Lismore Cathedral Offices

Offices of the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Lismore or Argyll


OPS II, I pp 161-2 & 166 discusses the various offices associated with the cathedral church of Lismore. On p 164 their values are stated  according to “Baiamund’s Roll”. These are as given in Habakkuk Bisset’s ‘Rolment of Courtis’ Vol II p 48. In addition to this we have a number of documentary references to the various farms held by these church officers. In the context of Lismore a 4m unit was equivalent to a pennyland (and probably a davach). The offices, their monetary values, and the valuations of the farms associated with them are given in tabular form below:


Office Habakkuk Bisset Value in merks Farms Farm value(s)
Dean 53s 4d or £2-13-4 4 *  
Precentor 53s 4d or £2-13-4 4 2m Killen, 1m Teirewin, 1m Pennyfurt 4m (1d)
Treasurer 53s 4d or £2-13-4 4 1m Teirfoure, 3m Teirlagane 4m (1d)
Chancellor 53s 4d or £2-13-4 4 4m Auchnacrosche 4m (1d)
Archdeacon £6-6-8 **  
Simple canons        


* In the Argyll Valuation Roll of 1751 p 55 there is reference to “the Deanrie Teinds of Lesmore whereof Airds is Tacksman”. These Teinds were worth £7-0-7 sterling. At the time Campbell of Airds held the following lands in Lismore: 2m Clochlea, 4m Ballimeanoch and Balligarvie, Half Croft of Bachil, 2m Kilandrist and Crofts, 2m Balnagown and Crofts. Given that the Dean’s office was valued at 4m it is possible that one or two of these units (worth a total of 4m) originally made up the Dean’s portion. In the same document the Earl of Breadalbane had the ‘Chancellary & Chantry Teinds of Lesmore’ worth £8-5-7 sterling.


** In Minutes of the Synod of Argyll Vol I pp 240-1 dated 16/12/1650 there is reference to the Laird of Otter’s right to ¼ of the teinds of Kilfinan parish in Cowal – “whiche wes commounlie called the Archdeans quarter”. See also Fasti p 46 and references.


In Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae Medii Aevi ad Annum 1638 pp 34-52, DER Watt & AL Murray suggest these dignitaries were organized after c. 1371. After the Reformation those Lismore farms which were once associated with cathedral offices were hived off into secular ownership. According to OPS II, I, pp 165-6 (quoting Protocol Book of Gavin Hammiltoun) the Treasurer’s portion was granted to the widow of the Bishop of the Isles in 1573. AS II (1536) of 1669 shows that a croft known as ‘Treasurer’s Croft’ was still linked to Teirfour and Tirlagan. In 1574, according to OPS II, I, p 166 (quoting Breadalbane Charters & Protocol Book of Gavin Hammiltoun), the lands belonging to the chancellor and precentor went to Glenorchy’s third son. However the ancient rights were remembered for a long time. NAS CS 46/1913/May No 6 pp 344-6 of 1669 records Argyll giving Glenorchy ⅓ of the lands of the old lordship of Lorn:

una cum advocatione donatione et Jure Patronatus cancellariatus et cantoratus de Lismore

(ie with patronage of the offices of Chancellor and Precentor).


OPS II, I pp 161-2 and Fasti pp 39-49 give lists of the men who held the various cathedral offices so we may yet be able to firm up the precise associations between dignities and farms. In the seventeenth century the offices were associated with parishes elsewhere in Argyll. (See Fasti p 39).


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