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HISTORY OF HOLYROOD
BY JAMES GRANT

PAGE 2/5


Before narrating some of the events of which the abbey and its church were the scenes, we shall give the following list of the abbots, so far as they can be traced in history:-

I. ALWIN was the first abbot he resigned the office in 1150, and is said to have died in 1155 He was the confessor of King David, and author of a "Book of Homilies and Epistles."

II. OSBERT died on the 15th Of December, 1150. He wrote the "Acts of King David I.," and was buried with great pomp before the high altar. He built some part of the monastery, and "gave an image of God the Father, of solid silver."

III. WILLIAM I. succeeded in 1152. He witnessed several charters of Malcolm IV and William the Lion; and when he became aged and infirm, he vowed to God that he would say his psalter every day. He enclosed the abbey with a strong wall.

IV. ROBERT is said to have been abbot about the time of William the Hon, " He granted to the inhabitants of the newly-projected burgh of the Canongate various privileges, which were confirmed, with additional benefactions, by David, II, Robert III, and James III. These kings granted to the bailies and community the annuities payable by the burgh, and also the common muir between the lands of Broughton on the west and the lands of Pilrig on the east, on the north side of the road froth Edinburgh to Leith."

V. JOHN, abbot in 1173, witnessed a charter of Richard Bishop of St. Andrews (chaplain to Malcolm IV.), granting to his canons the church of Haddington, cum terra de Clerkynton, per rectas divisas. In 1177 the monastry was still in the Castle of Edinburgh. In 1180 Alexius, a subdeacon, held a council of the Holy Cross near Edinburgh with reference to the long disputed consecration of John Scott, Bishop of St Andrews, when a double election had taken place.

VI. WILLIAM II., abbot in J206. During his time, John Bishop of Candida Casa resigned his mitre, became a canon of Holyrood, and was buried in the chapter-house, where a stone long marked his grave.

VII. WALTER, Prior of Inchcolm, abbot in 1209, died on the 2nd of January, 1217. He was renowned for learning and piety.

VIII. WILLIAM III., of whom nothing is known but the name, and that he was ejected from his office.

IX. WILLIAM IV, the son of Owen, resigned his office in 1227, when old and infirm, and became a hermit on Inchkeith, but returning, died a monk of Holyrood. His name occurs in a crown charter of Alexander III., confirming the lands of Newbattle, 24th June, 1224.

X. ELIAS I., the son of Nicholas. According to Father Hay he drained the marshes around the abbey, built the back wall of the cemetery, and at his death was buried behind the high altar in the chapel of St. Mary.

XI. HENRY, the next abbot, was named Bishop of Galloway in 1253; consecrated in 1255 by the Archbishop of York.
XII. RADULPH, abbot, is mentioned in a gift of lands at Pittendreich to the monks of St. Marie de Newbattle.

Xlll.ADAM, a traitor, and adherent of England, who did homage to Edward 1. in 1292, and for whom he examined the records in the Castle of Edinburgh,. He is called Alexander by Dempster.

XIV. ELIAS II. is mentioned as abbot at the time of the Scots Templar Trials in 1309, and in a deed of William Lamberton, Bishop of St. Andrews, in 1316. In his time, Holyrood, like Melrose and Dryburgh, was ravaged by the baffled army of Edward 11. in 1322,.

XV.SYMON OF WEDALE, abbot at the vigil of St. Barnabas, 1326, when Robert I. held a Parliament in Holyrood, at which was ratified a concord between Randolph the famous Earl of Moray and Sir William Oliphant, in connection with the forfeited estate of William of Monte Alto. Another species of Parliament was held at Holyrood on the 10th of February, in the year 1333-4, when Edward III. received the enforced homage of his creature Baliol.

XVI. JOHN II., abbot, appears as a witness to three charters in 1338, granted to William of Livingston, William of Creighton, and Henry of Brade (Braid ?).

XVII. BARTHOLOMEW, abbot in 1342.

XVIII. THOMAS, abbot, witnessed a charter to William Douglas of that ilk, Sir James of Sandilands, and the Lady Elenora Bruce, relict of Alexander Earl of Carrick, nephew of Robert I., of the lands of the West Calder. On the 8th of May, 1366, a council was held at Holyrood, at which the Scottish nobles treated with ridicule and contempt the pretensions of the kings of England, and sanctioned an assessment for the ransom of David II. taken prisoner at the battle of Durham. That monarch was buried before the high altar in 1371, and Edward Ill. granted a safe conduct to certain persons proceeding to Flanders to provide for the tomb in which he was placed.

XIX. JOHN III., abbot on the 11th of January, 1372. During his term of office, John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster, fourth son of Edward III., was hospitably entertained at Holyrood, when compelled to take flight from his enemies in England.

XX. DAVID, abbot on the 18th of January, in the thirteenth year of Robert 11. The abbey was burned by the army of Richard 11. whose army encamped at Restalrig; but it was soon after repaired. David is mentioned in a charter dated at Perth, 1384-5.

XXI. JOHN (formerly Dean of Leith) was abbot on the 8th of May, I386. His name occurs in several charters and other documents, and for the last time in the indenture or lease of the Canonmills to the city of Edinburgh 12th September, 1423. In his time Henry IV. spared the monastery in gratitude for the kindness of the monks to his exiled father John of Gaunt.

XXII. PATRICK, abbot 5th September, 1435. In his term of office James II., who had been born in the abbey, was crowned there in his sixth year, on the 25th March, 1436-7 ; and another high ceremony was performed in the same church when Mary of Gueldres was crowned as Queen Consort in July, I449. In the preceding year, John Bishop of Galloway elect became an inmate of the abbey and was buried in the cloisters.

XXIII.JAMES, abbot 26th April, 1450.

XXIV ARCHIBALD CRAWFORD, abbot in 1457. He was son of Sir William Crawford of Haining and had previously been Prior of Holyrood. In 1450 he was one of the commissioners who treated with the English at Coventry concerning a truce and again in 1474, concerning a marriage between James Duke of Rothesay and the Princess Cecile second daughter of Edward IV. of England, He was Lord High Treasurer of Scotland in 1480 He died in 1483. On the abbey church (according to Crawford) his arms were carved more than thirty times. " He added the buttresses on the walls of the north and south aisles, and probably built the rich doorway which opens into the north aisle." Many finely executed coats armorial found over the niches, among them Abbot Crawford's frequently-a fesse ermine, with a star of points, in chief, surmounted by an abbot's mitre resting on the pastoral staff.

XXV. ROBERT BELLENDEN, abbot in I486 when commissioner concerning a truce with England. He was still abbot in 1498, and his virtues are celebrated by his namesake, the arch dean of Moray, canon of Ross, and translator of Boece, who says "he left the abbey, and died ane Chartour-monk." In 1507 the Papal legate presented James IV, in the name of Pope Julius I in the church, amid a brilliant crowd of nobles with a purple crown adorned by golden lilies, a sword of state studded with gems, which is s preserved in the Castle of Edinburgh He also brought a bull, bestowing upon James the title Defender of the Faith. Abbot Bellenden, in 1493 founded a chapel in North Leith, dedicated to Ninian, latterly degraded into a victual granary. The causes moving the abbot to build this chapel independent of the spiritual wants of the people were manifold, as set forth in the charter of erection. The bridge connecting North and South Leith, over which he levied toll was erected at the same time. The piers still remain.

XXVI. GEORGE CRICHTOUN, abbot in 1515 and Lord Privy Seal, was promoted to the see of Dunkeld in 1528. As we have recorded elsewhere he was the founder of the Hospital of St. Thomas near the Water Gate. An interesting relic of abbacy exists at present in England.

About the year 1750, when a grave was being dug in the chancel of St. Stephen's church, St Albans, in Hertfordshire, there was found buried in the soil an ancient lectern bearing his name, at which is supposed to have been concealed there some time during the Civil Wars. It is of cast brass, and handsome in design, consisting of an eagle with expanded wings, supported by a shaft decorated with several mouldings, partly circular and partly hexagonal. The eagle stands upon a globe, ,and the shaft has been originally supported on three feet, which are now gone.

The lectern at present is five feet seven inches in height, and is inscribed:-"GEORGIUS CREICHTOUN, EPISCOPUS DUNKENSIS."
He died on January 24th, 1543, and the probability is that the lectern had been presented to Holyrood on his elevation to Dunkeld as a farewell gift, and that it had been stolen from the abbey by Sir Richard Lea of Sopwell, who accompanied the Earl of Hartford in the invasion of 1544, and who carried off the famous brazen font from Holyrood, and presented it to the parish church of St. Albans, with a magniloquent inscription. "'This font, which was abstracted from Holyrood, is no longer known to exist, and there seems no reason to doubt that the lectern, which was saved by being buried during the Civil Wars, was abstracted at the same time, and given to the church of St. Albans by the donor of the font."

XXVII. WILLIAM DOUGLAS, Prior of Coldingham, was the next abbot. He died in 1528.

XXVIII. ROBERT CAIRNCROSS, abbot September, 1523. He had been previously provost of the collegiate church of Corstorphine, and was twice High Treasurer, in 1529 and 1537. In 1538 he was elected Bishop of Ross, and held that office, together with the Abbacy of Ferne, till his death, 31st November, 1545-
XXIX. ROBERT STUART, of Strathdon, a son of James V. by Eupham Elphinstone, had a grant of the abbacy when only seven years of age, and in manhood he joined the Reformation party, in 1559. He married in 1561, and received from his sister, Queen Mary, a gift of some Crown lands in Orkney and Shetland in 1565, with a large grant out of the queen's third of Holyrood in the following year. In 1569 he exchanged his abbacy with Adam Bishop of Orkney for the temporalities of that see, and his lands in Orkney and Shetland were erected into an earldom in his favour 28th October, 1581

XXX.ADAM BOTHWELL, who acquired the abbacy in commendam by this strange and lawless compact, did not find his position a very quiet one, and several articles against him were presented in the General Assembly in 1570. The fifth of these stated that all the twenty-seven churches of the abbey wherein divine service had been performed " are decayit, and made some sheep-folds, and some say ruinous that none dare enter into thame for fear of falling, especially Halyrud Hous, althocht the Bishop of Sanct Androw's, in time of Papistry, sequestrat the haill rentis of the said abbacy, because only the glassen windows wer not holden up and repairt." To this Bothwell answered that the churches referred to had been pillaged and ruined before his time, especially Holyrood Church, "quhilk hath been thir twintie yeris bygane ruinous through decay of twa principal pillars, sa that none wer assurit under it," and that two thousand pounds would not be sufficient for the necessary repairs. He resigned his so-called abbacy in favour of his son before 1583, and died in 1593. He was interred near the third pillar , from the south-east corner, on the south side of the church.

XXXI. John BOTHWELL, his eldest son, held the abbey in connnendam under the-great seal, 24th February, 1581, and was a Lord of Session in 1593. In 16O7 part of the abbey property, together with the monastery itself, was converted into a temporal peerage for him and his heirs, by the title of Lord Holyroodhouse. John Lord Bothwell died without direct heirs male, and though the title should have descended to his brother William, who had property in Broughton, after his death, none bore even nominally the title of abbot. A part of the lands fell to the Earl of Roxburghe, from whom the superiority passed, as narrated elsewhere.

The " Chronicon Sanctae Crucis" was commenced by the canons of Holyrood, but the portion that has been preserved comes down only to 1163, and breaks off at the time of their third abbot. "Even the Indices Sanctorum and the ' two Caledonian Benefactors and Brethren, begun from the earliest times, and continued by the care of numerous monks,' may-when allowance is made for the magniloquent style of the recorder-mean nothing more than the united calender, martyrology, and ritual book, which is fortunately still preserved. It is a large folio volume of 132 leaves of thick vellum, in oak boards covered with stamped leather, which resembles the binding of the sixteenth century."

The extent of the ancient possessions of this
great abbey may be gathered from the charters and gifts in the valuable Munimenta Ecclesie Sanctae Crucis de Edwinesburg and the series of Stent Rolls. To enumerate the vestments, ornaments, jewels, relics, and altar vessels of gold and silver set with precious stones, would far exceed our limits, but they are to be found at length in the second volume of the " Bannatyne Miscellany." When the monastery was dissolved at the Reformation its revenues were great, and according to the two first historians of Edinburgh its annual income then was stated as follows :

By Maitland : In wheat. 27 charders, 10 bolls.
In bear.. .40 " 9
In oats.. 34.. " 15 31⁄2 pecks.
501 capons, 24 hens, 24 salmon, 12 loads of salt, and an unknown number of swine.
In money, £2,926 8s. 6d..Scots.
By Arnot : In wheat. 442 bolls. In bear.....640. In oats...... 560 with the same amount in other kind, and £6250 sterling.


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