Lochwinnoch I

Lochinauche—Loghwinnoc—Lohwinhoc—Lochwynyok. [Regist. de Passelet.]

The parish of Lochwinnoch consists of a low fertile valley, winding amongst bleak hills, in the middle of which is a large lake, formerly of much greater extent, which receives the Calder water and other streams, and gives rise to the Cart, called the Black Cart or Cart Lochwinnoch.

The grant by the high steward of the parish church of Paisley, ‘with all its pertinents’, to his new monastery, conveyed to the monks the chapel of Lochwinnoch, though not named. It was a dependant chapel of Paisley. Before 1207, Florence, bishop elect of Glasgow, confirmed to the abbey of Paisley the chapel of Lochwinnoc. [Regist. de Passelet, p. 113.] It is frequently mentioned afterwards as a chapel in connexion with the place and monastery of Paisley. [Regist. de Passelet, pp. 308, 410.] It is not known at what time Lochwinnoch became a separate parish. In 1504, the lands of Moniabrok were described as within the parish of Lochwynyok. [Regist. de Passelet, p. 62.] The rectorial tithes of the parish at the period of the Reformation had been let, along with those of Largs and Innerkip, for £460, and the vicarage tithes, along with those of the parish of Paisley, for £100. [Rental Book of Assumptions.] Both are valued together in the Libellns Tax. Reg. Scot. At £40. The cure was probably served by chaplains or monks of the abbey. The office of parish clerk was in the gift of the Lords Sempil. [Regist. Glasg., p. 509.]

The chapel or church dedicated to Saint Winnoc, the abbot, whose festival is on the 6th November, was situated, along with its kirk-town, on the west side of the lake, to which it gave its name.

There seems to have been a chapel endowed by the family of Sempil before the erection of the collegiate church, the lands of which merged in that foundation, and a place still called Chapel-town, near their park and castle, probably marks its site.

The collegiate church of Lochwinnoch or Sempil was founded by John Lord Sempil within his park of Lochwinnoch, by the authority of the bishop. The foundation charter is dated the 5th April 1504. The new college was dedicated to the Virgin, and was endowed for a provost, six chaplains, and two singing boys. The provost had part of the rectory of Glasfurd, amounting to £45 yearly. The first and second chaplains had part of the tithes of Glasfurd, amounting to 18 merks yearly; the third was endowed with the parish clerkship of Lochwinnoc, valued at 18 merks; the fourth chaplain had the lands of Upper Pennale, with a mansion, gardens, and orchards, and a pension of 40s. from the lands of East and West Bryntschellis, in the parish of Kilbarchan, extending to 18 merks; the fifth chaplain had the whole lands of Nether Pennale, with the mill, extending to 26 merks yearly. He was to be organist, and to teach a singing school, giving daily lessons to boys in the Gregorian chant and prick-song, and was to maintain two singing boys for the service of the church; for whose support he received the emoluments of the parish clerkship of Kilbarchan, deducting the necessary expenses of a person filling the office. The sixth chaplain had the lands of Auchinlodmond, with its mill, extending to 22 merks yearly; he was to be skilled in grammar, and in the Gregorian or plain, and prick-song, and was to teach at least the first and second parts of grammar to the two singing boys. The sacrist had the emoluments of the parish clerkship of Glasfurd, worth 6 merks yearly, he finding a sufficient person to discharge the duty; and he had land beside the collegiate church for a house and garden. His duties were, to have charge of the church, and the ornaments and vestments, to regulate the clock, and duly to ring the bells at matins, vespers, compline, as well as curfew and prayers, doubling as the custom is, on feast days, to collect offerings passing through the church, and to clean the church and adorn it with greens and flowers. The provost and chaplains had ten roods of land within the park for building houses and forming gardens for fruit trees and flowers; the five merk land of East Welland, with the lands which were formerly annexed to the chapel of Saint Bride in Kenmure, both in the parish of Kilbarchan; the lands which formerly belonged to the Sempil’s chapel, in the parish of Lochwynyoc, and the lands which were annexed of old to the chapel of Saint Conal, in the village of Ferrenese, were assigned for their commons in bread, wine, and wax. The dresses of the provost and chaplains are minutely specified. They were bound to continual residence; to perform a solemn obit for James IV. and his Queen, for Robert archbishop of Glasgow; and daily, after high mass, to sing an Ave Gloriosa and a De profundis at the tomb of William Sempil and the dame Margaret Cathcart, his spouse, of Sir Thomas Sempil and dame Elizabeth Ross, and for Sir John Sempil and dame Margaret Colville, his spouse, their founders, as well as to celebrate their obits on their anniversaries. The patronage of all the offices was reserved to the founder and his successors. [Regist. Glasg., p. 506.] The walls of this collegiate church still remain, its length is 71½ feet long by 24 broad. The chancel is used as a burying-place for the family of Sempil.