A Calendar of Scottish Saints
by Michael Barrett
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Nihil obstat:



+ GEORGIUS, Ep. Aberd.


The title of Scottish, applied to the holy ones whose names occur in these short notices, must be understood to refer not so much to their nationality as to the field in which, they laboured or the localities where traces of their cultus are to be found. The Calendar here submitted does not pretend to be exhaustive; the saints therein noted are those who appear prominently in such records as remain to us and in the place-names which still recall their personalities.

In this new edition much additional information has been inserted, and many emendations made to render the Calendar as complete as possible.

The chief sources relied upon in the compilation of the work are:

The Breviary of Aberdeen, drawn up by Bishop Wm. Elphinstone, and printed in 1509.

Dr. Forbes' Kalendars of Scottish Saints.

Origines Parochiales Scotiae.

Dr. Skene's Celtic Scotland.

Canon O'Hanlon's Lives of Irish Saints.

Cardinal Moran's Irish Saints in Great Britain.

New Statistical Account of Scotland.

The date at the head of each notice is generally that of the death of the saint concerned.


1—St. Ernan, Abbot, A.D. 640.

The Saint whose feast is celebrated on this day was a disciple of the great St. Columba, and is said by Colgan, the renowned Irish scholar, to have been his nephew. What connection the saint had with Scotland is not clear. He may have laboured for a time there under St. Columba, but he became Abbot of Drumhome in Donegal. On the night St. Columba went to his reward, as we are told by that saint's biographer, St. Adamnan, Ernan was favoured with a vision in which the saint's death was revealed to him. St. Ernan died in his Irish monastery at an advanced age in the year 640. The church of Killernan, in Ross-shire, is named after him. Another dedication to this saint is thought by some to be Kilviceuen in Mull.

4—St. Chroman or Ghronan, A.D. 641.

On account of the destruction of so many ecclesiastical records at the Reformation, many {2} particulars regarding some of our Scottish saints have been irrevocably lost. This is the case with the holy man before us. All that we know of him may be told in a few words. He lived in the Cunningham district of Ayrshire, where he was revered during life and venerated after death for his great sanctity. On his deathbed we are told he kept continually repeating those words of the 83rd Psalm, "My soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the Living God."

7—St. Kentigerna, Recluse, A.D. 733.

Like so many holy souls whose lives drew down the grace of Heaven upon the land, St. Kentigerna was of Irish race. Her brother, St. Comgan, succeeded their father, a prince of Leinster, in the government of his territory. Meeting with violent opposition from the neighbouring princes, on account of his just and upright Christian rule, St. Comgan was obliged to fly the country, and together with his widowed sister, who had been married to an Irish prince, took refuge in Scotland. St. Comgan devoted himself to monastic life, and {3} Kentigerna retired to an island in Loch Lomond to live as an anchoress. Here in her solitary cell, on the hilly, wooded isle which is now called in memory of her Innis na Caillich (the Nun's Island), she spent many years of the remainder of her life. The island became the seat of the old parish church of Buchanan, which was dedicated to her, and in the graveyard, which is still in use, are many tombs of the chiefs and illustrious men of the clan MacGregor. The church has been long in ruins. St. Kentigerna died in 733. Her feast is to be found in the Aberdeen Breviary.

11—St. Suibhne (Sweeney), Abbot, A.D. 656.

This saint was an Abbot of Iona who died in the odour of sanctity when he had been Superior of that monastery for about three years.

14—St. Kentigern or Mungo, Bishop, A.D. 603 or 612.

The ancient kingdom of Cumbria or Strathclyde extended from the Clyde to the Derwent in Cumberland. It had been evangelised by St. Ninian, but, in the course of two centuries, through constant warfare and strife, the Faith {4} had almost disappeared when, in the middle of the sixth century, St. Kentigern was raised up to be its new apostle. The saint came of a royal race, and was born about A.D. 518. He was brought up from childhood by a holy hermit of Culross called Serf, who out of the love he bore the boy changed his name of Kentigern (signifying "lord and master") to that of Mungo (the well beloved). It is under the latter name that he is best known in Scotland. It should be noted, however, that the benefactor of the young Kentigern, though possibly bearing the same name, cannot be identified with the well-known St. Serf of Culross, who, according to modern historians, must have flourished in a later century. At the completion of his education Kentigern fixed his abode at Cathures, now known as Glasgow, and was joined by many disciples, who lived under his rule in a kind of monastic discipline. His holy life caused him to be raised—much against his will—to the episcopal state. He fixed upon Glasgow for his see, and ruled his flock with all the ardour and holiness of an apostle. Simple and mortified in life, he abstained entirely from {5} wine and flesh, and often passed two days without food. He wore haircloth next his skin, slept on a stone, and often rose in the night to praise God. Throughout his life he preserved the purity of his baptismal innocence. His pastoral staff was of simple wood. He always wore his priestly stole, to be ready to perform the functions of his sacred office.

Driven from Glasgow by the enmity of a wicked king, the saint took refuge with St. David in South Wales. He subsequently founded the monastery known afterwards, from the disciple who succeeded him in its government, as St. Asaph's, and here more than nine hundred monks are said to have lived under his rule. Later on he was recalled to Glasgow, and after a life of apostolic zeal he received through an angel, on the Octave of the Epiphany, his summons to eternal life. Fortifying himself by the Sacraments, and exhorting his disciples to charity and peace and constant obedience to the Holy Catholic Church, their mother, he breathed his last, being at least 85 years old. His saintly body was laid to rest where the magnificent under-croft of St. Mungo's Cathedral, {6} Glasgow, was raised to his honour in after ages.

Many old churches in Scotland bear the dedication of St. Mungo; the chief of these is Lanark parish church. There is a parish bearing his name in Dumfries-shire, and many holy wells are called after him; one of these is in Glasgow Cathedral, others are in the precincts of Glasgow, and at Huntly, Peebles, Ayr, Dumfries, Glengairn (Aberdeenshire), also at Currie, Penicuik and Mid-Calder, near Edinburgh. There is also St. Mungo's Isle in Loch Leven. Besides these Scottish dedications, there are seven churches in Cumberland which bear his name. It is noteworthy that all of them bear the more popular title of Mungo. Within about six miles of Carmarthen, in Wales, is the ancient parish church of Llangendeirne—"Church of Kentigern"; this is one instance, at least, of a dedication to the saint under his real name, and maybe the only one. There were formerly two fairs of St. Mungo kept in Alloa each year, where the church was dedicated to this saint. St. Kentigern is said to have made no less than seven pilgrimages to Rome in the course of his life. {7} His feast, which had long been celebrated by the Benedictines of Fort-Augustus and the Passionists of Glasgow, was extended to the whole of Scotland by Leo XIII in 1898. As he died on the Octave of the Epiphany, the feast is kept on the following day, January 14.

19—St. Blaithmaic, Martyr, 8th or 9th century.

This saint was of princely birth, and a native of Ireland. In early youth he renounced all the attractions of wealth and honour and entered a monastery. Here for his many virtues he was chosen abbot, and ruled his flock with wisdom and prudence. But from his youth he had longed for martyrdom, and though he had often begged leave from his superiors to preach the Faith to unbelievers, he could never obtain it. Being at Iona, where he had entered the community as a simple monk on renouncing his charge in Ireland, he announced one day to the brethren in the spirit of prophecy that an irruption of pagan Danes was about to take place. He exhorted those who felt themselves too weak for martyrdom to seek safety in flight. They concealed the shrine of St. Columba's {8} relics, and many of the monks betook themselves to the mainland.

Next morning, while Blaithmaic was at the altar, having just offered the Holy Sacrifice, the pagans rushed upon him and the few companions who remained, and slaughtered all except Blaithmaic. They offered him life and liberty if he would show them the shrine of St. Columba with its treasure of gold and gems. But the intrepid martyr refused to betray his trust and was hewn down at the altar. He was buried at Iona on the return of the monks from their place of safety. There is some doubt about the date of his death, some writers place it as late as A.D. 828.

20—St. Vigean or Fechin, Hermit, A.D. 664.

The parish of St. Vigean's, Forfarshire, derives its name from this saint, who though called Vigean in Scotland, is no other than the Irish abbot Fechin. He ruled three hundred monks at Fore, in Westmeath. It is not easy to determine his precise connection with Scotland, though from the remains which bear his name it would appear that he spent some time in the country. A hermitage at Conan, near Arbroath, {9} is pointed out as his residence, and the foundations of a small chapel may still be traced. Near them is a spring known as St. Vigean's Well. A fair called by his name was held at Arbroath on this day up to the eighteenth century.

Ecclefechan known in Middle Age charters as Ecclesia Sancti Fechani (Church of St. Fechan) takes its name from the same saint. It has acquired celebrity in later times as the birthplace of Thomas Carlyle. St. Fechin was buried in the Monastery of Fore.

25—St. Euchadius, Monk, A.D. 597.

This saint was one of the twelve disciples who accompanied St. Columba from Ireland and settled with him upon the island of Iona. He was one of the saint's helpers in the conversion of the Northern Picts. He is said to have written the Acts of St. Columba. It seems probable that St. Euchadius laboured at one time in Galloway, as he received special veneration in that district. This may have been due, however, to relics of the saint preserved there in Catholic ages. {10}

26—St. Conan, Bishop, A.D. 648.

He was born in Ireland, and is said to have passed over to Iona to join the community there, in which his virtues and talents placed him high in the estimation of the monks. He was characterised by a special devotion to the Mother of God, which won for him a singular purity of soul. He was made tutor to the three sons of Eugenius IV, King of Scotland, and brought them up carefully and wisely. Later on he became a Bishop. St. Conan was greatly honoured in Scotland. His name survives at Kilconan, in Fortingal, Perthshire, and at St. Conan's Well, near Dalmally, Argyleshire. St. Conan's Fair is held at Glenorchy, Perthshire, but this seems to relate to another saint of like name, as its date is the third Wednesday in March and our saint was venerated on January 26th, as the best authorities testify.

28—St. Nathalan or Nauchlan, Bishop, A.D. 678.

This saint was born of a noble Scottish family at Tullich, Aberdeenshire. From his youth he was distinguished for great piety, and spent {11} much of his time in manual labour in the fields as a voluntary mortification and a means of subduing the passions. Many miracles are related of him. It is said that having given away all his corn in time of famine, he caused the fields to be sown with sand for lack of grain, and was rewarded by a plentiful harvest. Having given way to murmuring in a moment of impatience he imposed upon himself the penance of making a pilgrimage to Rome, wearing on his leg a heavy chain; this he fastened by a padlock and threw the key into the Dee at a place now known as "The Pool of the Key." He is said to have bought a fish for food in Rome and to have found the key in its stomach; this he took for a supernatural intimation to discontinue his self-inflicted mortification.

Being made bishop by the Pope, he returned to his native land as an apostle of the Faith. He built in Deeside several churches at his own expense; one of these was at his native place, Tullich, where a huge slab of granite, sculptured with an antique cross, forms the top lintel of one of the doors of the ancient church, and is thought to have been a portion {12} of the saint's tomb. St. Nathalan is said to have visited Ireland, and to have founded the monastery of Dungiven in Ulster. He died at a very advanced age at Tullich, on January 8th, 678. He became the patron saint of Deeside, and traces of his cultus still remain in that district. Long after Protestants had lost sight of the reason for it, an annual holiday was held on his feast day, no work being allowed to be done. A market was formerly held at Old Meldrum on or near this day, called "St. Nathalan's Fair," and another at Cowie, Kincardineshire. The ancient name of Meldrum was Bothelney, a corruption of Bothnethalen, which signifies "habitation of Nathalan." Near the ruins of the old church is still to be seen "Nauchlan's Well." A quaint local rhyme preserves his memory at Cowie:

"Atween the kirk and the kirk ford There lies St. Nauchlan's hoard."

The feast of St. Nathalan was restored by Leo XIII.

29—St. Voloc or Macwoloc, Bishop. 5th or 6th century.

This saint is considered by some to have been of Irish race as his name is possibly identical {13} with the Irish name Faelchu. He is said by the Aberdeen Breviary to have left his native land to spread the Roman Faith in Scotland, where he was raised to the episcopal rank. He voluntarily took upon himself a life of great austerity to satisfy for his own sins and those of others. His evangelical labours were devoted to the northern parts of the country chiefly. He lived in a little house woven of reeds and wattles, for his attraction was towards everything poor and humble. His simple and holy life and the miracles he worked had an immense influence in spreading the light of faith amongst the ignorant and half-barbarous people to whose welfare he had devoted himself, and many were converted to the Truth.

He is said to have died in extreme old age; angels standing round his death-bed. The old churches of Dunmeth and Logie Mar in Aberdeenshire were dedicated to this saint. The former parish is now included in that of Glass. Two miles below Beldorny in that parish are St. Wallach's Baths and a ruined chapel called Wallach's Kirk, while in the neighbourhood of the latter is St. Wallach's Well, which up to {14} recent times was a recognised place of pilgrim age. An annual fair was formerly held in his honour at Logie; it is commemorated in a provincial rhyme:

"Wala-fair in Logic Mar The thirtieth day of Januar."

30—St. Glascian or Maglastian, Bishop.

Scottish calendars give short notices of this saint, who is said to have been an illustrious and saintly bishop during the reign of King Achaius, a Scottish king contemporaneous with Charlemagne. Very few particulars can be ascertained as to his life. All that is at present known of him is gathered from the traces of his cultus which remain in various districts of the country. Thus the parish of Kinglassie, near Kirkcaldy, seems to have been named after him, and in the neighbourhood is a spring of fine water known as St. Glass's Well. There is another well named after him at Dundrennan (Kirkcudbrightshire). Kilmaglas, now known as Stachur, in Argyleshire, indicates another dedication to this saint. His feast is noted in the Breviary of Aberdeen on this day. {15}

31—St. Adamnan of Coldingham, A.D. (about) 686.

In the monastery of Coldingham, over which St. Ebba presided, was a monk of great sanctity and austerity named Adamnan. It is not certain whether he was a native of Scotland or not. In his youth Adamnan had led a life of great licentiousness, and being converted by the grace of God from his evil ways was moved with a desire to do penance for his sins. Accordingly he sought the counsel of a certain Irish priest, to whom he made a general confession and confided his desire of entering upon a penitential life. So deep was his sorrow that he expressed himself ready to accept any penance his director might impose, even to spending whole nights in prayer, or fasting for a week continuously. The priest having imposed upon him the penance of taking food twice only in a week until he should see him again, departed into Ireland, and died there before Adamnan was able to consult him a second time. Taking this as a sign of God's Will that he was to persevere in his heroic course of penance, Adamnan resolved to continue to the end the hard life begun by the counsel of the Irish priest. Having become {16} a monk at Coldingham after his conversion, he lived there for many years, and was made one of the priests of the monastery. He died in the odour of sanctity after being favoured with the gift of prophecy.

St. Mittan.

All that is known of this saint is that a fair, called after him, was held formerly at Kilmadock in Perthshire, on January 31st., which must consequently have been his feast day.


1—St. Darlugdach, Virgin, A.D. 524.

This saint was an Irish virgin who was educated to the monastic life by the great St. Bridget, the glory of Ireland. She is said to have visited Scotland during the reign of King Nectan and to have presided over a community of religious women attached to a church which that King had built at Abernethy and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. By some writers St. Bridget herself is said to have led the monastic colony to Scotland, but this is by no means {17} clear. It is true that great devotion was shown towards her, and many Scottish churches and wells bear her name, but this may be accounted for by the close connection with Ireland which subsisted in those early times. Her relics, too, were venerated at Abernethy.

St. Darlugdach did not remain in Scotland, as she succeeded her friend and patroness St. Bridget as Abbess of Kildare, where she died.

3—St. Fillan or Faolan, Abbot (8th century).

He was the son of St. Kentigerna, and consequently of Irish birth, and is said to have taken the monastic habit at Taghmon, in Wexford, under the rule of St. Fintan-Munnu; later on he came to Scotland. After spending some time with his uncle St. Comgan at Lochalsh, where Killillan (Kilfillan) bears his name, the saint devoted himself to the evangelization of the district of Perthshire round Strathfillan, which is called after him, and where he was greatly venerated. The success of the Scots at Bannockburn was attributed to the presence of the arm of St. Fillan, which was borne by its custodian, the Abbot of Inchaffray, on the {18} field of battle. The crozier of the saint is still in existence; it is preserved in the National Museum, Edinburgh. This also, as one of the sacred battle-ensigns of Scotland, is said to have been present at Bannockburn. A small bell which formerly hung in his church in Strathfillan is now in the museum of the Antiquarian Society in Edinburgh. Several traces of the saint are to be found in the district in which he preached. Killallan, or Killellen, an ancient parish in Renfrewshire, took its name from him; it was originally Kilfillan (Church of Fillan). Near the ruins of the old church, situated near Houston, is a stone called Fillan's Seat, and a spring called Fillan's Well existed there until it was filled up, as a remnant of superstition, by a parish minister in the eighteenth century. Other holy wells bore his name at Struan (Perthshire), Largs and Skelmorlie (Ayrshire), Kilfillan (Wigtonshire), Pittenweem (Fifeshire), etc. A fair used to be held annually at Houston and another at Struan, both known as Fillan's Fair. In Strathfillan are the ruins of St. Fillan's chapel, and hard by is the Holy Pool, in which the insane were formerly bathed {19} to obtain a cure by the saint's intercession. Scott refers to it in Marmion (Cant. I. xxix):

"St. Fillan's blessed Well, Whose spring can frenzied dreams dispel And the crazied brain restore."

Pope Leo XIII re-established the saint's feast in Scotland.

4—St. Modan, Abbot, 8th century.

This saint, whose missionary labours benefited the west coast of Scotland, was the son of an Irish chieftain. He crossed over from his native land, like so many others of his countrymen, to minister to the spiritual wants of the many Christians of Irish race who at that time formed an important part of the population of the district to which he came.

A short distance from the site of the old Priory of Ardchattan, near Loch Etive, may still be seen the remains of his first oratory. It bears the name of Balmodhan (St. Modan's Town); a few paces from its ruins is a clear spring called St. Modan's Well, and hither within the memory of persons still living came many a pilgrimage in honour of the saint. A {20} flat stone near was known as St. Modan's Seat. It was broken up for building materials by Presbyterians not many years ago.

The ruins are situated amid scenery of impressive beauty, and command a view of land and water as far as the island of Mull. The masonry," says Dr. Story in his description of the buildings, "is strong and rough, but little more than the gables and the outline of two broken walls remain, overshadowed by the ash trees that have planted themselves among the stones, the existing trees growing out of the remains of roots, all gnarled and weather-worn, of immensely greater age. In every crevice thorn, rowan, ivy, and fern have fastened themselves, softening and concealing the sanctuary's decay." ("St. Modan," by R. H. Story, D.D.)

Another old church which claims St. Modan for its patron is that of Roseneath, which stands near Loch Long, on the border of the Western Highlands, in Dumbartonshire. Its name signifies "the Promontory of the Sanctuary"; sometimes it was known as "Neveth"—the Sanctuary—simply. Only the ancient burial ground and kirk now remain, but formerly a {21} well existed here also, which is said to have had miraculous properties and was resorted to by pilgrims. Later on the site was made use of for a foundation of Canons Regular, whose monastery was built on a plain below the sanctuary; it is now entirely demolished.

Kilmodan, above Loch Riddan, on the Kyles of Bute, is another of St. Modan's foundations, as its name implies; for it signifies Church of Modan. The modern kirk has replaced the ancient building and occupies the same site. Other parts of Scotland also claim connection with this saint. He is said to have preached the Faith as far east as Falkirk, where the old church, Eaglais Bhreac, was dedicated to him, as was also the High Church of Stirling.

After a life of extreme austerity St. Modan, finding his end approaching, retired to the solitude of Rosneath, where he died. Devotion to him was very popular in Scotland. Scott alludes to it in the "Lay of the Last Minstrel":

"Some to Saint Modan made their vows, Some to Saint Mary of the Lowes." Canto VI. {22}

7—St. Ronan, Bishop, A.D. 737.

Dr. Skene, in his "Celtic Scotland," expresses the opinion that this saint was a contemporary and associate of St. Modan. It is remarkable that where a foundation of one saint exists, traces of the other are found in the vicinity. Thus near Rosneath is Kilmaronock, where is St. Maronock's Well, and on the opposite side of Loch Etive, not far from Balmodhan, is Kilmaronog. Both names signify "Church" or "Cell of Ronan."

It is a common feature in the Celtic designations of saints to find the prefix mo (my) and the affix og (little) added to the simple name by way of reverent endearment. This is the case in the names just referred to; Kilmaronog and Kilmaronock both mean literally "Church of my little (or dear) Ronan."

Many legends surround this saint, but very little authentic information can be gleaned concerning the circumstances of his life. Many dedications to him are to be found on lonely isles and retired spots on the west coast, which seem to point to a custom of seeking solitude from time to time. Thus a little island near {23} Raasay is called Ronay; another sixty miles north-east of the Lewes, possessing an ancient oratory and Celtic crosses, is called Rona. An islet on the west coast of the mainland of Shetland is called St. Ronan's Isle; it becomes an island at high tide only. The parish church of Iona was called Teampull Ronain and its burial ground Cladh Ronain. St. Ronan is said to have been Abbot of Kingarth, Bute, where he died in 737. Holy wells bear his name at Strowan (Perthshire), Chapelton in Strathdon (Aberdeenshire), and the Butt of Lewis; the latter is famed for the cure of lunacy.

14—St. Conran.

He was a Bishop of Orkney in the seventh century whose name was illustrious for sanctity, zeal, and austerity of life.

17—St. Finan, Bishop, A.D. 661.

This saint was an Irishman who became a monk in the monastery founded by St. Columba at Iona. During his monastic life he was distinguished for the virtues befitting his state, especially prudence and gravity of demeanour. {24} He was devoted to prayer and strove zealously to live according to the Divine Will in all things. When St. Aidan, who had been a monk of Iona, passed to his heavenly reward, a successor in his see of Lindisfarne was again sought in that celebrated monastery, and the choice fell upon Finan. His first care was to erect on the island of Lindisfarne a suitable cathedral, and in this he placed the remains of his saintly predecessor Aidan.

During the few years that St. Finan ruled his diocese he exhibited all the virtues of a model bishop. His love of poverty, contempt of the world, and zeal for preaching the Gospel, won the hearts of his people. Under his guidance, Oswy the King was brought to realise his crime in the barbarous murder of the saintly Oswin, King of Deira, and the result was the foundation of monasteries and churches as tokens of his sincere repentance and his desire to obtain pardon from Heaven through the prayers and merits of those who should dwell in them.

The influence of St. Finan extended beyond his own people; for the kings of more southern {25} nations, with their subjects, owed the Faith to his zeal and piety. Peada, King of the Mercians, and Sigebert, King of the East Saxons, both received Baptism at his hands, and obtained from him missionaries to preach to their respective peoples.

The most famous work in which St. Finan was directly concerned was the foundation by Oswy of the Monastery of Streaneshalch on the precipitous headland afterwards known as Whitby. This was to become in later years, under the rule of the first abbess, Hilda, a school of saints and a centre of learning for the whole territory in which it stood, and the admiration of after ages for its fervour and strictness of discipline.

St. Finan died after an episcopate of ten years, and was laid to rest beside the remains of St. Aidan in the cathedral he had built at Lindisfarne. His feast was restored to Scot land by Leo XIII. in 1898.

18—St. Colman, Bishop, A.D. 676.

On the death of St. Finan, another monk of Iona was chosen to succeed him in the see of {26} Lindisfarne. This was Colman, who, like Finan, was of Irish nationality. At the time a fierce controversy was raging in Britain as to the correct calculation of Easter. The Roman system of computation had undergone various changes until it was finally fixed towards the end of the sixth century. It was adopted gradually throughout the Church, but Britain and Ireland still retained their ancient method. In consequence of this it sometimes happened that when the Celtic Church was keeping Easter, the followers of the Roman computation were still observing Lent. This was the case in the Court of Oswy, King of Bernicia, who followed the Celtic rite, while his Queen Eanfleada and her chaplains, who had been accustomed to the Roman style, kept the festival in accordance with it.

To bring about uniformity a synod was held at Whitby to give the advocates of either system an opportunity of stating their views. St. Wilfrid, the great upholder of Roman customs, brought such weighty arguments for his side that the majority of those present were persuaded to accept the Roman computation. {27} St. Colman, however, since the Holy See had not definitely settled the matter, could not bring himself to give up the traditional computation which his dear master, St. Columba, had held to. He, therefore, resigned his see, after ruling it for three years only, and with such of the Lindisfarne monks as held the same views retired to Iona.

On his way thither he seems to have founded the church of Fearn in Forfarshire, which he dedicated to St. Aidan, placing there some of the saint's relics brought with him from Lindisfarne. He also founded a church in honour of the same saint at Tarbert in Easter-Ross. This, however, was afterwards called by his own name.

After a short stay at Iona, St. Colman re turned to Ireland and founded a monastery at Inisbofin, an island on the west coast of that country, peopling it with the monks who had left Lindisfarne in his company. Later on a new foundation was made at Mayo for Saxon monks only; it became known as "Mayo of the Saxons." The saint ruled both monasteries till his death, which occurred at Inisbofin, where {28} he was buried. He had translated thither the greater part of St. Aidan's relics. The ruins of the ancient church may still be seen on the island. St. Colman's feast has been restored to Scotland by Pope Leo XIII.

Protestant writers have tried to interpret St. Colman's conduct regarding the Synod of Whitby as a manifest opposition to Roman authority. This, however, is a mistaken conclusion. It must be remembered that the matter was regarded by him as an open question, and he considered himself justified in keeping to the traditional usage until Rome declared against it. St. Bede, who had no sympathy with his views on the Easter question, speaks highly of St. Colman as a holy and zealous Bishop.

There is some discrepancy between Scottish and Irish authorities as to the precise date of the saint's death. In Scotland he was honoured on this day, but Irish writings give the date as August 8. There are also some slight differences in the particulars of his life; but as no less than 130 saints of this name are mentioned in Irish ecclesiastical records, it is conceivable that their histories have become intermixed. {29}

23—St. Boisil, Confessor, A.D. 664.

The old abbey of Melrose was not the Cistercian house whose ruins still remain, but an earlier monastery which had been founded by St. Aidan and followed the rule of St. Columba, which was afterwards changed for that of St. Benedict. The Roman usage regarding Easter was adopted there, very soon after the Synod of Whitby. Its abbot was the holy Eata, who was given the government of Lindisfarne Abbey also, when many of its monks followed St. Colman to Ireland. Just before these events occurred the subject of this notice was called to his reward. He was prior of Melrose under Eata, and it was he, who, being a monk and priest of surpassing merit and prophetic spirit, as St. Bede says, welcomed with joy and gave the monastic habit to a youth in whom he saw "a servant of the Lord"—the future St. Cuthbert. The two became devoted friends, and Boisil, who was especially learned in the Scriptures, became Cuthbert's master in that science, as well as his example in holy living.

In 664 a terrible epidemic called the Yellow Plague visited Scotland and carried off numbers {30} of the inhabitants. Boisil and Cuthbert were both attacked by the malady, and the lives of both were endangered. The holy prior, however, from the beginning foretold the recovery of Cuthbert and his own death. Summoning the latter to his bedside, he prophesied his future greatness, relating all that was to befall him in the years to come, and especially his elevation to the episcopal rank. Then he begged Cuthbert to assist him during the seven days of life which remained to him to finish the study of St. John's Gospel on which they had been engaged. In this they occupied themselves till St. Boisil's peaceful death.

The church of St. Boswell's was dedicated to this saint, the name is a corruption of St. Boisil's. The old town has disappeared. An annual fair was formerly held on July 18th, in honour of the saint. His well also was situated there.

25—St. Cumine, Abbot, A.D. 669.

He was the seventh abbot of Iona, and his learning and holiness rank him among the most illustrious monks of that renowned monastery. The Synod of Whitby, which was instrumental {31} in overthrowing the ancient Celtic computation of Easter and substituting the Roman use, occurred during Cumine's occupation of the abbacy. He wrote a life of St. Columba, probably to vindicate his sanctity after the apparent slight offered to his memory by the synod in setting aside the traditional usage which he had cherished. This life seems to have been the result of St. Colman's visit to Iona before his return to Ireland (see Feb. 18th).

A more important work is St. Cumine's letter on the Easter controversy, which he wrote before he became abbot, and which shows a thorough acquaintance with the difficulties of the subject, as well as deep knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures and writings of the Fathers. He is often called Cumine Ailbhe (Cumine the Fair-haired). His name survives in Kilchuimein (Church of St. Cumine), the ancient designation of Fort-Augustus, and the only name by which it is still called in Gaelic. A spot in the same neighbourhood is known as St. Cumine's Return; it is in the vicinity of a hill called St. Cumine's Seat. The parish church of Glenelg also is named after this saint.


1—St. Marnock or Marnan, Bishop, A.D. 625.

Like so many of the Celtic saints, the name of this one has been changed by the addition of particles expressive of reverence. The original form was Ernin; the Scottish name is a contraction of the Gaelic words Mo-Ernin-og (my little Ernin). He is considered by some writers to have been of Irish nationality, but this is by no means established. St. Marnock laboured as a missionary in Moray, being specially noted for his zeal in preaching. He died at Aberchirder in Banffshire, and was buried in the church there. The place after wards received the additional name of Marnock from its connection with the saint. St. Marnock's shrine became a favourite place of pilgrimage, and miracles were wrought through his relics, which were religiously preserved there. The head of St. Marnock was frequently borne in procession to obtain fair weather. It was the custom also to have lights placed round it every Sunday and to wash the relic with water, {33} which was afterwards used, greatly to their benefit, by the sick. The Innes family, who chose the saint as their patron, had a particular devotion to that relic.

Traces of the cultus of St. Marnock are to be found in many districts of Scotland. Besides the church in which his remains were honoured, a holy well at Aberchirder still bears his name. A fair on the second Tuesday in March, held there annually, was known as Marnock Fair. There was a Marnock Fair at Paisley also, which lasted for eight days. The church of the well-known parish of Kilmarnock, in Ayrshire, is another of his dedications. Near Kilfinan, in Argyllshire, and not far from the sea shore, may be seen the foundation and a fragment of the wall of a chapel with a graveyard round it; the field in which the chapel stands is called Ard-Marnoc. On an eminence not far off is a cell which tradition assigns to this saint as a place of retirement for solitary communion with God. Inchmarnock, an island near Bute, is another place connected with him; Dalmarnock at Little Dunkeld, is named after this saint. Other churches and parishes also show {34} traces of the honour paid to him in Catholic ages.

St. Monan, Martyr, 9th century.

According to some writers, he was one of the companions of St. Adrian (who was honoured on March 4), and preached the Gospel in Fifeshire; his relics being afterwards translated to Abercrombie in that county—King David II., in thanksgiving for cures obtained through the saint's intercession, erecting there a noble church to contain them. Dr Skene, however, is of opinion that this saint was not a martyr, but was St. Monan, Bishop of Clonfert, known in Irish calendars as Moinenn, and that his relics were brought to Abercrombie by Irish who had fled from the Danes then plundering and burning Irish monasteries about the year 841. On account of the great devotion of the saint, Abercrombie became generally known as St. Monan's, but has now reverted to its original title. The church was given by James III. to the Dominicans; later on it was transferred to the Canons Regular of St. Andrews. St. Monan's Well is near the ancient building. {35}

2—St. Fergna, Bishop, A.D. 622.

This saint, a fellow-citizen and relative of St. Columba, became eventually Abbot of Iona. During his rule many of the young nobles who had fled from the sword of the King of Deira took shelter in the monastery. They were instructed and converted to the Christian Faith. St. Fergna is said to have been made a bishop in the later years of his life, but this is called in question by some writers. He seems to have been of partly British descent and is often styled "Fergna the Briton."

4—St. Adrian and Companions, A.D. 875.

An old legend, which was long regarded as authentic, relates that this saint was of royal birth and was a native of Hungary, and that he came to Scotland with several companions to preach the Faith. Modern historians identify him with the Irish St. Odhran, who was driven from his country by the Danes and took refuge in Scotland. He preached the Gospel to the people of Fifeshire and the eastern counties. Eventually he founded a monastery on the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth. Here he suffered martyrdom, together {36} with a great number of his disciples, in an incursion of the Danes. A Priory was built on the island by David I, and placed under the Benedictine Abbey of Reading. Later on it was given over to the Canons Regular of St. Andrews. The Isle of May became a famous place of pilgrimage on account of the connection with it of other saints besides St. Adrian and his companions. James IV visited it several times, having evidently a great affection for the holy place. In 1503 he took the "clerkis of the Kingis chapell to Maii to sing the Mes thair." Other records occur in his treasurer's accounts, such as the following: "To the preistis to say thre trentals of Messis thair"; for "the Kingis offerand in his tua candillis in Maii."

6—St. Baldred, Hermit, A.D. 608.

This saint, according to a popular tradition, was a disciple of the great St. Kentigern. He has often been styled the Apostle of East Lothian. After his master's death St. Baldred took up his residence upon the Bass Rock, near North Berwick, and there he devoted himself to penance and prayer, his favourite {37} subject of meditation being the Passion of Christ Our Lord. From time to time he would pay missionary visits to the mainland. He died at Aldhame in Haddington, a village which has now disappeared; St. Baldred's Cave is on the sea-shore near its former site. Tyningham Church, in the same county, and also that of Prestonkirk, were dedicated to him. The former was burnt by the Danes in 941. The old parishes of Aldhame and Tyningham are now united under the designation of Whitekirk. At Prestonkirk there is a well which bears the saint's name, whose water, as a Protestant writer notes, is excellent for making tea! An eddy in the Tyne is called St. Baldred's Whirl. A century ago Prestonkirk churchyard possessed an ancient statue of St. Baldred. The ruins of a chapel dedicated to the saint are still discernible on the Bass Rock.

St. Cadroe, Abbot, A.D. 937.

He was connected with the royal family of Strathclyde. In his youth he was sent to Ireland to be educated at Armagh. Returning to Scotland, he devoted himself to the training and education of youths for the priesthood. {38}

Later on he gave himself to a life of pilgrimage and passed into England, where Odo, Arch bishop of Canterbury, received him with great kindness; he also visited the King, Edmund, at Winchester. Crossing over to France, Cadroe, by the direction of St. Fursey, who appeared to him in a vision during prayer, took the monastic habit at the Benedictine Abbey of Fleury. But although he wished to remain there as a simple monk, his sanctity caused him to be made abbot of the monastery of Wassons-on-the Meuse, which he ruled for some years. At the request of the Bishop of Metz he took up his residence in that city in the Abbey of St. Clement, where he instituted a thorough reform of discipline. He remained at the latter monastery till his death at the age of seventy, which was followed by many miracles.

8—St. Duthac, Bishop, A.D. 1068.

This saint was of Scottish birth, but was educated, like many of his contemporaries, in Ireland. Returning to his native land, he was consecrated bishop, and devoted himself with zeal to the pastoral office. He is said to have {39} especially shown this devotion in hearing the confessions of his people. He laboured as bishop in the districts of Moray and Ross. Both during life and after death he was noted for many miracles. He was buried in the church of Tain, whose Gaelic title is Baile Dhuich (Duthac's Town). Seven years after death his body was found incorrupt, and was removed to a more honourable shrine in the same church. His resting-place became one of the chief places of pilgrimage in the country. James IV. visited it no less than three times, travelling thither with a large retinue. At that date St. Duthac's Bell was treasured at Tain. St. Duthac is patron of Kilduich, at the head of Loch Duich in Kintail. The saint probably visited this spot, which belonged to his pastoral charge. Kilduthie, near the Loch of Leys, Kincardineshire, and Arduthie, near Stonehaven, in the same county, both take their names from this saint. A chapel in the Benedictine Abbey of Arbroath bore the dedication of St. Duthac. Two fairs called after him were held annually at Tain—"St. Duthac in Lent" was on his feast-day; that in {40} December probably indicated some translation of his relics. At Tain is St. Duthac's Cairn. A holy well bears his name in the parish of Cromarty. Leo XIII restored his feast in 1898.

10—St. Failhbe (the second), Abbot, A.D. 745.

This saint was one of the abbots of Iona. He ruled that monastery for seven years, and died there at the age of seventy.

St. Kessog or Mackessog, Bishop and Martyr, A.D. 560.

He was a native of Ireland, but devoted himself to missionary labours in Scotland, in the province of Lennox. He used as his retreat Innis a' Mhanaich (Monk's Island) in Loch Lomond. Tradition says that he suffered martyrdom near Luss, in Dumbartonshire. Another version is that being martyred in a foreign country, and his body being conveyed to Scotland for burial, the herbs with which it was surrounded took root and grew where he was laid to rest; hence the name Luss (herbs) was given to the spot, and was afterwards extended to the parish. The place of his burial is called "Carnmacheasaig." The church of {41} Luss had the privilege of sanctuary, which extended for three miles round it, so that no one could be molested within that boundary for any cause; this was granted by King Robert Bruce in 1313. The church of Auchterarder, Perthshire, was dedicated to this saint, and he was also venerated at Callander; at both places, as also at Comrie, Perthshire, fairs were held annually on his feast-day. Near Callander is a conical mound bearing his name. The bell of the saint was preserved up to the seventeenth century. At Inverness is "Kessog Ferry." The saint's name was often used by the Scots as a battle-cry, and he is sometimes represented as the patron of soldiers, wearing a kind of military dress.

11—St. Constantine, King and Martyr, A.D. 590.

This saint was a British king who reigned in Cornwall. His early life was stained by many crimes, but, becoming converted to piety, after his wife's death he entered the monastery of Menevia, now known as St. David's, that he might expiate his sins by penance. St. Kentigern, then an exile in that same monastery, exhorted {42} him to devote himself to preaching the Faith in Cumbria. St. Constantine accordingly founded a monastery at Govan, in Lanarkshire, where he became abbot, and from whence he and his disciples preached Christianity to the people of the surrounding country. He converted the people of Cantyre, and met his death in that district at the hands of the enemies of his teaching. He was buried at Govan, where the church bears his name. Kilchousland in Cantyre takes its name from him. The ancient church of Kinnoul, near Perth, and that of Dunnichen, Forfarshire, were also dedicated to this saint; at the latter place was St. Cousland's (or Causnan's) Fair, and some remains of St. Cousland's chapel are there still. The water of his well at Garrabost, in Lewis, known as St. Cowstan's, is said never to boil any kind of meat, however long it may be kept over a fire. The feast of this saint was restored by Leo XIII.

St. Libranus, Abbot.

He was one of the many saintly abbots of Iona. {43}

12—St. Indrecht, Abbot and Martyr, A.D. 854.

This saint was also Abbot of Iona, being the twenty-first in order of succession. On his way to Rome he was martyred by the Saxons.

St. Fechno, or Fiachna, Confessor, A.D. 580.

He was one of the twelve disciples who accompanied St. Columba to Scotland. He was probably born in the north of Ireland, and spent some years under St. Columba's rule. Miracles are said to have been wrought at his tomb.

16—St. Finan, Abbot, A.D. (about) 575.

This saint, surnamed "The Leper," from the disease with which he was afflicted, is mentioned in Irish calendars on the 16th of this month. Although the dedications to St. Finan in Scotland are many, and devotion to him must therefore have been widespread, it is difficult to assign a cause for it. Some have thought that he was at some time at Iona, but the authentic particulars of his life which are now extant are so few that it is impossible to determine. To him is attributed the evangelisation of part of Argyllshire, in the district which still bears {44} the name of Glen-Finan. The ancient burial-place of the district is on Eilean Finan, an island in Loch Shiel, where he is said to have lived, and where is preserved one of the few ancient bronze bells which still exist in Scot land; it is called by the saint's name. A fair was formerly held there annually, and was called "St. Finan's Fair." Other dedications to this saint are at Kilfinan in the same county Kilfinan, near Invergarry, and Mochrum in Wigtonshire. "St. Finzean's Fair" (a manner of denoting Finyan), formerly held at Perth, is supposed to have been in honour of the festival of this saint.

St. Charmaig, A.D. (about) 640.

This was a saint much honoured among the Hebrides. He is patron of the church of Keills, Argyllshire. At Ellanmore, in that county, there are the remains of a chapel, named after him, Kilmacharmaig, and in a recess is a recumbent figure thought to be a representation of the saint. Kirkcormaig, in the parish of Kelton, Kirkcudbright, possibly refers to this saint. {45}

St. Boniface or Curitan, Bishop, 8th century.

An ancient legend, which modern historians have shown to be a fanciful distortion of facts, relates that this saint, an Israelite, came from Rome to Britain, and that after converting Nectan, King of the Picts, and his people to Christianity, he consecrated 150 bishops, ordained 1000 priests, founded 150 churches, and baptised 36,000 persons. The real facts of the case seem to be that this saint is identical with Curitan, an Irish saint, who laboured in Scotland to bring about the Roman observance of Easter. The testimony of St. Bede that King Nectan in the year 710 adopted the Roman computation, and the fact that St. Boniface was zealous in founding churches in honour of St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, thus identifying himself with special devotion to Rome, seem to give weight to the supposition. This saint became a bishop, and the cathedral of the diocese of Ross, which replaced the primitive building raised by him at Rosemarkie (now Fortrose) and dedicated to St. Peter, was subsequently named in his honour. A fair was formerly held there annually on his feast-day. {46}

In Glen-Urquhart, Inverness-shire, Clach Churadain, an ancient church at Corrimony, was dedicated to this saint. Croit Churadain ("Curitan's Croft") and Tobar Churadain ("Curitan's Well") are hard by.

17—St. Patrick, Bishop, A.D. 493.

To many it may seem strange that the name of the great Apostle of Ireland should appear among Scottish saints; but the calendar would be incomplete without it. According to many competent authorities St. Patrick was born in Scotland. They fix his birthplace at Kilpatrick on the Clyde, near Dumbarton. Even were this theory rejected, and that one accepted which makes him a native of Gaul, still the number of churches dedicated to the saint in Scotland, testifying to the devotion in which he was held in Catholic ages, would justify the mention of his feast here. About fourteen churches bore his name, and many have given the designation to the parish in which they stand, as Kilpatrick, Temple-Patrick, Ard-Patrick, Dalpatrick, Kirkpatrick, etc. Fairs were held on this day—known as "Patrickmas"—at Dumbarton and Kirkpatrick—Durham {47} (Kirkcudbrightshire). There is a sacred well called by the saint's name, and also a small chapel in honour of St. Patrick, at Muthill, Perthshire, and so highly was he esteemed in that place that a general holiday from labour was observed on his feast up to the beginning of last century. At Dalziel (Lanarkshire), Kilpatrick (Dumbartonshire), and Port Patrick (Wigtonshire), are holy wells bearing St. Patrick's name.

18—St. Finian or Finan, Bishop, A.D. 660.

This feast is noted both in the Breviary and Martyrology of Aberdeen, as well as in other Scottish calendars. There is a wide divergence of opinion among authorities as to the particular saint referred to, and the Aberdeen Breviary affords no account of his life. It seems, however, not improbable that this is the St. Finan, patron of the churches of Migvie and Lumphanan, both in Aberdeenshire, who is thought by Dr. Skene to have been one of St. Kentigern's Welsh disciples, sent, together with St. Nidan (see Nov. 3), to preach the Gospel in Deeside. "In the upper valley of the Dee, on the north side of the river, we find a group of {48} dedications which must have proceeded from a Welsh source. These are Glengairden, dedicated to Mungo, Migvie and Lumphanan to Finan, the latter name being a corruption of Llanffinan, and Midmar dedicated to Nidan; while in the island of Anglesea we likewise find two adjacent parishes called Llanffinan and Llannidan." ("Celtic Scotland," ii., 193.)

A chapel at Abersnethick in the parish of Monymusk bears the name of St. Finan, and an Aberdeen authority notes in 1703 that: "Finzean Fair at the kirk of Migvie "was kept at that time," whiles in March and whiles in April, on the Tuesday before Midlenton fair at Banchrie."

St. Comman, A.D. 688.

He was the brother of St. Cumine, Abbot of Iona, and therefore of Irish descent. Like him, too, he became a monk at Iona. The parish of Kilchoman, Islay, takes its name from this saint.

20—St. Cuthbert, Bishop, A.D. 687.

This saint was born of Saxon parents in Northumbria, and was early left an orphan. {49} While tending sheep on the slopes of Lammermoor the youth had a remarkable vision, in which he saw the heavens at night-time all bright with supernatural splendour and choirs of angels bearing some soul of dazzling brightness to its eternal reward. Next day he learned that Aidan, the holy Bishop of Lindisfarne, had passed away. Cuthbert had often before thought of embracing the monastic state, and this vision of the blessedness of one who was a brilliant example of that way of life decided him. He therefore presented himself at the gates of the monastery of Melrose, being probably in his twenty-fourth year. He was received as a novice by St. Boisil, the Prior, who, on first beholding the youth, said to those who stood near: "Behold a true servant of the Lord," a prediction abundantly fulfilled in Cuthbert's life.

For ten years the saint remained hidden at Melrose perfecting himself by the routine of monastic observance. Then on the foundation of Ripon he was sent there as one of the first community. After a short stay he returned to Melrose, and on the death of St. Boisil was {50} made Prior. To the greatest zeal for all that concerned monastic life he added a tender charity for the souls of others, which led him to make many missionary excursions into the surrounding territory.

When Abbot Eata in 664 received the charge of the Abbey of Lindisfarne in addition to Melrose, Cuthbert was sent thither as Prior. For twelve years he was a teacher to his community, both by word and example, of the precepts of the perfect life. Then, desiring more strict seclusion, he retired to a solitary cell on Fame Island, that he might give himself more completely to prayer. Here he lived eight years, visited on great feasts by some of the Lindisfarne monks, and at frequent intervals by pious Christians who sought his direction and intercession.

Having been thus prepared, like St. John Baptist in his desert, for the work God had in store for him, he was chosen Bishop of Lindisfarne. During the two years he exercised this office he was to his flock a model of every virtue, and a pastor full of zeal and charity. He preserved, notwithstanding his high dignity, {51} the humility of heart and simplicity of garb which belonged to his monastic state. Numerous and striking miracles attested his sanctity.

Foreseeing his approaching end he retired to his little cell at Fame where he passed away, strengthened by the Sacraments, with his hands uplifted in prayer. He was buried at Lindisfarne; but incursions of the Danes necessitated the removal of his remains, and for nearly two hundred years his body was conveyed from place to place till it was eventually laid to rest in the Cathedral of Durham. There it became an object of pious pilgrimage from all the three kingdoms. More than 800 years after death the sacred body was found still incorrupt, and there, in a secure hiding-place, it still awaits the restoration of St. Cuthbert's shrine to its rightful custodians, the sons of St. Benedict, the guardians of the secret. Among the churches dedicated to St. Cuthbert in Scotland were those at Ballantrae, Hailes, Ednam, Glencairn, Kirkcudbright, Drummelzier, Gienholm (Broughton), Malton, Edinburgh, Prestwick, Eccles, Drysdale, Girvan, Maybole, Mauchline, Weem, and even distant Wick. Besides Kirkcudbright (Church {52} of St. Cuthbert), which gives the name to a whole county, Northumbria is studded with churches built in his honour, which recall the resting-places of his body, and witness to the devotion inspired by those sacred remains to this great saint. Fairs were formerly held on his feast-day at Ruthwell (Dumfries-shire), and Ordiquhill (Banffshire)—both for eight days—and probably in other localities also. His holy wells were at St. Boswell's and in Strathtay (Perthshire).

22—St. Finian, Wynnin, or Frigidian, Bishop, A.D. 579.

In this saint we have a remarkable instance of a change of name in accordance with the character of the language spoken in the various countries in which he successively lived. Born in Ireland of the royal line of the Kings of Ulster, St. Finian was sent early in the sixth century to be educated at Candida Casa or Whithorn, where a famous school of learning and sanctity had grown up round the tomb of St. Ninian. Returning to his native land, Finian, by the fame of his wonderful erudition, attracted to him numerous disciples in his {53} monastery at Moville. Here, among others, was trained the youth who became in after years the great St. Columba—the Apostle of the north of Scotland.

After a pilgrimage to Rome whence here turned with a copy of the Sacred Scriptures—a volume rare and precious in those early times—Finian again journeyed into Italy and came to the city of Lucca, where his holiness procured him such regard from the people that they succeeded in obtaining his consecration as bishop of that city. It was during his residence there that the wonderful miracle occurred which St. Gregory the Great, who calls the saint "a man of rare virtue," relates in his book of Dialogues. This was the turning of the channel of the river Serchio, which had previously given much trouble to the citizens by overflowing its banks and spoiling orchards and vineyards round about. The saint after prayer made a new channel with a small rake, and commanded the river to flow in that direction for the future, which it did. He is known in Italy as St. Frigidian.

At one time in his life this saint dwelt in the {54} Cunningham district of Ayrshire, where his name survives in the Abbey of Kilwinning (Church of Wynnin or Finian). He is said to have come there from Ireland with a few companions and to have established monastic life in that place, which was afterwards the site of a famous Benedictine Abbey. A like miracle is related of him here. He is said to have changed the course of the river Garnoch. He seems to have preached the Faith at Dairy, in Ayrshire, also; for a hill hard by is called Caer-winning, and there, as at Kilwinning, is a holy well bearing the saint's name. An annual fair, still known as "St. Wynnin," is held at Kilwinning.

The saint departed this life at Lucca, where his body is venerated in the church of St. Frigidian. His feast occurs in March in some calendars, and in others in September. By some writers the names of Finian, Wynnin, and Frigidian have been considered as representing distinct persons; but modern research has pronounced them to be merely different forms of the same name and to refer to the same saint. {55}

30—St. Olaf or Olave, King and Martyr, A.D. 1030.

He was the son of Harald, King of Norway, and became a Christian at an early age. Exiled from his country after his father's death by powerful enemies, he spent many years of his life in piratical warfare. Having embraced the Christian Faith himself, he resolved to deliver his country from the usurping power of the Swedes and Danes, and establish the Christian religion, together with his own lawful sovereignty. Success crowned his efforts, and he was enabled to release his people not only from foreign domination but also from the thralls of paganism, many of them embracing Christianity. His enemies, however, proved too strong for him, and he was again exiled and took refuge in Russia. Returning soon after, he raised an army to recover his kingdom, but was slain by his infidel and rebellious subjects in a battle at Drontheim.

A just and brave ruler, zealous for the Christian religion, though not altogether free from grievous offences against its laws, Olaf, by his unswerving faith, his devotion and penance, {56} won the title of saint and martyr. He was buried at Drontheim, and a magnificent cathedral arose over his remains. His body was found incorrupt in 1098, and again in 1541 when the shrine was plundered by the Lutherans. On that occasion the heretics treated the body with respect, and it was afterwards re-interred. Many miracles have attested his sanctity.

St. Olaf's efforts for the spread of the Gospel in the Orkneys, which at that time belonged to Norway, were doubtless the cause of the devotion which was shown to him in Scotland. Many traces of its existence are to be found in the dedications to him. In Orkney was anciently St. Ollow's parish; it is now comprised in that of Kirkwall. In the latter town is St. Ollowe's Bridge. South-west of Girlsta, in Shetland, is Whiteness, where once stood the Church of St. Olla. He was honoured at Grease in the Island of Lewis. Kirk of Cruden (Aberdeenshire), where St. Ole's Fair was held annually, was dedicated to him. The remains of the saint's ancient chapel, said to have been founded there by Canute, were used for road metal in 1837. St. Olla's Fair, at Kirkwall, {57} lasting for fourteen days, is described in Scott's Pirate. In St. Salvator's College, St. Andrews, was an altar to this saint. St. Olaf appears in the Martyrology on July 29th, when his feast was kept in Norway and all Scandinavian countries. In Scotland, however, he was honoured on this day.


1—St. Gilbert, Bishop, A.D. 1245.

St. Gilbert was the last Scotsman who was honoured as a saint before the Reformation. He belonged to the noble family of Moray, being son of William, Lord of Dufus. Having entered the ecclesiastical state he became in due time Archdeacon of Moray, and when the see of Caithness became vacant he was consecrated bishop of that diocese. During the twenty years he ruled the church of Caithness he edified all by his zeal and by the virtues of his private life.

The cathedral at that time was but a small, insignificant church at Dornoch, dedicated to St. Finbar, an Irish saint of the sixth century {58} who laboured as a missionary in Scotland. The poverty of the diocese and the unsettled state of the times had prevented any extension of this. Gilbert therefore resolved to provide at his own cost a more worthy edifice for the mother-church of the diocese. The church when completed was a beautiful Early English structure, with aisles, transepts, and central tower and spire. The holy bishop considered it a privilege to help with his own hands in the building work. He would himself superintend the making of glass for the windows in the glass works he had established at Sideray.

When the cathedral was finished, St. Gilbert's next care was to form a Chapter, as hitherto there had been no canons. In this important undertaking he followed the model of Lincoln Cathedral and established the rite of that church in the ceremonial of the services. The dignitaries and canons were ten in number, and there were also sufficient vicars choral, or minor ecclesiastics, to enable the sacred offices to be celebrated with becoming solemnity.

St. Gilbert worked many miracles during life; among them is recorded the bestowal of {59} speech on a dumb man by means of prayer and the sign of the cross. The saint was laid to rest under the central spire of his cathedral, and a century after his death the dedication, which had previously been to St. Mary, had been changed to St. Mary and St. Gilbert.

The relics of the saint were greatly honoured in Catholic ages. No trace of St. Gilbert's resting-place remains now except a portion of a broken statue which probably formed part of it; like those of so many of our holy ones, his ashes are left unhonoured in the desecrated church wherein they repose. St. Gilbert's Fair was formerly held annually at Dornoch; it lasted for three days.

2—St. Ebba, Virgin and Abbess, and her Companions, Martyrs, A.D. 870.

The monastery of Coldingham, in the ancient kingdom of Northumbria, founded in the seventh century by St. Ebba, sister of the kings Oswald and Oswy, was governed in the ninth century by another Ebba, who presided over a band of holy virgins following the Rule of St. Benedict. About the year 867 several thousand {60} Danish warriors, under the command of the brothers Hinguar and Hubba, landed on the coast of East Anglia and desolated the whole north country. When Abbess Ebba received tidings of the near approach of the pagan hordes, who had already wrecked vengeance upon ecclesiastics, monks, and consecrated virgins, she summoned her nuns to Chapter, and in a moving discourse exhorted them to preserve at any cost the treasure of their chastity. Then seizing a razor, and calling upon her daughters to follow her heroic example, she mutilated her face in order to inspire the barbarian invaders with horror at the sight. The nuns without exception courageously followed the example of their abbess. When the Danes broke into the cloister and saw the nuns with faces thus disfigured, they fled in panic. Their leaders, burning with rage, sent back some of their number to set fire to the monastery, and thus the heroic martyrs perished in the common ruin of their house. Some chronicles give the 23rd August as the day of their martyrdom, but Scottish writers assign this as their feast day. {61}

4—St. Gonval, Ring, A.D. 824.

Some Scottish historians speak of this good king as an example of piety and respect for the Church and her ordinances. He is said to have received the commendation of St. Columba. His name occurs in the ancient Litany known as that of Dunkeld, formerly in use among the Culdees.

11—St. Macceus or Mahew, A.D. (about) 460.

He is said to have been a disciple of St. Patrick, and spent the greater part of his life in retirement in the Isle of Bute. No particulars of his life can be ascertained. St. Mahew was honoured at Kilmahew near Dumbarton. In 1467 a new chapel and cemetery, dedicated to this saint, were consecrated there by George, Bishop of Argyle.

St. Mechtilde or Matilda, Virgin, 13th century.

According to some Scottish historians, two members of the royal family resigned all the honours and dignities belonging to their state and left their native country to serve God in poverty and obscurity. These were a brother and sister, bearing the names of Alexander and {62} Matilda, the latter being the elder. It is not clear which of the kings of Scotland was their relative. Alexander, having concealed his origin, became a lay-brother in the Cistercian monastery of Foigni, in the diocese of Laon, where he died in 1229. His sister, taking leave of him at the gates of the monastery, took up her abode in a small hut about ten miles distant. Here she spent a long life in dire poverty and austerity. She would refuse all alms, working laboriously for her daily sustenance, and spending all the time that remained in prayer and contemplation. Miracles are said to have proved her power with God, both during her lifetime and after her happy death, which took place some years after that of her brother.

16—St. Magnus, Martyr, A.D. 1116.

The noble Cathedral of Kirkwall rose over the tomb of St. Magnus one of the most popular of the pre-Reformation saints of Scotland. It was founded by the nephew of the martyr, twenty years after he suffered, and to it were translated the remains of St. Magnus, which {63} had hitherto reposed in a more humble sanctuary at Birsay. In all probability they still rest undisturbed in the cathedral which bears the name of the saint.

Like many of the early English saints, Magnus received the title of martyr rather from the popular voice than by the decision of ecclesiastical authority. As his story shows, he merited the title by shedding his blood not so much in defence of the Christian Faith as in behalf of the virtues of a Christian life, whose brilliancy excited the jealous anger of his enemies.

St. Magnus was the son of Erlin, Earl of Orkney. He was distinguished from childhood by an uprightness of life which indicated his future sanctity. Erlin was opposed by Magnus Barefoot, King of Norway, who made him prisoner and seized his possessions, carrying off the young Magnus to act as his personal attendant. After ravaging the Western Isles the Norwegian king encountered, off the Island of Anglesey, the forces of the Norman Earls of Chester and Shrewsbury, and defeated them with much slaughter. The young Magnus {64} refused to take any part in the unjust warfare, and remained in his ship engaged in prayer throughout the battle. He was soon after able to escape to the court of Malcolm III, where he remained for some time in safety.

Magnus bitterly lamented for the rest of his days the excesses into which he had fallen in the life of constant warfare and strife which had been his lot with the Norwegians; whatever their guilt may have been, it was his constant endeavour to atone for them by penance and prayer.

The family possessions in the Orkneys were regained on the death of Barefoot, but fresh contests were stirred up when Haco, cousin of St. Magnus, laid claim to them for himself. To avoid bloodshed St. Magnus agreed to a meeting with Haco in the island of Egilshay that thus the dispute might be settled in a friendly manner. Haco, however, was a traitor; and caused his own forces to be drawn round the unarmed Magnus to compass his destruction. The latter, made aware of the treachery, and unable to make any defence, prepared for his conflict by a night of prayer in {65} the church, and the reception of the Sacraments. Then, when morning dawned, he advanced courageously to confront his murderers, and met a barbarous death with Christian fortitude. The only Catholic cathedral in Scotland which remains entire still shelters the body of a saint. It may be that God has spared it to restore it to Catholic worship through the merits of St. Magnus. The feast, known in the Middle Ages as "Magnusmas," was restored by Pope Leo XIII. His fair was formerly held at Watten-Wester in Caithness. A holy well at Birsay, in Orkney, bears his name.

17—St. Donnan and Companions, Martyrs, A.D. 617.

Like St. Columba, whose countryman he was, St. Donnan left his native Ireland and passed over to Scotland, where he established a monastery on the Island of Eigg, one of the Inner Hebrides. While celebrating the Holy Mysteries on Easter morning the abbot and his monks were surprised by a horde of pirates, possibly Danes, who had been instigated by a malicious woman to put them to death. At F {66} the prayer of the monks they granted them a respite till Mass was finished, and then put them all to the sword. The martyrs numbered fifty-three.

Many churches, especially in the west, bore St. Donnan's dedication. Among them were Kildonan of Eigg, Arran, South Uist, Kintyre, and Lochbroom. On the island of his martyrdom is the saint's well. St. Donnan's abbatial staff existed up to the Reformation; it was treasured at Auchterless, Aberdeenshire, where "Donan Fair" was held as late as 1851. Another fair used to be held at Kildonan, in Sutherlandshire. The feast of these martyrs was restored to the Scottish Calendar by Leo XIII in 1898.

18—St. Laserian or Molios, Abbot, A.D. 639.

This saint was of princely race in Ireland. He seems to have been brought to Scotland at an early age, and to have been sent to Ireland for his education. Later on he returned to Scotland for a life of sanctity and solitude. A small island in the bay of Lamlash, off the coast of Arran, became his abode for many {67} years. His virtues gave it the name it still bears of Holy Island.

St. Laserian seems to have made a pilgrimage to Rome, where he was raised to the priest hood. Returning to Ireland, he afterwards became abbot of the monastery of Leighlin. He is said to have espoused with much zeal the Roman usage with regard to Easter.

In Holy Island, which was so long his solitary abode, are still to be seen traces of his residence. A cave scooped out of the rock bears his name, and a rocky ledge is called "St. Molio's Bed." A spring of clear water near the cave is also pointed out as the saint's well, and miraculous properties have been attributed to it. The cave itself is marked with many pilgrims crosses.

21—St. Maelrubha, Abbot, A.D. 722.

He was born of noble race in Ireland, and in early life began his monastic life under the rule of his relative, St. Comgal, at Bangor. When he reached the age of twenty-nine he passed over the sea to Scotland, and founded at Applecross, in Ross, a monastery, over which {68} he ruled for more than fifty years. During his residence in Scotland he founded a church on a small island in the beautiful lake now known as Loch Maree, which takes its name from this saint.

St. Maelrubha acquired a great reputation for sanctity throughout the west coast of Scot land and the islands adjacent, where he was one of the most popular of the Irish saints in Catholic ages. An old Scottish tradition, quoted by the Aberdeen Breviary, says that he met his death at the hands of pagan Norwegians, at Urquhart, in the Black Isle, on the eastern side of Ross-shire, and that he was left lying severely wounded, but still alive, for three days, during which angels consoled him. A bright light, hovering over the spot, is said to have discovered the dying saint to a neighbouring priest, and thus procured for him the participation in "the Body of the Immaculate Lamb" before he expired. His title to martyrdom is, however, disputed by later authorities.

The devotion of Catholics to this saint is attested by the numerous dedications of churches to his memory. At least twenty-one of these {69} are enumerated by antiquarians. Chief are Applecross (where he was laid to rest), Loch Maree, Urquhart (the reputed place of his martyrdom), Portree, Arasaig, Forres, Fordyce, Keith, Contin and Gairloch. In these dedications the saint's name assumes various forms, such as Maree, Mulruy, Mury, Samareirs (St. Mareirs, at Forres), Summaruff (St. Maruff, at Fordyce), and many others.

Many place of interest in connection with this saint may still be found. At Applecross, in the vicinity of the ruins of the church, is the martyr's grave, called Cladh Maree, near the churchyard is "Maelrubha's River," while two miles away is the saint's seat, called in Gaelic Suidhe Maree. Several other traces of him are to be discovered in the place-names of the neighbourhood.

Loch Maree is the most interesting locality connected with St. Maelrubha. A small island in the loch called Innis Maree contains an ancient chapel and a burial place. Near it is a deep well, renowned for the efficacy of its water in the cure of lunacy. An oak tree hard by is studded with nails, to each of which was {70} formerly attached a shred of clothing belonging to some pilgrim visitor. Many pennies and other coins have at various times been driven edgewise into the bark of the tree, and it is fast closing over them. These are the Protestant equivalents to votive offerings at the shrine.

At Forres, in Moray, an annual fair was held on this day, as also at Fordyce, Pitlessie (Fife), and Lairg (Sutherland) at the latter place under the name of St. Murie. Keith in Banffshire was formerly known as Kethmalruf, or "Keith of Maelrubha." At Contin, near Dingwall, the ancient church was dedicated to the saint; its annual fair called Feille Maree, and familiarly known as the "August Market," was transferred to Dingwall. Many other memorials of this saint are to be found in Ross-shire. It is worthy of note that many dedications formerly supposed to be in honour of Our Lady are now identified as those of St. Maelrubha under the title of Maree; this is proved by the traditional pronunciation of their respective names.

St. Maelrubha is one of the Scottish saints whose cultus was approved by Rome in 1898, {71} and whose feast has been consequently restored in many of the Scottish dioceses. It was formerly observed in Scotland on August 27, but has been always kept in Ireland on this day.

21—St. Egbert, Priest and Monk, A.D. 729.

He was an Englishman of good family, who, after some years of study in the monastery of Lindisfarne, followed the almost universal custom of those days and passed over to Ireland, then renowned for its monastic schools, entering the monastery of Melfont. During his stay there a pestilence broke out which carried off a great number of the inmates. Egbert prayed earnestly to be spared that he might live a life of penance, making a vow never more to return to England, to recite daily the whole psalter in addition to the canonical hours, and to fast from all food one day in each week for the rest of his life. His vow was accepted and his life spared.

After some years Egbert was raised to the priesthood, and his zeal for souls led him to desire to preach the faith to the pagan people of that part of Germany then known as Friesland, In this project he was joined by some {72} of his pious companions. A vessel had been chartered, and all things were ready, when it was revealed to Egbert through a holy monk that God had other designs in his regard; in obedience to this intimation the voyage was at once abandoned.

The later life of Egbert exemplifies the way in which God chooses and preserves the instruments for accomplishing His Will. Entering the monastery of Iona when already advanced in years, he spent the last thirteen years of his life in untiring efforts to induce the monks to give up the Celtic traditions to which they clung, and to conform to the Roman computation of Easter. His sweetness and gentleness were at last rewarded. On Easter Day 729 he passed away at the ripe age of ninety, "rejoicing," as St. Bede says, "that he had been detained here long enough to see them keep the feast with him on that day, which before they had always avoided."

Though the monks of Iona did not then, as a body, accept the Roman custom, yet the seeds sown by Egbert bore fruit eventually in complete conformity with the rest of the Church, {73} St. Egbert thus merits a high place among the saints of Scotland, although but a short period of his life was spent in the country. He also shares with St. Willibrord the renown of converting Friesland to the Faith; for it was by his example and persuasion that the latter was induced to undertake the work which terminated so successfully. On account of his connection with the conversion of the country, the feast of St. Egbert was formerly celebrated in the diocese of Utrecht. Some authors maintain that St. Egbert never took monastic vows, but was a priest living in the monastery; others say, and with good reason, that he was a bishop.

25—St. Cunibert, Bishop, A.D. 699.

This saint was entrusted by his parents for his education to some monks living in a monastery near the Tay, whose site cannot now be identified. He became a priest, and afterwards bishop. Towards the end of his days he retired into solitude as a hermit, and thus finished his earthly course.

St. Machalus, Bishop, A.D. 498.

He was a bishop in the Isle of Man, which {74} then formed part of Scotland. His name is variously written as Machalus, Machella, and Mauchold. One of the parishes in the island bears his name, and in the churchyard is the saint's holy well. A ledge of rock hard by is called his "chair"; it used to be a favourite devotion of pilgrims to seat themselves on this ledge while drinking the miraculous water of the well and invoking the saint's aid. The water is said to have been effective in preventing the action of poison. Many churches in Scotland are called by his name. There was a chapel near Chapeltown in Banffshire known as Kilmaichlie, which seems to refer to this saint. A holy well is still to be found in the vicinity.

29—St. Middan, Bishop.

Very little is known of this saint. Some think him to be identical with St. Madden or Medan, who was honoured at Airlie, in Angus. Near the church of Airlie is a spring called by the name of St. Medan, and a hillock hard by is known as "St. Medan's Knowe." The bell of the saint was also preserved there till it was sold for old iron during the last century. Ecclesmaldie, {75} now called Inglismaldie, in the Mearns, has also a "Maidie Well," which may possibly be connected with St. Middan.

30—St. Brioc, Bishop, A.D. 500.

This saint was British by birth. He became a disciple of St. Germanus and devoted himself to preaching the Gospel to his fellow-country men. Flying for his life from the fury of the pagan Saxons, he passed over the sea to Brittany, and there built a monastery on the sea coast which was afterwards called by his name. The town which grew up in the vicinity became the seat of a bishop, and is still known as St. Brieuc.

There is no record of the saint having visited Scotland, but there was much devotion to him among Celtic peoples, and Scottish dedications bear witness to the honour in which he was held in that country. He is the patron of Rothesay; the church bore the designation of St. Mary and St. Brioc, and "St. Brock's Fair" was held there on the first Wednesday in May. "Brux day fair," which seems to refer to this saint, was instituted in 1585 to be {76} held in July every year on the island of Cumbrae, but it has long ceased to be kept. Dunrod Church, in Kirkcudbright, bears the dedication of St. Mary and St. Brioc. The island of Inchbrayock in the Esk, near Montrose, is called after him. The French keep his feast on May 1st, but in Scotland it was celebrated on April 30th.


1—St. Asaph, Bishop, A.D. (about) 590.

St. Asaph was one of the most eminent of the disciples of St. Mungo (Kentigern). When the latter was driven from Scotland he took refuge in Wales and there founded a monastery, which attracted a great number of disciples desirous of placing themselves under his guidance. It was to Asaph that St. Mungo resigned the government when he himself was allowed to return to Glasgow. Owing to the sanctity and renown of the new abbot the monastery eventually bore his name. St. Asaph was consecrated Bishop about A.D. 650, and his diocese has {77} retained the name of St. Asaph's for thirteen centuries. Some writers have maintained that St. Asaph accompanied his master to Scotland, but it seems more probable that Scottish devotion to him originated in his close connection with the "beloved" saint of Glasgow. Many traces of this devotion still survive. In the island of Skye is a ruined chapel dedicated to him called "Asheg." In that island is also an excellent spring of clear water known as Tobar Asheg, or St. Asaph's Well. Kilassie, an old burial ground near Loch Rannoch, also takes its name from him.

The most interesting of these remains is a ruin in the island of Bearnarey, in the Sound of Harris. It is evidently a chapel of the saint and is called Cill Aisaim. Near it once stood an obelisk about eight feet high, bearing sculptured symbols, and in comparatively recent years this was surrounded by heaps of coloured pebbles, coins, bone pins, and bronze needles, which were probably pilgrims offerings. The obelisk was broken up some years ago and its materials used for building, but a Scottish antiquarian managed to gain possession of a fragment. {78}

3—St. Fumac.

This was a saint specially venerated in Banffshire. He was the patron of Botriphnie or "Fumac Kirk" in that county. According to an old MS. of the eighteenth century, the wooden image of the saint was formerly preserved there, and the old woman who acted as its custodian used to wash it with all due solemnity in St. Fumac's Well on the 3rd of May annually. This image was in existence in 1847, but a flood of the Isla swept it away to Banff, where the parish minister in his Protestant zeal burnt it. St. Fumac's Fair was kept on this day at Botriphnie and also at Dinet, in Caithness, and Chapel of Dine, Watten, in the same county.

9—St. Comgall, Abbot, A.D. 602.

He was a native of Ireland, and founder and ruler of the renowned monastery of Bangor, where he is said to have governed no less than three thousand monks. In the year 598, anxious, like so many of his countrymen, to bring the blessing of the Christian Faith to Scotland, he left his native land to found a {79} monastery in Tiree. He was a great friend of St. Columba, and was one of that saint's companions in the journey to Inverness and the miraculous conversion of King Brude. St. Comgall did not remain permanently in Scotland; he died in Ireland, and was laid to rest at Bangor. The date of his death is given by Irish authorities as the 10th of May, but his feast has always been celebrated in Scotland on the 9th. The church of Durris, Kincardineshire, bore his name, and an annual fair, the only remains of his festival in Protestant times, was formerly held there on this day.

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