Photograph of the Seal of Andrew Muirhead
~ submitted by Raymond L. Morehead. Original source unknown.

  Andrew Muirhead was born circa 1418.

  Willielmo and Jean de Muirhead apparently were affluent, and desired that their children should be educated well.(1.77) Their second eldest son initially received education at St. Andrews, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree; later he was sent to France, where he studied at the Paris University. Records of the Paris University reveal that Dominus Andreas de Durisder studied under Master Robert Esschinck. Andrew was at the Paris University during the years 1437 and 1438 as evidenced by the fact that the records reveal his payment to the university of a bursa, or tax, in the amounts of twelve shillings in the year 1437 and eleven shillings in the year 1438. Those records also noted in 1438 that Andrew had paid the sum of two francs for ‘pro jucundo adventu’, which translates as his ‘joyful advent or incorporation’ at the university. The fact that Andrew also paid eight shillings for ‘pro cappis rectorum’, or caps or capes, confirms that he was accepted as a student at the university. The caps or capes were presented by the successful candidates to the examiners.

  Andrew started out his career in the service of the Lord as the Rector of Cadzow. In 1448 Andrew became the Vicar of Kilpatrick (variously, Kilpatult) in the diocese of Glasgow. On 26 March, 1450 Andrew was named Dean of Aberdeen. This information was confirmed in a letter that was sent from Pope Calixtus III on 05 May, 1455 to Andrew Stewart, in which it was noted that prior to Andrew being provided as Bishop of the Church of Glasgow, he was the Dean of Aberdeen.

  While in the position of Dean of Aberdeen, and as the clerk and counsellor to King James II, Andrew served as the Procurator (i.e. pleader) to the papal court. Andrew therefore would have been personally acquainted with Pope Nicholas V. It was during this period of Andrew’s life that he was named as Sub-Dean of the Church of Glasgow. That occurred on 22 November, 1450; he would remain in that position until 1455.

  On 24 November, 1450, according to a Papal Bull, Andrew of Durisdere was appointed to assist Bishop Turnbull in collecting and guarding the money offered at the high alter of Glasgow Cathedral during the Jubilee year prior to remitting a third to the papal treasury. Andrew’s name was included in subsequent requests to the Chancellor of England for a pass of safe-conduct through that nation’s territories, presumably to transport the Jubilee offerings to Rome. Such safe-conduct passes were recorded on 05 June, 1452 and again on 31 August, 1453.

  A passport as Papal Nuncio to the kingdom of Scotland was granted to Andrew on 06 April, 1451 by the Pope.

  In 1450-51 he served his king, James II by travelling to Rome for the purpose of representing Bishop Turnbull in negotiations to found the Glasgow University. The Glasgow University was originally constructed in the Rottenrow, but was later (circa 1460) moved to new quarters on High Street (on land granted by James, Lord Hamilton). There is no direct evidence that Andrew was involved with the project (i.e. the Papal Bull of 07 January, 1451 does not include his name in the list of those involved in the creation of the university); but on 19 November, 1451 Andrew was appointed to serve as one of the deputies to oversee its affairs. He was noted as one of the new university’s incorporati, or matriculated students, with his name given as ‘sub-decanus magr. And. de Drusdere, non solvit.’.

  In May of the year 1455, Andrew Muirhead was provided to Glasgow, and then in early 1456, consecrated as Bishop of Glasgow. (The Muirhead Clan Society database gives the date of 03 September, 1454 as the date on which Andrew was consecrated as Bishop of Glasgow, but that is in error. The 3rd of September, 1454 might have been the date upon which Bishop Turnbull died, but according to Dowden’s Bishops of Scotland, page 326, Andrew of Durisdeer was not consecrated until early in 1456.)

  The Diocese of Glasgow, during the mid-15th Century, encompassed over two hundred parishes stretching from Luss in the north and southward to Gretna. He also held the canonries and prebends of Glasgow, Kirkandris and Lincluden. The amazing thing about Andrew’s appointment to Bishop of Glasgow, is that, while holding the various benefices as noted above, he was not even a sub-deacon. In fact he had not yet been ordained into the priesthood! Indeed, he must have been an extraordinary man to garner such accommodation and honor.

  King James II died in 1460. Andrew continued to serve the Scottish government by serving as one of the Lords of the Regency for the young King James III. As Alexander Nisbet noted, in referring to the decision to appoint him:(1.78)

“They ƒeem to have been very juƒt in their choice, for he had not been long in the See, when the greateƒt honour was done him that could be thought of, (not by any private deed, but by a public national act of the eƒtates of parliament) to teƒtify the eƒteem they had of his character; for, on the death of king James II, he was named in the 1460, one of the lords of the regency, in whom the power of the sovereignty was lodged, till the young king ƒhould be of age.”

  Andrew Muirhead assisted in the rule of the kingdom as a regent to King James III along with the Bishop of St. Andrews, Bishop Kennedy; the Bishop of Dunkeld, Dr. Lauder; the Earl of Orkney; Lord Boyd, Lord Graham and Lord Kennedy.

  In 1462 Bishop Muirhead of Glasgow was commissioned, along with Bishop Kennedy of St. Andrews, the Abbot of Holy-rood House, Mr. Archibald Crawfurd, Mr. James Lindsay the Provost of Lincludin, the Privy Seal, the Earl of Argyle, the Lords Livingstone, Hamilton, Borthwick and Boyd, and Sir Alexander Boyd of Duncow, to meet with commissioners from the king of England to attempt to negotiate a treaty of peace between the two countries. The two groups of commissioners met at York on 19 December, 1462 and agreed to the following:(1.79)

“That it ƒhould laƒt from the 16th of December, by land and freƒh water, to the laƒt day of October next to come; and from the firƒt day of February next, till the ƒame laƒt day of October, by ƒea.. 2. That James, king of Scotland, ƒhall give no aƒsiƒtance to Henry, late calling himƒelf king of England, or his adherents, during the alliance or truce. 3. That Edward, king of England, ƒhall give no countenance or protection to any traitors or rebels to king James. 4. That in regard James, earl of Dounglas, was become liegeman to king Edward, he, or ƒuch other Scotƒmen, ƒhall enjoy the benefit of the truce. 5. That if Henry, late called king of England, or any other of his adherents, ƒhall become liegemen to the ƒaid king James, they ƒhall, in that caƒe, have the benefit of the truce, as all other his liegemen.”

  Bishop Andrew was a supporter of the arts, and during his tenure in the office of bishop, he encouraged the arts. One item which had its origin during this time was the silver mace used even today on ceremonial occasions. The mace, or official rod, was fabricated in 1460. Records indicate that the funding for fabrication of the mace came from sources including contributions. The Canon of Glasgow, Mr. David Cadyow, contributed twenty nobles toward the project. The mace was not as large as it is now, at four feet, nine and three-quarters inches in length. It was enlarged at a later date and came to weigh eight pounds, one ounce. An inscription was added to the mace a century after it was first created which reads: “Haec virga empta fuit publicis Academiae Glasguensis sumptibus, A.D. 1465: in Galliam ablate, A.D. 1560: et restituta, 1590”. (1.80)

  Andrew was also interested in the musical arts. The Bishop was instrumental in founding the College of the Vicars of the Choir for the Cathedral of Glasgow. This Choiri in eccleƒia Glaƒguen was new to the Cathedral. The use of music in the church service had been sanctioned since the middle of the 13th Century; it began with what is known as the Sarum Rite (variously, Use of Sarum). The Use of Sarum refers to the body of liturgical ritual, text, and music that differed from the Roman Rite in terms of employing certain different melodies and texts related to local feasts. It was used originally at the Cathedral of Salisbury, in southern England, but spread to many of the other cathedrals and churches located throughout England and Scotland.

  The Sarum Rite was generally performed by the Precenter or Chanter. As was sometimes the case, the precenter was not a gifted singer, and was not always available at the time of the service, due to unforeseen reasons. Bishop Andrew Muirhead established the College of Vicars on 16 May, 1467 in order to ensure that a body of men, properly trained in music, would be available as a choir to perform the Sarum.

  The College of the Vicars of the Choir were variously known by the names of ‘the canons’ vicars of the choir,’ ‘the canons’ stallaries’ or the ‘vicars choral.’ There were originally only twelve members, but that number was later was increased to eighteen. The vicars not only participated in the Use of Sarum, but also in singing the Psalter and singing mass every day for the souls of all the deceased bishops.

  Andrew Muirhead was sent, in the year 1468, as an ambassador to Copenhagen. The purpose of his journey was to firm up the relationship between the two nation of Scotland and Denmark and also to treat with King Christiern in order to arrange the marriage of Margaret, ‘the Maid of Norway,’ King Christiern’s only daughter, to King James III. Andrew was accompanied on this mission by the Bishop of Orkney, Lord Evandale the chancellor, the Earl of Arran, Mr. Martin Wan, Gilbert Rerrick, David Crichton of Cranston, and John Schaw of Hallie. The marriage was agreed upon by both parties on 08 September.

  In the mid 1400s, under the auspices of Bishop Andrew Muirhead, a three storey stone structure, which would become known as Provand’s Lordship, was constructed in Glasgow. The original purpose of the building is not known. The structure was built to the north of an almshouse, known as the Hospital of St. Nicholas, which Bishop Muirhead had constructed for the care of twelve elderly men in 1471. The structure that would come to be known as Provand’s Lordship, served as the Preceptor's Manse, or House, of the Hospital of St Nicholas, located alongside Glasgow Cathedral. It also was known to have served for a while as the manse of the Lord of the Prebend of Barlanark (which was maintained by the Lord of the Prebend of Barlanark in addition to his country residence of Provan Hall). In addition to the Cathedral, the Hospital of St Nicholas and the Preceptor’s Manse, the Cathedral precinct included residences of the thirty-two Canons of the Cathedral Chapter. Bishop Andrew’s younger brother, Vedestus Muirhead, would no doubt have resided in this community while he served as the Canon of Glasgow.


Provand’s Lordship (two views)
~ Used with kind permission by Scottie of Rampant Scotland at the URL address:

  Legend states that Mary Queen of Scots stayed there overnight. Following its use as the Preceptor’s House, the structure was used for various purposes. The Protestant Reformation of 1560 replaced the Catholic church of Scotland and her bishops and canons with a Presbyterian church of ministers and elders. The Glasgow Cathedral, Provand’s Lordship and the other buildings in the Cathedral Precinct used by the Canons were not demolished in the Reformation, but most of them fell into ruin over the years. In 1670 renovations were made to the Provand’s Lordship structure by the then occupant, a tailor, William Bryson. In 1753 it was owned by Matthew Whitelaw, a maltman. It was during Whitelaw’s ownership that a lean-to structure, known as the Hangman’s House because it was occupied by a local executioner, was added. During the mid-1800s the structure was divided into units and rented to a number of tradesmen, which included an alehouse operated by Mrs. A. Dudgeon. Later on the building housed a confectioner’s shop owned by the Morton family. During the early part of the 20th Century the stone building was taken over by a preservation society, The Provand’s Lordship Society. In 1978, ownership of the historic old building was transferred to the City of Glasgow District Council, who operates it as a tourist attraction – it being the only surviving medieval structure in the city of Glasgow, apart from the adjoining Cathedral.

  In regard to the Hospital of St. Nicholas, it should be mentioned that Bishop Muirhead intended that the residents should be cared for. They were to be clothed in white cloth gowns, and that they were to receive a new white cloth gown every three years. Every New Year’s Day they were to receive: “a pair of new doubill ƒolit-ƒchone with ƒaxpence to every one for their kaill ƒilver, togidder with ƒufficient coillis to their fyer yearlie, with candell at evin to their prayeris.” (1.81) The Reverend James Primrose noted in his book, Mediaeval Glasgow, that the spirit of caring for some of the city’s elderly, begun by Bishop Muirhead, had continued even into the 20th Century. Although not managed by the church, an annual pension of approximately £3 was given to twenty-two elderly poor by the city council.

  While the delegation, of which Andrew Muirhead was a member, had negotiated with King Christiern of Denmark for the hand of his daughter in marriage to King James III, an agreement between Scotland and Denmark had been reached in regard to the princess’ dowry. Denmark, at that time, included those countries which are today Norway and Sweden. The agreement included the stipulation that in the event that King Christiern should fail to pay the agreed upon dowry, Denmark would cede the Orkney and Shetland Islands to Scotland. The Orkney and Shetland Islands had long been in the possession of Norway, but they indeed became forfeited to Scotland in the year 1472.

  In the year 1472, King Edward IV of England proposed a marriage between two suitable members of the royal houses of England and Scotland. The proposal was to signify the union of mutual interests between the two nations. In essence, the marriage would guarantee peace between the two nations. King James III was in agreement with the idea, and accordingly named a commission which included Bishop Andrew Muirhead, along with Bishop Spence of Aberdeen, the Earls of Argyle, Crawfurd and Caithness, the Lords Hamilton, Borthwick, Seton and Darnly, David Guthry the Lord Register and Duncan Dundas, Esq. Although these individuals received their commissions in August, 1471, they did not meet until 20 April of the following year.

  Bishop Andrew Muirhead would not live to see the conclusion of the project; he died on 20 November, 1473. The bishop’s body was interred in the choir of the Cathedral. It is believed that Andrew’s remains were removed from that first resting place during the Reformation.

  Before leaving the subject of Andrew Muirhead, it should be noted that Andrew, during his lifetime, and into the middle of the Sixteenth Century, was known not as Bishop Andrew Muirhead, but rather as Bishop Andrew of Durrisdere (variously Durrisdeer). According to the Reverend James Primrose, in his book, Mediaeval Glasgow, the first instance of Andrew’s name appearing in a public document as Muirhead, or any of its variants, was in the Martyrology Of Glasgow, a listing of obituaries compiled after 1553. In that book there appears an entry that states:(1.82)

Obitus Andree Mureheid epiƒcopi Glaƒguenƒis 20th Novem: 1473

  For some time, there was a question of whether Andrew Durrisdere and Andrew Muirhead were actually one and the same person. Certain documents alluded to the truth despite the fact that there was no direct confirmation. In one document dated to October 1460, a Clerk of the diocese of Glasgow, Thomas de Muirhede, was recorded as “nepos of Andrew, Bishop of Glasgow”. The Latin word, nepos, may be translated as either ‘grandson’, ‘nephew’ or simply ‘a descendant’. Many writers, since the time of Andrew have made the connection based on genealogical traditions held by clans, such as the Robertsons, who were descended through marriage to the Muirheads of Lauchope. Alexander Nisbet, likewise assumed there was a connection between the two names, despite the lack of contemporary documents to prove it.

  Another question arises: Was Andrew actually associated with the parish of Durrisdere? As noted by the Reverend James Primrose in his book, Mediaeval Glasgow, (1.83) “One might imagine from his appointment as Sub-dean of Glasgow that the parish of Durrisdere would be the prebend attached to that office, and that the designation Durrisdere might thus have arisenl but with one exception there is not trace of any connection of Andrew with Durrisdere, and it was not the parish of Durrisdere but those of Cadder and Monkland that were associated with the sub-deanery.”

  Mr. Cleland Harvey proposed the theory that Andrew might not have been descended from the Willielmo de Muirhead family, but rather might have descended from the Murehedes of Windyhills in view of the fact that the appelation of ‘de Durrisdere’ might suggest that Andrew was born as Durrisdere.(1.84) The one thing that Mr. Harvey failed to take note of was the fact that Bishop Andrew Muirhead’s heraldic arms, which he had displayed in the nave of Glasgow Cathedral, were composed of the very elements granted to Willielmo de Muirhead of Lauchope. But even if Andrew indeed was, as Mr. Harvey suggested, ‘from’ Durrisdere, he might have simply been from another branch of the same family of Muirheads (as noted in the chapter titled ‘Of The Family Of The Muirheads Of Lachop, Now Represented By Muirhead Of Breadisholm’, in the section titled ‘The Other Muirheads’).

  Ultimately, the mystery is resolved by research performed by Walter Grosset, and published in his book, An Account Of The Family Muirhead Of Lachop, dated 1742 (and subsequently included in Alexander Nisbets’ A System Of Heraldry). Mr. Grosset had discovered that Andrew would have been a great-grandson of James Stewart, of Durisdeer. James Stewart’s daughter, Mary Stewart, married Henry Wardlaw. Their daughter, Christian, married Thomas de Haya. Thomas and Christian, in turn, gave birth to ‘Dame’ Jean, who married William Muirhead, and who were Andrew’s parents. So Andrew Muirhead would indeed have been correct in using the appelation of ‘of Durisdeer’