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Chapter XIII: Restoration,
1405-1459

The darkened roof rose high aloof,
On pillars lofty, and light, and small ;
The keystone that locked each ribbed aisle
Was a fleur-de-lys or a quatre feuille.
The corbels were carved, grotesque and grim,
And the pillars, with clustered shafts so trim,
With base and with capital flourished around,
Seemed bundles of lances which garlands had bound.
                                               Scott.



WHEN ROBERT III. was laid in his last resting-place the Abbot and Convent were under the ban of excommunication. They had incurred the wrath of the Bishop, and had been formally excommunicated, interdicted, and suspended in their own Church of Rutherglen by a certain Walter de Roule, Rector of the Parish Church of Torbolton, acting for Matthew the Bishop. [1] The Abbot appealed directly to the Pope, who took under his special protection the Order of Clugny. It was, as he put it, the only remedy left them against the power of their oppressors. The language of the appeal is very strong, and states their grievance in a very unmistakeable way. Walter had caused to be fulminated against them the sentence of excommunication “to the great prejudice and injury of us and of the whole Order of Clugny, and in contempt and defiance of the privileges of our whole Order of Clugny, and the privileges of its members.” These privileges exempted them from the jurisdiction of the ordinaries of their houses, and they could not allow them to be invaded ; they therefore invoke “our Lord the Pope,” and appeal to the most holy Apostolic See, and they commend to that See the preservation, the defence, and the protection of themselves and their goods, and especially the revenues of the Church of Rutherglen, which appear to have given rise to the contention. It was in 1388 [2] they took their appeal, and it was twenty years afterwards before it was finally disposed of. The Archdeacon of Glasgow, Symon de Mundavilla, heard the case by Papal authority and freed them from their excommunication, and from the suspension of their Convent, and the interdict laid on their Monastery and their Church, and decreed, declared, and publicly pronounced them absolved. The chief agent on the part of the Abbot in carrying out this appeal to the Pope was a monk of the name of William Cheshelme, or, as he is called, De Cheshelme. Whether he occupied any office in the Monastery we do not know, but he acted often as procurator for Abbot Lithgow, and appears to have been well skilled in canon law. He probably became indispensable to his superior, who was now becom¬ing an old man, and was appointed coadjutor abbot. Of the precise date of his elevation to this office we are ignorant, but in 1414 we find him entering into an agreement with the burgesses of Renfrew regarding the mill of that town, which belonged to the Abbey. He did not enjoy his honours long, for the venerable John de Lithgow soon after appears to have found another colleague. His name was Thomas Morwe. We know of him only from the fact that in 1420 he received from King Henry V. of England a safe conduct for himself and six companions, [3] which was to last from the 13th October to the 1st of January, 1421. On the 21st April in that year he receives a similar permit for himself and three attendants, and, on the 9th of June, for himself and four attendants. [4] It would be interesting to know the business which took the Abbot of Paisley across the border so frequently, but as to this we are simply left to conjecture. [5] Negotiations were going on at the time for the release of the King of Scotland from his captivity. They were conducted chiefly by ecclesiastics, and the Abbot of Paisley may have been among them. [6]


[1] Reg. de Pas., p. 332. This was in 1388.
[2] Reg. de Pas., p. 336.
[3] Rotuli Scotiae, p. 8. Hen. V.
[4] Safe-Conduct for Thomas Morwe, Abbot of Paisley. Rotuli Scotiae, 8, Hen. V., 1420, 13th October. It is in these terms—“The King of Britain, under his patents to last till the first day of January next, undertakes, for the safe and secure conduct and protection, security and defence of Thomas Morwe, Abbot of the Monastery of Paisley, with the three attendants accompanying him, and horses, goods, and baggage whatsoever, into the kingdom of the King of England, coming together or separately, staying or trading ; returning thence as often as he pleases to his own home, separately or conjointly. Provided always as in similar cases.—This safe-conduct, granted at Westminster 13th October, in presence of the Council.”
[5] In 1423 Thomas Morwe was in Rome, and on 20th September of that year paid certain dues into the Papal Treasury, 1333 golden florins. “The Episcopal Succession,” by W. Maziere Brady, Vol. I., p. 204. Rome, 1876.
[6] On the 26th April, 1416, a Letter of Safe-Conduct is granted to the Abbot of Balmerino and others going to England as Commissioners to treat for the ransom of James I. of Scotland. On the 19th August, 1423, the same Abbot receives a commission to go to England on the same business. On the 16th September of the same year Henry grants another Safe-Conduct to him and others going to London on that embassy. See also Tytler, Vol. II., p. 48 ; Balmerino and its Abbey, p. 101.