« PoprzedniaDalej »
There, take my hand; adown the walk,
Hush! hush! a gathering mist upsprings,
What voice is that which calls-"Arise,
Now in my breast arise dread fears,
Hast thou ascended bright thy throne,
Farewell-dear Willie !
The Abbey Mill stands about 150 yards to the west of the church, and is now used as a plash mill for cleaning yarn. "To what base uses we may return, Horatio?"
It is the current belief that the two old Scotch firs by the side of the turnpike road immediately to the west of the churchyard, were at one time enclosed within the Abbey grounds, and are as old as the Abbey itself. I have great difficulty, however, in giving credence to the popular belief, as it is scarcely within the range of probability, that that kind of tree can be of such great age. The Scotch fir if not cut down when it has reached the age of sixty or seventy years, decays and soon withers away. The larch, on the contrary, becomes the more endurable the longer it is allowed to grow.
The following rare plants are found in the parish, namely, Stratiotes aloides, Lysimachia thyrsiflora, Tragopogon major, Tencrium chamaedrys, Hyoscyamus niger, Sambucus ebulus.
The Abbey, it is believed, was built on the site of a Roman camp. The remains of the latter are still to be seen immedi
ately to the east of the churchyard. It is described by Maitland in his History of Scotland, as a square of 1200 feet, fortified with two strong ramparts and large ditches. It has been surmised to be one of the famous camps of Lollius Urbicus, but this is mere conjecture resting on no solid foundation whatever.
From Balfour's Annals, we learn, the Abbey of Cupar is said to have been one of three religious houses which King Malcolm the Maiden founded in Scotland during the year 1164, the other two being the Hospital of Soutra, in Midlothian, and the Nunnery of Manuel, near Linlithgow. Wyntown in "De Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland," thus quaintly records its foundation :—
"A thowsand a hundyre and sexty yhere
Malcolme, Kyng of Scotland,
And peysybly in it regnand,
Of the Abbay of Culpyr-in-Angws,
We oys to call thame Monkis qwhyt."
The Cistertian monks, referred to by Wyntown, were known also as white monks, their garments with the exception of the cowl and scapular, being entirely white. Fordun, in his "Scotichronicon," says "Anno MCLXIV., de consilio Waltheri, Abbatis de Melros, rex Malcolmus, fundavit nobile monasterium de Cupro-in-Angus." He adds further on-" Hoc Anno (1233) dedicatæ sunt ecclesiæ de Newbotil Abirbrothoc, et cupro." In regard to the revenues of the Abbey, Boece says, "Ea est abbacia divæ virgini sacra, amplissimis dotata redditibus. Inhabitant eam viri religiosi ordinis Cistertii, multa pietate celebres; nec in hunc usque diem ullo notati manifesto flagitio."
In the Book of Assumptions, the rentals of the Abbey were
valued at £1886, 8s. 6d; and by Keith at £1238, 14s. 9d, in money, besides wheat, bear, meal, and oats, amounting altogether to 180 chalders, 30 bolls, 9 pecks, and 5 lippies. Malcolm the Maiden, founder of the Abbey, contributed also very largely to its revenues and endowment. Of these gifts there are two charters, dated from Traquare, witnessed by Gillebride, Earl of Angus, and other notables, which were afterwards confirmed by William the Lion. These deeds confirmed to the monks of Cupar, the whole of the King's lands of Cupar, support from the royal forest, and fuel also therefrom for the use of the monks. King William and Alexander II. were both princely benefactors of the Abbey, the former giving the lands of Aberbothry, Keithock, and Parthesin (Pearsie) and granting the monks (1165-6) freedom throughout Scotland from tollage, passage, markets, and other customs, etc., and the latter, among his many grants, were a discharge to them "airimam waytingam quam facere solebant falconariis predecessorum meorum de terra de Abrith," and a yearly gift of ten pounds of silver from the lands of Glenisla.
The greatest benefactors of the Abbey, however, whether for extent or value, were undoubtedly the Hays of Errol. Soon after William of Hay received from King William the Lion, the manor of Errol. About 1170, he made a donation of the lands of Ederpoles in that district, to the Abbey of Cupar, in pure and perpetual alms. The family during many successive generations, continued by their grants of net fishings. in the Tay; pasture and fishings of Ederpoles; and lands in the Carse of Gowrie, considerably to enrich the revenues of the Abbey. In 1585 (Spalding Club Miscell.) is recorded upon a tablet preserved at the monastery, the seventh Earl of Errol was buried at Cupar beside thirteen of his predecessors.
It also appears from Douglas' Peerage, Brev. Reg. de Cupro, Balfour's Annals, &c., that William of Montealt, William of Muschet, Henry of Brechin, Thomas of Lundie, Sir James Lindsay of Crawford, and the princely families of Panmure and Athole, were early and extensive benefactors of the
Abbey. Possessing lands in addition to those already enumerated, in the parish of Fossaway; the estates of Keithock, Arthurstone, Denhead, Balgersho, Cronan, in the parish of Cupar; and Cupar Grange, the home-farm of the Abbey, and country seat of the Abbot, in the parish of Bendochy; and Drimmie, Persie, and Monk's Cally, in the same neighbourhood, it must have been at that early period, one of the most richly endowed religious houses in the country.
From the time of the first recorded Abbot, Fule, in 1165, to that of Donald Campbell, fourth son of Archibald, second Earl of Argyll, who was appointed Abbot on the 18th of June 1526, a long line of illustrious names continued to enrich the historic annals of the Abbey of Cupar. Campbell was, in many respects, the most eminent of the Abbots of Cupar. He was one of the twenty lords, who, in 1546, composed the secret council of the Earl of Arran; and owing probably, to his high birth and great influence, was for sometime lord privy seal to Queen Mary. He was appointed to the See of Brechin on the death of Bishop Hepburn, but according to Keith's "Scottish Bishops," owing to his favour for the reformed doctrines, his appointment was not confirmed by the court of Rome, and he never assumed the title of Bishop. He practically showed his leanings to the Reformation by attending the parliament in August 1560, which annulled the Papal jurisdiction in Scotland.
Campbell, the last Abbot, died in 1562, or about two years after the overthrow of the Church of Rome, in Scotland. To each of his five illegitimate sons, he gave an estate out of the Abbacy. The church properties assigned to them respectively were Keithic, Balgersho, Denhead, Cronan, and Arthurstone. Two of Campbell's sons,-Nicol of Keithic, and Donald of Denhead-were interred in the church of Bendochy, where their tombs are still to be seen. After the Reformation the Church lands which fell to the crown, were bestowed by the king on special personal favourites, who were called
Commendators. Those of the Abbey of Cupar, were given to Leonard Leslie, who died in 1605, at the advanced age of eighty-one, and was also buried in the same church. He is designed upon his tombstone, which is very entire, as "Dominus de Cupro," and Commendator of Cupar.
The oldest known seal of the Abbey belongs to the time of Abbot Andrew, in 1292, which bears, according to Laing's Scottish Seals, "the design of a hand vested, issuing from the sinister side of the seal, holding a crozier, between two fleursde-lis." Besides this counter seal, there are three other seals described by Laing. The principal one of the three,which all belong to the time of Abbot Donald—is “a rich design. Within a gothic niche, a figure of the Virgin sitting, holding in her right hand a bunch of lilies, and her left supporting the infant Jesus standing on a seat beside her; in the lower part of the seal, within an arched niche, an Abbot in front, with a crozier, kneeling at prayer; at the sides of the niche are two shields, the dexter one bearing the arms of Scotland, and the sinister three escutcheons, being the bearing of Hay," with the legend, "S'COMUNE CAPITU LI MON DE CUPRO."
The Abbey of Cupar was, on several occasions, the temporary residence of the king and court. King Alexander II. visited this Convent in 1246, and on the 12th November of that year executed a charter dated from the Abbey, by which he granted a hundred shillings to the Abbey of Arbroath. Robert the Bruce, on 25th December 1317, confirmed the charters of the lands of Eskdale to Sir John Graham, also dated from the same place. King Robert II. was at the Abbey on several occasions during the year 1378; and Queen Mary in August 1562, visited Cupar while on her journey to quell the famous Huntly rebellion in the north. Sir William Wallace taxed the hospitality of the Abbey in 1297, and so frightened the Abbot and monks that they fled in a body at his approach, leaving him and his followers in the undisturbed possession of the Convent.