Andrew Fleming Hutchison.

The lake of Menteith: its islands and vicinity, with historical accounts of the priory of Inchmahome and the earldom of Menteith; online

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that they were in the habit of retiring between the hours
of nones and vespers, to read or write, or otherwise employ
themselves. This is the building which goes by the
traditional name of the Nunnery. That is an obvious
misnomer. Graham of Duchray was, no doubt, right
when he called it "the dwellings of the Churchmen."

Of the wing running westwards from the northern
portion of this long building, only some fragments of
wall remain. In this Mr. M'Gregor Stirling has placed





The Lake of Menteith. 121

the Dormitory and the Kefectory. Perhaps in his time
there were indications, not now to be seen, which led him
to this identification. We can advance nothing either to
support or contradict it beyond this, that there has
evidently been an entrance or perhaps two from the
kitchen into what he supposes to have been the Kefectory.
The Dormitory he places on the north side. The upper
(northern) wall of it has been entirely removed to make
way for the last earl's " approach " to the family burial-
place. The west wall also has disappeared. 1 In the south
wall is an entrance into the Refectory, and in the south-
east corner another, which may have led either to the
kitchen or to the apartments above. The Refectory has
lost entirely its west and south walls. Of the two doors
in the eastern wall, one seems to have led directly to the
kitchen, and the other opens on the foot of the stairs
which led up to the Prior's Chamber and the apartments
on the second storey. The vegetable garden is placed to the
south of the Refectory, but there were most probably exten-
sive gardens on the east side of the buildings as well.

The choir of the Church including a space of nearly
seventy feet in length by over twenty-three feet in breadth
is the last resting-place of Stewarts and Grahams of
the family of the Earls of Menteith and its branches, and
of Drummonds, a family related to the earlier earls, and
closely connected with the district and the Priory.

1 It may be doubted whether there ever was a dormitory building on the north
side of the refectory. More likely the whole space between the north wall of the
refectory and the south wall of the Church was taken up by the cloisters and the
cloister-gaith ; while the dormitory was in the upper storey of the building,
approached by the staircase, a portion of which is still to be seen near the entrance
to the kitchen.


1815. .- .._,
P . Q

j Chapter Hotwe ;

4 Arches X fatten. : To-nibston*

Clrurch. arul | Clwrir j | <rf' |
^t? JK J?

The above plan is reproduced, by permission, from the work of the Rev. IV.
McGregor Stirling. Since it was made, excavations conducted by the late Admiral
Erskine have shown more accurately the foundations of the aisle and other buildings
on the north side of the Church. In other respects, also, it is not perfectly accurate,
but it is extremely interesting as the first attempt to delineate the ground plan of
the buildings, and will serve to illustrate the references to Mr Stirling's remarks
in the preceding pages.

The Lake of Menteith. 123

The most striking monument is that near the centre
of the choir, supposed to occupy the space in front of
where the High Altar once stood. It is believed to com-
memorate Walter, the first Stewart Earl of Menteith, and
his Countess Mary, who was the younger daughter of
Maurice, the last earl of the original line of Menteith.
Earl Walter Stewart died in 1294 or 1295, his Countess
having predeceased him. The more ancient earls are said
to have had their place of sepulture in the Church of
Kippen. But in the year 1286, Earl Walter, along with
his son, Alexander, and his daughter-in-law, Matilda, gave
that Church to the Abbey of Cambuskenneth, in order
to obtain a burial-place in the Abbey. He was not,
however, buried at Cambuskenneth, but beside his wife
in the choir of Inchmahome.

The monument represents a knight and lady lying side
by side, their heads supported by cushions, and their feet
resting on lions (or dogs). The knight has his right arm
round the lady's shoulder, and his left is laid across her
waist, while the lady's left arm lovingly encircles the neck
of her lord. The lady is clad in a long flowing garment,
the folds of which are beautifully sculptured. Her head
is covered with an ample cloth falling down behind the
neck and shoulders. The knight wears a suit of armour,
covered with a surcoat. The round helmet which he
wears on his head is encircled by something like a coronet
or chaplet. The large triangular shield borne on the
knight's left shoulder has for armorial bearings the well-
known fess cheque, in three tracts, of the Stewarts, with a
label of five points, which latter, as heraldic writers tell us,

124 The Lake of Menteith.

is a mark of cadency. Walter Stewart was the second
son of the High Steward of Scotland. A seal of his,
appended to a document, dated 1292, preserved in the
Public Eecord Office, shows exactly the same armorial
bearings, with the legend, 8. Wcdteri Senescalli Comt de
Menetet. This coat of arms clearly establishes the identity
of the knightly effigy. Walter Stewart was the only Earl
of Menteith who bore the Stewart arms in this simple
form. A seal of his son, Alexander, the sixth earl, has
the three bars wavy representing the arms of the old
Menteith line (his mother's) surmounted by the fess
cheque. Earl Walter does not appear to have assumed the
armorial bearings of the earldom of Menteith.

The figure is cross-legged thus indicating a crusader,
or at any rate, one who had vowed a crusade. For it
was not necessary for one to have actually gone on
crusade te entitle him to have his effigy represented
in this sacred and symbolic attitude. It was enough if
he had vowed. A substitute could be provided, or a
dispensation could be obtained for a suitable sum. But
it appears that Walter Stewart did really go crusading,
though it is doubtful whether he reached the Holy Land.
Along with his brother Alexander, the High Steward, and
other Scottish knights, he joined the crusade led by Louis
the Ninth of France (St. Louis). These Scottish knights
Walter among them are said to have fought valiantly,
and to have rendered valuable service to the Most Christian
King in his Holy War in Egypt in the years 1248 and 1249.

The monument is seven feet in length, and the figures
in very high relief. They have suffered a good deal of

The Lake of Menteith.



mutilation. The left arm of the knight has been broken
off from the shoulder to the wrist, leaving only the gloved
hand resting on the lady's waist. His left leg and foot
have also suffered damage ; and from the lady's right arm,
which is bent across her chest, the hand has been rudely
broken off. Whether this damage has been wanton or
accidental is unknown, but one may be thankful to find the
monument still so well preserved after fully six centuries
of existence, and especially after an exposure of at least

Monument of Walter. Stewart, Carl of Menteith, and his Countess Mary.

two hundred years to the elements. This exposure
without protection to the weather has done more
than actual violence to destroy the finer traits of the
sculpture. These were gradually getting worn away more
or less rapidly. But some years ago, Mr. Erskine of
Cardross caused a canopy to be erected over the stone.
This gives it protection from the rain, and may be expected
to retard it is to be hoped for a long time the inevitable
progress of decay.

126 The Lake of Menteith.

Another very ancient and interesting stone is that which
marks the last resting-place of Sir John Drummond said
to have been a liberal benefactor of the Priory of Inch-
mahome who died about the year 1300 A.D., and was
interred near the High Altar. Deeply cut on the surface
of this stone, which is still in fair preservation, is a figure
of Sir John. The features of the face are now rather
worn, but they can still be made out, and somehow give
one the impression that they have been meant for a likeness
of the original. The figure is clad in chain armour, bears
in the right hand a long spear, and carries on the left
arm a shield with the three bars wavy the well-known
armorial bearings of the Drummonds, which they seem
to have adopted from their superiors, the old Menteiths,
and which this Sir John is said to have been the first
Drummond to carry. On the head is a high conical
covering terminating in a cross. The chest is crossed by
belts which pass round the back of the neck. The waist
also is girded by a broad belt, and from this are suspended
two objects, one of which may be a dagger or knife,
although it is not easy to make out what they may have
originally represented. A long sword, depending from a
hook or catch about the middle of the body, hangs to the
left side. Beneath the feet, on which the spurs are plainly
visible, are two lions, placed back to back, and connected
by their intertwined tails. The lions underfoot, as well
as the cross on the apex of the head-dress, are common
enough Christian symbols.

In the vacant spaces on either side of the head of this
effigy are two smaller figures. That on the right seems

The Lake of Menteith. 127

to represent St. Colmoc in his bishop's robes. He holds
a well-defined pastoral staff in the left hand, while the
right, with two fingers held up, is raised in the attitude
of benediction. The figure on the other side represents
Saint Michael, winged, and carrying spear and shield. The
two holy men stand upon a dragon St. Michael on the
body, near the shoulder, and St. Colmoc on the tail.

A legend, in raised lettering, runs round the border of
the stone on three sides. It has possibly run on to the
fourth side the top of the stone also, but the border
has scaled off at that part. What remains reads as


has been suggested, the reading where the blank occurs
should be VIDUA UT, the translation will be : " John
of Drummond, son of Malcolm of Drummond, his widow,
that she may release their souls from the penalty and the
sting." If the legend was continued on the fourth side
of the stone, it probably went on to say what the widow
had done to release her soul and her husband's or is it
the souls of her husband and his father? the eorum may
be taken either way from the pains of purgatory. Perhaps
this was nothing more than interment in this place ; for
proximity to the High Altar in burial was supposed to
ensure for the dead a safe and speedy passage to glory.

Sir William Fraser affirms that it was this Sir John
Drummond or his father who gifted the lands of Cardross
to the Priory of Inchmahome. 1 He gives tradition, however,
as his only authority. Mr. M'Gregor Stirling, on the other

1 Red Book of Menteith, vol. i. p. xli.

128 The Lake of Menteith.

hand, on the authority of Malcolm's " History of the House
of Drummond," names Sir Malcolm, the son and successor
of Sir John, as the generous donor. 1 Malcolm's authority
is perhaps not very great, but at any rate a reason for Sir
Malcolm's generosity is given as a thank-offering, namely,
for his release from captivity in England, and an evidence
of gratitude for the lands with which he had been endowed
by King Eobert the Bruce after the successful issue of the
battle of Bannockburn. The Sir John here commemorated
is said, in the " New Statistical Account," to have been a
son-in-law of Earl Walter Stewart and his Countess, near
whose monument (already described) in the Choir of Inch-
mahome his remains repose.

It may be regarded as a probable inference from the
occurrence of St. Michael along with St Colmoc on this
monumental stone taken in conjunction with the existence
of St. Michael's Fair at the Port that there may have
been a joint dedication of the Church to St. Michael and
to Colmoc, the eponymous saint of the island.

A third old stone in the choir has the Graham arms cut
in bas-relief, with the four letters very distinct, G. D. E. D.
Were it not for the Graham arms, one would be tempted
to read these as the initials of two members of the Drum-
mond family. As it is, they have been ingeniously con-
jectured to represent the words GLOEIA DEO ESTO DATA Let
glory be given to God.

The numerous other tombstones in the choir have less
architectural and historical interest. They commemorate
Grahams of every branch of the family of Menteith

* Stirling's Notes on Inchmahome, p. 44.

The Lake of Menteith. 129

on the left, Grahams of Gartur, Eednock, Leitchtown,
Pheddal, and Soyock ; on the right, Grahams of Gartmore,
Glenny, and Mondhui. On the north wall appears, most
appropriately, a tablet to the memory of Admiral Erskine,
who loved the old place so well, and did so much to preserve
the remains and to prevent the whole precincts from falling
into absolute ruin.



The Priory of Inchmahome under its
early Priors, 1238 to 1528.

" I am, said he, ane Channoun regulare,

And of my brether Pryour principall :
My quhyte rocket my clene lyfe doith declare,
The black bene of the death memoriall."

Testament of tJie Papyngo.

"Arrayed in habit black and amis thin,
Like to an holy monck, the service to begin."

Faery Queen.

HAT there was a religious settlement on the
island of Inchmahome at a very early period
is obvious from the name which has carried
down through the ages the memory of the
saint in whose honour it was founded. In the multitude
of Colmans in the hagiology, 1 it would be impossible if
we had no other indication of his identity to determine
which particular saint of the name was the eponymus of
the island. One naturally thinks first of that St. Colman,
disciple of St. Columba, who became Bishop of Lindisfarne
in Northumberland, but returned to lona in 664 A.D., in

1 Baring-Gould (Lives of the Saints) says, " there were ninety-five St. Colmans
in the Martyrology of Donegal alone, besides numerous other Irish saints of the

The Lake of Menteith. 131

consequence of being worsted by Wilfrid in the dispute
regarding the observance of Easter. 1 Another Scottish
St. Colmack, said to have been Bishop of Orkney, circa
1000, is mentioned by Innes. 2 But it is to neither of

Seal of the Priory oi Inchmahome. 3

these, but to an Irish saint, that the name of the island
is due, if we are to accept the authority of the early

1 Scotichronicon a Goodall, vol. i. p. 154.

2 Innes, quoted in Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. i. p. 321, note. The day of this
St. Colmack is given as the 6th of June.

3 In the upper compartment of the seal is represented the Virgin Mother
crowned, and seated, holding a lily in her right hand. On her left knee sits the
infant Jesus, also crowned, with right hand upraised and two fingers lifted, in the
attitude of benediction, and holding a globe in His left hand. In the lower com-
partment, under a Gothic arch, stands a figure in the vestments of a Bishop,
probably intended to represent St. Colman, holding the pastoral staff in his left
hand, and lifting the right with the outstretched forefingers in the act of blessing.
The legend is S. Commune de Insula Sancti Colmoci.


132 T he Lake of Menteilh.

ecclesiastical chroniclers. The ' * Breviary of Aberdeen ' ' gives
the honour to St. Colmoc (i.e., Colman with the honourable
suffix -og or -oc), Bishop of Dromore, County Down,
Ireland. He is said to have been of a noble Scotic family,
to have been born about 500 A.D., and to have founded
the Monastery of Dromore, where he died and was buried.
His day was the 6th of June. It is added that the
Monastery of Inchemaholmock, in the diocese of Dunblane,
was solemnly dedicated to him. 1 Lanigan gives many
particulars of his birth and education from the Irish
ecclesiastical annalists, stating that he was of a Dalriadian
family, and therefore a native of the territory in which
his see was situated, but giving his day as the 7th of
June. 2 How he came to be honoured in Menteith is not
explained, but possibly the reverence for his name may
have been introduced into the west of Scotland by
his kinsfolk, the Dalriadic Scots. The "Martyrology
of Aberdeen " in opposition to the statement of the
"Breviary" and the Irish annalists affirms that he was
buried at " Inchmacome, where there was in after times
a Monastery of Canons -Eegular of the Order of St.
Augustine." By the "Martyrology of Aengus" he is
called Mocholmog 3 of Drummor in Iveagh of Ulidia.
It would appear, therefore, that it is to this "Irish Pict"
as Skene calls him that the honour of giving name

1 Breviary of Aberdeen, foil. ci. cii. quoted in Bishop Forbes' Kalendars of
Scottish Saints, 1872, p. 304.

2 Lanigan's Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, 1829, vol. i. p. 432.

3 This form of the name has been explained above, p. 74. It brings us very near
to the most ancient form of the island name.

The Lake of Menteith. 133

to the first religious settlement on the island must be
attributed. 1

It is reasonable to infer from the only evidence that
is still attainable that the early Culdee settlement on the
island was under the charge of the see of Dunblane. The
Culdee church at Dunblane dates back to the beginning
of the seventh century, and it became a Eoman see about
1160. 2 Whether the island church was Eomanized at the
same time, or earlier or later, it is impossible to tell. But
that there was a Catholic parson there in 1210 seems likely
from a reference in the Chartulary of Cambuskenneth. 8 A
charter of the Abbey, of about that date, is witnessed by,
among others, Malcolm, parson of the island of Macholem
(Molcolmo persona de insula Macholem). If Sir William
Eraser is right in his identification of Macholem with
Inchmahome, then there is proof sufficient that there was
a Koman church here at that period ; and that the parson
was under the direction of the Bishop of Dunblane is
inferred from the language of the Papal Instrument to be
afterwards referred to in implement of which the Priory
was erected.

The coming of the Augustinian monks to the island
is variously dated by the older writers. In fact, so obscure
is the early history of the settlement that it used to be

1 For full accounts of the life and miracles of St. Colman, consult Lanigan's
Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, 1829, vol. i. pp. 432 etseqq. ; Reeves' Ecclesiastical
Antiquities of Down, &c., 1847, pp. 104, note, 304, 311, 379 ; Forbes' Kalendars of
Scottish Saints, 1872, pp. 304 et seq. ; Skene's Celtic Scotland, vol. ii. p. 32.

1 Keith's Catalogue of the Scottish Bishops.

3 Chartulary of Cambuskenneth, pp. 160, 161. This charter makes a gift by
the Bishop, William of Dunblane, of the church of Kincardine in free alms to the
Abbey of Cambuskenneth.

134 The Lake of Menteith.

supposed that Inchmahome and Isle of St. Colmoc were
different places. 1 Archbishop Spottiswoode affirms that
the Priory of St. Colmoc's Isle in Menteith was founded
by King Edgar. That must have been prior to 1107 the
year of Edgar's death. But, if we are to trust Keith, or
rather John Spottiswoode, there were no Augustinians in
Scotland at that date. He says 2 " The Canons-Begulars
of St. Augustine were first brought into Scotland by
Atelwholphus, Prior of St. Oswald of Nostel in Yorkshire,
and afterwards Bishop of Carlisle ; who established them
at Scone, in the year 1114, at the desire of King Alexander
I." An earlier authority to the same effect is Fordun :
" Scone was founded by Alexander the Fierce, who made
it over to the governance of Canons-regular, called from
the church at St. Oswald at Nostle (Nastlay, near Ponte-
fract), and of the others after them who should serve God,
until the end of the world." 3 John Spottiswoode further
asserts that Inchmahome was an Abbey founded of old for
canons of Cambuskenneth. 4 And Cambuskenneth we
know was not founded till 1147. Spottiswoode also notes 5

1 See Spottiswoode's History of the Church of Scotland (4th ed.), vol. i. ;
compare app. p. 14 with p. 17 ; Keith's Catalogue of Scottish Bishops, with
Account by John Spottiswoode of the Religious Houses in Scotland at the time
of the Reformation, p. 391. ; Maitland's History and Antiquities of Scotland,
vol. i. pp. 255 and 259. It should be said, however, that John Spottiswoode
writes "Although this place (Inchmahome) be mentioned in most of our old
lists of religious houses as a distinct monastery from that of Insula St. Colmoci,
yet I am apt to believe they are one and the same." (Page 239 of Account of
Religious Houses).

2 Keith's Catalogue, &c., p. 385.

3 Fordun's Chronicle, book v. chap, xxviii. ; Skene's edition, vol. ii. p. 218.
See also Liber Ecclesie de Scon (Maitland Club, 1843).

4 Keith's Catalogue, &c., p. 319. * Ibid.

The Lake of Menteith. 135

that the Priory Insulae Sancti Colmoci was said to have
been founded by Murdach, Earl of Menteith, killed at the
battle of Dupplin in 1332 ; although he adds that the name
of Prior Adam is found in the list of those who swore fealty
to Edward I. in 1296. Maitland also states that the Priory
of the Isle " was founded by Murdach, Earl of Menteith,
for Augustine monks," 1 but he gives no date. The
authority relied upon by both is no doubt the Scoti-
chronicon, in which it is distinctly stated that the
Augustinian monks were settled in the island by Murdach,
Earl of Menteith. 2 Now, the Earl who fell at Dupplin was
not the only one of that name. There was an earlier
Murdach, who held the earldom from about 1180 to 1213 ;
and it is neither impossible nor unlikely that he may have
brought the Augustinians to the island. He was the
father-in-law of the ascertained builder of the Priory, and
it is no great assumption to suppose that the latter may
have had in view the pious object of continuing the work
of his father-in-law.

Whoever it may have been that was responsible for
introducing the Augustinians to the island, the date of the
erection of the buildings, the ruins of which still give
distinction and interest to the place, and the name of the
builder, are not now in doubt. These facts were settled
by an authoritative document which was first published
by the Rev. W. M'Gregor Stirling in his " Notes on Inch-

1 Maitland's History and Antiquities of Scotland (1757), vol. i. p. 255.

a "Insufa Sancti Colmoci, ordinis Augustini, in Menteth; cujus fundator
Murdacus, comes ejusdem." Fordun's Scotichronicon, continuation by Bower
(GoodalFs edition), vol. ii. p. 539.

136 The Lake of Menteith.

mahome" (1817). l This writ informs us that the Bishop
of Dunblane 2 had appealed to the Pope regarding the
dilapidation of his church (which seems to have been in
a really lamentable condition) and the appropriation of its
revenues by secular persons ; and it may be inferred from
the terms of the agreement come to that the Earls of
Menteith and their vassals were responsible for a good
deal of the spoliation of the bishopric. 3 In response to
this appeal, the Pope (Gregory IX.) issued a Mandate
at Vitervi, 10th of June, 1237 to William, Bishop of
Glasgow and Galfred (Geoffrey), Bishop of Dunkeld,
directing them to enquire into the case and adopt suitable
remedial measures. In pursuance of this mandate, the
two Bishops held an investigation. The Bishop of Dun-

1 This document was brought under Mr. Stirling's notice by Mr. Thomas
Thomson, Deputy-Register of Scotland, and was printed in full, in the original
Latin, in Appendix i. to the Notes, pp. 113-116. The original of this writ, it
seems, cannot now be found in the General Register Office (Eraser's Red Book,
vol. ii. p. 329, note) but its existence had been known before it was again
brought to light in 1815. Mr. David Erskine, W.S., brother of the then laird
of Cardross, in a letter to Captain (afterwards General) Hutton, dated 5th Sep-
tember, 1789, mentioned that he had in his possession an old paper entitled
" The double of the apointment betwix the Bishop of Dunblain and the Pryor of
Inchmahomo, Drawine out of the Auld Register." (Fragmenta Scoto-monastica,
Edinburgh, 1842, app. p. 3). And in the Inventory of his Writs which was drawn
up by William, seventh Earl of Menteith, about 1622, the first item set down is
"ane apointment betwix Waltor Cuming, Erie of Monteith, and the Bishops of
Dunkell and Dunblane, be the direction of the Pope, quhair the said Earlle gives
libertie to the churchmen to build ane abbasie within his Ille of Inchmahome, of
the dait 1238." (Red Book, ut supra). This may have been the original of which

Online LibraryAndrew Fleming HutchisonThe lake of Menteith: its islands and vicinity, with historical accounts of the priory of Inchmahome and the earldom of Menteith; → online text (page 9 of 25)