Issue: Three Scottish Carmelite friaries. Excavations at Aberdeen, Linlithgow and Perth 1980-1986

Publication Type
Mono6.pdf (36 MB): Download
Author Derek W Hall
W J Lindsay
Editor J A Stones
Publisher Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Year of Publication 1989
Volume 6
Number of Pages: 175
ISBN 0 903903 06 7
Note Date Of Issue From: 1989
Source DigitalBorn
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1 - 175
Fortuitously, three friaries of a little-known order have recently undergone rescue excavation. The extent of previous knowledge from remains and documents is outlined (13th-16th century). At Aberdeen Building 1 is interpreted as the church (with burials within). At Linlithgow fourteen phases of med activity were noted, mostly of construction rather than use periods, and a large number of burials came from 13th-17th century contexts, including babies and children from phase 4 of the chapel (later extended as the friary church). E, S, and part of W range buildings were also explored. At Perth Building 1 was almost certainly the friary church, again with burials, and two conventual buildings were explored (?reredorter and E range). A substantial report is provided on the burials from all three sites, which illuminate many aspects of medieval conditions.
J A Stones
19 - 20
This volume presents the results of the three excavations which have taken place at the sites of Carmelite friaries in Scotland, It is interesting that of the half a dozen or so Scottish friaries which at the time of writing have been the subject of archaeological excavation, three should have been houses of the Carmelite order, which in so many other ways is so little understood.
Ian B Cowan
21 - 22
A brief history of the Carmelites is presented. The early history of the order and its activities in Scotland is obscure, but it can be assumed that the principal responsibility of the Carmelites was to preach, and they seem also to have been actively involved in teaching.
J A Stones
23 - 27
An account of the surviving remains is presented. Very little survives above ground: sites include the Franciscan house at Inverkeithing, the Dominican house at St Andrew's and the Carmelite one at South Queensferry. The excavations at Aberdeen, Perth and Linlithgow were exploring unknown territory as virtually nothing was known of the Carmelites in Scotland. A composite illustration shows the state of knowledge of the Scottish Whitefriars convents at the time of writing. It is clear that the one common factor which defines Scottish Carmelite friaries is the simple church building, aligned E-W, tending to be long and narrow and aisleless. The accepted arrangement of the domestic and administrative buildings of the friary was a series of structures situated around one or more courtyards or cloisters, most commonly S of the church. At Aberdeen, Linlithgow and Perth there is evidence of burials within churches, within the cloister (at Linlithgow) and in an external cemetery to the N and E of the church at Linlithgow. Other areas of the friary precinct, neither occupied by buildings nor cemetery, would have been utilised as open land, possibly cultivated, or as gardens or orchards.
R M Spearman
J A Stones
28 - 52
The documentary evidence is considerable and more than 300 separate documents or book entries have been preserved. Most are concerned with financial and property holdings of the friars. They are patchy for the 13th and 14th centuries and much more extensive for the 15th century. Excavation at 12 Martin's Lane revealed four periods of activity and stone buildings were identified. At 19-25 Hadden Street medieval burials were overlaid by garden soils.
R M Spearman
W J Lindsay
53 - 94
A summary account of the documentary evidence is presented. This is followed by a detailed archaeological description of the excavation. The archaeological contexts at Linlithgow have been divided into four periods: prehistoric occupation, most of which is likely to relate to the Neolithic period; medieval use of the site from the 13th century until the construction of the Carmelite friary church in the first half of the 15th century; the construction and occupation of the friary complex in the 15th and 16th centuries; and the destruction of the friary in the second half of the 16th century and subsequent use of the site. ailed archaeological description of each of the excavations. Radiocarbon dates appear at the end of the chapter.
R M Spearman
Derek W Hall
95 - 110
A very mixed collection of approximately 150 documentary references derive mostly from crown, episcopal and burgh records and are summarised here. Structural remains were revealed at Whitefriars Street and four periods of activity were identified. The first two relate to the construction and occupation of the excavated buildings while periods three and four describe the demolition of the buildings and post-friary activity. Burials survived in well preserved wooden coffins. Prior to the excavation the exact position and size of the friary complex were unknown.
J A Stones
W J Lindsay
W E Boyd
Juliet Cross
Margaret F Bruce
111 - 142
This chapter comprises eleven separate sections including the contents of the microfiche which are reproduced. The dating of the burials (13th-17th century), their possible identity and the manner of burial (including wooden coffins from Perth) are all discussed. This is followed by a specialist report on the human remains which includes individual record sheets and radiocarbon dates from Aberdeen.
Charles J Murray
W J Lindsay
N L MacAskill
143 - 146
This chapter contains a summary report of the pottery which is followed by individual site reports which have been reproduced from microfiche. Small quantities of Neolithic and Roman pottery were recovered from Linlithgow. Quantities of medieval and post-medieval pottery from Aberdeen, Perth and Linlithgow were small, frequently abraded and from residual contexts.
J A Stones
R Oddy
Geoffrey Stell
Derek W Hall
Donald Bateson
Nicholas M McQ Holmes
D Lehane
Ian A G Shepherd
W J Lindsay
James Cherry
Alison Goodall
John Higgitt
Helen Howard
Barbara Ford
Aidan Walsh
147 - 165
A summary report is followed by individual reports reproduced from microfiche. Objects of glass, stone, ceramic, lead, copper-alloy, iron, bone coins and a coin weight were recovered from Aberdeen. The assemblage from Linlithgow comprised Neolithic lithics, jet and bronze items, medieval and post-medieval glass, copper-alloy, stone, silver, lead and iron objects as well as coins and a jetton, wall plaster, pigments and a pigment container. Objects of glass, stone, ceramic, lead, copper-alloy, iron and bone with a coin were found at Perth.
J A Stones
R Ralph
Chris E Smith
Animal bone from Aberdeen and Linlithgow came mainly from disturbed contexts which could not readily be attributed to any particular period so it has not been reported on. The assemblage from Perth comprised mainly cattle bone followed by sheep/goat. Two owl pellets from period 4 at Linlithgow support the impression that at this stage the roof of the church had been dismantled.