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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


Corstorphine.] CORSTORPHINE CHURCH. 115 was no side road into which he could have disappeared. He returned home perplexed by the oddness of the circumstance, when the first thing he learned was, that during his absence this friend had been killed by his horse falling in the Candlemakers Row.?? The church of Corstorphine is one of the most interesting old edifices in the Lothians. It has been generally supposed, says a writer, that Scotland, while possessed of great and grand remains of Gothic architecture, is deficient in those antique rural village churches, whose square towers and ivied buttresses so harmonise with the soft landscape scenery of England, and that their place is too often occupied by the hideous barn-like structure of times subsequent to the Reformation. But among the retiring niinor beauties of Gothic architecture in Scotland, one of the principal is the picturesque little church of Corstorphine. It is a plain edifice of mixed date, says Billings in his ?? Antiquities,? the period of the Decorated Gothic predominating. It is in the form of a cross, with an additional transept on one of the sides; but some irregularities in the height and character of the different parts make them seem asif they were irregularly clustered together without design. A portion of the roof is still covered with old-&ey flagstone. A small square belfry-tower at the west end is surmounted by a short octagonal spire, the ornate string? mouldings on which suggest an idea of the papal tiara As the church of the parish, it is kept in tolerably decent order, and it is truly amazing how it escaped the destructive fury of the Reformers. This edifice was not the original parish church, which stood near it, but a separate establishment, founded and richly endowed by the pious enthusiasm of the ancient family whose tombs it contains, and whose once great castle adjoined it. Notices have been found of a chapel attached to the manor of Corstorphine, but subordinate to the church of St. Cuthbert, so far back as 1128, and this chapel became the old parish church referred to. Thus, in the Holyrood charter of King DavidI., 1143-7, he grants to the monks there the two chapels which pertain to the church of St. Cuthbert, ?? to wit, Crostorfin, with two oxgates and six acres of land, and the chapel of Libertun with two oxgates of land.? In the immediate vicinity of that very ancient chapel there was founded ancther chapel towards the end of the fourteenth century, by Sir Adam Forrester of Corstorphine; and that edifice is sup posed to form a portion of the present existing church, because after its erection no mention whatever has been found of the second chapel as a separate edifice. .The building with which we have now to do was founded in 1429, as an inscription on the wall of the chancel, and other authorities, testify, by Sir John Forrester of Corstorphine, Lord High Chamberlain of Scotland in 1425, and dedicated to St. John the Baptist, for a provost, five prebendaries, and two singing boys. It was a collegiate church, to which belonged those of Corstorphine, Dalmahoy, Hatton, Cramond, Colinton, &c. The tiends of Ratho, and half of those of Adderton and Upper Gogar, were appropriated to the revenues of this college. ?Sir John consigned the annual rents of one hundred and twenty ducats in gold to the church,? says the author of the ?New Statistical Account,? ?on condition that he and his successors should have the patronage of the appointments, and on the understanding that if the kirk of Ratho were united to the provostry, other four or five prebendaries should be added to the establishment, and maintained out of the fruits of the benefice of Ratho. Pope Eugenius IV. sanctioned this foundation by a bull, in which he directed the Abbot of Holyroodhouse, a$ his Apostolic Vicar, to ascertain whether the foundation and consignation had been made in terms of the original grant, and on being satisfied on these points, to unite and incorporate the church of Ratho with its rights, emoluments, and pertinents to the college for ever.? The first provost of this establishment was Nicholas Bannatyne, who died there in 1470, and was buried in the church, where his epitaph still remains. When Dunbar wrote his beautiful ? I Lament for the Makaris,? he embalmed among the last Scottish poets of his time, as taken by Death, ? the gentle Roull of Corstorphine,? one of the first provosts of the church- ?( He has tane Rod1 of Aberdeen, A d gentle Rod1 of Corstorphine ; Twa better fellows did nae man see : Timor mortis conturbat me.? There was, says the ? The Book of Bon Accord,? a Thomas Roull, who was Provost of Aberdeen in 1416, and it is conjectured that the baid was of the same family ; but whatever the works of the latter were, nothing is known of him now, save his name, as recorded by Dunbar. In the year 1475, Hugh Bar, a burgess of Edinburgh, founded an additional chaplaincy in this then much-favoured church. ? The chaplain, in addition to the performance of daily masses for the souls of the king andqueen, the lords of the
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manor, and the founder?s own mother and wife, and of all the faithful dead, was specially directed, at the commencement of each season of Lent, to exhort the people to say one Pater Noster and the salutation of the angel to the blessed Virgin Mary for the souls of the same persons.? (? New Stat. Account.?) The provostry of Corstorphine was considered a rather lucrative office, and has been held by several important personages. In the beginning of the sixteenth century it was held by Robert Cairn- CORSTORPHINE CHURCH, 1817. (After a# Efcking 6 /a?nes SRnv of Rdishw.) present state of affairs.? Cairncross was Treasurer of Scotland in 1529 and 1537. In 1546, John Sandilands, son and heir of Sir Janies Sandilands, knight of Calder (afterwards Preceptor of Torphichen and Lord $t. John of Jerusalem), found surety, under the pain of ten thousand pounds, that he would remain ?in warde, in the place of Corstorphine, colege, toun, and yards yairof, until he passed to France.? His grandmother was Mariotte, a daughter of Archibald Forrester of Corstorphine. cross, whose name does not shine in the pages of Buchanan, by the manner in which he obtained the Abbacy of Holyroed without. subjecting himself to the law against simony. one meanly descended, but a wealthy man, bought that preferment of the king who then wanted money, eluding the law by a new sort of fraud. The law wasthat ecclesiastical preferments should not be sold j but he laid a great wager with the king that he would not bestow upon him the next preferment of that kind which fell vacant, and by that means lost his wager but got the abbacy.? This was in September, 1528, and he was aware that the Abbot William Douglas was, as Buchanan states, ? dying of sickness, trouble of mind, and grief for the Robert Cairncross,? he states, In March, 1552, the Provost of Edinburgh, his bailies, and council, ordered their treasurer, Alexander Park, topay the prebendaries of Corstorphine the sum of ten pounds, as the half of twenty owing them yearly (? furth of the commoun gude.? In 1554, James Scott, Provost of the Church of Corqtorphine, was appointed a Imd of Session, and in that year he witnessed the marriage contract of Hugh Earl of Eglinton and Lady Jane Hamilton daughter of James Duke of Chatelherault. Conspicuous in the old church are the tombs of the Forrester family. TEe portion which modem utility has debased to a porch contains two altar tombs, one of them being the monument of Sir John Forrester, the founder, and his second lady, probably, to judge by her coat-of-arms, Jean Sinclair
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