By Ebenezer Henderson
Dr Ebenezer Henderson, F.R.A.S. (1809 - 1879) of Muckhart (Click to see his house in Muckhart) was the son of a Dunfermline watchmaker. He early displayed a great taste for the scientific study which subsequently gained for him the position of importance which he occupied in scientific and literary circles.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical and Royal Antiquarian Societies, while a degree of LL.D was conferred on him by an American college. His Annals of Dunfermline greatly influenced the government's decision, in 1856, to recognise Dunfermline as a city. In recognition of his valuable services he was made a Freeman of the City of Dunfermline.
Edited and Published by
Rhoderick & Alison Moncreiff 1999
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PREVIOUS to the middle of the eleventh century, the historical accounts
of Scotland abound with superstition, tradition, and fable. This, along
with the obscure notices given of localities, towns, &c., makes it
difficult, often impossible, to discover the places, or the sites of the
places referred to. The locality, now known as the "Western District of
the County of Fife," is no exception to this general rule of pre-historic
literature. But there can be no doubt that this locality, long before, and
after the time of Malcolm III. (Canmore) abounded in "forests, moors,
morasses, swamps, lakes, and rivulets," over which "roamed the wolf, the
deer, the bison, and the boar." Here and there might be seen clay and turf
huts, hovels and pit-dwellings, dignified with the name of tun (town), the
residence of the great men of the land, and of the "squalid boors" their
servi, or slaves, who were little better than barbarians; "hoards of them
were to be seen unclothed, tattooed, painted, and adorned." These were the
"When wild in woods the noble savage ran."
During the period of "the Roman occupation" (A.D. 83-440) our locality,
like other districts, was ruled and defended by tribes of Caledonians,
Picts, Scots, &c., "who with considerable 'savage address' frequently faced
the Roman legions, and did havoc amongst them." For upwards of 350 years
the locality on which Dunfermline now stands, ever and anon "resounded to
the tramp and tread of Roman cohorts and legions." These civilised
warriors had several stations, or strongholds, in the locality e.g., the
hill, or rising-ground, at Prate-house, three miles east of Dunfermline, is
the supposed site of a Roman Praetorium. "The Praetor Hill," is the
designation in old writings, and is that adopted by the surveyors of the
late Government maps. Prate-House is therefore a corruption of Prator
House, or residence, of the chief of the Roman forces. About six miles
N.E. by N. of Praetor Hill, is Lochore, the site of a large Roman camp.
About the same distance W.N.W. from the hill are the sites of the camps of
Carnock. These large camps were connected with lesser strengths on
NOMENCLATURE OF THE DISTRICT.
In consequence of the unsettled occupation of the Romans in this district,
few of the names they gave to places now survive; but the names bestowed on
places by the early inhabitants are still to be found in whole, or in a
mutilated condition, e.g., Bal, a dwelling, viz., Balmule, Balyeomen,
Balclune, Balrick (Baldridge), &c. In places prefixed by Caer (the Castle)
there are Carnock (Caer-knoc), Carneil, Carniehill, Cairncubie, &c. Keir
is from the same root apparently as Caer, and in Keirsbeath we have
Castlebeath. There are still a great many places remaining in the district
prefixed by the Celto-British word Pit, a word of doubtful origin, viz.,
Pitencrieff, Pitfirrane, Pitliver, Pitscotie, Pitdinnie, Pitconochy,
Pitathrie, Pitcorthie, Pitbauchly, Pitreavy. And lastly, with the Celtic
prefix Dun, which signifies a hill, or, more properly, a fortified hill,
there are Dunfermline, Dunduff, Dungloe, Dunibristle, Dunearn, &c. (Vide
works on Etymology for further information on such nomenclature.) It may
be remarked, "Mons infirmorum" is a designation given to Dunfermline in the
"Suspected Foundation Charter" of the Abbey. If the charter, though
perhaps "garbled," is taken as a genuine document, then "Mons infirmorum"
may have been the original name of Dunfermline from the time of the Roman
occupation down to the time of Malcolm III.
There still remains a name of doubtful origin, viz., "Fothriff," some times
spelt "Fothric," "Fothrick," "Fatrick," &c. This name covered a very large
extent of country, stretching from the mouth of the Leven to some miles
above Alloa in length, and from the Forth to the base of the Ochils in
breadth, thus comprehending within its area the greater part of the
counties of Kinross and Clackmannan, and the whole of what is now known as
the "Western District of Fife." (For etymology, &c., see local histories
of Dunfermline and of Fife; also Appendix to "Annals of Dunfermline.")
This territory, or a certain division of it, was bestowed on the Church of
the Holy Trinity (the Abbey), at the time of its erection (circa,
1070-1080). In some old works, Dunfermline Abbey is represented as
standing in Fatrick Muir. In conclusion, the FORTH, about the beginning of
the Christian era, and for a great length of time afterwards, appears to
have been known as the "Sea of Bodotria," which name was succeeded by that
of "Scotwater," and afterwards by "Phorth," "Firth of Forth," &c., which
last appellation it has retained for at least there 900 years past.
DUNFERMLINE TOWER, THE RESIDENCE OF MALCOLM III.
There is not the slightest notice of this Tower, or of Dunfermline, until
about A.D. 1069-70, on the occasion of Malcolm's nuptials. After this
important announcement, neither history nor tradition has any direct
reference to it, or to its immediate locality. We are, therefore, in a
great measure, left on "conjectural ground" with our details of what must
have occurred within its walls. Regarding Malcolm's Tower, Fordun, after
noticing the nuptial ceremony of Malcolm and Margaret, refers to it as
follows (the only reference that has been found), viz :-
"Erat enim locus ille naturaliter in se munitissimus; densissima silva
circumdatus, praeruptis rupibus praemunitus; in cujus medio erat venusta
planities etiam rupibus et rivulis munita, ita quod de ea dictum esse
putaretur: Non homini facilis, vix adeunda feris." (Fordun, 1.v.c.17.)
That is -
For that place was by nature strongly fortified in itself, being surrounded
by a very dense forest, and fortified in front with very precipitious
rocks; and in the midst of it there was a beautiful plain, also fortified
by rocks and rivulets, so that the expression, "Not easy of access to man,
and hardly to be approached by wild beasts," might be thought applicable to
It will be observed that Tower is not specifically mentioned in Fordun's
notice; his pro oppido* is to be translated for his residence. Anciently a
house with a few out-houses was called an oppidum or town, just as a farm
continues to be called "the farm-town."
*See p.12 for the quotation from Fordun.
Since so little is known about the Tower historically, much faith must
be placed in graphic delineations of it. The Tower at a very early period
was adopted for the Dunfermline burgh arms - viz., a view of the east gable
or approach of the Tower, with lions rampant as supporters. (See Annals of
Dunf., date A.D.1500.) In the charter-chest of Pitfirrane, near
Dunfermline, there is an old charter, of date 1500, which has appended to
it a wax impression of the burgh seal. The charter is in good
preservation, but the wax impression is broken and much decayed. It was
probably from this old wax impression, or one equally old, and from the old
view of Malcolm's Tower at Forfar, which, according to tradition, were
towers "of similar shape," that Mr J. Baine, C.E., Edinburgh, in 1790, made
his "Composition View of Malcolm Canmore's Tower at Dunfermline Restored.
J.B., 1790." The following engraving is a reduced copy of Baine's view.
It will be here seen that Baine projects the flight of steps considerably
in front of the Tower; a "moveable flap" or small draw-bridge would connect
the top of the stair with the main door, which, for protection, would be
drawn up flat upon the door at night. It is now, of course, impossible to
form a correct opinion as to how the Tower was fortified. Besides being
fortified by nature, by "flood, wood, and field," it would no doubt be
artificially strengthened by such appliances as the engineers of the time
could best devise. We have introduced "the sunk draw-bridge" as one of the
appliances to be an obstacle in the way of an enemy. It is very likely the
foundation portion of the building would be splayed, spreading outwards,
and "outer-wall'd" all round to a considerable height from the ground. We
have thrown into the view a fanciful side wall in order to show that it
would not be the narrow contracted edifice as some few have imagined it to
have been. It is probable that the Tower contained at least twenty
apartments of the dimensions of those primitive times, and in the coped
attic there would be many more little rooms for servants, attendants, &c.
The site of the Tower, the nucleus of Dunfermline, is still to be partially
traced on the north-west flat top of a small peninsular hill, the Tower
Hill, at a height of about seventy feet above the beautifully curved
rivulet which sweeps round its base. This hill is now in the policy of
Pittencrieff, about 180 yards west of the church steeple. In the
north-west top are still to be found small shapeless fragments of the south
and west foundations. The length of the south fragment is thirty-one feet,
that of the west wall forty-four feet. These fragments are about eight
feet in height and six in thickness. In 1790 John Baine, Civil Engineer,
Edinburgh, found that the south wall was thirty-one feet four inches long,
the west wall thirty-five feet six inches.
The Tower, from the oldest wax seals attached to charters, appears to have
been a stately, massive building of about fifty-two feet from east to west
and forty-eight feet from north to south, and consisted of two storeys,
and, as just noted, may have had, attic included, about twenty small
"eleventh century apartments" in it.
Mercer, in his "Dunfermline Abbey, a Poem," alluding to the locality of
Tower, its rocky steepness, and difficulty of approach by man or beast, as
told by Fordun, says -
"Hard by, a mount with flatten'd top
Uprears its rugged brow;
Its sides are broken, rocky, steep,
That hardly there a goat might creep;
A rivulet runs below,
"And winding, sweeps around the mount,
Forming a lovely arch;
Then down the glen, with babbling din,
O'er crags, through trees, as it may win,
Pursues its destined march."
-(Mercer's Dunf. Abbey. pp. 6,7; An. Dunf., date 1070)
P.S. - In some of the Pittencrieff charters, the Tower-hill is designated
"Montaculum" - i.e., the little hill; and a modern author, whether by
mistake or not, has a new reading to a favourite old ballad, viz., instead
"The king sits in Dumferling toun,
Drynking the bluid-red wyne," &c.,
our author renders it,
"The king sits in Dunfermline Tower,
Drinking the bluid-red wine," &c.
which appears to us to be more correct rendering; because the king alluded
to would be more likely to practise wine-drinking in the tour, his
residence, than in the toun.*
* Vide Billings' "Architectural Illustrations of Dunfermline Abbey," p.8.
See also An. Dunf.; dates, 1304-1790.
CULDEE ESTABLISHMENT AT DUNFERMLINE.
There appears to have been a "Culdee" settlement at Dunfermline at a very
remote period; but regarding its size, structure, and when built, history
and tradition are alike silent; it would, however, be between A.D.570 and
1070. Like other Culdee places of worship, it would probably be small in
size, and somewhat rude in structure, capable of accomodating about fifty
worshippers. This "humble hallowed cell" probably stood on or near to the
ground on which the Abbey in aftertimes stood. Not a vestige of it now
remains, which somewhat favours the idea, that it had been removed about
A.D.1172-1175, when the church of Malcolm and Margaret was opened for
worship. In these pre-historic times, there were several Culdee churches
or chapels in Fife and Fothrick, -viz., at Kirkheugh (St Andrews),
Kirkcaldy, Abernethy, Lochleven, Pittenweem, Balchristie, Isle of May,
Portmoak, Bolgin, Culross, Dunfermline, and Inchcolm. For further remarks
regarding the Dunfermline Culdee Church, see Annals Dunf on "Founding of
the Church," under date A.D.1072.
ST. MARGARET'S HOPE AND ST. MARGARET'S STONE.
The Royal Exiles, Edgar the Atheling, his mother, sisters, and retinue,
disembarked in the Forth. The exact spot is not known; but it is likely it
would be at or near to the rocky peninsula on which the castle of Rosythe
now stands. The beautiful Bay, immediately to the west of this locality,
has from time immemorial, been known as Sinus S.Margaretae, or
ST. MARGARET'S HOPE.
(Fordun, 1v.c.16.) Since it is now well known that original names
places have undergone so many changes, it is not improbable that Rosythe
had its name mutilated. It is not mentioned in history until about 300
years after the landing of the Exiles. May not the original name have been
Ross-hythe, Ross, a promontory, or peninsula; and hythe, or hithe, in
Anglo-Saxon, a landing place? There are still some landing places that
retain their Anglo-Saxon etymologies, viz., Rotherhythe, or Rotherhithe,
London, and the seaport town of Hythe in Kent, &c. This Ross-hythe would
be a much more convenient place for the disembarkation of the Royal exiles
than any point between it and North Queensferry. Is it not therefore
probable that the landing of the exiles was effected at this promontory,
the Rosshythe, the landing place at the promontory? The writer in 1846
wrote to several magazines and newspapers letters on this subject, which
were well received. He still continues of the same opinion, viz., that the
Royal Exiles disembarked on Rosythe peninsula.
St. Margaret's Hope has long been taken advantage of by vessels during
prevalence of storms of easterly winds, and a more safe retreat it would be
difficult to find. Mercer, alluding to it, says -
"It is a sheltered, safe retreat,
For tempest-driven vessels meet;
And ever since that day so fam'd
St. Margaret's Hope it has been named."
The eastern part of this bay is about 4 and a-half miles SSE. from the
tower of Malcolm III. at Dunfermline; Rosythe about 4 miles S.
On the arched roof of the staircase in Pennicuick House, near Edinburgh,
there are laid down paintings of the landing, the marriage, and the nuptial
feast of Malcolm and Margaret, by the celebrated painter Runciman.
We have now to refer to
ST. MARGARET'S STONE.
It is an old tradition that Margaret, while walking from the scene of her
landing to Dunfermline, complained of fatigue, and on coming to the "huge
Saxon stone" on the road, two and a-half miles south-east of Malcolm III.'s
residence, is said to have for a while rested herself on it, and that on
her frequent "journeys toe and froe" she often used it as a rest. The
neighbouring farm on the west takes its name from this traditional
circumstance, and is called St. Margaret's Stone Farm. In 1856 this stone
was removed to an adjacent site by order of the Road Surveyor in order to
widen the road, which required no widening, as no additional traffic was
likely to ensue, but the reverse; it is, therefore, much to be regretted
that the old landmark was removed. It is in comtemplation to have the old
stone replaced on its old site (as nearly as possible), and made to rest,
with secure fixings, on a massive base, or plinth-stone. The following
drawing of the stone is taken from one we made in 1825:-
This large stone, which has long had the name of St.Margaret's, is probably
the last remnant of a Druid Circle or a Cromlech, and may have been placed
here even before the beginning of the Christian era. At this early period
the road would be a narrow "foot-way" or a "bridle-path." (For notices of
St.Margaret's Stone, see the Histories of Dunfermline, and Topographical
THE ANNALS OF DUNFERMLINE.
MLXIX. ELEVENTH CENTURY.
SITUATION OF DUNFERMLINE, &C.
THE CITY and ROYAL BURGH of DUNFERMLINE is situated near the western
extremity of the County of Fife, in Latitude 56 o 4'15" N. (the Market
Cross), and in Longitude 3 o 27'38" W. from Greenwich. In size and
population it far exceeds any town in the county. Population of the City
in 1871 was 14,958; City and Parish, 23,116. Estimated population of the
City at beginning of 1878, 17,800; City and Parish, 24,150.
"Dunfermline," in early writings, appears in a great variety of spellings.
The earliest to be found is in the Confirmation Charters of David I., A.D.
1128-1129. In 1128, we find "DUNFERMELITANE"; in 1129, it appears as
"DUNFERMELIN." In the years 1153,1165,1214, the spellings are the same.
In 1249, it is slightly different, viz., "DUNFERMELYN," &c. In 1306 and
1330 are the same spellings. In later times, in deeds, writs, &c., we find
the name in a great variety of forms, such as "DUNFERMLYN," "DUNFERMLING,"
"DUNFERMELYNG," "DUNFERMELING," "DOMFERMELING," "DOUNFRANELIN,"
"DUNFERMLIS," &C; but since th year 1690, it has been generally written
"DUNFERMLINE." We have also several Latin forms of the name, written
between 1560 and 1750, such as "Dunum Fermelinum," "Fermelinodum,"
"Fermalinodunum," "Fermilodunum," &c.
As already noticed, DUNFERMLINE is a Celtic compound word DUN, signifies
hill; FERM, FERME (fiaram), the middle syllable, means bent or crooked,
referring to the singular bending of the burn which sweeps round the base
of the Tower-hill; hence, it was originally named "aqua de ferme," or "the
ferm burn"; and LIN, LYNE, LINE, &c., a cascade, or pool; - the cascade, a
fall of 16 feet in the Ferm burn, is a little to the south of Tower-hill -
hence, from all which comes the DUNFERMLINE. (See "Mons infirmorum," &c.,
in Pre-Historic Dunfermline, and Appendix A and B.)
Dunfermline is 16 miles N.W. of Edinburgh; 43 N.E. of Glasgow; 12 N.N.E.
water, and 16 by road, of Linlithgow; 12 E.S.E. of Clackmannan; 10 E. of
Kincardine; 21 E.S.E. of Stirling; 14 E.S.E. Alloa 6 E.S.E. of Culross; 29
S. of Perth; 11 S.S.W. of Kinross; 13 S.W. of Kinglassie; 22 W.S.W. of
Falkland; 12 W.S.W. of Kirkcaldy; 10 W.S.W. of Kinghorn; 11 W.N.W. of
Burntisland; 8 W.N.W. of Aberdour; 4 N.W. of Inverkeithing; 6 N.W. of North
Queensferry; and 2 and 7/8 miles N.N.E. of Limekilns.
ANNALS OF DUNFERMLINE.
1069. - ARRIVAL OF EDGAR THE ATHELING, WITH HIS MOTHER AND SISTERS, IN
FIRTH OF FORTH. - The old accounts relating to this "auspicious event" are
conflicting in their details. When collated and condensed they read as
follow:- In consequence of Edgar having been deprived of his right of
succession to the English throne by "the Norman Conqueror," he, along with
his mother Agatha, his sisters Margaret and Christian, and a numerous
retinue, some time between the years 1067 and 1070, embarked in a ship to
sail for Hungary the land of their nativity; that shortly after leaving the
English coast, a violent storm arose, which, after tossing the vessel
about, at last drove them, in a ship-wrecked condition, up the Firth of
Forth to a point on the north shore near to the residence of the King of
Scots; that when the King heard of the arrival of the illustrious strangers
he left his residence at Dunfermline and hastened to where the wrecked ship
lay, received the exiles most cordially, and invited them to the
hospitalities of his residence, &c. (Vide Fordun, Boece, &c.)
The details of these old accounts have long been doubted. In a work
great merit, lately published by Mr. Freeman, on "The Norman Conquest,"
compiled by him from original authentic documents, there is a long account
of this event - too long for insertion here; but when condensed it reads as
follows:- "In the autumn of 1069 Malcolm III. of Scotland was in Durham,
&c., prosecuting his "war projects by fire, sword, and harrying." Edgar
the Atheling had just then made his last venture against the forces of the
Conqueror, near York, and was totally defeated; he, his relatives, and
retinue, take ship and sail for Monks Wearmouth, where Malcolm King of
Scotland then was with his "harrying army." Malcolm had an interview with
Edgar. After hearing of his hopeless condition, he advises him, along with
his mother, sisters, and followers, to sail immediately for Scotland and
take up their residence with him at Dunfermline. The advice was taken, and
the illustrious exiles set sail for Scotland about the end of October,
1069. They may have encountered rough weather at this season, but the wind
appears not to have been contrary, but favourable for the voyage. the
exiles arrived in safety on the north shore of the Forth, near to Malcolm's
residence. On landing, according to an old tradition, the exiles made
their way to Dunfermline on foot, accompanied by their followers. (See
Freeman's "Norman Conquest," vol.iv.) Freeman's account is now generally
accepted as the true account by critics, historians, and antiquarians. It
will be seen that Malcolm, King of Sotland, was in England when the exiles
arrived in the Forth; how then could Malcolm welcome their arrival? Why
should "the tempest," if there was one, be made to force the vessel up the
Forth, when that was their destination? In early times "much that was
fabulous was conveyed into history;" then,"miracles and the marvellous"
were "wrought up with incidents to give them a serious look." Of miracles
and the marvellous in connection with Dunfermline and locality, see "Ann.
of Dunf.," dates 1093-1154, and "The Double Miracle," of 1250.
To many it may be interesting to have the names of some of those who were
in the ship, which brought the Exiles to our shores. The following list of
names has been obtained by the writer during his reading in Scottish
history: some of these, however, may be doubtful.
1. EDGAR, the Atheling........... Hailes' An. Scot. p.7.
2. AGATHA, his mother............ Saxon Chron. p.174.
3. MARGARET,his sister........... S. Dunelm, pp.107-200.
4. CHRISTIAN,his sister.......... Aldred, p.367.
Fordun, lib. v. c. 16 and the
Histories of Scotland.
5. MERLESWEIGN,.................. Hailes' An. Scot. vol. i. pp.7-8.
6. MAXWELL,...................... Newspapers of date June 10th, 1865.
7.8.9. MELVILLE (three brothers)..... Sibbald's Hist. Fife, p.390.
10. GOSPATRIC,.................... Hailes' An. Scot. vol. i. pp.7-8.
11. LESLEY,....................... The Scots Compendium, pp.179-180.
12. LINDSAY,...................... " " p.150.
13. MAURICE,*..................... " " p.221.
14. LIVINGSTON,................... " " p.213.
15. BORTHWICK,.................... Beauties of Scot. vol. i. p.322.
16. SIWARD,....................... Freeman's Norman Conquest, vol. iv.
And probably ARALDUS, NEIS, &c. (See Witnesses to "Malcolm's Foundation
Charter," date, 1075.)
* Maurice (No.13) acted as captain and steersman of the ship.
1070. - NUPTIALS OF MALCOLM III. WITH THE PRINCESS MARGARET OF HUNGARY
DUNFERMLINE, A.D.1070. - The marriage of Malcolm III. (Canmore) with the
Princess Margaret of Hungary, was celebrated at Dunfermline this year with
great splendour. Fordun, who wrote in the later part of the fourteenth
century, referring to the nuptial ceremony, says:-
"Nuptiae factae sunt non procul a sinu maris quo applicuit, et magnifice
celebratae Anno Domini millesimo septuagesimo loco qui dicitur Dumfermlyn,
quem tunc temporis rex habebat pro oppido." (fordun, lib. v.c.17).
That is -
"The nuptials took place not far from the bay of the sea where she landed,
and were magnificently celebrated, in A.D.1070, at a place which is called
Dunfermlyn, which the King then had as his fortified town (or residence)."
There is no list extant of the names of those who were witnesses of this,
to Scotland, most important marriage; but, without doubt, the following
principal parties would be in attendance: - Edgar the Atheling, his mother
Agatha, and his sister Christian, Fothad (Bishop of St. Andrews), Turgot
(Margaret's confessor), Earl Macduff, with other clerics, earls, barons,
and "honest men of the realm."
Fothad II., Bishop of St. Andrews, performed the interesting ceremony,
was "ane man of great pietie and learning." Winton, who chronicles the
occurrence, calls this bishop "a cunnand man," i.e., wise and learned man.
Winton notices the nuptials in the following lines ;-
"Malcolm oure Kyng than tyl hys wyf
Weddyd Saynt Margret wyth hys lyf,
On lele Spowsal he thowcht to lede,
Departyd qwhyle thai suld be wyth Dick
Of Saynt Andrewys the Byschape than
The Secund Fothwck, a cunnand man
Devotely mad that Sacrament
That thai than tuk in gud intent," &c.
-(Winton's "Orygynal Cronikil, Scot." vol.ii.p.269.)
Although Fordun, and other historians, state that the Royal marriage was
celebrated at a place called Dunfermline, they do not point out the locus
in that place. It may be presumed that the nuptial ceremony was performed
in the Chapel of Canmore's Tower, or in the supposed Culdee Chapel
adjacent. According to S. Dunelm, who is supposed to have been inspired by
Turgot, Margaret's confessor - Malcolm had been betrothed to Margaret long
before the period of her marriage; therefore, it was not necessary to
"raise a storm" to drive the Royal Exiles up the Firth of Forth, as has
been done by early superstitious pens, in order to give the occurrence "a
miraculous aspect." (Fordun, lib. v.c.16; S. Dunelm, p.201; Hailes' Scot.
vol.i.pp.8-9, &c., for notices of the nuptials. - Freeman's Norman
At the time of the marriage, Malcolm would be in the 47th year of his age,
and the age of Margaret would be about 24 years. It may be further noted,
that Margaret was one of the daughters of Edward, the son of Edmund
(Ironside), King of England, of the Saxon line, who was murdered in
1016-1017. This Edward the oldest son, owing to troublous times, took
shelter in Hungary, and, while an exile in that country, he married Agatha,
by whom he had a son, Edgar, the Atheling, and two daughters, Margaret and
Mercer, in his "Dunfermline Abbey: a Poem," has a few verses on "The
Marriage." We extract a few lines:-
"And holy voice invoked Heaven's care
To bless thro' life the Royal Pair!
For many days the nuptial feast
Spread joy around in every breast,
And senachies were loud in song,
With voice and harp to cheer the throng.
A theme so fertile could inspire
The brethren of the holy choir;
Their strains, amid the joyour time
May thus be sung in modern rhyme." - (Dunf. Ab., pp.39-40.)
"In the arched roof of the right-hand-side staircase in Pennycuick House,
there is a fine painting by Runciman, representing the landing, marriage,
nuptial feast, and apotheosis of Margaret of Hungary, Queen of Malcolm
Canmore." (Vide "Views in Edinburgh, or Modern Athens Illustrated.") These
nuptials appear to have been celebrated on the day after EASTER, in 1070.
Easter fell on April 4th this year, consequently should this account be
correct, "the nuptial ceremony" was celebrated at Dunfermline on the 5th
April, 1070, about five months after her arrival in Scotland. (Vide
Bollandist's Acta, SS., vol.26, p.319.)
INFLUX OF EXILES FROM ENGLAND. - A "great flowing-in of malcontents from
England occurred at this period." They were to be found in every town and
village in Scotland, and as Dunfermline was the chief seat of Royalty at
the time, it would receive its full share of the exiles. Thus the arts,
then known in England, "were introduced among the semi-barbarous Scots, and
the Anglo-Saxon language soon began to prevail and supersede the Gaelic,
especially along the coasts. From this period a grand new era commenced in
everything that characterises a nation, and the royal residence at
Dunfermline became the fountain from whence flowed streams of civilisation
and knowledge over a benighted land." (Chamb. Gazet. Scot. p.241.)
Although there was no recognised metropolis in Scotland until 1436-1437,
Dunfermline, there can be no doubt, was the metropolis of early times;
afterwards other towns began to share in the distinction; and lastly,
Edinburgh became the legal metropolis after the death of King James I.,
1072. - FOUNDING OF DUNFERMLINE CHURCH. - The year of the founding of the
great Church at Dunfermline is not on record; but it is to be presumed that
it would be shortly after the "Nuptial Ceremony." The great influx of
English nobility, &c., into Scotland, shortly after the arrival of the
Royal Exiles, would, as a matter of course, greatly increase the number of
the inhabitants in the then hamlet of Dunfermline, so much so, probably, as
to render the little old Culdean Church no longer suitable for the increased
number of worshippers. It would appear that Margaret and Turgot had often
held consultations regarding the erection of a more suitable place of
worship. The matter is laid before Malcolm, the King, who not only agrees
to erect a new edifice, but one for size and architectural adornments that
would surpass every other ecclesiastical building then in Scotland. This
resolution had been taken in consequence of his having resolved to have the
place of "Royal Sepulture" within its walls. Here historians step in and
inform us that "Ejusdem illius Turgoti suasu Malcolmus Trinitatis Templum
ad Dounfermlin sancivit ut exinde commune esset Tegum Sepulchrum" - i.e.,
"By the advice of the same Turgot, Malcolm appointed the Trinity Church at
Dunfermline to be from that time the place of Royal Sepulchre." We fix the
founding in the year 1072, two years after the marriage, as the most likely
date. So the great Church at Dunfermline was founded, a great national, or
king of metropolitan Church, which, when finished, would be "the largest
and the fairest in the land." (For view and ground-plan of the Church, see
Annals of Dunfermline, date A.D.1115; vide Boece, Fordun, &c.) Fordun,
after mentioning that Malcolm III. had laid the foundation-stone of Durham
Cathedral in 1093, adds, "Fundavit ecclesiam S. Trinitatis de Dunfermelyn
ante diu quam multis ditavit donariis et redditibus" - (Fordun, i.p.273.) -
i.e., "He (Malcolm) founded the Church of the Holy Trinity, Dunfermlyn,
long before he enriched it with many gifts and revenues."
ROYAL GIFTS TO DUNFERMLINE CHURCH. - About this period Malcolm III. and
Margaret, his consort the Queen, bequeathed in free gift to the Church of
the Holy Trinity of Dunfermline, just partially opened and dedicated, the
following possessions:- "Pardusin, Petnurcha, Pettecorthin, Petbauchlin,
Laur, Bolgin, the Shire of Kircaladinit, and Inneresk the Lesser, and the
whole Shire of Fothriff and Muselburgh." It is not known as to whether or
not these possessions were conveyed by Charter or by "oral gift." David
I., their son, in his great Confirmation Charters to Dunfermline Abbey,
A.d. 1128-1130, notices these gifts of his father and mother, and confirms
them; so also do succeeding monarchs on their ascending the throne. (See
Print. Regist. Dunf. pp.3-5, 19, &c.)
1075. - FOUNDATION CHARTER OF DUNFERMLINE CHURCH, GRANTED by MALCOLM III.
(Vide Printed "Registrum de Dunfermelyn," p.417):-
"IN NOMINE SANCTE TRINITATIS, EGO MALCOLMUS DEI GRACIA SCOTTORUM BASILEUS
AUTHORITATE REGIA AC POTESTATE. MARGARETE REGINE URORIS MEE. EPISCOPORUM
COMITUM BARONUMQUE REGNI MEI CONFIRMATIONE ET TESTIMONIO.CLERO ETIAM
ADQUIESCENTE POPULOQUE. - SCIANT PRESENTES ET FUTURI ME FUNDASSE ABBACIAM
IN MONTE INFIRMORUM IN HONOREM DEI OMNIPOTENTIS ET SANCTE ET INDIVIDUE
TRINITATIS PRO SALUTE ANIME MEE ET OMNIUM ANTECESSORUM MEORUM ET PRO SALUTE
ANIME REGINE MARGARETE URORIS MEE ET OMNIUM SUCCESSORUM MEORUM. CONCESSI
ENIM ET HAC CARTA MEA CONFIRMAVI PREDICTE ABBACIE OMNES TERRAS ET BILLAS DE
PARDUSIN. PITNAURCHA. PITTECORTHIN. PETBACHICHIN. LAUR. BOLGIN ET SHIRAM
DE KIRKALADUNT ET INNERESC MINOREM. CUM TOTA SCHIRA DE FOTHRIFFE ET
MUSELBURGE CUM OMNIMODIS SUIS PERTINENTIIS TAM IN CAPELLIS ET DECIMIS
ALIISQUE OBLACIONIBUS QUAM IN OMNIBUS ALIIS AD EAS TERRAS BILLAS ET SCHYRAS
JUSTE SPECTANTIBUS ITA LIBERE SICUT ALIQUIS REX ALIQUAS ELIMOSINAS UNQUAM
DEDIT BEL CONTUIIT AB INITIO MUNDI AD HUNC DIEM. - TESTIBUS, IBO
KETTEDEORUM ABBATE. MACKDUFFE COMITE. DUNCANO COMITE. ARALDO COMITE. NEIS
FILIO WILLIELMI. MERLESWAIN. APUD EDINBURGE."
"concordat cum autographo in omnibus. - Sr. JA.Balfour, Lyone."
TRANSLATION BY COSMO INNES, ESQ., 1842.
"In name of the Holy Trinity, I, Malcolm, by the Grace of God, King of
Scots, of my Royal authority and power, with the confirmation and testimony
of Queen Margaret, my wife, and of the Bishops, Earls, and Barons of my
kingdom, the clergy also and the people acquiescing: Let all know, present
and future, that I have founded an Abbey on the Hill of the Infirm, in
honour of God Almighty, and of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the
safety of my own soul and the souls of all my ancestors, and for the safety
of the soul of Queen Margaret, my wife, and of all my successors; for I
have granted, and by this my Charter confirmed, to the foresaid Abbey, all
the land and towns of Pardusin, Pitnaurcha, Pittecorthin, Petbachichin,
Laur, Bolgin, and the shire of Kirkaladunt, and Inneresc the Lesser, with
the whole of Forthriff and Muselburge, and all their pertinents; as well in
chapels, in Tithes, and other oblations; as in all other things justly
belonging to these lands, towns, and shires, as freely as any King ever
granted or conveyed any gift from the beginning of the world until this
day. - Witnesses, Ivo, Abbot of the Culdees; Macduff, Earl; Duncan, Earl;
Arnold, Earl; Neis, son of William; Marleswain. - Given at Edinburgh."
"It agrees with the autograph in all respects, "SIR JAMES BALFOUR, LYON."
Some critics have been of opinion that this Charter is apocryphal.
true that there are one or two difficulties in the Charter which have not
as yet been clearly explained. If the full light of the eleventh century
could be thrown upon it, these modern difficulties would probably vanish,
and leave the Charter, and offers several objections against it, objections
which appear to us, and many eminent antiquaries, to be of little weight.
The reader will find in the Appendix (A) the Professor's objections and our
answers to them.
ROYAL GIFTS OF A CRUCIFIX, GOLD AND SILVER VESSELS, JEWELS, &c., to
Dunfermline Church of the Holy Trinity by the Queen, consort of Malcolm
III., about this period (Haile's An. Scot. vol.i. p.38). "Queen Margaret
enriched Dunfermline Abbey with many jewels of great value, with vessels of
gold and silver, curiously wrought; and also a Black Cross, full of
diamonds, which she brought out of England" (Hay's Scotia Sacra,
ALTARS IN THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY TRINITY AT DUNFERMLINE. - There were at
this period at least two altars in this Church of the Holy Trinity, viz.,
Ist, The High Altar, sometimes known as the "Great Altar"(Grate Awtre),
which stood at the east end of the Church (east of the auld kirk); 2nd, The
Altar of the Holy Cross, sometimes called the "Rood Altar"(Rwde Awtre),
which stood on the south side of the Church, about forty feet south-west of
the Great Altar in the Rood Aisle. (Regarding altars erected in after
times, see date 1466.)
1075. - CHURCH AT DUNFERMLINE PARTIALLY OPENED FOR WORSHIP. - It would
appear, from the writings of several authors, that Abbeys and great
Churches were commenced to be built at the extreme east end, and, as
circumstances permitted, the building operations were carried on toward the
west until finished. Sometimes thirty or forty years were occupied in
rearing a large sacred edifice. Dunfermline Church appears to have taken
up the greater part of forty years before it was finished. Such being
usual, a part of the eastern division of the edifice was built and
completed for immediate worship, a temporary wall being built in the
meantime on the west side of this completed part, in order to render it
comfortable for the worshippers, and at the same time allow the west part
of the building to be carried on at leisure until finished. It may be
presumed that this eastern part would be finished about this period (1075),
three years after the supposed date of "the founding" (see date 1072).
Probably, there would be "a chapel of the castle" in the Tower, on Tower
Hill, as was generally the case in these times; and if there were, it would
likely be here that Malcolm, Margaret, &c., would worship during the three
THE BOOK OF ST. MARGARET AT DUNFERMLINE appears to have been merely a
of diary, or journal of her religious and domestic duties and occurrences.
Some historians doubt the authenticity of this book, so far as regards
Margaret being the sole author of it. (See Aldred, also, Hist. Scot.)
1080. - QUEEN MARGARET'S "INNOVATIONS," DAILY WORK, &C. - This appears
be the proper place and date to note down a few words regarding the daily
life of this pious Queen.
"Margaret appears to have affected an unusual splendour about her Court.
She encouraged the importation and use of vestments of various colours.
She was magnificent in her own attire. She increased the number of
attendants on the person of the King, augmented the parade of his public
appearances, and caused him to be served at table in gold and silver plate.
"Every morning she prepared food for nine little children, all indigent
orphans. On her bended knees she fed them. With her own hand she
ministered at table to crowds of poor persons, and washed the feet of six
children every evening.
"While the King was occupied in affairs of State, she repaired to the
altar, and there, with long prayers, sighs, and tears, offered herself a
willing sacrifice to the Lord. In the season of Lent, besides reciting
particular rites, she went through the whole psalter twice or thrice within
the space of twenty-four hours. Before the time of public mass, she heard
five or six private masses. After that service, she fed twenty-four
persons; and then, and not till then, she retired to a scanty ascetic meal.
"In worldly matters, she did not abuse that influence which the opinion
her worth had merited in the councils of her husband, Malcolm. To her he
seems to have entrusted the care of the affairs respecting religion, and
the internal polity of the kingdom; in both there was much to reform. She
restored the religious observance of Sunday - an institution no less
admirable in a political than in a religious light.
"In the administration of her household, she so blended severity of manners
with complacency, that she was equally revered and loved by all who
approached her. She entertained many ladies about her person, employed in
their leisure hours in the amusements of the needle; and gave a strict
attention to the decency of their conduct. In her presence, says Turgot,
nothing unseemly was ever done or uttered. The expression of Turgot, her
biographer, as to this is forcible:- 'In praesentia ejus, non solum nihil
execrandum facere, sed ne turpe quidem verbum quisquam ausus fuerat
proferre.' - Turgot and Papebroch." (Hailes's Ann. Scot. vol. i. pp.36-38,
Of Malcolm, the King, Lord Hailes says - "He was a Prince utterly
illiterate, of intrepid courage, but of no distinguished abilities. With
regard to the internal polity of his kingdom, he appears to have been
guided by Queen Margaret," &c. (Hailes's Annals of Scotland vol. i. p.29.)
ST. MARGARET'S CAVE-ORATORY. - This Cave-Oratory is situated about 350
yards to the north-east of the Royal residence on Tower Hill, and a little
to the east of the Tower Burn, which flows immediately in front of it,
nearly opposite the United Presbyterian Church in Chalmers Street.
"The tradition regarding it is as follows: Queen Margaret, who, according
to her confessor, Turgot, was of a pious disposition, was wont frequently
to retire to this secluded spot for secret devotion, and her husband,
Malcolm, either not knowing, or doubting her real object, on one occasion
privately followed her, and, unobserved, looked into the Cave to see how
she was occupied, of course, prepared, according to the manners of the age,
for the worst, if her object had been different. Perceiving her engaged in
devotional exercise, he was quite overjoyed, and, in testimony of his
satisfaction, ordered the place to be suitably fitted up for her use."
(Chalmers' Hist. Dunf. vol. i. p.89.)
"A little orison cave it was
Downe in a dale hard by a forest's side;
Far from resort of peepil that did pas
In traveill to and froe."
This Cave-Oratory, or hermitage, consists of an open apartment in the solid
rock. The entrance faces the west; there are no windows. The entrance
would probably be filled up with a door, and with "lattice window" at the
side of it. The measures of this interesting Oratory are, 6 feet 9 inches
in height, 8 feet 6 inches in width, and 11 feet 9 inches from the entrance
to the rock at the back. The following view of "the Cave" is taken from
Baine's View, of 1790.
This interesting relic of Margaret's devotions -
"This calm retreat, the silent shade,
For prayer and contemplation made,"
should be kept in proper order, and at or near its entrance there should
an inscription on stone, or on brass, commemorative of its connection with
the pious Queen of Malcolm III.
An old man, a native of Dunfermline, who died in 1844 at an advanced age,
knew an aged man in his young days, who was wont to relate, that he had
seen in the Oratory-Cave the remains of a stone table, or a stone bench, or
seat, with something carved on it resembling a crucifix. This second aged
man's "young days" probably refers to A.D. 1700, or thereabouts, when this
interesting memorial was to be seen. There is not now, nor has been in the
writer's lifetime, the least vestige of an such stone, or any other relic.
(See Appendix D.)
1083. - THE FAMILY OF MALCOLM AND MARGARET (inter 1070-1083). - It has
supposed that, if not the whole, at least the greater portion of the Royal
children of Malcolm III, and Margaret were born in the Tower at
Dunfermline. There were, so far as is known, eight children, viz., six
sons and two daughters. The names of the sons, in the order of their ages,
were as follow:- Edward, Edgar, Edmond, Alexander, David, and Ethelrede;
the daughters were Matilda and Mary. Of there sons, Edgar, Alexander, and
David ascended the throne. Edward was slain at Alnwick; Edmond, by his
traitorous conduct, was denuded of his natural rights; and Ethelrede was a
churchman, Abbot of Dunkeld, and "comes de fyf." Of the daughters, Matilda
became the consort of Henry I. of England, and died about A.D. 1119; and
Mary was married to Eustace, Count of Boulogne. (Hailes's An. Scot. vol. i.
pp.42,43.) We have given these particulars because, as an old author says,
"they were almost Children of Dunfermlin."
The Princess Matilda was married to Henry I. of England. It is on
that when her marriage was negotiating, some difficulty arose in
consequence of her being a nun, and bred in the nunneries of Wilton and
Romsey. On this being told her, she said that "she had taken no vows, nor
ever had any intention of engaging herself to a monastic life; but had worn
the veil in mere compliance with the will of her aunt, and only in her
presence." She further assured the Archbishop that her father, King
Malcolm, seeing it once on her head, was so much offended that he pulled it
off, and tore it to pieces. Proof being given, Matilda's account was found
by Anselm to be true. She was accordingly married to Henry I. (Lord
Lyttelton's "History of the Life of King Henry II." pp.171,172.; Chalmers'
Hist. Dunf. vol.i. p.484.) Would this "veil scene" occur in Dunfermline
1093. - ROYAL INTERMENTS AT DUNFERMLINE. - Three sad events for Scotland
occurred, within three days, in the middle of November, 1093, viz., the
death of Malcolm, King of Scotland; of Margaret, his consort, the Queen;
and of Prince Edward, their eldest son, the heir-apparent to the Scottish
throne. We shall refer to these deaths in the order of their occurrence.
Malcolm III. was slain whilst besieging the Castle of Alnwick, in
Northumberland, on 13th November, 1093, about the 70th year of his age, and
37th of his reign. According to various authorities, he was slain by his
friend, Robert de Moubray, who, after the death, seized the body, and had
it taken to Tynemouth, 27 miles south of Alnwick, and had it interred in
the Priory there. Some authors note that Malcolm was slain by a person
named "Morel" of Bamborough, at the instigation of his master, Moubray, to
whom he was steward. (Vide Saxon Chron. p. 199; S. Dunelm, p.218; W.
Malmsbury, p.122; Fordun, lib.v.c.25; Hailes's An. Scot. vol.i.p.24, &c.;
particularly to Chalmers's Hist. Dunf., Hist. Scot., &c.; and regarding
Malcolm's exhumation at Tynemouth, and re-interment at Dunfermline, see An.
Dunf. date 1115; and of his second exhumation and re-interment in the Lady
Chapel of Dunfermline Abbey, see An. Dunf., date 1250.) Hailes, in his
"Annals of Scotland," (pp. 2-43) gives interesting details of Malcolm.
The following are a few of the many references to the death and interment
"Malcolm Kenmour mac Dunkan regna xxxvij. anuz et vi. moys, et fust tue
Alnewyk et intirrez a Tynmoth. Cesti, estoit le marryed Saint Margaret a
Dunfermelyn." (Skene's Chron. Scots and Picts, p.206.)
That is -
"Malcolm Canmore, son of Duncan, reigned 37 years and 6 months, and was
slain at Alnwick, and interred at Tynemouth. He married Saint Margaret at
"Malcolaim mac Donnchada ise do cear le Francii et Eduward a mac" -
(Skene's Chron. Scots and Picts, p.119) - viz., "Malcolm son of Duncan, he
was slain by the Franks (or Normans), with his son Edward."
"Maelcholuim mac Donnchada Ri Alban et a mac dornarbad de (F)rancaib a
boegul chatha et Margareta i a ben doec da chumaid" - (Skene's Chron. Scots
and Picts, from the "Annals of Inisfallen," pp.169,170) - viz., "Malcolm,
the son of Duncan, King of Alban, and his son were slain by the Franks in
battle, and Margaret, his wife, died of grief."
Winton rhymes the obit thus:-
"As he tyl Alnevicke wes ryddand
There he dey'd slain of cas
And hys sowne, that wyth hym was
Edward the eldest, swa baithe thai
Ware slayne in Alnevicke on a dai."
- (Wynton's Orygynale Cronykil, vol.ii. p.271,272.)
It may here be noted, that a small portrait of Malcolm "hangs in the upper
picture-gallery of Newbattle Abbey, the seat of the Marquis of Lothian,
Edinburghshire." (This appears to be a fancy likeness.)
PRINCE EDWARD DIED OF A MORTAL WOUND, in the 22nd year of his age, and
interred at Dunfermline, November (inter 16th and 30th). There are no
notices of this Prince on record. It is evident that he accompanied his
father, Malcolm, with the Scottish army, to the siege of Alnwick Castle, in
Northumberland. There are several accounts of his death, differing as to
place and time of occurrence. Some have it that he received his mortal
wound during the confusion which ensued on the death of his father, and
died on the same day of his wound; and was thereafter carried by the
retreating Scottish army into Scotland for interment at Dunfermline. Other
accounts have it that Prince Edward was mortally wounded immediately after
his father was slain; that he was carried off alive by the retreating
Scottish army; and that, on reaching a spot in Jedburgh Forest (afterwards
known as Edward's Isle), about 36 miles north-west of Alnwick, and 56 miles
south-east of Dunfermline, he died of his wound on November 15, two days
after his father. We are inclined to think the last account to be the
correct one, so far as it relates to the place where he died; but the
retreating Scottish army, after leaving Alnwick, might have gone over the
36 miles of ground between Alnwick and Jedburgh ("Jedwood Forest") on the
same day, viz,. November 13th; and, in admitting this, it agrees with
Winton's account given in the preceding notice.
After the Princes's death, his remains appear to have been, in the hurry
the retreat, sewn up, or roped up, in a horse-hide; for, in 1849, when the
site of his grave in Dunfermline Abbey was opened, during the course of the
repairs going on, a stone coffin was reached, which, on its cover-stone
being removed, a "sewn-up hide" in its whole length, with thongs of the
same material, was found in a decayed state. On the hide being cut open,
the fragment of a bone and a heap of dust were all that remained of the
gallant Prince Edward after his long sleep of 756 years. (See An. of Dunf.
When Prince Edward's remains were brought to Dunfermline, they were, "with
grate honoure," interred "Juxta patrem ante altare Sanctae Crucis" -
(Fordun,v.25) - that is, were interred near his father, before the Altar of
the Holy Cross, at Dunfermline. (Fordun, lib. v.c.25; Boece, lib.
x.fol.260; S. Dunelm,p.218; Hailes's An. Scot.vol.i.p.24; Balfour's
Annals,p.2; Chalmers' Hist. Dunf. vol.i.p.128,133; vol.ii. p.142, &c.)
Had Donald Bane, "the usurper," by any intrigue compassed the deaths of
Malcolm and Edward, especially the latter ? This Donald began to besiege
the Castle of Edinburgh, immediately after "the affair at Alnwick," so he
could not be far off at the time, and perhaps he was one of the retreating
DEATH OF MARGARET, THE QUEEN, CONSORT OF MALCOLM III., AND HER INTERMENT
DUNFERMLINE. - Margaret, the Queen, consort of Malcolm III., died in the
Castrum Puellarum - i.e., Edinburgh Castle, on the 16th day of November,
1093, in the 47th year of her age, and 23rd of her reign. On this day her
young son Ethelrede, in haste from the Alnwick retreat, entered her sick
chamber in Edinburgh Castle, and, at her request, he told her tenderly of
what had then just happened, the violent deaths of her husband and eldest
son, "which so affected her with grief, that her strength and her spirits
failed her, she made confession (to Turgot), received the Holy Sacrament,
have her dying blessing to those around her, and expired." Winton rhymes
the occurence as follows:-
"As thys dede all thys ware doune
Come wrything til Saynt Margret soune.
The Revelatyoune that west maist
That scho had of the Haly gast
Than wyth devot and gud intent
Scho tuk the Haly Sacrament
Of Goddis Body blyst werracy
Wyth the last unctyoune; and that dai
Of al charges scho yhald hyr gwyte
And til the Creatoure hyr Spyryte
In-til the Castelle of Edynburch," &c.
- (Wynton's "Orygynale Cronikil" vol.ii.pp.271,272.)
Several writers mention that Margaret "died of grief," in consequence of
the sad intelligence of the deaths of her husband and eldest son, conveyed
to her by Etherlrede. This is not altogether correct. The Queen had been
long ailing, her emaciated body was quite worn out; and although the deaths
had not occurred, her after-days on earth would not have been many. The
physical requirements of her creed appear to have brought on consumption,
from which there was no escape.
A late writer, one of her own faith, remarks, that "among the delights
Court, she humbled her body by discipline and watchings, spending a great
part of the night in devout prayer; and, besides the other fast days which
she kept, in addition was the observance of the abstinence of Lent for
forty days before the Lord's Passion, and not even the most grievous
sickness would make her forego it." (Lect. Antiq. Edin, p.19.) A robust
frame could not have stood out long against such excessive physical vigils
and abstinence. In short, she died a martyr to a too strict and
unnecessary observance of the rites of Roman worship; for she was -
"Oftener on her knees than on her feet,
And died every day she lived."
Turgot, her confessor relates the following as his last and affectionate
interview with her:- "After a long discourse on her spiritual state, she
thus addressed him, 'Farewell, my life draws to a close; but you may long
survive me. To you I commit the charge of my children. Teach them above
all things to love and fear God; and whenever you see any of them attain to
the height of earthly grandeur, oh! then, in an especial manner, be to them
as a father and a guide. Admonish and, if need be, reprove them, lest they
be swelled with the pride of momentary glory, or through avarice offend
God, or by reason of the prosperity of this world, become careless of
eternal life. This, in the presence of Him, who is now our only witness, I
beseech you to promise and to perform.'" (Hailes's An. of Scot.
Margaret died in one of the little chambers of a building on the east side
of the quadrangle through which we pass to the "Crown Room." This was the
ancient Palace of the Castle. The little chapel in which she worshipped
when at this residence, still stands in a complete state of repair, a very
tiny building, perhaps the oldest of which Edinburgh, or even Scotland, can
boast. It has the name of "St. Margaret's Chapel."
At the time of Margaret's decease, the Castle of Edinburgh was being
besieged by the usurper, Donald Bane. Ethelrede, her son, and other
attendants, were thus forced to convey her body out of the Castle through a
secret door in the wall of the fortress, on the west side. In this duty
they were, says an old writer, favoured by a mist, which kept them from
being seen by the besiegers. From Edinburgh the body was taken by her old
ferry, the Queen's ferry, on the Dunfermline, to the Church there, the
erection of which is so much indebted to her influence and exertions,viz.,
THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY TRINITY, the place selected by Malcolm and Margaret
for the "Locus Sepulturae Regum" of Scotland; and here, between November
16-30, the remains of the pious Margaret were deposited before the Rwde
Awtre - i.e., the Altar of the Holy Cross - with "great veneration and
honour;" and perhaps on the same day that the remains of her son were
committed to the earth. Authentic history assures us that Turgot,
Margaret's confessor, wrote a history of the lives of Malcolm and Margaret,
copious extracts from which are to be found in Hailes's An. Scot.
vol.i.pp.34-41. Turgot's work is now very scarce. (Vide Chalmers' Hist.
Dunf. vol.ii.pp.170,171; also "Lectures on the Antiquities of Edinburgh, by
a Member of the Guild of St. Joseph," pp.15-29.) Referring to the
conveying of Margaret's remains from Edinburgh Castle to Dunfermline,
Winton says, or rather sings -
"Hyr swne Ethelrede, quene thys felle
That wes hys modyr nere than by
Gert at the west yhet prewaly
Have the cors furth in a myst
Or many of hyr endying wyst;
And wyth that body thai past syne
But ony lat til Dwnfermelyne.
Before the Rwde Awtare wyth honoure
She was laid in Haly Sepulture."
- (Wynton's "Orygynale Cronikil of Scot." vol.ii.pp.271,272.)
(For further particulars relative to Margaret, see Fordun lib.v.c.25;
Boece, 1x. fol. 261; S. Dunelm, p.219; Saxon Chron. fol.199; Aber.
Maxi.Ach.; Aldred; Majors' Hist.Brit. and the Hist. of Scot.; likewise
Chalmers' Hist. Dunf. vol.i.pp.86,87,129-132,288,289,484-493,
vol.ii.pp.117,121-123,170-172,173-176,178-182; also Fernie's and Mercer's
1094. - DUNCAN II. bequeathed, as a free gift to the Church of the Holy
Trinity, Dunfermline, "TWO VILLAS" called "LUSCAR." (See Confirmation
Charters of David I. and his successors.)
1095. - DUNCAN II,. who was assassinated this year, is said by some old
writers to have been buried at Dunfermline. (Abridged Chron. Scot. p.59,
&c.) This is not absolutely certain, but extremely likely. He knew that
his father, Malcolm III., had ordained the Church of Dunfermline to be the
place of future sepulture of the Royal Family of Scotland; besides this, by
the previous entry, it is seen that by his munificent gift of the two
villas of Luscar to the Church he had become one of its benefactors. It
may be noted here, that there exists much difference of opinion among
authors regarding the legitimacy of Duncan II. David I. and his brothers,
in their charters, call him "Duncan frater meus" - i.e.,"Duncan, my
brother." Probably Duncan was the son of Malcolm's first wife, Ingibiorg,
and therefore a half-brother of Malcolm and Margaret's children; and hence
his supposed right to the throne. It would appear that, at the time of
Malcolm and Margaret's death, in November, 1093, their children, at least
their sons, were all under age, and hence the assumption of power, legal or
otherwise, by this Duncan. It would further appear, as he is styled
"Duncan frater meus" in those charters of Malcolm's sons who had ascended
the throne, that they held his memory in affectionate respect; besides,
King James II., in his Confirmation Charter to the Abbey in 1450,
designates Duncan as King Duncan, which this James would scarcely have done
had it not been so. Was Ingibiorg, the first wife of Malcolm III., ever
recognised as Queen of Scotland ?
1097. - CUMERLACHI WERE GIFTED TO THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY TRINITY,
DUNFERMLINE, about this period, by KING EDGAR, shortly after his ascension
to the throne. Cumerlachi, sometimes designated "Cumberlachi," appear to
have been a low grade of fugitive servants, or slaves. Considerable
difference of opinion still exists as to the etymology of this singular
word or name. May it not refer to Edgar's "slave servants," who had been
brought from his possessions in Cumberland into Scotland?
END OF THE ELEVENTH CENTURY.
(BEGINNING OF THE 12TH CENTURY.)
ANNALS OF DUNFERMLINE. - (CONTINUED.)
1101. - At the commencement of the 12th century, the Church of the Holy
Trinity, Dunfermline, stood unfinished - the western part of its aisles,
the west gable, with its two massy lofty towers, and grand entrance between
them, were still unbuilt.
"NOMINA LOCORUM." - At this early period, Scotland had but a small
population, and scarcely any place deserving the name of town. Of the
names of places in the vicinity of Dunfermline, few are on record. The
locality would be dotted here and there with turf and "wattel" huts, &c.
The following are the names of places near Dunfermline about this time,
viz., Dumfermline, Perdieus, Pitcorthie, Pitbauchlie, Pitliver, Primrose,
1103. - ROYAL GIFTS TO DUNFERMLINE CHURCH. - About this period, Edgar,
King, bequeathed to the Church of the Holy Trinity, Dunfermline, his
property called "SCHYRA DE GELLAND."
Confirmed by his brother, David I., and successors in their Confirmation
Charters to this Church. (See Print. Regis. Dunf. pp.3-5, &c.) there are
lands, about two miles south of Dunfermline, called "The Gellets"; also
land three and a half miles west of it, called "Gelald," now Gillanderson.
Which of these two places is referred to is not known.
1104. - ROYAL GIFT TO DUNFERMLINE CHURCH. - Ethelrade, (Earl of Fife?)
sixth son of Malcolm III. (Canmore), about this period, bequeathed to the
Church of the Holy Trinity, Dunfermline, his property of "HALES," OR
Confirmed by his brother, King David I., in his great Charters to this
Church, A.D. 1127-1130, as also by succeeding Kings in their Confirmation
Charters to the same Church. (See Print. Regis. Dunf. pp.3-5, &c; also
vide date 1226 of the Annals.) Hailes (Collington) lies near the
north-east base of the Pentland Hills, about three miles south-west of
"PETER THE PRIOR;" he is noticed this year as being "Prior of the Church
the Holy Trinity, Dunfermline. (See Slezer's "Theatrum Scotiae"; also date
in the Annals, A.D. 1120.) This is the earliest named "Prior of
Dunfermline" on record.
1107. - EDGAR, THE KING, HIS INTERMENT AT DUNFERMLINE - King Edgar, second
son of Malcolm III., died at Dundee, 7th January, aged 33, and shortly
afterwards was interred in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Dunfermline,
with great solemnity, in the Royal burial-place before the High Altar, or
Grate Awtre of Winton. (Fordun v.35; Abrid. Scot. Chron. p.200; Hailes's
An. Scot. vol.ii.p.309; Buchanan's Hist. Scot., &c.)
The following are a few references from old authorities relative to the
death and interment of King Edgar:-
"Edgar regna ix. aunz it iij. moys et gist a Dunfermlyn" (Skene's Chron.
Picts and Scots, pp.206-208) - i.e.,"Edgar reigned 9 years and 3 months,
and lies at Dunfermlyn."
"Edgar, filius, Malcolmi ix. annis et tribus mensibus et mortuus in Dunde,
et Sepultus in Dunfermlyn" (Skene's Chron. Picts and Scots, 289,290) -
i.e., "Edgar, the son of Malcolm (reigned) 9 years and 3 months; he died at
Dundee, and was interred at Dunfermline."
Winton, in his quaint old orthography and rhyme, refers to Edgar's death
and interment thus:-
"Of Edgar our nobil Kyng,
The days with honoure tuk endying,
Be-north Tay in-til Dunde
Ty'l God the Spyryte than yald he
And in the Kyrk of Dwnfermlyne
Solemply he wes entery'd syne."
- (Wynton's "Orygynale Cronykil," vol.i.p.282.)
It is singular that the register of the Priory of St. Andrews should notify
that Edgar died at Edinburgh. No doubt, it is an error of the then
"careless scribe" of the Priory. The Register entry reads - "Mortuus in
Dun-Edin et Sepultus in Dunfemling" - i.e., Edgar "died in Edinburgh, and
was interred at Dunfermline."
Attached by a silk cord to one of Edgar's charters to Coldingham Priory,
founded by him in 1098, there is a wax impression of his great seal,
"having upon it a figure of Edgar in a sitting posture, with a small crown
upon his head, holding in one hand a sceptre, in the other a sword, with
the circumscription, 'IMAGO EDGARI SCOTTORUM REGIS.'" This is the only
representation of Edgar known to exist. (See Carr's Hist. Coldin. Priory,
At the time when Edgar was buried at Dunfermline (1107) there had been
least two Royal Interments in the Royal burial-place there,viz. - Margaret,
his mother, the Queen; and his eldest brother Prince Edward, the
heir-apparent. It may be conjectured that, since this interment was done
with great solemnity, that there would be present at it Alexander I., David
I., Ethelrade, Turgot (Bishop of St. Andrews, his mother's confessor), with
other bishops, abbots, clergy, earls, and nobility of the kingdom.
ROYAL GIFTS. - It would appear that little or no progress was made with
mason-work of this Church of the Holy Trinity during King Edgar's short
reign (1097-1107). It is therefore probable (since it is known that
Alexander I., his successor, completed the Church) that several of the
possessions, which are named under date 1115 (for reasons there given),
were donated about 1107, shortly after his ascension to the throne, for the
purpose of raising funds to complete this Church of the Holy Trinity,
Dunfermline(see date 1115).
1109.- DUNFERMLINE CREATED A ROYAL BURGH. - The precise year when
Dunfermline was created a Royal Burgh is not known. Alexander in this year
erected Stirling into a Royal Burgh, and he would probably grant
Dunfermline its Burghal Charter in the same year. It will be seen, under
date 1112, that Dunfermline is then, at all events, written down as a
Alexander I. held Dunfermline in high esteem and veneration. Here
Royal burial-place of the Kings of Scotland; here the remains of his pious
mother, Margaret the Queen rested; also those of his brothers, Edward and
Edgar; and when his own days ended, here his own body would be deposited.
With such reflections always on his memory, he would, no doubt, take the
earliest opportunity, it is to be presumed, to show respect and good-will
to the adjacent little town of Dunfermline (inhabited by Court retainers,
their families and others), by erecting their township into a Burgh Royal,
with all the then usual privileges. If this is not acceded, then A.D. 1112
is to be taken as the date of erection. (See date 1112).
ROYAL GIFTS TO DUNFERMLINE CHURCH. - Alexander I., the King, bequeathed
the Church of the Holy Trinity, Dunfermline, about this period, the Chapel
of the Castle of Stirling and Teinds.
1112. - ROYAL GIFTS TO DUNFERMLINE CHURCH. - Alexander I., the King, this
year bequeathed to the Church of the Holy Trinity, Dunfermline, a toft in
the Burgh of Dunfermline (de toftes Burgorum). Also, one Mansion in
Edinburgh. (Chron. Scone; Chalmers' History. vol.ii.p.231; Appendix to
Dalziell's "Fragments of Scottish History," vol. i.p.70.) Eustace de
Moreveill, "Grate" Constable of Scotland, is one of the witnesses to this
1115. - REMAINS OF MALCOLM III. BROUGHT TO DUNFERMLINE. - Malcolm III.
(Canmore) was slain, along with his eldest son Edward, at the siege of
Alnwick Castle, in England, on November 13th, A.D. 1093, and was buried
hurriedly at Tynemouth (see date 1093). It is well known that Alexander
I., the third son of Malcolm III., got liberty from the English authorities
to exhume his fathers's remains, and to take them to Dunfermline; but the
precise year of this transaction has not been ascertained, and we are
therefore forced to lean on probabilities. The date of the exhumation is
here placed in A.D. 1115, the middle year of the reign of Alexander I. In
order to reduce any error to its minimum, for the same reason we give A.D.
1115, as the date when the Church of the Holy Trinity was finished, and
opened for the celebration of public worship. It is extremely unlikely
that Alexander I. would exhume his father's remains at Tynemouth, and
convey them to Dunfermline before the church he had founded was finished in
all its details.
THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY TRINITY, DUNFERMLINE, FINISHED. - As noticed in
preceding entry, the exact year when this Church of the Holy Trinity was
finished, and opened for the celebration of worship, is unknown; it is
therefore place in A.D. 1115, the middle year of the reign of Alexander I.,
in order to reduce any error to a minimum, as previously noticed.
Historians generally agree in stating that Alexander I. splendidly adorned
and finished the Church of the Holy Trinity, Dunfermline, founded by his
father, Malcolm III., circa 1072. Leslie in his "History of Scotland,"
when alluding to that part of the work done by Alexander I., uses the words
"fastigio imposito," which appears to imply, that he raised the two lofty
massive towers which flanked the great western entrance, raised the west
gable, with its finely adorned grand entrance, with the splendid great west
window which was above it, and completing this high gable and the peak'd
Thus Dunfermline Church of the Holy Trinity, begun in A.D.1072, at its
end, was, in A.D. 1115, finished at the west end; thus 43 years were
occupied in the building of this church, now known as the "Auld Kirk;" but
this length of time was nothing uncommon. For instance, the Cathedral
Church of St. Andrews, founded in A.D. 1159, was not finished in all its
details until A.D. 1318, a space of time spreading over 159 years. Again,
the Abbey Church of Aberborthic, founded about the year 1178, was not
finished until the year 1223, a space of 55 years. Other instances could
be given, but these will suffice to show, that the 43 years taken up
between the founding and the finishing of the Trinity Church at Dunfermline
was a not uncommon occurence in these early times.
The great churches of the middle ages were built by companies of travelling
architects and masons. They commonly began their work on the eastern parts
of the fabric, and continued the work in a westerly direction. When so
much of the edifice was raised as was deemed sufficient for the celebration
of worship, they raised a temporary wall which enclosed this built place on
the west, and the western portion proceeded slowly to completion,
"according to the state of the exchequer of the church and peaceful times."
When the west portion of these churches was completed, the temporary wall
just mentioned was removed, when the interior of the church, in all its
"fair proportions and adornments," was fully exposed to view. No doubt the
building of the Church of the Holy Trinity at Dunfermline was begun and
finished in the same way.
When thus the Church, founded by Malcolm III. in the year 1072, and
finished in 1115, it would appear, from a north-west point, as shown in the
following print, copied from a drawing made by the author in 1827.
There are no views of this Church extant, bearing a date before 1690; and
such early views are not to be altogether relied on. The view here given
is a composition by the author, and it is necessary that he should explain
from whence he has had his materials. This we will proceed to give.
The old fabric, now called the "Auld Kirk," is the original Church of the
Holy Trinity, built between A.D. 1072 and 1115, with the following
exceptions, which are comparatively modern innovations viz.:- The heavy,
uncouth buttresses, built between 1590 and 1630; and the porch and the
steeple, built between 1590 and 1606. These additions, as will be seen by
the dates, had no connection with the original design of the building. It
may also be noted that, between the years 1750 and 1790, three of the
Norman windows in the north front were removed, and plain ugly Gothic ones
substituted. The west gable above the great western entrance was also
built at the same time as the steeple.
The original south-west tower, stood nearly entire until 1807, when it
thrown down by a violent thunderstorm. There are several printed views of
this old tower extant, but few are accurate. We take our model of this
tower from an accurate pen-and-ink sketch of the tower, done by J.Baine,
Civil Engineer, in 1790. The western towers of churches were always exactly
alike, and therefore the tower which stood on the site of the steeple would
be precisely like the view of the south-west one by Baine, and therefore we
give the two as in the view.
If we strip the "Auld Kirk" of the incongruities just noticed, the view
have given will appear (which may be taken as a correct one, at least) as
correct a view as can now be had of THE CHURCH of the HOLY TRINITY at
DUNFERMLINE, as it appeared when finished and opened in A.D. 1115.
The following is a short description of the view :- The Church which, in
its length lies east and west, is about 112 feet in length, and 65 feet in
breadth, outside measures. In the north front, as seen in the view, are
six Norman windows, with six square spaces below them, and six peak'd small
windows above, with six flat pilasters between them, rising from the ground
to the first roof; the top of the wall is ornamented with a common Norman
design; to the right is seen the north entrance to the Church. The arch of
this entrance consists of a series of Norman semi-circle, above which are
small pilasters and ornamented semi-circular arches, capped with a splay
roof of stone, similar to that above the west entrance. The under north
wall is 36 feet in height and five feet thick; above this wall is the first
roof, which rises to another wall, which is supported on the great massive
pillars inside the Church. This top part is the clerestory (54 feet in
height), and has six small semi-circular windows, corresponding in position
to the large ones in the lower front wall, with short flat pilasters
between them. Above the upper wall rose the high roof, much higher than
the present one, reaching from the east to the west gable between the
towers. The south wall of the Church was similar in all of its details to
the north wall now described. The two towers, as already noticed, are
representations of the original tower which fell in 1807. The great
western entrance projects a few feet out from the west gable, within which
rise ten tall, slender stone pillars, five on each side of the entrance.
The pillars in each row are in close proximity to each other, and recede at
sharp angle into the recess on which they stand, thereby diminishing their
respective distances from side to side as they approach the door of the
Church. Each of those pillars rests on a double base, and is surmounted
with an ornamented capital, from which spring five semi-circular arches of
different heights. These arches naturally recede with the pillars, and
decline in altitude and breadth as they approach the door of the Church.
Thus the large stones of the several arches are exposed to view, showing
their beautiful designs, some being a continuation of zig-zags, others
floriated, and otherwise ornamented. The front, or outer arch stones are 23
in number, on eleven of which are carved heads, and with floriated work
between them. The front arch is 20 feet in height, and 16 in breadth, and
measures the same as the great western window of the Fratery.
Above this grand entrance is a stone splay roof, larger, but similar to
one over the north entrance already noticed. This entrance is unique in
The gable above the splay roof is comparatively modern, and therefore forms
no part of the original design of the Church. Since it was destroyed at
the Reformation, it has been several times repaired. We fill up this part
in our view with details from a pen-and-ink sketch of date 1705, which is
very likely correct, as it closely resembles that of Durham Church, built
about the same time as the Church at Dunfermline, and of which the latter
Church is understood to be a miniature. We shall now give a brief
description of the interior arrangements of this celebrated edifice.
The ground-plan of the Trinity Church at Dunfermline is reduced from a
larger one made by the author in 1827. Although so small it will
sufficiently indicate the several interesting parts of it. It will be seen
by the plan, that the Church is built in the form of a parallelogram. The
north and south walls measure inside 106 feet, and are five feet thick. By
the indentation in these walls in the plan, it will be seen that there were
originally six large windows in each. Inside, the breadth of the Church is
Along the middle length of the Church, from east to west, in a
parallel course, in a straight line with the outer pillars of the
projecting west entrance, is a series of massive Norman pillars, seven on
each side originally, but now only six. These pillars run in a straight line
at the distance of 13 feet from the north and south walls; between them and
the walls are the north and south aisles, which are arched above, and in
length are about 80 feet, and in breadth 13 feet, or 17 and a-half feet
including the pillars. The east pillars are cut into spirals on their
surfaces; the next series, west of these, is ornamented with zig-zag
cuttings; the other ones further west are plain, with the exception of the
two reeded, or columinated pillars near the west end, which appear to have
been built between the years 1596 and 1603, when the then dilapidated
Church was undergoing a thorough repair.
From the capitals of these pillars spring ornamented Norman arches, which
support the high massive walls of the nave, the top of which reach to a
height of 54 feet above the pavement of the church. These walls of the
nave consist of two storeys - the first storey on each side; immediately
above the aisles, and above the centre of the arches, are the large
semi-circular headed openings of the ambulatories. Above these again are
those of the triform, or clerestory; the upper part of the wall of each
appears above the first roof when viewed from without. The ambulatory and
clerestory passages run along like the aisles nearly through the whole
length of the Church, or about 80 feet. The ambulatories are covered by
the first roof of the Church and 13 feet in breadth. The passage of the
clerestory is very contracted, being only about two feet in breadth. From
these openings on each side a full view is had of the Church interior
Along the lower part of the north and south walls of the Church, inside
below the windows, may still be seen in many places the remains of slender
pillars, of Norman work, with semi-circular arches springing from their
capitals, which are highly ornamented. These small arches have chiselled
into their surfaces the usual Norman zig-zags, &c. These pillars and
arches originally proceeded along the whole length of the north and south
walls of the Church, and against these, in front of them, were the "Altars
of the Saints," and other benefactors of the Church.
The aisle on the south side, interior of the Church, was known as the "Rood
Aisle," and the ambulatory above it was called the "Rood Laft," or loft.
Adjacent to the zig-zag pillar of this aisle, at the shaded square part
shown in the plan, stood the "Rood Altar," or the "Altar of the Holy
Cross," before which altar in A.D. 1093 were interred Margaret, the
Queen-Consort of Malcolm III., and at the same time her eldest son Prince
Edward. (See date 1093.) Prince Ethelrede, her youngest son, was also
Near the extreme east end of the Church stood the "Grate Awtr" - Great,
HIGH ALTAR - over which, on an escutcheon, was depicted the scene of the
Crucifixion. The space for a considerable way in front of and adjacent to
this altar was the area selected for the "Locus Sepulturae Regum" of
Scotland, indicated in the ground-plan by the oblong shaded space at the
east end of the nave. With some exceptions, this continued to be the royal
burial-place from 1093 till 1250. (See these dates.) To us it appears
highly probable that the eastern end of the Church terminated in a
semi-circular apsis. (See date 1226 for the addition of the choir.)
RE-INTERMENT OF THE REMAINS OF MALCOLM III., AND OPENING OF THE CHURCH
THE CELEBRATION OF WORSHIP. - It may be taken for granted that Alexander I.
would not exhume his father's remains at Tynemouth in Northumberland (where
they had lain since 1093, a period of 22 years) until the completion of the
new tomb, erected before the High Altar of the Church of the Holy Trinity,
Dunfermline, and we have therefore placed the event in the Annals as having
taken place just before the Church was opened. No doubt Alexander I. would
arrange all this for the purpose of giving solemnity and eclat to the
opening and re-interring ceremonies.
It may be presumed that the ceremonies on this occasion would be conducted
in presence of a large assembly of the then notables of Scotland.
Alexander I., acting as chief mourner at the re-interment, would be
accompanied by his brothers, David and Ethelrede, as also, in all
probability, by their uncle, Edgar the Atheling, and by the venerable
Turgot, their late mother's confessor. A large number of Earls, Bishops,
Abbots, and other ecclesiastics, would swell the procession at the double
The remains of Malcolm III. were thus, with much ecclesiastical pomp and
ceremony, deposited in the tomb prepared for them, before the High Altar of
the Church. (See Fordun, v.35, &c.) At the same time, the Church of the
Holy Trinity was opened for the celebration of public worship.
ROYAL GIFTS TO DUNFERMLINE CHURCH BY ALEXANDER I. AND SIBILLA THE QUEEN.
Alexander I. bequeathed to the Church of the Holy Trinity at Dunfermline
the following properties, viz., Duninald, Schyre de Gatemilc,
Petconmarthin, Balekerin, Drumbernin, Keeth. (Print. Regist.Dunf.
Sibilla, the Queen, bequeathed Beeth, and also mortified to it her land
Clunie. (Print. Regist. Dunf. pp.3-5, &c.; Sibbald's Hist. Fife, p.377; -
see date 1107.)
It is probable that many of these munificent gifts were bestowed on
Dunfermline Church of the Holy Trinity on the day of the re-interment, and
the opening of the Church, as a token of their veneration for the Church in
which now lay the remains of Malcolm III., Margaret the Queen, Edward, and
Duninald - either Duninald in Forfarshire, or Dunino in Fife, probably
former. Schyre de Gatemilc, now call "Gaitmilk" and "Goatmilk," is a small
district of land, about 14 miles north-east of Dunfermline. Petconmarthin,
Balekerin, and Drumbernin - places now unknown. Keeth, or Keith, now
supposed to be Humbie, in Haddingtonshire. The land of Beeth, or Beath,
occupied a considerable district of country, perhaps either the Kirk lands
of Beath, or Keirs-Beath (Castle Beath) formed the nucleus; the lands lie
between two and six miles north-east of Dunfermline. The lands of Clunie
lie on the rivulet Orr, about nine miles north-east of Dunfemline.
CIVIL PRIVILEGES GRANTED TO THE CHURCH. - About this period Alexander I.
conferred on this Church the privilege, or right of holding its courts in
the fullest manner, and to give judgment either by combat, by iron, by
fire, or by water; together with all privileges pertaining to its court,
including the right in all persons residing within its territories of
refusing to answer except at their own proper court. (Tytler's Hist. Scot.
ROYAL BURGH OF DUNFERMLINE. - The date of erection of Dunfermline into
Royal Burgh has not been ascertained, but it has been supposed that it was
so constituted by Alexander I., who, by charters, raised Stirling,
Dunfermline, Perth, St. Andrews, Haddington, &c., to the dignity of Royal
Burghs. These towns are each designated in these charters as "burgum meum"
- i.e., "my burgh," the King's burgh, hence a Royal Burgh. Dunfermline
first appears in a charter as "burgum meum" in the year 1126. We place the
date of the erection of Dunfermline into a Royal Burgh in the middle of his
reign, viz., A.D. 1115, which may be received as the nearest approximate
date now to be obtained. (See also date 1126.)
1117. - PRINCE ETHELREDE, son of Malcolm and Margaret, appears to have
about this period in England, while on a visit to his sister, Matilda,
Queen of England; and, no doubt, it would be at his own request that his
remains were conveyed to such a distance as Dunfermline to be interred. He
was buried before the Altar of the Holy Cross, near his mother Margaret,
the Queen, and his brother Prince Edward, in the Church of the Holy
Trinity, Dunfermline. (Balfour's An. Scot. vol.i. p.2; Wynton's Orygynale
According to several histories, it would appear that this Prince
accompanied his father and elder brother to Alnwick. At all events, it was
he who conveyed to his dying mother, in Edinburgh Castle, the sad and
disastrous account of that expedition. Ethelrede had his mother's remains
removed to Dunfermline for interment. (Wynton's Cronikil, &c.) In the
"Admore Charter" he is styled, "Vir venerandae memoriae Abbas de Dunkelden
et insuper comes de Fyfe." It is well known that he was Abbot of Dunkeld;
but his being also Earl of Fife has been the occasion of much dispute among
archaeologists; the dispute continues. Ethelrede was married; he had at
least three sons named Edwy, Alfred, and Edward, and they are styled
"Clito," i.e. an imbecile. (S.Dunelm, pp.176-179; Hailes's An. Scot.
Ethelrede was one of the benefactors of Dunfermline Church, about the year
1104, having then donated to this church his property of Hailes. Wynton
refers to his place of sepulture, and also his brothers', when noticing his
mother's interment. (See Wynton's Orygynale Cronikil, vol.ii.pp.271,272;
and also An. of Dunf. in notice of Queen Margaret's decease and interment.)
1120. - PETER, PRIOR OF DUNFERMLINE. - Alexander I. sent Peter, the Prior
of Dunfermline, along with other ambassadors, to Radulph, Archbishop of
Canterbury, to congratulate him on his return from Rome, and beg of him
Eadmerus, one of his monks, to be the Bishop of St. Andrews. (Keith's Catal
p.402.) Eadmerus, in his lib. v.p.130, says, "Horum unus quidam monachus et
prior ecclesiae Dunfermlinae" - i.e., " One of these a certain monk and
prior of the Church of Dunfermline." (See also Chal. Hist. Dunf.
vol.i.p.776; and An. of Dunf. date 1121.)
1124. - ALEXANDER I. INTERRED AT DUNFERMLINE. - Alexander I., the King
(fifth son of Malcolm III.), died at Stirling on April 26th, in the 18th
year of his reign, and about the 48th of his age, and was interred before
the High Altar of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Dunfermline.
According to Fordun, he was interred "near his father before the Great
Altar." The Great Altar and the High Altar are identical. (Fordun, v.40.)
The following are a few notices from authorities relative to the death and
funeral of Alexander I. :-
"Alexandre, soun freir, et fitz Maulcoum regna xvij. aunz, et iij. moys
demy, et gist a Dunfermlyn" - (Skene's Chron. Picts and Scots) - i.e.,
Alexander, his brother (Edgar), and son of Malcolm, reigned 17 years and 3
months and a-half, and lies at Dunfermlyn.
"Alexander xvij. annis et tribus mensibus et dimidio et mortuus in
Strafleth et sepultus in Dunfermlyn" - (Skene's Chron. Picts and Scots) -
i.e., Alexander reigned 17 years and a-half; he died at Strafleth, and was
interred at Dunfermlyn. (Strafleth, Stirling?)
Winton, in referring to the death and place of interment of Alexander I.,
thus rhymes the event :-
"A thowsand a hundyr twenty and foure,
The yheris of Grace were past oure;
The Kyng Alysawndyr in Strevylyng,
Deyed, and wes browcht till Dwnfermlyn;
Quhare he wes wyth gret honoure,
Enteryed in halawyed Sepulture," &c.
(Wynton's Orygynale Cronikil, vol.i.p.281.)
It may be noted that there is a blank in the history of the Church of the
Holy Trinity, Dunfermline, from 1115 to Alexander's death in 1124. Such a
blank can now only be filled up by conjecture.
From what is known of Alexander I., and his strong Romish proclivities
strong as those which influenced his brother and successor, David I. - it
may be presumed that at the time, or shortly after the time of the opening
the Curch of the Holy Trinity, Dunfermline - the most splendid church
Scotland had yet seen - he had, besides the munificent gifts he had
bestowed on it, resolved to raise it still higher in importance, viz., to
the rank of an Abbey; but to carry out such a resolution, monastic
buildings for the domestic accommodation of an abbot, monks, and their
necessary attendants, would in the first place have to be erected. It may
be presumed, therefore, that a considerable portion of the time between
1115, and the time of his somewhat sudden death in 1124, was employed in
erecting the necessary buildings. His sudden death in the latter year
prevented him from carrying out his pious wishes, and the duty of doing so
fell on his brother, David I. It will be seen by the next entry in the
Annals, that immediately after ascending the throne, David, apparently
without the least delay, sent to Canterbury for his 13 monks, which fact
implies that the monastic buildings erected for their accommodation by his
brother and predecessor, Alexander, were complete. There can be little or
no doubt that it was Alexander I. who founded and finished the Monastery of
Dunfermline, between the years 1115 and 1124, and not David I. as has been