  Numerous sites of altars can be identified or suggested (for example it is likely that the Holy Cross or Rood altar either stood in the nave in front of the rood screen or was placed in the rood loft) but with the sole exception of the reference to St Katherine’s altar in the south aisle we have little firm locational detail for the others.  There is, however, some record of the fate of the altars at the eve of the Reformation.  On 29 June 1559 the army of the Lords of the Congregation halted at Linlithgow during their march from Perth to Edinburgh and ‘freed the church from all superstitious worship’. The account of the event describes how they emptied all the niches which enriched the buttresses, twenty in all, and destroyed the altars inside the church and also broke the holy water stoup. The image of St Michael at the south-west buttress of the nave was the only one that escaped demolition. Further ‘purging’ seems to have occurred on 10 November when the Protestants retired to Linlithgow from Edinburgh.(140)

In comparison to some of the other major burgh parish churches of eastern Scotland, especially St Mary’s Dundee, St Mary’s Haddington, St John’s Perth and St Giles’ Edinburgh, the record relating to the subsidiary altars, chantry endowments and chaplainries in St Michael’s is disappointingly scanty.  From what remains, it is clear that there were some large scale acts of benefaction for which the original parchment record no longer survives, particularly for altars established before the 1400s.  It is possible that the burning of the nave of the church in 1424 is responsible for this absence of early record evidence but it is nevertheless remarkable for a church so closely associated with a major royal residence that there is no record of fourteenth-century – or even earlier – endowment.  What is quite striking overall, however, is the absence of clear evidence for any single major chapel performing a chantry function associated with any of the greater families of the district.  The Hamiltons, whose main eastern residence was located nearby at Kinneil, had connections with several altars – most notably that of St John the Evangelist and the second altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary – but in comparison with the endowments made by the Lindsays at Dundee (qv), for example, their patronage of Linlithgow is decidedly slender.  In large part, this situation may have arisen from the concentration of Hamilton devotions at their own collegiate church at Hamilton itself, but given the close links between the family and Linlithgow – and especially the close links with the royal family established through Lord Hamilton’s marriage to Mary, sister of King James III – it is striking that there is no greater evidence of a flow of meaningful patronage in the direction of St Michael’s.  Royal patronage, too, is noticeably limited and the only real evidence for strong royal interest in the church that stood only metres away from one of their majr residences relates to James I’s ultimately unsuccessful efforts to re-establish it as a collegiate church in the 1430s.  Given that the palace and lordship of Linlithgow was one of the most important of the queen’s jointure properties through the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, it might have been expected to see some evidence for queenly interest in the church but, apart from the one joint supplication by James I and Joan Beaufort, there is no indication that any such interest received meaningful physical expression.  As the records of James IV’s regular offerings at masses in St Michael’s indicates, royal interest was expressed through payments associated with one-off services rather than as a sustained programme of endowment.

It is in this respect that the record relating to Linlithgow is most strikingly different to that of the other major burgh churches.  Rather than single, large instances of benefaction, most of the flow of gifts to the altars and chaplaincies came from men and women of more modest means, usually burgess families or members of the lesser land-owning community of the burgh hinterland.  Their patronage was expressed usually in the form of endowments associated with the establishment of anniversary services, usually obits, and chiefly of comparatively small sums drawn from annual rents.  Of these, no single gift exceeded £1 annually in respect of a single chaplain, most of the larger endowments being spread around a specified number of priests who would form the choir for the service in question.  This lack of major, burgess-led endowment is probably a reflection of the smallness and relative poverty of the burgess community of Linlithgow when compared to the burgess groups in the larger Scottish trading burghs like Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth and Edinburgh.  Rather than there being single, large chantry establishments in chapels within the parish church, such as that founded by the Lindsay’s at the end of the fourteenth century in Dundee (qv), the burgesses effectively established what could be regarded as collective or communal chantries where the priests attached to several of the altars in the church would be paid to conduct a requiem at a specified altar in association with the chaplain of that altar.

There are few surprises in the dedications of the altars that are recorded, most being drawn from the established canon of major cults.  All of the major saints and cults universally popular in the western church from the thirteenth century onwards – Blessed Virgin Mary, Holy Blood, Corpus Christi, St Salvator etc – were present at Linlithgow by the end of the fifteenth century.  The success of the Holy Blood cult, like that established in the church of St Mary at Haddington (qv), might be linked to the involvement of the burgh’s merchants in the trade with Flanders, where the cult had a particularly well-established urban following.  Apart from this possible link between the merchant-burgesses and the cult of the Holy Blood, however, there are few direct links to be made between any of the altars and craft or trade guilds in the burgh.  The links between the shoemakers/cordwainers and the altars of St Stephen and of SS Crispin and Crispinianus and the more tenuous evidence for a link between the tailors and the Holy Rood altar constitute the only evidence for altars and chaplainries endowed and patronised by the burgh’s craft community.  It is unlikely that these were the only trades to have an altar which was the focus for the charitable actions of their trade association but the suggestions of difficulties surrounding the cordwainers’ two altars and the probable union of their efforts into a single, joint altar possibly indicates the smallness and financial weakness of other trade associations.

In terms of the other cults represented in the church, three ‘national’ saints had altars in the church at various times.  The Ninian cult appears to have been a comparatively early addition to the repertoire in Linlithgow, the early fifteenth-century record for its presence pre-dating the explosion in popularity of his cult in the second half of the century, but Ninian was also an established ‘national’ saint by the fourteenth century and had a long history of representation in the lower Forth region.  Andrew’s presence probably reflects the efflorescence of his cult in the fourteenth century and his gradual emergence as the national patronal figure.  It is also most likely to be a consequence of the early establishment of an interest in Linlithgow by the canons of St Andrews itself.  The Duthac cult is the most ephemeral and the altar may have been a short-lived addition to the array within the parish church.  It is likely to owe its presence at Linlithgow either to King James III who was a major patron of the saint’s shrine at Tain after 1475, or to his son King James IV, who was an almost annual visitor to Tain; it was James IV who is recorded as the donor of offerings to St Duthac at Linlithgow.

Of all the cults represented in St Michael’s the only truly exotic one is that associated with the altar of St Zita of Lucca.  The fact that this is the only recorded instance of an altar dedicated to her in Scotland suggests that it owes its origin to a very personal connection but the loss of the parchment record of the altar’s foundation makes that connection impossible to establish.  It could be conjectured that the cult was brought to Scotland by some member of the household of King James I and Queen Joan, which contained numerous English servants, any of whom could have been responsible for the endowment of an altar to Zita who had a particular following amongst domestic servants.  The appearance of St Zita at Linlithgow is possibly another manifestation of the foreign-ness of the court of James and Joan and the influx of new ideas that it brought in the baggage of the household members who accompanied the king on his return to Scotland after eighteen years of captivity in England.

In conclusion, it can be said that the church of St Michael the Archangel in Linlithgow is something of a paradox, displaying in its fabric evidence of great wealth and consistently high levels of endowment but in its parchment record showing no such high-level benefaction.  As James I’s efforts to have the church made collegiate demonstrate, however, there was wealth attached to the parish and at the Reformation the record of the financial worth of the parsonage to the canons of St Andrews (£246 13s 4d) underscores that fact.(141)  The vicarage, too, which pertained to Patrick French, was also a well-resourced benefice in comparison to other parishes, being valued at the Reformation at 30 merks per annum.(142)  It may be some indication of the comparative poverty of the chaplainries in the church rather than a mark of poor record-keeping that only two were assessed for taxation at that time, those at the altars of St Bridget and All Saints.  The former, held by George Ross, was valued at £10 annually and the latter was valued at £6 13s 4d.(143)  The raft of obit endowments that had made up the bulk of the income of the chaplains in the church appear simply to have been quietly resumed by the heirs of the families who had made the original gifts.

Notes

1. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree in Scotia (Bannatyne Club, 1841), 348 [hereafter St Andrews Liber].

2. The Charters of David I, ed G W S Barrow (Woodbridge, 1999), no.93.

3. Charters of David I, no.94.

4. St Andrews Liber, 51.

5. Regesta Regum Scottorum, i, The Acts of Malcolm IV, ed G W S Barrow (Edinburgh, 1960), no.174.

6. St Andrews Liber, 130-132, 141-144.

7. Regesta Regum Scottorum, ii, The Acts of William I, ed G W S Barrow (Edinburgh, 1971), no.28; St Andrews Liber, 144-147.

8. St Andrews Liber, 147-152.

9. St Andrews Liber, 232-236.

10. Scotia Pontificia: Papal Letters to Scotland before the Pontificate of Innocent III, ed R Somerville (Oxford, 1982), nos 37, 50, 119, 148, 149; St Andrews Liber, 71-81.

11. St Andrews Liber, 155-156.

12. St Andrews Liber, 159, 402-403.

13. St Andrews Liber, 167, 348; A O Anderson (ed), Early Sources of Scottish History, ii (Edinburgh, 1922), 522 [Pontifical Offices of St Andrews].

14. St Andrews Liber, 377.

15. A I Dunlop (d), ‘Bagimond’s Roll: Statement of the Tenths of the Kingdom of Scotland’, Miscellany of the Scottish History Society, vi (1939), 34.

16. St Andrews Liber, 493.

17. Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland, ii, 1272-1307, ed J Bain (Edinburgh, 1884), 339.

18. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Papal Letters, iii, 1342-1362, ed W H Bliss and C Johnson (London, 1897), 598; J Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua or, the History of An Ancient Church (St Michael’s, Linlithgow) (Edinburgh, 1905), 158; Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Petitions to the Pope, ed W H Bliss (Lodon, 1897), 546, 594.

19. The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, iii, 1379-1406, ed G Burnett (Edinburgh, 1880), 123.

20. Calendar of Papal Letters to Scotland of Benedict XIII of Avignon 1394-1419, ed F McGurk (Scottish History Society, 1976), 127, 129-130, 139-140, 157, 257, 259; Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, ii, 1423-1428, ed A I Dunlop (Scottish History Society, 1956), 13, 150.

21. Walter Bower, Scotichronicon, ed D E R Watt and others, viii (Aberdeen, 1987), 243.

22. Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, iii, 1428-1432, eds A I Dunlop and I B Cowan (Scottish History Society, 1970), 140 [hereafter CSSR, iii].

23.CSSR, iii, 131-32, 140, 145.

24.CSSR, iii, 176.

25. Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, v, 1447-1471, eds J Kirk, R J Tanner and A I Dunlop (Glasgow, 1997), no.94.

26. The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, iv, 1406-1436, ed G Burnett (Edinburgh, 1880), 391, 414, 449 [hereafter ER, iv].

27. ER, iv, 485, 513, 528.

28. E P Dennison and R Coleman, Historic Linlithgow. The Archaeological Implications of Development (Edinburgh, 2000), 19.

29. Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, i, 1473-1498, ed T Dickson (Edinburgh, 1877), 124 [hereafter TA, i]

30. NRS Henderson Collection, GD76/14.

31. St Andrews Liber, xxxviii, no.47 [charters in lost Great Register].

32. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, 161.

33. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1 fol. 5.  Someone in has written in a modern hand ‘French’ in the margin next to this entry.

34. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 53.

35. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1 fol. 61.

36. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix ii, no.1.

37. ER, iv, 485, 513, 528.

38. Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum, ii, 1424-1513, ed J B Paul (Edinburgh, 1882), nos 1672, 2318 [hereafter RMS, ii]

39. TA, i, 198.

40. Protocol Book of Dominus Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578,  eds J Beveridge and J Russell (Scottish Record Society, 1920), no.89.

41. Protocol Book of Thomas Johnsoun, no.237.

42. Protocol Book of James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, eds J Beveridge and  J Russell (Scottish Record Society, 1927), i, no.179.

43. NRS B48/18/184.

44.CSSR, iii, 176.

44. NRS GD76/36; B48/17/12 (a refoundation of the altar is not impossible).

46. RMS, ii, no 2051.

47. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. II, no. 9.

48. RMS, ii, no. 2333.

49. The Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, iii, 1506-1507, ed J B Paul (Edinburgh, 1901), 75.

50. Prot Bk Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578, no.115; NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1 fol. 362.

51. NRS GD76/5.

52. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix ii, no.24.

53. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, folios 99, 191.

54. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix ii, no.21.

55. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix ii, no.3.

56. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix ii, no.10.

57. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix ii, no.11.

58. NRS GD76/52.

59. Protocol Book of Thomas Johnsoun, nos. 171, 208; NRS B48/7/1 Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, fol. 191.

60. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix ii, no.20.

61. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix ii, no.13.

62.. Protocol Book of James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, ii, no.58.

63. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix ii, no.25.

64. RMS, ii, no.2333.

65. NRS Linlithgow Burgh charters. B48/17/17.

66.. Protocol Book of Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578, no. 12.

67.. Registrum Magni Sigill Regum Scotorum, iv, 1546-1580, ed J M Thomson (Edinburgh, 1886), no.2120.

68. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix ii, no.18.

69. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix ii, no.23.

70. NRS GD76/22.

71. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix ii, no.14.

72. TA, i, 91.

73. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1 fol.77; Protocol Book of Thomas Johnsoun, nos. 333, 629.

74. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix ii, no.7.

75. NRS GD76/31.

76. Protocol Book of Thomas Johnsoun, no. 238.

77. NRS GD76/13.

78. NRS GD76/16.

79. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix ii, no.26.

80. NRS GD76/39.

81. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix ii, no.29.

82. TA, i, 170, 369.

83. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix ii, no.2.

84. NRS Linlithgow Burgh Charters, B48/17/15.

85. RMS, ii, no.2333.

86. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 49.

87. Protocol Book of Thomas Johnsoun, nos 61, 143, 161-2; NRS B48/7/1 Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, fol. 124.

88. Protocol Book of Thomas Johnsoun, no.699.

89. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix i, 322.

90. NRS Linlithgow Burgh Charters B48/17/8.

91. RMS, ii, no.2333.

92. TA, iii, 61, 64, 68, 291.

93. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 47.

94. Protocol Book of James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, i, no. 124.

95. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix ii, no.4.

96. TA, i, 337.

97. TA, i, 337.

98. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, Appendix iii, no. 4.

99. NRS Linlithgow Burgh charters, B48/17/20.

100. NRS Linlithgow Burgh charters, B48/17/20.

101. NRS Writs and Papers Relating to Linlithgow B48/18/2.

102. RMS, ii, no.2333.

103. NRAS1100/Bundle 1090.

104. RMS, ii, no.2694.

105. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, folios 190, 266.

106. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, folios 157, 158.

107. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, folio 190.

108. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, folio 190; NRS Henderson Collection, GD76/171.

109. RMS, ii, no.2333.

110. TA, i, 120.

111. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, folios 52, 131, 204.

112. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, folio 303.

113. Protocol Book James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, i, nos 35, 44.

114. NRAS1100/Bundle 1090.

115. RMS, ii, no 2646.

116. Protocol Book of Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578, nos 71, 175.

117. RMS, iii, 1513-1546, eds J B Paul and J M Thomson (Edinburgh, 1883), no.2852.

118. Protocol Book of Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578, no.633.

119. RMS, ii, no 2694.

120. Protocol Book Thomas of Johnsoun, 1528-1578, nos 4, 75.

121. NRS GD76/46.

122. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix iii, no.4.

123. NRS Linlithgow Burgh charters, B48/17/20.

124. NRS B48/17/20.

125.. Protocol Book of Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578, nos 86, 174.

126. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, folio 125.

127. NRS GD76/50; Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, appendix ii, no. 6.

128. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, folios 39, 219.

129. NRS GD76/319.

130. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, folios 49, 50.

131. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, folios 191, 219.

132. Protocol Book of James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, ii, no.219.

133. NRAS1100/Bundle 1090.

134. Protocol Book of Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578, no.151.

135. Protocol Book of James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, i, no.147; ibid, ii, no. 43; NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, folios 141, 154.

136. TA, i, 170, 172, 173.

137. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, folios 157, 158.

138. TA, iii, 61.

139. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, folio 340.

140. Lesley, History of Scotland, 274-75; Calendar of State Papers relating to Scotland and Mary, Queen of Scots, i, ed W K Boyd (Edinburgh, 1898), 261.

141. J Kirk (ed), The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefices (Oxford, 1995), 8, 16, 17.

142. Kirk (ed), Books of Assumption, 153.

143. Kirk (ed), Books of Assumption, 154, 157.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes: The church was granted to the priory of St Andrews by David I c.1138, with a vicarage settlement in 1251, the parsonage remaining with the abbey. There was an attempt to make the church a collegiate in 1430, instigated by James I, but this failed on his death.(1)

1140 x 1141 David I gave the church of Linlithgow with chapels, lands, and tithes to the church of St Andrews with the purpose of providing lighting and stipulating that all extra revenue would support those who served the altar (ad luminaria ecclesie Sancti Andree invenienda. Et si quid superfuerit sustentationi ministrorum altaris Sancti Andree tribuatur).(2)

1156 The church was confirmed to the priory by Pope Hadrian IV.(3)

1160 x 1161 Mael Coluim IV confirmed the church with lands and houses within/without the burgh and tithes.(4)

1160 x 1162 Arnold, bishop of St Andrews, confirmed (general confirmation) the church of Linlithgow with lands and houses within/without the burgh and with tithes, rents, and chapels; and also the tithes of the mill of Linlithgow as a gift of David I.(5)

1165 x 1166 Richard, bishop of St Andrews, confirmed (general confirmation) the church of Linlithgow with lands and houses within/without the burgh, tithes, rents, and chapels as a gift of David I.(6)

1165 x 1169 William I confirmed (general confirmation) the church with lands and houses within/without the burgh, tithes, rents, and chapels as a gift of Robert, bishop of St Andrews.(7)

1178 x 1184 Hugh, bishop of St Andrews, confirms (general confirmation) the church of Linlithgow with lands and houses within/without the burgh and also with tithes, rents, and chapels as a gift of Bishop Robert.(8)

1178 x 1184 Hugh, bishop of St Andrews, confirmed (general confirmation) the church of Linlithgow with tithes, rents, and chapels and also with lands and house within/without the burgh; the tithe of the mill of Linlithgow as a gift of David I.(9)

1198 x 1199 Roger, bishop of St Andrews, confirms (general confirmation) the church of Linlithgow with lands and house within/without the burgh and with chapels, tithes, and rents; plus the tithes of the mill as a gift of David I.(10)

1228 Alexander II confirmed (general confirmation) the church with lands within/without the burgh, tithes, rents, and chapels as a joint gift of David I and Robert, bishop of St Andrews.(11)

Papal confirmations

1156 Pope Hadrian IV confirmed the church of Linlithgow. 1163 Pope Alexander III confirmed the church of Linlithgow with lands and houses within/without the burgh, tithes, rents, and chapels; and a mill in Linlithgow as gifts by David I. 1183 Pope Lucius III confirmed the church of Linlithgow with its lands and houses within/without the burgh, chapels, tithes, and rents; tithes of the mill of Linlithgow as gifts of David I. 1187 Pope Gregory VIII confirmed the church of Linlithgow with lands and houses within/without the burgh and with chapels, tithes and a school in that place  (scola eiusdem loci) (Scotia). The confirmation including the important addition of the school was confirmed in bulls by Clement III in 1188, Innocent III in 1206, and Honorius III in 1216.(12)

1202 x 1204 William Malveisin, bishop of St Andrews, conceded (concedere) the churches of Holy Trinity, St Andrews, and Linlithgow to the cathedral priory with chapels, lands, and oblations in proprios usus just as other religious bodies hold other churches in usus proprios; save for episcopalibus and also the right to have the chaplains presented to them.(13)

1235 x 1238 The vicarage of Linlithgow was assessed at 30 marks; based on lesser tithes; all lands, garbal tithes and other specified tithes (including from mills, chapels, et cetera) going to the priory.(14)

1242 (14 June) Church of St Michael of Linlithgow consecrated by David de Bernham, bishop of St Andrews.(15)

1264 Dominus J, vicar of Linlithgow, witnesses a charter of Gregory de Melville.(16)

1286 Robert, previously a chantry priest in Haddington, instituted as vicar of Linlithgow by the bishop of St Andrews.(17)

1302 (5-20 Sept) Richard de Bremmesyne (quartermaster) ordered to send from Berwick to Linlithgow 200 qrts of wheat, 60 casks of wine, 300 qrts of malt, 60 qrts beans, 400 qrts oats, 30 qrts salt, 200 qrts sea coal to be stored within the ‘the great church there’.(18)

1358 Adam, vicar of Linlithgow, receives a papal indult to choose a personal confessor.(19)

1363 Adam, also a chaplain to the king, receives £10 annual pension from David II.(20)

1378 Henry de Rane is perpetual vicar and in 1394 Robert Goldsmith has the chapel of St Mary in the parish of Linlithgow.(21)

1384 Payment of 26s 8d toward the fabric of the bell tower of the church by Robert II in perpetual alms.(22)

1405 On death of Henry, John de Scheves and Robert de Ferin both provided to church (value 24 marks), and continue to litigate through 1406.(23) [No result]

1412 Alexander de Balbrynny swaps church with Patrick Houwiston; Patrick perpetual vicar until his death in 1430.(24)

#1424 Fire caused considerable damage to church.

1430 John Bening (MA, illegitimate secretary of James I) is collated and shortly after attempt by the king to erect Linlithgow as a college, revenue of churches of Strathbrock and Calder Comitis to be united to the new college. Bening justifies taking up of fruits from the church of Kilpatrick in Glasgow and some from Linlithgow in that ‘he converted (them) totally to the repair of the building’ [the building in question being the church of Linlithgow].(25)

1432 Following death of Bening, long term supplicant John Feldew obtains Linlithgow (£30pa value). In 1433 is accused of being a ‘falsifier of apostolic letters’; litigation continues until 1435.(26) [no clear result]

1447 (6 Nov) Indulgence. ‘Since the parish church… was lately destroyed by fire by an unfortunate accident and was afterwards begun to be rebuilt and repaired very sumptuously by a marvellous new restoration, and since from the part that is already restored it is evident that the faculties of the church are not sufficient for its completion without the greatest possible help from Christ’s faithful’. [appears that first stage of restoration work went over budget] Supplication for indulgence of 2 years for those who contribute to the work on the church. Granted by Nicholas V (1447-1455).(27)

1456 (24 Sept) Mortification by Robert de Amysfelde, burgess of Linlithgow, of annual rent of 4s. Scots from tenement in Linlithgow for upkeep of a lamp to burn perpetually before the sacrament in choir of parish church of St Michael.(28)

1451-65 John Balfour perpetual vicar (MA and familiar of James Kennedy), succeeded by Robert de Forest (MA) in 1465 on his becoming bishop of Brechin.(29)

c.1440-74 John Laing, vicar of Linlithgow during the reign of James III, promoted to bishopric of Glasgow in 1472.(30)

1472 John Laing (treasurer of James III) perpetual vicar, succeeded by Henry Boys (MA) on promotion to episcopate of Glasgow in 1474.(31)

1472-1488 Henry Boys, also chancellor of cathedral church of Dunblane.(32)

1488-c.1502 William Hepburn, one of the Hailes based family, witness to early James IV charters.(33)

#1489 John French was buried in the north nave aisle (mason employed on the post-1424 rebuilding of the church).(34)

1492-c.1520 John Wallace perpetual vicar of Linlithgow.(35) Witnesses an obituary in that year.(36)

c.1512 (June) Miracle story from Lindesay of Pitscottie’s chronicle (written 1576x79). James IV was attending a service (sitting at a desk saying his prayers) in the church of Linlithgow when approached by a spectral figure dressed in blue who warned him that if he continued on his current purpose [the Flodden campaign] that he, and those with him, would come to harm.(37)

1520-1522 George Crichton is vicar, promoted to abbacy of Holyrood in 1522 and see of Dunkeld in 1527.(38)

#Crichton erected an apse at the east end of the chancel, and covered the chancel itself with a very durable roof, which was adorned with the arms of the see of Dunkeld and his own initials.

1528 (12 Nov) Patrick Fishe [probably French], hired with his servants to work on St Michael’s ‘kirk werk’ for the following year, paid 30 marks.(39)

1530 (25 August) Thomas Franch and his servants paid 40 marks per year for all labour pertaining to the kirk of St Michaels.(40)

1532 (16 November) Thomas Franch, master mason, contracted to work on the kirk werk for one year.(41)

1532 Robert Johnson paid 40s for the bell.(42)

1534 (25 July) Instrument of investiture of Walter Heriot as perpetual vicar of the church of Linlithgow. Walter held in his hands a papal bull with seals of the papacy and the ordinary of St Andrews diocese. He handed these to Henry Louk, the curate who read aloud to the parishioners. Henry then inducted and invested Walter by handing him the ‘cup, bowl, and other furniture of the altar.(43)  Done at the high altar at midday.

#1540 (23 Oct) On completion of the church, Linlithgow granted a fresh Royal charter which permitted the burgh to have an annually elected provost. First provost Henry Forrest, later buried in St Catherine’s aisle.(44)

1540 Ordinance from the burgh council that all chaplains are to be present in the choir during High mass, matins and morning song.(45)

#1559 Patrick Frenche, vicar, possibly left town for the continent in 1560.(46)

Structural changes after the Reformation

1559 (29 June) Lord of the Congregation halted at Linlithgow during march from Perth to Edinburgh and ‘freed the church from all superstitious worship’. They emptied all the niches which enrich the buttresses, 20 in all, they destroyed the numerous altars; they broke the holy water stoup. The image of St Michael was the only one that escaped demolition.10 Nov: The Protestants retire to Linlithgow from Edinburgh.(47)

1564 Council ordain that the new reader to be paid from the money’s previously pertaining to the Lady altar, Begs altar (Blessed Virgin Mary 2), Trinity altar, the Lady Lamp and St Michael’s Lamp.(48)

Altars/Chaplainries within the church of St Michael

24 in total. Some, like St Duthac’s, may have been short lived.

High Altar (St Michael)

1541 (19 Dec) Reference to safe keeping of albs, tunics, copes, chalice and books belonging to the high altar.

All Saints

1534 Henry Mechell chaplain, (also holds Holy Cross chaplainry).(49)

1550 Reference to garden and tenement belonging to altar.(50)

1561 Altar (no longer standing) in the patronage of James Hamilton of Kincavil, sheriff of Linlithgow.(51)

Blessed Virgin Mary (1)

1490 Robert Mane, chaplain of altar compeirs in court of the Knights Hospitaller of Torphichen regarding a 7s annual owed to the altar from a tenement in Linlithgow.(52)

1496 Chaplain of the altar is one of 7 within the parish church specified by Henry Levingstone of Middlebinning to celebrate annual obits at the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary (founded by him near the East Port of Linlithgow) for his soul and those of his family.(53)

1540 (Oct) Order of masses in parish church ordained by the parish council: 6am St Ninian, 6.30am John the Baptist, 8am Blessed Virgin Mary (described as ‘quilk the gud burgh fundit’), 8.30am St Katherine, 9am St Andrew, 9.30am Corpus Christi, 10am St Peter.(54)

1540 Second chaplaincy at altar founded by the burgh council; Robert Akinhed instituted, 4m pa, expected to serve in the choir as well.(55)

1541 (Jan) Patrick Newlands is chaplain of Our Lady Altar.(56)

1546 Thomas Mustard appointed chaplain of the altar, in the patronage of the burgh, invested with chalice, book and vestments.(57)

1557 (25 August) Discharge by sir Thomas Mustard, chaplain of the Lady altar in the parish kirk of Linlithgow, to William Park, master of work of the burgh of same, on receipt of £25 as his annual fee.(58)

Blessed Virgin Mary (2)

1522 Obit of Lucas Lichtman, burgess of Linlithgow, to be celebrated at the altar (specified as founded by Robert Begs) with requiem mass and music for his soul and that of his wife and family, 5s annual rent.(59)

1529 (4 Oct) Henry Louk is chaplain of the altar founded by Robert Begis.(60)

1539 (13 April) Henry Louk, chaplain of the altar made a burgess.(61)

1550 Founded by Robert Begis, reference to land belonging to the altar.(62)

Corpus Christi/Holy Blood

1456 Bond by Patrick Brone, chaplain of the altar of Corpus Christi in the parish church, to the bailies and community of Linlithgow for the faithful performance of his duties.(63)

1496 Chaplain of the altar is one of 7 within the parish church specified by Henry Levingstone of Middlebinning to celebrate annual obits at the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary (founded by him near the East Port of Linlithgow) for his soul and those of his family.(64)

1529 (22 Nov) James Cornwall is chaplain altar, under the patronage of the burgh council.(65)

1540 (Oct) Order of masses in parish church ordained by the parish council: 6am St Ninian, 6.30am John the Baptist, 8am Blessed Virgin Mary (described as ‘quilk the gud burgh fundit’), 8.30am St Katherine, 9am St Andrew, 9.30am Corpus Christi, 10am St Peter.(66)

1551 (21 Nov) 7s annual rents paid to Andrew Fleming (chaplain) for the obit of Dominus Henry Louk, late chaplain and curate of the church of Linlithgow, to be celebrated at the altar of the Corpus Christi situated in the parish church.(67)

1556 Obit of James Naysmith and Elizabeth Louk his wife, founded by Peter Newlands, burgess of Linlithgow, to be celebrated at altar, yearly, 7s annual rent.(68)

Founded by William Foulis, archdeacon of St Andrews and vicar of Edinburgh? Ferguson does not include a date.(69)

Holy Cross

Tailors altar?

1496 Chaplain of the altar is one of 7 within the parish church specified by Henry Levingstone of Middlebinning to celebrate annual obits at the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary (founded by him near the East Port of Linlithgow) for his soul and those of his family.(70)

1530 Henry Mitchell chaplain.(71)

1537 Mitchell still chaplain.(72)

1541 Tailors guild appear to be patrons of the altar; chaplain Mitchell paid sum of 4s by Michael Gibson, deacon of the guild, to augment the chaplaincy.(73)

1543 Henry Marshall described as chaplain of the altar of ‘Saint Crux’(74)

1549 Chaplaincy held by William Davison.(75)

Holy Saviour/ St Salvator

1451 Obit of John Palmer to be celebrated at the altar on the feast of St Scholastica the Virgin (10 Feb) by 13 chaplains and a parish clerk from 10s annual rent.(76)

1460 Obit of John Henry, priest, to be celebrated at the altar of St Salvator on 2 October by the parish chaplain and 9 other chaplains, 10s annual rent.(77)

1465 (25 June) Instrument of resignation and sasine by John de Forest, son of Thomas de Forest and Janet Palmare, in favour of Robert de Beggs, burgess of Linlithgow, and Janet, his spouse, of various annual rents of 40s Scots in value from tenements in burgh of Linlithgow; and of resignation and sasine by John de Galbraith and Elizabeth Palmar, his spouse, in favour of said Robert and Janet of various annual rents of 41s in value, following on National Records of Scotland GD76/21 and of sasine by said Robert and Janet in favour of sir John Heriote, their chaplain of altar of St Salvator in parish church of Linlithgow, of above annual rents; and narrating also that said Thomas and Janet and said John and Elizabeth granted to said Sir John a chaplainry founded by the late John Palmar.(78)

1484 Obit of David Anderson to be celebrated at altar on 29 September yearly by 10 chaplains and a clerk from 10s annual rent.(79)

1532 (7 Oct) Thomas Johnson (notary), chaplain of altar.(80)

1541 Thomas Johnsoun (Protocol book author) holds the chaplaincy.(81)

1552 (16 Jan) Reference to lands of the chaplain (not named) of the altar of the Holy Saviour.(82)

Holy Trinity

1425 Obit founded by Mariota Weir and James Robinson her husband to be celebrated at the altars of Holy Trinity, St Nicholas and John the Baptist, with requiem mass for music, twice yearly on the anniversary of their deaths (20s endowment).(83)

1536 James Cornwale chaplain, patronage with the burgh.(84)

1536 (23 Aug) William Davidson is described as chaplain of the altar (receives a feather bed and various other items).(85)

1540 20s annual rents paid to Henry Louk for two annual obits for Katherine Hamilton to begin on the eve of St Andrew following her death and for George Bell (late Angus Herald and her former husband). Services to be held at the altar of the Holy Trinity situated ‘in the aisle of the parish church’.(86)

1552 Reference to lands pertaining to chaplain of the altar lying in Magdalenside area of Linlithgow.(87)

St Andrew

1453 Obit of Andrew Caveris to be celebrated at the altar on the vigil of Thomas the Apostle, annual rent 8s.(88)

1472 (20 Nov) Bond by Thomas of Cavers, burgess of Linlithgow, to bailies and community of burgh of same, for payment of annual rent of 13s. 4d. Scots to chaplain of altar of St Andrew in parish kirk.(89)

1529 New chalice and paten for the altar, half paid by chaplain Andrew Fleming, the other by the town. Fleming is chaplain 1529-1541.(90)

1540 (Oct) Order of masses in parish church ordained by the parish council: 6am St Ninian, 6.30am John the Baptist, 8am Blessed Virgin Mary (described as ‘quilk the gud burgh fundit’), 8.30am St Katherine, 9am St Andrew, 9.30am Corpus Christi, 10am St Peter.(91)

St Anne

1536 William Jak chaplain, founded by Robert Begis before 1516.(92) Still chaplain, holds along with Blessed Virgin Mary (2) and probably St Peter.(93)

St Anthony

1448 Obit of Elizabeth de Levingstone, late spouse of Robert de Levinstone, to be celebrated at altar, founded by Henry de Levingstone  of Middlebenyn, on 21 July with 13 chaplains and a clerk, paid for by 14s annual rents.(94)

1496 Chaplain of the altar is one of 7 within the parish church specified by Henry Levingstone of Middlebinning to celebrate annual obits at the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary (founded by him near the East Port of Linlithgow) for his soul and those of his family.(95)

1499 Agnes Levingstone pays 10s a year to supplement an obit to be celebrated annually at the altar.(96)

1530 Andrew Fleming chaplain.(97)

1575 Patron Robert Levingstone of Braidlaw.(98)

St Bridget

1502 Thomas Bartholomew chaplain.(99)

1532 Thomas Davidson chaplain, founded by Robert Begis.(100)

1546 Davidson still chaplain.(101)

#1549 Reference to land pertaining to altar.(102)

1571 George Ross chaplain.(103)

SS Crispin and Crispinian

Shoemakers/Cordwiners

1506 Referred to as one of the two altars under the patronage of the Shoemakers/Cordwiners. [other is altar of St Stephen see below](104)

1533 Linlithgow Head Court requires the Cordwiners guild to maintain the lights and the services at their two altars.(105)

St Duthac

c.1488 Altar or possibly chaplaincy may have been founded by James IV. Only references to it come through his patronage in the Treasurer’s accounts.(106)

St Eloi

Hammermen?

1447 Obit of Patrick Kaa to be celebrated at altar twice yearly on the day after the feast of John the Baptist and the day after the feast of St Andrew, for souls of Patrick and his parents, 10s annual rent.(107)

1485 Obit of Thomas Liston to be celebrated at altar by 6 chaplains and a clerk yearly on 29 September from 5s annual rent.(108)

1561 Thomas Pollart holds the chaplaincy.(109)

St James

1424 Reputedly founded by James I, reference in ER to first chaplain William de Lany receiving an annual stipend of £6, 13s 4d.(110)

St John the Baptist

1425 Obit founded by Mariota Weir and James Robinson her husband to be celebrated at the altars of Holy Trinity, St Nicholas and John the Baptist, with requiem mass for music, twice yearly on the anniversary of their deaths (20s endowment).(111)

1478 Altar founded by Patrick Young, precentor of Dunkeld. Record is a sasine in favour of chaplain Robert Nenmath by James IV.(112)

1481 Obit of Patrick Hyne to be celebrated at the altar, by 13 chaplains and a parish clerk, 10s annual rents.(113)

1496 Chaplain of the altar is one of 7 within the parish church specified by Henry Levingstone of Middlebinning to celebrate annual obits at the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary (founded by him near the East Port of Linlithgow) for his soul and those of his family.(114)

1536 Archibald Fawup invested as chaplain, patronage with the burgh, given the ‘book, chalice, keys and other furniture of the altar’.(115)

1540 (Oct) Order of masses in parish church ordained by the parish council: 6am St Ninian, 6.30am John the Baptist, 8am Blessed Virgin Mary (described as ‘quilk the gud burgh fundit’), 8.30am St Katherine, 9am St Andrew, 9.30am Corpus Christi, 10am St Peter.(116)

St John the Evangelist

1537 James Hamilton of Finnart given patronage of altar by William Hamilton of Kincavill.(117)

1552-1570 Thomas Johnson [notary, author of Protocol book] holds the chaplaincy at the altar.(118)

St Katherine(119)

1454 (5 Oct) Mortification by Robert de Hamilton of Torvens to chaplainry of altar of St Katherine the Virgin in parish church of Linlithgow of two annual rents of 20s and 13s 4d from tenements of Archibald Melville and James Broun.(120)

c.1481 Obit of John Blackburn, chaplain, to be celebrated at the altar on second Sunday after Corpus Christi, once a year, from 10s annual rents.(121) [Ferguson does not provide a date]

1483 Obit founded by Michael Hamilton of Lochhouse and Gilbert Hamilton his son, to be celebrated at altar on anniversary of Michael’s death, 10s annual rent.(122)

1484 Obit of David Wilson to be celebrated at altar on 16 August, from 10s annual rent by 10 chaplains and 1 parish clerk.(123)

1492 Obit of John Pumfrey to be celebrated at the altar for his soul and that of his parents, 13s 4d annual rent, with requiem mass.(124)

1495 Charter to John Pumfrey, chaplain of the altar annual rents from the land of the laird of Hakat.(125)

1496 Chaplain of the altar is one of 7 within the parish church specified by Henry Levingstone of Middlebinning to celebrate annual obits at the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary (founded by him near the East Port of Linlithgow) for his soul and those of his family.(126)

1529 (25 November) Town council described as patrons of the altar.(127)

1533 Reference to chapel or aisle of St Katherine.

1538 William Cornwale is chaplain.(128)

1540 (Oct) Order of masses in parish church ordained by the parish council: 6am St Ninian, 6.30am John the Baptist, 8am Blessed Virgin Mary (described as ‘quilk the gud burgh fundit’), 8.30am St Katherine, 9am St Andrew, 9.30am Corpus Christi, 10am St Peter.(129)

1549 Reference to land pertaining to altar.(130)

1561 William Cornwell is still chaplain.(131)

1564 The south aisle ‘commonly called Katherine’s aisle’.(132)

St Nicholas

1425 Obit founded by Mariota Weir and James Robinson her husband to be celebrated at the altars of Holy Trinity, St Nicholas and John the Baptist, with requiem mass for music, twice yearly on the anniversary of their deaths (20s endowment).(133)

1552 (3 Aug) Land transaction refers to lands pertaining to the chaplain of the altar of St Nicholas lying in the area known as Magdalenside.(134)

St Ninian

1446 Obit of Patrick Harkes, burgess of Linlithgow, to be celebrated at the altar, on the feast of St Remigius (1 Oct), for the souls of Patrick and parents, 10s annual rent.(135)

1465 Obit of John Coupare to be celebrated at altar yearly by 10 chaplains and a clerk, 7s of annual rents.(136)

1480 Obit of Andrew Ruch to be celebrated at the altar on 25 March by 13 chaplains; 10s annual rent to pay for it.(137)

1483 Obit of David Cupar to be celebrated at the altar 7 February, paid for by 5s annual rent.(138)

1531 James Newlands chaplain of the altar of St Ninian.(139) Still chaplain in 1538 and 1541, also holds the altar of St Zita of Lucca.(140)

1540 (Oct) Order of masses in parish church ordained by the parish council: 6am St Ninian, 6.30am John the Baptist, 8am Blessed Virgin Mary (described as ‘quilk the gud burgh fundit’), 8.30am St Katherine, 9am St Andrew, 9.30am Corpus Christi, 10am St Peter.(141)

St Peter

1530 (Feb) William Jak is instituted as chaplain of the altar of St Peter, patronage with the burgh.(142)

1541 William Jak still chaplain, made a burgess of Linlithgow.(143)

1561 William Jak still holds the chaplaincy at the altar.(144)

St Stephen

Cordwiners/Shoemakers

1506 Reference to the two altars under the patronage of the Shoemakers/Cordwiners. [other is Crispin and Crispininan, see above](145)

1533 Linlithgow Head Court requires the Cordwiners guild to maintain the lights and the services at the two altars.(146)

Zita of Lucca

1445 (15 Mar) Charter by Thomas Barthilmew, burgess of Linlithgow, to bailies and community of said burgh, of his tenement in said burgh, for upkeep of chaplainry at altar of St Sithe in parish church of said burgh.(147)

1452 Obit of James Maluill to be celebrated at the altar on 16 August, annual rent of 10s.(148)

1534 (18 January) Chaplain James Newlands.(149)

1541 James Newlands still holds the chaplaincy alongside that of St Ninian.(150)

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: The Parish church parsonage with the priory, set for £246 13s 4d .(151)

Altars and Chaplainries

Chaplainry of St Bride’s altar, held by George Ros, £10.

Chaplaincy of Allhallow altar, £6 13s 4d.(152)

Account of Collectors of Thirds of Benefices (G. Donaldson): Third of vicarage £6 13s 4d.(153)

[Lacunae in information c.1564-1620 partly results from the non-survival of burgh records from Linlithgow during that period](154)

1559 (29 June) Lord of the Congregation halted at Linlithgow during march from Perth to Edinburgh and ‘freed the church from all superstitious worship’. They emptied all the niches which enrich the buttresses, 20 in all, they destroyed the numerous altars; they broke the holy water stoup. The image of St Michael was the only one that escaped demolition.10 Nov The Protestants retire to Linlithgow from Edinburgh.(155)

1560 (20 Dec) Charles Drummond (provost), James Wetherspoon and Andrew Mylne represented the church at the first meeting of the General Assembly in Edinburgh.(156)

1564 Council ordain that the new reader to be paid from the money’s previously pertaining to the Lady altar, Begs altar (Blessed Virgin Mary 2), Trinity altar, the Lady Lamp and St Michael’s Lamp.(157)

1571 (15 Jan) The Minister is nominated to be one of the 21 members of the chapter of the Archbishop of St Andrews.(158)

Structural changes in mid-seventeenth century

1611 (3 June) Visitation of the kirk of Linlithgow for the synod of Fife notes that ‘the fabric of the kirk at gude point, and the kirk-yaird dekyis well interenit’.(159) Heritors divided into two groups, those dwelling in the town and those dwelling landward [in land from the burgh].

1641 (23 April) Payment to William Millar for repairing the church roof (£14).(160)

1643 (2 June) Council agrees that the town is responsible for upholding the choir of the church.(161)

1643 (1 Dec) Robert Young paid for the removal of the pulpit and its replacement by a new one made of timber.(162)

1645 (13 Jan) Discussion over the pews in the kirk, meeting to be set up between the Lord of Linlithgow, the minister, provost and baillies to consider the division of the church.(163)

Schism and post-Cromwell building work

1656 (29 March) Warrant granted by General Monk for the division of the church by the building of a ‘midwall.’ The town council began the work immediately. [This was necessary due to a schism within the kirk session of Linlithgow into two camps (first recorded in kirk session records on 11 Jan 1648). The ‘Protestors’ would have the chancel while the ‘Resolutioners’ would have the nave].(164)

1656 (27 Dec) Council approves expenses for the building of the midwall in the church for dividing the choir (£279 6s allotted).(165)

1660 (12 March) Provost returns from Synod of Lothian and Tweeddale with orders to unify the congregation and return to one minister.(166)

1660 (21 July) Council orders treasurer to provide timber for the scaffolding for taking down the mid-wall of the church.(167)

1661 (15 July) Council orders the north east windows to be glassed, as they were formally upheld by the Tailors [relates to location of Tailor altar?] the craft will pay half, the council the other half.(168)

Major refurbishment of the church 1663-1670

1663 (25 April) Council orders Andrew Glen to inspect the defects of the parish church and with the advice of craftsmen to consider the cost of repairs. Glen reports that costs of repair will amount to £1000 scots.(169) 31 May the deacon of crafts reports that they are unable to borrow the money. The council decides to divide the cost proportionally amongst the inhabitants of the burgh.(170)

1664 (27 May) The provost reports that the ‘gentlemen of the parish’ [the heritors?] have consented to the moving of the pulpit from the north to the choir of the church with the north side, the whole west and half the east side of the church to be used for seating.(171)

1670 (3 April) Provost reports on meeting with heritors who agree to pay 2/3 of the cost of the repairs of the church (1000 marks) with the rest divided proportionally amongst the inhabitants of the burgh. Heritors stress that they have had a series of recent financial payments including the establishment of the new staple in Holland (£200), taxes (£400) and others charges upon the burghs (£198).  The council then appoints James Kincaid to collect the money and buy timber, slates, lime, sand and other necessities and agree payments with workmen [it appears that due to a contention over who was to pay the money no work had taken place between 1663-1670].(172)

1672-73 Various agreements over the building of lofts and pews in the church and over the division of the seats.(173)

1681 (27 Apr) Visitation of the church by the Presbytery of Linlithgow notes that the choir of the church is in need of repair (heritors and burgh to meet and discuss the repair). Visit also requests that the room and bounds at the steeple door is granted as a burial replace to James Crawford, providing they maintain the great window above the same, having already repaired the said window, demolished during the recent troubles. At the same time the earl of Linlithgow requests that piece of ground lying next to church of Linlithgow, the south west window of the same betwixt the steeple and the high way leading to the church as a burial place for himself and his family (agreed by the presbytery).(174)

#1684 George Livingstone, earl of Linlithgow (d.1690) granted right to put a roof over his ancient burial place, to the south side of the church.(175)

#1787 (25 August) Description of finished church by Robert Burns ‘what a poor pimping place is a Presbyterian place of worship. Dirty, narrow and squalid, stuck in the corner of old popish grandeur, such as Linlithgow’.(176)

Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev James Dobie, 1793):

This building unites elegance with strength, and may be regarded as a complete specimen of gothic architecture. Its length from east to west is 182 feet. The breadth, including the aisles, 100. The height about 90 feet. The time of its creation cannot be ascertained….. The steeple is adorned with an imperial crown.. The outside of the church was adorned with several statues [only Michael survives]…. The roof of the chancel is both elegant and durable. It was erected by George Crichton, bishop of Dunkeld [1526-44], and adorned with the arms of that see and the initials of his own name.(177)

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev Andrew Bell, 1843): [Description of changes to church, west end converted into main church in 1812 (east end formerly used)](178)

Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches (George Hay): Pulpit against the north arcade and a gallery opposite containing seats for kings and magistrate, between 1672 and 1813 the nave was again resorted to and finally with the restoration of 1894-96, the building was opened and used as one for the first time in its history.(179)

Notes

1. Cowan, Parishes of medieval Scotland, 133.

2. David I Charters, nos. 93 & 94.

3. Scotia Pontificia, no. 37.

4. RRS, I, no. 174.

5. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 130-32.

6. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 141-4.

7. RRS, II, no. 28.

8. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 144-47.

9. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 147-49.

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

11. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 232-6.

12. Scotia Pontificia, no. 37, 50, 119, 148 & 149, Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 71-6 & 76-81.

13. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 155-56.

14. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 159 & 402-03.

15. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, 348.

16. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, 377, Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, p. 157.

17. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, 493.

18. CDS, ii, p.339.

19. CPL, iii, 598.

20. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, p. 158.

21. CPP, 546 & 594.

22. ER, iii, 123.

23. CPL, Ben, 127, 129-30, 139-40, & 157.

24. CPL, Ben, 257 & 259, CSSR, ii, 13 & 150.

25. CSSR, iii, 131-32, 140, & 145.

26. CSSR, iii, 264, CSSR, iv, nos.96 & 182, CPL, viii, 561.

27. CSSR, v, no.94.

28. NRS Henderson Collection, GD76/14.

29. CSSR, v, nos. 416 & 1057, CPL¸ xii, 472.

30. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, p. 25.

31. CPL, xiii, 300 & 355.

32. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, p. 159.

33. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, p. 160.

34. Dennison & Coleman, Historic Linlithgow, p. 19.

35. CPL, xvii, no. 979, CPL, xviii, no. 676.

36. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. III, no. 2.

37. Chron. Pitscottie, i,258-59.

38. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, p. 161.

39. Someone in modern hand has written ‘French’ in the margin next to this entry, NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1 fol. 5.

40. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 53.

41. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1 fol. 61.

42. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 14.

43. Prot Bk Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578, no. 80.

44. Dennison & Coleman, Historic Linlithgow, p.26.

45. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 159.

46. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, pp. 161-2

47. Lesley, History of Scotland,  pp. 274-75. CSP Scot, i, 261.

48. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 340.

49. Prot Bk Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578, nos. 71 & 175.

50. Prot Bk James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, i, no. 40.

51. Prot Bk Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578, no. 633.

52. NRS Writs and Papers Relating to Linlithgow B48/18/2.

53. RMS, ii, no. 2333.

54. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fols. 157 & 158.

55. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 190 & 266.

56. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 190.

57. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fols. 364 & 365.

58. NRS Henderson Collection, GD76/171.

59. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua,  App. II, no. 6

60. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 39.

61. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 219.

62. Prot Bk James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, i, nos. 85 & 129.

63. NRS Linlithgow Burgh Charters B48/17/8.

64. RMS, ii, no. 2333.

65. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 47.

66. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1,fols. 157 & 158.

67. Prot Bk James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, i, no. 124.

68. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua,  App. II, no. 4.

69. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua,  App. I, p. 322.

70. RMS, ii, no. 2333.

71. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol.52.

72. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 131.

73. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 204.

74. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 303.

75. Prot Bk James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, i, nos. 35 & 44.

76. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. II, no. 18.

77. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. II, no. 23.

78. NRS Henderson Collection, GD76/22.

79. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua,  App. II, no. 14.

80. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1 fol.77.

81. Prot Bk Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578,, nos. 333 & 629.

82. Prot Bk James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, i, no. 128.

83. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua,  App. II, no. 1.

84. Prot Bk Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578,, no. 89.

85. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 110

86. Prot Bk Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578,, no. 237.

87. Prot Bk James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, i, no. 179.

88. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua,  App. II, no. 7.

89. NRS Henderson Collection, GD76/31.

90. Prot Bk Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578, no. 238.

91. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fols. 157 & 158.

92. Prot Bk Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578, nos. 86 & 174.

93. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 125.

94. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. II, no. 25.

95. RMS, ii, no. 2333.

96. NRS Linlithgow Burgh charters. B48/17/17.

97. Prot Bk Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578, no. 12.

98. Prot Bk Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578, no. 624.

99. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. I, p. 304.

100. Prot Bk Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578,, nos. 4 & 75.

101. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 243.

102. Prot Bk James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, i, no. 20.

103. Prot Bk Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578, no. 859.

104. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. III, no. 4.

105. NRS Linlithgow Burgh charters, B48/17/20.

106. TA, i, 337.

107. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. II, no. 20.

108. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. II, no. 13.

109. Prot Bk James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, ii, no.58.

110. ER, iv, 391, Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, p. 23.

111. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. II, no. 1.

112. NRS, Linlithgow Burgh charters, B48/17/12.

113. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. II, no. 9.

114. RMS, ii, no. 2333.

115. Prot Bk Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578, no. 115, NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1 fol. 362.

116. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1  fols. 157 & 158.

117. Prot Bk Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578,, no. 151.

118. Prot Bk James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, i, no. 147, ii, no. 43, NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1 ,fols. 141 & 154.

119. Ferguson suggests dedication is to St Catherine of Siena but the mass attended at the altar by James IV and town council reference to the altar both took place on 25 November, the feast day of St Katherine of Alexandria which seems the more likely dedication, Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. 1, p. 295.

120. NRS Henderson Collections, GD76/13.

121. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. II, no. 26.

122. NRS Henderson Collection, GD76/39, Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. II, no. 5.

123. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. II, no. 12.

124. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. II, no. 2.

125. NRS Linlithgow Burgh Charters, B48/17/15.

126. RMS, ii, no. 2333.

127. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 49.

128. Prot Bk Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578,, nos. 61, 143 & 161-2, B48/7/1 Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, fol. 124.

129. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1  fols. 157 & 158.

130. Prot Bk James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, i, no. 21.

131. Prot Bk James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, ii, nos. 39 & 62,

132. Prot Bk Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578, no. 699.

133. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua,  App. II, no. 1.

134. Prot Bk James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, i, no. 179.

135. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. II, no. 21.

136. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. II, no. 3.

137. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. II, no. 10.

138. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. II, no. 11.

139. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1 fol. 57.

140. Prot Bk Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578, nos. 171 & 208, B48/7/1 Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, fol. 191.

141. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1 fols. 157 & 158.

142. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1  fols. 49 & 50.

143. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1 fols. 191 & 219.

144. Prot Bk James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, ii, no. 219.

145. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. III, no. 4.

146. NRS Linlithgow Burgh charters, B48/17/20.

147. NRS Henderson Collection, GD76/5.

148. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, App. II, no. 24.

149. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 99.

150. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 191.

151. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 8, 16 & 17.

152. Ibid, 154 & 157.

153. Donaldson, Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices, 26.

154. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, p. 56.

155. Lesley, History of Scotland,  pp. 274-75. CSP Scot, i, 261.

156. Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, i, p.3.

157. NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1, fol. 340.

158. Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, i, 222-23.

159. Selections  from the minutes of the Synod of Fife, pp.22-24.

160. NRS Linlithgow Town Council Minute Books, 1640-1659, B48/9/2, fol. 19.

161. NRS Linlithgow Town Council Minute Books, 1640-1659, B48/9/2, fol. 76.

162. NRS Linlithgow Town Council Minute Books, 1640-1659, B48/9/2, fol. 100.

163. NRS Linlithgow Town Council Minute Books, 1640-1659, B48/9/2, fol. 134.

164. NRS Linlithgow Town Council Minute Books, 1640-1659, B48/9/2, fols. 587-87. Coupar, The Parish Church of St Michael of Linlithgow, p. 10.

165. NRS Linlithgow Town Council Minute Books, 1640-1659, B48/9/2, fol. 528. (numbers out of synch within the minute book as it is not chronological)

166. NRS Linlithgow Town Council Minute Books, 1659-1673, B48/9/3, fols.14 &15.

167. NRS Linlithgow Town Council Minute Books, 1659-1673, B48/9/3, fol. 36. Two ministries unified at this stage, William Bull, John Kirk and John Russell who had possession of the session books, baptismal books, mort cloths and other particulars belonging to the 2nd ministry (East Kirk) ordered to deliver them to the council, NRS Linlithgow Town Council Minute Books, 1659-1673, B48/9/3, fols, 36-37.

168. NRS Linlithgow Town Council Minute Books, 1659-1673, B48/9/3, fol.83.

169. NRS Linlithgow Town Council Minute Books, 1659-1673, B48/9/3, fol. 185.

170. NRS Linlithgow Town Council Minute Books, 1659-1673, B48/9/3, fol. 188.

171. NRS Linlithgow Town Council Minute Books, 1659-1673, B48/9/3, fol. 227.

172. NRS Linlithgow Town Council Minute Books, 1659-1673, B48/9/3, fol. 342.

173. NRS Linlithgow Town Council Minute Books, 1659-1673, B48/9/3, fols, 431, 435, 440-441.

174. NRS Presbytery of Linlithgow, Minutes, 1676-1688, CH2/242/6, fol. 50.

175. Dennison & Coleman, Historic Linlithgow, p 34.

176. Coupar, The Parish Church of St Michael of Linlithgow, p. 11.

177. Statistical Account of Scotland, (1793), xiv, 567-68.

178. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1843), ii, 184.

179. Hay, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches, pp. 20, 134 & 276.

Bibliography

Manuscripts

NRS Henderson Collection, GD76.

NRS Linlithgow Burgh Charters, B48/17.

NRS Linlithgow. Court and Council Record, B48/7/1.

NRS Linlithgow Town Council Minute Books, 1640-1659, B48/9/2.

NRS Linlithgow Town Council Minute Books, 1659-1673, B48/9/3.

NRS Writs and Papers Relating to Linlithgow B48/18/2.

Printed primary

Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, 1839-45, ed. T. Thomson (Bannatyne Club), Edinburgh.

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 1428-32, 1970, ed. A.I. Dunlop; and I.B. Cowan, (Scottish History Society) Edinburgh.

Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome 1447-71, 1997, ed. J. Kirk, R.J. Tanner and A.I. Dunlop, Edinburgh.

Calendar of State Papers relating to Scotland and Mary, Queen of Scots, 1898-1969, ed. W. K. Boyd et al, Edinburgh.

Charters of King David I : the written acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of his son Henry Earl of Northumberland, 1139-52, 1999, ed. G.W.S. Barrow, Woodbridge.

Ecclesiastical Records. Selections  from the minutes of the Synod of Fife, 1611-87, 1837, ed. C. Baxter (Abbotsford Club), Edinburgh.

History and Chronicles of Scotland by Robert Lindesay of Pitscottie, 1899, ed. A. J. G. Mackay (Scottish Text Society), 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.

New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, Edinburgh and London, (1843), ii.

Protocol Book of Dominus Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578,  1920, eds. J. Beveridge & J. Russell (Scottish Record Society) Edinburgh.

Protocol Book of James Foulis, 1546-1555 and Nicol Thounis, 1559-1564, 1927, eds. J. Beveridge & J. Russell (Scottish Record Society), Edinburgh.

Regesta Regum Scottorum, Acts of Malcolm IV (1153-65), 1960, Edinburgh.

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

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, (1793), xiv.

Relevent secondary works

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

Coupar, R, 1938, The Parish Church of St Michael of Linlithgow, Edinburgh.

Dennison, E.P & Coleman, R., 2000, Historic Linlithgow. The Archaeological implications of development (Scottish Burgh Survey), Edinburgh.

Ferguson, J., 1905, Ecclesia Antiqua or, the History of An Ancient Church (St Michael’s, Linlithgow), Edinburgh.

Architectural description

The church of the burgh of Linlithgow, which is located immediately adjacent to the royal palace there, was granted to St Andrews Cathedral Priory by David I in about 1138, together with its chapels at Binning and Retyrevyn. Eventually a vicarage settlement was made by Bishop William Malveisen (1202-38).(1) Soon afterwards Bishop David de Bernham carried out one his many dedications, on 22 May 1242, though it is doubtful that it was of any significance for the fabric.(2)

Nothing remains of the first churches on the site, though there are references to an ex-situ twelfth-century scalloped capital having survived,(3) and there is some re-used masonry in the wall bench that runs around the nave aisles. Otherwise, the present building is entirely a creation of the later middle ages,(4) and is one of the most architecturally unified of the great burgh churches. There is, however, some uncertainty over the date when rebuilding was instigated.

Scotichronicon says that there was a fire in 1424,(5) which has been assumed by many commentators to have been the reason for rebuilding; but there are references to continuing worship within it soon after, and in correspondence with Rome in 1430, at a time when there were abortive proposals to erect a college, it could still be said to be a conspicuously notable building.(6) That would not seem to be consistent with a major rebuilding operation being in progress. A more likely cause for rebuilding was a later fire that on 6 November 1447 was recorded as having accidentally destroyed the building, at which time it was also stated that rebuilding had started.(7)

Reconstruction began with the nave. Work on that part was presumably completed well before 1489, when a master mason named as John French was buried in the north aisle.(8) A completion date of around 1490 for the greater part of the west tower is indicated by the casting of a bell named ‘Blessed Mary’ in that year.

Agreement over the rebuilding of the chancel was reached with St Andrews Cathedral Priory in 1497,(9) and work was certainly in progress by 1506, when the Treasurer’s Accounts record a gift of drink-silver to the master mason.(10) By 1532 an accord for the completion of the wall head was drawn up with the master mason Thomas French, who appears to have been the son of the John French buried in the nave in 1489, and who was heavily committed to works for the king,(11) almost certainly like his father before him. It was French’s two sons who were to be chiefly involved in the day-to-day operations, but he agreed to work with them until all was completed. The arms of Bishop George Crichton of Dunkeld (1526–44), who had earlier been vicar of the church, are said to have been on the choir roof.(12)

As with all of the great burgh churches, it is necessary to take account of the major post-reformation interventions and restorations that Linlithgow has undergone if its present state is to be understood. By the mid-seventeenth century the condition of the church was a matter of some concern, and there were repairs to the roof in 1641.(13) But the situation was complicated by divisions in the congregation that led to the decision to build a wall to separate it into two parts in 1656, followed by a decision to take that wall down again four years later.(14) By 1673 it had been decided that the parish’s worship should take place in the nave, and it was fitted out in what appears to have been a somewhat makeshift manner, with a motley array of furnishings.(15)

The first major restoration was carried out in 1812-13, to the designs of James Gillespie Graham, after it had been decided that the area to be partitioned off for worship should be the eastern four bays of the church, an area that included one bay of what had initially been the nave.(16) As a consequence of this it was decided that the medieval chancel arch should be removed. Evidence found in the course of a later restoration indicated that arch had been quite low and relatively narrow, perhaps having been initially designed to open into a smaller chancel that had coexisted with the fifteenth-century nave for a while. Since in the arrangement proposed in 1812 the chancel arch would have constituted a significant obstruction, it was thus demolished, and plaster wall shafts were formed against the piers and walls where it had been removed.

In the new arrangement the congregation was accommodated in a horseshoe-shaped arrangement of pews at the lower level, with galleries in the aisles and against the new west wall, all of which was directed towards an impressive domed pulpit in the apse. Plaster ribbed vaults were constructed over the high main spaces, albeit to a very much flatter profile than would be appropriate for a medieval vault.

The overall results of the 1812-13 campaign were undeniably elegant, and very much more comfortable for parishioners than what had been provided before. To a later generation that demanded a higher degree of understanding of, and respect for, medieval forms they were unacceptable, however, and in 1890 it was decided that the church should be restored to something much closer to its medieval forms, so far as that was compatible with current ideas of Presbyterian worship.(17)

This second restoration, which was carried out between 1894 and 1896 to the designs of John Keppie and John Honeyman, re-opened the church to create a single space; in the process a skeletal chancel arch was formed, though not according to the form of what had been discovered of its medieval predecessor. The work also extended to the reconstruction of the sacristy on the north side of the choir. Because of the insufficiency of funds, however, the decision was taken to retain the plaster vaults over the main spaces, though it was hoped that they could be replaced by an open-timber roof in due course.

The most recent structural intervention of any significance for the appearance of the church has been the addition in 1964 of an aluminium crown steeple designed by Geoffrey Clarke, to replace its medieval predecessor that had been dismantled in about 1821.

Having briefly considered the more significant of the post-medieval interventions that have conditioned the present appearance of the church, consideration can now be given to the late medieval rebuilding of the church. This was a protracted operation, though from the start it seems that there was a wish to give a sense of architectural homogeneity to the structure as a whole. As evidence of this, it may be noted that the same base course, with an ogee moulding above a chamfer, was used throughout. This perhaps suggests that the whole building was laid out in a single operation, while presumably retaining for as long as possible the chancel that was in place at the start of the operation.

In common with most of the burgh churches, including Edinburgh, Haddington, Perth and Stirling, the nave is of five aisled bays. Attached to each side of the eastern nave bay there are transeptal chapels, though these are not acknowledged internally in the arcade walls. Despite having an upper storey within the roof space of each, those chapels rise no higher than the aisles from which they project, and they have double-pitched roofs running on a north-south axis, stopping against gables that rise from the aisle walls.

The slender west tower, which also serves as a porch, has a slightly awkward relationship with the west wall of the nave. This is partly explained by the fact that the central vessel of the church is unusually wide and the tower does not extend to its full width, which left space for buttresses at the ends of the nave arcade walls. However, the way in which the east face of the tower projects into the nave might even suggest the possibility that the tower had been started before the nave, though it was to be many years in building.

The close proximity of the church to the palace meant that it was a major contributor to the quality of the latter’s setting, and major efforts were made to ensure that it was worthy of that setting. The doorway at the base of the western tower is within the palace precinct and, since it was presumably the principal processional entrance for the royal household, considerable emphasis was placed upon it. Most unusually, the trumeau rises up to the arch apex, with a tabernacle in its upper part, while the tympanum that it bisects is glazed. Internally, there is what appears to be the broken basin of a stoup on the inner side of the tower west door trumeau.

The space within the tower rises soars through the levels of the arcade and triforium in the adjacent nave and is covered by a vault of basically sexpartite form, with additional ribs to the projection of the stair turret, a type of vaulting that is also seen in the towers at Stirling and Dunfermline Abbey. The space within the tower is given additional éclat  by the way in which there are recessed seats capped by basket arches with dropped cusping set within the north and south flanks.

Emphasis was given to the principal lay entrance, in the second bay from the west of the south wall, by a handsome two-storeyed porch; the way in which its outer arch is flanked by tabernacles that are reflected on a larger scale by a conically roofed oriel window lighting the upper storey is particularly charming. That combination of tabernacles and oriel once had a close counterpart in the south nave porch at Edinburgh St Giles, and there may have been another example of an oriel associated with a porch at Dunkeld Cathedral, where it was built by Bishop Thomas Lauder (1452–75).

The upper storey of the porch, which is reached by a stair in a round turret in its western re-entrant angle with the nave, may have been intended for use as a treasury, since it is well provided with aumbries, one of which has rebates for two sets of doors or grilles. There is also provision for a door that could be closed against the oriel, as if it were feared that the oriel might be broken into. As part of the orchestration of approach to the porch from the road to the palace, the buttress at the south-west corner of the nave is capped by an armoured figure of St Michael the archangel, the church’s patron saint.

The tracery of the four-light windows along the nave aisles at Linlithgow is notably refined. In one of the main window types there are two bowed triangles and a dagger between the ogee sub-arches into which the lights are paired, while another has a circlet between the sub-arches, in which three curved daggers spiral around a bowed triangle. The window next to the south transeptal chapel, which was possibly associated with an adjacent altar, may be a slightly later modification since it clips the wall head cornice. It has a complex pattern in which inwardly curving daggers arch around the light heads, and outwardly curving interlocking daggers occupy the greater part of the tracery field. An identical twin to this window was designed for the chapter house at Elgin Cathedral, in the course of the remodelling for Bishop Andrew Stewart (1482–1501)., supporting the idea that the Linlithgow window is a secondary insertion.

There is a slightly French-inspired feeling to the bowed triangles in the majority of the aisle windows; but the possible Frenchness of those windows pales into insignificance against that of the extraordinary window in the gable wall of the south transeptal chapel, which was authentically restored in 1844-5 by John Landels under the supervision of Thomas Brown.(18) The whole of the tracery field of this six-light window is contained by a large bowed triangle, within which are three circlets, each containing a pointed quatrefoil with a pair of daggers wrapped around its base. Interlocking with those circlets are tear-shaped forms that contain compressed versions of the same grouping of elements. This window is a tour de force that, in its predominance of interlocking forms within grouped circlets, has its closest counterparts in tracery found chiefly around the Lyonnais and Viennois area of eastern France from the late fourteenth century.(19) Examples that might be cited include windows in the west fronts of the cathedrals of Lyon and Vienne.

It may be suspected that a window of this kind was only possible as a result of the intervention of a French master mason, and one wonders if the John French, who was buried in the north aisle of the church in 1489, could have been that mason. As has been said above, he was the first of several generations of a dynasty of masons with that name who worked in Scotland,(20) and who appear to have been heavily involved in the royal works. It should be mentioned that the west window at Dunkeld Cathedral, which was almost certainly inserted when the north-west tower was built, must have been of an almost precisely similar design to the south transeptal chapel window at Linlithgow. Since that tower was started in 1469 and completed by Bishop James Levington (1475–83),(21) that window provides further broad support for the Linithgow window having been inserted around the time that John French was at Linlithgow.

Internally, the most striking feature of the nave is its three-storeyed design. The provision of three distinct storeys might be thought rather retardataire in the mid-fifteenth century, though there does seem to have been a continuing feeling on the part of some in Scotland that this might still be a defining feature of particularly important churches. Three storeys were also adopted for the naves at Dunkeld Cathedral and Paisley Abbey, even if at those churches the number of storeys could have been dictated by what had gone before. In addition to those cases, there are indications of proposals to give both the choir and nave at Stirling Holy Rude three storeys, in a way that appears to have been closely based on what was done at Linlithgow, suggesting that Linlithgow was deemed to be a prestigious model.

The nave arcades are carried on octofoil clustered-shaft piers with moulded bases and capitals. Some of the piers are decorated with blank shields, which were perhaps once painted with the arms or emblems of benefactors to the rebuilding. The aisles are covered by quadripartite vaulting. The triforium stage has relatively small pointed-arched openings framed by wide splays, with a pair of sub-arches within each, while the clearstorey windows have two lights within round arches. There are string courses below the triforium and clearstorey openings, and marking the bay divisions at the upper levels are slender wall shafts. The precise treatment of the upper walls is now obscured by the plaster vaulting that was inserted over the central vessel in 1812-13.

The transeptal chapels were evidently the locations for particularly important altars, and were entered through finely detailed arches, the jambs of which appear to have been augmented with additional corbelled-out shafts after work had started. The chapel on the south side is assumed to have contained the altar of St Katherine,(22) and it was the recipient of benefactions from at least 1454.(23) The dedication of the north chapel is not known, though a reference to the altar of the Holy Trinity as being in the ‘aisle’ of the church in 1540 could be consistent with its location here.(24) Another possibility might be that it was the principal chapel of the Virgin, which was frequently on the north side of the church.

Whatever the dedications, however, the provision of an array of fine corbels suggests the presence significant numbers of cult and votive images within the two chapels. Something of the quality of the altars that would once have been within the church is to be seen in carved fragments thought to be from altarpieces that have been rebuilt into the walls of the vestry. Amongst other fragments, in the west wall is a slab with a pair of scenes within a cusped ogee-arched arcade depicting Christ’s agony in the garden and his betrayal by Judas. In the east wall is a mutilated fragment depicting the mocking of Christ.(25) These were presumably from an altar dedicated to Christ’s Passion.

The chamber above the north transeptal chapel is reached by a spiral stair on its east side that is similar to that of the south porch; the form of that upper chamber appears to have been modified in the course of construction on the rather enigmatic indications of the masonry within its north-east corner. The chamber above the south transeptal chapel, which was evidently habitable since it contains a large fireplace, can only be reached from the wall-head parapet. 

Despite its rather unexpected internal elevations and the possible French debts of its south chapel tracery, Linlithgow’s nave fits comfortably within the context of later fifteenth-century Scotland. Parallels with several other churches have been pointed out in passing, and significant comparisons can be found for other details not mentioned so far. The octofoil clustered-shaft arcade piers, for example, which have filleted cardinal shafts and rounded diagonal shafts, are very like those that had been started at Paisley Abbey in the earlier years of the fifteenth century, and they were reflected in the work of Abbot Richard de Bothwell (1444–68) in the north-west bays of the nave of Dunfermline Abbey. The rather unusual wall shafts in the nave aisles, which take the form of rectangular projections with a half-shaft on each of their three exposed faces, have counterparts in the remodelled chapter house at Glasgow Cathedral, which was largely the work of Bishops John Cameron (1426–46) and William Turnbull (1447–54).

Moving on to the chancel, this part is of three bays with an eastern apse, which rises no higher than the level of the clearstorey window sills, and is three-sided. As has already been indicated, a degree of continuity between nave and chancel is established by the use of base courses with the same profile in the two parts. However, slight differences are to be seen in the treatment of the parapets above the clearstorey, which are deeper over the chancel, despite the effort to establish continuity in the string course that interconnected the clearstorey window heads. Within the north aisle roof space a further difference can be seen in a change from relatively highly finished masonry on the outer face of the nave at triforium level to uncoursed rubble in the chancel, and at the junction of the two parts there is broken back masonry that was perhaps a temporary half gable at the east end of the aisle roof before work was started on the chancel. 

The greatest external differences between nave and chancel are to be seen in the choice of window tracery types, which in the choir show a similar range of types as in the choir of Stirling Holy Rude. Along the choir flanks are three- and four-light windows with pairs of inwardly curved daggers below a vertical dagger at the head, and there is also a variant with outwardly curved daggers. The diagonal faces of the apse have English-inspired panelled tracery that is a simpler version of that in the east face of the apse at Stirling. The east window of the apse has spiralling daggers within a circlet, which can also be related to one of the types at Stirling, though in this case the tracery is un-cusped, reflecting the vogue for simplified loop-like tracery forms to be seen at Tullibardine, Midcalder and the Dominican church at St Andrews, for example.

The internal levels of the chancel elevation follow those of the nave quite closely, except that in the chancel there are no triforium openings at the middle level, the wall instead being left blank. But having established a sufficient degree of overall continuity between nave and choir, the master mason of Linlithgow’s chancel had no compunction in modifying the details, and the new arcade piers are composed of filleted shafts on the cardinal axes with broad angled faces between, a form that is comparable with the piers at Edinburgh Trinity College and Haddington St Mary. The caps and bases have diagonally continuous mouldings that pay minimal regard to the individual components of the piers.

Work to put the finishing touches to the lower storeys of the tower and to move on to complete the upper stages is likely to have been in progress at the same time that that the chancel was being built. It may be that the tracery of the window above the doorway was only inserted at this later stage since it has English-inspired rectilinear forms related to the tracery of the apse. Tracery of this kind tends to be found most frequently in the early sixteenth century, a period when English tracery was again providing some limited inspiration for Scottish masons. However, some caution must be exercised here, since it cannot be ruled out that it was inserted during the restoration of 1812-13.

Some changes of design may also have taken place in the later stages of building the tower. One possible indicator of this to be seen externally is the way that the spiral stair turret at the north-west corner does not rise the full height of the tower; access within the upper parts of the tower was instead provided by steps that are cantilevered out around its walls. The design adopted for the more prominent west and south faces of the upper storeys is for a single-light belfry window that is set below a traceried oculus on each face. This is broadly comparable with the treatment of the tower at Culross Abbey, a work that heraldry shows was instigated by Abbot Andrew Mason (1493–1510).

Work on the tower was to culminate in the construction of a crown steeple, the most ambitious type of termination for a tower in later medieval Scotland; however, it may be that a crown steeple had not been the initial intention. The reason for considering this as a possibility is that within the upper part of the tower there are squinch arches that carry diagonally aligned masonry; since this is a form of support that might be more appropriate for the diagonal faces of a spire than for the flyers of a crown steeple it may be that a spire had in fact been the first intention.

Regrettably, the crown steeple that was eventually built over the tower was dismantled in about 1821,(26) though it is known in some detail from views drawn before its demolition.(27) Behind the crenellated parapet that ran between the square pinnacles at the corners of the tower, was a cap house with a cruciform roof enclosed within coped-crow-stepped gables to the four faces. Soaring above that, four flyers converged diagonally from the pinnacles to support a square superstructure composed of four pinnacles at the corners of a quatrefoil-decorated and foliate-crested parapet, with a diagonally-set pinnacle rising from its centre. The silhouette was further enriched by smaller pinnacles on the extrados of the flyers, from which a second tier of diminutive flyers extended up to the pinnacle of the central feature.

The ingeniously engineered crown-like confection that resulted may have been intended as an expression of the imperial aspirations of the monarch who occupied the adjacent palace. In this it would have been a reflection on a larger scale of the delightful fountain at the centre of the palace courtyard, which is thought to have been constructed in about 1538 on the basis of a lead pipe inscribed with that date which was found during excavations in 1894.(28) The fantastically tiered layers of the fountain were interconnected by cusped and crocketed flyers conceived in a closely related spirit to the church’s crown steeple, and the whole composition was capped by a crown in which the closed arches of the imperial variant were very precisely depicted.

Notes

1. The medieval parochial history is summarised in Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland, Scottish Record Society, 196, p. 133.

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

3. Colin McWilliam, Buildings of Scotland, Lothian, Harmondsworth, 1978, pp. 285, states that there was a loose twelfth-century scalloped capital in the south choir aisle, though the whereabouts of any such capital now appear to be unknown.

The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Scotland, Edinburgh, vol. 2, , 1896, pp. 455–70; John Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, Edinburgh and London, 1905; Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Inventory of Mid and West Lothian, Edinburgh, 1929, pp. 213–18; Christopher Wilson in McWilliam, Buildings of Scotland, Lothian, pp. 284–89.

5. Scotichronicon by Walter Bower, ed. D.E.R. Watt, Aberdeen, vol. 8, 1987, pp. 242–43.

6. Registra Supplicationum, vol. 262, fol. 234 and vol. 268, fol. 127v; see also, Ian B. Cowan and David E. Easson, Medieval Religious Houses, Scotland, London and new York, 2nd ed. 1976, p. 228

7. Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, 1447–71, ed. J. Kirk, R.J. Tanner and A.I. Dunlop, Edinburgh, Edinburgh, 1997 no 94.

8. Robert Scott Mylne, The Master masons to the Crown of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1893, p. 36 records the inscription as ‘Heir lyes Ihon Franch, fadder to Tomas, Master / Mason of Brig of Dee.    Obiit anno Domini MCCCCLXXXIX’.

9. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree in Scotia, ed. Thomas Thomson, Bannatyne Club, 1841, xxxxviii no 47.

10. Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, vol. 3, p. 205.

11. George Waldie, A history of the town and palace of Linlithgow, 3rd ed, Linlithgow, 1879, p. 62; Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, pp. 33–34, citing Liber curiae capitalis burgi de Linlithgw. For a summary account of Thomas French’s career see John Dunbar, Scottish Royal Palaces, East Linton, 1999, pp. 32-36.

12. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, pp. 34–35.

13. National Records of Scotland, Town Council Minute Books, 1640-1659, B48/9/2, fol. 19.

14. National Records of Scotland, Town Council Minute Books, 1640-1659, B48/9/2, fols 587 and Town Council Minute Books, 1659-73, B48/9/3, fols 36-37.

15. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, pp.81-99.

16. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, pp.100-20.

17. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, pp. 121-29

18. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, pp.119-20.

19. There are some examples elsewhere, however. A highly complex variant on the idea may be seen in the north transept window of St-Merry in Paris, though unless that window has been re-set from an earlier building, it presumably dates from the early sixteenth century. (Agnès Bos, Les églises flamboyantes de Paris, xve-xvie siècles, Paris 2003, pp. 239–41.) 

20. Mylne, Master Masons, pp. 36–44.

21. Vitae Dunkeldensis Ecclesiae Episcoporum ab Alexandro Myln, ed. T. Thomson, Bannatyne Club, 1831, pp. 22–24.

22. Protocol Book of Dominus Thomas Johnsoun, ed. J. Beveridge and J. Russell, Scottish Record Society, 1927, no 699.

23. National Records of Scotland, Henderson Collections, GD76/13.

24. Protocol Book of Thomas Johnsoun, no 237.

25. James S. Richardson, ‘Fragments of altar retables of late medieval date in Scotland’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol. 62, 1927-8, pp. 209-15.

26. Ferguson, Ecclesia Antiqua, pp. 116-19.

27. See the unnumbered plate in Mylne 1893.

28. T.M. Halliday, ‘Donations to the Museum’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol. 66, 1931–2, p. 22.

Map

Images

Click on any thumbnail to open the image gallery and slideshow.

  • 1. Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, from south east

  • 2. Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, apse from north east

  • 3. Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, apse and choir from north east (Billings)

  • 4. Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, choir and north transept from north

  • 5. Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, choir from south

  • 6. Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, choir from south east

  • 7. Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, from south (Billings)

  • 8. Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, junction of nave and choir clearstoreys on north side

  • 9. Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, nave and south transeptal chapel from south

  • 10. Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, nave from north

  • 11. Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, nave, image of St Michael at south-west angle

  • 12. Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, nave, south aisle windows

  • 13. Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, nave, south transeptal chapel and choir from south

  • 14. Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, south porch

  • 15. Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, south transeptal chapel, south window

  • 16. Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, tower from north west

  • 17. Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, tower from west

  • 18. Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, west door

  • 19. Linlithgow St Michael, exterior, west tower and destroyed crown steeple

  • 20. Linlithgow St Michael, interior choir arcade pier

  • 21. Linlithgow St Michael, interior choir pier cap

  • 22. Linlithgow St Michael, interior looking east

  • 23. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, choir from west

  • 24. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, choir north arcade wall

  • 25. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, choir pier base

  • 26. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, from tower

  • 27. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, junction of nave and choir arcade walls, north side

  • 28. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, junction of nave and choir galleries, north side

  • 29. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, nave from east

  • 30. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, nave north arcade wall, 1

  • 31. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, nave north arcade wall, 2

  • 32. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, nave pier

  • 33. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, nave pier base

  • 34. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, nave pier cap

  • 35. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, nave west door trumeau stoup

  • 36. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, north transeptal chapel arch, east respond base

  • 37. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, north transeptal chapel, corbel to south of altar

  • 38. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, north transeptal chapel, corbels to north of altar site

  • 39. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, panels in vestry, 1

  • 40. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, panels in vestry, 2

  • 41. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, porch oriel

  • 42. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, south aisle west end, re-used stones in bench

  • 43. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, south nave aisle

  • 44. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, south nave aisle, re-used masonry

  • 45. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, south porch wall shaft cap

  • 46. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, south transept arch caps

  • 47. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, tower vault

  • 48. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, tower, recess on south side

  • 49. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, tower, squinch arches

  • 50. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, tower, stair in upper part, 1

  • 51. Linlithgow St Michael, interior, tower, stair in upper part, 2

  • 52. Linlithgow St Michael, chancel as restored 1812-13, looking east

  • 53. Linlithgow St Michael, chancel as restored 1812-13, looking west