Cuikstone / Cookston Parish Church

Cookston Church, possible area of location

Summary description

Abandoned in the later seventeenth century in favour of a new church at Kinnaird, which was itself abandoned after the union of the parish with Farnell. The site is no longer identifiable with certainty.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes: Chapel of Farnell, parochial by 1440. Prebend of the sub dean of Brechin Cathedral with the charge serve by a curate. After the Reformation the church was rebuilt and became the parish church of Kinnaird.(1)

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: The Parish church parsonage and vicarage with Brechin Cathedral, held by Walter Graham, value £20.(2)

Account of Collectors of Thirds of Benefices (G. Donaldson): Third of parsonage and vicarage £6 13s 4d.(3)

1587 Described as one of three churches served by minister John Hepburn (along with Kilmoir and Buttergill).(4)

1598 (19 Apr) The will of Mr David Carnegie of Colluthie included a request that he be interred in the burial place of the family, where the ‘auld kirk was’. The kirk here referred to was the kirk of Cookston, which was superseded by the new church begun to be built by this laird, and called the church of Kinnaird. He also ordains his son to put up the ‘buriall’ with a great diligence as he can. This evidently refers to the new burial place for the family in the new church of Kinnaird.(5)

1613 (3 Sep) A visitation of the church [of Kinnaird] finds the fabric to be in good repair, yet the kirk dykes required to be repaired according to the act of parliament.(6)

[The parish does not feature in the Statistical Accounts]

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland, 34.

2. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 382.

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

4. Registrum Brechinensis, ii, no. 368.

5. Fraser, History of the Carnegies Earls of Southesk, i, p.68.

6. NRS Records of the Synod of Fife, 1610-1636, CH2/154/1, fols. 144-146.

Bibliography

National Records of Scotland, Records of the Synod of Fife, 1610-1636, CH2/154/1.

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

Donaldson, G., 1949, Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices, (Scottish History Society), Edinburgh.

Fraser, W., 1867, History of the Carnegies Earls of Southesk and of their Kindred, Edinburgh.

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

Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis, 1856, ed. C. Innes (Bannatyne Club), Edinburgh.

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Historical outline

There is no pre-fifteenth-century reference to a church of Cookston and, as Ian Cowan suggested, it is likely that it began as a dependent chapel within the parish of Farnell.(1)  When and why it was erected into an independent parish is unknown, the first reference to it as such occurring in a supplication granted in January 1440 by Pope Eugenius IV, which provided William Cassy to the perpetual vicarage of Largo in Fife and noted that William had previously been provided on an Expectative Grace to the parish church of Cookston (valued at £6) before 8 January 1436. 

That Farnell was the prebend of the dean of Brechin and that at the Reformation it was recorded that both the parsonage and vicarage of Cookston pertained to sir Walter Graham, sub-dean of Brechin,(2) could indicate an arrangement made before 1372, when the sub-deanery is mentioned as a prebend without specific detail of the source of its revenues in Bishop Patrick Leuchars’ constitution of the cathedral chapter.(3) Certainly, in 1605, John Wemyss, minister at Kinnaird and holder of the prebend of the subdean of Brechin, was described also as parson and vicar of Cookston.(4)

In 1587, the parish was part of a joint charge along with Buttergill and Kilmoir served as minister by Mr John Hepburn.(5)  It is unclear if by that date the church had already been relocated to Kinnaird, the will of Mr David Carnegie of Colluthie stating in 1598 that he wished to be buried in the Carnegie aisle ‘where the auld kirk was’, i.e. at Cookston.(6

In 1605, when it was also noted that the patron of the parish was Sir David Carnegie of Kinnaird, the kirk of Kinnaird, was described as ‘lately built and erected by the late Master David Carnegie of Kinnaird, father to the said Sir David Carnegie of Kinnaird, knight, in place of the kirk of Cookston, which is altogether ruinous and decayed’.(7)  All lands and revenues of Cookston were then transferred to the new kirk of Kinnaird, signalling the formal abandonment of the old site.

Notes

1. Cowan, Parishes, 35.

2.CSSR, iv, 1433-1447, no.634.

3. Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis, i, no.15.

4. RPS, 1605/6/128. Date accessed: 10 June 2014.

5. Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis, ii, Appendix, no.368.

6. Fraser, History of the Carnegies Earls of Southesk, i, p.68.

7. RPS, 1605/6/128. Date accessed: 10 June 2014.

+++

Historical outline

There is no pre-fifteenth-century reference to a church of Cookston and, as Ian Cowan suggested, it is likely that it began as a dependent chapel within the parish of Farnell.(1)  When and why it was erected into an independent parish is unknown, the first reference to it as such occurring in a supplication granted in January 1440 by Pope Eugenius IV, which provided William Cassy to the perpetual vicarage of Largo in Fife and noted that William had previously been provided on an Expectative Grace to the parish church of Cookston (valued at £6) before 8 January 1436. 

That Farnell was the prebend of the dean of Brechin and that at the Reformation it was recorded that both the parsonage and vicarage of Cookston pertained to sir Walter Graham, sub-dean of Brechin,(2) could indicate an arrangement made before 1372, when the sub-deanery is mentioned as a prebend without specific detail of the source of its revenues in Bishop Patrick Leuchars’ constitution of the cathedral chapter.(3) Certainly, in 1605, John Wemyss, minister at Kinnaird and holder of the prebend of the subdean of Brechin, was described also as parson and vicar of Cookston.(4)

In 1587, the parish was part of a joint charge along with Buttergill and Kilmoir served as minister by Mr John Hepburn.(5)  It is unclear if by that date the church had already been relocated to Kinnaird, the will of Mr David Carnegie of Colluthie stating in 1598 that he wished to be buried in the Carnegie aisle ‘where the auld kirk was’, i.e. at Cookston.(6) 

In 1605, when it was also noted that the patron of the parish was Sir David Carnegie of Kinnaird, the kirk of Kinnaird, was described as ‘lately built and erected by the late Master David Carnegie of Kinnaird, father to the said Sir David Carnegie of Kinnaird, knight, in place of the kirk of Cookston, which is altogether ruinous and decayed’.(7)  All lands and revenues of Cookston were then transferred to the new kirk of Kinnaird, signalling the formal abandonment of the old site.

Notes

1. Cowan, Parishes, 35.

2.CSSR, iv, 1433-1447, no.634.

3. Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis, i, no.15.

4. RPS, 1605/6/128. Date accessed: 10 June 2014.

5. Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis, ii, Appendix, no.368.

6. Fraser, History of the Carnegies Earls of Southesk, i, p.68.

7. RPS, 1605/6/128. Date accessed: 10 June 2014.

Architectural description

The church of Cookston, which originated as a chapel of Farnell, had achieved parochial status by 1440. At the time of the Reformation both the parsonage and vicarage had been annexed to the subdean of Brechin Cathedral, with the parochial cure served by a curate.(1)

The location of the church is not certain. However, in 1587 it was said that the minister, John Hepburn, served the churches of Buttergill, Kilmoir and Cookston,(2) making it likely that they were all in reasonably close proximity to each other, and that, like Buttergill and Kilmoir, Cookston was close to Brechin. One possibility is that it was in the vicinity of a mound known as Rurie’s Cross, at NO 620 563,(3) which is close to the south-western corner of the Kinnaird Castle Policies.

The church at Cookston was presumably the one that came to serve after its abandonment as a burial place for the Carnegie of Colluthie family, and in which David Carnegie requested to be buried on 19 April 1598, stating that it was where the old church was.(4) It seems that Carnegie had started to build a new church at Kinnaird, which was itself demolished after a union with the parish of Farnell in 1772, leaving only a burial enclosure that was built for the fourth earl of Southesk in the 1690s.(5)

Notes

1. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society), 1967, p. 35.

2. Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis, ed. Cosmo Innes (Bannatyne Club), 1856, vol. 2, no 368.

3. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Canmore online resource; A.J. Warden, (1880-5) Angus or Forfarshire: the Land and People, Descriptive and Historical, Dundee, 1880-85, vol. 3, pp. 232-3, 243.  

4. William Fraser, History of the Carnegies, Earls of Southesk and of their Kindred, Edinburgh, 1867, vol. 1, p. 68.

5. John Gifford, The Buildings of Scotland, Dundee and Angus, New Haven and London, 2012, p. 557.

Map

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  • 1. Cookston Church, possible area of location