Orabilis, countess of Mar, daughter of Ness son of William, makes known that she was present when her father, Ness son of William, gave the church of Leuchars (FIF) to St Andrew’s Priory, with all that rightly belongs to it, in perpetual alms, with his body, for the salvation of his soul, as his charter bears witness; she heard this donation in person, and has granted it as her father’s heir; and she makes this known to future generations.
2 April 1172 X 4 August 1188
circa 1183 × 15/Mar/1187
The initial grant by Ness son of William of the church of Leuchars was done when his daughter Orabilis was still married to Adam son of Duncan (II earl of Fife). By the time of this charter, Orabilis is countess of Mar, wife of Earl Gillecrist, who witnessed her previous charter. This confirmation, along with companion confirmations by Earl Duncan II and Bishop Matthew of Aberdeen (both of whom were specified not only as witnesses but as ‘present’ at (presumably) the production of the charter, is not witnessed by Earl Gillecrist, her husband, which (along with the vacancy in the see of St Andrews), may go some way to explaining why the grant of the church of Leuchars was confirmed by three individuals at the same time. Earl Duncan’s charter follows this one. The charters of Matthew, bishop of Aberdeen, and Earl Duncan II of Fife (_St A. Lib._, 288-9) were clearly made at the same time as Orabilis’ confirmation, based on the witness lists, the diplomatic, and the apparent feeling that women’s grants needed extra backing. It is perhaps most likely that the royal confirmation (_RRS_ ii, no. 271, _St A. Lib._, 289) came between Ness’s initial grant and Countess Orabilis’ confirmation. The involvement of Bishop Matthew of Aberdeen, who had been archdeacon of St Andrews, is significant. Bishop Matthew witnessed Ness’s initial grant of Leuchars, the royal confirmation, Cts. Orabilis’ confirmation, Earl Duncan II’s confirmation, as well as producing his own confirmation.