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1526 - 1526
foundation of an obit mass in St Nicholas' Kirk, Aberdeen in 1526

Before the Reformation, it was common for people to establish masses to be said for their souls,  often on the anniversary of their death (known as an obit), in the belief that such masses would lessen the time their souls would spend in Purgatory. Many people founded masses both for themselves and their spouses, as well as kin and others. Here Janet Crauford, the wife of a deceased Aberdeen burgess, founds a mass for the souls of her late husband, kiin and benefactors and also one for herself after her death. The document also provides some details of the ceremonies associated with such masses.The fact that Jonet and her husband have monuments within the church attests to their fairly high social status in the community.  Funding masses through annual rents was very common. The church recorded the notary's record of the gitt in its register of  charters. The end of the entry is missing because of damage to the register. For another similar document see Foundation of an obit mass in Aberdeen in 1508]


Foundation of Janet Crauford 13 Dec 1526

In the name of God, Amen. Let it be evident to all by this public instrument that in the year of our Lord 1526. the 13th of December, in the fifteenth indiction the fourth year of the pontificate  of the most holy father in Christ and Lord, our lord Clement VII., by Divine providence Pope, in the presence of me, notary-public, and the witnesses underwritten there appeared in person a good and honourable woman, Janet Craufurd, the relict of the late Gavin Murray, burgess of Abirdene, and for certain reasonable causes inclining her mind thereto, gave and freely gifted to a prudent man, Thomas Craufurd, burgess of the said burgh, the sum of twenty pounds, Scots, in numbered money, in lieu of one annual rent of twenty shillings of the said money due annually from  all and whole that front and back land of hers lying within the said burgh, on the north side of the Upperkirkgate, between the land of the heirs of the late Robert Crag on the east and the land of John Murray on the west, to be paid by the same Thomas to the vicar and chaplains of the choir of the Parish Church of Abirdene, as is more fully contained in the charter executed thereanent in favour of the same chaplains by the same Thomas. In return for which annual rent the said chaplains bound themselves and their successors to celebrate one anniversary, namely, Placebo and Dirige [the parts of the Requiem Mass] on the first Saturday of October, with a sung mass on the Lord's Day following, and a trenthal throughout the week, yearly, for the soul of the said deceased Gavin, her husband, and for the souls of her parents, kinsfolk, and benefactors of the same, and for the souls of all the faithful dead, and this throughout the remaining days of the life of the said Janet; but after her death the said chaplains shall celebrate yearly one sung mass on the day of her decease, with a trenthal throughout the week; also yearly, on the foresaid first Lord's Day of October, for the soul of the foresaid deceased Gavin, one sung mass, with its trenthal throughout the week, without Placebo and Dirige. Moreover, the collector of the said chaplains shall, on the said anniversaries, place decent tables decently covered above the monuments of the said Gavin and Janet; shall find wax lights, and cause the bells of the church to be knolled twice; also on the eves of the said anniversaries he shall cause the town-crier to go through the town that the faithful people may be incited to pray for the souls of the said deceased Gavin and Janet, and shall do and fulfil all things customary at such anniversaries. To the doing of which the foresaid chaplains bound themselves and their successors for ever in fuller form. Concerning all which the said Janet took instruments of me, notary-public. Done in the chapterhouse of the said church, about 8 o'clock a.m., on the day, month, indiction, and pontificate above mentioned, in the presence of venerable and discreet men - Mr David Menzies, Bachelor of Sacred Letters; Mr William Philpson and Mr John Nicholsoun, notaries-public; with the other brethren of the chapter, etc., etc

And I, David Nicholsoun, Professor of Arts [part of the document is missing here]  of the bailies of Aberdeen .... also notary-public, with apostolic authority ... [the rest is illegible]


Cartularium Ecclesiae Sancti Nicholai Aberdonensis [Cartulary of the Church of St Nicholas of Aberdeen] ed James Cooper, vol 2 (Aberdeen: Spalding Club, 1892) no 81

The entry here is based on the translation given in the above source. The Latin document can be found in Ibid, vol 1