Dunglass Collegiate Church

Stopped off for a bit of exercise on the way home from Edinburgh and stumbled across this fine ruined church.

The brown tourist sign pointed to ‘Dunglass Collegiate Church‘ which I admit I had assumed would be some Victorian church associated with a school or college. But worth a ½km detour.

I now learn that a ‘Collegiate Church‘ is a church maintained by a college or collection of canons — non-monastic or secular clergy— which may be presided over by a dean or provost1Wikipedia Contributors (2021). Collegiate church. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collegiate_church [Accessed 5 Dec. 2021]..  The term ‘college‘ stems from Roman Law2Wikipedia Contributors (2021). College (Catholic canon law). [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College_(Catholic_canon_law) [Accessed 5 Dec. 2021].. A university or educational college is just a collection of academics.

A chapel was already in existence when, in the mid 15th-century, Sir Alexander Home of that Ilk, employed a provost and three chaplains — the college — to pray for his family’s souls and the chapel was raised to collegiate status3Wikipedia Contributors (2021). Dunglass Collegiate Church. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunglass_Collegiate_Church [Accessed 5 Dec. 2021]..

Dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, it was a simple rectangular chapel, and intended to be for the family’s sole use. There was a sacristy on the north side, where the sacred vessels, books, vestments, were kept, and a Hospital for the Poor, dedicated to St Mary and John the Baptist4Canmore.org.uk. (2021). Dunglass | Canmore. [online] Available at: https://canmore.org.uk/site/58881/dunglass [Accessed 5 Dec. 2021]..

In the 16th century, a new tower, and side chapels, the north and south transepts, were added5Canmore.org.uk. (2021). Dunglass | Canmore. [online] Available at: https://canmore.org.uk/site/58881/dunglass [Accessed 5 Dec. 2021].. Maybe it was after this that it became the parish church and the Laird allowed his tenants to worship in the nave.

Also in the 16th century, the church was used as a stronghold by both the sides in the Anglo-Scottish Wars known as the Rough Wooing6Historicenvironment.scot. (2021). Dunglass Collegiate Church. [online] Available at: https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/dunglass-collegiate-church/ [Accessed 5 Dec. 2021].. In later centuries, it suffered the ignominy of being used as a barn when the end windows were bulldozed out to allow access for farm machinery.

Another thing I learnt today is the phrase in Sir Alexander’s title ‘… of that Ilk‘. It’s a Scots expression following a person’s name to show that he lives in a place of the same name7Wiktionary.org. (2016). ilk – Wiktionary. [online] Available at: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ilk#Scots [Accessed 5 Dec. 2021].. Every day’s a school day.

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