Wester-Upsettlington Parish Church

Upsettlington, possible location of church, 1

Summary description

No upstanding remains.

Historical outline

Dedication: unknown

The church referred to as Wester Upsettlington served the western part of the lands of that name which seem to have had an early association with the Bishops of Durham, being connected into the fourteenth century with his castle and lordship at Norham across the River Tweed in England.(1)  It would appear that the references to the church of Upsettlington in the papal tax-rolls for 1274-5 and the mid-1290s are in respect of Easter Upsettlington (see Upsettlington - Easter).(2)  Reference in the accounts of the priory of Coldingham from 1325 to payment to the parochial chaplain of Easter Upsettlington for administering the sacraments to the villeins of Wester Upsettlington suggests that the parish church of the western part of the lands was already in poor condition on account of its exposed frontier location.(3)  It is probably this church that was described as lying near the border and in a devastated condition in a petition by its vicar to the pope in 1394.(4)

On 6 July 1460, King James II confirmed a grant of the lands of Upsettlington by Alexander Benistoun of that Ilk, laird of Upsettlington, to the provost and canons of the collegiate church of Dunglass.(5)  In 1476 the union of the parishes of Hutton and Wester Upsettlington was petitioned for to the pope, it being claimed that the ‘parish church which was formerly, as is presumed, in the place or village of Wester Upsettlington (although now utterly destroyed), has been so long void, on account of former wars the inhabitants are obliged to go to neighbouring churches... and know not to whom they might pay their tithes’.  The petition, made by John Edmondson, provost of Dunglass, requested that the joint cure would be served by a perpetual vicar based in the church of Hutton.(6)  The union was effective, on 4 September 1480 Edmondson receiving a papal bull confirming the union of the teinds of ‘Vesterupsedlynton’ in perpetuity to the provostry of the collegiate church.(7)  The independent existence of the church and parish ended at that date, while the prebend of Upsettlington in the collegiate church of Dunglass continued down to the Reformation.(8)

Notes

1. Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland, iii, 1307-1357, ed J Bain (Edinburgh, 1887), nos 1022, 1024, 1034-1036.

2. A I Dunlop (ed), ‘Bagimond’s Roll: Statement of the Tenths of the Kingdom of Scotland’, Miscellany of the Scottish History Society, vi (1939), 35; The Correspondence, Inventories, Account Rolls and Law Proceedings of the Priory of Coldingham, ed J Raine (Surtees Society, 1841), cx.

3. Coldingham Correspondence, Appendix, iii.

4. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britin and Ireland: Petitions to the Pope, ed W H Bliss (London, 1896), 545.

5. HMC, 12th Report, Appendix, pt VIII, The Manuscripts of the Duke of Athole, KT, and of the Earl of Home (London, 1891), MSS of the Earl of Home, no.278.

6. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Papal Letters, xiii, 1471-1484, ed J A Twemlow (London, 1955), 645.

7. A I Cameron, The Apostolic Camera and the Scottish Benefices 1418-1488 (Oxford, 1934), 200.

8. HMC, Report on the Manuscripts of Colonel David Milne Home of Wedderburn Castle (London, 1902), nos 97, 115; HMC, 12th Report, Appendix, pt VIII, MSS of the Earl of Home, no. 285.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes: Wester Upsetlington pertained to Durham from an early period but was accounted to lie outwith the kingdom of Scotland (see Calendar of documents relating to Scotland ii, no. 979), until the mid 14th century when it was incorporated into the diocese of St Andrews.  In 1476 the parish was united to Hutton, joining that prebend of the college of Dunglass.(1)

1476 Union of the parishes of Hutton and Wester Upsettlington. ‘The parish church which was formerly, as is presumed, in the place or village of Wester Upsettlington (although now utterly destroyed), has been so long void, on account of former wars the inhabitants are obliged to go to neighbouring churches... and know not to whom they might pay their tithes’. Petition by John Edmondson, provost of Dunglass for the union of the parishes of Hutton and Wester Upsettlington, the cure to be served by a perpetual vicar in Hutton.(2)

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: [Not mentioned]

[Nothing post-Reformation]

Notes

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

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

Architectural description

The lands of Wester Upsettlington appear initially to have been a possession of the bishops of Durham, who held the nearby castle of Norham on the opposite bank of the Tweed, and on that basis it was deemed to be outside Scotland. In the mid-fourteenth century, however, the lands were absorbed into the diocese of St Andrews, and in 1460 a prebend of Dunglass Collegiate Church was endowed with the parochial teinds.(1)

The location of the parish on the border with England made the church particularly vulnerable, and in 1476 there was a petition for the parishes of Hutton and Wester Upsettlington to be united, at which time it was said that the church at the latter was utterly destroyed.(2) There is now no trace of the church, though it may have stood in an area of ground known as ‘Chapel Round’, at around NT 88 46, to the south west of Ladykirk.(3)

Notes

1. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society), 1967, pp. 204-5.

2. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland, Papal Letters, ed. W.H. Bliss, London, 1893-, vol. 13, p. 645.

3. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Canmore online resource.

Map

Images

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  • 1. Upsettlington, possible location of church, 1

  • 2. Upsettlington, possible location of church, 2