Dunfermline Abbey

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The abbey Bruce memorial window   Bruce memorial window close up map memorial stones 

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Dunfermline signifDunfermline signifies, in Gaelic, The fort by the crooked rivulet; which fort refers to the building called Malcolm Canmore's tower that was placed on the peninsular mount in Pittencrieff glen. Dun signifies either a hill or a fort, becaue the strongholds were generaly built on eminences. Fiar means crooked or winding, and and loin or lyn, a pool and a running water. In after times dun in Gaelic, and tun in Anglo-saxon, came to signify a dwelling, a steading a village, a town.

Research notes:

•  Jesus and Nathaniel.
Firm: Ballantyne & Son, Edinburgh.
Date: 1877.
Inscription: BEHOLD AN ISRAELITE INDEED IN WHOM IS NO GUILE. [John 1. 47.] IN
MEMORY OF JAMES DOUGLAS ESQ AND HELEN BLACK HIS WIFE. ERECTED
BY THEIR SON DAVID DOUGLAS WRITER TO THE SIGNET 1877. FORWARD.
NEW MEMORIAL WINDOW IN THE ABBEY CHURCH.—A new memorial stained glass
window has been placed on the south side of the Abbey Church. The inscription it bears is as
follows:—“In memory of James Douglas, Esq., and Helen Black, his wife. Erected by David
Douglas, Writer to the Signet—1877.” The central part of the window shows several figures,
illustrative of the interesting Scripture narrative of the Saviour greeting Nathaniel. The
window is also adorned with the Douglas Coat of Arms, very effectively arranged. In
executing the work, Messrs. Ballantyne & Son, Edinburgh, have displayed much artistic skill
and taste.
Dunfermline Saturday Press, 11.8.1877, 2c.

•  Doubting Thomas.
Firm: James Ballantyne, 42 George Street, Edinburgh.
Date: 1878.
Inscription: ST JOHN XX 27 28. [Doubting Thomas.] IN MEMORY OF ROBERT
DOUGLAS OF ABBEY PARKS. ERECTED BY HIS WIDOW. ALSO IN MEMORY
OF HER FATHER AND MOTHER DAVID BLACK OF BANDRUM AND MARY
SUTHERLAND HIS WIFE. 1878.
ANOTHER STAINED-GLASS WINDOW FOR THE OLD ABBEY.—On Wednesday, another
stained-glass window was inserted in the south-westmost corner of the Old Abbey, which
brings the number of memorial windows up to eight. The new window has been presented by
Mrs Robert Douglas, Abbey Parks, and is in memory of her husband and father and mother.
The style used is Gothic, and the subject is “Doubting Thomas”—taken from John, xx. 27-
28—and represents Christ standing before the disciple, pointing to the print of the nails in his
hands and feet, and also the mark of the spear in his side. The design is the work of Mr Jas.
Ballantyne, 42 George Street, Edinburgh; and has been very artistically finished, and the
window will compare with any of the others erected in the Old Abbey. The following is the
inscription at the bottom of the window:—
“In memory of Robert Douglas, Abbey Parks. Erected by his widow. Also, in memory of
her father and mother—David Black of Bandrum, and Mary Sutherland, his wife, 1878.”
Dunfermline Saturday Press, 4.5.1878, 2d.

NEW STAINED GLASS WINDOW IN THE ABBEY.—During the past week an important
addition has been made to the window decoration of the Abbey. A stained glass window has
been placed in the aperture at the south west corner of the building, and bears an inscription,
of which the following is a copy—“In memory of Robert Douglas of Abbey Parks—erected
by his widow—also in memory of her father and mother, David Black of Bandrum, and Mary
Sutherland his wife—1878.” The execution of the work has been entrusted to Messrs James
Ballantine & Sons, George Street, Edinburgh, who have successfully represented, in the
antique style of glass staining, the passage from the life of our Lord, where Thomas places his
fingers in the wound in his side. All the windows on this side of the building are now filled
with stained glass, and the appearance of the Abbey is thus much enhanced. Perhaps it may
not be considered out of place if we here draw attention to the state of the stained light
surmounting the west door of the building. An ugly fracture has been made in it by a stone or
some such missile, and the whole of the window is very much bulged inwards; indeed, it
appears, as if a good north-westerly gale would blow it in bodily.
Dunfermline Journal, 4.5.1878, 4b.

•  Among other stained glass widows are memorials of the local families of
Hunt, Spowart, Reid, Alexander of Dr Chamers, the local historian, and
of Dr Douglas, whose wife was related to Dr John Mackie a physician of
high repute in Court circles in the eighteenth century, who claimed for his
family a Highland ancestry extending back through many generations.

•  The Wars of Independence predate the fashion for accurate portraiture: the weathered, generic military effigy of Sir James Douglas is one of the few to survive in Scotland. Later centuries saw a need and supplied it by a crowd of images of its historic heroes, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, each depicted according to contemporary taste and imagination.

•  In 1818, when the workmen were clearing the site of the ancient choir,
preparatory to the erection of the new Church, a body, afterwards
identified as that of King Robert, was found in a vault near the site of the
high altar of former days. The body was about six feet long, and the
breast bone was seen to have been sawn to permit of the removal of the
heart, which Sir James Douglas essayed to carry to Jerusalem, in
accordance with the desire of the pious King. As is well known, Sir
James died in a conflict with the Saracens in Spain, and the heart was
brought back to Scotland for burial in Melrose Abbey. When the new
Church was in course of erection in 1819, the skeleton of the patriot
King, having been re-wrapped in its original leaden winding sheet and
placed in a leaden coffin filled with melted pitch, to preserve the remains
from further decay was placed in the Bruce vault, mid-way between the
two transepts.

•   Until a few years ago Queen Anne Street Church was seated for 2000
persons. By a change in the front wall in 1898 the barn-like shape of the
great meeting-house has been appreciably modified; while an internal
renovation with the introduction of a fine organ and of two beautiful
memorial windows, by the Sloane family of New York as a tribute to the
piety of their grandmother, Euphemia Douglas, who was baptised here,
has proved a highly successful modernisation, though it has reduced the
sitting accommodation.

•  Despite the prohibition on upright monuments it was not long before they began to appear in the churchyard, but this time with the sanction of the Heritors. In October 1860 the widow of Robert Douglas of ‘Craigdhu’ in Abbey Park Place asked the Management Committee to allow her to place a monument over her husband’s grave. They agreed as long as it was no more than three feet high. Robert Douglas owned four lairs, numbers 284-7 and a monument still stands on his grave, although not the original one which has been replaced with a pedestal some two metres high on which stands a coffin-shaped slab bearing the inscription ‘Robert Douglas of Abbey Park died 25th July 1858 aged 80 years’. The pedestal on which this remnant of the original monument stands bears a marble insert which commemorates his parents and siblings.
A second marble insert has fallen out of its mount.

•  List of births with no father's name:
David Henderson DOUGLAS 13 January 1864 Mary DOUGLAS
Jessie DOUGLAS 8 January 1867 Janet DOUGLAS
Richard Hardie DOUGLAS 30 July 1870 Agnes DOUGLAS
Thomas Arthur DOUGLAS 30 December 1859 Janet DOUGLASr


See also:
•  18th century deeds
•  Dunfermline records
•  The royal Burgh of Dunfermline

 

Sources

 

Sources for this article include:

•  The Journal Guide to Dunfermline, 1929
•  Dunfermline Abbey; John Marshall, 1910

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Last modified: Wednesday, 18 July 2018