James Douglas of Auchincassil

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On 11 October 1483 William Douglas, third of Drumlanrig appears as heir of James Douglas of Auchincassill, though in what relationship is not stated, and as such received a number of household goods from Robert Maitland of Queensberry and Elspeth his spouse, who also alleged a


AMONG miscellaneous writs preserved in the municipal archives of Glasgow is a small bundle of parchments, varying in date from 1444 to 1472, and relating to properties in Glasgow and Linlithgow with annualrents payable therefrom. So far as indicated by the contents of these documents their connection with the Town Council of Glasgow is not apparent, but an explanation is afforded by the abstract of a Charter recorded in Registrum Episcopatus Glasguensis, It is there set forth that Bishop Muirhead confirmed a Charter, dated 29th January, 1472-73, whereby James Douglas of Auchincassil founded a chaplainry of £10, with a chaplain thereof, within the Cathedral Church of Glasgow, on the south side of the nave, at the altar of St. Cuthbert, for the praise, glory', and honour of Almighty God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and of the glorious Virgin Mary, of St Cuthbert the Confessor, and of all saints ; endowed by annual rents payable furth of tenements in the burgh and city of Glasgow and in the burgh of Lynlythgw. After the death of the founder, the presentation was to belong to the provost, bailies, and community of the burgh and city of Glasgow. The witnesses (whether of charter or confirmation is not clear), are the venerable fathers in Christ, George by divine permission, abbot of Paisley; Colin, abbot of the monastery of Corsragwell ; also circumspect and discreet men, Masters William of Elphinstone, official general of Glasgow, Fergus Colinson, rector of Kirkbryd, John Lathirdale, John Goldsmyth, notaries public, and David Blar of Adamton, with sundry other witnesses to the premises specially required.* This is not the first notice in the Register of the altar of St. Cuthbert. On i6th May, 1467, Bishop Muirhead confirmed to the vicars of the choir certain lands, tenements, and annual rents formerly bestowed for services at the altars of St. John the Baptist, St Blaise the Martyr, and St. Cuthbert the Confessor, situated in the nave of the church. The vicars of the choir had been formed into an incorporation, and it is probable that they received the annual proceeds of the new endowment, and arranged for one or more of their number performing the religious services required by the deed of foundation, which unfrtunately has not been preserved. After the founder's death, the collection of the annual rents may have devolved on the Magistrates and Council as patrons, and, if so, the title-deeds, being the bundle of parchments above referred to, would then come into their hands.

The identification of the founder of the chaplainry is not established. As a territorial title, Douglas of Auchincassil has not been noticed except in connection with the endowment, though the place itself, assuming it to be that described as the six pound land of Auchingassil, is comprehended in the Duke of Queensbery's barony of Drumlangrig, which was conferred on William Douglas, the lineal ancestor of the present Duke, in the year 1388.

In 1472 Sir William Douglas, the fourth baron, was in possession, having succeeded in 1464. He was engaged in repelling the invasion of Scotland by the Duke of Albany and the Earl of Douglas, and was killed at the battle of Kirkconnel in 1484. Up till this time the barons of Drumlangrig had been noted warriors, but Sir James Douglas, the next in succession, has the reputation of having led a quieter life, and there is some ground for surmising that he was the founder of the St. Cuthbert chaplainry. Assuming that Auchincassil belonged to the family in 1472, it is readily conceivable how the son; in the lifetime of his father, should bear the designation contained in the foundation charter and relative writs. But it has to be noticed that a few years afterwards the designation was borne by another laird. On loth August, 1489, King James IV. granted in feu-farm to his squire " Robert Mateland of Auchincassill," for his faithful service, the castle stead and hill called the Mote of Tibbris, with the pertinents. Between the Maitlands and the Douglasses there had been protracted negotiations regarding these lands, anda settlement seems to have been effected in 15 10. On 2lst July of that year "James Mateland of Achingaschill" granted to " an honorable knight, Schir Wilh'am Dowgless of Drumlangrig/ a bond in which it was recited that the latter had granted to the former a new infeftment of i8 merks' worth of land of Achnigascill and Achinbanze, and 8 merks* worth of land in the town of the Tybberis in the barony of Tybberis and sheriffdom of Drumfreis.

On his part, Maitland undertook that he and his heirs should "stand leile and trew tennandis to the said Wilzeam and his ayris/' and also renounced all right " to the twa akiris of land, the mote and castelsted of the Tybbiris, to be broukit and joisit be the said Wilzeam and his ayris in tym to cum."^ It is therefore not improbable that the ownership of Auchincassil may have been the subject of contention for a number of years, but, so far as ascertained facts go, there seems to have been nothing to prevent its being the territorial designation of the son of Baron Douglas in 1472.

On account of the original charter not being in existence the circumstances under which the chaplainry was founded and the special religious services which the chaplain had to perform are not known, but it is probable that the whole scheme was the outcome of communings between the country laird and the cathedral clergy when the latter were visiting their rural charges. Auchingassil was in Penpont parish on the border of Durisdeer which was the prebend of the sub-chanter of the cathedral. Kirkbride then adjoined, and is now partly absorbed by the parish of Durisdeer, and it will be observed that the rector of Kirkbride was a witness to the charter of 1472. As regards the endowments these were not derivable from ancestral acres but consisted of investments secured for the special purpose. That the money was to be collected and spent in Glasgow sufficiently explains the acquisition of revenues from property situated there, but the reason for going west to Linlithgow for the remainder is not so obvious. As specimens of ancient conveyancing, full translations of the two oldest title-deeds, the first a sasine and the second a charter, may be given.

James III: Manuscript > 1483, 7 October, Edinburgh, Parliament > Parliamentary Register > [11 October 1483]

In the accioun and cause persewit be Williame of Douglas of Dru[m]langrig as aire to umquhil James of Douglas of Auchincassill, on the ta part, again Robert Mateland of Quenysbery and Elspeth, his spous, on the tother part, anent the movable gudis of areschip of umquhile the said James clamyt be the said Williame to pertene to him as aire for said, baithe the said partiis beand present, thare ressouns and allegaciouns herde and understandin, the lordis auditouris decretis and deliveris that the said Robert Matelande and Elspethe, his spous, sall content, pay and deliver to the said Williame of Douglas as are to the said James a faldin burde price viij crounis, a horse price tene merkis, a chalice weyande vj unce withe the anorment of the alter, a suerde, a fedder bed price xxx s., curtynnis and rufe of worsat and the aperillin of a hall price v crounis, a silver pece weyande viij uncez, a cuschoune, a silver salfat, a silver spune, a dusan of pewder veschele, a basyne and a lawar of latoune price x s., a caldroune price xx s., a pot price x s., a pane price v s., j chyar, a jak, a ladil, a guse pan, a elecruke, a speit, a goune price x s., a doublat of silk, a candlestik, and a fryinpan, and ordanis that lettrez be writin to distrenye thaim, thare landis and gudis for the somez of money and gudis forsaide. And gif the saidis Robert and Elspethe, his spous, has ony clame or richt to the said gudis, that thai persew thaim lauchfully tharefor and justice salbe ministrit to thaim,4 and saufande the richt of the clame of the said chalice to the alter of Glasgw.

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