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PREFACE.

IN the Appendix to the History of North Durham, by the Editor of the present Volume, are contained the Charters of Endowment of the Priory of Coldingham, together with numerous other documents of a general nature relative to that monastery, from the early period of Duncan, the Usurper, to the time of its disjunction from the Church of Durham in the fifteenth century. As these Records commence at an earlier period than those of any other monastery of Scotland, of which the Charters have been preserved, and supply much new and valuable information with respect to that kingdom; great care was taken in the volume referred to to place them before the public with that minuteness of accuracy which the importance of the subject seemed to demand, and such typical contractions were procured as had a tendency to present them to their reader in the most faithful way.

The present Volume comprehends such documents relative to the same monastery as did not fall within the plan there proposed, but which tend rather to develope its private history, and which, while they serve this purpose, at the same time, from peculiar circumstances, throw much light upon the contemporary history of England

and Scotland. From the locality of the Priory of Coldingham, and its connection with England, its history is of more importance than that of any other border monastery, inasmuch as from those circumstances its inmates became of necessity from time to time implicated in transactions of a character less connected with the monastic institute than with the public affairs of the two kingdoms. But there are other prominent features in the history of this monastery which give it a peculiar character, and invest it with additional interest. Although locally situated within the territory of Scotland, and endowed by the monarchs and nobles of that kingdom, it was subordinate to an English Church, which exercised over it an absolute control, and appropriated to its own use a considerable portion of its revenues. The church of Coldingham was therefore not unnaturally a source of jealousy to Scotland in times of peace, and an object of open attack in time of war. Even in times of peace the monks appear to have maintained their ground with difficulty. Often did they find it necessary to conciliate the protection of their powerful neighbours the earls of Dunbar, and the Douglasses, and Humes in succession, by beneficial leases or places of emolument; and in time of war they were not unfrequently driven from their home to await at Holy Island or Durham, the truce or peace which might send them back to empty garners and a desecrated church.

Their numerous efforts for independence against the pretensions of the monastery of Dunfermline, of which detailed accounts are contained in the following pages, were succeeded by a still more protracted struggle

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