This is an account of the visitation of the Perth Charterhouse in 1543, with my attempted translation below. I have highlighted the part of which I am most uncertain, but there are several other places where I am far from confident.

Prior domus, domnus Alexander Inglis, vita execrabilis et verbis et doctrina pernitiosus, paula ante resignata domo in manus cuiusdam secularis, et alienatatis tam mobilibus quam immoblilibus bonis, habitum et ordinem dimisit. Quem absentem absoluentes et absolutum declarantes, domnum Symonem Galloway Procuratorem dictae domus canonice electum in Priorem confirmarunt, eundem exhortantes ut destructis et euulsis Prioris vitae erroribus, reformationi domus in utroque statu diligenter intendat; monachos etiam inuenerunt pro magna parte sui status oblitos, in multis valde enormiter a verae religionibus tramite oberrasse; et ordinauerunt ibi plurima pro domus reformatione, et signanter de uisitanda dicta domo.

The prior of the house, Sir Alexander Inglis, detestable in life and pernicious in word and doctrine, a little while before having resigning the house into the hands of certain seculars, and alienated both movable and immovable goods, renounced habit and order [i.e. both his monks habit and the Carthusian order]. Whom being absent, loosing and declaring discharged, Sir Simon Galloway, procurator of the said house, being elected by the canons as prior, they confirmed; exhorting him that having destroyed and cast out the errors of the life of the prior, he should diligently strain after the reformation of the house in both regards [I think this may be a technical expression for temporal and spiritual aspects]; even the monks, they found for the great part unmindful of his own state, in many things wandering in bypaths greatly deviating from true religious persons; and they ordained there many things for the reformation of the house, and noted from the visit of the said house.

1 Answer 1


The highlighted part means:

They dismissed him in absence, declared him to be dismissed, and established that S. Galloway ⋯ had canonically been elected prior.

Absolventes and declarantes are of course present participles modifying the unnamed plural subject (“they”), which, we may assume, are the people conducting the visitation. This is really the only thing coming close to a formal subject we have here, but the function is to mention several actions that happened in parallel to the confirming of the new prior. At the same time, within this construct, there is a relative continuation of the previous sentence, referring to the old prior.

Differently put: Eum absentem absolverunt, absolutum declaraverunt, Symonem ⋯ electum confirmaverunt.

Aliquem in priorem eligere sounds very strange from a classical point of view – we would normally lose the in – but it seems to be not infrequently found in old church files, if Google is to be believed.

Other points:

  • alienare means “to transfer, to give away.” The English word alienate can indeed carry the same meaning, but that is a very obscure usage.
  • I have no idea what form alienatatis is supposed to be, it is perhaps simply a mistake.
  • I suspect ordinem dimisit is better translated as “renounced his rank” (as prior) or even “his priesthood” (his ordination).
  • et signanter de visitanda dicta domo (ordinaverunt) means freely “and expressly ordained that the house be subject to visitations in the future” (less freely: “and expressly about visiting said house”).
  • Many thanks. That clears up the meaning nicely. The term 'alienation' is actually very common in that period of Scottish history because there was such widespread alienation of church property. But, as with many Scottish legal terms, I am not exactly sure what it means.
    – user558840
    Commented Dec 26, 2022 at 23:10
  • 1
    @user558840 Is the form correct? Not alienatis or perhaps alienitatis?
    – cmw
    Commented Dec 26, 2022 at 23:18
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    @cmw Yes, it is is correctly copied from my source, but I have not checked the original MS.
    – user558840
    Commented Dec 26, 2022 at 23:36

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