The Hornblawer

Historic Corstorphine, its Christian History and
Subsequent Connections with the Forrester Family


by Annette Hixenbaugh, Oklahoma Regional Commissioner

Sir John Forrester - Corstorphine Church

About 651, a monastic center under the auspices of Wilfrid, a Northumbrian churchman and champion of Roman Christianity, was set up at Abercorn on the Forth estuary and not a great distance from Castane and Corstorphine. Its purpose was to not only strengthen Northumbrian hold on Pictland, but to bring southeast Scotland under the Anglo-Roman Church, as opposed to the Celtic Columbian Church. Trumwine, the Bishop of Abercorn, styled himself Bishop of the Picts. The main conflict between these two rites of the Christian Church centered on the date of Easter observance. Finally, in 664, King Oswy of Northumbrian, at Whitby, chose the Anglo-Roman Church. Bishop Trumwines stay at Abercorn came to an abrupt end in 685. The Pictish crushing victory at Nechtansmere in Angus over the Northumbrian Angles led by Ecfrith, son of Oswy, sent Trumwine scuttling back to Whitby and saved Scotland from being submerged in the Northumbrian English kingdom. The churchmen of Northumbria, remaining loyal to the Columbian Celtic Church, returned to Iona and their mother church.

In the 7th century, when Northumbrian religious and political struggles were having repercussions on Scotland, Christian burial ground began to be associated with small rectangle chapels. It is probably from such origins that the parish church with its surrounding cemetery, evolved. Between the 7th and 11th centuries, the work of St. Cuthberts church must have been carried on with great zeal, for by David Is time (ca. 1084-1153), it had great possessions of endowments and land. At this time, Norman, Sheriff of Berwick, had a chapel in Corstorphine. Later, it appears as part of a church of St. Cuthbert. Then, when this church was bestowed by David I on the Abbey of Holyrood, the Chapel of Corstorphine with six acres of land and two oxgates also went to Holyrood. David I is given credit for granting the chapel of Corstorphine to Holyrood, but Norman, the Sheriff, was also considered a donor.

By the next century in Alexander IIs reign (1198-1249), the chapel again appears when David, the Kings Marshall, the owner of Corstorphine, exchanged land with Holyrood. David le Mareshall got two acres belonging to the chapel, as they lay between his lands: Holyrood Abbey got the meadow, called Hardmedwe, situated within the limits of Salchton. Hard is a reminded of the existence of firm ground between the lochs of Gogar and Corstorphine.

In 1444, the foundation charter of the Collegiate Church, particularly notes that the church had been set up in a burial ground In cemiterio parochialis ecclese de Corstorphine. The curve of the ground at the present War Memorial in Kirk Loan, is today the reminder of that early Christian

Sometime between the excambion of David le Mareschall, and the coming of Adam Forrester, in the second half of the 14th century, the Chapel of Corstorphine became the parish church dedicated to St. Mary. The 12th century Norman kings, sons of Queen Margaret Canmore, of whom David I is perhaps the best known, organized the Scottish churches into parishes - a saur sabact for the crown. Possibly, it was his gift of the Corstorphine chapel to Holyrood Abbey in 1128, that led to the chapels becoming the parish church which served the community.

The Hornblawer