James Campbell.

Balmerino and its abbey : a parish history with notices of the adjacent district online

. (page 34 of 60)
Online LibraryJames CampbellBalmerino and its abbey : a parish history with notices of the adjacent district → online text (page 34 of 60)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

felt to be unsatisfactory for all parties, as the Naughton people
could have no right to accommodation in the church of a
parish in which they did not reside ; while the minister of
Balmerino had the pastoral charge of a large number of
families living on lands which contributed nothing to his
stipend, that burden being thrown entirely on the teinds
of Balmerino parish, his income from which was at the same
time inadequate. An agreement was therefore entered into
by the Laird of Naughton and the heritors of Balmerino,
that a process should be raised before the Commissioners for
the Plantation of Kirks, for the disjunction of the lands of
Naughton from the parish of Forgan and their annexation
to that of Balmerino, and for the augmentation, at the same
time, of Mr. Greig's stipend out of the teinds of both parishes.
Probably this agreement was partly the result of an injunction
issued by the Presbytery of Cupar on the 16th of March 1648,
in the following terms: 'The brether, considering the several!
provisions of ministers within ther bounds, and finding many
not sufficientlie provided, did require them all, and most
particulairlie Mr. Walter Greig, to vse all lawful and ordi-

1 In 1663 annual-rent, or interest, was reduced by Act of Parliament from
ten to eight per cent., and no one was to be allowed to take more under pain of
being punished for usury. The Act appears not to have applied to this legacy.
In August 1649, Parliament reduced annual-rent to six per cent. ; and perhaps
this was the cause of Mr. Greig : s ' difficulty.'


narie diligence to gett their provisiones helped ; and Mr.
Walter Greig was peremptorilie appoynted to vse diligence
to that effect, becaus formerlie he could not gett it done
becaus of the malice and might of Bishopes against him,
which the brether conceives should be ane motive to the
Lords of plantation now to sie him both the better provydit,
and the mor speedilie dispatched. 1

The consent of the Presbyteries of St. Andrews and Cupar
having been obtained, the process was raised, and the decree
of disjunction, annexation, and augmentation was pronounced
by the Commissioners on the 28th of February 1650. After
various formalities had been completed in the Church courts,
the following statements appear in the Session minutes :
%6th May 1650 ' Upon the said day the laird of Nachtane's
lands, with the pairts and pendicles thereof, was received and
accepted to be members of this our paroche of Balmerynot,
and annexed to this congregation. 1 7th July 'The quhilk
day it was condiscended upon be the Sessione that upon the
8 day of Julii the heall heretors sould meit in the kirk to
advyse quher the Laird of Nauchtone sould have his seat
most conveniently set " ; that is, erected for the first time.

Mr. Graig's stipend, which had previously been five chalders
of victual, with 110 merks in money, was now augmented by
30^ bolls of victual, and the whole vicarage teinds (pai't of
which, at least, appears to have been paid to the minister
before this period) being, as Lord Balmerino alleged, the
whole remaining teinds of the original parish, great and small,
not heritably disponed, and resting in his hands; and also
by one chalder of victual (two parts oats, and a third part
bear), three bolls of horse corn, and three ' turse ' of oat straw,
to be paid out of the teinds of Naughton. The stipend, as
augmented, would amount to about eight chalders of victual,
besides the straw, money, and vicarage teinds of the original
parish of Balmerino, the value of which is unknown. The
augmentation was to commence with the crop and year 1649.


On the 22nd of January 1650, before the decree was
pronounced by the Commissioners, Mr. Greig stated to the
Presbytery that 'he had agreed with the heritor, my Lord
Balmerinoch, anent grasse for two kyne and one horse. Mr.
Walter desyred the Presbyterie^s approbation, that it might
be recommendit to the Commissione for plantatione ' ; and a
committee was appointed to * design ' grass land for the minis-
ter. This was in fulfilment of an Act of Parliament passed in
1649, which ordained ' that every minister have a horse and two
kyes grasse, and that by and attour [i.e. over and above] his
gleib." 1 But as there is no subsequent mention of this matter
in the Presbytery minutes, and as the decree of 1650 is
silent in regard to it, the agreement must have remained
unfulfilled. We shall see that the statutory grass land was
not obtained by the ministers of Balmerino till the year 1805.

The ' lands of Naughton/ annexed to Balmerino parish, did
not, of course, include certain portions of the original Abbey
lands which had been previously, or were subsequently acquired
by the Lairds of Naughton, and which were always in Balmerino
parish ; namely, Easter Grange or Fincraigs ; Pitmossie, Ban-
gove, Docherone, and Kirkton ; with parts of Cultra, Byres, and
Bottomcraig. The question still remains, Did all the other
portions of Naughton estate belong to the parish of Forgan till
that time ? This was virtually the point at issue in a recent
and very protracted litigation in the Court of Session between
the Crown, titular of P'organ parish, as coming in the place of
the Archbishop of St. Andrews, and the Tutors of Miss Duncan
Morison of Naughton concerning the further liability of certain
portions of Naughton estate for augmentation of Balmerino
stipend. The Lord Advocate, for the Crown, contended that
the Mains of Naughton, lands of Brownhills (now part of the
farm of Little Inch), Gallowhills, Gallary, East and Mid Scur,
and Kilburns had been always in the parish of Balmerino, and
that their teinds had never been valued. The chief argument
adduced was, that when the parsonage teinds of the estate of


Naughton in Forgan parish were valued in February 1637, the
portions of land mentioned were not specified in the decreet of
valuation ; the only lands named being Peasehills, Byrehills,
Kirkhills, and Cathills, with Killukies l and Scrogieside as per-
tinents of these lands. It also appeared that Mr. James
Morison of Naughton had stated in the Teind Court in 1803,
that the first-mentioned portions of lands (Mains of Naughton,
etc.) ' lay always in the parish of Balmerino.' 1 On the other
hand, it was contended for Miss Duncan Morison that as these
lands formed part of the barony of Naughton in 1594, they
must have been included in the teind-valuation of 1637, though
not specially named in the decreet. If this was so, it would
follow that they were in Forgan parish till the year 1650. The
Lord Ordinary decided in favour of the latter view of the
question. His judgment was affirmed, on appeal, by the Inner
House on the 9th of July 1858. The decision of the Court was
undoubtedly correct as regards the Mains of Naughton, Brown-
hills, Gallowhills, and Gauldry. 2 Peasehills, Byrehills, Kirk-
hills, and Cathills were admittedly in Forgan parish previous to
1650, and there is still paid to the minister of Forgan, for some
unexplained reason, the sum of 18s. 4d. of vicarage stipend from
the lands of Byrehills and Cathills.

With regard to Scur, Kilburns, and Scrogieside, in this
process, and in the subsequent litigation between Mr. Stuart
of Balmerino and the other two large heritors concerning the
valuation of the teinds, evidence was produced which, though
for technical reasons not admitted by the Court to the effect
of proving that the teinds of these lands were unvalued, yet
clearly showed that six acres in Scurbank called Mid Scur,
with pasture for six cows and their followers, two horses, and

1 As no place called Killukies is known to have ever existed in the estate of
Naughton, the word is most probably a misreading of Kilburns ; and if so, it
could only have denoted & portion of the lands so named.

2 There is evidence in the Presbytery minutes of the witch case above narrated
that in 1649 Gauldry was in Forgan parish.


twenty sheep, and also six acres of Scrogieside, were not
possessed by the Lairds of Naughton till about the year 1704 ;
that eight acres called Wester Kil burns were acquired by
James Morison of Naughton so recently as 1809 ; l that other
seven acres of Kilburns were not included in the estate of
Naughton till after its teinds were valued ; and that the various
parcels of land now mentioned had always been in the parish of
Bal merino, and were feued from the Abbey. The result was,
that the teind-valuation of the lands of Naughton in Forgan
parish in 1637 was, strange to say, practically held by the
Court to have included several portions of land which have
never belonged to that parish, and were not then possessed by
the Lairds of Naughton. 2 The two parishes met at Kilburns-
den, but the boundary between them, running southwards from
that point to the original lands of Naughton, cannot now be
precisely deh'ned, in consequence of the removal of ancient land-
marks. And for the like reason the same uncertainty now
exists regarding the old boundaries of Scur, Kilburns, and

We resume quotation from Church Records :
20th March 1650 'The quhilk day Sir Jhone Leslie and
Isbell Hay wer contracted, and consignit ther pandis (pawns)
conforme to the order/ (Sess. Min.)

April 1650 Mr. Greig was appointed by the Presbytery of
Cupar a member of a committee, consisting of three ministers
and three elders, to perambulate the parish of Kilmany (or part
of it), and to meet at Luthrie for that purpose. (Presb. Mm.)

\9th May 1650 'Intimatione was maid of ane publick
thanksgiving to be keipit heir solemnelie upon thursday nixt,
the 23rd of May, for the victorie obtained in the northe against
James Grahame.' (Sess. J/m.) Soon after this defeat of

1 The proprietors of Naughton had right to 4^ bolls yearly out of the teinds
of Wester Kilburns, but when or how this right was acquired has never been

2 Teind Court Papers.


Montrose (who, having been at first one of those most zealous
for the Covenant, changed sides, and gained many brilliant
though bloody victories in the royalist interest) he was captured
in Inverness-shire, carried to Edinburgh, tried, and condemned to
death. He was executed on the 21st of May before the thanks-
giving took place.

9th June 1650 ' Intimatione was maid that on the
Moonday heirefter, everie weik, ane pairt of the families of the
parische sould be visited be the minister and the elders of the
quarter, as also that on the Wednesday ther sould be preaching,
and on the Fryday catechising, and this to be every (blank)
as God gave the occasioned (Ibid.)

9th August 1650 'A private fast" 1 was kept 'in everie
familie in the congregatione,' and a public fast on the Sunday
thereafter. (Ibid.)

25th August 1650 ' The Laird of Nauchtane delated
Agnes Black for cursing, quho is ordained to be cited before
the Sessione against the next Sabbathe day. 1 She accordingly
'compeared and denyit the alleadgance, and being gravelv
admonished was absolved. ' (Ibid.)

On the 3rd of October 1650, King Charles II. made his
escape from the state of thraldom in which he was kept by the
Covenanters at Perth, in order to join the Royalists in Angus.
Having been overtaken by his pursuers (one of whom was Lieut. -
Col. Nairn of Sanford) in a poor cottage at Clova, he returned
to Perth on the 6th of October, and received more considerate
treatment thereafter. This incident was known as the ' Start. 1
On the 15th of October, the Synod of Fyfe appointed Mr. Greig
a member of a committee of ministers and elders 'for drawing
of ane letter to his Majestie anent his late escape to the Malig-
nants/ This letter having been delivered., it ' wes very
graciouslie accepted of be his Hienes, with great thanks to the
Assemblie ; and a earnest desire to pray for him nevir to fall in
the lyke escape in joyning to the Malignants. 1 (Synod Min.)
This was a case of hypocrisy versus intolerance.


Yith November 1650 ' Ane publick fast wes intiniat to
be keiped the nixt Sabbathe day, and the people ordained to
come to the kirk on Saturusday to the preaching, for ther pre-
paration.' (*$***. Min.)

On the 22nd December 1650, being Sunday, a ' fast was
kipt, and the peopill ordined to com to the cherch the nixt
Twisday to keip for the keing.' (Ibid.) The Sunday's fast
was on account of the great contempt of the Gospel ; that on
Tuesday was * for the sins of the King and his father's house," 1
preparatory to his coronation, which took place at historic-
Scone on the 1st of January 1651.

16th January 1651 ' This day Mr. Walter Greig informed
the Presbyterie, that he had received advertisement that ther
had bein such doctrine preached by Mr. William Livingstoun
[minister of Falkland] in the Kingis hearing as requyred to be
adverted, and that gave offence to some. The Presbyterie
apointed, that the said Mr. William shall goe to the Com-
missioun of the Kirk, and their cleir himselfe, as he himselfe
desyred.' (Presb. Min.)

16th March 1651 'The quhilk day the minister heaving
intimat the celebration of the Lord's Super, apointed the con-
gregation to meit upon Wednesday and Saterday afternown for
preparation. 1 23rd March ' The sacrament of the Lord's Super
was celebrat, and wpon Monunday in the morning we had a
sermon.' (Sess. Min.) These entries record the commence-
ment, in Balmerino parish, of the practice of having a fast-day
and a Monday thanksgiving service in connection with the
Communion, in addition to a preparation service on the Satur-
day, which alone had been for some time previously held. The
Wednesday or Thursday on which there was preaching was not
at first kept here as a fast-day. Sometimes the Sunday pre-
ceding the Communion was so kept. All these services were
then, and long afterwards, very lengthy. The neighbouring
ministers were also brought together on Sunday to give the
addresses to the communicants at the successive table services,


and to preach to the people assembled in the churchyard ; and
the pulpits of these ministers being thus left unsupplied, their
congregations followed them many of those strangers, if they
brought or got tokens from their own minister, being allowed
to join in the Communion. It frequently happened, especially
in the eighteenth century, that there was no service in Bal-
merino church on several consecutive Sundays, the minister
being absent at the Communion in other parishes. The
presence of great crowds of people on those occasions some-
times led to disorderly scenes. But there was also much
religious interest awakened at such gatherings. At this time
the Church was split into two opposing parties the Resolu-
tioners and the Protesters. The former were those who
approved of the resolutions of the General Assembly, that
such persons as had been concerned in the Engagement should
be allowed to profess their repentance, and, having done so,
should be admitted into the army, for the defence of the
kingdom. The latter were those who protested against the
resolutions. It was this party, to which Mr. Greig appears
to have belonged, that originated the numerous sacramental

In October 1651, ' the minister produced ane ticket from
Mr. John Young for ten merks." 1 In March 1652, the Laird
of Naughton produced to the Session 'ane ticket (or receipt)
for ten merks that was givin to Captan Levetenant Thomson ' ;
and in the following May he gave in a receipt for a similar
sum paid to Lieutenant Jarden apparently the military
assessment levied by Cromwell's troops, who now had possession
of the county.

On the 13th of March 1653, 'the Laird of Naughton was
desired by the Session to forbid Gillie Watsone to ludge vaga-
bounds and strangers."

On the 24th of April 1653, ' Major Andrew Lesslie being
formerlie contracted with Margaret balfour [daughter of
Andrew Balfour of Grange], their pledge was put in box, 3


dollars." 1 The ' Sword dollar' of the coinage of King James VI.
was a thirty-shilling piece. On the 28th of August 1654,
'the money collected for Andrew Lesslie, a gentillman, 8 lib.
13s. 4d., was delivered to the minister to give it to him at
his coming for the samyn/ (Sess. M'ni.) Whether this was
the Major just mentioned is uncertain.

12M May 1653 'Mr. Walter Greig professed [to the
Presbytery] that he carried so much respect to, and expected
so much charity from, the Provinciall [Synod], as he did
humbly entreat, that ther wisdomes might be pleased not to
urge the execution of that Act for the present (in respect of
the sadde estate of the tymes) wherewith he cannot in con-
science goe along, for the reasones that he shall shew in tyme
and place convenient/ (Presb. Mm.) This refers to an Act of
Assembly passed in July 1651, discharging 'expectants 1 (that
is, probationers) who opposed the Public Resolutions of the
Assembly from preaching and catechising, and appointing
Synods and Presbyteries to proceed against them. Mr. Greig,
as a Protestor, dissented from the Act.

15th June 1653 ' The Session concludit that there should
be two dyats in the celebration of the holy Communion, and
the first dyat to be about the 4 of July if no impediment
were the hindrance. 1 It was not uncommon about this time to
have the Communion on two or more successive Sundays.

19th September 1653 'The Laird of Naughtone pro-
duced [to the Session] the stent roll drawn up by himsell and
George Stirk [of Bandean] for the mantenance of the scoole as
they were appointed [by the Session], and the said Laird of
Naughtone did signifie unto my Lord Balmerino, then present
in Sessioun, that he could not get the stent maid up without
making his Lordship four mark more nor his 20 lib. which he
had formerlie dedicat for the use of the scoole, and asked his
Lordship if he was willing to give it for the lands of the
Kirktoun ; his Lordship answered he was willing to give the


four marks also, by and attour the 20 lib., for the which all the
Sessioun gave his Lordship thanks.'

5th November 1653 The Laird of Naughton 'having
sundrie tymes before regrated to the Session, but particularlie
this day, that he and his familie could not be weell accommodatt
in that place wherein he now sitts, and desired a more com-
modious place, and particularlie that rowme be-east the pulpet
towards my Lord Balmerinoche's ille on the south side of the
kirk. The Session, considering that the place forsaid was not
assigned to any particular persone, did willinglie condiscend to
it, allowing the Laird of Naughtoun for his best conveniens to
remove his seat from the on place and sett it in the other, and
thereinto set such seats as he and all his familie may be best
accommodatt/ (It is thus evident that at that time Balmerino
church was only in certain parts of it furnished with fixed
pews.) 'Also the Laird desired a place of buriall for himself
and his familie assigned to him on the north [south ?] syde of
the kirk betwixt my Lord Balmerinoch's ile and the Laird of
Newtown's [Sir John Leslie, who was Laird also of Birkhill]
wherunto also' the Sessioun condiscendit/ The practice of
interment in churches was then common, though forbidden by
the General Assembly.

On the 19th of March 1654, in Balmerino church there
was ' collected for the prisoners in Dundie 7 lib. 6 sh. 8 d. which
was delyvered to the Laird of Naughtowne." 1 On the 4th of
January 1655, a collection was made ' for ane gentillman,
prisoner in Dundie under the Inglisch." 1

\\tli May 1654 'This day the minister desired at the
Sessioun he might have a rowme for [the erection of] a seat
wherein he himself and his familie might be best accommodat,
and particularlie that rowm betwixt the pulpit and the south
doore on the west side of the pulpit, wher the Laird of
Naughtouns seat was before : the Sessioun, finding that rowme
and place not propriat to any other, willinglie condiscended.
Also William Bean in Pitmossie desired what was resting over


the ministers seats he might have it for himself and his familie.
To this also the Sessioun condiscendit. 1

25M May 1654 Mr. Greig, who favoured severity in the
exercise of Church discipline, appealed to the Presbytery
against a resolution of his Kirk-session concerning the degree
of censure which should be inflicted on a certain delinquent.
The majority of the elders voted for a lighter, while Mr. Greig
wished a heavier censure. The Laird of Naughton joined in
his appeal, and it was sustained by the Presbytery. In his
reasons of appeal he had stated : ' It weighs much with me,
and bears in upon me our bygone negligence, who have passed
many lightlie, thinking therby to gaine the offenders; but this
and other outbreakings in this calamitous tyme calls for the
improving our discipline rather than slacking it. 1 He added,
that though he had always desired and endeavoured that the
Session might act harmoniously, as they had generally done,
'yet now least in my old dayes I break the peace of my mind,
and power of that discipline quhilk has ever been dear to me,
I must dissent from the pluralitie of the elders, and creave the
help of the presbetry by appealatioun therto. 1 He had first
asked advice from the Synod, and they also were in favour of
the more severe censure.

'3rd June 1654 Five new elders were added to the Session,
making the whole number eleven ; and the several quarters of
the parish were assigned to them two elders to each of four
quarters, and one to each of three.

22/M/ June 1654 Another case of alleged witchcraft was
reported to the Session. John Barclay compeared, and 'com-
plained upon Jonet Frumont, who had challenged his wyfe
[Helen Swyne, apparently the person of that name already
mentioned in connection with the 'black art'] of taking away
the substance of hir milknes of three or four mealls, and that
hir milknes did not fraim till Jonet Frumont went to the
Ladie Nachtoune, who did send for his wyfe, and reproved her. 1
Jonet, l>eing called, and asked if she had spoken these words,


answered, ' that after Hellen Swyne went to change a kebeck
of cheise with hir, for some dayes therafter her milk did not
fraini among her hands, that shoe profest hirselfe not satisfied
with Hellen Swyne, and said to Georg Ramsay, Tak away
your milk from me, seing I can not mak no use of it. 1 The
Session then found that Jonet Frumont ' hes spoken that of
Hellen Swyne that puts a great blot upon hir, 1 and resolved
to give her the choice of proving before the civil magistrate
' that Hellen Swyne had that power to tak away the substance
of milk, or to satisfy as a sclanderer." When this was inti-
mated to Jonet, she, like the learned Judges of the land before
they decide difficult cases, answered, ' that she would tak it to
advyse. 1 On the 10th of August she declared, that 'she
wald mak it out, what she had said, by others who had gotten
wrong of their milknes as well as she." 1 The case was allowed
to stand over till the Laird of Naughton, whose tenant she
was, should return from London, 1 and after further procedure
the Session ' by plurallitie of voices 1 ordained her ' to declare
her publique repentance for her rash speaking of Hellen Swyne," 1
which she did accordingly.

%9.nd June 1654 The minister and elders resolved that
the Communion should be celebrated 'about the 16 of July,
at the closse of the bear seed. 1 There is another similar entry
in the Session minutes under the 22nd of May 1692, on which
day the Communion was appointed to be as soon as possible
after the next examination, ' which the minister intends to
begin after the bear seed." These must have been unusually
late seasons, or some farming operations must have been much
later then than at present.

3rd August 1654 Culbeard Bean was rebuked before the
Session ' for ignorance, 1 and was ' assured that, if he did not
give better evidence of his growth in grace and knowledge

1 He had probably gone to London in company with his brother James,
who had been elected Commissioner from Fife to the Parliament which was to
meet on the 3rd of September of that year in the English capital.


of God, he should be caused inak publick declaratioun of his
ignorance, and for his beter information he should cause read
to him by some of his owne familie, ilk day, a part of the
Catechise, the prayer, and ten Commands betwixt this and
the nixt dyat of examine." 1

In 1655 a murder appears to have been committed by

Online LibraryJames CampbellBalmerino and its abbey : a parish history with notices of the adjacent district → online text (page 34 of 60)