Nisbet/Crailing

Feature Sets (2)

Description

In 1606 or 1612 the parishes of Crailing and Nisbet were united and the church at Crailing was appointed to serve both. In 1622 the property and lands which had belonged to the canons of Jedburgh were made into a temporal lordship and given to Sir Andrew Ker. In 1642 Lady Anna Ker, countess of Lothian, was retoured of the tithes of the church of Nisbet and other churches ‘Quae sunt ecclesiae antiquae abbatiae de Jedburgh’. The church at Nisbet was demolished about 1757 and by 1792  there was no vestige left of the building. The churchyard, however, continued in use. In 1905, two coped grave covers were described as being in the churchyard. At that time, it was documented that there were two supports for the tegulated hogback grave cover, one of which was decorated with chevron. This large grave cover had apparently been discovered in 1890 when the churchyard was levelled. In 1944 it was still entire and located at the southern end of the churchyard, but some years later it disappeared and was found broken into 16 pieces lying in a ditch around the churchyard. It has subsequently put back together and is now in the Museum at Hawick. A cross head also existed and was photographed in 1905. The present location of the chevroned stone and cross head is not known.

History

Ranulph de Soules (or Sules), a Northamptonshire baron, obtained Nisbet in Teviotdale from David I, possibly between 1113 and 1124. He in turn granted half of a carrucate of land in Nasebith to Jedburgh Abbey. The chapel appears to have been granted to the canons of Jedburgh between 1124 and 1153. In the small church of Nisbet, in 1220 and again in 1228, differences between the bishop of Glasgow and the canons of Jedburgh were discussed. Between 1306 and 1329, Robert the Bruce confirmed tithes from the Chapel of Nisbet and Crailing, granted to them by the Earls Gospatrick. On the forfeiture of William Soulis in 1320, Robert the Bruce granted the barony to Robert Stewart, son and heir of Walter Stewart.

Features

Loose Sculpture

Coped grave cover

The small coped grave cover is located at the southern end of the graveyard. In 1905, a photograph of it was published showing it entire, though notes by Curle refer to a single break. Subsequently, the grave cover became three individual pieces. These have since been roughly reattached. The weathered top face is flat and undecorated except for two incised lines (one along each outer edge). The sloping sides are also well-weathered and at present any decoration (if there was any) cannot be easlily read, but Curle reported that one side had 'small depressions or punch marks'.

Dimensions

Height (max.) 0.16 m
Length 0.92 m
Width (narrower end) 0.22 m
Width (wider end) 0.24 m

Coped grave cover (now in Hawick Museum)

Tegulated on the sloping sides, the top face has been carved with a cross of three arms and a long stem where the fourth arm would be expected. For further description and discussion see: Hawick Museum.

Dimensions

Height (narrower end) 0.24 m
Height (wider end) 0.28 m
Length 1.64 m
Width (narrower end) 0.33 m
Width (wider end) 0.43 m

Head of cross and chevroned stone

The location of the cross head and chevroned stone is unknown, but in the 1904-1905 Proceedings of the Antiquaries of Scotland, Laidlaw described both, and Curle described the chevroned stone. The cross is formed by three arms and three-quarters of a recessed circle, with holes cut out between the arms and the circle. Below this is a wide, pointed section which resembles the top of a gable.  There is no other decoration on the faces. On the chevroned stone the chevron mouldings are carved on three facetted sides, the design being formed by a series of alternating large and small rolls. Curle wrote that the larger rolls were about two inches wide and the smaller rolls about one inch. The stone was recorded as red in colour and, apparently, plain on one face.

Dimensions

Cross head, Length 0.635 m approx. (2 ft 1 in., from Laidlaw)
Cross head, Width across head 0.305 m approx. (1 ft, from Laidlaw)
Depth of chevroned stone 0.18 m appox. (7 in., from Curle)
Length of chevroned stone 0.38 m approx. (15 in., from Curle)
Width of chevroned central face 0.125 m approx. (5 in., from Curle)
Width of chevroned side face (1) 0.125 m approx. (5 in., from Curle)
Width of chevroned side face (2) 0.10 m approx. (4 in., from Curle)
Width (total) of chevroned stone 0.255 m approx. (10 in., from Curle)

Comments/Opinions

It is important not to confuse Nisbet in the parish of Crailing (Roxburghshire) granted to Jedburgh Abbey with the Nisbet in the parish of Edrom (Berwickshire) which was granted to Durham Priory. It is likely that the chevroned stone (now missing) was carved in the 12thc. Facetted shafts exist not far away at both Dunfermline Abbey (Fife) and Duddingston (City of Edinburgh), but neither has quite the same chevon profile. Curle suggested that the decorated stone was part of a hogback monument, but comparisons and size suggest it could have been part of a shaft or half-shaft. It is undocumented as to what the plain face looked like, so it is not known if it was original or cut back later. The cross head (also missing) finds local comparisons with ones that have been found, for example, at Coldingham Priory and Hobkirk, but the lack of a fourth cross arm is unusual. The appearance of a three-armed cross on the large coped grave cover now in Hawick raises the question as to whether the two were contemporary.

For more information see the CRSBI entry for the Hawick Museum.

Bibliography

  • Royal Commisson of Ancient and Historical Monuments Scotland, An Inventory of Ancient and Historical Monuments of Roxburghshire, 1, Edinburgh 1956, no. 196.

  • I. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland, Scottish Record Society, 93 (1967), 157.

  • K. Cruft, J. Dunbar and R. Fawcett, The Buildings of Scotland: Borders, London 2006, 198.

  • A. Curle, ‘Notes on a hog-backed and Two Coped Monuments in the Graveyard of Nisbet, Roxburghshire’, Proceedings of the Antiquaries of Scotland, 39 (1905), 363-366.

  • J. Gordon, Monasticon, Vol. 1, Glasgow 1868, 250, 252 and 254.

  • Inquisitionem ad Capellam Domini Regis Retornatarum quae in Publicis Archivis Scotiae adhuc Servantur, Abbreviatio, 2 (1811), Roxburgh no. 176.

  • A. Jeffrey, The History and Antiquities of Roxburghshire and Adjacent Districts, Vol. 2, London 1857, 369-70.

  • W. Laidlaw, Sculptured and Inscribed Stones in Jedburgh and Vicinity, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 39 (1905), no. 26 and fig. 22.

  • J. Lang, ‘Hogback Monuments in Scotland’, Proceedings of the  Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 105 (1975), 206-235.

  • A. Lawrie, Early Scottish Charters Prior to A.D. 1153, Glasgow 1905, 309.

  • The Bannatyne Club, Origines Parochiales Scotiae, Vol. 1, Edinburgh 1851, 371, 387-88.

Location

Site Location
Nisbet/Crailing
National Grid Reference
NT 673 257 
Boundaries
pre-1975 traditional (Scotland): Roxburghshire
now: Scottish Borders
Diocese
now: n/a
medieval: Glasgow
Dedication
now:
medieval: unknown
Type of building/monument
Graveyard  
Report authors
James King 
Visit Date
16 April 2015