Longforgan / Forgrund / Forgan Parish Church

Longforgan Church, exterior, from south

Summary description

The medieval church was probably a two-compartment structure. The tower was built at its west end in 1690; the church itself was rebuilt in 1794-5, and a chancel added in 1899-1900. Inside the church are an important ledger slab and fragments of a fine font.

Historical outline

Dedication: St Modwenna?(1) or St Andrew(2)

Considerable confusion has arisen in the past as a result of the similarity in name between this church, referred to usually in medieval sources as Forgrund, and that now known as Forgan in north-east Fife, both of which were possessions of the cathedral-priory at St Andrews.  The first historical references to the church date from 1144, when King David I and his son, Earl Henry, confirmed the church of Longforgan to the priory in the king’s foundation diploma. In a separate charter of c.1150 David gave the church of Longforgan to the canons with all of its teinds, customs, and ecclesiastical rights within his whole demesne and applying to all his men of Longforgan and Longforganshire, and also a toft there to provide lodging for the priest.(3) Probably between 1153 and 1156 King Malcolm IV confirmed his grandfather and father’s grants, a second charter identifying the half carucate of land that had been given to the church as the lands of Kingoodie.(4)  Confirmation of possession was received by the canons from Pope Adrian IV in 1156.(5)  Episcopal confirmations were secured from bishops Arnold (1160-1162) and Richard, the latter probably 1165x1166.(6) Two confirmations were received of possession from King William between 1165 and 1170, the first as part of a general confirmation of the priory’s possessions the second specifically in respect of Longforgan, explicitly referring to the land on which the canons’ buildings were constructed, and the half carucate granted to the canons by Malcolm IV.(7)  In addition to the confirmation from Adrian IV, the priory secured papal confirmations in 1163 from Alexander III, in 1183 from Lucius III, in 1187 from Gregory VIII, Clement III in 1188, Innocent III in 1206, and finally Honorius III in 1216.(8)

Although David I’s original charter had conceded the church and all its associated teinds and other sources of income to the canons, it was only in the episcopate of Bishop David de Bernham (1239/40-1253) that the church was annexed to the priory in proprios usus.(9)  The appropriation of the parsonage had been effected by 1275 when the vicarage of Forgrund in Goueryn (Forgan in Gowrie, i.e Longforgan) was recorded in the accounts of the papal tax-collector in Scotland, assessed at 20s for tax.(10)  The vicarage settlement persisted only until 1292 when Bishop William Fraser granted the canons the vicarages of both Forgans – Forgan in Fife and Forgan in Gowrie – and it seems that Longforgan was served thereafter by one of the convent as perpetual vicar.(11)  The union continued at the Reformation, when the vicarage held by George Rattray was valued at £26 13s 4d.(12)

Notes

1. J M Mackinlay, Ancient Church Dedications in Scotland: Non-scriptural Dedications (Edinburgh, 1914), 132.

2. Scotia Pontificia: Papal Letters to Scotland before the Pontificate of Innocent III, ed R Somerville (Oxford, 1982), no.37 records it as ‘the church of St Andrew of Longforgan’ [hereafter Scotia Pontificia].

3. The Charters of David I, ed G W S Barrow (Woodbridge, 1999), nos 126, 173.

4. Regesta Regum Scottorum, i, The Acts of Malcolm IV, ed G W S Barrow (Edinburgh, 1960), nos 122, 123.

5. Scotia Pontificia, no.37.

6. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree in Scotia (Bannatyne Club, 1841), 130-132, 141-144 [hereafter St Andrews Liber].

7. Regesta Regum Scottorum, ii, The Acts of William I, ed G W S Barrow (Edinburgh, 1971), nos 28, 110.

8. Scotia Pontificia, nos 37, 50, 119, 149; St Andrews Liber, 71-81.

9. St Andrews Liber, 161.

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

11. St Andrews Liber, xxxv, no.18.

12. J Kirk (ed), The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefices (Oxford, 1995), 316-7.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes: The church was confirmed to the priory of St Andrews in 1206. In 1248, the parsonage was also annexed and the vicarage was served by one of the canons.(1)

According to Mackinley the church was dedicated to St Modwenna.(2)

1141 x 1150 David I (with Earl Henry) confirmed the church of Longforgan to the priory in the king’s foundation diploma. David I gave (dare) the church of Longforgan to the priory with all tithes, customs, and ecclesiastical rights within his whole demesne and applying to all his men of Longforgan and Longforganshire and also a toft to provide lodging for the priest.(3)

1156 It was confirmed as the church of St Andrew of Longforgan by Pope Hadrian IV.(4)

1153 x 1162 Malcolm IV confirmed the church of Longforgan (as a gift of David I) with its tithes and granted (dare) half a ploughgate of land (as endowment).(5) 1153 x 1162 Malcolm IV confirmed the half ploughgate at Kingoodie in Longforganshire given as endowment to the church to the priory.(6) 1160 x 1161 Malcolm IV confirmed (general confirmation) the church of Longforgan with a toft, a half a ploughgate of land, and all tithes in the whole shire of Longforgan).(7)

1160 x 1162 Arnold, bishop of St Andrews, confirmed (general confirmation) the church of Longforgan with one toft and with the tithes within the whole shire of Longforgan as a gift of David I; he also confirmed the half ploughgate of land gifted by Malcolm IV.(8)

1165 x 1166 Richard, bishop of St Andrews, confirmed (general confirmation) the church of Longforgan with one toft, tithes pertaining to the whole shire of Longforgan as a gift of David I; and confirmed the gift of the half ploughgate of glebe land by Malcolm IV.(9)

1165 x 1169 William I confirmed (general confirmation) the church to the priory with a toft where their buildings are (ubi eorum sunt edificia) and also the tithes of the whole shire of Longforgan. The king also confirmed the gift made by Malcolm IV of the half ploughgate of land.10)

1178 x 1184 Hugh, bishop of St Andrews, confirmed (general confirmation) the church of Longforgan with tithes applying to the whole shire of Lonforgan; and a toft, as a gift by David I. (11)

Papal Confirmations

1156 Pope Hadrian IV confirmed the church of St Andrew of Longforgan.

1163 Pope Alexander III confirmed the church of Longforgan with one toft, tithes and ecclesiastical rights in the whole shire of Longforgan as gifts by David I.

1183 Pope Lucius III confirmed the church of Longforgan with one toft, and the land adjacent to the church, with tithes in the whole shire of Longforgan as a gift of David I.

1187 Pope Gregory VIII confirmed the church of Longforgan with one toft and the land adjacent to the church (terra ecclesie adiacente). The church was confirmed in the same terms in papal bulls of Clement III in 1188, Innocent III in 1206, and Honorius III in 1216.(12)

Post 1300 materials

1379-1402 Master Lawrence Kant (scholar of canon law) holds perpetual vicarage of Longforgan, petition on his behalf by Charles, King of France in 1379.(13)

1402 Kant is dead and David de Camera (illegitimate) is vicar (value 20 marks).(14)

1414 John de Scone was vicar of Longforgan.(15) (see Lib.Scone p.163.)

c.1424 (Undated) letter from James Haldenstone, prior of St Andrews, to James I, seeks protection for Robert Short, recently provided to the vicarage of Longforgan.(16)

1429 Dispute between William Yhalovlok (MA), Larence Pyot, William Seton, Thomas Forrester, John Roll and James Casselis over the perpetual vicarage. William wins but dies at the curia, Thomas Tulloch (later bishop of Ross) is provided.(17)

1435 Henry Rynd is vicar on resignation of Thomas, dead by 1439 when William de Thornton is vicar (value £20).(18)

Post-medieval

John Rattray holds vicarage of the parish church, value £26 13s 4d, half the value in corpse presents, pasche fines and other oblations.(19) [either perpetual vicar or independent, no mention of priory of St Andrews]

1655 (1 July) John Kinnaird of Inchture and George Kinnaird of Rossie ask the kirk session whether they can build a seat in the new loft, between the loft door and the great window, for themselves and their servants.(20)

1656 (6 Apr) Kirk session agrees to allow Alexander Mylne, heritor of the lands of Pilmuir, to erect and build a seat for himself and his family in the east most half of the room of the church where the laird of Inchture’s seat partly stands. The laird of Rossie and his brother the laird of Inchture are allowed to erect seats on the south side of the north loft next to the great window.(21)

1659 (10 July) £9 16s taken out of the poor box ‘to point’ the church (minister is to be refunded from the heritors).(22) Further reference in 1659 (28 Aug) to £13 4s paid to William Wobster, slater, for pointing the kirk and choir.(23)

1661 (15 Sept) Robert Rollock accused of taking stone from the walls of the kirk yard dykes without permission.(24)

1662 (20 Apr) Meeting between the heritors for discussing sighting and sorting the kirk yard dykes.(25)

1663 (4 Jan) £19 paid to the Andrew Clerk, glass wright, fulfilling an earlier contract (4 Nov) which noted that his compt for work on the windows of the church, including 72 foot of new glass and nails for repairing the broken windows.(26)

1664 (5 June) Agreement between the session and John Gardner, slater, to point the church and choir for 20 marks. On 10 July Gardner and John Wright, slater are paid £14 10s for pointing the kirk and choir and helping the ‘great holes in the roof thereof’.(27)

1667 (12 May) £10 taken out of the poor box to pay for lime for pointing and mending of the kirk, later ref on 2 June to 200 slates at a cost of £3 12s.(28)

1691 (20 Sept) Payment of £200 for the bells [partly obscured].(29)

1694 (30 Mar) Compt for the slaters for working on the steeple, £30 13s 4d. (3 June) Payment of £65 18s to David Lyon for his gilding and pointing of the clock and horologes.(30)

1697 (8 Mar) Patrick Clouris paid for his work on the roof of the church, £20 8s.(31) At a meeting of the heritors on 12 July they agreed to recompense the kirk session for the money expended on the church fabric, £566 13s in total (some of it is to expend the school master’s stipend).(32)

Statistical Account of Scotland (anon, 1796): ‘The parish church, manse and schoolhouse are in the village of Longforgan. The church was taken down in 1794. It was an old, long narrow and inconvenient building consisting of two parts and evidently built at very different periods’.(33)

Also detailed description of church, steeple and new church.(34)

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev R S Walker): Nothing to add to previous account.

Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches (George Hay):1795, with restored 1690 tower, alteration and additions 1899.(35)

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland, 138.

2. Mackinley, Non-Scriptural Dedications, p. 132.

3. David I Charters, nos. 126 & 173.

4. Scotia Pontificia, no. 37.

5. RRS, i, no. 122.

6. RRS, i, no. 123.

7. RRS, i, no. 174.

8. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 130-2.

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

10. RRS, ii, nos. 28 & 110.

11. Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 147-9 & 149-52.

12. Scotia Pontificia, nos. 37, 50, 119 & 149, Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree, pp. 71-6 & 76-81.

13. CPL, Clem, 22-23 & 86, CPL, Ben, 23.

14. CPL Ben, 206.

15. Scone Lib, p. 163.

16. Copiale Prioratus Sanctiandree, pp.6 & 386.

17. CSSR, iii, 42-43 & 54.

18. CSSR, iv, no.228-30 & 587.

19. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 316-17.

20. NRS Longforgan Kirk Session, 1654-70, CH2/249/1, fol. 22.

21. NRS Longforgan Kirk Session, 1654-70, CH2/249/1, fol. 42.

22. NRS Longforgan Kirk Session, 1654-70, CH2/249/1, fol. 134.

23. NRS Longforgan Kirk Session, 1654-70, CH2/249/1, fol. 143.

24. NRS Longforgan Kirk Session, 1654-70, CH2/249/1, fol. 195.

25. NRS Longforgan Kirk Session, 1654-70, CH2/249/1, fols. 202-203.

26. NRS Longforgan Kirk Session, 1654-70, CH2/249/1, fols. 220-222.

27. NRS Longforgan Kirk Session, 1654-70, CH2/249/1, fols. 257 & 260.

28. NRS Longforgan Kirk Session, 1654-70, CH2/249/1, fols. 332-333.

29. NRS Longforgan Kirk Session, 1673-1699, CH2/249/2, fol. 196.

30. NRS Longforgan Kirk Session, 1673-1699, CH2/249/2, fol. 233.

31. NRS Longforgan Kirk Session, 1673-1699, CH2/249/2, fol. 282.

32. NRS Longforgan Kirk Session, 1673-1699, CH2/249/2, fols. 289-290.

33. Statistical Account of Scotland, (1796), xix, 480.

34. Ibid, 481.

35. Hay, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches, pp. 171 & 269.

Bibliography

NRS Longforgan Kirk Session, 1654-70, CH2/249/1.

NRS Longforgan Kirk Session, 1673-1699, CH2/249/2.

Calendar of Papal letters to Scotland of Benedict XIII of Avignon, 1976, ed. F. McGurk, (Scottish History Society) Edinburgh.

Calendar of Papal letters to Scotland of Clement VII of Avignon, 1976, ed. C. Burns, (Scottish History Society) Edinburgh.

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

Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome 1433-47, 1983, ed. A.I. Dunlop and D MacLauchlan, Glasgow.

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.

Copiale Prioratus Sanctiandree. The Letter-Book of James Haldenstone, Prior of St Andrews (1418-1443), 1930, ed. J. H. Baxter, Oxford.

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

Hay, G., 1957, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches, 1560-1843, Oxford.

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

Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree in Scotia, 1841, ed. T. Thomson (Bannatyne Club), Edinburgh.

Liber ecclesie de Scon, 1843, (Bannatyne Club) Edinburgh.

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

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

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.

Architectural description

An earlier grant of Lonfgorgan to St Andrews Cathedral Priory was confirmed by Pope Innocent III in 1206. Bishop David de Bernham (1239-53) later confirmed the church to the uses of the priory, and the vicarage was evidently then served by one of the canons.(1)

Following the Reformation, the allocation of seating to the gentry of the parish was in process by the 1650s, perhaps suggesting that there had been some internal re-ordering at the time. On 1 July 1655 John Kinnaird of Inchture and George Kinnaird of Rossie sought permission to have a seat in the new loft, between the loft door and the great window.(2) On 6 April 1656 permission was given to Alexander Mylne of Pilmuir to have a seat adjacent to that of the laird of Inchture, while the seats of the lairds of Rossie and Inchture are specified as being on the south side of the north loft, next to the great window.(3)

In 1683 it was recorded that the choir roof was restored by the heritors, and at the same time Patrick, third earl of Stratmore remodelled his loft and built a retiring room.(4) Work was in progress on completing the west tower in 1694. On 30 March of that year the slaters were paid £30.13s.4d, and on 3 June David Lyon was paid £65.18s for gilding and painting the clock and its housing.(5) A replica incised roundel on the west face of the tower, which was restored in 1900, when the original was placed inside the church, states:

Founded in the year 1690 And finished at the charge of Patrick Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorn Viscount Lyon Lord Glamiss & the bells wer giun by the frank contribution of the Peple

The tower is capped by a balustrade parapet, behind which rises a cap house that supports a slated splay-foot spire with gableted lucernes to the cardinal faces.

The church was rebuilt in 1794-5, but a helpfully extended account of the church as it stood before then was provided in the Statistical Account:

It was an old, long, narrow and inconvenient building consisting of two parts and evidently built at very different periods. The eastmost, which belonged entirely to the estate of Castle Huntly, was a substantial building, all of Kingoody stone; and from a very handsome cross on the east gavel, and several recesses of hewn stone within, probably for altars or shrines of some favourite saints, it had every appearance of having been the original church when the Roman Catholic religion prevailed; and from uniformity of building with the church of Fowlis Easter, it is probable that both were built sometime in the twelfth century, by the same Lady Gray, to whom both estates then belonged. The west end of the church, although apparently older, must have been of a much later date. It was a very insufficient building, of bad materials, and had every appearance of that ill-judged parsimonious simplicity, so much affected by the enthusiastic first reformers. This, therefore, would appear to have been added to it at the Reformation...Upon the west end of the church is the steeple, which was built by Earl Patrick of Strathmore about 130 years ago. It has three bells and a clock, which last is the property of the inhabitants of the village; but it is not well kept. On the east end is a square building, also built by his lordship. It stands diagonally, and was formerly joined to the church, but they are now distinct buildings. The lower part is the Castle-Huntly burying place, and over it is a room, to which the family used to retire during the interval of divine service. This room the proprietor has given leave to the kirk session to use for a session house...(6)

Despite the inevitable inaccuracies in assessing the relative dates of the building at the time of writing that account, the refreshingly non-partisan description provides an invaluable description of a bicameral church in which a medieval chancel has been taken over by the principal heritor and extended to meet the heritor’s post-Reformation needs.

The medieval church was said to be 106 feet (32.3 metres) long.(7) The only likely structural survival of it is embodied within the west wall. To the north of the tower there are traces of what appears to be the northern part of the west gable of a church of considerably less width and height than the present building, with a number of possible quoin stones on a line below the lowest point of the gable. It appears inherently likely that this is part of the west gable of the medieval church.

Below what appears to be the half gable is a blocked rectangular opening, which is perhaps most likely to have been for access to a post-medieval west gallery. Within the tower, at mid-height of the wall it shared with the church itself, may be seen a roughly formed arch. It has been suggested that this was the west window of the medieval building, though it is perhaps more likely that it was formed when the tower was built, perhaps to provide access between church and the upper part of the tower. The lowest storey of the tower was used as a prison.

The rebuilding of the church in 1794-5, which incorporated Earl Patrick’s tower, was the work of John Paterson.(8) The main face, towards south, has four pointed-arched windows with timber Y-tracery. At the centre is a short pointed-arched blind recess; views before the addition of the chancel in 1899-90 show that there was a porch below that recess, which would have given direct access to the pulpit.

The north face is more simply finished, with two levels of three rectangular windows. In the east gable a carved stone with a head and a heraldic shield has been re-set; it appears to have formed part of a cavetto-moulded cornice, but has probably been reworked at some date.

Internally, the pulpit that was at the middle of the south wall was the focus of a horse-shoe-shaped gallery. This was swept away when the chancel was added at the east end of the church in 1899-1900 by Alexander Hutcheson.(9)

In the course of the operations of 1899-1900, a number of medieval fragments were found. These include two cross-incised medieval gravestones and what appears to be a gable-head stone with a socket for a finial. But the most important finds were a fine incised ledger slab and the fragments of what must have been an exceptionally fine font.

The ledger slab has images of John de Gelachtly and his wife Mariota below elaborate tabernacle heads: they died at some point in the fifteenth century, though the dates on the inscription are incomplete, suggesting the slab was prepared in Gelachtly’s lifetime. It has been argued that it is of foreign manufacture, and that it is from the same source as the incised slab at Creich.(10)

The font fragments have retained partial depictions of the Passion of Christ, including what appear to be the Flagellation, the Crucifixion, the Entombment and the Harrowing of Hell. Both the iconography and style of carving invite comparison with the font at Fowlis Easter, and it must be seen as a clear possibility that both fonts were created under the patronage of Andrew Lord Gray, who was lord of the lands of both Fowlis and Longforgan.

Bearing in mind the similarities that the author of the Statistical Account drew between Longorgan’s chancel and the church at Fowlis Easter, which was built for Lord Gray, it might also be a possibility that he was the patron behind the construction of the two buildings.

The tower had to be extensively repaired after being hit by lightning in 1981.

Notes

1. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society), 1967, pp. 138-39.

2. National Records of Scotland, Longforgan Kirk Session, 1654-70, CH2/249/1, fol. 22.

3. National Records of Scotland, Longforgan Kirk Session, 1654-70, CH2/249/1, fol. 42.

4. A.H. Millar, The Glamis Book of Record, cited in D.B. Taylor, Longforgan, Church, Castle and Village, 2nd ed., Longforgan, 1998, p. 12.

5. National Records of Scotland, Longforgan Kirk Session, 1654-70, CH2/249/1, fol. 282.

6.  Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-9, vol. 19, pp. 480-81.

7. A.H. Millar, The Glamis Book of Record, cited in D.B. Taylor, Longforgan, Church, Castle and Village, 2nd ed., Longforgan, 1998, p. 12.

8. Howard Colvin, Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 4th ed., New Haven and London, 2008, p. 786; Perth and Kinross Council Archives, 100/2/10.

9. John Gifford, The Buildings of Scotland, Perth and Kinross, New Haven and London, 2007, pp. 508-11.

10. F.A. Greenhill, Incised Effigial Slabs, London, 1976, vol. 1, p. 164 and vol, 2, pl. 79b.

Map

Images

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  • 1. Longforgan Church, exterior, from south

  • 2. Longforgan Church, exterior, from west

  • 3. Longforgan Church, exterior, north flank from north west

  • 4. Longforgan Church, exterior, reused stone in east gable

  • 5. Longforgan Church, exterior, sundial at south-west corner

  • 6. Longforgan Church, exterior, tower following lightning strike in 1981

  • 7. Longforgan Church, exterior, west tower, inscribed stone

  • 8. Longforgan Church, exterior, west wall to north of tower

  • 9. Longforgan Church, finial socket stone

  • 10. Longforgan Church, font fragment, crucifixion

  • 11. Longforgan Church, font fragment, entombment

  • 12. Longforgan Church, font fragment, flagellation

  • 13. Longforgan Church, font fragment, harrowing of hell

  • 14. Longforgan Church, grave slab, 1

  • 15. Longforgan Church, grave slab, 2

  • 16. Longforgan Church, incised ledger slab for John de Gelachtly

  • 17. Longforgan Church, interior, arch between nave and tower

  • 18. Longforgan Church, interior, looking east

  • 19. Longforgan Church, interior, looking west

  • 20. Longforgan Church, rubbing of incised ledger slab for John de Gelachtly

  • 21. Longforgan Church, pulpit panels

  • 22. Longforgan Church, momnument for Apollonia Kichlais