PART 1 - CHAPTER V - ANCIENT PROPRIETORS AND CHURCH OF BALMERINO

"In the antique age of bow and spear And feudal rapine clothed with iron mail Came ministers of peace, intent to rear The Mother Church in yon sequestered vale" WORDSWORTH

The first undoubted proprietor of BALMERINO whose name we meet with is mentioned in the Abbey Chartulary as living in the time of William the Lion (1164-1214). Henry de Reuel received from that monarch a grant of Cultrach, with the customary feudal privileges and duty attached to it. Though Cultrach is alone mentioned in the grant, the barony of that name seems to have included the lands of Balmerino, Balindard, Balindean, and Corbie, since the last three of these place are described in the Foundation Charter of the Abbey as “pertinents” of Cultra and Balmerino; while in a charter obtained by Richard Reuel, Balmerino and Balindard are stated to have been held by Henry Reuel along with Cultra. This Henry de Reuel married Margaret, daughter of Orm, who was the son of Hugh of Abernethy, with whom he got “ a ten merk land of old extent, a merk being then a third of a pound weight of silver”. * As we find Laurence, son of this Orm, afterwards resigning to Balmerino Abbey whatever interest he and his heirs had in the lands of Cultra, Balindean, Balindard, Corbie, and Balmerino * (which Henry Reuel’s heir had sold to Queen Ermengarde towards the foundation of the Abbey), we may conclude that it was these land which came to Henry Reuel as his wife’s dowry, and that the crown charter which he had obtained was merely a charter of confirmation. It thus appears that nearly all the lands forming the original parish of Balmerino were anciently included in the great lordship or territory of Abernethy. But this Laurence was Abbot of Abernethy, and seems to have held these lands as head of the Culdees there. He lived as a baron at Kerpul (Carpow), the old castle or mansion of the lords of Abernethy, leaving his duties as abbot to be performed by one of the Culdees called the Prior, and like later abbots and bishops, appropriating to himself the greater part of the church lands.* The Balmerino Chartulary shows that he was frequently at court. Mr. Innes considers that the ancient Culdee house of Abernethy survived King David’s church reform, and was still in existence; having in Laurence its hereditary abbot, who styles himself, and acted as, lord of the abbey territory. In the Arbroath Register Laurence appears as granting tithes; and in the Balmerino Chartulary as giving away lands; in both cases asserting the subject of gift to be the inheritance of him and his heirs. * All this suggests the inference that the above mentioned lands in Balmerino parish were part of the ancient endowments of the Culdees of Abernethy. The family of Laurence assumed the local designation of Abernethy as their sirname. Henry de Reuel and Margaret his spouse granted to the Priory of St. Andrews fifteen acres of land which are described as lying “north of Cultra, and west of the road leading from Balmerino to Cultra, as perambulated by the said Henry, Richard Reuel his nephew, Matthew the canon,

and his “good men;” and also the common pasture pertaining to that extent of land.”* Amongst the witnesses to the charter are Ralph the chaplain (perhaps the incumbent of Balmerino Church); Josius (or Jocelinus) de Balindard, and Adam de Ardist; who are, in all probability, the “good men” (probi homines) who joined in the perambulation.* Adam de Stawel, brother of Richard Reuel, afterwards confirms the grant. This Richard Reuel, Henry’s nephew, sometime after 1214, obtained from Alexander II, a charter of confirmation of his uncle’s lands (Cultra, Balmerino, and Balindard being alone sprecified), with similar privileges and duty as before. He had also received previously from King William a grant of Easter Ardint, which was now likewise confirmed to him. If this was the same place as “Ardist” (now Airdie?), Adam de Ardist was probably Richard Reuel’s predessor in that property.* The duty attached to Henry Reuel’s grant was that he should render to the king half the service of a knight (land then being held by military tenure); and this was increased in Richard Reuel’s case to the whole service of one knight. Along with their lands they acquired the usual baronial rights of sac and soc, tol and tehm, infangenethef, and pit and gallows. These feudal terms signify the right of holding courts, deciding please, imposing fines, taking tolls upon the sale of goods, and punishing capitally the thief caught with thr stolen property, or the homicide taken “red-hand,” within the limits of the manor. The men were executed on gibbets and the women were drowned in draw-wells, which all barons were ordained to make for these purposes. Every freeholder entitled to hold a court was then to a great extent a petty sovereign within his own estate. The “Gallowstone” on top of Cultra Hill* marks, no doubt, the place of execution for those condemned to death in the court of the proprietor of Cultra or Balmerino, and in that of the Abbot’s Bailie of later times; while “Gallowhill” must have been the place of doom for the barony of Naughton. Another baronial privelege was the right of holding in bondage persons called nativi or velleins, with their children; a great portion of the rural population being still in a state of serfdom to the lords of the soil, and liable to be transferred, by sale or gift, along with the lands which they cultivated. Velleinage died out abut the fourteenth century. Sometime before 1225 Adam de Stawwel, brother of Richard Reuel, succeeded to his lands above mentioned. From this Adam’s charter of resignation of these lands to Queen Ermengarde in 1225 we obtain the first notice of “the Church of Balmerino,” of which he was patron. We may presume that his predecessors also enjoyed the right of patronage, and that his lands constituted the Parish. This church is not mentioned in the old valuation already referred to in connection with Naughton Chapel. In the Foundation Charter of the Abbey it is called the “Mother Church of Balmerino,” which mode of expression is usually employed in contrast to that of “chapel.” But there is no mention of a chapel as attached to it in any of the records of that period. From a charter in the Arbroath Abbey register, by which Laurence of Abernethy grants to that house, in the reign of King William, the whole tithes of the territory of Abernethy except those belonging to the churches of Flisk and “Cultram,” and certain others, it would appear that there and anciently a church at, or at least of Cultra, if, as is probable, that is the place signified in the charter. Since the estate of Cultra seems to have included the lands of Balmerino and others, the “Church

of Cultra” and the “Church of Balmerino” may have been one and same – the Church of the estate of Cultra, whether situated there or at Balmerino.* However this may be, the mention of the churches of Flisk and Cultra, as included in the territory of Abernethy, confirms the view previously suggested, that the ancient parish of Balmerino (in which Naughton was not included), and we may now add, that of Flisk, formed part of the endowments of the Culdees of Abernethy, having been in all probability Christianised by them at a very early period. We have notices of some other proprietors in the Parish about the beginning of the thirteenth century. Jocelinus de Balindard, who witnesses the grant of land be Henry Reuel to St. Andrews Priory, is also mentioned in the Balmerino Chartulary. The situation of Balindard is now unknown. As it appears also amongst the possessions of the Reuels, it was perhaps as their vassal that Jocelinus held it. There was another property of the same name in the parish of Arbirlot, Forfarshire, and it has been conjectured that it was a descendant of this Jocelinus who conferred upon the estate the name of the Fifeshire property of his ancestor.* John de Balindard died about 1280. His greatgrandson, about 1350, exchanged his lands at Arbirlot for those of Carnegie in Carmylie parish, and hence the family name was changed to Carnegie of that Ilk. The head of this family now is the Earl of Southesk, who is thus descended from the De Balindards, and, if the above conjecture be correct, Jocelinus is the first of the family of whom we have any genuine notice. Thomas de Lundin also possessed property somewhere about Balmerino. He bound himself to pay the Abbey of Cupar (Angus) one silver merk annually “out of his lands of Balmerino.” For this he was allowed a place of sepulture at the door of that Abbey, where he was buried in 1231, as was his more celebrated son Alan in 1275.* This family was connected with the Lundins, near largo. In the reign of Malcom IV. (1153-1166) two brothers, Philip and Malcolm de Lundin, received grants of land from the king; the former, the lands of Lundie in Fifeshire; and the latter those of Lundie in Forfarshire. It was the heiress of Philip’s line whom Robertus, natural son of William the Lion, already mentioned in connection with Naughton castle, married. Thomas de Lundin was the son of Malcolm. He held the office of Ostiarius or Doorward, to King William, and also to Alexander II; and hence his family took the name or Dorward, or Durward, which is still common in this district, though it has now descended to the humbler ranks of people. By putting together the various facts we have thus gathered, we get a list nearly, if not quite complete, of the landholders of the Parish (as at present bounded) between six and seven hundred years ago – that is, in the latter half of the twelfth, and the earlier portion of the thirteenth century. We shall here present them in one view:Orm, son of Hugh of Abernethy, appear to have possessed, as the Culdee Abbot of that place, Corbin, Cultra, Balindean, Balindard, and Balmerino. These lands pass, in all probability with his daughter Margaret, to Henry de Reuel. His nephew Richard Reuel afterwards succeeds to them, and, besides, acquires Easter Ardint, which was perhaps previously possessed by Adam de Ardist. He is succeeded by his brother Adam de Stawel, who is patron of the “Church of Balmerino,” as were also, no doubt, the Reuels before him. Jocelinus appears to possess, perhaps as Henry Reuel’s vallas, Balindard. Thomas de Lundin, the King’s Doorward, possesses certain lands about Balmerino.

The estate of Naughton (then in Forgan parish) is held by the De Lascels. Naughton Castle belongs to Robertus de Lundin, who built it. St. Andrews Priory has the “Grange of Naughton;” Naughton chapel; fifteen acres of arable land, with pasture, lying north of Cultra, and west of the road leading thence by Balmerino; and (the time being, however, in this case uncertain) the lands of Peasehills, Cathills, and Byrehills, if these were not identical with the “Grange of Naughton.” With the exception of the history of the Lairds of Naughton whatever if known concerning the Parish of Balmerino from near the beginning of the thirteenth century to the Reformation connects itself with the Abbey, in whose possessions the whole of the original parish was ultimately included.

To the history of the Abbey we now, therefore, proceed.

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