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from the end of the eleventh to the middle of the twelfth century, axe of this nature.1
In all these cases the grant was made with suitable solemnity before witnesses, and the written entries are memoranda of the facts, but are not such deeds or instruments as in a later time would have been the means and evidence of the transfer.
The earliest entries in the Book of Deer are memoranda of offerings thus made to God and to Drostan (pp. 92, 93), without reference to any formal instrument connected with them; while the grants by Gartnait mac Cannech, and Ete, the daughter of Gillemichel (p. 92), and those Gaelic entries which follow, appear to be abstracts of such written documents—the deed of immunity in favour of the clerics by King David I. being the only record with the formality of a regular charter.
In the time of this monarch the charter in confirmation of grants came into general use in the country north of the Forth, and had been partially introduced in the time of his brother, Alexander the Fierce.1
1 "ConchobarO'Maelsechlainngave Cilldelga, with its territory and lands, to God and to Columbkille for ever, no king or chieftain having rent, tribute, hosting, coigny, or any other claim on it . [a.d. 1021-1050.]"
"The freedom of Ard Breacain, granted by the King of Ireland—i.e. Muirchertach O'Lochlainn—andbyDiarmaid O'Maelsechlainn, King of Meath, and by the King of Loeghaire, Aedh, the son of Cu Uladh O'Caenulbhain."
"The Loegrians \l£. the race of Loeghaire, monarch of Ireland] had a certain tribute on the church—viz. one night's coinmhe every quarter of a year. O'Lochlainn, King of Ireland, and Diarmaid
O'Maelsechlain, King of Meath, induced the King of Loeghaire to sell this night's coinmhe for ever, for three ounces of gold. The church, therefore, with its territory and lands, is free for two reasons—viz. on account of the general freedom of all churches, and on account of this purchase."
"These are the guarantees of this freedom and liberty—viz. Qilla-mac-Liag, the comharba of Patrick [etc.], for the perfect freedom of the church for ever, without liberty of roads or woods, but to be common to the family of Ardbreacan as to every Meathian in like manner [circa Aj). 1150]." —(Miscellany of the Irish Archaeological Society, vol. i. pp. 139-143.)
When that monarch restored to the church of St. Andrews the territory which at an earlier time had been dedicated to it by King Hungus, but had afterwards become secularised in the persons of the royal coarbs, or hereditary abbots of the monastery, the transaction was completed by a symbolical ceremony, without any written confirmation.
In the History of St. Regulus, and the Foundation of the Church of St. Andrews, written within twenty years after King Alexander's death, his grant of the Boar's Chase to the church, with many privileges, is narrated, and the striking ceremony by which it was completed and witnessed is thus described:—" Ob cujus etiam donationis monumentum, regium equum Arabicum,2 cum proprio freno et sella et scuto et lancea argentea, opertum pallio grandi, et pretioso, praecepit rex usque ad altare adduci; et de predictis donis, libertatibus et consuetudinibus omnibus regalibus, ecclesiam investiri; arma quoque Turchensia diversi generis dedit, quae cum ipsius scuto et sella in memoriam regiae munificentiae usque hodie in ecclesia Sancti Andreae conservantur. Quae undecumque advenientibus populis ostenduntur, ne oblivione ullatenus delentur, quod tam crebro ad memoriam revocatur."1
1 It may be thought that such a notice auld custommys," without writing, other
as the following would support the idea that than a notice in the book of the monastery.
charters were not unknown in the time of —(Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland,
Malcolm Canmore, the father of King vol. i. p. 156.)
Alexander. David II., by his charter * In the Chartulary of Redon, in
dated at Scone, in a Parliament held there Armorica, already quoted, the gift of a
10th June 1344, confirmed to the Prior of horse is recorded, A.d. 1066, when, on a
Restennet what had been granted by the knight becoming a monk in that house,
charters of his predecessors, Malcolm, "armatus accessit ad altare sanctum, ibique
Alexander, and David, kings of Scotland; arma malicie reliquit, deponens veterem
but it is most probable that the charters hominem, novumque induens. Tunc tra
referred to were those of Malcolm's sons; didit equum valentem x libras cum proprio
and that in the case of Malcolm himself alodo de Tre1hidic."—(Cartular. de Redon,
the gifts were made with "usuale and p. 312.)
The Prior of St. Serf's Inch composed his " Cronykil" about three centuries later, and has introduced into it much matter from the Registers of St. Andrews—those precious monuments of our early history—which in his day were complete, but of which we now only possess the fragments. The ceremonial at the restoration of the Boar's Chase is thus described by him :—
"In wytnes and in taknyng
1 Historia beati Reguli et fundationis ecclesie Sancti Andree.—(Chronicles of the Picts and Scots, p. 190.)
Rychtis Essays and Fredwmys
Wyntoumis Cronykil, B. vii c. 5.
The account of the chronicler is substantially that of the Register; but he conjoins, "wyth wsuale and awld custwmys" attending the grant, a statement that "the rychtis Essays and Fredwmys" "were in Bill tytled and thare rede." Whether this is descriptive of a " notice" or "memorandum" such as those previously described, or is an addition suggested by the customs of a somewhat later time, may be doubted; but, in any event, it does not appear that the grant was the subject of a formal charter, but that its memory lived in the tale of the impressive ceremony which accompanied it, and by the exhibition of its symbols, like the pillarstones—those unwritten records of early times—which, although of themselves mute, served to preserve the memory of events, by suggesting the question, What mean these stones f
Charters were in common use among the Saxons in England long before this time, and the grants by Duncan and Edgar, kings of Scotland, to the monks of St. Cuthbert, in the end of the eleventh century, were expressed in charters which are yet preserved in the Chapter-House at Durham;1 but the subjects of their gifts lay in the country on the south of the Forth, which at this time was entirely Anglian—the Saxony of the Celtic chroniclers of Alba— and the documents are obviously the work of Saxon scribes, and are attested by witnesses of that race.
In the same way, when King Alexander I., about the year
1 See Anderson's Diplomat* Scotiae, Plates IV. and VI. National MSS. of Scotland, Part I., Plates II. and IIL
1114, refounded a house of religion at Scone, for a body of canonsregular from St. Oswald's, near Pontefract, the charter, which in this case records his gifts, in its recital and other clauses bears evidence of its having been the production of an ecclesiastical scribe, familiar with Saxon documents of the same nature.1
David, the king's brother and successor, founded, or more probably refounded, the monastery of Dunfermelyn; and in his charter, which conveys many possessions to the clerics, he conf1rms the gifts or grants (dona) of Malcolm Canmore, his father, and Margaret, his saintly mother, as well as of his brethren, Duncan, Edgar, Ethelred, and Alexander. The reference to these grants is unaccompanied by the clause which is soon found in such recitals, " sicut carta istius testatur;" and we may conclude that they had been made after the " wsuale and awld custumys," without charters, which otherwise would have been engrossed in the register, or referred to in the later writ.2
Most of the Gaelic entries in the Book of Deer record gifts of this nature, and they are of the highest interest and value as the only specimens left to us of the records of our forefathers, at a time when the people and polity were Celtic, and just before the introduction of elements which changed the aspect and character of both.
From them we are enabled to form conclusions on points which have hitherto been more the subject of speculation than of historical certainty.
In considering the questions thus suggested, it must be borne in mind, that the entries appear to have been written in the end of the eleventh and early part of the following century, while the
1 Liber Ecclesie de Scon, p. 1. 2 Registr. de Dunfermelyn, p. 3.