'Charters of Crossraguel Abbey'






§ 6. The Abbey under Quintin Kennedy.—1547-1564.

During the next seventeen years —a period fraught with momentous consequences to Scotland—the monks of Crosraguel were ruled by the most ardent champion of the Established Church. Distinguished as a historian, a theologian, and a scholar, famed for his piety and his courage in resisting the steady current of Reformed opinion, Quintin Kennedy was emphatically a man abreast of his age. He was born in 1520,{4} the year of his uncle's election to the Abbacy of Crosraguel. His father was the second Earl of Cassillis, his mother Lady Isabel Campbell. He received his early education at St. Andrews, his name occurring among the students incorporated in 1540 at S. Salvator's College. Thence he proceeded to Paris to complete his studies, where he gained the friendship of his future antagonist, John Davidson, who in 1563 spoke of the "auld Parisiane kyndnes that was betuix us." On his return from France he was appointed by his uncle the Abbot to the vicarage of Girvan.{1} He never was Prior of Whithorn, as Mackenzie, with his usual inaccuracy, has stated. On the death of his brother Thomas at the battle of Pinkie he was presented to the benefice of Penpont,{2} and he succeeded his uncle in the Abbacy of Crosraguel in the autumn of 1547.{3}

The Earl of Cassillis had been entrusted by the monks with the guardianship of their monastery on the death of Abbot William;{4} and the first act of the new superior was to discharge the Earl of "all sums of money, goods, and gear," introinitted with by him during his guardianship,{5} and to acknowledge the faithfulness with which he had executed his trust. There were now eight brethren in residence at Crosraguel, with their Abbot Quintin and their Sub-Prior Robert MacEwen.{6} They lost about this time from their number one Gilbert Macbrayar,{7} who is recorded as having made many sumptuous additions to the Abbey buildings. Quintin Kennedy was probably the first Abbot to occupy the stately mansion to the south-east of the cloister.

Quintin was thrice present at the Privy Council in 1548,8 and bore his part in the discussions which followed the defeat of the Scottish forces at Pinkie. During the next ten years he was too busily engaged with his theological studies to pay much attention to affairs of State, though he was at the Parliament of 1554, and signed the bond "warranting the Duke of Chatelherault from meddling with the Royal Purse."{1} The following is a complete list of his works :{2} —

(i.) "A Compendius Tractive conform to the Scripturis of Almychtie God, Eessoun, and Authoritie, declaring the nerrest and onlie way to establishe the Conscience of ane Christiane manne in all matters concerning Faith and Keligioun."

The manuscript is in the Auchinleck Library. The work created an immense sensation at the time that it was published ; and in his reply to it John Davidson acknowledged that by its means " mony persons were movit to continew still in their auld superstitioun and idolatrie, who otherwise would have embraced the sincere and trew religioun of Christ befoir these day is, gif it had been suppressit in its infancie."

(ii.) "De Publico Ecclesiss Sacrificio."

(iii.) "Contra errores Germanorum in Fidei capita quatuordecem defensa contra Georgium Sophocardium."

(iv.) "Eesponsio ad Joannis Davidsoni opus."

(v.) "De vetitorum abstinentia."

(vi.) "De illicito Presbyterorum matrimonio."

(vii.) "De cultu imaginum."

(viii.) "I'aliuodia Willexio reddita, xxix ; Martii, MDLXII.

(ix.) "Querimonia super Knoxii fraude et impietate."

(x.) " Oratio pro obedientia supremis potestatibus habita die ultimo Augusti, MDLXII."

(xi.) " De prsesentia corporis in Sacramento altaris."

He also wrote a learned work on the "Judge of Controversies" in eighteen chapters, giving a detailed history of the Church Councils from early times.

In these ten years before the Reformation many important charters occur relating to the Abbey lands. In 1552 we find a lease by the Abbot to the Earl of Cassillis of the teinds of Straiton church for the annual payment of £80; a another to David Kennedy of Penny glen of the lands of Baltersan and Knockronald;{2} a third to one John Kirkpatrick of the lands of Clonlicht.{3} We have also a singular agreement between the Abbot and Sir Hew Kennedy of Girvanmains, by which Sir Hew was, under certain conditions, to pay to the Abbot and his successors 180 salmon yearly from the Water of Girvan.{4} On the establishment of the Reformed religion by the Parliament of 1560, Abbot Quintin displayed marvellous energy in defence of his monastery. A zealous supporter of the policy of the Queen Regent, and himself supported by the powerful protection of Cassillis, he was fortunate in preserving Crosraguel from the fate of others among the Scottish monasteries. Yet we find his name among those condemned by the first General Assembly of the Reformed Church,{5} together with the Earls of Cassillis and Egiinton, the Laird of Kirkmichael, and the parishioners of Maybole, Girvan, Kirkoswald, and Dailly. Notwithstanding the stringent enactments of the new Parliament, in Ayrshire and Galloway the new doctrines were long in taking root among the mass of the country people; and the influence of Abbot Quintin was mainly devoted to opposing them.

In 1561 the death-knell of the ancient monasteries was sounded. From Inverness and Elgin in the north, to Dryburgh and Whithorn in the south, the work of iconoclasm proceeded with ruthless violence. On the passing of the Act of Privy Council that "Idolatrie and all monumentis thairof suld be sup-pressit throughout the haill realme," the Earls of Arran, Glen-cairn, and Argyle, were despatched to the West to carry out the behest of the Congregation. We are told that they cast down Failfurd, Kilwinning, and " a part of Crosraguel."{1} How large a part that was, the shattered ruins of the once stately edifice are a silent witness. Abbot Quintin and his powerful patron could save the Abbey from total destruction, but they were unable to stem the torrent of popular feeling which had been aroused by the eloquence of Knox.

In this year, 1561, the Privy Council ordained that the annual revenues of every benefice in the kingdom should be calculated,{2} out of which the Catholic clergy were to pay one-third to the Queen, and to keep the remainder to themselves. The valuation of Crosraguel was given in at £409 13s 4d{3} from which £100 was to be paid to the Crown. The actual value of the benefice was undoubtedly greater. In 1275 the Abbey was valued for Bagimont's Roll at £533 6s 8d{1} and in 1564 the whole benefice was leased to the Earl of Cassillis for 700 marks, or £466 13s 4d{2} Yet the Abbot stoutly resisted the payment of the "Third," and he even incurred the pains of "horning" for refusing to deliver it to the Crown.{3} To the day of his death he worked hard to keep alive in his countrymen the old attachment to the Catholic faith. His famous disputation with John Knox at Maybole, a full account of which is given in the text,{4} lasting three days, and terminating with little definite result, proved him to be an antagonist well worthy of the Reformer's steel. He also challenged Willock to a controversy at Ayr in 1559, and sent a whole cartload of books to the market-place there to overwhelm him. Willock waited until ten in the morning for his opponent, who on his arrival found the preacher flown, and nailed a protest to the market-cross.{5} Quintin died at Crosraguel on the 22d of August 1564.{6} There is no authority for the statement that he met his end by poison.{7} He was undoubtedly among the greatest and best of the Catholic clergy, and a worthy successor to Abbot William. He devoted the greater part of his life to combating the doctrines of the Reformers, a task for which his noble birth, his great talents, and his scholarly attainments eminently fitted him. He was not canonised at his death.{8} He earned the esteem both of those who agreed and who differed with his opinions ; and the epigram on his life by one of the latter, Archbishop Adamson, is worth recording :—{1}

"Vie mihi quod dederam Papæ nomenque fideinque,

    Væ mihi quod Christi strenuus hostis eram!

Væ vobis, Papistæ omnes, nisi tempore vitæ

    Vos Christum amplexi Pontificem fugitis."  


1 4cta Parl. Scot., ii. p. 470. - Register of the Privy Council, vol. i. p. 33. 3 Ada Parl. Scot., ii. p. 598. Mackenzie's Lives of the Scotch Writers, iii. 57; Wodrow Society's Miscellany.

1 Mackenzie's Lives, p. 60. 2 Ibid. 3 Vol. i. p. 103. 4 Ibid. 5 Vol. L pp. 102-5. 6 Vol. i. p. 107. 7 Hay's Scotia, Sacra (MSS., Adv. Lib.), p. 87. 8 Register of tlie Privy Council, ii. 60-7.

1 Ada Park Scotia:, ii. p. 603. 2 From Mackenzie's Lives. (Cf. also Wodrow Miscellany; M'Crie's Life of Knox ; Paterson's Ayrshire, vol. ii., etc.)

1 Vol. i. pp. 117-18. 2 Vol. i. pp. 119-21. s Vol. i. pp. 121-3. 4 Vol. i. pp. 136-7. 6 Vol. i. pp. 124-5

1 Vol. i. pp. 126-7. 2 Tytler, vol. v. p. 344; Assumption of the Benefices (MSS., Adv. Lib.); and infra, vol. i. p. 125. 3 Vol. i. pp. 125-6.

 1 Vol. i. p. 11. "- Vol. i. pp. 137-8. 3 Vol. i. p. 126. 4 Vol. i. pp. 128-30 (note). 5 M'Gavin's Life of Knox, p. 529. ° Vol. i. p. 139. 7 Ibid. 8 He has been confused with S. Kinetus of Eremita, a saint of the 6th century. VOL. I. h





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