1264 - 1299 bishop Laurence Argyll / Laurentius Ergadienfis epifcopus

"In ancient days, the bishops of Argyle made Lismore their fertile and peaceful abode, and there the forebears of Duncan McLaren lived for generations.” MacKie

 At the People of Mediaeval Scotland (POMS) website quoted below there are currently thirty-five documents pertaining to Laurence, bishop of Argyll. POMS refers to Laurence as a member of the MacDougall family which aligns with my belief that his Kindred had lived in Lorn for centuries where the MacDougalls were the Lords of Lorn.

“Several clans possessed traditional ties with the Mendicant orders: the MacDougall lords of Argyll had supplied a continuous line of  Dominican bishops of Argyll during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, while the Campbells and MacLachlans were donors to the Blackfriars (Dominican) of Glasgow and Stirling.” Iain MacDonald, ‘That Uncouth Dialect’: English-Speaking Clergy in Late Medieval Gaelic Scotland

“Watt and Murray, Fasti, 35: Elected bishop of Argyll to succeed Alan (d. 1262), his consecration taking place after 31 March 1264. He appears as bishop on 20 June 1268 and again on 29 October 1299. Watt, Graduates, 180-1: Was a Dominican Friars Preacher before his election, and may have been a member of the Macdougall family of Argyll. He left Scotland in October 1273, with four other Scottish bishops, to attend the general council at Lyons, returning after July 1274. He was dead by 18 December 1300.” People of Medieval Scotland, Univ. of Glasgow

In “Registrum Monasterii de Passelet”, Loarn/Laurence was described in many ways by early church clerics. Each one represents a different church document from the 13th century.

Laurentius carpentarius quondam de nobis tenuit, et dominum / Lawrence carpenter once held out to us, and the master

Laurentium Ergadienfem / Laurence Argyll

Laurentius Ergadienfis epifcopus / bishop Laurence Argyll

Frater laurentius miferatione divina Ergadienfis / Laurence is the brother of divine mercy Argyle

patris domini Laurentii Dei gratia Ergadienfis ecclefie epifcopi / Grace's father, Laurence, of the Argyle church bishops

domino Laurencio Dei gratia Ergadienfi / Laurence is the grace of the Argyle

Laurentii Ergadienfium / Laurence Argyle

To give you an idea of the what was going on in Argyle and the Western Isles at this time here is a disturbing passage from Frisboks Hakon Hakon’s Saga, c 322; Codex Frisianus, p. 569.

“In the previous summer [1262 or 1263] letters came east from the Hebrides, from the kings; and they brought forward much about the dispeace that the Earl of Ross, and Kiarnak, Makamal’s son and other Scots, had made in the Hebrides, when they went out to Skye, and burned a town and churches, and slew very many peasant men and women. And they said also that the Scots had taken the little children, and laid them on their spear-points, and shook their spears until they brought the children down to their hands, and so threw them away, dead. They said also that the Scottish king intended to lay himself all the Hebrides.” Origines Parochiales Scotiae

“In the year 1265 the church of Kylkeran with its chapels and lands was confirmed to the monks by Pope Clement IV. In 1269 Laurence bishop of Argyle confirmed to them ' the mother church of Saint Queran in Kintyir, which is called Kilkeran,' with its chapels and pertinents, granted by Engus the son of Donald, and confirmed by Alan the bishop's (Laurence) predecessor.”Origines Parochiales Scotiae, 1854
In 1263 / 1264 Hakon Hakonsson had defeated the Scots on the west coast of Scotland, Lorn was awarded to the M’Rauri kindred after their stunning victory over the Stewarts in Lennox. It did not last long, as Hakon died on his way home on Orkney. His heir was not interested in the Hebrides or Scotland so the Treaty of Perth in 1266, returned Lorn to the M’Dubhgalls along with the bishopric of Argyle and Lorn was finally a part of Scotland. The M’Dubhgalls put forth one of their local clergy kindred Laurence to be ordained bishop of Argyle.

“On 31 March 1264, Pope Urban IV gave the bishops of St Andrews and Dunkeld authority to consecrate Laurence, a Friar Preacher, [a local man] to the see of Argyle. (Bliss, I, 411)” (Origines Parochiales Scotiae)

On 5 April 1281 Pope Martin IV wrote to the bishops of Dunblane (Robert) and Argyle (Laurence). Hugh of Abernethy, in the diocese of Dunblane, had married his wife, Mary, not knowing that they were related in the fourth degree of consanguinity (first cousins}; and had besought dispensation to remain in this marriage. The pope gave these bishops authority to grant the dispensation (Theiner, 125, no 277; Bliss, I 463) (Origines Parochiales Scotiae)

Laurence de Ergadia was a party to the end of the Celtic Church on Iona, perhaps through violence with his followers in Lorn as indicated in this correspondence to Laurence from Pope Nicholas IV.

“On 3 October 1289, Pope Nicholas IV wrote to Laurence the bishop of Argyle, declaring that the abbey of Iona, in the diocese of Argyle, was immediately subject to the Roman church, and was no to be molested. Bliss, I, 504”. (Origines Parochiales Scotiae) People of Medieval Scotland website:

In the following transaction bishop Laurence of Argyle and Lord Robert Bruce, of the count de Peebles, are listed together as enforcers of Alexander Og MacDonald Lord of the Isles “contribution” of Kilkerran Kirk in Kintyre. So it appears that Laurence de Ergadia was an ally of Robert the Bruce 6th of Annandale and Pebbles the father of one of the witnesses Sir Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick who became the King of Scots on 25 March 1306 until 7 June 1329.

The Earl, Robert Bruce, Lord of Liddesdale is also here a third generation of the Bruce dynasty. This contribution of an entire parish was made around the year 1285. Other witnesses were church dignitaries from the abbey of Crossraguel which still exists and a Sir Robert who represented the English Army.

The Kilkerran contribution appears to be a contribution to the ‘vicar Laurence kindred’ ecclesiastic enterprise. One-hundred-sixty years later in 1456, Donald Dominici Maclaurante is the vicar of Kilkerran, Kintyre. The family franchise starts to unravel in the mid 1400s as, the Campbells of Argyll gain control of the church and replace many indigenous parish clerics with Campbell vicars and sometime even Lowland vicars who were not popular with the local people.
“Donatio eccleſie Sancti Querani in Kentyir per Alexandrum de Hyle.

Omnibus Christi fidelibus prefens scriptum vifuris vel audituris Alexander de Hyle, filius et heres domini Engufii filii Douenaldi domini de Hyle, falutem in Domino fempiternam. Noverit univerſitas veſtra mein fpexiffe et palpaffe cartam domini patris mei, non rafam, non abolitam nec in aliqua parte fui vitiatam vel reprehenfibilem, in hec verba;

Omnibus Chrifti fidelibus tam prefentibus quam futuris Engus filius Douenaldi eter nam in Domino falutem. Sciatis me, intuitu pietatis, et pro falute domini mei Alexandri illuftris regis Scotie, et cetera omnia de verbo ad verbum ut prefcribitur vfque illuc, habentisjus patronatusin ecclefiis. Hanc fiquidem donationem, conceffionem et confirmationem, ratam et firmam habere volens imperpetuum, eam figillo meo duxi roborandam ; et nichilominus ex habundanti, et omnis materia controverfie tollatur de cetero, predi&tis monachis prenominatam ecclefiam ficut ſcriptum eſt in omnibus do, concedo et prefenti fcripto meo confirmo. predictis monachis prenominatam ecclesiam ficut scriptum est in omnibus do, concedo et presenti scripto meo confirmo.

Et ne ceca depereat oblivione ali quo tempore quod per me pia devotione geftum eft et recognitum, prefens fcriptum figillo meo una cum figillo domini Laurencii Dei gratia Ergadienfis epifcopi, et domini Roberti Bruf" comitis de Carric, gratia majoris teftimonii, roborari procuravi. Hiis teftibus, domino Patricio Dei gratia abbate monafterii de Crofragal, domino Roberto Bruf" comite de Carric, Roberto filio ejufdem et herede, domino Roberto Anglico milite, domino Maricio vicario de Aran, Patricio clerico de Kentyir, domino Nicholao monacho de Crofragal, et aliis”. Page 128 - 129 Registrum Monasterii de Passelet

The Kilkerran parish church was later annexed to the priory of Whithorn. At a hearing in 1299 Laurence, bishop of Argyll was forced to admit that the patronage of the vicarage of Kilkerran belonged to the abbot of Paisley Abbey and to issue a letter to that effect as he had already done for their other church of Kilfinan. In 1362 bishop Màrtainn of Argyll, having illegally occupied and usurped the fruits of the annexed churches of Kilkerran, Kilfinan and Kilcalmonell for over a decade (partly to punish the Abbot of Paisley for failing to attend his Episcopal synod), eventually agreed to relax the sequestration and admit the monks’ presentation to the church of Kilkerran, as long as they kept the church in good repair.”(MacDonald 2013)

“In 1299 Master Nicholas rector of the church of Saint Modan (Ardchattan) was procurator for Laurence bishop of Argyle in a case between him and the monks of Paisley.” Origines Parochiales Scotiae

bishop Laurence died sometime in 1299, it is likely that Master Nicholas was of the vicar Laurence kindred, a predecessor of the 1420 Mhic Labhruinn, vicar at Kilbodan, known today as Ardchattan parish.

The biographer of Duncan McLaren Member of Parliament, who served as one of Edinburgh's two Members of Parliament from 1865 to 1881, is obviously referring to Laurence the bishop of Argyle when he describes Duncan McLaren’s ancestors.

Balimackillichan / Ballymachelichan John McLaren’s farm next to St. Moluag’s Cathedral on Lismore. photo credit Soph Isaacson a descendant.

John McLaren, Duncan’s grandfather, was a man of some substance. He occupied the farm of Ballymachelichan on Lismore and as evidence of his appreciation of learning it may be mentioned, that he joined with other three heads of families of the district for the maintenance of a teacher for the education of their children. The school where the pupils met was as nearly as possible equidistant from the four homesteads, and the teacher boarded successively with each family.” “The Life and Work of Duncan McLaren”, J.B. Mackie

This McLaren family like the nearby Livingstones of Bachuill are the heirs of Saint Moluag the patron saint of Cenél Loairn, with Balimackillichan a likely candidate for another McLaurin ‘duchtus’ in Lorn like Druimavuic. In actuality, Balimackillichan borders Lismore Cathedral, so it is closer than the Livingstones at Bachuill, the ‘Laity’ readers, known as the Mhic Laeich who descend from ‘Fin’ the ‘lay son of Fearchar.’ John McLaren’s descendants live on the shores of Loch Creran today. Laurence has a wikipedia page, if you trust their sources, a better source is People of Medieval Scotland website

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