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Beginnings: Early times to 1560


Provan Hall

By John McMaster

Provan Hall Provan Hall was probably built in the second half of the 15th century. The arms of the Hamilton family, which are visible on the walls, are mid 17th century, but the building is decidedly older.

The land and buildings were originally Church property. The pre-Reformation Diocese of Glasgow stretched to the English border. Within it lay the Bishop's barony, an area roughly equivalent to the modern City of Glasgow in which the bishop exercised secular jurisdiction. The Barony was divided into four wards: Govan, Partick, Shettleston and Badermonoc (Barmulloch). It also contained the area known as the Prebend or "Provand" of Barlanark which eventually also included Balornock and Riddrie. It was a "prebend without cure", meaning that it provided income for a canon of the cathedral without having to perform any parochial duties.

Most canons of Glasgow were priests, but two kings, James II and James IV, were honorary canons and probably held this prebend. The situation of Provan Hall, in prime hunting countryside near the bishop's palace at Lochwood, suggests that it was used particularly by James IV who was a close friend of Bishop (later Archbishop) Robert Blackadder.

Later the prebend passed to James IV's illegitimate son, Alexander Stewart, who became Archbishop of St Andrews and died with his father at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Though still technically a prebend, it was held from 1506 by the Baillie family, one of whom was described as a royal physician. The family continued to hold the land after the Reformation.

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