Kingoldrum Parish Church

Kingoldrum Church, exterior, from south

Summary description

Rebuilt in 1840 on or near the site of the medieval church. No longer in ecclesiastical use.

Historical outline

Already fully developed as a parish by 1178 when King William granted it with others in the diocese of Brechin to his new abbey at Arbroath.(1)  At some point between 1178 and 1198, Bishop Turpin of Brechin united all the fruits of it and the other churches in his diocese held by Arbroath in proprios usus to the abbey, with licence to serve the cure with a chaplain.(2

Possession was confirmed to the abbey by Turpin’s successors down to the time of Bishop Gregory.(3)  Gregory’s successor, Bishop Albin (1246-69), however, sought to recover possession of the annexed churches.  The resulting dispute was resolved in vicarage settlement in September 1248, which established that here and at three other churches in Albin’s diocese held by Arbroath, vicarages perpetual were to be instituted.(4)

Despite the 1248 settlement, subsequent bishops of Brechin continued to claim rights in the disputed churches, including Kingoldrum.  In 1304, William Lamberton, bishop of St Andrews, was delegated to arbitrate in the renewed dispute between Bishop John and the monks of Arbroath, reaching a new settlement whereby two churches (Caterline and Maryton) were assigned to the bishops of Brechin whilst the remained churches including Kingoldrum were to be retained by the abbey with a vicarage perpetual serving the cure.(5

Between 1459 and 1461, the abbey sought to reverse Lamberton’s judgement and began an appeal at the curia but this and subsequent efforts by the bishop of Brechin all failed.(6)  Lamberton’s settlement remained in force at the Reformation, with the parsonage held by Arbroath and the cure served by David Haliburton, provost of the collegiate church of Methven, as vicar perpetual.(7)

Notes

1. RRS, ii, no.197.

2. Arbroath Liber, i, no.178

3. Arbroath Liber, i, nos 179, 185, 186, 187.

4. Arbroath Liber, i, nos 239, 343.

5. Arbroath Liber, i, no 244.

6.CSSR, v, nos. 750, 864 and 868, CPL, xii, 52.

7. Kirk (ed), Book of Assumptions of Thirds of Benefices, 379.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes:  The church was confirmed to Arbroath by bishop Turpin (1178x98). There was controversy over the church and 5 others which was resolved in 1248 when the bishop of Brechin renounced all rights and a vicarage settlement was made. However, the dispute continued until 1304 when it was decided that Kingoldrum belonged to Arbroath, with the cure to be served by a vicar perpetual.(1)

1178 Church included in the foundation charter of Arbroath as a gift by William. 1178x80 specific charter granting church to Arbroath after the death of Andrew, bishop of Caithness (1147x51-84). 1213 church in included in confirmation by William I of the possessions of Arbroath.(2)

1178x98 Church included in a confirmation by Turpin, bishop of Brechin of all the churches in possession of Arbroath, held in usus proprios, by Arbroath.(3)

1182 Church included in papal bull by Lucius III confirming possessions of Arbroath.(4)

1200 Church included in papal bull by Innocent III confirming possessions of Arbroath.(5)

1211x18 Possession of church by Arbroath confirmed Radulf, bishop of Brechin, in two charters, the first specifically related to the church, the second including all the churches held by Arbroath in the diocese of Brechin.(6)

1218 & 1218x22 Church included in confirmations by bishops Hugh and Gregory of Brechin of all churches held by Arbroath in their diocese.(7)

1248 Bishop Albin renounces all right to church along with 5 others in possession of Arbroath within the diocese of Brechin. Vicarage settlement sees parsonage with abbey and provision of perpetual vicar.(8)

1304 Decision made by William Lamberton, bishop of St Andrews with regard to 6 churches. Caterline and Maryton/Old Montrose to become mensal churches of Brechin. Arbroath retains Dunnichen, Kingoldrum, Monikie and Panbride.(9)

1457 Alexander Michelson described as perpetual vicar of Kingoldrum.(10)

1461 Papal bull by Pius II confirming the decision by Lamberton, Caterline and Maryton remain with Brechin, Dunnichen, Kingoldrum, Monikie and Panbride with Arbroath.(11)

1461-67 Attempts by Brechin to dispute 1304 settlement and Arbroath to retain control of churches.(12)

1513 (27 Jan) Vicar of Kingoldrum, William Tyrie is one of the recipients of prayers specified in Charter by Alexander Tyrie, dead 24 Nov 1525.(13)  burgess of Perth, founding two chaplainries in honour of St. Clement and Christopher the Martyr at the altar of St Clement in the parish church of Perth and granting thereto certain tenements in the Northgate, Watergate.(14)

1517 Procurators named for further discussion with Brechin regarding possession of the above churches.(15)

1525 (20 Oct) Still vicar when mentioned in, and witness too, a further charter by Alexander Tyrie in Perth.(16)

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: The Parish church vicarage held by David Haliburton (provost of Methven college), value £40.(17)

Account of Collectors of Thirds of Benefices (G. Donaldson): Third of vicarage £6 13s 4d.(18)

1662 (1 April) Church along with rector and vicar teinds recorded as in the control of Patrick, earl of Panmure, inherited from his father, George (d.1661).(19)

1766 (17 Mar) Decision taken after much discourse to get a new great bell for the church. The new bell was ordered from London and had been received by 24 August. It only cost £2 11s 4d once the old one had been used in part exchange.(20)

Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev James Badenach, 1796): ‘The church was originally a parsonage belonging to the Abbey of Arbroath’.(21)

[No reference to the church fabric]

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev James Ogilvy Haldane, 1842):

 ‘The parish church is centrically placed. The date of erection is 1840. It is built almost on the same site as the former church was, which must have been erected prior to the Reformation, and which had become ruinous and unsafe’.(22)

Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches: (George Hay): 1840, 1766 bell.(23)

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland, 113.

2. RRS, ii, nos. 197, 223 & 513, Liber Aberbrothoc, i, no. 1.

3. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, no. 178.

4. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, no. 220.

5. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, no. 221.

6. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, nos. 180 & 185.

7. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, nos. 186, 187 & 191.

8. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, no. 239.

9. Liber Aberbrothoc, i, no. 344.

10. CSSR, v, no. 644.

11. Liber Aberbrothoc, ii, no. 135.

12. CSSR, v, nos. 750, 864, 686 & 1228, CPL, xii, 52.

13. Rental Book of the King James VI Hospital, p.23.

14. NRS Records of King James VI Hospital, Perth, Altarages, GD79/4/29.

15. Liber Aberbrothoc, ii, no. 543.

16. NRS Records of King James VI Hospital, Perth, Altarages, GD79/4/22.

17. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 379.

18. Donaldson, Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices, 9.

19. Registrum de Panmure, p. 337.

20. NRS Kingoldrum Kirk Session, 1756-1823, CH2/220/1, fols. 174-175 & 176.

21. Statistical Account of Scotland, (1796), ix, 136.

22. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1842), xi, 610.

23. Hay, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches, p. 246.

Bibliography

NRS Kingoldrum Kirk Session, 1756-1823, CH2/220/1.

NRS Records of King James VI Hospital, Perth, Altarages, GD79/4.

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 1447-71, 1997, ed. J. Kirk, R.J. Tanner and A.I. Dunlop, Edinburgh.

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

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

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

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

Liber S Thome de Aberbrothoc, 1848-56, ed. C. Innes and P. Chalmers, (Bannatyne Club) Edinburgh, i.

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

Registrum de Panmure, 1874, ed. J. Stuart, Edinburgh.

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

Rental Book of the King James VI Hospital, Perth, 1891, ed. R. Milne, Perth.

Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-9, ed. J. Sinclair, Edinburgh.

Architectural description

Three fragments of early cross slabs that were found when the church was being rebuilt in 1840, and that are now in the National Museum of Scotland, point to a long history of Christian worship on this site. One has a cross decorated with key pattern and flanked by interlaced beasts, with an enthroned figure and symbols to the rear. The second has interlace decoration. The third has a Maltese cross on the front, and a rare depiction of a crucified figure on the rear.(1)

The medieval church was granted to the Tironensian abbey of Arbroath by William the Lion, and was then granted to the uses of that abbey by Bishop Turpin (1178-98), though there were later unsuccessful claims that the church pertained to the episcopal mensa of the bishops of Brechin. The cure was a vicarage perpetual.(2)

So far as the present church is concerned, the entry in the New Statistical Account states:

The date of erection is 1840. It is built almost on the same site as the former church was, which must have been erected prior to the Reformation, and which had become ruinous and unsafe.(3)

The new church was designed by David Mackenzie.(4) It is a rectangle of 16.45 by 8.2 metres, and if it were not for the statement in the New Statistical Account that it had been built ‘almost on the same site as the former church’ it might be suspected that the four walls were raised on the medieval foundations. Nevertheless, it might be wondered if at least some of the walls are on the medieval footings, with the others being provided with new foundations in order to achieve the greater relative width that was required in a church designed for preaching

It is constructed of red rubble, which on the south face is carefully coursed. That face is lit by a sequence of six windows with segmental arches that are framed by raised margins, and in front of the window at each end of the sequence is a porch. There are no windows in the other walls. Above the west gable is a bellcote with pinnacles at the angles and the middle.

The only certain relic of the medieval building is a much weathered cross-incised grave slab attached to the south wall. It has been suggested that a basin now adjacent to it could have been a baptismal font, though its rough form suggests it is most unlikely to be of ecclesiastical origin, and is perhaps more likely to have been a domestic mortar.  

The church is no longer in use for worship and is currently being offered for sale.

Notes

1. J. Romilly Allen and Joseph Anderson, The Early Christian Monuments of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1903, pt. 3, pp. 226 and 257-58.

2. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society), 1967, p. 113.

3. New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, vol. 11, p. 610.

4. John Gifford, The Buildings of Scotland, Dundee and Angus, New Haven and London, 2012, pp. 577.

Map

Images

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

  • 1. Kingoldrum Church, exterior, from south

  • 2. Kingoldrum Church, exterior, from south west

  • 3. Kingoldrum Church, exterior, bellcote

  • 4. Kingoldrum Church, exterior, from north east

  • 5. Kingoldrum churchyard, cross-incised slab

  • 6. Kingoldrum churchyard, font or mortar

  • 7. Kingoldrum churchyard, gravestone

  • 8. Kingoldrum churchyard, monument

  • 9. Kingoldrum cross slab, 1 (National Museum of Scotland)(Allen and Anderson)

  • 10. Kingoldrum cross slab, 2 (National Museum of Scotland)(Allen and Anderson)

  • 11. Kingoldrum crucifixion (National Museum of Scotland)(Allen and Anderson)