A 700-YEAR-OLD standing order implemented by Robert the Bruce to a small church has been resurrected.

The annual cash payment from the king was made to what is now the Cullen and Deskford Parish Church in Moray in return for prayers said for his dead wife.

The money was to be given in perpetuity for the soul of Elizabeth de Burgh - the monarch's second wife - who died in the village of Cullen on the North-east coast while visiting relatives in 1327.

Although her body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey, her entrails are believed to have been interred underneath the church. They were removed when she was mummified in preparation for the journey south, a common practice for the gentry at the time.

The money - 33/4d, or about #1.67 in today's format - was supplemented in 1543 by Mary Queen of Scots and the tradition appears to have continued until local government reform in 1975.

The Kirk's minister, the Rev Melvyn Wood, has appealed to Moray Council to have the tradition re-instated

After a lengthy investigation Moray Council - which 25 years ago stopped paying out the endowment - is even agreeing to backdate its debts.

In a report going before the council's policy and resources committee this week, libraries and museums manager, Alistair Campbell, says: ''The continuity of the payment beyond the Reformation to modern times and against the vagaries of Scottish religious history must be almost unique in Scotland and deserves to be regarded as a valuable part of Cullen's local heritage.''

Evidence from two former employees of Cullen Town Council, Daniel Cook and Davina Runcie, suggests that, by the 1960s, the annual sum was two guineas - #2.10 - and it was paid from the Cullen Common Good Fund.

He adds: ''Given the great changes and loss of records at the time of local government reform in 1975, it is not surprising that the tradition ceased in recent years. However, it would appear that, given the endowment was made by royal warrant, neither the town council nor its successors would be entitled to make a decision to cease the payment.''

The council is being asked to agree to pay #2.10 every year in respect of the endowment and a payment of #52.50 for the missed instalments.