The monument consists of the remains of Lincluden Collegiate Church and its associated domestic ranges, which lie on the site of a former nunnery, a former garden, a motte, and the precinct associated with the college and former nunnery. The site is at the neck of a promontory enclosed by the confluence of the Cluden Water and the River Nith.
The reasons for this re-scheduling are, firstly, that no adequate documentation can be traced from the time of the original scheduling, and secondly, to extend the scheduling to include the promontory to the E.
The oldest part of this archaeological complex is the castle mound, or motte, to the S of the church. Soon after the motte was built, this defensive and domestic site was gifted into ecclesiastical use when a Benedictine nunnery was founded in 1164. Excavations in 1882 at the NW angle of the nave disclosed the foundations of a W range of buildings, pre-dating the collegiate church, and indications of a staircase. Thus there appears to have been a cloister with the church on the S side and a range of buildings on the E, W, and possibly the N, though no foundations were found in the latter direction. At the same time, fragmentary portions of semi-circular piers belonging to the N arcade of the nave were discovered: they are thought to have been part of the original convent.
The nunnery was suppressed in 1389 and replaced by a college of secular canons, founded by Archibald, the 4th Earl of Douglas. Lincluden was founded to celebrate mass and pray for the souls of the founder and his family. The college of priests of the newly-founded church included a provost and eight prebendaries or priests. The chief extant remains are those of the collegiate church, the provost?s house, and associated domestic quarters. John Morow, one of the finest master masons in Scotland, probably built the church, of which the chancel and S aisle survive, about 1400. The new collegiate church had a rectangular presbytery containing the tomb of the founder?s wife, Margaret Countess of Douglas, daughter of Robert III. Other features include a decorated sedilia (seat for the officiating priests) and a piscina for washing the alter vessels. It had an elaborately vaulted double roof and was divided from the nave and S transept by a magnificent stone screen.
The domestic range to the N of the church appears to have been built on the foundations of the E claustral range of the nunnery. The S half of the domestic block, known as the Provost?s Lodging, was probably built in the first half of the 15th century. The projecting stair tower and the N half of the range is believed to be the work of Provost William Stewart (1529-36). This range continued in use as a residence into the second half of the 17th century. By this time gardens had been laid out, and this is the context of the large rectangular earthwork to the E (largely renovated), which represents the remains of a post-medieval formal knot garden. The motte exhibits signs of having been altered as a feature within this designed landscape.
The large promontory to the E is to be included in the scheduling as it is likely to contain buried domestic and ancillary remains associated with the bailey for the motte, subsequently occupied by the precinct for the nunnery and college.
The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described, with the college, gardens and motte forming the area in the care of Historic Scotland, and with the precinct to the E outwith the area in care. All modern boundary fences and walls are to be excluded from the scheduling, along with the upper 40cm of the surfaces of all paths and roads to allow for maintenance. The area to be scheduled is irregular in shape and measures some 306m from its easternmost to westernmost points, by 229m from its northernmost to southernmost points.
Statement of National Importance
The monument is of national importance as the well-preserved remains of a collegiate church, in association with a unique combination of other important archaeological remains. The motte and bailey have the potential to inform an understanding of the development of early timber castles, while the nunnery represents a relatively rare and poorly understood aspect of medieval monastic life.
The architecture of the collegiate church, and notably that of the tomb of Princess Margaret, is some of the finest work to survive in Scotland from this period. The structural remains and archaeology of the Provost's Lodging, ancillary buildings and precinct have the potential to inform an understanding of the domestic arrangements of collegiate establishments.
The place of this site in the national consciousness is further reinforced by the association between the college and Robert Burns, who was a regular visitor, and who referred to it in a song he wrote in 1794. The national importance is underlined by the status of the college as a property in care.
RCAHMS records the monument as NX97NE4 (college and nunnery) and NX97NE5 (motte).
Cowan I B and Easson D E (1976) MEDIEVAL RELIGIOUS HOUSES, SCOTLAND: WITH AN APPENDIX ON THE HOUSES IN THE ISLE OF MAN, London, 143, 223, 2nd ed.
Hume J R (1985) LINCLUDEN COLLEGIATE CHURCH.
MacGibbon D and Ross T (1896-7) THE ECCLESIASTICAL ARCHITECTURE OF SCOTLAND FROM THE EARLIEST CHRISTIAN TIMES TO THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY, 3v, Edinburgh, Vol. 2, 383-94.
RCAHMS (1914) FIFTH REPORT AND INVENTORY OF MONUMENTS AND CONSTRUCTIONS IN GALLOWAY, II, COUNTY OF THE STEWARTRY OF KIRKCUDBRIGHT, Edinburgh, HMSO, 242-52, No.431.
Ross T (1899) ?The convent and college of Lincluden, Kirkcudbrightshire?, THE FIVE GREAT CHURCHES OF GALLOWAY, ARCHAEOL HIST COLLECT AYRSHIRE GALLOWAY, Edinburgh, Vol. 10, 99-165.