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during his lifetime, but between the date of his death in 1162
and the year 1230, the date of this charter, when the De
Morville name had sunk into that of the Earl of Galway,
the area of Lauderdale valley seems to have been, through
marriage, broken up into several estates, owned by proprietors
who, in a few cases, achieved a more lustrous historical name
than even that of the high official and friend of King
David I. This was partly due to the generosity of the De
Morvilles themselves, and partly, no doubt, to the necessity
of the times. We know that Carfrae, for example, was in the
hands of the Sinclairs before the end of the twelfth century,
and Hartside, CoUielaw, Glengelt, and Howden — to instance
those with which we are most acquainted — all seem to have
been under separate owners about 1206. Bishop Andrew
Moray may have become proprietor of the farms, from which
the teinds were said to be drawn about the end of the same
century that closed the record of the De Morvilles, and the
original endowment of Lauder Church having become com-
plicated in the changes of landowners, may easily have
created great perplexity to all concerned, both churchmen
and laymen. With every division of ownership, the new
question of proportion of teinds lawfully due from each
separate estate would arise, and this of itself would be enough
to engender friction and bitterness between the mildest-
minded of men. But the monks were by no means lacking
in their devotion to their secular patrimony, however tenacious
and grasping the nobles also of their day may have been of
the burdens laid upon the land under their sway. The priest
of Lauder, at least, seems to have had a special gift of pug-
nacity, and the teinds which the canons of Dryburgh were
determined to upHft from Bishop Moray's lands, he was as


determined should never be fingered by them. They pro-
tested : he snapped his fingers at them, for the men on the
land, who had the first handling of the sheaves, were evidently
his friends. In every case he held the teinds, as we shall see.
The canons complained to the dignitaries above both, and the
judges sat, as it appears, and decided in their favour. What
cared Eymeric? Alas, however, for priestly courage, if a
Pope's favour has no gracious smile for it. If priests will not
bow, then, in such dire circumstances, they must break, and
poor Eymeric, not bowing obsequiously upon this stone of
power, ultimately falls under it, and straightway is ground to

For Eymeric will not yield the teinds from Bishop
Moray's lands to the canons of Dryburgh, and eighteen
bitter and sullen years pass by from the date of Bishop
William's caution, and the year 1248 dawns on the same
disagreeable state of matters. But the Pope has now come
upon the scene. The eighteen years seem to have had their
share of discussion, trial, adjudication, and continued defiance
on the part of Eymeric. The patience of Dryburgh canons,
of the St Andrews' authorities, and last of all, of the Pope,
is exhausted (Bishop William, good and patient with this
refractory Lauder priest, no doubt, is in his grave ten
years ago), and the bolt falls upon pugnacious Eymeric, and
he is extinguished for ever. The canons of Dryburgh de-
manded Eymeric's removal, and the whole case was referred
to His Holiness Pope Innocent IV. He appointed judges
in the case, which went to trial. Eymeric stubbornly refused
to appear although summoned, and bore himself aloof
haughtily. The "sentence" given below shows how
thoroughly the ancient monks reverenced law, and how
majestic is its mien through all forms and processes


when moving under the dictates of the ecclesiastical judg-

" Sentence of the delegates appointed as judges in the
case of Lauder Church.

" In the year of grace, 1248, on the first day of Jove after
the discovery of the Holy Cross in the Parish Church of St
Andrew, we, John and John, priors of St Andrew and of
May, and Adam, Archdeacon of St Andrew, agents, ap-
pointed judges by the Pope in the case which is pending
between the Abbey and Convent of Dryburgh, of the
Premonstratensian Order, on the one side, and Master
Eymeric, the accused, rector of the Church of Lauder, on the

" We have caused the Apostolic Letters addressed to us to
be read in our presence, the tenor whereof is as follows : —

" Innocent, Bishop, Servant of the servants of God, to our
beloved sons of St Andrew, health and apostolic benediction.
On the part of our beloved sons of the Abbey and Convent
of Dryburgh of the Premonstratensian Order, a complaint has
been laid before us, that, on account of Eymeric, of the
Church of Lauder, in the diocese of St Andrew, which justly
belongs to their monastery, they are injured in these same
matters. And therefore we entrust to your discretion by
apostolic writing, that, having called the parties, to hear the
case, and the appeal being removed, to close the matter
finally, causing their decision to be strictly observed on pain
of ecclesiastical censure. Moreover, to compel the witnesses
who may have been named, if through favour, hatred, or fear,
they shall withdraw, by the same censure, to adhibit their
names to the truth, and if you shall not all have been able to
be present at the carrying out of these matters, nevertheless,
* Dryburgh Charter, No. 280.


that two of you can accomplish them. Given on the tenth
of the Kalends of i\pril, at Lyons, in the third year of our

The third year of the pontificate of Innocent IV. was
1243, five years before this deliverance of the delegates.
The deliverance proceeds : " The petition of the said Abbey
and Cbnvent of Dryburgh against the said Eymeric having
been heard concerning the Church of Lauder, which church
the said Abbey and Convent of Dryburgh maintained justly
belonged to their monastery. With the Apostolic Authority
committed to us, we have lawfully summoned parties into
our presence, after a day had been given to those on trial
before the delegates, by law constituted for carefully trying
the case before witnesses, because he (Eymeric) contumaciously
absented himself. We, the divine presence making up for
the absent one, caused witnesses, whom the said Abbey and
Convent of Dryburgh brought forward on their behalf to
prove their own contention, to be examined by men worthy
of credit, and the depositions of the same on trial to be
published, appointing a day for the parties to discuss their

" When it appeared quite obvious to us that the conten-
tion of the said Abbey and Convent of Dryburgh had been
clearly proved, both by documents and witnesses without any
exception, the more learned having carefully examined the
merits of the case with the solemnity and order of the law in
all things, and instructed through all things by a council of
lawyers sitting beside us, we, having God before our eyes,
in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, adjudge
the Church of Lauder, with all that belongs to it, to the
Monastery, the Abbey and Convent of Dryburgh, and to the
canons of the same Monastery, and we withdraw the same


Church from the said Master Eymeric, and decree that he be
removed from the same, imposing perpetual silence on him.
Concerning the said Church and the said Master Eymeric, we
fine to the extent of lOO merks of silver, and make account-
able to the foresaid Abbey and Convent of Dryburgh, for
expenses incurred in the lawsuit on oath by the same Abbey
for itself and Convent, by its procurator legally appointed,
and for security made by us. The witnesses and sitting
magistrates being Master Vigellus, Canon of Dunkeld, Master
William of Cunynham, Master Alexander of Edinburgh, with
many others."

One should naturally suppose that Lauder priest would
wither from off the earth before such a blast from Pope and
prior. On the contrary, there are signs that he was not
greatly disconcerted, though ultimately compelled to yield.
Who knows but his decease alone settled the question ?
There is some uncertainty as to what really occurred, but
we are assured, on the authority of later charters, that the
noise of the dispute still reverberated between St Andrews
and Dryburgh four years after this deliverance of the
delegates, that is, in 1252. All is silent once more till we
reach the year 1268, when Lauder Church is discovered
without a priest, and arrangements made whereby the priest
of Channelkirk fulfils the double duties of both.

From the above deliverance we learn the important fact
that Dryburgh Abbey claimed the teinds of Lauder Church,
because she claimed the church itself The claim upon the
church of Lauder as belonging to her is therefore the crux of
the whole contention. The Lauder priest stoutly renounces
this assumption. He is under no superior. He stands for
himself, and will not accept supervision. In the charter of
1252 this receives a keener edge in the narrative of debate


set forth there. It is a long document, and we give as much
of it only as seems to be essential to the elucidation of the
final issue. The chief interest, however, which we have in
it is the light which is thrown upon Channelkirk Church
with reference to its age, as compared with Lauder Church,
and the ecclesiastical position which it occupied at that date
in Lauderdale. The charter is entitled : —

" The Final Settlement concerning the Chapel of Lauder."

After the usual pious salutations and courtesies are set
forth, Eymeric is mentioned, with" a sneer, as "calling himself
rector of Lauder Church, which he unjustly occupies and
forcibly keeps possession of (contra justiciam occupat et
detinet), to the no small injury and detriment of the said
Abbey and Convent " (of Dryburgh). A view of the lawsuit
is then given. Bernard of Cardella is appointed procurator
for Dryburgh Abbey, to act against Eymeric, who has on his
side Theobald of Senon, procurator's clerk, who is substituted
for the late procurator, acting on behalf of Lauder priest.

The procurator, Bernard, in name of Dryburgh canons,
" demands that the said Eymeric be removed from the said
church (of Lauder), and that it be assigned to himself, and,
in order to its restitution, with the revenues derived from
thence, valued at 200 merks, and that Eymeric be sentenced
to a fine. He also demands expenses."

Theobald, procurator for Eymeric, replies by taking the
evidence of witnesses. " I deny," said he, " the things
narrated to be true, as they are narrated, and I maintain that
the demands ought not to be granted." He loudly declares
against Dryburgh Abbey and its procurator, " that since all
the teinds situated in the parish of the said Church of Lauder
by common law belong to Eymeric, in the name of the said
Church, the foresaid Abbey and Convent, contrary to justice.


gather the half of all the teinds, greater or less, in certain
villages situated in the said parish of Lauder, namely, from
Pilmuir, from Treburn, from Wittelaw, from the land which
belonged to William of Blendi, from Langald (Langat), from
Tolchus (Tollis), from Welpelawe, from Aldeniston, and from
Burncastel, to the great injury and detriment of the said
rector, although they have no right in the same. Wherefore,
the said rector demands that the said teinds be, in the name
of the said Church, returned and restored to him, or their
worth, which he values at 200 merks. He also demands
that the said pious persons be prevented in future from
gathering up the tithes mentioned, as they ought not, and
that perpetual silence be imposed on the same persons
regarding the foresaid tithes. He demands also the foresaid
things with the expenses incurred or to be incurred, which in
his own time he will declare, and by the aid of the law, keep
safe for himself in all respects."

Bernard, the Dryburgh procurator, rebuts these demands.
Then the narrative proceeds : " The person accountable said,
* I give on oath the award of the law.' Petitions having been
made, and the replies to the same, witnesses having been
brought forward on this side and on that, we have carefully
listened to all that the parties wished to bring forward, and
we have carefully reported these to the Pope, who entrusted
to us, as the organ of his own voice, the declaration of the

" We, then, by the special Apostolic Authority which we
exercise in this place, deliberately adjudge the Church of
Lauder to Master William of Lothian (who had deputed the
case to Bernard of Langardale at a later stage of procedure),
present procurator to the Abbey and Convent (of Dryburgh)
in name of the same, and to the Abbey and Convent itself.


on the ground that, as the Church at Channelkirk which, with
perfect right, looked to the same (Abbey) as though to her
Mother Church, and on this account had been subject to the
same (Abbey) and to the Convent, the same (Channelkirk
Church) giving us (Dryburgh) freedom as regards the teinds
for which the other party (Lauder) sued, when to us it was
clear that the foresaid Church of Channelkirk had been the
Mother and Parish Church of the whole foresaid valley
before the Church of Lauder was founded in that place."

The case is then finally closed : Dryburgh Abbey enters
into full and undisturbed possession of the teinds of all
Lauderdale; Eymeric is cut adrift by law ; and in 1268, as
has been said, Lauder Church is served by the Channelkirk

The case has every symptom of having been a desperate
one. From words and altercations, process of law had been
called in ; and when Pope and prior were defied by Eymeric,
and Dryburgh Abbey's fulminations rendered nugatory,
force had been attempted, and counter-force employed to
resist it. But the key to the problem seems to be found in
the short sentence about Channelkirk Church having been
" the mother and parish church of the whole valley of Lauder-
dale" contained in the final sentence of the judge or judges,
as quoted ^bove. In order to have a clear view of the
reasons upon which each side founded its claim to Lauder
teinds, it is necessary to view the circumstances from a
broader platform. The case seems to have taken form in
the beginning of the thirteenth century. Parishes were
then fairly well defined. There is abundant documentary
evidence that there were parochial divisions in the preceding
century, but during this inchoative stage, the boundaries of
parishes coincided, as a rule, with the boundaries of estates.


In the twelfth century the estate of Hugh de Morville
embraced almost the whole of Lauderdale, as he is said to
grant the site of Dryburgh Abbey, and the Lammermoors
were not his furthest boundary on the north. This state
of matters seems to have continued during his lifetime. It
is in his son Richard's day that we read of divisions of
land in Lauderdale. Consequently, in Hugh de Morville's
time, that is, before A.D. 1162, the reputed year of his
death,* there would be but one estate in Lauderdale, and
this estate would naturally be, as was usual, the bounding
limits of the parish.

Perhaps, also, we should remember that a " parish "
at that time did not mean what we understand by a
"parochia," or parish, now. It had more reference to an
ecclesiastical jurisdiction over certain territory. It was,
to all appearance, a district over which an ecclesiastic
was expected to exercise spiritual supervision. But as
the priest of a church which existed within an estate drew
his emoluments from the general reservoir of its wealth, he
naturally came to extend his supervision over the whole
estate, that is, his parish. And in the case of Channelkirk
Church, it is almost certain that no other church existed
within the area of Hugh de Morville's Lauderdale estate
when he entered upon its possession, nor, indeed, during his
entire lifetime. Channelkirk Church was, therefore, the
acknowledged parish church over the whole valley, that is,
over all De Morville's estate. Our reasons for believing this
rest upon the historical facts that when Dryburgh Abbey was
founded in 1 1 50 by David I., or by Hugh de Morville, or,
probably, conjointly by both, the king grants to it only two
chapels in Lauderdale, viz., St Leonard's and Caddesley, but
* Chronica de Mailros.


no church. Again, when Hugh de Morville wearies of the
world and seeks to clothe himself in the monk's habit ; when
he retires, in short, to the Abbey of Dryburgh to end his days
in the odour of sanctity, on the same day in which he enters,
he presents Channelkirk Church, with its land and pertinents,
to the abbot and monks of that monastery. There is no
mention of Lauder Church being in existence in Hugh de
Morville's time, and if there had been such a church in
existence, the natural inference would be that he or King
David would have rather given it to the monastery, than the
more parsimonious gifts of chapels and a church of less worth.
We are aware that Chalmers, in his Caledonia, has said (vol.
ii., p. 221), "From him (King David I.), Hugh Moreville
obtained Lauder, with its territory, on the Leader water.
Like the other great settlers, Hugh Moreville, having obtained
a district, built a castle, a church, a miln, and a brewhouse,
for the convenience of his followers." * This would make
Hugh de Morville the founder of Lauder Church, and its date
as a consequence would fall between cir. 1 130 and 1 162. But
Chalmers gives no authority, and, so far as we know, there is
no mention of a church being in Lauder earlier than cir. 1170
or 1 1 80 A.D. This occurs in a charter given by Richard de
Morville, son and successor of Hugh, " to the brethren of the
hospital of Lauder," Richard died in 1189. "William de
Morville, my son : Avicia, my wife : Herbert : Dr Thomas :
Clement, my chaplain : Alan de Thirlestane : Henry de
Sinclair (Carfrae) : Peter de Haig (Bemensyde) : Thomas, the
writer, and others," are witnesses to this charter, although
there is no seal. Russell, in his Haigs of Beinersyde, gives the

* M'Gibbon and Ross, in their Ecclesiastical Architecture of Scotland,
have relied on Chalmers' words, in their short notice of Lauder in the
third volume of that work.


date of this charter as cir. 1180, which would place the first
mention of Lauder Church ten years later.

Therefore, when Hugh de Morville died, it can be easily
understood that the Dryburgh monks, having received from
him the Church of Channelkirk, would also claim all the
tithes within its spiritual jurisdiction. His having founded
Kilwinning Abbey seems to have raised some hopes there
also of obtaining a share of his wealth, and St Andrews,
as metropolis of the diocese which included Lauderdale and
Dryburgh Abbey within its pale, had equally with others an
interest in the tithes from the De Morville lands. The
Dryburgh claim is clearly based on the fact that Channelkirk
Church, having been the mother and parish church of the
whole valley before Lauder Church was founded there, and
the same church having been gifted to them, they had ipso
facto the prior claim to all it carried with it. " The grant of
"a church" was often very valuable. It carried with it all
the parochial rights, all the tithes of the parish, all the dues
paid at the altar and at the cemetery, the manse and the
glebe, and all lands belonging to the particular church." * The
Church of Lauder had, doubtless, been founded by Richard
de Morville, perhaps in consideration of the pious memory ol
his great father. And, according to the usual custom, he
had endowed it with the lands which later on came into the
possession of Andrew de Moray, and which, with exception
of Pilmuir, Trabroon, and Whitelaw, all lie along the eastern
slopes of Upper Lauderdale, having centrality somewhere
about Longcroft. As long as the De Morvilles remained in
the valley, the priest of Lauder Church would have little
trouble in uplifting his tithes from these lands. Richard
seems to have had strong blood in him, and doubtless would
* The Church of Scotland, vol. iv., p. 43, 1890.


rule his gifts as he wished, independent of Pope or abbot.
He had no warm affection, either, for the Bishop of St
Andrews' domination, which he would meet constantly in
respect of Lauder Church being under that diocese. Prior
John of that see excommunicated him, no less, as a dis-
turber of the peace between himself and the king, and it may,
indeed, have been this very matter of Lauder tithes which
was the chief bone of contention between them. The monks
of Melrose also had pulled him through a judicial controversy
on account of the woods and lands between Gala and Leader,
and the proud heart of the turbulent baron, who had led the
Scots in many a battle, and had been liostage for the
captured King William at Falaise in 1 174, would doubtless
have little love for monks in general, and rather delight
maybe in resenting and resisting their interference in a dale
where he was paramount in all other concerns. But 1189
ended all his contentions, and his son, William, the last of the
De Morvilles in Lauderdale, passed away not long afterwards
in 1 196, and with other proprietors who lived far from the
banks of the Leader, and with many masters to question his
rights, where before he had had but one whose hand was
ready to befriend him, the Lauder priest would find his
position more and more isolated, the complaint of Dryburgh
monks louder and more pressing, until, as we have seen, his
stipend had to be uplifted by force and retained by the same
ungentle method. His brave resistance is amply attested,
Eymeric (or Imrie, as we perhaps should style him nowa-
days), was a good guarantee that the Protestant Reformation
was possible ! And so far as they went, and as he read the
law, and perhaps as we should judge now, his rights to his
tithes were undoubtedly good. He was somewhat in advance
of the then ecclesiastical practice, and would not admit that


Hugh de Morville's gift of Channelkirk Church carried with
it also that superiority over the teinds which in area was con-
terminous in De Morville's day with its spiritual jurisdiction
or " parish," including thereby all Lauderdale. But it is just
as certain that the monks of Dryburgh had good legal
foundation and sanction for the same reason in not only
claiming Lauder tithes but also Lauder Church, as being
within their bounds, and the Pope and his subordinates
stood upon this ground, and enforced respect for it. It was
a case where the new and the old conflicted, the new necessity
rearing its head against the old prerogative. A church was
set up and endowed within the ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and
fed out of the endowments of another church, and the new
church independently disregarded and defied the rights of the
old. So Lauder burgh seems to have sprung up in the
midst of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Channelkirk — at that
time given over to Dryburgh Abbey — in much the same way
that Edinburgh rose within that of St Cuthbert's parish, and
Aberdeen within that of Old Machar. There were many
such cases, and corresponding disputes usually accompanied
the change regarding tithes, fees, and privileges. Perhaps
the fixing of the parish boundaries, with less reference than
formerly to the boundaries of an estate, had something to
do with the misunderstanding. In Eymeric's day, Lauder
parish seems to have had generally the same conformation
that it has to-day. The places mentioned as yielding the
disputed teinds, viz., Trabroon, Pilmuir, Whitelaw, Tollis,
Langat, Whelplaw, Addinston, Burncastle, give a very in-
telligible outline, on its north side at least, of the present
parish of Lauder. If the parish was so fixed at that time,
it follows that the parish of Channelkirk was correspondingly
limited, and on this ground Eymeric may have felt himself


justified in uplifting the teinds from his own parish, although,
on the other hand, the Dryburgh monks did not seem to
be able to regard the new changes with sufficient esteem, so
as to relinquish the interest which Hugh de Morville's gift
of Channelkirk Church had given them in all the ancient
parochial rights and dues which its accepted priority of age
and pious connection with St Cuthbert had given it in all
Lauderdale. That great and sweeping changes were being

Online LibraryArchibald AllanHistory of Channelkirk → online text (page 8 of 50)