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(12) By the AMERICAN HISTORICAL AssociatION. Annual Report of the American Historical Association for 1903. Two vols., 8vo.
There were Exhibited :
By Rev. Mr MACINTOSH, P.P., through Mr JOHN BRUCE, F.S.A.
Scot. Bronze Hilt and Fragments of the Blade of a Double-edged Sword of
the Viking Period, an Iron Spear-head, and a Quadrangular Whetstone, dug up in the Island of Eriskay, by the late Rev. Mr Macdonald, P.P. The bronze sword-hilt (fig. 1) is of a form which is not uncommon in the later Iron Age of Norway, corresponding to the period of the incursions
of the Vikings on the west coast of Scotland. The pommel is five-
The spear-head is 3.1 inches in length, broken off at the neck. It is
The whetstone is quadrangular in section, 54 inches in length, 4 inch in breadth, and ž inch in thickness. It is a fine-grained, slightly micaceous schist, and is much worn by use on all its sides.
1. NOTES ON THE CHURCHYARDS OF CURRIE, KIRKNEWTON, AND THE
CALDERS. BY ALAN Reid, F.S.A. Scot. (With PHOTOGRAPHS BY JAMES MOFFAT.)
CURRIE. The earliest record of the ancient church of Killeith dates from 1296. In that year, William, Archdeacon of Lothian, and parson of the church of Keldeleth, swore fealty to Edward I. ; and, from a taxatio of that monarch's reign, we learn that this church, which was dedicated to St Kentigern, was rated at 50 marks, and pertained to the Priory of Coldingham. Till the Reformation, Killeith was regarded as the appropriate benefice of the Archdeaconry of Lothian, changing its status with its name, when, in 1584, James VI. granted to the newly founded college of Edinburgh the vicarage of Currie, with all its endowments. Through this transference the Town Council of Edinburgh became the patrons of the parish, which during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was variously styled Killeith and Currie.
Error has arisen from the assumption that the ancient Killeith—now Kinleith-and the later Currie were distinct and separate places. There is not the slightest foundation for that opinion, and within the churchyard of Currie there remains its clearest refutation. Here are the picturesque ruins of an ecclesiastical building, interesting historically and architecturally, and venerable enough to determine the site of the church which, though it changed its name, can only most unreasonably be charged with changing its local habitation. This medieval fragment undoubtedly formed the choir of the ancient church of Killeith. For many generations it has been used as a place of burial, and its history shows that at a dark period it was the reputed haunt of witches, serving at another time as the school of Currie parish. Its vaulted roof was a source of trouble to the heritors, who were repeatedly charged for its repair. In 1778, they appointed “the upper arch of the Quire to be taken down by day's wages, and the lower arch to stand as it is.” Further, that "the lower arch of the Quire be covered by the flag stones,
with a proper gate into the Quire," a deliverance which can only mean that the building was originally covered by an inner and an outer vaulting, the latter roofed with slabs, as at Corstorphine. Presumably the inner arch proved unfit to carry the burden thus imposed upon it, and soon the structure became the roofless ruin which now we see.
From instructions given in 1784 to the builders of the present parish
church, we gather that the ancient sanctuary was an exceptionally long and narrow structure. The ruined choir measures 31 feet in length, 23 feet in breadth, the ivy-clad walls being 9 feet in height and 33 inches in thickness. Repairs have obliterated nearly every detail of ancient work, but the exterior of the south wall shows two remarkable features, a door and a window, built up, but clearly traceable. These have arched lintels hewn from single stones, as shown in the measured
drawing (fig. 1) prepared by Mr John Watson, F.S.A. Scot., who assigns the work to a period not later than the fifteenth century. The sill of the window is now level with the ground outside, and only 3 feet 6 inches of the doorway is there visible. Investigation is difficult through elaborate pointing and the growth of ivy, but it is fairly obvious that the window was splayed towards the interior, and quite clear that both openings are chamfered round ther exterior angles.
Mr R. B. Langwill, who contributed interesting annals of his father's parish to the local supplement of Life and Work, observes : “Underneath the pathway to the west of the 'quire,' are traces of masonry showing that the north and south walls are continued in that direction.” These foundations point to transeptal buildings, and regarding the builtup door and window Mr Langwill speculates: “Adjoining the 'quire' on the south side, and communicating with it by means of the little doorway already mentioned, there may have been a small chapel or confessional." The idea is attractive, but it is not supported by constructive evidences. The chamfering of the angles points not to interior but to exterior conditions, and the splaying of the window further supports that view. Thus the window was simply one of the choir 'lights, and the door a means of entrance and exit for those in official positions. In any case, this remnant is of remarkable interest, and worthy of attention, study, and preservation.
Within this enclosure are a number of mural tombstones, the most important of which dates from 1670, and bears the following inscription in Latin :
HIC SEPVLTVS EST GE