'Charters of Crossraguel Abbey'





THE following curious notices of the Abbey have been gleaned from some writers of the past and previous centuries. Mr. Abercrumbie, the Episcopal minister of Maybole at the close of the seventeenth century, thus alludes to it :—

"In this countrey Religion has had the influence upon the people to dispose them to the founding and endowing many places for devotion; for though there be but one monasterie in all this country, viz. Crossraguel, -within two myles of Mayboll, westward; which, besyd other revenue, enjoyed the tythes of these five parishes, viz. Kirkoswald, Dailie, Girvan, Ballantrae, and Straton; which enjoyed the jurisdiction of Regality within itselfe, to which all its vassals and tenants were answerable; yet were there also severall other pious foundations and dotations. There is the Munkland, ane 100 merkland of old extent, which is an appendage of the Abbacy of Melrose, and had a separate Jurisdiction of its owne, for ministring justice to all the vassals and tenants thereof. The Laird of Ardmillan, one of the vassals, was Heretable Bailie; and upon the parcelling of his fortune, was acquired by Kennedy of Grange."

The parish of Ballantrae is of a great extent. Though the people be not numerous, the Clachan is pretty populous. The patron hereof is the King, and the Lord Bargany pretends mightily to it;{1} but upon examination it will be found to belong to the Abbacy of Crosseragwell.

The parish of Daillie lyes in length east and west on both sides of Girvan; more populous than spacious. The patron hereof is the Bischop of Dumblain, in the right of the Abbacy of Crosseraguel.

The parish of Kirkoswald is pretty populous, because of the coast syde whereof it consists, and is all the pleasure thereof; for the place of the churche's situation is very obscure and unpleasant, being 'twixt two hills at the end of a bogue and marish. The Patron hereof is the Bishop of Dumblain, in the right of the Abbacy of Crosseragwell. The fabrick of which abbey stands within the parish. The monks were of the Cistercian order. The situation thereof is no ways pleasant. The fabrick of the church is entire, without a roofe. Much of the building is demolished, yet there be two towers still standing entyre in ther walls. It stands about midway 'twixt Mayboll and Kirkoswald. The houses of the gentry residing in this parish are The Cove, Thomastowne, Beltersan, and Balsarach, and Thrave. The two last are obscure countrey dwellings; but Beltersan is a stately, fyne house, with gardens, orchards, parks, and woods about it; lying from Mayboll about ane myle's distance."

The following is an amusing version of the foundation of the abbey from an old Advocates' Library MS.{2}—

"Nixt Galloway lyis Carrick; the name fra king Carrataik, quha buildit of auld ane towne tliairin; the quhilk wes efter his name callit Carrik. Sum thinkis that this cuntry wes nemmit this way efter the Queiue Carramantis; quha remaynit in the sam pairtt, efter the death of her husband Eugeneus, quha wes bureyit quhair now the Abbay of Corsragwell stands; quhilk scho builditt, for luiff of hir husband"

And we have the following from an ancient description of Carrick from Sir James Balfour's Collections.{1}—

"Two monasteries are seatted in this Prouince; Corsreguall, sometyme a Cell of the Abbey of Paisley, founded by Duncane Mack-oneill, Earle of Carrike in anno salutis 1246; and the College of Maybole, founded by Sir Gilbert Kennedy, Laird of Dunure, for a buriall-plaice.


"In this Iylland there is the mines of ane old Castell and Chapell,{3} possest by the Earls of Cassillis, quo holds the same of the Abbey of Corsreguall. It is not much above a myle in circumference, being one hard and solide rocke, having one its tope a fontaine of cristaline vatter."

 Bishop Lesley{4} has but one reference to Crosraguel:—

"Supra Galdiam Siluria est, gens olini ut et nunc bellicosissima, quam Tacitus scribit Eomanis ipsis infestam atque rebellem semper fuisse. Ejus partes tres nume-rantur, Caricta situ primo, deinde Kyla, cui adjacet Cunninghamia; in his tribus, sicut et in Cludisdalia superiore et inferiore illis promissis magna est et nobilium et populi seges: Comites, Eeguli (quos Milords dicimus) Equites, Barones, Nobilesque alii plurimi. Carictam a Carictonia numerosissima quondam illi civitate dictam putant: arces multte splendidce, avte naturaque munitae : pagi frequentes sed multo frequenti-ores (ut ubique apud nos) villse: agrorum fecunditas his omnibus fere par: pascua uberrima, unde casei optimi, et butyri magna copia : triticum rarius ; cresceret tamen felieissime plurimis in locis, si sibi quaestini existimantes futurum in id incumberent agricolas. Littora ubique pisculenta ut et fluvii, lacus, et amnes : sylvse rarce; in utraque tamen Cludisdalia frequentiores : monasteria rariora : habet tamen Caricta monasterium Crucis Kegalis."




1 V. Pitcairn's History, p. 186. J Ibid., p. 189. s V. Vol. i. p. 38 (note). 4 De Rebus Gestis, p. 9.

1 Supplemented Catalogue of Ancient Scottish Seals, Plate xii. Fig. 8. 2 Vol. i. p. 23. 3 Vol. i. p. 27. * Vol. ii. p. 21. 5 Vol. i. p. Gl. 6 Description of Carricl; in Pitcairn's History, p. 167.

 1 Cf. vol. ii. p. 70. 2 Description of Cairick, from Pitcairn, p. 184. ==============================================





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