The Project Gutenberg eBook of Celtic Scotland

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Title: Celtic Scotland

A history of ancient Alban. Volume 2 (of 3), Church and culture

Author: W. F. Skene

Release date: January 15, 2024 [eBook #72728]

Language: English

Original publication: Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1886

Credits: MWS, KD Weeks, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at https://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)

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ICELTIC SCOTLAND

Printed by Thomas and Archibald Constable
FOR
DAVID DOUGLAS, EDINBURGH
LONDON HAMILTON, ADAMS, AND CO.
CAMBRIDGE MACMILLAN AND BOWES.
GLASGOW JAMES MACLEHOSE AND SONS

II

CELTIC SCOTLAND:

A HISTORY OF

Ancient Alban

BY
WILLIAM F. SKENE, D.C.L., LL.D.
HISTORIOGRAPHER-ROYAL FOR SCOTLAND.
Volume II.
CHURCH AND CULTURE.
SECOND EDITION.
EDINBURGH: DAVID DOUGLAS
1887
All Rights reserved.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

This volume being now likewise out of print, it has been thought right to issue a new edition.

The Author has for this purpose carefully revised the text, and made such corrections and alterations as appeared to be demanded. These, however, he was glad to find are few in number and unimportant in character.

Edinburgh, 27 Inverleith Row,
2nd May 1887.
vi

PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.

The volume now published contains the second of the three books into which the history of Scotland during the Celtic period has been divided, and, like the first volume, forms a substantive work in itself. It deals entirely with the history of the old Celtic Church, and its influence on the culture of the people. The early ecclesiastical history of Scotland is a subject beset with even greater difficulties than those which affect its early civil history. It shares with the latter that perversion of its history which has been caused by the artificial system elaborated by our oldest historians. The fictitious antiquity given by it to the settlements of the Scots is accompanied by a supposed introduction of Christianity at an earlier period, equally devoid of historic foundation; and this supposed early Christian Church has given rise to what may be called the Culdean controversy, by which the true history has been further obscured. It is a disadvantage which affects the history of all churches, that it is almost inevitably viewed through the medium of the ecclesiastical prepossessions of the historian. This has been peculiarly the case with the history of the viiearly church in Scotland, which has become the battle-field on which Catholic and Protestant, Episcopalian and Presbyterian, have contended for their respective tenets; and this evil is greatly aggravated when the basis of the controversy consists of such a strange mixture of fact and fable as that which characterises the history of the early Scottish Church, as it is usually represented.

People are tired, however, of this incessant repetition by church historians of the same one-sided arguments, and partial statement of authorities adduced to assimilate the early Celtic Church, in its doctrine and constitution, to one or other of the great ecclesiastical parties of the modern church. They want to know what sort of a church this early Celtic Church really was, irrespective of all ecclesiastical bias, and this the Author has attempted to show in the following volume. He has endeavoured simply to tell the tale of the early Celtic Church, as he finds it recorded in the oldest and most authentic sources of information. With this view he has treated of the history of the church mainly in its external aspect, and has been unable to touch, to any great extent, upon its doctrinal history, or to attempt to exhibit its theological characteristics. The discussion of these questions must still be left to the polemical historians. From the works of these writers the Author has thus derived little assistance; but his task has been greatly aided by another class of writers, who have brought to bear upon the different branches of the subject that viiisound judgment, extensive research, and critical acumen, which are requisite to extricate the true history of the early church from the fictitious and controversial matter with which it has been encumbered.

The first to bring these qualities to bear upon the subject was undoubtedly the late Dr. Joseph Robertson, in a very remarkable essay which appeared in the Quarterly Review in 1849, under the title of ‘Scottish Abbeys and Cathedrals’ (vol. lxxxv. p. 103); and this was followed by a valuable essay ‘On the Scholastic Offices in the Scottish Church in the twelfth and thirteenth Centuries,’ printed in 1852 in the Miscellany of the Spalding Club (vol. v. p. 56). But, in 1857, there appeared by far the most important work bearing upon the history of the early Scottish Church. This was the edition of Adamnan’s Life of St. Columba, by the Rev. Dr. Reeves, now Dean of Armagh, printed for the Irish Archæological Society and the Bannatyne Club. This work is a perfect model of an exhaustive treatment of its subject, and exercised at once an influence upon the study of Scottish church history, the importance of which cannot be over-estimated. It was followed, in 1864, by a work of the same author on The Culdees of the British Islands as they appear in History, in which he has brought together almost all the evidence we possess with regard to their history. In the same year the late Bishop of Brechin commenced his useful labours in this department of history by publishing the ixMissal of Arbuthnot, with a valuable preface. And in 1866 the late Dr. Joseph Robertson produced his last and most important work, viz., the Statuta Ecclesiæ Scoticanæ, which he edited for the Bannatyne Club, in two volumes, the first of which consists of an elaborate introduction by himself. It is cause of much regret that this accurate and acute historian had not lived to devote his great abilities and extensive research to a complete history of the church, which would have rendered the present attempt unnecessary.

Dr. John Stuart, who had already, in his great work on the Sculptured Stones of Scotland, made one of the most important contributions to the elucidation of Scottish antiquities which we possess, edited in 1868 the Charters of the Priory of the Isle of May for the Society of Antiquaries, with a valuable preface; and in 1869 we are indebted to him for an admirable edition of the Book of Deer, printed for the Spalding Club, to which he has prefixed an elaborate preface. Chapters IV. and V. of this preface on Celtic polity and on the early Scottish Church are essays of singular ability, and full of acute and valuable suggestive matter.

In 1872 the late Bishop of Brechin published his ‘Kalendars of Scottish Saints, with personal notices of those of Alba, Laudonia, and Strathclyde: an attempt to fix the districts of their several missions and the churches where they were chiefly had in remembrance.’ It is a very useful compilation, and may be referred to for the churches dedicated to the xvarious founders of the early churches mentioned in this work. It is only necessary to add that in 1874 Dr. Reeves’s valuable edition of Adamnan’s Life of St. Columba was, with his consent, published in the series of Scottish Historians, with a translation of the Life by the late Bishop of Brechin; and that in the same year there appeared in the same series an edition by him of the Lives of St. Ninian and St. Kentigern, with translations, introduction, and notes.

Such is a short view of what has already been done for the history of the early Celtic Church of Scotland by historians of this class. The author of the present work is fully conscious of the imperfect manner in which he has executed the task he set before himself; but, without claiming to possess the same qualities in an equal degree, he has at least endeavoured to perform it in the same spirit, and takes this opportunity of acknowledging the extent to which he has freely availed himself of their labours. He has especially to acknowledge the valuable aid given him by W. Maunsell Hennessey, Esq., of the Public Record Office, Dublin, in enabling him to enrich his work with a translation of the Old Irish Life of St. Columba, by that eminent Irish scholar, which will be found in the appendix; and he has also to thank John Taylor Brown, Esq., and Felix Skene, Esq., for a careful revision of the proof-sheets of this work.

Edinburgh, 27 Inverleith Row,
14th April 1877.
xi

TABLE OF CONTENTS.


BOOK II.
CHURCH AND CULTURE.
CHAPTER I.
THE CHURCHES IN THE WEST.
  PAGE
Early notices of the British Church 1
Church of Saint Ninian 2
Mission of Saint Columbanus to Gaul 6
Controversy regarding Easter 7
Three orders of Saints in the early Irish Church; Secular, Monastic, and Eremitical 12
The Church of Saint Patrick 14
Collegiate Churches of Seven Bishops 24
Church of the Southern Picts 26
Early Dalriadic Church 33
Church south of the Firths of Forth and Clyde 35
Apostasy of early Churches 39
CHAPTER II.
THE MONASTIC CHURCH IN IRELAND.
The second order of Catholic Presbyters 41
The entire Church monastic. Relative position of Bishops and Presbyters 42
The Presbyter-abbot 44
Monastic character of the Church derived from Gaul 45
xiiMonachism reached the Irish Church through two different channels 45
First channel through the monastery of Candida Casa, or Whithern, in Galloway 46
Second channel through Bretagne and Wales 49
The school of Clonard 50
The Twelve Apostles of Ireland 51
Saint Columba one of the twelve 52
A.D. 545. Founds the monastery of Derry 53
A.D. 558. Foundation of Bangor 55
The primitive Irish monastery 57
The Monastic family 61
Island monasteries 62
Monasteries were Christian colonies 63
Privilege of sanctuary 65
Law of succession to the abbacy 66
The right of the church from the tribe 71
The right of the tribe from the church 72
Influence of the church 73
Monasteries were seminaries of instruction 75
Early churches founded in the Western Isles 76
Mission of Saint Columba to Britain 78
CHAPTER III.
THE MONASTIC CHURCH IN IONA.
A.D. 563. St. Columba crosses from Ireland to Britain with twelve followers 85
Founds a monastery in Iona 88
Description of the island 88
Character of the Columban Church 93
Site of the original wooden monastery 95
Constitution of the monastery 101
St. Columba’s labours among the Picts 104
A.D. 565. Converts King Brude 105
Character of the paganism of the Scots and Picts 108
Proceedings of St. Columba in converting the northern Picts 119
A.D. 574. St. Columba inaugurates King Aidan and attends the assembly of Drumceatt 122
xiiiCHAPTER IV.
THE FAMILY OF IONA.
What St. Columba had accomplished in twelve years; and meaning of the expression ‘Family of Iona’ 127
Monasteries founded by him in the islands 128
Monasteries founded during his life by others in the islands 133
Monasteries founded by Columba and others among the northern Picts 134
A.D. 584-597. Monasteries founded by Columba among the southern Picts 135
Visit of Saint Columba to Ireland 138
Last day of his life 138
Character of Saint Columba 143
Primacy of Iona and successors of St. Columba 148
A.D. 597-599. Baithene, son of Brendan 149
A.D. 599-605. Laisren, son of Feradhach 150
A.D. 605-623. Fergna Brit, son of Failbhe 151
A.D. 623-652. Segine, son of Fiachna 154
A.D. 634. Extension of Columban Church to Northumbria 154
A.D. 634. Church of the southern Scots of Ireland conforms to Rome 159
A.D. 652-657. Suibhne, son of Cuirtri 163
A.D. 657-669. Cummene Ailbhe, son of Ernan 163
A.D. 664. Termination of the Columban Church in Northumbria 164
A.D. 669-679. Failbhe, son of Pipan 168
A.D. 673. Foundation of church of Applecross by Maelrubha 169
A.D. 679-704. Adamnan, son of Ronan 170
A.D. 686. First mission to Northumbria 170
Adamnan repairs the monastery of Iona 171
A.D. 688. Second mission to Northumbria 172
A.D. 692. Synod of Tara. The northern Scots, with the exception of the Columban monasteries, conform to Rome 173
A.D. 704-717. Schism at Iona after the death of Adamnan 175
A.D. 717. Expulsion of the Columban monks from the kingdom of the Picts 177
xivCHAPTER V.
THE CHURCHES OF CUMBRIA AND LOTHIAN.
A.D. 573. Battle of Ardderyd. Rydderch Hael becomes king of Strathclyde 179
Oldest account of birth of Kentigern 180
Jocelyn’s account of his birth 181
Anachronism in connecting St. Servanus with St. Kentigern 184
Earlier notices of Kentigern 185
Kentigern driven to Wales 186
Kentigern founds the monastery of Llanelwy in Wales 188
A.D. 573. Rydderch Hael becomes king of Cumbria and recalls Kentigern 190
Kentigern fixes his see first at Hoddam 191
Mission of Kentigern in Galloway, Alban, and Orkneys 192
Meeting of Kentigern and Columba 194
Death of Kentigern 196
A.D. 627. Conversion of the Angles to Christianity 198
The Monasteries in Lothian 200
Saint Cudberct or Cuthbert 201
Irish Life of St. Cuthbert 203
A.D. 651-661. Cudberct’s life in the monastery of Melrose 206
A.D. 661. Cudberct becomes prior of Melrose 208
A.D. 664. Cudberct goes to Lindisfarne 209
A.D. 669-678. St. Wilfrid, bishop over all the dominions of King Osuiu, and founds church of Hexham, which he dedicates to St. Andrew 210
A.D. 670. Cudberct withdraws to the Farne island 211
A.D. 684. Cudberct becomes bishop of Lindisfarne 213
A.D. 686. Cudberct resigns the bishopric and retires to Farne island 214
A.D. 687. Death of Cudberct 214
A.D. 698. Relics of Cudberct enshrined 218
A.D. 688. Strathclyde Britons conform to Rome 219
A.D. 705-709. Wilfrid founds chapels at Hexham, dedicated to St. Michael and St. Mary 220
A.D. 709-731. Relics of St. Andrew brought to Hexham by Acca 222
xvMonastery of Balthere at Tyninghame 223
Anglic bishopric of Whithern, founded about A.D. 730, and comes to an end about A.D. 803 224
CHAPTER VI.
THE SECULAR CLERGY AND THE CULDEES.
No appearance of the name of Culdee till after the expulsion of Columban monks 226
Monastic Church affected by two opposite influences 227
First by secular clergy 227
Legend of Bonifacius 229
Legend of Fergusianus 232
Churches dedicated to St. Peter 233
Second influence: the Anchoretical life 233
Anchorites called Deicolæ or God-worshippers 237
Anchorites called the people of God 239
A.D. 747. Order of Secular Canons instituted 241
Deicolæ brought under canonical rule 242
Deicolæ in the Saxon Church 243
Anchoretical life in Ireland and Scotland 245
Anchorites called Deoraidh De, or God’s pilgrims 247
The third order of Irish Saints—Eremitical 248
Deicolæ termed in Ireland Ceile De 250
Deicolæ and Ceile De show the same characteristics 252
Ceile De brought under the canonical rule 254
Ceile De called Keledei in Scotland, and first appear in territory of the southern Picts 255
Legend of St. Servanus 255
Servanus introduces Keledei, who are hermits 258
Keledei of Glasgow, who were solitary clerics 259
Legends connected with the foundation of St. Andrews 261
Older legend belongs to foundation of monastery in sixth century 266
Columban monasteries among the Picts fell into the hands of laymen 268
Second legend belongs to later foundation, to which relics of St. Andrew were brought 271
xviKeledei of St. Andrews originally hermits 275
Canonical rule brought into Scotland, and Keledei become canons 275
Conclusion as to origin of the Culdees 276
CHAPTER VII.
THE COÄRBS OF COLUMCILLE.
A.D. 717-772. Schism still exists in Iona 278
Two parties with rival abbots 279
Two missionaries, St. Modan and St. Ronan, in connection with Roman party 282
A.D. 726. An Anchorite becomes abbot of Iona 283
The term Comhorba or Coärb applied to abbots of Columban monasteries 285
A.D. 772-801. Breasal, son of Seghine, sole abbot of Iona 288
A.D. 794. First appearance of Danish pirates, and Iona repeatedly ravaged by them 290
A.D. 801-802. Connachtach, abbot of Iona 290
A.D. 802-814. Cellach, son of Congal, abbot of Iona 291
A.D. 802-807. Remains of St. Columba enshrined 292
A.D. 814-831. Diarmaid, abbot of Iona 297
Monastery rebuilt with stone 297
Shrine of St. Columba placed in stone monastery 300
A.D. 825. Martyrdom of St. Blathmac protecting the shrine 300
A.D. 831-854. Innrechtach ua Finachta, abbot of Iona 306
A.D. 850-865. Tuathal, son of Artguso, first bishop of Fortrenn and abbot of Dunkeld 307
Cellach, son of Aillelo, abbot of Kildare and of Iona 307
A.D. 865-908. Primacy transferred to Abernethy, where three elections of bishops take place 310
Legend of St. Adrian 311
A.D. 878. Shrine and relics of St. Columba taken to Ireland 317
CHAPTER VIII.
THE SCOTTISH CHURCH.
A.D. 878-889. First appearance of the name ‘The Scottish Church’ when freed from servitude under Pictish law 320
xviiA.D. 908. Primacy transferred to St. Andrews. Cellach first bishop of Alban 323
A.D. 921. Introduction of canonical rule of the Culdees 324
Fothad, son of Bran, second bishop of Alban 327
A.D. 955-963. Malisius bishop of Alban 329
A.D. 963-970. Maelbrigde bishop of Alban 330
A.D. 970-995. Cellach, son of Ferdalaig, bishop of Alban 331
Iona ravaged by Danes; shrine of St. Columba transferred to Down 332
A.D. 1025-1028. Alwynus bishop of Alban 336
Lay abbots of Dunkeld 337
Hereditary succession in benefices 338
Church offices held by laymen, and retained by their heirs 338
A.D. 1028-1055. Maelduin bishop of Alban 343
A.D. 1055-1059. Tuthald bishop of Alban 344
A.D. 1059-1093. Fothad last bishop of Alban 344
Character of Queen Margaret, and her reforms in the church 344
Anchorites at this time 351
Queen Margaret rebuilds the monastery of Iona 352
A.D. 1093-1107. After death of Fothad no bishop for fourteen years 354
Keledei of St. Andrews 356
The Cele De of Iona 360
CHAPTER IX.
EXTINCTION OF THE OLD CELTIC CHURCH IN SCOTLAND.
Causes which brought the Celtic Church to an end 365
A.D. 1093-1107. See of St. Andrews remains vacant, and churches founded in Lothian only 366
A.D. 1107. Turgot appointed bishop of St. Andrews, and the sees of Moray and Dunkeld created 368
Establishment of the bishopric of Moray 368
Establishment of the bishopric of Dunkeld 370
Rights of Keledei pass to St. Andrews 372
Canons-regular introduced into Scotland 374
Diocese of Glasgow restored by Earl David 375
Bishoprics and monasteries founded by King David 376
Establishment of bishopric of Ross 377
xviiiEstablishment of bishopric of Aberdeen 378
Monasteries of Deer and Turriff 380
Establishment of bishopric of Caithness 382
The communities of Keledei superseded by regular canons 384
Suppression of Keledei of St. Andrews 384
Suppression of Keledei of Lochleven 388
Suppression of Keledei of Monimusk 389
Monastic orders of Church of Rome introduced 392
Columban abbacies or Abthens in possession of lay abbots 393
Establishment of bishoprics of Dunblane and Brechin 395
Bishoprics of Brechin and Dunblane formed from old see of Abernethy 397
Suppression of Keledei of Abernethy 398
Failure of Celtic Church of Brechin 400
Failure of Celtic Church in bishopric of Dunblane 402
Failure of Celtic Church in Bishopric of Dunkeld 405
Formation of diocese of Argyll or Lismore 408
Condition of Columban Church of Kilmun 410
Condition of Columban Church of Applecross 411
State of Celtic monastery of Iona 412
A.D. 1203. Foundation of Benedictine abbey and nunnery at Iona, and disappearance of Celtic community 415
Remains of old Celtic Church 417
CHAPTER X.
LEARNING AND LANGUAGE.
Character of the Irish Monastic Church for learning 419
Resorted to by foreign students 420
Iona as a school of learning 421
Literature of the Monastic Church 422
The Scribhnidh, or scribes in the monasteries 423
The Book of Armagh 423
Hagiology of the Irish Church 425
Analysis of the Lives of St. Patrick 427
Lives of St. Bridget 443
Hagiology of the Scottish Church 444
Bearing of the Church on the education of the people 444
The Ferleiginn, or lector 444
The Scolocs 446
xixInfluence of the Church on literature and language 448
Art of writing introduced 448
Spoken dialects of Irish 450
Peculiarities of Irish dialects 451
Written Irish 452
Scotch Gaelic 453
Origin of Scotch Gaelic 454
A written language introduced by Scottish monks 457
Gaelic termed Scottish, and Lowland Scotch, English 459
A.D. 1478-1560. Period of neglected education and no learning 461
After 1520 Scotch Gaelic called Irish, and the name Scotch passes over to Lowland Scotch 462
After Reformation Scotch Gaelic becomes a written language 463
APPENDIX.
I.
The old Irish Life of St. Columba; being a discourse on his Life and Character delivered to the Brethren on his Festival. Translated from the original Irish text by W. Maunsell Hennessey, Esq., M.R.I.A. 467
II.
The Rule of St. Columba 508
III.
Catalogue of Religious Houses at the end of the Chronicle of Henry of Silgrave, c. A.D. 1272, so far as it relates to Scotland 509
ILLUSTRATIVE MAPS.
Map of Iona, showing site of the monasteries to face page 100
Map illustrating history of the Monastic Church prior to eighth century 178
Map illustrating state of the Church in the reign of David I. 418
1

BOOK II.

CHURCH AND CULTURE.


CHAPTER I.

THE CHURCHES IN THE WEST.

Early notices of the British Church.

In endeavouring to form a just conception of the history and characteristics of the early Celtic Churches of the British Isles, it is necessary at the very outset to discriminate between three consecutive periods, which are strongly contrasted. The first is that period which preceded the withdrawal of the Roman troops from Britain and the termination of the civil government of the Roman province there in the beginning of the fifth century; the second, the period of isolation which followed, when the invasion of the Roman provinces in Gaul and Britain by the Barbarians interposed a barrier of paganism between the churches of Britain and the Continent, and for the time cut off all communication between them; and the third, that which followed the renewal of that intercourse, when they again came into contact in the end of the sixth century.

During the Roman occupation of Britain the Christian religion had unquestionably made its way under their auspices into the island, and the Roman province in Britain was, in this respect, no exception to the other provinces of the empire. It can hardly be doubted that, as early as the second century of their occupation, a Christian Church had been established within its limits, and there were even 2reports that it had penetrated to regions beyond it. It is unnecessary for the purpose of this work, and it would be out of place here, to enter into any inquiry as to the actual period and history of the introduction of the Christian Church into the British province, a subject which has been fully discussed by other writers.[1] Our more immediate concern is with the churches founded beyond its limits, among those tribes termed by the Roman writers Barbarians, in opposition to the provincial Britons. Suffice it to say that during the Roman occupation the Christian Church in Britain was a part of the Church of the empire. It was more immediately connected with that of Gaul, but it acknowledged Rome as its head, from whom its mission was considered to be derived, and it presented no features of difference from the Roman Church in the other western provinces.

Church of Saint Ninian.

Towards the end of the Roman occupation the Christian Church seems to have penetrated in two directions beyond the limits of the province, but in other respects to have possessed the same character. During that troublous time when the province was assailed by the barbarians on the north and west, and its actual boundary had been drawn back from its nominal limits, a Christian Church was established in the district extending along the north shore of the Solway Firth, where Ptolemy had placed the tribe of the Novantæ, its principal seat being at one of their towns situated on the west side of Wigtown Bay, and termed by him ‘Leukopibia.’ The fact is reported by Bede as one well known to have taken place. The missionary was Ninian, a bishop of the nation of the Britons, who had been trained at 3Rome in the doctrine and discipline of the western Church, and who built at Leukopibia a church of stone, which was vulgarly called Candida Casa, and dedicated to St. Martin of Tours.[2] This is the earliest account we have of him, and shows very plainly both his relation to Rome as the source of his mission and his connection with the Church of Gaul. It is probable that Ailred of Rievaulx, in his Life of Ninian, written in the twelfth century, but derived from older materials, repeats a true fact when he says that Ninian heard of the death of Martin while he was erecting this church; and this fixes the date of its foundation at the year 397. From Bede’s statement we learn that the object of his mission seems to have been the conversion of the Pictish nation, with the view probably of arresting, or at least mitigating, their attacks upon the provincial Britons. He founded his church of Candida Casa among the people occupying the district on the north side of the Solway Firth, extending from the Nith to the Irish Channel, who afterwards appear as the Picts of Galloway; and we are told that through his preaching the Southern Picts, extending as far north as the great mountain range of the Grampians, abandoned their idolatrous worship and received the true faith.

While the Christian Church had thus been extended into the southern province of the Pictish nation, it appears to have by this time penetrated also to the Scots of Ireland. If the old Irish Life of Ninian can be trusted, he is said to have left Britain and spent the last years of his life in Ireland, where he founded a church in Leinster called Cluain Conaire, and it is certain that he was commemorated there on the 16th of September under the name of Monenn.[3] The 4date of Ninian’s death is not recorded. It has been almost uniformly stated by modern writers to have taken place on the 16th September in the year 432, and has been given by some on the authority of Bede, by others on that of Ailred; but no such date is to be found in either writer, and this supposed year of his death rests upon no authority whatever.

The Roman dominion in Britain came to an end in 410, when the troops were withdrawn from the province and the provincial cities left to protect themselves. Roman Britain thus ceased, to all intents and purposes, to form part of the empire; her intercourse with the Continent was almost entirely cut off by the incursions of the barbarian tribes into Roman Gaul; and, with the exception of a few contemporary notices of the Church during some years after the termination of the Roman dominion, all is silence for a century and a half, till it is broken in the succeeding century by the querulous voice of Gildas. The few facts which we learn from contemporary sources are these: that in the year 429 the churches of Britain had been corrupted by the ‘Pelagian Agricola, son of the Pelagian bishop Severianus,’ who had introduced the Pelagian heresy among them to some extent;[4] that the orthodox clergy communicated the fact to the Gallican bishops, by whom a synod was held, when it was resolved to send Germanus bishop of Auxerre, and Lupus bishop of Troyes, to Britain; and that, at the instance of Palladius the deacon, Germanus received a mission from Celestine, bishop of Rome, to bring back to the Catholic faith the Britons tainted with this heresy.[5] Two 5years after, in 431, according to the same chronicler, Pope Celestine ordained Palladius a bishop, and sent him to the Christian Scots of Ireland as their first bishop; and thus, ‘having ordained a bishop to the Scots, while he endeavoured to preserve Roman Britain as Catholic, he made the barbarian island Christian,’[6] in this sense at least that he had formed into a regular church those of its inhabitants who had already become Christian. Whether the Christian religion had been introduced into Ireland by the preaching of Ninian, or whether it had existed there from even an earlier period, there are now no materials to indicate;[7] but the mission of Palladius seems to imply that Ninian was at this time dead.

Such are the few facts which we have from contemporary sources at this time; and all other accounts which we possess of the church among the barbarians are derived from tradition or legend, which will be dealt with in its proper place. These few isolated statements show us a church in Roman Britain, which had been extended, in one direction, into the districts north of the Roman wall, till arrested by the great mountain barrier separating the northern from the southern Picts, and, in another, to the island of Ireland, then the only country inhabited by the people called Scots. We find it in close connection with the Gallican Church, and regarding the Patriarch of Rome as the head of the Western 6Church and the source of ecclesiastical authority and mission. With the exception of the temporary prevalence of the Pelagian heresy in Britain, we can discover no trace of any divergence between them in doctrine or practice.[8] There now follows a long period of utter darkness, during which all connection with the Continent was broken off; and we learn nothing further regarding the churches beyond the western limits of the empire, till the church of the extreme west came into contact with that of Gaul towards the end of the sixth century.

Mission of Saint Columbanus to Gaul.

In the year 590 the ecclesiastical world in Gaul, in which the Franks and Burgundians were already settled, was startled by the sudden appearance of a small band of missionaries on her shores. They were thirteen in number—a leader with twelve followers. Their outward appearance was strange and striking. They were clothed in a garment of coarse texture made of wool, and of the natural colour of the material, under which was a white tunic. They were tonsured, but in a different manner from the Gaulish ecclesiastics. Their heads were shaved in front from ear to ear, the anterior half of the head being made bare, while their hair flowed down naturally and unchecked from the back of the head. They had each a pilgrim’s staff, a leathern water-bottle and a wallet, and a case containing some relics. They spoke among themselves a foreign language, resembling in sound the dialect of Armorica, but they conversed readily in Latin with those who understood that language.[9] When asked 7who they were and whence they came, they replied,—‘We are Irish, dwelling at the very ends of the earth. We be men who receive naught beyond the doctrine of the evangelists and apostles. The Catholic faith, as it was first delivered by the successors of the holy apostles, is still maintained among us with unchanged fidelity;’ and their leader gave the following account of himself,—‘I am a Scottish pilgrim, and my speech and actions correspond to my name, which is in Hebrew Jonah, in Greek Peristera, and in Latin Columba, a dove.’[10] In this guise they appeared before the people, addressing them everywhere with the whole power of their native eloquence. Some learned the language of the country. The rest employed an interpreter when they preached before the laity. To ecclesiastics they spoke the common language of the Latin Church. Their leader, Columbanus, was a man of commanding presence and powerful eloquence, and endowed with a determination of character and intensity of purpose which influenced, either favourably or the reverse, every one with whom he came in contact. From the kings he soon obtained permission to settle in their territories and to erect monasteries; and two monastic establishments soon arose within the recesses of the Vosges mountains, which now divide Alsace from France—those of Luxeuil and Fontaines, to which the youth of the country flocked in numbers for instruction, or for training as monks.

Controversy regarding Easter.

They had not been long established there when the Gaulish clergy became aware that in the new monasteries the festival of Easter was occasionally celebrated on a different Sunday from that observed by the Roman Church, 8there being occasionally an interval of a week between the two, and sometimes even the violent discrepancy of an entire month. This arose from a difference in the mode of calculating the Sunday on which Easter ought to fall, both in regard to the week within which it ought to be celebrated and the cycle of years by which the month was to be determined. By the law of Moses the passover was to be slain on the fourteenth day of the first month of the year, in the evening (Exod. xii. 2, 3, 6), and the children of Israel were further directed to eat unleavened bread seven days:—‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one-and-twentieth day of the month’ (Ib. xii. 18). It was further declared that the month in which the fourteenth day or the full moon fell first after the vernal equinox was to be their first month. In applying this rule to the Christian Easter, the Eastern Church, in the main, adopted it literally, and celebrated Easter on the same day as the Jewish Passover, on whatever day of the week it might fall. The Western Church, however, held that, as our Saviour had risen from the dead on the first day of the week after the Passover, the festival of Easter should be celebrated on the Sunday between the fourteenth and the twentieth day of the moon on the first month of the Jewish lunar year. In order to bring the lunar date into connection with the solar year so as to fix the day of the month on which Easter was to be kept, various cycles were framed by the Church; till at length the Easter cycle of nineteen years was introduced at Alexandria by Anatolius, bishop of Laodicea, in 270, by which Easter was celebrated on the Sunday falling on the fourteenth day of the moon, or between that day and the twentieth on a cycle of nineteen years. In the Western Church, however, the time for celebrating Easter was calculated on a cycle of eighty-four years, which was improved by Sulpicius Severus in 410, and continued to be used till 457, when a longer cycle of 532 9years was introduced by Victorius of Aquitaine, based upon the cycle of nineteen years; and in the year 525 the computation was finally fixed by Dionysius Exiguus on the cycle of nineteen years. By this time it was likewise held that, as the Passover was slain on the evening of the fourteenth day of the moon, according to the Jewish system of reckoning the days from evening to evening, the fifteenth, and not the fourteenth, ought to be considered as the first day of unleavened bread, and consequently Easter ought to fall on the Sunday between the fifteenth and twenty-first days of the moon; and by a canon of the fourth council of Orleans, held in the year 541, it was directed that the Easter festival should be observed by all at the same time, according to the tables of Victorius.[11]

These changes in the mode of computation in the Western Church took place after the connection between Britain and the rest of the empire had ceased, and when the British Churches were left in a state of isolation. They therefore still retained the older mode of computation, which had been once common to the whole Western Church; and thus it came that when Columbanus went on his mission to Gaul he found the continental Churches celebrating the festival of Easter on the Sunday between the fifteenth and twenty-first days of the moon, calculated on the cycle of nineteen years, while the British and Irish Churches celebrated the same festival on the Sunday between the fourteenth and twentieth days of the moon, calculated according to the cycle of eighty-four years; the difference in the days of the moon causing an occasional divergence of a week, and that of the cycles a possible divergence of a month.[12] The prelates of Gaul seem to have eagerly caught 10at a ground upon which they could charge these strange missionaries, who had taken such a hold upon the country, with following practices at variance with the universal Church, and thus pursuing a schismatical course. A council was summoned for the purpose of considering what steps they ought to take with regard to these strangers; but Columbanus, though probably included in the summons, contented himself by sending a letter, which is still extant, addressed to ‘our holy lords and fathers or brethren in Christ, the bishops, presbyters, and other orders of Holy Church,’[13] in which he vindicates the mode of keeping Easter which he had received from his fathers, according to the cycle of eighty-four years, refers to Anatolius as having been commended by Eusebius and St. Jerome, and denounces the change made by Victorius as an innovation. He claimed his right to follow the course derived from his fathers, and remonstrated with them for endeavouring to trouble him on such a point. What the result of this synod was we do not know; but it was followed by an appeal by Columbanus to the Pope himself. To Columbanus Rome was still the traditional Rome of the fourth and fifth centuries. Since then the Irish Church had not come into contact with her, and inherited the same feelings of regard and deference with which the early church had regarded her before the period of their isolation, and while she was still to them the acknowledged head of the churches in the western provinces of the Roman empire. In this letter, which also is extant, he 11addressed Boniface IV. as ‘the holy lord and[14] Apostolic Father in Christ, the Pope.’ He tells him that he had long desired to visit in spirit and confer ‘with those who preside in the apostolic chair, the most beloved prelates over all the faithful, the most revered fathers by right of apostolic honour.’ He vindicates the doctrine of his church as no way differing from that of other orthodox churches, but claims to be regarded ‘as still in his fatherland, and not bound to accept the rules of these Gauls; but as placed in the wilderness and, offending no one, to abide by the rules of his seniors;’ and he appeals to ‘the judgment of the 150 fathers of the Council of Constantinople, who judged that the churches of God established among the Barbarians should live according to the laws taught them by their fathers.’ This was the second œcumenical council held at Constantinople in the year 381. The second canon directs that the bishops belonging to each diocese shall not interfere with churches beyond its bounds. It then regulates the jurisdiction of the great patriarchates, and concludes by declaring that the churches of God among the Barbarian people—that is, beyond the bounds of the Roman empire—shall be regulated by the customs of their fathers.[15] The position which Columbanus took up was substantially this—‘Your jurisdiction as Bishop of Rome does not extend beyond the limits of the Roman empire. I am a missionary from a church of God among the Barbarians, and, though temporarily within the limits of your territorial jurisdiction, and bound to regard you with respect and deference, I claim the right to follow the customs of my own church handed down to us by our fathers.’

It is unnecessary for our purpose to enter further into the life and doings of Columbanus. They have been referred to here at the very outset, because it was by his mission that the churches of the extreme west were again, for the first 12time, brought into contact with the Roman Church; and he has left behind him authentic writings which present to us at once the points of contrast between the two churches, and the relation they bore to each other, and thus afford us a fixed point from which to start in our examination of the early history and peculiar characteristics of these Celtic churches during the dark period of their isolation, when all intercourse with the Continent was cut off.

Three Orders of Saints in early Irish Church; Secular, Monastic, and Eremitical.

There are two ancient documents, both belonging to the eighth century, which afford us, at the outset, a view of the characteristic features of the early Irish Church. One is a ‘Catalogue of the Saints of Ireland according to their different periods,’ in which they are arranged in three classes corresponding to three periods of the church;[16] and the other is the Litany of Angus the Culdee, in which he invokes the saints of the early church in different groups.[17] The Catalogue of the Saints proceeds thus:—‘The first order of Catholic saints was in the time of Patricius; and then they were all bishops, famous and holy and full of the Holy Ghost; 350 in number, founders of churches. They had one head, Christ, and one chief, Patricius; they observed one mass,[18] one celebration, one tonsure from ear to ear. They celebrated one Easter, on the fourteenth moon after the vernal equinox, and what was excommunicated by one church, all excommunicated. They rejected not the services and society of women,’ or as another MS. has it, ‘they excluded from the churches neither laymen nor women; because, founded on the rock Christ, they feared not the blast of temptation. This order of saints continued for four 13reigns.[19] All these bishops were sprung from the Romans, and Franks, and Britons, and Scots. The second order was of Catholic Presbyters. For in this order there were few bishops and many presbyters, in number three hundred. They had one head, our Lord; they celebrated different masses,[20] and had different rules, one Easter on the fourteenth moon after the equinox, one tonsure from ear to ear; they refused the services of women, separating them from the monasteries. This order has hitherto lasted for four reigns.[21] They received a mass from Bishop David, and Gillas and Docus, the Britons.[22] The third order of Saints was of this sort. They were holy presbyters, and a few bishops; one hundred in number; who dwelt in desert places, and lived on herbs and water, and the alms; they shunned private property,’ or, as the other MS. has it, ‘they despised all earthly things, and wholly avoided all whispering and backbiting; they had different rules and masses, and different tonsures, for some had the coronal and others the hair (behind); and a different Paschal festival. For some celebrated the Resurrection on the fourteenth moon, or on the sixteenth with hard intentions. These lived during four reigns, and continued to that great mortality’[23] in the year 666. This document presents us with a short picture of the church prior to the year 666, and it is hardly possible to mistake its leading characteristic features during each of the three periods. In the first period we find churches and a secular clergy. In the second, the churches are superseded by monasteries, and we find a regular or monastic clergy; and in the third, we see an eremitical clergy living in 14solitary places. But while this seems to indicate, and may to some extent have arisen from, a deepening asceticism—the clergy passing from a life under the ordinary canonical law of the church, through the discipline and strict rule of monastic observances, to a solitary life of privation and self-denial in what was called the Desert—there were probably causes connected both with the social state of the wild people among whom they exercised their clerical functions and with the result of their labours, which led to the church being reconstructed from time to time on a different basis, and thus presenting a different outward aspect. The distinction in order between the bishop and the presbyter, however, seems to have been preserved throughout, though their relation to each other, in respect to numbers and jurisdiction, varied at different periods.

The Church of Saint Patrick.

The first order of Saints representing the Church during the first period had Christ for their head, and St. Patrick for their leader or chief. They claimed therefore to be peculiarly the Church of Saint Patrick. And here we are struck at the outset by the fact that there is no mention whatever of the mission of Palladius; and if we turn to the few notices of the early Irish Church in contemporary writers of other countries, we find the equally striking contrast that, while they record the mission of Palladius, they make no mention of Patrick. The life of Patrick, as usually told and accepted in history, is derived in the main from his acts, as contained in Lives of the Saint compiled at different times ranging from the eighth to the twelfth century. Seven of these lives were published by Colgan in his Trias Thaumaturga, and he has attempted to assign fixed dates to those which are anonymous; but it is obvious that they are, to a large extent, composed of legendary and traditional matter. The Book of Armagh, which was compiled about the year 807,[24] 15presents us with two older narratives. One was compiled by Muirchu Maccumachtheni, or the son of Cogitosus, at the suggestion of Aedh, bishop of Sletty, who died in 698; the other by Tirechan, who is believed to be the author of the Catalogue of the Saints. Both, therefore, belong to the same period. Muirchu’s life is imperfect, as we only possess a short summary of the first part;[25] and we can gather from it that Patrick had gone to Rome to prepare for his mission, but went no farther than Gaul, as he there met the disciples of Palladius, at a place called Ebmoria, who reported the death of Palladius, who, having failed in his mission, had died on his return to Rome in the territory of the Britons; and that Patrick then received the episcopal degree from Matho the holy king and bishop, and proceeded on his mission to Ireland.[26] Tirechan’s account is more precise. He says, ‘In the xiii. year of Theodosius the emperor, Patricius the bishop was sent by Bishop Celestine, Pope of Rome, for the instruction of the Irish; which Celestine was the forty-second bishop of the apostolic see of the city of Rome after Peter. Palladius the Bishop was the first sent, who is otherwise called Patricius, and suffered martyrdom among the Scots, as the ancient saints relate. Then the second Patricius was sent by an angel of God, named Victor, and by Pope Celestine, by whose means all Ireland believed, and who baptized almost all the inhabitants.’[27] This account of his mission also appears in all the Irish Annals, and is 16apparently taken from the older chronicle of Marianus Scotus, who died in the year 1084, and who gives it thus:—‘In the eighth year of Theodosius, Bassus and Antiochus being consuls, Palladius, being ordained by Pope Celestine, was sent as first bishop to the Scots believing in Christ. After him St. Patricius, a Briton by birth, was consecrated by St. Celestine the Pope, and sent to the archiepiscopate of Ireland. There during sixty years, preaching with signs and miracles, he converted the whole island of Ireland to the faith.’[28] As Pope Celestine died in July 432, this supposed mission of Patrick must have taken place within a year at least of that of Palladius; and while Probus records the latter alone, without any hint of its sudden termination, we are asked to believe that it had proved at once unsuccessful, and that Palladius having either suffered martyrdom or died within the year, a second mission, headed by Patrick, was sent either directly by or during the life of Pope Celestine. If this be so, if it be true that the mission of Palladius effected nothing and came to an end either by his martyrdom or flight within a year, and that Patrick’s mission, which succeeded it, was followed by the conversion of the whole island, it seems strange that nothing should have been known on the Continent at the time of this great event, and that it should be noticed by no contemporary author. Not a single writer prior to the eighth century mentions it; and even Bede, who quotes the passage in Probus recording the mission of Palladius, and mentions those of Ninian and Columba, is silent as to that of Patrick. Columbanus, and the other missionaries from Ireland who followed him, seem to have told their foreign disciples nothing about him, and in the writings of the former which have been preserved,—in his letters to the Popes and the Gaulish clergy, and in his sermons to his monks,—the name of Patrick, the great founder of his church, never appears. We should be 17tempted to conclude, as many have done, that the account of Patrick and of his mission was entirely mythical, and that neither the one nor the other had any real existence, were it not that, when we turn to the writings of two of the contemporaries of Columbanus at home, we do find an occasional mention of Patrick at a sufficiently early date to leave no reasonable doubt of his existence, and that two documents are attributed to him which may fairly be accepted as genuine. The oldest authentic notice of Patrick occurs in a letter which is still extant, written by Cummian to Segienus, abbot of Iona, in the year 634, regarding the proper time for keeping Easter. In it he refers to the cycle ‘introduced into use by our pope, Saint Patricius;’[29] and Adamnan, writing in the end of the seventh century, in the second preface to his Life of Columba mentions ‘Maucta, a pilgrim from Britain, a holy man, a disciple of Saint Patricius the bishop.’[30] These early notices, though few in number, seem sufficient to prove his existence; but if we are to receive as genuine documents his Confession and the Epistle to Coroticus, as undoubtedly we ought, they not only afford conclusive evidence of his own existence and the reality of his mission, but give us his own account of the leading particulars of his life.[31] The information he gives us may be shortly stated thus:—Patricius was born of Christian parents and belonged to a Christian people; for he ‘was the son of Calpornius a deacon, son of the late Potitus a presbyter, who lived in the village of Bannavem of Tabernia, where he had a small farm.’[32] He was of gentle birth, his father being also a ‘decurio,’ that is, one of the council or magistracy 18of a Roman provincial town.[33] He lived at this little farm when, in his sixteenth year, he was taken captive and brought to Hibernia or Ireland with many thousands; and he adds, ‘as we deserved, for we had forsaken God, and had not kept his commandments, and were disobedient to our priests, who admonished us for our salvation.’ He remained six years in slavery in Ireland, where he was employed tending sheep; and then he escaped in a ship, the sailors of which were pagans, and after three days reached land, and for twenty-eight days journeyed through a desert. He was again taken captive, and remained two months with these people, when on the sixtieth night he was delivered from their hands. A few years after he was with his parents, or relations, in the Roman province of Britain,[34] when he resolved, in consequence of a vision, to leave his native country and his kindred, and go to Ireland as a missionary to preach the gospel, which, he says, he was able to accomplish after several years.

Saint Patrick’s narrative of his early life conveys the impression that he was a simple youth, of an earnest and enthusiastic temperament, who, in the solitude of his captivity in Ireland, had communed with his own spirit and been brought under a deep sense of religion; and, when again restored to his native country and his home, had brooded over the desire which strong religious conviction creates in many a youth to devote himself to missionary labour, till he became persuaded that he had received a divine call. If he was taken captive in his sixteenth year and remained six years in captivity, he was twenty-two when he escaped, and was probably now between twenty-five and thirty years old. He had early been made 19a deacon,[35] and must at this time have gone to Ireland probably in priest’s orders; for he tells us that he had lived and preached among the Irish from his youth up, and given the faith to the people among whom he dwelt.[36] At the age of forty-five he was consecrated a bishop, and in his epistle to Coroticus he designates himself ‘Patricius, a sinner and unlearned, but appointed a bishop in Ireland.’[37]

It is clear from Patrick’s own account of himself that he was a citizen of the Roman province in Britain;[38] that his family had been Christian for at least two generations, and belonged to the aristocracy of a Roman provincial town, and that the district of Tabernia, in which it was situated, was exposed to the incursions of the Scots; that he had laboured among the Irish as a missionary for at least fifteen, if not twenty, years before he was consecrated a bishop, and it was only latterly that his labours were crowned with much success. His Confession appears to have been written towards the end of his life, as he concludes it by saying that it was written in Ireland, and that this was his confession 20before he died;[39] and his epistle was written to Coroticus while the Franks were still pagan—that is, before their conversion in the year 496. In his Confession he tells us that through his ministry clerics had been ordained for this people newly come to the faith, and that in Hiberio or Ireland ‘those who never had the knowledge of God, and had hitherto only worshipped unclean idols, have lately become the people of the Lord, and are called the sons of God. The sons of the Scoti and the daughters of princes are seen to be monks and virgins of Christ.’[40] In the epistle to Coroticus he addresses his ‘beloved brethren and children whom he had begotten in such numbers to Christ.’[41] It is, however, remarkable that he does not in either document make the slightest allusion to Palladius or his mission, and this leads certainly to the inference that it had failed and had never become an efficient and operative episcopal mission in the country. Patrick’s episcopate must certainly have followed that of Palladius, and that possibly at no great distance of time; and if he was then forty-five years of age, this would throw his sixteenth year, when he was taken captive, to the first decade of the century, when the Roman province was exposed to the incursions of the Scots, and thus he must have himself already laboured as a missionary among the Irish people, to whom Palladius was sent as their first bishop.

Such is the account which Patrick gives of himself inhimself in these documents, which we accept as undoubtedly genuine; and we shall see how, at a later period, this simple narrative 21became incrusted with a mass of traditional, legendary, and fictitious matter, which had gradually accumulated in the minds of the people, and was brought into shape and added from time to time to the story of Saint Patrick’s life and labours by each successive biographer.

Patrick states in his Confession simply that he ordained clerics, but we are told in the Catalogue of the Saints that ‘they were all bishops, famous and holy, and full of the Holy Ghost, 350 in number, founders of churches;’ and this is confirmed by Angus the Culdee, in his Litany, where he invokes ‘seven times fifty holy bishops, with three hundred priests, whom Patraic ordained,’ and quotes the verse—

‘Seven times fifty holy cleric bishops[42]
The saint ordained,
With three hundred pure presbyters[43]
Upon whom he conferred orders.’

Upwards of one half of his clergy seem, therefore, to have been bishops, and he appears to have placed a bishop, consecrated by himself, in each church which he founded. The difference in order between bishop and presbyter is here fully recognised; and there was nothing in this very inconsistent with the state of the primitive church before it became a territorial church, and its hierarchical arrangements and jurisdiction were adapted to and modelled upon the civil government of the Roman empire.[44] In the earlier period of the Christian Church there was, besides the chief bishop in each city, whose consecration required the action of at least three bishops, an order of ‘Chorepiscopi,’ or country bishops,[45] 22who were consecrated by the chief bishop; and the relative proportion of bishops and presbyters was very different from what it afterwards became. We find in the Apostolical Constitutions in the ordinances of the church of Alexandria that ‘if there should be a place having a few faithful men in it, before the multitude increase, who shall be able to make a dedication to pious uses for the bishop to the extent of twelve men, let them write to the churches round about the place, in which the multitude of believers are established. If the bishop whom they shall appoint hath attended to the knowledge and patience of the love of God, with those with him, let him ordain two presbyters when he hath examined them, or rather three;’[46] and we are told that in Asia Minor alone there were upwards of four hundred bishops.[47] Such a church as this could not have been very unlike the Irish Church at this period—the relative proportion of bishops and presbyters much the same; and Patrick seems to have adapted it to the state of society among the people who were the objects of his mission. Their social system was one based upon the tribe, and it consisted of a congeries of small septs united together by no very close tie. Anything like a territorial church, with a central jurisdiction, was hardly possible among them. Patrick tells us nothing of the mode in which he was consecrated a bishop; but the expression in his epistle to Coroticus, that he was constituted the bishop in Ireland, seems to imply that he regarded himself as chief bishop for the whole people. He founded churches wherever he could obtain a grant from the chief of the sept, and appears to have placed in each Tuath or tribe a bishop, ordained by himself, who may have had one or more presbyters with him. It was, in short, a congregational and tribal episcopacy, united by a federal rather than a territorial tie under regular jurisdiction; and this is implied by the statement that ‘what 23was excommunicated by one church was excommunicated by all.’ During Patrick’s life, he no doubt exercised a superintendence over the whole; but we do not see any trace of the metropolitan jurisdiction of the church of Armagh over the rest.

‘All these bishops,’ we are told in the Catalogue of the Saints, ‘were sprung from the Romans, and Franks, and Britons, and Scots.’ By the Romans and Britons probably those are meant who belonged to the Roman province in Britain, and followed Patrick in his mission; by the Franks those who came from Gaul appear to be intended; and whenever it was possible, he no doubt appointed a native Scot, and one of the tribe among whom he founded a church, to be its bishop. The extent to which the foreign element entered into the clergy of his church may be learnt from the Litany of Angus, who invokes ‘the Romans in Achudh Galma, in Hy Echach; the Romans in Letar Erca; the Romans and Cairsech, daughter of Brocan, in Cill Achudh Dallrach; Cuan, a Roman, in Achill; the Romans in Cluan Caincumni; and the Romans with Aedan in Cluan Dartada; the Gauls in Saillidu; the Gauls in Magh Salach; and the Gauls in Achudh Ginain; the Saxons in Rigar; and the Saxons in Cluan Muicceda; fifty men of the Britons with Monan, in Lann Leire.’ And, in another tract by Angus the Culdee on the Mothers of the Saints, he has, ‘Dina, daughter of the king of the Saxons, was the mother of the ten sons of Bracan, king of Britain, son of Bracha Meoc: viz. St. Mogoroc of Struthuir; St. Mochonoc, the pilgrim of Kil Mucraisse and of Gelinnia in the region of Delbhna Eathra; Dirad of Eadardr uim; Duban of Rinndubhain alithir; Carenn of Killchairinne; Carpre, the pilgrim of Killchairpre; Isiol Farannain; Iust in Slemna of Alban; Elloc of Kill Moelloc, near Lochgarman; Pian of Killphiain in Ossory; Coeman, the pilgrim of Kill Choeman, in the region of Gesille and elsewhere. She was also 24mother of Mobeoc of Gleanngeirg, for he was a son of Brachan, son of Bracha Meoc.’[48]

The first order, too, ‘rejected not the services and society of women,’ or, according to another MS., ‘they excluded from their churches neither laymen nor women,’ which indicates their character as secular clergy, in contradistinction to those under a monastic rule. ‘They celebrated Easter on the fourteenth moon after the vernal equinox,’ that is, as we have seen elsewhere, from the fourteenth to the twenty-first day of the moon; and there appears to have been no difference in this respect between them and the Church of Rome prior to the year 457. Their clergy were tonsured; but at this time there were in the Church various forms of tonsure, and the first form, ‘from ear to ear,’ that is, having the hair removed from the fore part of the head and leaving it to grow behind the ears, was also practised in Gaul, from whence it was probably derived.[49]

Although Patrick alludes to the great numbers he converted, there does not seem to have been anything like a national adoption of Christianity. It is remarkable enough that the Ardri or chief king of Ireland appears to have remained pagan during the entire period of his mission, and it was not till the year 513 that a Christian monarch ruled in Tara. Neither did the arrangement by which isolated bishops were placed in each sept or tribe whose chief or petty king had been converted prove well calculated to disseminate Christianity through the whole tribe, and to leaven the entire people with its influence.

Collegiate Churches of Seven Bishops.

This appears to have led, towards the end of his life, to the adoption of a very peculiar sort of Collegiate Church. It consisted in a group of seven bishops placed together in one church; and they were brought closer to the tribal 25system based on the family which prevailed in Ireland, by these bishops being usually seven brothers selected from one family in the tribe. We see the germs of something of the kind in Tirechan’s Annotations, where it is said that towards the end of his career ‘Patrick passed the Shannon three times, and completed seven years in the western quarter, and came from the plain of Tochuir to Dulo Ocheni, and founded seven churches there.’ And again, ‘The seven sons of Doath—that is Cluain, Findglais and Imsruth, Culcais, Deruthmar, Culcais and Cennlocho—faithfully made offerings to God and Saint Patrick.’[50] But Angus the Culdee in his Litany gives us a list of no fewer than one hundred and fifty-three groups of seven bishops in the same church, all of whom he invokes. A few of these we can identify sufficiently to show that they usually consisted of seven brothers living together in one church, and that they belong to this period. For instance, he invokes ‘the seven bishops of Tulach na’n Epscop,’ or Tulach of the Bishops; and we find in the old Irish Life of St. Bridget, who died in 525, that on one occasion at Tealagh, in the west of Leinster, ‘pious nobles, i.e. seven bishops, were her guests.’[51] Again he invokes ‘the seven bishops of Drom Arbelaig;’ and in the Irish Calendar on 15th January we have ‘seven bishops, sons of Finn, alias Fincrettan of Druimairbealagh.’ Again he invokes ‘the seven bishops in Tamhnach;’ and in the Calendars on 21st July we have this notice: ‘The seven bishops of Tamhnach Buadha, and we find seven bishops, the sons of one father, and their names and history among the race of Fiacha Suighdhe, son of Feidhlimidh Reachtmhar, son of Tuathal Teachtmhar.’ Again he invokes ‘the seven bishops of Cluan Emain;’ and we are told in the Life of Saint Forannan that, after the Council of Drumceatt Columba was met by a large concourse of ecclesiastics, among whom the descendants of Cennaine, the 26aunt of St. Bridget, are alone enumerated, and among these are ‘the seven bishops of Cluain-Hemain,’ now Clonown, near Athlone, and they are represented in the Genealogy of the Saints in the Book of Lecan as seven brethren, the sons of the same mother.[52] Such appear to be in the main the characteristics of the early Irish Church in this the first period of its history; and we must now turn to Scotland to see to what extent they are reflected there.

Church of the southern Picts.

The dark interval of a century between the death of Ninian and the coming of Columba when we find ourselves treading on firm ground, is thus filled up by Fordun:—

‘In A.D. 430 Pope Celestinus sent Saint Palladius into Scotia, as the first bishop therein. It is therefore fitting that the Scots should diligently keep his festival and church commemorations, for by his word and example he with anxious care taught their nation—that of the Scots to wit—the orthodox faith, although they had for a long time previously believed in Christ. Before his arrival, the Scots had, as teachers of the faith and administrators of the Sacraments, priests only or monks, following the rite of the primitive church. So he arrived in Scotland with a great company of clergy in the eleventh year of the reign of King Eugenius, and the king freely gave him a place of abode where he wanted one. Moreover, Palladius had as his fellow-worker in preaching and administering the Sacraments a most holy man, Servanus; who was ordained bishop and created by Palladius his coadjutor—one worthy of him in all respects—in order to teach the people the orthodox faith, and with anxious care perfect the work of the Gospel; for Palladius was not equal to discharging alone the pastoral duties over so great a nation.’ And again: ‘The holy bishop Terrananus likewise was a disciple of the blessed Palladius, who was his godfather and his fostering teacher and furtherer in all the 27rudiments of letters and of the faith.’[53] This statement has been substantially accepted as history by all historians of the Church in Scotland; but when we examine the grounds on which it rests, we shall see reason to doubt whether Palladius ever was in Scotland, and to place Servanus at a much later period. Terrananus alone appears to have any real claim to belong to this period.

The only real information we possess as to the acts of Palladius, in addition to the short notice of his mission given us by the contemporary chronicler Prosper of Aquitaine, is derived from the Lives of St. Patrick; and we shall see how this statement of Palladius’ missionary labours in Scotland grew out of these lives, combined with the fictitious character of the early history of Scotland as it is represented by Fordun. The oldest Lives of Patrick are those in the Book of Armagh; and Tirechan, whose annotations contain our first notices of his life, states that Palladius ‘suffered martyrdom among the Scots’—that is, the Irish—‘as the ancient saints relate.’[54] Muirchu, whose Life was compiled soon after, says, after narrating his mission to Ireland, ‘Neither did those rude and savage people readily receive his doctrine, nor did he wish to pass his time in a land not his own; but returning hence to him who sent him, having begun his passage the first tide, little of his journey being accomplished, he died in the territory of the Britons.’Britons.’[55] The next notice we have of him is in the Life attributed to Mark the Anchorite which belongs to the beginning of the ninth century, and is added to the Historia Britonum of Nennius. Here Palladius is not allowed to land in Ireland at all, ‘but tempests and signs from God prevented his landing, for no one can receive anything on earth except it be given him from above. Returning, therefore, 28from Ireland to Britain, Palladius died in the land of the Picts.’[56] Probus, who had the Book of Armagh before him, and embodies many passages of Muirchu’s Life in his own narrative, repeats his account of Palladius, but substitutes for the expression ‘in the territory of the Britons’ that of ‘in the territory of the Picts.’[57] The Life termed by Colgan the third follows that of Muirchu, and states that ‘he returned to go to Rome, and died in the region of the Britons.’[58] Another Life makes Palladius land in Ireland and found three churches there; but ‘seeing that he could not do much good there, wishing to return to Rome, he migrated to the Lord in the region of the Picts. Others, however, say that he was crowned with martyrdom in Ireland,’[59] alluding in the latter part to the statement of Tirechan. The Tripartite Life says that, ‘on turning back afterwards, sickness seized him in the country of the Cruithne, and he died of it.’[60]

Thus far we find that the oldest view was that he suffered martyrdom in Ireland. This is followed by the statement that he died in the territory of the Britons on his way back to Rome. The territory of the Picts is then substituted for that of the Britons; but this evidently points to Galloway as the place where he landed and died, if he had not been martyred in Ireland. Finally the storm, which Mark the Anchorite tells us hindered his landing, is now made to execute a more remarkable feat. One of the earliest lives of Saint Patrick is the hymn attributed to Fiech of Sletty, and in the Scholia attached to it we are told that Palladius founded three churches in Ireland; ‘nevertheless he was not 29well received by the people, but was forced to go round the coast of Ireland towards the north, until, driven by a great tempest, he reached the extreme part of the Modhaid towards the south, where he founded the church of Fordun and Pledi in his name there.’[61] Another biographer, not satisfied with thiswith this, removes his martyrdom from Ireland, and, after narrating the founding of the three churches, tells us that ‘after a short time Palladius died in the plain of Girgin, in a place which is called Forddun. But others say that he was crowned with martyrdom there.’[62] The place meant is undoubtedly Fordun in the Mearns, the Irish form of which name was Maghgherginn, and the storm here drives him from Ireland to the north, through the Pentland Firth, and along the east coast southwards till he reaches the coast of Kincardineshire, and dies at Fordun.

This form of the legend, which takes him round Scotland to the territory of the Picts on the east coast, evidently owes its origin to the fact that the church of Fordun in the Mearns was dedicated to Palladius under the local name of Paldy, and was believed to possess his relics. How then came his dedication and his relics there if he had no mission himself in Scotland? The notices of Terrananus may throw some light upon this. He is said in the Breviary of Aberdeen to have been a native of the province of the Mearns, to have been baptized and instructed in the Christian faith by Palladius, and to have died and been buried at Banchory on the river Dee, called from him Banchory-Ternan. His day in the Calendar is the 12th of June, and on that day Angus the Culdee has in his metrical Calendar,—

‘Torannan, the long-famed voyager
Over the broad shipful sea.’

Now the scholiast upon this Calendar records a tradition that he was the same person with Palladius. He says,‘Torannan, 30the far-famed voyager, that is, Palladius, who was sent from the successor of Peter to Erin before Patraic. He was not received in Erin, whereupon he went to Alban. He is buried in Liconium.’[63] Liconium was probably the old name of the place afterwards called Banchory-Ternan. The probable solution is that Terrananus or Ternan really was a disciple of Palladius, and brought his relics either from Ireland or from Galloway to his native district in the territories of the southern Picts, who, we know from Bede, had been converted, perhaps not long before, by Ninian of Candida Casa, and, as the founder of the church of Fordun in honour of Palladius, became to some extent identified with him. Add to this Fordun’s assumption that the Scots to whom Palladius was sent as first bishop were the inhabitants of Scotland, and we see upon what his statement was based. There were, of course, no Scots in Scotland at that time. But, by thus appropriating Palladius, Fordun brought himself into a dilemma. According to his fictitious and artificial scheme of the early history of his country, the Scots had colonised Scotland several centuries before Christ, and had been converted to Christianity by Pope Victor I. in the year 203. But if Palladius was their first bishop in 430, what sort of church had they between these dates? He is therefore driven to the conclusion that it must have been a church governed by presbyters or monks only. Hector Boece gave the name of Culdees to the clergy of this supposed early church; and thus arose the belief that there had been in Scotland an early church of Presbyterian Culdees.

Although we may thus accept Terrananus as a disciple of Palladius, Servanus has no claim to be regarded as possessing the same character. Fordun tells us ‘In the History of Saint Kentigern we read that Servanus was the disciple of the 31reverend bishop Palladius, almost in the very earliest days of the Scottish Church;’ and again, ‘On his arrival in Scotia he (Palladius) found Saint Servanus there, and called him to work in the vineyard of the Lord of Sabaoth; and when afterwards the latter was sufficiently imbued with the teaching of the church, Palladius appointed him his suffragan over all the nation of the Scots. So runs the story in that work.’ These passages are quoted from a Life of Kentigern, a fragment of which, containing the passage in question, is still preserved.[64] In this life the birth of Kentigern is placed at Culross, where he is received and educated by Servanus. Kentigern died in extreme old age in 603, which places his birth towards the beginning of the sixth century; but unless the life of Servanus had extended beyond the century, he could not have been found in Scotland by Palladius if he arrived in 430. It would be just possible that he might have been a disciple, were it not that the Life of Servanus has also been preserved. It is contained in the same MS. with one of the lives of Kentigern, and seems to have been recognised by the church of Glasgow as the life of the same Servanus who was his instructor;[65] but when we turn to this life, we do not find in it the least mention of either Palladius or Kentigern. Servanus is there brought in contact with Adamnan, abbot of Iona, who flourished in the seventh century; and he founds the church of Culross in the reign of Brude, king of the Picts, who filled the throne from 697 to 706 in the latter part of the life of Adamnan.[66] It is obvious, therefore, that there is a great anachronism in placing this Servanus as the instructor of Kentigern, and 32that he in reality belongs to the century after his death. We are thus left with Terrananus or Ternan alone, as having: any claim to belong to this period, and the dedications to him show that the field of his labours was the territory of the southern Picts, who are said by Bede to have been converted some time before by Ninian.

Although we thus lose two traditionary apostles of the early Scottish Church, we find, on the other hand, indications of a connection between this church of the southern Picts and the church in Ireland which belongs to the first period in the Catalogue of the Saints of Ireland and is said to have been founded by Patrick. Nectan, who is called in the Pictish Chronicle king of all the provinces of the Picts, and reigned from 458 to 482, is there said to have founded the church of Abernethy in honour of St. Bridget; and we are told in the Life of Boethius or Buitte, who founded the church of Mainister Buitte in Ireland and died in 521, that he arrived in Pictland with sixty followers, ten of whom were brothers and ten virgins; and finding Nectan, king of that land, just dead, he raised him to life, and received from him a grant of the fortress in which his miraculous recovery had taken place, where he founded a church.[67] In the dedications of the churches in the territory of the southern Picts, we find traces of the presence of two other saints who belonged to this early period of the Irish Church. The church of Inchmocholmoc, now Inchmahome, in the Loch of Menteith, is dedicated to Mocholmoc, whose day in the Calendar was the 6th of June, and this identifies him with Colman of Dromore, in Ireland, who was called Mocholmoc.[68] 33He was an Irish Pict, a disciple of Ailbe of Emly, and founded his monastery of Dromore at latest before the year 514. Fillan, called an lobar, or the leper, whose day is 20th June, was also a disciple of Ailbe, and is said in the Irish Calendar to have been of Rath Erenn in Alban, or ‘the fort of the Earn, in Scotland;’ and the parish of Saint Fillans, at the east end of Loch Earn, takes its name from him, while the church of Aberdour, on the northern shore of the Firth of Forth, is also dedicated to him.[69] Further than this we can throw no light upon this early church among the southern Picts.

Early Dalriadic Church.

Towards the end of the fifth century, however, there took place among them a settlement of an Irish people who were already Christian. These were Scots from the district in Ireland termed Dalriada, forming the north-eastern part of Ulster, and extending from the river Ravel to the Bann. We are told in the Lives of St. Patrick that he visited this district of Dalriada, and founded several churches in it; and that when he again revisited it for the purpose of confirming and extending the faith, he found the twelve sons of Erc in possession of the sovereignty, and prophesied of one of them, Fergus mor, son of Erc, that he should be a king, and that the kings of that land, and also of Fortren, in the land of the southern Picts, should descend from him;[70] and Tighernac records that ‘Fergus mor, son of Erc, with the people of Dalriada, takes possession of part of Britain and dies there.’ They appear to have landed in Kintyre and spread from thence along the coasts of Argyll, which from them took the name of Dalriada. For sixty years they appear to have gradually , until their extended their possessionspossessions encroachment upon the land of the Picts, towards the north, brought down upon them Brude, son of Maelcu, the powerful king of the northern Picts, from whom they sustained 34a great defeat; and they were for the time driven back into Kintyre. This Dalriadic people brought their Christian religion with them, and, during this period of sixty years of their advance into the country, appear to have extended themselves as far as the island of Mull, so as to embrace the island of Iona within their bounds, for in this island we are told the three sons of Erc—Loarn, Fergus, and Angus—were buried; and Fordun is probably recording real events when he tells us that Domangart, the son of Fergus, and Gabran his grandson, after whose death the Dalriads were driven back to Kintyre, were buried here.[71] There does appear, in fact, to have been in the island of Iona, even at this early period, a Christian establishment of that peculiar collegiate form which appears at this time in Ireland: for among the groups of seven bishops whom Angus the Culdee invokes in his Litany, we find ‘the seven bishops of Hii’; and again, apparently the same group, as ‘the seven bishops of the church of Ia,’ another form of the name of the island.[72]

The extensive prevalence of the dedications to Bridget or Bride in the West Highlands and Islands shows the influence of the Irish Church at this period in the western districts; and we learn from the old Lives of St. Bridget that she was visited shortly before her death, which took place in 525, by Nennidius, son of Ethath, ‘de partibus Mula,’ which Colgan rightly takes to mean the island of Mull.[73] The dedications to Odhran or Oran, too, in the islands connected with Dalriada, probably belong to this earlier 35Dalriadic Church. Besides the cemetery in Iona called Reilic Odhrain, he appears in Tyree, where there is a burial-ground called Claodh Odhrain, in Colonsay at Killoran, and in Mull at Tiroran, on the north bank of Loch Scridan. He appears to be the same person as Odhran or Oran of Leitrioch-Odhrain, now Latteragh, in the barony of Upper Ormond and county of Tipperary in Ireland, whose death is recorded on the 2d October 548. He was of the same stock as the people of Dalriada.[74]

Church south of the Firths of Forth and Clyde.

When we turn to the district south of the Firths of Forth and Clyde, which contained a mixed population of Britons, Picts, and Saxons, the former two of whom alone professed Christianity, we find, as we might expect, that 36there was a connection between the Christian Church there and both the British and the Irish Church. With the British Church we may connect those sons of Brachan or Brychan who are said to have founded churches in Manau. These are Rhun Dremrudd and Rhawin, two of his sons who are said to have founded churches there and to have been slain by the Saxons and Picts. Another son, Arthur, was buried in Manau; and Nevydd, the son of Rhun, is said to have been a bishop in the north and likewise to have been slain by the Saxons and Picts. In one account his church is said to have been at Lechgelyddon, or ‘the Stone of Celyddon’ or Caledonia, in the north; and his name is probably preserved in Rosneveth, now Roseneath.[75]

The connection between this church and that of 37Ireland appears from the legend of St. Monenna, of which we have three versions. She is said to have been consecrated as a virgin by St. Patrick, and to have formed a society consisting of eight virgins and one widow, and founded the church of Cillsleibhe Cuillin, now Killevy in the county of Armagh. In one of these legends she is said to have sent one of her virgins called Brignat to Rosnat, a name by which, as we shall afterwards see, Candida Casa, or Whithern, was known. Three days after her death, one of her virgins who succeeded her, called Tannat, dies. In another form of the legend she is said to have founded seven churches in Scotland: one at Chilnecase in Galloway, a second on the hill of Dundonald in Ayrshire, a third on Dumbarton rock, a fourth in the castle of Strivelyn or Stirling, a fifth at Dunedene, ‘which in Anglic is called Edeneburg,’ a sixth on the hill of Dunpelder in East-Lothian, and the seventh at Lanfortin or Longforgund in Gowrie, where she is said to have died; and her relics were divided between the Scots, English, and Irish, the first portion being at Lanfortin and the last at Cillsleibhe. In the third form of the legend she founds many churches and monasteries in Scotland: one in Strivelyn or Stirling, one at Edeneburg on the top of the rock in honour of Saint Michael, three in Galloway, and one at LanfortinLanfortin. Here we see that her churches were mainly founded at the principal fortified posts in the country. Her death is recorded in the year 519.[76]

38Such are the few scattered notices of this church which we are able to substitute for the fabulous missions of Palladius and Servanus in Scotland at this time. It was confined to the southern Picts, the Dalriads, and the population south of the Firths of Forth and Clyde, the tribes forming the nation of the northern Picts, and occupying the 39districts north of the great mountain range called the Mounth, being still pagan; and we find indications that the church, as then constituted, proved ineffectual to win over the people to any great extent to a thorough adoption of Christianity, and that a very general relapse to paganism had taken place.

Apostasy of early churches.

Jocelin is probably reporting a genuine tradition when, in his Life of Kentigern, he says that the Picts, who had received the faith from Ninian, had lapsed into apostasy; and so also the author of the older Life of Kentigern, when he terms a king of the Picts of Lothian ‘semi-pagan.’[77] St. Patrick, in his epistle to Coroticus, written probably towards the end of his life, terms Coroticus, in whom we have already recognised that Ceretic Guledig from whom the kings of Alcluith or Alclyde were descended,[78] ‘a tyrant who fears neither God nor his priests,’ and his followers ‘wicked rebels against Christ, and betrayers of Christians into the hands of the Scots and Picts.’ The latter, too, he repeatedly terms the apostate Picts, and says that the people ruled by Coroticus were no longer ‘his fellow-citizens, or the fellow-citizens of pious Romans, but were the fellow-citizens of demons,’ and the ‘associates of Scots and apostate Picts.’[79] It is apparent that the churches founded by Ninian and Patrick had in the main failed to effect a permanent conversion of the native tribes to Christianity, and that the latter was doomed to witness, even in his own life, a great declension from the Christian Church and relapse into paganism.

It required a different organisation to establish the Christian Church on a firm and permanent basis among 40them, and to leaven the whole people with its doctrines and rules of life. The introduction of the monastic element, and its application to the entire organisation of the Church, not only effected what a church with its secular clergy had failed to do, but led to that remarkable outburst of missionary zeal which sent from the shores of Ireland a stream of Christian missionaries invading the Continent in every direction, converting the people and founding monasteries among them, of whom Columbanus was the forerunner.


1. There is a very able paper in the recently published volume of the remains of the late A. W. Haddan, which originally appeared in the Christian Remembrancer, on ‘The Churches of British Confession.’ It contains an admirable résumé of this question, and the deductions of the writer are unquestionably sound. With the views in this paper the author entirely concurs.

2. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. iii. c. iv.

3. An extract from this Life is given by Usher, Brit. Ecc. Ant., and an abstract of it in Bollandus, Acta Sanct., Sept. 16. In the Felire of Angus the Culdee we have, at 16 Sept., Moinend nuall cech genai, ‘Monenn the shout of every mouth;’ and the gloss is Moinend Cluana Conaire Tomain hi tuaiscert h. Faelan, ‘Monenn of Cluan Conaire Toman in north Hy-Faelan,’Hy-Faelan,’ in Leinster. The Martyrology of Tamlacht has ‘Monenn, i.e. Ninianus episcopus Candide Case.’ Monenn is merely Nenn or Ninian with the Irish mo or ‘my’ prefixed, as is usual in naming these saints.

4. ‘Florentio et Dionysio Coss. (A.D. 429) ... Agricola Pelagianus, Severiani Pelagiani Episcopi filius, Ecclesias Britanniæ dogmatis sui insinuatione corrupit.’—Prosper, Chron. Opp. i. 400, 401.

5. ‘Florentio et Dionysio Coss. (A.D. 429) ... ad actionem Paladii diaconi Papa Cœlestinus Germanum Antisiodorensem Episcopum vice sua mittit, et deturbatis hæreticis Britannos ad Catholicam fidem dirigit.’dirigit.’—Prosper, Chron. 401. Prosper wrote two chronicles about the year 455. The share taken in the mission by the Gallican bishops is reported by Constantius in his Life of Germanus written some thirty years after. The two accounts are not inconsistent. See Haddan and Stubbs’ Councils, vol. i. p. 17, note.

6. ‘Basso et Antiocho Coss. (A.D. 431) ad Scotos in Christum credentes ordinatus a papa Cœlestino Palladius primus episcopus mittitur.’—Prosper, Chron.

‘Et ordinato Scotis Episcopo, dum Romanam insulam studet servare Catholicam, fecit etiam barbaram Christianam.’—Prosper, Cont. Collat. xxi. (A.D. 432).

There can be now no question that the Scots to whom he was sent were those of Ireland.

7. See Dr. Todd’s Life of Saint Patrick, p. 189, for a critical examination of the facts which seem to imply an earlier Christianity in Ireland.

8. Protestant church historians are unreasonably jealous of admitting any connection between the early British or Irish Church and Rome; but the Rome of the fourth and fifth centuries was not the Rome of the middle ages. It was the church of St. Jerome and St. Augustine. There was no question then about supremacy, and the bishop of Rome was simply regarded with deference and respect as the acknowledged head of the Christian Church within the western provinces of the empire of which Rome was the capital. Questions of ecclesiastical supremacy did not emerge till the empire was broken up.up.

9. See ‘The Irish Monasteries in Germany,’ Ulster Journal of Arch., vol. vii. p. 233, and authorities there quoted.

10. Columbanus in Epist. to Pope Boniface IV., says—‘Nos enim SS. Petri et Pauli et omnium discipulorum, divinum canonem Spiritu Sancto scribentium, discipuli sumus, toti Heberi, ultimi habitatores mundi, nihil extra evangelicam et apostolicam doctrinam recipientes.’ He calls himself ‘perigrinus Scotus,’ and adds,—‘Sed talia suadenti, utpote torpenti actu ac dicenti potius, quam facienti mihi, Jonæ Hebraice, Peristeræ, Græce, Columbæ Latine.’—Migne, Patrologia, vol. 37, coll. 275, 282.

11. Hefele, Concilien Geschichte, vol. i. p. 317; vol. ii. p. 758.

12. There is no clearer account of the difference in the reckoning of the days of the moon than that in the letter of Abbot Ceolfrid to Nectan, king of the Picts, given to us by Bede, and probably his own composition (Hist. Ec., B. v. c. 21). The ordinary idea that the British and Irish Churches derived their mode of keeping Easter from the Eastern Church, or from the disciples of St. John, is based upon a mistake, and arises from their being occasionally but erroneously termed quarto-decimans from their celebrating Easter on the fourteenth day of the moon when it fell upon a Sunday; but the Eastern Christians, to whom this name was properly given, differed essentially from them by invariably celebrating Easter on the fourteenth day, whether it fell on a Sunday or not.

13. ‘Dominis Sanctis et in Christo patribus vel fratribus, episcopis, presbyteris, cæterisque sanctæ Ecclesiæ ordinibus.’—Migne, Patrologia, vol. 37, col. 264.

14. ‘Domino Sancto et in Christo apostolico patri Papæ.’Ib. col. 226.

15. Hefele, Concilien Geschichte, vol. ii. p. 16.

16. This Catalogue was first published by Usher from two mss., and is believed to be the work of Tirechan, the author of the annotations on the Life of Saint Patrick in the Book of Armagh. His period is the eighth century.

17. The Litany of Angus is contained in the Leabhar Breac, and also in the Book of Leinster.

18. This was certainly the Roman or Western Form.

19. The names of the kings are given, but it is unnecessary to add them. They reigned till the year 534.

20. Some retained the Roman Form, others adopted the Gallican introduced by David, Gillas, and Docus.

21. The kings mentioned reigned to the year 572.

22. This is followed by the names of twenty-five saints of this order.

23. The names of seven bishops and eight presbyters are given.

24. The Book of Armagh has been very inaccurately printed by Sir William Betham in his Irish Antiquarian Researches. An edition of this most valuable MS. has long been promised by the then Dean of Armagh, now Bishop of Down, and it is hoped that he will still accomplish it. It would be an invaluable boon to all students of Church history. See Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, vol. iii. pp. 316, 356, for an account of this MS. and of the authors of the lives.

25. The author adopts the theory that the summary of Aidus appended to the annotations of Tirechan contains the headings of the chapters of the first part of Muirchu’s life.

26. Betham, Ant. Res., App. pp. i, ii, and xliii.

27. Ibid. App. xxxv. xxxvi. In this passage xiii. is probably written for viii. either in Sir W. Betham’s manuscript or in the original MS. Theodosius became sole emperor in 423. His eighth year was therefore 431, and his ninth 432.

28. Pertz, Mon. Germ. Hist. Script., vol. v. p. 533.

29. Usher, Sylloge, Ep. xi.

30. Adamnan, Vit. S. Col., ed. 1874, p. 107.

31. A careful edition of the Confession and Epistle, with a translation, is annexed to Miss Cusack’s Life of Saint Patrick, to which the references are made.

32. Qui fuit vico Bannavem Taberniæ.Conf. The natural inference certainly is that Tabernia was the name of the district in which Bannavem was situated.

33. Ingenuus fui secundum carnem; Decurione patre nascor.Ep. Cor.

34. Et iterum post paucos annos in Britanniis eram cum parentibus meis.Conf. The expression Britanniis or Britannicis in the plural, clearly designates the Roman province in Britain. He calls it here his ‘patria.’ ‘Parentes’ may be either parents or relations.

35. He alludes to words spoken when he was fifteen years old. ‘Quod confessus fueram ante quod essem diaconus.’Conf.

36. ‘Vos scitis et Deus qualiter apud vos conversatus sum a juventute mea et fide veritatis et sinceritate cordis; etiam ad gentes illas inter quas habito, ego fidem illis præstiti et præstabo.’Conf. The same thing is implied in his epistle to Coroticus, where he says that he had sent a letter by a holy priest, ‘quem ego ex infantia docui.’ If he had taught this priest from his infancy, he must himself have been long in Ireland.

37. In his Confession he says that, when about to be given the rank of a bishop (‘gradus episcopatus’) a fault was brought up against him which he had committed thirty years before, when he was fifteen; and his epistle to Coroticus commences ‘Patricius peccator indoctus, scilicet Hiberione constitutis episcopum me esse futeor certissime reor, a Deo accepi id quod sum.’

38. In his Confession he says he had been desirous to go ‘in Britanniis ... quasi ad patriam et parentes; non id solum, sed etiam usque Gallias.’ This excludes the idea that he could have been a native of any part of Gaul. Britanniæ is the well-known expression for Roman Britain. In his epistle to Coroticus he says, ‘Non dico civibus meis, neque civibus sanctorum Romanorum.’

39. Et hæc est confessio mea antequam moriar.Conf.

40. Et ut clerici ubique illis ordinarentur ad plebem nuper venientem ad credulitatem.... Unde autem Hiberione, qui numquam notitiam habuerunt, nisi idula et himunda usque nunc semper coluerunt, quomodo nuper effecta est plebs Domini et filii Dei nuncupabantur. Filii Scotorum et filiæ Regulorum monachi et virgines Christi esse videntur.Conf.

41. O speciossissime, atque amantissimi fratres et filii, quos in Christo genui, enumerare nequeo.Ep. Cor.

42. The word is Sruith episcop. Sruth is the Irish equivalent of cleric.

43. The word is Crumthir. In the Sanas Cormaic we have Cruimther, i.e. Gaedelg indi as presbyter, ‘that is the Gaelic of presbyter.’—Stokes, Three Irish Glossaries, p. 9. In Nennius the number of presbyters is increased from 300 to 3000, and in the Tripartite Life to 5000.

44. By the council of Sardica in 347 a canon was passed prohibiting bishops being placed in small cities or villages where a single presbyter was sufficient.

45. Bingham’s Ant., Book ii. c. 12.

46. Copt. Coll., Book i. Can. i. 11. Bunsen’s Hippolytus, ii. p. 27.

47. Bingham’s Ant., Book ii. c. 11; Book ix. c. 3.

48. Colgan, A.SS., p. 312. St. Mochonoc’s church was called Gailinne nam Breatan, or Gallen of the Britons, in King’s County.

49. St. Paulinus of Nola says (Ep. 7) of some of the monks of his time in Gaul, that they were ‘casta informitate capillum ad cutem cæsi, et inæqualiter semitonsi et destituta fronte prærasi.’

50. Betham, Ant. Res., App., pp. xxxiii. xxxix.

51. O’Hanlan, Lives of the Irish Saints, vol. ii. p. 84.

52. Dr. Todd’s Life of St. Patrick, p. 34. The notices from the Irish Calendars are taken from those of Tamlacht and Donegal.

53. Fordun, Chron., B. iii. cc. 8, 9.

54. Qui martyrium passus est apud Scotos, ut tradunt sancti antiqui.—Betham, Ant. Res., App. xxxvi.

55. Sed reversus ad eum qui missit illum revertere vero eo hinc, et in primo mari transito cœpto qui erat parum itinere in Britonum finibus vita factus.Ib., App. i.

56. Sed per quasdam tempestates et signa illum Deus prohibuit, quia nemo potest quicquam accipere in terra nisi fuerit datum desuper, et illa Palladius rediens de Hibernia ad Britanniam ibi defunctus est in terra Pictorum.—Nenn., Hist. Brit. Ed. Gunn.

57. Ad fines Pictorum pervenisset ibidem vita decessit.—Colg. Tr. Th. p. 48.

58. Tertia Vita, ib. p. 23.

59. Quarta Vita, ib. p. 38.

60. Hennessy’s translation in Miss Cusack’s Life of S. Patrick, p. 378.

61. Colgan, Tr. Th., p. 5.

62. Secunda Vita, ib. p. 13.

63. These and the other notices of St. Ternan will be found conveniently collected together in the Preface by the late Bishop of Brechin to the Missal of Arbuthnot.

64. It is printed in the Chartulary of Glasgow, and also in the volume of Lives of Saint Ninian and Saint Kentigern, edited by the late Bishop of Brechin for the series of Scottish Historians, vol. v. p. 123.

65. This life is printed in the Chronicles of the Picts and Scots, p. 412.

66. The chronicle in the Scala Cronica has under this Brude, ‘En quel temps veint Saint Servanus en Fiffe.’Chron. of Picts and Scots, p. 201.

67. Chron. Picts and Scots, p, 410. The church was probably Carbuddo, or Castrum Boethii, near Dunnichen, the old name of which was Duin Nechtain.

68. Lanigan, Ec. Hist., vol. i. p. 432. In Ireland the custom existed of prefixing the word mo or ‘my,’ and adding the word oc, or ‘little,’ to the name of a saint, as an expression of endearment. When the name ended with the syllable an, the word oc was substituted for it. Thus Colman becomes Mocholmoc.

69. June 20, Faolan amlobair i Raith-Erann in Albain.Mart. Don.

70. Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 17.

71. The old chronicles have ‘Yona insula, ubi tres filii Erc, seu Fergus, Loarn, et Angus sepulti fuerunt.’Ib. pp. 151, 174, 288. Fordun says of Gabran, ‘cujus ad sepeliendum corpus ad ecclesiam Sancti Orani delatum est, ubi patris et avi funera quiescunt in Hy insula.’—B. iii. c. 24.

72. Angus has Secht n-epscoip na Hii, and also Secht n-epscoip Cille Hiæ—‘The seven bishops of Hii,’ and ‘The seven bishops of the church of Ia.’

73. Colgan, A.SS. p. 112. Mula certainly is Mull, and the old parish of Kilnoening in Mull probably takes its name from him.

74. An. IV. Mag., vol. i. p. 187. In the Martyrology of Tamlacht this Odhran appears on 2d October as Odran Lathracha; and again on 27th October as Odrani sac. Lettracha vel o Hi, that is, ‘Odran, priest of Latteragh, or of Iona.’ Angus the Culdee has on 27th October Odran Abb. Saer Snamach, ‘Odran, Abbot, noble swimmer’; and in the gloss it is said he was either ‘Odran the priest of Tech Aireran in Meath, or Odrain of Lethracha-Odhrain in Muskerry, and of Hi Columcille—that is, of Relic Odrain in Hii.’—(Forbes, Calendars, p. 426.) This identification of the Oran of Relic Oran in Iona with Oran of Latteragh places his death in 548, fifteen years before Columba, with whom he is connected in popular tradition, came to Scotland. The first appearance of this story is in the old Irish Life of Columba. It is as follows:—‘Columcille said thus to his people, It would be well for us that our roots should pass into the earth here. And he said to them, It is permitted to you that some one of you go under the earth of this island to consecrate it. Odhran arose quickly and thus spake, If you accept me, said he, I am ready for that. O Odhran, said Columcille, you shall receive the reward of this; no request shall be granted to any one at my tomb unless he first ask of thee. Odhran then went to heaven. He founded the church of Hy there.’ This story, however, was unknown to Adamnan, who records the natural death of one of the brethren whose name was either Brito or who was a Briton, and adds that he was the first of the brethren who died in the island (B. iii. c. 7). Neither does the name of Odran appear in the oldest lists of the twelve companions of Columba; and Angus the Culdee expressly says the Odran celebrated on 27th October was an abbot, which the Oran of the tradition could not have been. The epithet of swimmer, too, alludes to an incident in the life of S. Odran of Latteragh.—See Colgan, A.SS., p. 372.

75. See Lives of the Cambro-British Saints, pp. 272, 602, for an account of Brychan and his family. He had an impossible number of children, varying in different legends from ten to twenty-four sons and twenty-six daughters. It has already been remarked (see vol. i. p. 160, note, and the Four Ancient Books of Wales, vol. i. p. 82) that some of these sons and daughters are connected with Brycheiniog or Brecknock in Wales, and others with Manau Guotodin in the north, and with the men of the north. It is obvious that there must have been two Brychans, and that two different families have been mixed together. The name Brychan comes from Brych, ‘speckled,’ the Gaelic equivalent of which is Breacc, and seems to refer to a characteristic of the Picts. It enters into the name Brycheiniog or Brecknock in Wales, and we also find it in two different localities in Scotland. In Manau Guotodin, the chief church, that of Falkirk, was called Ecglis Breacc, or ‘the Speckled Church,’ the Saxon equivalent of which was Fahkirk, from the word Fah, signifying speckled. There is also the river Briech, and on the Firth of Forth Briechness, now Bridgeness. In Forfarshire we have also Brechin. The northern family seem to have been the same as that of the ten sons of Braccan, son of Bracha Meoc, king of the Britons, who found churches in Ireland, as one of the sons, Iust, is said to have been of Sleamna in Alban or Scotland; and another, Maconoc, we find in the patron saint of Inverkeilor in Forfarshire. There is there also a church called Neveth, and in the Cognatio the sepulchre of Brachan or Brychan is said to be ‘in insula que vocata Enysbrachan, que est juxta Manniam.’ Mannia stands here for Manau in the north, and it is possible that Inchbrayoch in Forfarshire, which was dedicated to Saint Braoch, may be the island meant.

76. Pervenerat etiam in Albaniam, id est Scotiam, in qua ædificaverat ecclesias in Christi nomine, quarum hæc sunt nomina.

Una est Chilnecase in Galweia.

Altera vero in cacumine montis, qui appellatur Dundeuel, quia sic semper solebat, sicut prædiximus, ut supra nudam petram nudis membris in noctibus oraret Deum, qui semper orandus sit, sicut scriptura ait; ‘Orate sine intermissione,’ et reliqua.

Tertia autem in alto montis Dunbreten.

Quarta in castello, quod dicitur Strivelin.

Quinta vero Dunedene, quæ Anglica lingua dicta Edenburg.

Sexta enim Mons Dunpeleder, et illinc transfretavit mare in Albaniam ad Sanctum Andream.

Post hæc vero exiit ad Alecthae, ubi modo est optima ecclesia, quam Lanfortin aedificavit cum quodam fonte sanctissimo, et mansit illic aliquanto tempore et multum dilexit illum locum, in quo in fine vitæ suæ, ut affirmaret, Domino volente, emisit spiritum.Vita S. Mon. a Conchubrano, cap. vii. 66; A.SS. Boll. ad 5 July.

Another Life of Saint Monenna, printed by Capgrave, has

Multis itaque signis in Hibernia declaratis, ad regem Scotiæ nomine Conagal cognatum suum profecta multas ecclesias et monasteria construxit, inter quæ

Apud Strivelin unam et

Apud Edenburgh in montis cacumine in honore Sancti Michaelis alteram edificavit ecclesiam.

Et in Galwedia tres nominatas a fundamentis fecit ecclesias.

Monenna appears in the Calendars on 5th and 6th July; and on the former day the Irish Calendars have Saint Edania, Edœna, or Edana.

In the Scotch Calendars she appears only in that of David Camerarius on 5th July as ‘Sancta Moduenna, virgo in Laudonia et Galovida, Scotiæ provinciis celebris;’ but the Breviary of Aberdeen has on 19th November ‘Medana virgo Dei castissima ex Ybernia oriunda.’ The account given of her in the ‘Lectiones’ is shortly this:—Flying from the attempts of a ‘miles quidam illius provincie nobilis,’ she takes refuge in Scotland, having crossed in a vessel with two handmaidens, ‘et ad partes Galuidie superiores que Ryndis dicitur arripuit ubi pauperculam laborando egit vitam.’ The soldier still pursuing her, she and her maidens embarked upon a stone, which floated thirty miles ‘ad terram que Farnes dicitur ubi nunc Sancte reliquie virginis acquiescunt.’ The Breviary places her in the time of Ninian. ‘Tandem vitam in sanctitate et paupertate transigens sub sanctissimo et beatissimo patre Niniano antistite pridie kalendarum Novembrium animam a corpore Domino jubente seperari permisit.’Brev. Ab. xiii. Id. Dec.

The churches of Kirkmaiden in the parish of that name and the Rinns of Galloway, and in the parish of Glasserton and district called Farnes, were dedicated to this Medana. She is, however, probably the same person as Monenna, also called Moduenna and Edana, and these may have been two of the three churches said to have been founded by her in Galloway, the third being the church called Chilnacase, which may have been at Whithern or Candida Casa, where Medana is said to have died. It is impossible from the lives to ascertain her true date, as they are full of anachronisms; but the Ulster Annals have at 518 ‘Quies Darerce que Moninne nominata est.’

77. Cap. xxvii.—Picti vero prius per Sanctum Ninianum ex magna parte ... fidem susceperunt. Dein in apostasiam lapsi....

Rex igitur Leudonus vir semipaganus.

78. See vol. i. p. 158, note.

79. See Miss Cusack’s Life of Saint Patrick, p. 613, for this epistle and a translation, and for the expressions above quoted.

41

CHAPTER II.

THE MONASTIC CHURCH IN IRELAND.

The second order of Catholic Presbyters.

Assuming that the three orders of the saints pictured the leading characteristics of three periods of the Irish Church, there can be no question that the great feature of the second period was its monastic character. The principal points of difference in the constitution of the Church represented by the first two orders were these:—The first order ‘was of Catholic saints,’ the second ‘of Catholic presbyters.’ In the first they are said to have been ‘all bishops, founders of Churches’; in the second there were ‘few bishops and many presbyters, in number 300.’ In the first ‘they had one head, Christ, and one chief, Patricius’; in the second ‘they had one head, our Lord,’ but no chief. In the first ‘they observed one mass, one celebration’; in the second ‘they celebrated different masses, and had different rules.’ In the first ‘they excluded from the churches neither laymen nor women’; in the second ‘they refused the services of women, separating them from the monasteries.’[80] The first, as we have said, exhibits a secular clergy founding churches; the second a clergy observing rules and founding monasteries. There were no doubt 42monasteries in the earlier church, and, as St. Patrick tells us in his Confession, ‘sons of the Scots and daughters of the princes are seen to be monks and virgins;’ but these were accidental features in a church essentially secular, and the monasteries were probably of the earliest type, when the monks were laymen, while the clergy, in common with the church at that period, consisted of bishops with their presbyters and deacons; but in the second period the entire church appears to have been monastic, and her whole clergy embraced within the fold of the monastic rule.

The entire Church monastic. Relative position of Bishops and Presbyters.

Bede well expresses this when, in describing one of her offshoots at Lindisfarne, he says, ‘All the presbyters, with the deacons, cantors, lectors, and the other ecclesiastical orders, along with the bishop himself, were subject in all things to the monastic rule.’[81] The Irish Church was therefore at this period a monastic church in the fullest sense of the term, and the inevitable effect of this was materially to influence the relation between the two grades of bishops and presbyters, both as to position and as to numbers. In order to estimate rightly the nature of this change, it is necessary to keep in view the distinction between the power of mission and that of orders. The former is the source of jurisdiction, and the latter of the functions of the episcopate. When the two are united, we are presented with a diocesan episcopacy; but the union is not essential. A monastic church requires the exercise of episcopal functions within her as much as any other church, and for that purpose possesses within her the superior grade of the bishop according to canonical rule;[82] but when 43it became customary for the abbot of the monastery as well as several of the brethren to receive the ordination of the priesthood, for the purpose of performing the religious rites within the monastery, the tendency of all monasteries within a church was to encroach upon the functions of the secular clergy, and not only to claim exemption from the episcopal jurisdiction, but even to have within themselves a resident bishop for the exercise of episcopal functions within the monastery, to whose abbot he was subject as being under the monastic rule.[83] The idea of transferring monachism entirely to the clergy of a particular district was not absolutely unknown in the Western Church.[84] But at this period it was adopted by the Irish Church in its entirety; and when the entire church became monastic, the whole episcopate was necessarily in this position. There was nothing derogatory to the power of episcopal orders, nothing to reduce the bishops, as a superior grade, below or even to the level of the presbyters; but the mission, and the jurisdiction of which it is the source, were not in the bishop, but in the monastery, and that jurisdiction was 44necessarily exercised through the abbot as its monastic head. There was episcopacy in the church, but it was not diocesan episcopacy. Where the abbot, as was occasionally the case, was in episcopal orders, the anomaly did not exist. But the presbyters greatly outnumbered the bishops, and the abbot in general retained his presbyterian orders only.

The presbyter-abbot.

When this was the case, the bishop appears as a separate member of the community, but ‘the presbyter-abbot was the more important functionary.’ Bede, the most observant as he is the most candid of historians, remarked this when he says that Iona ‘was wont to have always as ruler a presbyter-abbot, to whose jurisdiction the whole province and even the bishops themselves were, by an unusual arrangement, bound to submit;’[85] and again, that ‘the monastery in Iona (not the abbot but the monastery) for a long time held the pre-eminence over almost all those of the northern Scots, and all those of the Picts, and had the direction of their people.’[86] It was this inversion of the jurisdiction, placing the bishop under that of the monastery, which Bede pronounced to be an unusual order of things. The episcopate was in fact in the Monastic Church of Ireland a personal and not an official dignity; and we find at a later period that inferior functionaries of the monastery, as the scribe and even the anchorite, appear to have united the functions of a bishop with their proper duties.[87]

Monastic character of the Church derived from Gaul.

45Whence then did the Irish Church at this period derive its monastic character? Monasticism, as we know, took its rise in the East; but when Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, took refuge in Rome from the persecution of the Arians in the year 341, told of the life of the monks in the east, and wrote a Life of St. Anthony, the monastic life became at once popular in the west, and all Rome became filled with monasteries. The term religio, or ‘religion,’ was given to the monastic institutions, and that of ‘religious’ to all who followed a monastic rule, in contradistinction to that of ‘secular,’ which was applied to the clergy whose lives were regulated merely by the general law of the Church. From Italy it was introduced into Gaul, and it was finally established as an institution in that Church by Martin, monk and afterwards bishop, who founded the monastery of Ligugé, the most ancient monastery in Gaul, at the gates of Poitiers, in 361; and afterwards, when he became bishop of Tours in 372, a monastery near that city, which bore the name of ‘Majus Monasterium,’ or Marmoutier; and this monastery became the centre of monastic life in Gaul.[88]

Monachism reached the Irish Church through two different channels.

From Martin of Tours the monastic influence reached the Irish Church through two different channels, and became the means of infusing a new life into that Church, imparting to it a character which harmonised better with the tribal organisation of the social system and exhibited itself in that marvellous burst of energy which not only filled Ireland with monasteries, but was carried by its monkish missionaries across the sea to Britain and the Continent. The legend which connects Patrick with Martin, narrating that Conchessa, Patrick’s mother, was his niece, and that Patrick went to Martin at the age of twenty-five, and after four years’ instruction received from him the monastic 46habit, must be abandoned as irreconcilable with the chronology of St. Patrick’s life, and as introduced at a later period into his acts, as we shall afterwards see. That, however, which connects Ninian of Whithern with Martin is more trustworthy. He undoubtedly went to Rome during the lifetime of Martin, where, according to Bede, he was trained in the faith and mysteries of religion. He is said, on his return, to have visited that saint at Tours, and obtained from him masons for the purpose of building a church after the Roman manner, which, says Bede, was called Candida Casa, and dedicated to St. Martin.

First channel through the monastery of Candida Casa, or Whithern, in Galloway.

This monastery, under the name of the ‘Magnum Monasterium,’ or monastery of Rosnat, became known as a great seminary of secular and religious instruction. In the legend of St. Cairnech we find it mentioned as ‘the house of Martain,’ and as ‘the monastery of Cairnech.’ He was the son of Sarran, king of the Britons, by Bobona, daughter of Loarn son of Erc, who had another daughter, Erca, mother of Murcertach, afterwards king of Ireland. As Murcertach is said in the legend to have been at that time with the king of Britain learning military science, the events there narrated must be placed before the date of the great battle of Ocha in 478, which was fought by Lughaidh, who then became king of Ireland, and by Murcertach mac Erca, and established the throne of Ireland in the line of the northern Hy Niall. The legend adds that ‘Cairnech went to Erin before him, and became the first bishop of the clan Niall and of Teamhar, or Tara, and he was the first martyr and the first monk of Erin, and the first Brehon of the men of Erin also.’[89] In this legend the introduction of monachism into Ireland is attributed to Cairnech, who had been bishop and abbot of the monastery or house of Martin, or in other words, of Candida Casa; and we find soon after several of the saints, mentioned as belonging to this second order, resorting thither for the purpose of being instructed and 47trained in the monastic life. We learn from the acts of Tighernac of Clones and of Eugenius of Ardstraw, who were both natives of Leinster, but connected with Ulster families on the mother’s side, that, with a number of others of both sexes, they had been carried off when boys by pirates and brought to Britain, where they were sent by the king, at the queen’s intercession, to a holy man, called in the Life of Tighernac, ‘Monennus,’ and in that of Eugenius, ‘Nennio, called also Mancennus’ and ‘Manchenius,’ and trained by him in his monastery of Rosnat, which is also called alba, or ‘white.’[90] When set at liberty and enabled to return to their own country, they both received episcopal orders; and Tighernac founded the monastery of Galloon in Lough Erne, and afterwards that of Cluain-eois or Clones in Monaghan; while Eugenius founded Ardstrath, now Ardstraw, near Derry. In the Acts of S. Enda of Aran, too, we are told that, when a youth, he was sent by his sister to Britain, to the monastery of Rosnat, where he became the humble disciple of Mancenus, the ‘magister’ of that monastery.[91] He afterwards founded in one of the Aran islands, on the west coast of Ireland, a monastery containing one hundred and fifty monks, of which he was the presbyter-abbot. Saint Monenna too sends one of her family, named Brignat, to the British island, to the monastery of Rosnat, in order that she might be trained in the rules of monastic life, after which she returns to Ireland.[92] Again we are told in the Acts of St. 48Finnian or Finbarr, of ‘Maghbile,’ or Moyville, that he went as a boy to St. Caelan, abbot of Noendrum, who placed him under the care of a most holy bishop called Nennio, who had come in a ship with some of his people to the harbour of the monastery; and by him he was taken to his own monastery, termed the ‘Magnum Monasterium,’ and there trained for several years in the rules and institutions of monastic life.[93] In another Life, in which he is identified with St. Fridean of Lucca, his master’s name is called Mugentius, and his monastery ‘Candida.’[94] Finally, in the preface to the Hymn or Prayer of Mugint, we are told that ‘Mugint made this hymn in Futerna. The cause was this:—Finnen of Maghbile went to Mugint for instruction, and Rioc, and Talmach, and several others with him.’[95] Finnian, having received episcopal orders, afterwards founded the monastery of Magh Bile or Moyville, in the county of Down.

There can be little question that the monastery of Rosnat, called also ‘Alba’ and ‘Candida’ and ‘Futerna,’ and known as the ‘Magnum Monasterium,’ could have been no other than the monastery of Candida Casa, known to the Angles as Whithern, of which ‘Futerna’ is the Irish equivalent. The future bishops and abbots who were trained there were all more or less connected with Ulster; the monasteries founded by them were in the north of Ireland; and Finnian, the latest of them, was of the race of Dal Fiatach, occupying the districts of Down and part of Antrim, separated by the Irish Channel from Galloway. They would naturally resort to the great school of monastic life established there by Ninian 49in honour of St. Martin of Tours, to be trained in the rules. Whether Mancenus, or Manchenius, and Mugint were the same person, or the latter the successor of the former, it is difficult to say. Both appear to have borne the name of Nennio; but this appellation may have been applied to the abbots of Candida Casa as the successors of the founder Ninian. The former name of Manchenius is obviously the Irish name Manchan; and he is probably celebrated in the Litany of Angus the Culdee, when he invokes ‘thrice fifty disciples, with Manchan the master.’[96]

Second channel through Bretagne and Wales.

While this monastic life, which Ireland thus received from Saint Ninian’s monastery in Galloway, affected mainly the north of Ireland, the second great channel through which monachism reached Ireland exercised a powerful and all-pervading influence on her central and southern districts. In the year 394 Tours was made the capital or civil metropolis of the province of Lugdunensis Tertia, and became a metropolitan city. Her ecclesiastical jurisdiction extended over the provinces now called Bretagne, Maine, and Anjou, with a part of Touraine; and Saint Martin became the metropolitan bishop. The monachism introduced into Gaul and fostered by him spread at once into Bretagne, where the monasteries of Landouart and Landevenech were founded;[97] and from thence it passed into Wales. In the Catalogue of the Saints we are told that those of the second or monastic order ‘received a mass from bishop David, and Gillas and Docus, the Britons.’ Bishop David is of course the celebrated Saint David who founded the church of Cillemuine, or Menevia, now St. David’s. Gillas is no other than the historian Gildas;[98] and by Docus is meant Saint Cadoc, who 50founded the great monastery of Nantgarvan, or Llancarvan, in South Wales, where Gildas was also associated with him. From these three eminent fathers of the monastic church of Wales the monastic institution also passed into Ireland through Finnian of Clonard. Finnian was of the race in Ireland termed Cruithnigh, or Picts; and we are told in his Acts, that after having been instructed in his youth by Fortchern of Trim and Caiman of Dairinis, an island in the bay of Wexford, he, in his thirtieth year, crossed the Irish Channel to the city of Kilmuine, where he found the three holy men, David and Cathmael[99] and Gildas, and became their disciple. After remaining thirty years in Britain, partly in the monastery of St. David and partly in other monasteries in Wales, he returned to Ireland followed by several of the ‘religious’ Britons, ‘to gather together a people acceptable to the Lord.’

The school of Clonard.

He eventually founded the great monastery of Cluain-Erard, or Clonard, in Meath, which is said to have contained no fewer than three thousand monks, and which became a great training school in the monastic life, whence proceeded the most eminent founders of the Irish monasteries.[100] In an Irish Life of Finnian quoted by Dr. Todd in his Life of Saint Patrick, we are told, that ‘after this a desire seized Finnian to go to Rome when he had completed his education. But an angel of God came to him, and said unto him, “What“What would be given to thee at Rome shall be given to thee here. Arise and renew sound doctrine and 51faith in Ireland after Patrick.”’Patrick.”’[101] And in the Office of Finnian it is said that, ‘when he was meditating a pilgrimage to Rome, he was persuaded by an angel to return to Ireland, to restore the faith, which had fallen into neglect after the death of Saint Patrick.’[102] These expressions all point to an effete and decaying church restored through the medium of Finnian and his monastic school of Clonard, and to a great revival and spread of Christianity through a new and living organisation based upon the monastic institution.

Twelve apostles of Ireland.

This great work was carried out by twelve of his principal disciples, who filled the land with monasteries, and, as leaders of the new monastic church, became known as the twelve apostles of Ireland. In the Martyrology of Donegal Finnian is well described as ‘a doctor of wisdom and a tutor of the saints of Ireland in his time; for he it was that had three thousand saints at one school at Cluain Eraird, as is evident in his life; and it was out of them the twelve apostles of Erin were chosen;’ and it is added, ‘A very ancient vellum-book, in which are contained the Martyrology of Maelruain of Tamhlacht, and the list of the saints of the same name, states that Finnian was in his habits and life like unto Paul the apostle.’[103] Of these twelve apostles the earliest were the two Ciarans—Ciaran who founded the monastery of Saighir in Munster, and Ciaran, called Mac-an-tsaor, or ‘the son of the artificer,’ who founded, in 548, the more celebrated monastery of Clonmacnois in King’s County; Columba, son of Crimthan, a native of Leinster, who founded that of Tirrdaglas in the 52same year; Mobhi Clairenach, who founded the monastery of Glais-Naoidhen in Fingall; and Ninnidh, whose monastery was in an island in Lough Erne called Inismacsaint. Somewhat later were Brendan of Birr; the other Brendan, who became celebrated for his seven years’ voyage in search of the land of promise, and founded the monastery of Clonfert, where, like his master Finnian, he ruled as presbyter-abbot over three thousand monks; and Laisren or Molaisse of Devenish. Still later were Ruadhan of Lothra, Senell of Cluaininnis and Cainnech of Achabo, who lived till the end of the century. Of these, Brendan of Birr and Cainnech of Achabo were, like their master, of Pictish descent.

Saint Columba, one of the twelve.

The number of the twelve apostles was made up by one who was destined to become more celebrated, and to leave a more extended and permanent impression on the church than any of the others. This was a disciple termed Colum or in Latin, Columba. By paternal descent he was a scion of the royal house of the northern Hy Neill. His father, Fedhlimidh, belonged to that tribe of them termed the Cinel Conaill from Conall Gulban, one of the eight sons of Niall, from whom they were descended, and was connected in the female line with the kings of Dalriada. Columba was born on the 7th December 521,[104] and was baptized under that name by the presbyter Cruithnechan, but became soon known as Columcille or ‘Columba of the church,’ in consequence of the frequency of his attendance, when a child, at the church of Tulach-Dubhglaise, now Temple Douglas, near the place of his birth.[105] When he had attained a proper age he became a pupil of Finnian, or 53Finbarr, of Maghbile, where he was ordained a deacon.[106] He then, while yet a deacon, placed himself under the instruction of an aged bard called Gemman, by whom no doubt was fostered his taste for poetry, and that regard for the bardic order instilled, which led to their subsequently obtaining his warm support.[107] Thus far the account of his youth is supported by Adamnan; but we must now trust to the ancient Irish Life alone for the further particulars of his early training. Leaving Gemman, he became a disciple of Finnian of Clonard, under whom he completed his training, and formed one of that band known as the twelve apostles of Ireland. He then joined Mobhi Clairenach, one of the number, at his monastery of Glaisnaoidhen, where he found Ciaran and Cainnech, who had been his fellow-disciples, and a third, Comgall, who belonged, like Ciaran and Cainnech, to the race of the Irish Picts, and was destined to become equally celebrated as a founder of monastic institutions. Columba thus united in himself the training of both monastic schools—that of Finnian of Maghbile, derived from the great monastery of Candida Casa, and that of his namesake of Clonard, derived from David, Gildas, and Cadoc of Wales. On leaving Mobhi, he probably obtained priest’s orders, having attained the age of twenty-five years; but the fact is not recorded in the Irish Life.[108] |A.D. 545. Founds the monastery of Derry.|We are told, however, that immediately after the death of Mobhi, who died in 545, Columba founded the 54church of Derry. The account of it given in the old Irish Life will furnish a good illustration of how these monasteries were founded. ‘Columcille then went to Daire, that is, to the royal fort of Aedh, son of Ainmire, who was king of Erin at that time. The king offered the fort to Columcille; but he refused it, because of Mobhi’s command. On his coming out of the fort, however, he met two of Mobhi’s people bringing him Mobhi’s girdle, with his consent that Columcille should accept a grant of territory, Mobhi having died. Columcille then settled in the fort of Aedh, and founded a church there.’ Ainmire, the father of Aedh, and Columba were cousins-german, the sons of brothers. The grant of the royal fort to him as a commencement to his ecclesiastical career was therefore not unnatural. After this he is said to have founded the church of Raphoe in Donegal, and ten years after the foundation of Daire he founded at Dair-Mag, now Durrow, in the diocese of Meath, another church, which is called in the Irish Life a ‘Recles’ or monastery. It is termed by Bede a noble monastery in Ireland, which, from the profusion of oak-trees, is called in the Scottish language Dearmach, that is, the plain of oaks.[109] Besides these, the first and last of which were his principal monasteries in Ireland, he is said in the Irish Life to have founded many others, as Cennanus, 55or Kells, in the north-west of the county of Meath, which the Irish Life tells us was a fort of Diarmada, son of Cerbaill, and ‘Columcille marked out the city in extent as it now is, and blessed it all, and said that it would become the most illustrious possession he should have in the land’—a prophecy fulfilled after two centuries had elapsed from his death; also Clonmore in the county of Louth; Rechra, now Lambay, an island off the coast of the county of Dublin; Swords, known as Sord-Choluimchille, in the county of Dublin; Drumcliffe, a little to the north of Sligo; Drumcolumb in the county of Sligo; Moone in the county of Kildare; Eas mic n Eirc, or Assylyn, near the town of Boyle; Easruadh, on the river Erne in Tyrconell; Torach, or Tory island, off the coast of Donegal; and others not mentioned in the Life.[110]

A.D. 558.
Foundation of Bangor.

In the year 558 the great monastery of Bennchar, or Bangor, was founded in the county of Down, the ancient territory of the Irish Picts, by Comgall, who was of that race and had been a companion of Columba at Glaisnaoidhen. It was situated on the south side of Belfast Lough; and the following account of it is given in his Life:—‘So great a multitude of monks then came to Comgall that they could not be maintained in one place, and hence they possessed several cells and many monasteries not only in the region of the Ultonians, but throughout the other provinces of Ireland; and in these different cells and monasteries three thousand monks were under the care of the holy father Comgall; but the greater and more memorable of them was the monastery of Bennchar.’[111] St. Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux, in his Life of St. Malachy, written in the twelfth century, tells us that Bennchar was given to him by the lord of the land, that he might build, or rather rebuild, a monastery there; ‘for,’ he 56says, ‘a most noble monastery had existed there under its first father Comgall, which, as the head of many monasteries, produced many thousand monks. This sacred place was so fertile of saints and so abundantly bore fruit to God, that one of the sons of that holy fraternity, called Luanus, is said to have been alone the founder of no fewer than a hundred monasteries, filling Ireland and Scotland with its offspring, and not only in these, but even in foreign countries these swarms of saints poured forth like an inundation, among whom Saint Columbanus, penetrating thence to these our Gallican regions, erected the monastery of Luxeuil.’[112] Angus the Culdee in his Litany invokes ‘forty thousand monks, with the blessing of God, under the rule of Comgall of Bangor,’ but this number has probably been written for four thousand in the text.[113] The Luanus mentioned by St. Bernard was Lugidus, or Molua, of Clonfert-Molua, now Clonfertmulloe, on the boundary between Leinster and Munster, and his monasteries were mainly founded in the southern half of Ireland. It was, as we have seen, by the mission of Columbanus to Gaul that this Monastic Church of Ireland was 57brought into contact with the Continental Church. We have already adverted to some of the external peculiarities which distinguished it from the Roman Church at this period; and we must now consider more in detail the features which characterised it in the aspect in which it presents itself to us in its home in Ireland.

The primitiveprimitive Irish monastery.

When we read of such a number of monasteries constructed within a short period, so many of them, too, the work of one saint, we must not suppose that they at all resembled the elaborate stone structures which constituted the monastery of the Middle Ages. The primitive Celtic monastery was a very simple affair, and more resembled a rude village of wooden huts. We find from the Irish Life of Columba that, when he went to the monastery of Mobhi Clairenach, on the banks of the river Finglass, where no fewer than fifty scholars were assembled, their huts or bothies (botha) were by the water, or river, on the west, and that there was an ecclais, or church, on the east side of the river, which was no doubt, as was usual at the time, made of no better material. Thus it is told of Mochaoi, abbot of Nendrum, that on one occasion he went with seven score young men to cut wattles to make the ecclais, or church.[114] When Ciaran of Saighir, who was one of the twelve apostles of Ireland, proceeded to erect his huts and church, he is said to have constructed them of the rudest materials, and when he went into the wood for these a wild boar assisted him by biting off with his sharp teeth the rods and branches for the purpose.[115] Coemgen of Glendalough, too, built his oratory of rods of wood, planks, and moss;[116] and in Conchubran’s Life of Monenna we are told that ‘she founded a monastery, which was made of smooth planks, according to the fashion of the Scottish nations, who 58were not accustomed to erect stone walls or get them erected.’[117] The church in these early monasteries was thus, as well as the huts or bothies for the accommodation of the monks, frequently built of wood; and the usual name given to this early wooden church was Duirthech, or Deirthech, of which the Latin equivalent was ‘oratorium.’ Of this word various etymologies are given; but the most probable is that contained in an old glossary which tells us that Duirtheach comes from Dairthech, a house of oak, and Deirthech from Dear, a tear, that is, a house in which tears are shed.[118]

It was not till the end of the eighth century, when the ravages of the Danes and their repeated destruction of the churches by fire showed the great insecurity of these wooden buildings, that they began, when reconstructed, to be built of stone, and the cloicteach, or stone belfry, was then added to the ecclesiastical buildings. Of the repeated destruction of the wooden buildings by fire the Irish Annals afford sufficient evidence, and that the cloicteachs were added through fear of the Danes, is probable from the evidence that they were not only used as belfries, but also as places of safety both for the monks and for the valuables in possession of the monasteries.[119] The stone churches were termed Damhliag, and are usually rendered in Latin by ‘templum,’ ‘ecclesia,’ and ‘basilica.’[120] In an ancient tract of Brehon laws, which treats of the different stipends given to artificers for their labours, there is a statement of the payments to be made to the 59Ollamh Saer, or master builder, who was required to be equally skilled in the art of building in stone and in wood, which well brings out the distinction between the modes of constructing these buildings. In this document we are told that he was to be paid ‘for the two principal branches of the art as from the beginning, that is, stone building and wood building, the most distinguished of these branches to remain as formerly—viz., the Daimhliag and the Duirthech. Twelve cows to him for these, that is, six cows for each.’[121]

Attached to the Duirthech was usually a small side building termed Erdam, or in Latin ‘exedra,’ which was used as a sacristy.[122] There was also a somewhat larger house which was the refectory, or common eating-hall, termed the Proinntigh, and in connection with it a Coitchenn, or kitchen, and when there was a stream of water fit for the purpose there was a Muilinn, or mill, and in connection with it a stone kiln for drying the corn. The Ollamh Saer was also to receive ‘six cows for coicthigis, or kitchen-building, and six cows for muilleoracht, or mill-building.’ Somewhat apart from the cells of the monks were the abbot’s house and the house set apart for the reception of guests, called the Tighaoid-headh, or ‘hospitium,’ and these two were of wood, as appears from the numerous notices in the Annals of those buildings being burnt by the Danes;[123] while the Ollamh Saer is to receive ‘two cows for houses of rods.’ The whole of these buildings were protected by a circumvallation, sometimes of earth, or of earth and stone, termed the Rath, or Lios, and in Latin ‘vallum,’ at others of stone, or of earth faced with stone, and termed Caiseal, the remains of which still exist in connection with several of these foundations.[124]

60The size of these monasteries, as well as the number of monks which they contained, varied very much, but this did not affect their relative importance, which depended more upon the position of their founder and the jurisdiction they possessed from their foundation over other monasteries which had emanated from the same founder, or his disciples. The smallest in size appear to have usually contained one hundred and fifty monks. This was the number in the monastery founded in the Aran isles by Enda, who was one of those founders of monasteries who were trained at the ‘Magnum Monasterium’ of Candida Casa, or Whithern. We find the same number in the monastery of Lothra, founded by Ruadhan, one of the twelve apostles of Ireland;[125] and Angus the Culdee in his Litany invokes ‘thrice fifty true monks under the rule of Bishop Ibar,’ ‘thrice fifty true monks under the rule of Munnu, son of Tulchan,’ and ‘thrice fifty true monks with the favour of God in Dairiu Chonaid.’ We have then a monastery three times as large, when he invokes ‘nine times fifty monks under the rule of Mochoe of Nendrum.’ The numbers of seven hundred and eight hundred occur in connection with Mochuda, when he invokes 61the ‘seven hundred true monks who were buried at Rathinn before the coming of Mochuda, upon being expelled thence to Lismore,’ and the ‘eight hundred who settled in Lismore with Mochuda, every third of them a favoured servant of God.’ Then we have a monastery at Lethglin containing fifteen hundred monks, when he invokes ‘the three hundred and twelve hundred true monks settled in Lethglin, who sang the praises of God under Molaisse, the two Ernas, and the holy martyr bishops of Lethglin.’ Finally, the great monastery and seminary of Clonard, from whence emanated the twelve apostles of Ireland, contained, as we have seen, three thousand monks.

The monastic family.

When Brendan, one of the twelve, is said to have been the father of three thousand monks, and four thousand are said to have been under the rule of Comgall of Bennchar, or Bangor, it is probable that these numbers included the inmates of other monasteries, either founded by them or under their jurisdiction. The aggregate of monks in each monastery was termed its Muintir, or ‘familia;’ but this word seems to have been used both in a narrow sense for the community in each monastery and also in a broader signification, for the entire body of monks, wherever situated, who were under its jurisdiction.[126] The monks were termed brethren. The elders, termed seniors, gave themselves up entirely to devotion and the service of the church, while their chief occupation in their cells consisted in transcribing the Scriptures. In the monastery of Lughmagh there were under Bishop Mochta sixty seniors; and of them it is said—

62Three-score psalm-singing seniors
Were his household, royal the number;
Without tillage, reaping, or kiln-drying,
Without work, except reading.[127]

There was then a class of working brethren who were occupied in the labours of the field, and from these were chosen too those required for mechanical work in the monastery. When Columba visited the monastery of Clonmacnois, some of the monks, we are told, were at their little grange farms near the monastery, and others within it.[128] An important occupation, too, was the training of the young, and those under instruction were termed ‘juniores’ or ‘alumni,’ and were said to be ‘learning wisdom.’[129] These formed the congregation of the monastery.

Island monasteries.

The larger monasteries were usually situated on the mainland; but the small islands round the coast, or in the inland lochs, appear to have possessed an irresistible attraction for the founders of these monasteries, probably from the security against danger and the protection from intrusion which they afforded, and on them the smaller communities probably were settled. Of the islands round the coast of Ireland, the three Aran isles, which lie off the coast of Galway, seem to have at once attracted these settlements. Among the class of saints who were trained to the monastic life in the monastery of Whithern, while Finnian founded the great monastery and seminary of Maghbile or Moville in Ulster, Enda at once directed his steps to these islands, and we are told in his Acts that, having received a grant of the island of Aran from King Angus of Munster, he collected a company of disciples, and divided the island into ten parts, in which he constructed ten monasteries, placing in each one superior, as father, and another as second in power who should succeed the first on 63his death. He directed that the seniors should be buried with the rest, but that the bishops who succeeded them should be interred in their own proper cemeteries, and he founded his own monastery at the east end of the island, which is still called the Cell of St. Enda.[130] This island is now known as Ara na Navach, or Aran of the Saints. Tory Island, off the north-west coast; Rachra, off the north-east; Rechra, or Lambay, in the Irish Channel, and other small islands, became likewise the seats of similar foundations. Of the twelve apostles of Ireland, we find that three—Molaisse of Devenish, Senell of Cluaininnis, and Ninnidh of Inismacsaint, founded their chief monasteries on three small islands in Lough Erne; and on two other islands in the same lake there were also monasteries. In Lough Ree, a lake formed by the Shannon, there were five; and in Lough Corrib and Lough Derg, both also formed by the Shannon, there were, in the former, three, and in the latter two monasteries. Wherever the river Shannon in its course formed a small island there was also a monastery; and the number of these island monasteries throughout Ireland generally was very great.

Monasteries were Christian colonies.

The monastic system which thus characterised the Irish Church in its second period and pervaded its organisation in every part, forming its very life, presented features which peculiarly adapted it to the tribal constitution of the social system of the Irish, and led to their being leavened with Christianity to an extent which no other form of the church could have effected. These large monasteries, as in their external aspect they appeared to be, were in reality Christian colonies, into which converts, after being tonsured, were brought under the name of monks. Thus we are told in the Life of Brendan that, as soon as he had been ordained priest by Bishop Erc ‘he also received from him the monastic garb; and many leaving the world came to him, whom he made 64monks, and he then founded, in his own proper region, cells and monasteries,’ till they reached the number of three thousand.[131] There was thus in each tribe a Christian community to which the people were readily drawn, and in which they found themselves possessed of advantages and privileges without their actual social position with reference to the tribe and the land being essentially altered. They formed as it were a great ecclesiastical family within the tribe, to which its members were drawn by the attractions it presented to them. These were, first, greater security of life and property. Before the tribes were to any extent brought under the civilising influences of Christianity, life must have been, in a great measure, a reign of violence, in which every man had to protect his life and property as he best might; and the struggle among these small communities, either to maintain their own rights, or to encroach on those of others, and the constant mutual warfare to which it gave rise, must have exposed the lives of their members to incessant danger. To them the Christian community offered an asylum in which there was comparative rest and relief from danger at the cost of observing the monastic rule. An anecdote in Columba’s early life, told us by Adamnan, will show clearly enough what must have been the state of early society in Ireland in this respect. ‘When the holy man,’ he says, ‘while yet a youth in deacon’s orders, was living in the region of Leinster, learning divine wisdom, it happened one day that an unfeeling and pitiless oppressor of the innocent was pursuing a young girl, who fled before him on a level plain. As she chanced to observe the aged Gemman, master of the foresaid 65young deacon, reading on the plain, she ran straight to him as fast as she could. Being alarmed at such an unexpected occurrence, he called on Columba, who was reading at some distance, that both together, to the best of their ability, might defend the girl from her pursuer; but he immediately came up, and without any regard to their presence, stabbed the girl with his lance under their very cloaks, and leaving her lying dead at their feet, turned to go away back. Then the old man, in great affliction, turning to Columba, said, “How long, holy youth Columba, shall God, the just judge, allow this horrid crime and this insult to us to go unpunished?” Then the saint at once pronounced this sentence on the perpetrator of the deed; “At the very instant the soul of this girl whom he hath murdered ascendeth into heaven, shall the soul of the murderer go down into hell;” and scarcely had he spoken the words when the murderer of the innocent, like Ananias before Peter, fell down dead on the spot before the eyes of the holy youth. The news of this sudden and terrible vengeance was soon spread abroad throughout many districts of Ireland, and with it the wonderful fame of the holy deacon.’[132] Thus there soon sprang up a belief that any violation of the protection to life afforded by these Christian communities would draw down on the perpetrator the vengeance of the Christian’s God. Adamnan’s Life is pervaded by similar instances of the insecurity of life and property through crime and oppression.

Privilege of sanctuary.

But these monasteries, or Christian communities, likewise claimed the privilege of sanctuary within their bounds, which was fenced by similar religious sanctions. The loss of a battle, or any similar misfortune which befell any one who had violated this right of sanctuary, was directly attributed to such violation, till it became a confirmed belief that it could not be infringed with impunity. Thus, when the battle of Culdremhne was fought between Diarmaid, king 66of Ireland, and the northern Hy Neill, in 561, in which the former was defeated, it was said to have been ‘in revenge of the killing of Curnan, son of Aedh, son of Eochaidh Tirmcharna, while under the protection of Colum-cille.’[133] The same King Diarmaid, too, drew upon himself the curse of Ruadhan of Lothra, one of the twelve apostles of Ireland, by violating his sanctuary and carrying off by force to his palace at Tara a person who had taken refuge with Ruadhan. On his refusal to deliver him up, ‘Roadanus and a bishop that was with him took their bells that they had, which they rang hardly, and cursed the king and place, and prayed God that no king or queen ever after should or could dwell in Tarach, and that it should be waste for ever, without court or palace, as it fell out accordingly,’ and as stated in an old Irish poem,—

From the judgment of Ruadhan on his house
There was no king at Teamraigh or Tara.[134]

The belief that the violation of the sanctuary of a Christian community would infallibly be avenged led to the fulfilment of the prophecy.

Law of succession to the Abbacy.

But a still more powerful influence arose from the intimate relation which the Christian community bore to the organisation of the tribe, and the extent to which the one was a reflection of the other. The publication of the Brehon Laws of Ireland, and the details with which they supply us, enable us now to understand better the precise nature of this relation. In estimating this, two facts must be kept in mind:—First, that the Irish Church of this second period cannot be regarded as forming one united church under a common hierarchy, recognising the authority of one central head, as may have been true of the church of the earlier period. While the first order of Catholic saints is said to 67have had ‘one head, Christ, and one chief, Patricius,’ the second order of Catholic presbyters is only said to have had ‘one head, our Lord,’ The church of this period must be viewed as consisting rather of different groups of monasteries, founded by the respective saints, either bishops or presbyters, of the second order, each group recognising the monastery over which the founder of the group personally presided, or which possessed his relics, as having jurisdiction over those which emanated from him and followed his rule.[135] It was thus not one great ecclesiastical corporation, but an aggregate of separate communities in federal union. Secondly, that the abbots of each monastery, whether bishops or presbyters, were not elected by the brethren forming the community, but succeeded one another by a kind of inheritance assimilated to that of the tribe. As we have already seen, the foundation of a monastery usually commenced by a grant of a royal Rath or fort, or of a portion of land made by the head of the tribe to which it belonged to the saint, and in most instances the founder obtained this grant from the head of the tribe to which he himself belonged. These two tribes are in the Brehon Laws termed respectively the Fine Grin, or Tribe of the Land, that is, the tribe to whom the land belonged; and the Fine Erluma, or Tribe of the Saint, that is, the tribe to whom the patron saint, or founder, belonged. By the law of Tanistic succession in Ireland, the right of hereditary succession was not in the individual, but in the family to which he belonged. That is, it was hereditary in the family, elective in the individual. When the founder of the monastery belonged to the same tribe, or family, as the owner of the land which had been granted to 68him, the abbacy remained with this family, who provided from among the members of it a person duly qualified to fulfil the functions of abbot. There was thus connected with each monastery, to use the words of Dr. Reeves, a ‘Plebilis progenies,’ or lay family, ‘in‘in whom the tenancy of the lands was vested, possessing a regular succession, and furnishing from its members certain Coärbs, or successors, to the first abbot, who formed the Ecclesiastica progeniesEcclesiastica progenies and who, being unmarried, exhibit no lineal succession. In fact, the rule was, on each avoidance of the abbacy, to fill up the situation from founders’ kin, and, failing a qualified person in the direct line, to choose a successor from a collateral branch.’[136] The monastery of Derry is an instance of this. Aedh, son of Ainmire, the king of Ireland who granted the land, and Columba, the saint who founded the monastery, both belonged to the same tribe—that of the Cinel Conaill. The rule is thus stated in the Brehon Laws: ‘When it is a Church of the Tribe of the Land and the Church of the Tribe of the Saint and of the Land at the same time. That is, the tribe of the land succeeds to the church—that is, the tribe of the saint and the tribe of the land are one tribe in this case, and the saint is on his own land,—

The saint, the land, the mild monk,
The Dalta Church of fine vigour,
The Compairche, and the Deoruid De,
By them is the abbacy taken (in their order).’order).’[137]

When, however, the saint who founded the monastery belonged to a different tribe from that of the chief from whom the grant was obtained and in whose tribe it was founded, the succession to the abbacy was often retained by the family to whom the saint belonged, from the members 69of which the abbot was in the same manner supplied. The monastery of Drumcliffe is an instance of this. It was founded by Columba in a district which belonged to a stranger tribe, and in the old Irish Life it is said that ‘he gave the authority, and the clergy and the succession to the Cinel Conaill for ever’—that is, to his own tribe. When this was the case, instead of the same tribe forming a lay and ecclesiastical ‘progenies,’ or family, the two families connected with the succession—the tribe of the land and the tribe of the saint—were different, and the following is the rule in the Brehon Laws:—

‘The Church of the Tribe of the Saint. That is, the tribe of the Saint shall succeed in the Church as long as there shall be a person fit to be an abbot (Damna Apaidh, or materies of an abbot), of the tribe of the saint, even though there should be but a psalm-singer of these, it is he that will obtain the abbacy. Where this is not the case, it is to be given to the tribe of the land until a person fit to be an abbot, of the tribe of the saint, shall be found; and when he is, it is to be given to him if he be better than the abbot of the tribe of the land who has taken it. If he be not better, he shall take it only in his turn. If a person fit to be an abbot has not come of the tribe of the saint or of the tribe of the land, the abbacy is to be given to the tribe of the monks (Fine Manach), until a person fit to be an abbot, of the tribe of the saint or of the tribe of the land, shall be found; and where there is such, he is preferable. If a person fit to be abbot has not come of the tribe of the saint, or of the tribe of the land, or of the tribe of the monks, the Annoit shall take it in the fourth place; the Dalta shall take it in the fifth place; the Compairche shall take it in the sixth place; the nearest Cill shall take it in the seventh place. If a person fit to be an abbot has not come in any of these seven places, the Deoruid De shall take it in the eighth place. If a person fit to be an abbot has not 70arisen of the tribe of the saint, or of the land, or of the monks together, and the Annoit, or the Dalta, or the Compairche, or the nearest Cill, or the Deoruid De, has the wealth, it must be given to the tribe of the saint, for one of them fit to be an abbot goes for nothing. The abbacy goes from them.’[138] The untranslated terms in these passages are used to designate the different churches which belonged to the same monastic group. The Annoit is the parent church or monastery which is presided over by the patron saint, or which contains his relics.[139] The Dalta was a church affiliated to it.[140] The Compairche was a church in the same ‘parochia.’[141] The Cill was the ‘Cella,’ as distinguished from the ‘Monasterium.’[142] The Deoruid De, literally ‘God’s stranger or pilgrim,’ was, as we shall afterwards see, the anchorite or solitary who lived secluded from his brethren in a stone cell.[143] The Cell Manach, or ‘Cella Monachorum,’ is thus explained. ‘That is, a cell of monks is held by the tribe of monks; and the abbacy shall always belong to the monks as long as shall be a person of them fit to be an abbot; and whenever this is not the case, it is similar to that before mentioned of the tribe of the land, binding the tribe of the saint by a guarantee to the tribe of the land, upon the Annoit.’[144]

The right of the church from the tribe.

71These notices as to the succession in which the abbacy is held, obscure and fragmentary as are some of them, are sufficient to show the close connection in this respect between the church and the tribe; but that connection was rendered still more intimate by the claims which the church had now established upon the people of the tribe. They are thus defined:—‘The right of the Church from the Tuath or tribe is tithes and first fruits and firstlings; these are due to a church from her members,’ Tithes probably belong to a late period of the church; but the two others seem to be more archaic, and are thus defined:—‘What are lawful firstlings? Every first-born, that is, every first birth of every human couple, and every male child that opens the womb of his mother, being the first lawful wife, with confession according to their soul-friend, by which a church and souls are more improved; and also every male animal that opens the womb of its mother, of small or lactiferous animals in general. First fruits are the fruit of the gathering of every new produce, whether small or great, and every first calf and every first lamb which is brought forth in the year,’ ‘Every tenth birth afterwards, with a lot between every two sevens,[145] with his lawful share of his family inheritance to the claim of the church, and every tenth plant of the plants of the earth and of cattle every year and every seventh day of the year to the service of God, with every choice taken more than another after the desired order.’[146] It is very characteristic of the spirit of these laws that the day of rest—the seventh day—should form one of the demands of the church upon the lay tribe, which its members were bound to render for the service of God with their other dues. The position of the son so given to the church is thus described: 72‘The son who is selected has become the tenth, or as the firstling to the church; he obtains as much of the legacy of his father, after the death of his father, as every lawful son which the mother has, and he is to be on his own land outside, and he shall render the service of a free monk (saermanuig) to the church, and the church shall teach him learning; for he shall obtain more of a divine legacy than of a legacy not divine.’ The term Manach, or Monk, embraced all who were connected with, or subject to, the ecclais or monastery, and formed her muintir, or ‘familia,’ down to the lowest grade of those who occupied the church lands; and when they had any of the church orders conferred upon them, there was attached to it a very valuable privilege which must have powerfully attracted them to the service of the church. It is thus stated:—‘The enslaved shall be freed, the plebeians exalted, through the orders of the church and by performing penitential service to God. For the Lord is accessible; he will not refuse any kind of man after belief, among either the free or the plebeian tribes; so likewise is the church open for every person who goes under her rule.’[147]

Right of the tribe from the church.

On the other hand, ‘the right of the Tuath or tribe against the church’ is thus stated:—‘They demand their right from the church, that is, baptism and communion and requiem of soul, and the offering (oifrend) from every church to every person after his proper belief, with the recital of the Word of God to all who listen to it and keep it.’[148] However difficult it may be for us now to comprehend the full import of these arrangements, they still indicate clearly enough how much the monastic church was a tribal institution, and how completely her rights were interwoven with those of the members of the tribe. This is implied, in a tract on the legal constitution and rights of privileged classes, when it is said, ‘It is no Tuath or tribe without three free 73neimhedh, or dignitaries—the Eclais, or church; the Flaith, or lord; and the File, or poet.’[149]

Influence of the church.

The influence of the church, however, in her spiritual and moral aspect was as great as that which arose from her adaptation to the customs and laws of the tribe; and if we would understand how she so rapidly attained so powerful a position in the social organisation of the aggregate of tribes forming the population of Ireland, we must advert to her character and mode of operation as a missionary church. We can readily understand that these large monastic churches founded upon the mainland might at once exercise a great influence among the surrounding population; but when we consider the almost universal preference shown, in founding these churches, towards placing them in small islands, either near the coast or in the large inland lakes, and how numerous these island monasteries were, it seems difficult now to understand how there should have proceeded so great an influence from a small body of monastic clergy living on these isolated and unfrequented spots, as so rapidly to overthrow the heathenism of a great people, and to bring them so generally and speedily into subjection to the Christian Church. The monastic character of the church gave, however, a peculiar stamp to her missionary work which caused her to set about it in a mode well calculated to impress a people still to a great extent under the influence of heathenism. It is difficult for us now to realise to ourselves what such pagan life really was—its hopeless corruption, its utter disregard of the sanctity of domestic ties, its injustice and selfishness, its violent and bloody character; and these characteristics would not be diminished in a people who had been partially Christianised and had fallen back from it into heathenism. The monastic missionaries did not commence their work, as the earlier secular church would have done, by arguing against their idolatry, superstition, and 74immorality, and preaching a purer faith; but they opposed to it the antagonistic characteristics and purer life of Christianity. They asked and obtained a settlement in some small and valueless island. There they settled down as a little Christian colony, living under a monastic rule requiring the abandonment of all that was attractive in life. They exhibited a life of purity, holiness, and self-denial. They exercised charity and benevolence, and they forced the respect of the surrounding pagans to a life the motives of which they could not comprehend, unless they resulted from principles higher than those their pagan religion afforded them; and, having won their respect for their lives and their gratitude for their benevolence, these monastic missionaries went among them with the Word of God in their hands, and preached to them the doctrines and pure morality of the Word of Life. No wonder if kings and nations became converted to Christianity and incorporated the church into their tribal institutions in a manner which now excites our wonder, if not our suspicion. The lives of the saints show us these missionaries, owing to their devoted and self-denying lives, first received with respect by some chief, then obtaining a grant of land to found their monastery, and the people soon after converted by the preaching of the Word of God. Their influence, however, was soon enhanced by a less legitimate feature. We know how readily a rude and primitive people invest with superstitious and supernatural power those claiming superior sanctity, and the newly converted people soon surrounded these saints, as they termed them, with the same old halo of reverence and awe which had belonged to their pagan priests, such as they were. The power with which the latter were supposed to be endowed, of influencing the action of their native gods, was transferred to the Christian missionary, who was believed to exercise a similar power with regard to the Christian Deity. Their intercession was sought for, their malediction dreaded, and 75the claims and rites of the Christian Church invested with superstitious sanctions which brought the people more readily and universally into subjection to her. We can trace this feeling in the Brehon Laws. We are there told that ‘there are three periods at which the world is worthless: the time of a plague, the time of a general war, the dissolution of express contracts. There are three things which remedy them: tithes and first fruits and alms; they prevent the occurrence of plague; they confirm peace between the king and the people; they prevent the prevalence of war; they confirm all in their good contracts and in their bad contracts; they prevent the worthlessness of the world.’[150] And again, in explaining the rights of the Graid Feine, or country people, as to marriage, the commentary adds, ‘That is, the daughter of each of them to the other, such a person as is not under the word, or curse, of a patron saint.’[151]

Monasteries were seminaries of instruction.

But these monastic establishments probably acquired a still greater influence from the extent to which they had obtained possession of the instruction of the young. They soon became, in fact, great educational seminaries to which the youth of the tribe were sent, not only to be trained to monastic life, but also for the purpose of receiving secular education. Each monastic church had, besides her community of monks, a body of young people who received instruction; thus in one of the laws it is said, ‘purity benefits the church in receiving every son for instruction, every monk to his proper penance, with the proper payments of all to their proper church.’[152] Even in the smaller monasteries, the number of scholars was usually fifty.[153] In the larger, of course, a much greater number were taught. Hence a single generation was 76sufficient to convert the mass of the people to be devoted adherents of the Church.

Early Churches founded in the Western Isles.

The great evidence, however, of life and energy in a church is her missionary spirit towards foreign countries, and the irrepressible desire of her members to carry her teaching and her institutions into the neighbouring countries; and this evidence of her vitality the Irish Church at this period manifested in a very remarkable degree. It was natural that the opposite coast of North Britain and the islands which lay between it and Ireland should attract these missionaries at once to their shores. The first impulse seems to have been given by Brendan of Clonfert, who, it is said, soon after he had been ordained priest by Bishop Erc and assumed the monastic habit, sailed with fourteen of his monks in search of the land of promise of the saints, and spent seven years in the search before he returned home. The narrative of his seven years’ voyage became one of the most popular tales of the Middle Ages, and numerous editions exist of it. In its present shape it is, no doubt, a mere romance or monkish dream, in which the narrator, under the fiction of an imaginary voyage to different unknown islands, endeavours to realise his ideal of monastic and eremitical life, and it possesses some truly picturesque features. But there must have been some historic foundation for it; and such a romance could hardly have been interwoven into the acts of a real Brendan, if there had not been in the events of his life a missionary adventure in which he sought to extend the Christian Church to some distant island. There are not wanting some indications that this was so; but be this as it may, there seems no reason to refuse credit to the statement that, after his return from this voyage, he went to Britain to visit St. Gildas,[154] who, as we have seen, was one of those from whom the monastic life passed to Ireland 77through the medium of Finnian of Clonard and his twelve disciples, of whom Brendan was one. After leaving Gildas, Brendan appears to have gone to the Western Islands, and to have founded in one of the islands a monastery called Ailech, and a church and its surrounding village in the land of Heth, and then returned to Ireland.[155] This land of Heth we now know to have been the island of Tyree,[156] but the precise situation of the other it is more difficult to fix. It must, however, certainly be looked for in one of the islands belonging to Britain.[157] The name of Brendan is connected with more than one of the Western Isles. Fordun tells us that the island of Bute bore the name of Rothesay ‘until, when the faith of our Saviour had been diffused through all the ends of the earth, and the islands which are afar off, Saint Brandan constructed thereon a booth—in our idiom, bothe, that is, a shrine.’[158] But though the old chronicler’s etymology of the name of Bute is bad, the name of Brendan is preserved in the designation given to the people of Bute of ‘the Brandanes,’ and in the Kilbrandan Sound, which separates the island of Arran from Kintyre. The principal 78church in the island of Seil, which lies off the coast of Lorn, is also dedicated to Brendan, and one of the small islands forming the group called the Garveloch Isles, bears the name of Culbrandan, or the retreat of Brendan. This island is next to that called Eilean na Naoimh, or the Island of the Saints, and as the latter appears to have borne the name of Elachnave,[159] it is not impossible that here may have been the monastery of Aileach. This visit to the Western Isles took place some time before the foundation of his principal monastery in Ireland, that of Clonfert, the date of which is known to have been 559; and we shall probably not be far wrong if we fix the the year 545 as the probable date.

Mission of Saint Columba to Britain.

The mainland of Argyll, off the coast of which these islands lay, was at this time in the occupation of the Scots of Dalriada, who had now possessed these districts for upwards of forty years. Their king was Gabhran, grandson of that Feargus Mor mac Erc who had led the colony from Ireland to Scotland in the beginning of the same century. Ireland had become nominally Christian before they left its shores, and they were, in name at least, a Christian people, and, during the first sixty years of the colony, had extended themselves so far over the western districts and islands, as to bear the name of kings of Alban. Whether Tyree was at this time included in their possessions may be doubted, but Seil certainly would be. They sustained, however, a great reverse in the year 560. Brude, the son of Mailchu, whom Bede terms a most powerful monarch, became king of the northern Picts, and had his royal seat at Inverness. By him the Dalriads were attacked, driven back, and their king Gabhran slain. For the time their limits were restricted to 79the peninsula of Kintyre and Knapdale and probably Cowal; but the islands were lost to them.[160] This great reverse called forth the mission of Columba, commonly called Columcille, and led to the foundation of the monastic church in Scotland.

In investigating the lives of these great fathers of the Church, and endeavouring to estimate the true character of their mission, we have to encounter a very considerable difficulty. They filled so large a space in the mind of the people, and became in consequence the subject of so much popular tradition, that the few authentic facts of their history preserved to us became overlaid with spurious matter stamped with the feelings and the prejudices of later periods; and these popular conceptions of the character and history of the saint and his work were interwoven by each of his successive biographers into their narrative of his life, till we are left with a statement of their career partly true and partly fictitious, and a false conception is thus formed of their character and mission. So it was with Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland; and Columba, the Apostle of Scotland, shared the same fate. In both cases it is necessary to separate the older and more authentic tradition from the later stratum of fable. For this purpose we possess, in the case of Patrick, his own account of himself as contained in his Confession and his epistle to Coroticus, and can test the statements of his later biographers by their consistency with these documents. In the case of Columba we have no such record to appeal to, and can only bring the narratives of the later biographers to the test of a comparison with the statements of those who wrote more near to his own time. Fortunately for us, his two earliest biographers, Cummene and Adamnan, were both his successors in the abbacy of the 80monastery founded by himself, and collected its traditions regarding its founder within so short a period after his death that we may appeal to their statements of fact, irrespective of the colouring given to them by the circumstances of the time in which these biographers lived, with some confidence as affording us the means of testing the later narratives. Cummene became abbot just sixty years, and Adamnan eighty-two, after Columba’s death. We are warranted therefore in concluding that supposed facts in his life, which either are ignored by them or are inconsistent with their narrative, are the fruit of later and spurious tradition.

In the old Irish Life, which Dr. Reeves considers to be a composition probably as old as the tenth century, and which was originally compiled to be read as a discourse upon his festival, a few statements are found which bear this character; but the grand repertory of all these later and questionable additions to his biography is the elaborate Life by Manus O’Donnell, chief of Tyrconnell, compiled in the year 1532, which professesprofesses to be a chronological digest of all the existing records concerning the patron of his family.[161] The tale which it tells of the cause of Columba’s mission to Scotland, and which is popularly accepted as true, is shortly this:—In the year 561 a great battle was fought at a place called Cuil-dremhne in Connaught, not far from the boundary between that province and Ulster. The contending parties were Diarmaid son of Cerbaill, head of the southern Hy Neill and king of Ireland, on the one side, and, on the other, the northern Hy Neill under the sons of Murcertach mac Erca, chiefs of the Cinel Eoghain, Ainmere, son of Sedna chief of the Cinel Conaill, and the people of Connaught under their king Aedh. The king of Ireland was defeated with great slaughter, and the cause of the battle was twofold: First, that King Diarmaid had taken Curnan, the son of the 81king of Connaught, by force from under the protection of Columba; and secondly, that he had given judgment against Columba in a dispute between him and Finnian of Moyville regarding the possession of a transcript of a copy of the Book of Psalms belonging to the latter, which Columba had made without his permission, and which the king had adjudged to belong to Finnian on the ground of the adage, To every cow belongs its calf. Columba, who himself belonged to the race of the northern Hy Neill, was said to have incited his tribe to avenge him upon the king of Ireland, and to have by his prayers contributed to their success. A synod of the saints of Ireland was held, before whom Columba was arraigned as responsible for the great slaughter caused by this battle; and they decided that he must win from paganism as many souls as had been slain in this battle. The mode in which it was to be fulfilled was referred to Laisren, or Molaisse, of Inishmurry, who imposed as a penance upon Columba perpetual exile from Ireland, whose shores his eyes were not again to see and whose soil his feet were not again to tread. Columba accordingly left Ireland for the Western Isles. He first landed on the island of Colonsay and ascended the highest ground, when, finding he could see the coast of Ireland from it, he dared not remain there; and a cairn called Cairn Cul ri Erin marks the spot. Proceeding farther east, he landed on the south end of the island of Iona; and, ascending the nearest elevation, where a cairn, also called Cairn Cul ri Erin marks the spot, he found that Ireland was no longer in sight; upon which he remained there, and founded his church on the island. Such is the popular account of Columba’s mission.

That he may have in some degree, either directly or indirectly, been the cause of the battle of Culdremhne is not inconsistent with the narrative of Adamnan. He not only twice mentions the battle of Culdremhne, and on both occasions in connection with the date of Columba’s departure for Scotland,[162] 82but he gives some countenance to the tale when he tells us that Columba had been on one occasion excommunicated by a synod held at Taillte in Meath; but that when he came to this meeting, convened against him, St. Brendan of Birr, when he saw him approaching in the distance, quickly rose, and with head bowed down reverently kissed him; and when reproached by some of the seniors in the assembly for saluting an excommunicated person, he narrated that he had seen certain manifestations connected with his appearance, which convinced him that he was ‘foreordained by God to be the leader of his people to life. When he said this, they desisted, and so far from daring to hold the saint any longer excommunicated, they even treated him with the greatest respect and reverence.’[163] Adamnan does not connect this synod with the battle of Culdremhne, and only states that he had been excommunicated ‘for some pardonable and very trifling reasons, and indeed unjustly, as it afterwards appeared at the end’; but it is quite possible that these reasons may have been an imputation of responsibility for the blood shed at this battle. One of the causes given for the battle—that of the judgment given against Columba with regard to the transcript of the Book of Psalms—is, however, inconsistent with the terms of affection and respect which appear from Adamnan to have subsisted between Bishop Finnian and Columba, and bears the stamp of spurious tradition;[164] but the other cause, the violation of the protection of Columba, touched one of the most cherished privileges of the Irish monastic church at the time—the right of sanctuary; and it was not unnatural that Columba should have deeply felt the necessity of vindicating it, and his tribe, the Cinel Conaill, as well as the whole race of the northern Hy Neill, should have considered their honour involved in resenting its violation.

83The remainder of the tale is clearly at utter variance with the narrative of Adamnan. So far from the excommunication by the Synod of Taillte being followed by a sentence of exile from Ireland, he expressly tells us that it was not persisted in. He repeatedly alludes to Columba’s great affection for Ireland, and the yearning of his heart towards his early home; but not a word as to any prohibition against returning thither, or that his exile was otherwise than voluntary. He presents him to us as exercising a constant and vigilant superintendence over his Irish monasteries, and as repeatedly visiting Ireland, without a hint as to there being any reason for his refraining from doing so.[165] We must therefore entirely reject this part of the story. Adamnan had no idea that Columba was actuated by any other motive than that of a desire to carry the gospel to a pagan nation, when he attributes his pilgrimage to a love of Christ.[166] The old Irish Life knows no other reason than that ‘his native country was left by the illustrious saint and illustrious sage and son, chosen of God, for the love and favour of Christ.’ The author of the prophecy of Saint Berchan admits that he was responsible for the battle of Culdremhne:—

With the youth himself was the cause of
The great slaughter of the battle of Culdremhne;

but assigns as one reason of his going, the subjection of the Dalriads to the Picts:—

Woe to the Cruithnigh to whom he will go eastward;
He knew the thing that is,
Nor was it happy with him that an Erinach
Should be king in the east under the Cruithnigh.[167]

His real motives for undertaking this mission seem therefore to have been partly religious and partly political. He 84was one of the twelve apostles of Ireland who had emerged from the school of Finnian of Clonard; and he no doubt shared the missionary spirit which so deeply characterised the Monastic Church of Ireland at this period. He was also closely connected, through his grandmother, with the line of the Dalriadic kings, and, as an Irishman, must have been interested in the maintenance of the Irish colony in the west of Scotland. Separated from him by the Irish Channel was the great pagan nation of the northern Picts, who, under a powerful king, had just inflicted a crushing defeat upon the Scots of Dalriada, and threatened their expulsion from the country; and, while his missionary zeal impelled him to attempt the conversion of the Picts, he must have felt that, if he succeeded in winning a pagan people to the religion of Christ, he would at the same time rescue the Irish colony of Dalriada from a great danger, and render them an important service, by establishing peaceable relations between them and their greatly more numerous and powerful neighbours, and replacing them in the more secure possession of the western districts they had colonised.


80. They appear to have excluded not only women but laymen generally from the monasteries. Jonas tells us, in his Life of Columbanus, who belongs to this order of saints, that Theodoric, king of Burgundy, came to Luxeuil and demanded of Columbanus why he did not allow all Christians to have access to the more secret enclosures of the monastery; to which he replied that it was not the custom to open the habitations of God’s servants to secular men and strangers to religion, and that he had fit and proper places for the purpose of receiving guests.—Vit. S. Col. cxviii.

81. Omnes presbyteri, diaconi, cantores, lectores, ceterique gradus ecclesiastici monachicam per omnia cum ipso episcopo regulam servent.Vit. S. Cuthberti, c. xvi.

82. By the episcopal functions, as distinguished from diocesan jurisdiction, are meant those ecclesiastical functions appropriated to bishops in virtue of their orders, irrespective of any territorial supervision, such as ordination, confirmation, and celebration of the mass pontificali ritu.

83. The Bollandists take the same view, and quote the case of the monastery of Fulda as an example. They say, ‘Presbyteriani obliti distinctionis inter potestatem ordinis et jurisdictionis, dum abbatem presbyterum vident primatem totius provinciæ cui et ipsi episcopi subduntur, continuo eliminatam potestatem ordinis episcopalis effinxere. Quasi vero, ut ratiocinationem exemplo illustremus, Fuldenses monachi ad medium usque sæculum præterlapsum, presbyterianismum sectati fuissent, habentes abbatem presbyterum, jurisdictionem quasi episcopalem in vastum territorium exercentem, qui unum ex subditis monachis habebat, episcopali charactere insignitum, ad ea, quæ sunt pontificalis ordinis peragenda; qui rerum status continuavit usque ad annum 1752, quo Benedictus XIV. Fuldense territorium in episcopatum erexit bulla sua, data iii. Nonas Octobris 1752. Erat igitur et Fuldæ ordo, ut Bedæ verbis utamur, inusitatus; de quo tamen dicere licet, exceptionem firmare regulam, nec quidquam decrescere dignitati et necessitati ordinis episcopalis, si, propter speciales rerum et temporum circumstantias, extraordinaria via, alicui presbytero amplior quædam jurisdictionis potestas obtingat.’Boll. A.SS., October, vol. viii. p. 165.

84. Eusebius bishop of Vercelli, and Augustine bishop of Hippo, united with their clergy in adopting a strictly monastic life.

85. Habere autem solet ipsa insula rectorem semper abbatem presbyterum, cujus juri et omnis provincia et ipsi etiam episcopi, ordine inusitato, debeant esse subjecti.Η. E., B. iii. c. iv.

86. Cujus monasterium in cunctis pene Septentrionalium Scottorum et omnium Pictorum monasteriis non parvo tempore arcem tenebat, regendisque eorum populis præerat.Η. E., B. iii. c. iii.

87. The following extracts from the Irish Annals will illustrate this:—

624 S. Maodocc Epscop Ferna dec.

652 S. Dachua Luachra Abb. Ferna dec.

713 Cillene Epscop Abb. Ferna dec.

766 Aedgen Epscop agus Abb. Fobhair dec.

769 Forandan, Scribneoir agus Epscop Treoit dec.

791 Clothchu Epscop agus Angcoire Cluana Ioraird, Suibhne Epscop Atha Truim decc.

88. The Monks of the West, by Montalembert, vol. i. pp. 452-460. Dupuy, Histoire de Saint Martin, p. 50. His biographer, Sulpicius Severus, says that he filled the high function of bishop without abandoning the spirit and virtue of the monk.—C. 10.

89. Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 55.

90. Deinde beatus puer libertati restitutus S. Monenni disciplinis et monitis in Rosnatensi monasterio quod alio nomine Alba vocatur.In Vit. S. Tighernac, Colgan, A.SS. p. 438.

Quos duos viros sanctus ac sapiens Nennio, qui Mancennus dicitur, de Rosnacensi monasterio ... Post aliquot vero annos Eugenius atque Tyghernachus cum præfati Manchenii ac fratrum jussione et oratione ad Hiberniam navigauerunt.In Vit. S. Eugenii, ib.

91. Vade ad Britanniam at Rosnatum monasterium et esto humilis discipulus Manceni magistri illius monasterii.In Vit. S. Endei, ib.

92. Inter alias Dei famulas quædam Dei virgo, nomine Brignat cum sancta virgine cohabitasse traditur: hujus enim futuræ sanctitatis indicia considerans, eam in Britanniam insulam de Rostnatensi monasterio, conversationis monasticæ regulas accepturam misisse perhibetur.Boll. A.SS. Julii, tom. ii. p. 294.

93. Cum eodem repatriante navigavit et in ejus sede quæ Magnum vocatur Monasterium regulas et institutiones monasticæ vitæ aliquot annis probus monachus didicit.—Colgan, A.SS. p. 438.

94. Modo factum est quod magister suus Mugentius nomine, que in civitate quæ dicitur Candida liberales disciplinas eum docuerat.—Colg. A.SS., p. 634.

95. Liber Hymnorum, Part i. p. 97, with notes by the Rev. J. H. Todd.

96. Tri cocait descipul la Manchan magister, hos omnes invoco.

97. Dupuy, Histoire de Saint Martin, pp. 215, 217. Haddan and Stubbs’ Councils, vol. ii. pp. 86, 87, 91.

98. Gildas the historian is said in his Life to have gone to Ireland in the reign of King Anmericus or Ainmire, ‘qui et ipse misit ad beatum Gildam, rogans ut ad se veniret; promittens se ipsius doctrinis in omnibus obediturum, si veniens ecclesiasticum ordinem in suo regno restauraret; quia pœne Catholicam fidem in ipsa insula omnes reliquerant.’—Colg. A.SS. p. 183.

Columbanus, who was alive and in Ireland at the time, refers to him in his epistle to Pope Gregory, in these terms,—‘Cæterum de episcopis illis quid judicas, interrogo, qui contra canones ordinantur, id est, quæstu: simoniacos et Giltas auctor pestes scripsistis.’Ep. ad S. Greg. Pap. Migne, Patrologia, vol. 37, col. 262.

99. Cathmael was the baptismal name of Cadoc of Nantgarvan. See Vita S. Cadoci in Lives of Cambro-British Saints, pp. 25-27.

100. Vita S. Finniani, apud Colgan, A.SS., p. 393.

101. Dr. Todd’s Life of Saint Patrick, p. 101.

102. Tandem Romam meditans, in Hiberniam reditum angelus Domini suasit, ad fidem post B. Patrici obitum neglectam restaurandam, etc.—Colgan, A.SS., p. 401. See also Dr. Todd’s remarks upon this subject in his Life of Saint Patrick, p. 101.

103. Martyrology of Donegal, p. 335. A list of these twelve apostles is given in the Life of St. Finnian.

104. The year is fixed by calculation from Adamnan’s data; see Reeves’s Adamnan, ed. 1874, p. 225. The summary of Saint Columba’s life in the introduction to this edition, and the notes, may be consulted for all the events of Saint Columba’s life. The subject is most exhaustively treated in Dr. Reeves’s great work.

105. See Dr. Reeves’s Note, p. 225. Adamnan alludes to his having been under the care of Cruithnechan, a priest, in B. iii. c. 3.

106. Adamnan alludes to this, B. ii. c. 1.

107. Adamnan alludes to his being under Gemman, B. ii. c. 26; see also Reeves’s Adamnan, p. 274.

108. The story of how S. Columba obtained his priest’s orders appears only in the Scholia or Annotations on the Feliré of Angus the Culdee. It is thus translated by Dr. Todd:—‘Bishop Etchen is venerated in Cluainfota-Boetain in Fera-Bile in the south of Meath, and it was to him Columcille went to have the order of a bishop conferred upon him. Columcille sat under the tree which is on the west side of the church, and asked where the cleric was; “There he is,” said a certain man, “in the field where they are ploughing below.” “I think,” said Columcille, “that it is not meet for us that a ploughman should confer orders on us; but let us test him.”... Then Columcille went up to the cleric, after having thus tested him, and told him what he came for. “It shall be done,” said the cleric. The order of a priest was then conferred upon Columcille, although it was the order of a bishop he wished to have conferred upon him,’ etc. Dr. Todd’s Life of Saint Patrick, p. 71. This tale does not appear in the old Irish Life, and is probably a mere attempt to explain why so great a saint was merely a presbyter; but his master, Finnian of Clonard, was a presbyter-abbot, and his disciples would naturally follow his example in what indeed was the main characteristic of this second order of the saints.

109. Monasterium nobile in Hibernia, quod a copia roborum Dearmach lingua Scottorum, hoc est, campus roborum cognominatur.—B. iii. c. 10. It is termed by Adamnan ‘Roboreti Campus. Roboris Campus. Roboreus Campus.’

110. See Dr. Reeves’s Adamnan, ed. 1874, p. xlix., for a complete list of his Irish foundations.

111. Constituitque magnum monasterium, quod vocatur Bennchor, in regione, quæ dicitur Altitudo Ultorum (Ards) juxta mare orientale; et maxima multitudo monachorum illuc venit ad S. Comgallum ut non potuissent esse in uno loco, et inde plurimas cellas et multa monasteria non solum in regione Ultorum sed per alias Hiberniæ provincias; et in diversis cellis et monasteriis tria millia monachorum sub cura sancti patris Comgelli erant; sed maior et nominatior cæteris locis prædictum monasterium Benchor est.—Boll. A.SS. in Vit. S. Comgalli, cap. 13.

112. Ipsum quoque locum Benchor tradidit ei princeps, ut ædificaret ibi monasterium, vel potius reædificaret. Nempe nobilissimum extiterat ante sub primo patre Congello, multa millia monachorum generans, multorum monasteriorum caput. Locus vere sanctus fœcundusque sanctorum, copiosissime fructificans Deo, ita ut unus ex filiis sanctæ illius congregationis, nomine Luanus, centum solus monasteriorum fundator extitisse feratur. Hiberniam Scotiamque repleverunt genimina ejus. Nec modo in præfatas, sed in exteras etiam regiones, quasi inundatione facta, illa se sanctorum examina effuderunt; e quibus ad has nostras Gallicanas partes sanctus Columbanus ascendens Lexoviense construxit monasterium, factus ibi in gentem magnam. Hæc de antiqua dicta sint Benchorensis monasterii gloria.Vit. S. Malachiæ, cap. 5.

113. xl. mili manach co rath De fo mam Chomgaill Benchuir, hos omnes invoco.

114. Martyr. Donegal, p. 177.

115. Aper statim in conspectu viri Dei virgas et fenum ad materiem cellæ construendæ dentibus suis fortiter abscidit.—Colgan, A.SS., p. 458.

116. Boll. A.SS., Jun. 1, 316.

117. Ecclesia in monasterio sanctæ Monennæ cum supradicta abbatissa construitur tabulis dedolatis, juxta morem Scotticarum gentium, eo quod macerias Scotti non solent facere, nec factas habere.Vit. S. Mon.

118. Durthech .i. dairtech .i. tech darach no deirthech .i. tech .i. telgter dera.Durthech, i.e. dairtech, i.e. a house of oak, or deirtech, i.e. a house in which tears are shed.’—Petrie’s Round Towers, p. 342.

119. Dr. Petrie has made the history and use of these buildings perfectly plain in his great work on the Round Towers of Ireland.

120. It is thus explained in the old glossaries:—Daimliag .i. tegais cloch.Daimliag, i.e. an edifice of stone.’—Petrie’s Round Towers, pp. 141, 142.

121. Petrie’s Round Towers, pp. 343, 344.

122. In Cormac’s Glossary it is thus explained:—Aurdom, i.e. urdom, i.e. side house, or against a house externally.

123. See Petrie’s Round Towers, pp. 425, 426.

124. Ib., p. 442. See description of Inis macsaint, an island in Lough Erne, where Saint Ninnidh, one of the twelve apostles of Ireland, founded a monastery. ‘To the west and north of the church extend mounds of earth, which indicate the forms and positions of the ancient community dwellings. There was a rampart of mixed earth and stones, and this probably formed a rath, or cashel.’—O’Hanlon’s Lives of the Saints, vol. i. p. 322. The following is a good description of a small monastery:—Erat enim habitatio eorum sparsa. Tamen unanimiter illorum conversatio in spe, fide et charitate fundata erat. Una refectio, ad opus Dei perficiendum una ecclesia est. Nihil aliud cibi ministrabatur illis, nisi poma et nuces atque radices et cetera genera herbarum. Fratres, post completorium, in singulis cellulis usque ad gallorum cantus seu campanæ pulsum pernoctabant.—Acta S. Brendani, p. 86.

125. This is stated in their acts. The Martyrology of Donegal has under Enda, abbot of Ara, ‘Thrice fifty was his congregation;’ and under Ruadhan, son of Ferghus, abbot of Lothra, ‘There were one hundred and fifty in his congregation, and they used to obtain sufficiency always without human labour to sustain them, by continually praying to, and praising, the Lord of the elements.’—Mart. Don., pp. 83, 103.

126. It is used by Tighernac in this sense. He has at 718, ‘Tonsura corona super familiam Iae datur’ (Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 74); while Bede in his account of the same event says, ‘Nec multo post illi quoque qui insulam Hii incolebant monachi Scotticæ nationis, cum his quæ sibi erant subdita monasteriis, ad ritum paschæ ac tonsuræ canonicum Domino procurante perducti sunt.’sunt.’—B. v. c. 22.

127. Mart. Donegal, p. 216. See also Adam. Vit. S. Col., B. iii. c. 4.

128. Auditoque ejus accessu, universi undique ab agellulis monasterio vicinis cum his qui ibidem inventi sunt congregati, etc.—Adam. Vit. S. Col., B. i. c. 3.

129. Ib. B. iii. c. 22.

130. Colgan, A.SS., p. 707.

131. Accepitque Sanctus Brendanus cum esset sacerdos habitum monasticum sanctum. Et multi relinquentes sæculum hinc inde venerunt ad eum et fecit eos Sanctus Brendanus monachos. Deinde cellas et monasteria fundavit in sua propria regione et multa monasteria et cellas per diversas regiones Hyberniæ fundavit in quibus tria millia monachorum ut perhibetur a senioribus sub eo erant.Acta S. Brendani, p. 10.

132. Adam. Vit. Col., B. ii. c. 26.

133. Annals of the Four Masters, p. 193.

134. Petrie’s Antiquities of Tara Hill, pp. 125, 127.

135. Thus Bede, after narrating the foundation of Iona and Dearmagh by Columba, adds—‘Ex quo utroque monasterio plurima exinde monasteria per discipulos ejus et in Britannia et in Hibernia propagata sunt: in quibus omnibus idem monasterium insulanum, in quo ipse requiescit corpore, principatum teneret.’—B. iii. c. 4.

136. See the very able paper by Dr. Reeves on this subject in the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, vol. vi. p. 447.

137. Ancient Laws of Ireland, vol. iii. p. 75.

138. Ancient Laws of Ireland, vol. iii. p. 75. The translation of these passages has been made a little more literal, but the meaning of the last sentence is not very apparent.

139. Annoit—andoit .i. eclais do et in aile as cenn agas is tuiside; that is, a church which precedes another is a head and is earlier—a parent church.—O’Don. sup.

140. From Dalta, a pupil, a disciple.

141. Pairche, a parochia.—Cormac’s Glossary. Compairche is conparochia.

142. ConchadConchad went to Armagh, and Fland Feblae gave his Cell (Cheill) to him, and he himself took the abbacy (Abbaith).—Book of Armagh.

Deinde cellas et monasteria fundavit in sua propria regione.Act. S. Brendani, c. ii.

143. This expression is translated in the Ancient Laws ‘a pilgrim,’ but the pilgrim in the true sense of the term is expressed in Irish by the word ‘ailithir.Deoraid, advena.—O’Don. sup.

144. Ancient Laws of Ireland, vol. iii. p. 79.

145. The explanation given in the commentary of this obscure expression is, if ten sons are born after the first, then ‘to set aside the three worst sons, and to cast lots between the seven best sons to see which of them should be due to the church.’

146. Ancient Laws, vol. iii. pp. 39, 40, 41.

147. Ancient Laws, vol. iii. p. 31.

148. Ib. p. 33.

149. MS., Brit. Mus., Nero, A. vii.

150. Ancient Laws, vol. iii. p. 13.

151. Ib. p. 17.

152. Ib. p. 35.

153. This is the number we have seen in the small establishment of Mobhi Clarenach. Saint Brendan went to Bishop Ere when five years old, ‘ad legendum ... et quinquaginta ex illis manserunt sub lege Sancti Episcopi Erci usque ad mortem suam.’Act. S. Brendani, c. vi.

154. Postea navigavit Sanctus Brendanus in peregrinatione ad Britanniam, adivitque sanctissimum senem Gilldam, virum sapientissimum in Britannia habitantem, cujus fama sanctitatis magna erat.Act. Brendani, c. xv. It is usually stated that he went to Armorica, or Bretagne, but by Britannia, when used without qualification, Britain can only be meant.

155. Et benedicentibus se invicem Sanctus Brendanus et Sanctus Gilldas cum suis fratribus civitatisque illius habitatoribus, recessit inde. Et in alia regione in Britannia monasterium nomine Ailech sanctissimus Brendanus fundavit. Atque in loco alio in Britannia in regione Heth, ecclesiam et villam circa eam assignavit et ibi magnas virtutes beatus Pater Brendanus fecit: et postea navigavit ad Hyberniam.Vit. Brendani, c. xvi. The passage is thus given in the Brussels edition:—Postea flentibus omnibus profectus est ac in Britanniam remeavit ac duo monasteria, unum in insula Ailech, alterum in terra Ethica in loco nomine Bledua fundavit.

156. See Reeves’s Adamnan, ed. 1874, p. 303.

157. In the Life quoted, the term ‘regio’ is applied equally to both; but Dr. Reeves has shown that this term is used for an island, and in the Brussels edition of the Life, it is expressly called ‘insula.’ It is supposed by Dr. Lanigan to be Alectum in Armorica, but the name of Britannia usually designates Britain.

158. Fordun’s Chronicle, ed. 1872, vol. ii. p. 24.

159. The parsonage and vicarage teinds of the islands of Ilachinive and Kilbrandon belonged to the priory of Oronsay, and were in 1630 granted, with the lands of Andrew, bishop of Raphoe and prior of Oronsay, to John Campbell, rector of Craignish.—Origines Parochiales, vol. ii. part i. p. 276.

160. This appears from the notice in the Annals of Ulster, in 568, of an expedition to the Western Region or Western Isles, by Colman Beg. son of Diarmait, and Conall, son of Comgall (of Dalriada). The Four Masters in the parallel passage have ‘Sol and Ile’—Sheil and Isla.

161. See Preface to Dr. Reeves’s Adamnan for an account of these Lives.

162. Adamnan, Pref. 2, and B. i. c. 7.

163. Adamnan, B. iii. c. 4.

164. See Adamnan, Book iii. c. 5. This transcript appears to have been the book termed the Cathach, which remained among the relics of St. Columba, and the tradition seems to have been connected with it.

165. See Adamnan, B. i. cc. 7, 30, 32, 35; B. ii. cc. 29, 37, 42, 44; in which ten different visits to Ireland are recorded.

166. Pro Christo peregrinare volens.

167. Chron. of the Picts and Scots, pp. 80, 82.

85

CHAPTER III.

THE MONASTIC CHURCH IN IONA.

A.D. 563.
St. Columba crosses from Ireland to Britain with twelve followers.

‘In those days the Saint, with twelve disciples, his fellow-soldiers, sailed across to Britain.’[168] Such is the short and simple statement of Columba’s earliest biographer. Adamnan gives us the additional information that it was ‘in the second year after the battle of Culdremhne, that is, in the year 563, and in the forty-second of his age, that Columba, resolving to seek a foreign country for the love of Christ, sailed from Scotia, or Ireland, to Britain.’[169] In the same year, which is again marked by Adamnan as being two years after the battle of Culdremhne, we find him living in Britain with King Conall, son of Comgall,[170] the successor of that Gabhran who had met his defeat and death in the battle with the powerful king of the Picts in 560. The territories occupied by the Scots of Dalriada had in consequence been much restricted, and for the time probably did not extend much beyond the peninsula of Kintyre, and perhaps Cowal, for while his predecessors are termed Ri Alban by the old annalist Tighernac, Conall bears the title of Ri Dalriada only. His chief seat appears at this time to have been at a place which the annalist calls Delgon, or Cindelgend, in Kintyre; and it seems to have been situated on the west coast of Knapdale.[171] The curious cave chapel at Cove, on Loch 86Caolisport, which tradition says was Columba’s first church in Scotland before he sailed to Iona, is probably connected with his residence with King Conall.[172]

Columba seems to have followed the mode usual at the time of commencing a missionary work, by exhibiting the Christian life in its purity and self-denial, as well as by preaching the Word; and accordingly Bede tells us that he converted the Pictish nation ‘by example as well as by the Word.’[173] His first object therefore would be to obtain the grant of some island suitably situated for his purpose, where he could found one of those primitive Celtic monasteries in which alone it was at the time possible to lead the Christian life. The island selected for the purpose was that small island which is separated from the great island of Mull by a narrow channel, and which bore the name of Ia or Hii, now called Iona.[174] It has been made a subject of controversy whether Columba received the donation of this island from Conall, the king of Dalriada, or from Brude, the king of the Picts; and a rather profitless discussion has followed upon it. The principal authorities are, on the one side, the old annalist Tighernac, and on the other, the Venerable Bede; but although the latter historian preceded the former by at least three hundred years, it is maintained that Tighernac was likely to be better informed. In recording the death of King Conall in 574, he adds that ‘it was he who immolated the island of Ia to Columcille.’[175] Bede’s account, however, 87is very circumstantial. He says, on his first mention of the island of Hii, ‘which island belongs indeed to the realm of Britain, being separated from it by a sound of no great size; but was, by the donation of the Picts who inhabit these districts of Britain, given over to the Scottish monks from whose preaching they had received the faith of Christ.’[176] These accounts, though involving an apparent contradiction, are not in reality inconsistent with each other. Before the settlement of the Irish colonists in Dalriada, the districts forming it were occupied by a Pictish population. The Scots extended themselves by degrees, and some time prior to 560 their possessions had probably reached, at all events, the islands of Mull and of Iona. The Dalriads were already Christians. Whatever they won for themselves was also won for the Christian Church; and there is reason to think that there was an earlier Christian establishment on the island. Still, because it was situated on the frontiers of the Dalriads and the Picts, when the former were driven back by Brude, the king of the Picts, in 560, this part of the country must have been lost to them in actual possession. They would, however, claim it as their right, and hope to regain it. When Columba came on the avowed mission of endeavouring to convert these Picts, the Dalriadic king would naturally point to Iona as a suitable position for his mission, and convey to him such right in it as he possessed. On the other hand, Bede does not anywhere say that it was given to him by the Pictish monarch, but that it was a donation from the Picts who inhabited the districts of Britain from which the island was separated by a narrow strait. These would naturally form the first fruits of the saint’s mission, and their donation would be one, not of the Pictish nation at large, but of the tribe of the land, which we know 88was an essential preliminary to the foundation of these monastic establishments in Ireland. Accordingly the ancient tract called the Amra Choluimchilli describes Columba as ‘a noble one who sought seven tuaths, and definite for indefinite in it, or five tuaths of Erin and two tuaths in Alban.’[177]

Founds a monastery in Iona.

Columba thus commenced his mission by founding his monastery in the island of Iona. According to the old Irish Life, it was on Whitsun Eve, which in that year fell on the 12th of May, that he arrived in the island, when, we are further told, ‘two bishops who were in the island came to lead him by the hand out of it; but God now revealed to Columcille that they were not true bishops, whereupon they left the island to him, when he told of them their history and their true adventures.’[178] They were no doubt the remains of that anomalous church of seven bishops which here, as elsewhere, preceded the monastic church; and Columba appears to have refused to recognise them as legitimately entitled to the character of bishops, and the island was abandoned to him. It was an island well adapted in situation for his purpose, and must have possessed many attractions to one who, like Columba, possessed an intense love of nature and of natural objects, had the soul of a poet, and desired to combine with his active missionary work a life of purity and self-denial.

Description of the Island.

No one who pays merely a flying visit to Iona in an excursion steamer, with a crowd of tourists, and sees apparently a desolate-looking island with a few grey ruins, through which he is hurried by the guide in order that he may return in the steamer the same day, can form any conception of its hidden beauties,—its retired dells, its long reaches of sand 89on shores indented with quiet bays, its little coves between bare and striking rocks, and the bolder rocky scenery of its north-western and south-western shores, where it opposes wild barren cliffs and high rocky islets to the sweep of the Atlantic. Columba could hardly find a spot better adapted for the foundation of an island monastery which was to form the centre of a great missionary work, and to exhibit the Christian life in contrast with the surrounding paganism. He would find himself in possession of an island lying north-east and south-west, and separated from the island of Mull by a narrow channel of about a mile broad. Its length, about three miles and a half, and its breadth, about a mile and a half. In the centre of the island he would see a plain extending across it—at its narrowest part—from the eastern to the western sea, presenting apparently fertile land well adapted for agriculture or pasture, and, in the middle of it, a small green hillock surmounted by a circle of stones.[179] North of this plain, on the western shore, he would see a tract of wilder ground consisting of small grassy patches, or dells alternating with rocky elevations, culminating in the highest hill in the island, now called Dunii;[180] and on the northern shore, a strip of low land extending from the base of the hill to the sea, and terminating at the north-east end of the island in a stretch of the purest white sand, which was destined to be afterwards the scene of a cruel slaughter of the monks by the Danes. South of this plain he would see a tract of low fertile land, extending along the eastern shore, and sloping gently towards the sea; and through the centre of it a stream issuing from some marshy ground which separates the level fields from the bold barren tract on the west, and extends from the foot of Dunii, and trickling through a small channel 90into the sea. On the south of this stream he would find the plain hounded on the west by a natural bulwark of rocky elevations, and between it and the sea he would probably find the ancient cemetery in which the founders of the Dalriadic colony and their successors, down to his own time, were buried; and farther south, on the shore, a little harbour, or landing-place, for persons crossing the channel from Mull. If he ascended Dunii, he would find that Iona formed the centre of an archipelago of islands. On the north he would see the lofty island of Rum and the low shores of Canna, and behind them the distant and striking forms of the Coollin Hills in Skye.[181] Looking west, the horizon would be bounded on the north-west by the island range consisting of the two islands of Coll and Tiree, and on the south-west the distant shores of Isla would be visible. Looking south over the low land of the Ross of Mull, the hills called the Paps of Jura would be very conspicuous, while the Garveloch islands, lying between it and Mull, are hidden by the intervening land. Below him, his eye would dwell on that part of the level fertile plain which extends from the foot of Dunii, where it is separated from the more northern plain by a line of rocky knolls, to the stream which flows from the marshy ground on the south. Here no object would arrest his gaze on the sloping plain save two isolated rocky hillocks on its highest level, and a large flat boulder stone between them and the sea, which must have travelled, in the glacial period of prehistoric times, across the channel from the opposite coast of Mull. This part of the plain would appear to him to present a favourable site for 91his monastery, while, by forming an artificial lake out of the marsh from which the stream flowed, he might increase its volume so as to enable it to turn a small mill, near which he would place a kiln for drying the grain, and a barn for storing it.[182] We may well suppose that Columba, when he first surveyed his newly acquired island and thus looked around him, would form the silent resolution that here he would place his central monastery, and that he would not rest till he had planted a Christian church in every island within sight.

South of the central plain, the whole of the southern part of the island consists of rocky elevations separating small grassy ravines, and terminates in the bay called Port-a-churich, where tradition places the arrival of Columba in his curach; and at its south-west corner the island rises into the very perfection of bold rocky scenery. Here the rocky heights which bound the central plain on the south-west are termed Uchdachan, or breasts; and on the highest point overlooking the expanse of the western sea is the cairn called Cul ri Erin, which marks the spot where he is said to have ascended for the purpose of ascertaining if he could discern from it the distant shores of his beloved Erin. Among the several poems attributed to Columba, there is one which so remarkably describes the scene from this spot and the emotions it was calculated to excite in one of his temperament, that it is hardly possible to avoid the conclusion that it contains the genuine expression of his feelings. It bears the title Columcille fecit, and has been thus translated:—

92Delightful would it be to me to be in Uchd Ailiun
On the pinnacle of a rock,
That I might often see
The face of the ocean;
That I might see its heaving waves
Over the wide ocean,
When they chant music to their Father
Upon the world’s course;
That I might see its level sparkling strand,
It would be no cause of sorrow;
That I might hear the song of the wonderful birds,
Source of happiness;
That I might hear the thunder of the crowding waves
Upon the rocks;
That I might hear the roar by the side of the church
Of the surrounding sea;
That I might see its noble flocks
Over the watery ocean;
That I might see the sea monsters,
The greatest of all wonders;
That I might see its ebb and flood
In their career;
That my mystical name might be, I say,
Cul ri Erin (Back turned to Ireland);
That contrition might come upon my heart
Upon looking at her;
That I might bewail my evils all,
Though it were difficult to compute them;
That I might bless the Lord
Who conserves all,
Heaven with its countless bright orders,
Land, strand, and flood;
That I might search the books all,
That would be good for any soul;
At times kneeling to beloved heaven;
At times at psalm-singing;
At times contemplating the King of Heaven,
Holy the chief;
At times at work without compulsion;
This would be delightful.
93At times plucking duilisc from the rocks;
At times at fishing;
At times giving food to the poor;
At times in a carcair (solitary cell).
The best advice in the presence of God
To me has been vouchsafed.
The King, whose servant I am, will not let
Anything deceive me.[183]

In this island, then, of Iona, Columba founded his church, which not only for a time embraced within its fold the whole of Scotland north of the Firths of Forth and Clyde, and was for a century and a half the national church of Scotland, but was destined to give to the Angles of Northumbria the same form of Christianity for a period of thirty years.

Character of the Columban Church.

In estimating the character of the Columban Church, it has hitherto been too much regarded from a narrow point of view, and its characteristics examined as if it stood alone—an isolated church founded by Columba and unconnected with any other. In addition to this, it has been made the subject of controversy between the Episcopal and Presbyterian churches, and their historians have regarded it through the medium of their own ecclesiastical prepossessions, and claimed it as possessing the essential characteristic of their own church. It must be viewed, however, as in reality a mission from the Irish Church, and as forming an integral part of that church, with which it never lost its connection. We should not therefore expect to find that, in character, it materially differed from that church, and we must interpret the indications afforded to us of the peculiarities of the Columban Church, if we are rightly to estimate 94their nature, by the known institutions of the parent Church of Ireland, of which it was an offshoot. We shall find accordingly that in every respect it resembled the Irish Church of this period. Like that church, it was essentially a monastic church, and also like it we find in it neither a territorial episcopacy nor anything like Presbyterian parity, but the same anomalous position of the episcopal order. The bishops were under the monastic rule, and as such were, in respect of jurisdiction, subject to the abbot, even though a presbyter, as the head of the monastery; but the episcopal orders were fully recognised as constituting a grade superior to that of the presbyters, and the functions which, by the general law of the church, were the exclusive privilege of the episcopate, were not interfered with. Thus while Bede, on the one hand, tells us that the monastery founded by Columba in Iona was wont to have always at its head a presbyter-abbot, to whose jurisdiction the whole province and even the bishops themselves were by an unusual arrangement subjected,[184] Adamnan, on the other hand, records two instances of the exercise of episcopal functions, in which they are plainly recognised as the exclusive privilege of a superior ecclesiastical grade. Thus we are told that Findchan, a priest and founder of the monastery of Artchain in Tiree, brought with him from Ireland, under the clerical habit, a certain Aid the Black, who was of a royal family and of the race of the Irish Picts, that he might remain in pilgrimage in his monastery for several years, for Aid had been a very bloodthirsty man, and had slain even the king of Ireland; and that, after Aid had spent some time in his retirement, Findchan, having called in a bishop, had him improperly ordained a priest. ‘The bishop, however, would not venture to lay his hands on the head of Aid, unless Findchan, who was attached to Aid in a carnal way, would place his right hand on his head as a mark of his approval.’ 95When this ordination became known to Columba he disapproved of it, not because there was anything irregular in the intervention of the bishop, but ‘because Findchan had, contrary to the laws of God and the Church, placed his right hand upon the head of a son of perdition.’[185] On another occasion, when a stranger from the province of Munster, ‘who,’ says Adamnan, ‘concealed through humility the fact that he was a bishop, was invited, on the next Lord’s day, by Columba to join with him in consecrating the body of Christ, that as two priests they might break the bread of the Lord together, Columba, on going to the altar, discovered his rank and thus addressed him:—“Christ bless thee, brother; do thou break the bread alone, according to the episcopal rite; for I know now thou art a bishop. Why hast thou disguised thyself so long, and prevented our giving thee the honour due to thee?”’[186] We thus see two of the episcopal functions—viz., that of ordination and that of celebrating the eucharist with the pontifical rite—as well as the honour due to those possessing episcopal orders, as fully recognised as was the jurisdiction of the presbyter-abbot over them. The monastery founded by Columba in the island was, like many others of the island monasteries, one which was to consist of one hundred and fifty monks, or persons under the monastic rule. It is thus described in a stanza quoted in the old Irish Life:—

Illustrious the soldiers who were in Hii,
Thrice fifty in monastic rule,
With their curachs across the sea;
And for rowing threescore men.
Site of the original wooden monastery.

The principal buildings of this earliest monastery were, as Adamnan clearly indicates, constructed entirely of wood and wattles, and therefore we cannot expect to find any remains of them to mark the precise spot on which they stood. 96The present ruins are the remains of stone buildings constructed at a much later period; but we should expect to be able to trace the course of the vallum, or rampart, which bounded the original monastery, and must have been, as is usual, either an earthen rampart, or one composed of mixed earth and stones, if it was not a stone cashel. We should expect, too, to find some indications of what formed its cemetery or burial ground. Then the stream which issues from the Lochan Mor, and is termed the Mill-stream, must have turned the wheel of a small mill; and near it we should find the remains of the kiln, which was of course a stone building.[187] On the north side of the Mill-stream, near its issue from the lake, is an elevated piece of ground, rectangular in shape, flat on the top, and in part enclosed at the sides, which does not appear to be artificial, though adapted to some purpose. Where this abuts on the stream are the remains of a stone kiln. On its western side, at a little distance from where the stream issues from the lake, is the commencement of an outer rampart, composed of mixed earth and stones, which extends to the end of the plateau and then proceeds north between the lake and the plain, passing the two isolated rocky knolls on the east side, and terminates in two parallel straight terraces about one hundred and eighty yards long. These are termed Iomaire nan achd ann an breithe, or ‘the Ridge of the Acts in judgment,’ and approach within about fifty yards of the rocky knoll which bounds this plain on the north. Such indications as Adamnan gives of the site of the monastic buildings would place them on the sloping ground between this rampart and the channel. He mentions the vallum, or rampart, the canaba, or kiln, and the horreum, or barn by name; and, 97though he does not expressly mention a mill, he shows that there was one, as he tells us that one of the crosses was placed in a mill-stone as a pedestal.[188] He speaks of the monasterium, or monastery proper, in terms which show that it contained a refectory of considerable size, in which was a fireplace and a vessel of water.[189] He mentions the hospitium, or guest-chamber, which was wattled,[190] and the houses, or cells of the monks, with the plateola, or little court, which they surrounded,[191] and he indicates that these monastic buildings were constructed of wood.[192] He repeatedly mentions the church with its exedra, or side chamber, and terms it an oratorium, which shows that it was a Duirthech or oak building.[193] He frequently alludes to the house, or cell, occupied by Columba himself, which he says was built of planks and placed on the highest part of the ground.[194] Although no remains of these buildings exist, we can gather what their relative position probably was from the buildings of another early monastery founded by Columba, which appear to have been all constructed of stone, and have thus left some remains behind them. In one of the Garveloch islands termed Eilean na Naomh, or the Isle of the Saints, are the remains of some very primitive ecclesiastical buildings which, as we shall afterwards see, we can identify with those of the first monastery Columba founded after that of Iona, and which, fortunately for us, owing to the island being uninhabited, not very accessible, and little visited, have not disappeared before the improving hand of man. The remains are grouped together about the middle of the island, on its south-eastern side. Here there is a small sheltered port or harbour, and near it a 98spring of water termed Tobar Challum na Chille, or Columba’s well. Near the shore, south of this, in a sheltered grassy hollow, are the remains of the cemetery, with traces of graves of great age; and adjoining it a square enclosure, or small court, on the east of which are the remains of buildings of a domestic character. North of this is the church, a roofless building, formed of slates without mortar, and measuring twenty-five feet by fifteen. North-east of this is a building resembling the cells appropriated to the abbots of these primitive monasteries. Farther off, on higher ground, are the remains of a kiln, and on a slope near the shore are two beehive cells resembling those used by anchorites.[195] Somewhat of the same arrangement characterised the early monastic buildings at Iona, so far as the existing remains and the indications afforded by Adamnan enable us to fix their site. The small creek now called Port na muintir, or the harbour of the community, considerably to the south of where the mill-stream enters the sea, is, from its situation opposite a similar harbour on the coast of Mull, probably the portus insulæ, or landing-place of the island, mentioned by Adamnan. The remains of the stone kiln fix its site. Columba’s cell was, he tells us, on the highest ground, and another passage shows that it was near a small hillock overlooking the monastery.[196] On the east side of the rampart, however, just where it passes near the isolated rocky knoll called Cnoc na bristeadh clach, is an elevated piece of level ground where the fragments of a cross were found; and here it must have been, for Adamnan tells us that Ernan the priest, who was Columba’s uncle, and presided over the monastery he had founded in the island of Hinba—that is, the very monastery the remains of which we have been describing—feeling himself seriously ill, desired to be taken back to Columba, who set 99out from his cell to the landing-place to meet him, while Ernan, though feeble, attempted to walk from the landing-place to meet Columba; and, when there were only twenty-four paces between them, Ernan suddenly died before Columba could see his face, and breathed his last as he fell to the ground; and Adamnan adds, ‘that on the spot where he died a cross was raised before the door of the kiln, and another where Columba stood.’ It is obvious from this narrative that the kiln was between Columba’s cell and the landing-place, and the former must have been nearly as far to the north as the latter was to the south-east of it. There in his cell, overlooking the monastery, Columba sat and wrote or read, having one attendant and occasionally two of the brethren standing at the door and awaiting his orders; and here he slept on the bare ground with a stone for his pillow. From his cell there appears to have been a via or road which crossed the mill-stream in front of the kiln, and led from thence to the harbour or landing-place now called Port na muintir.[197] Then the flat boulder stone fixes the site of the refectory and the other conventual buildings which formed the monastery proper. Adamnan indicates that it was at some distance from the eminence immediately behind Columba’s cell which overlooked it.[198] We learn from an incident mentioned by Adamnan in connection with Cainnech’s monastery of Achaboe in Ireland, that it contained a refectory in which was a table whereon the eulogia, or blessed bread, was divided;[199] and a curious passage in the preface to an old poem attributed to Columba shows us that the same custom was used at Iona, but that a large flat stone was used 100for a table. It is as follows:—‘On a certain day Columcille was in Hii, and no one was with him except Boithin; and they had no food except a sieve of oats. Then said Columcille to Boithin, “Illustrious guests are coming to us to-day, O Boithin;” and he said to Boithin, “Remain thou here ministering to the guests, whilst I go to the Muillinn, or mill.” He took upon him his burden from off a certain stone that was in the Recles or monastery; Blathnat was its name, and it exists still, and it is upon it that division is made in the Proinntig, or refectory. However, the burden was heavy to him; so that he made this hymn in alphabetical order from that place until he arrived at the mill.’ Another version of the preface says that ‘the name of that stone is Moelblatha, and he left prosperity on all food which should be placed upon it.’[200] The refectory, therefore, was at some distance from the mill, and its site was marked by a stone remarkable enough to have a special name, to be capable of being used as a table, and to survive the building which enclosed it. Between this spot and the sea are the remains of an old burial-ground, marked by two upright pillar stones, over which a third was once placed, resembling a rude cromleac, or stone gateway. The Duirthech, or oratory, was placed probably on a higher part of the sloping ground between the conventual buildings and Columba’s cell. The site thus indicated of the older wooden monastery places it about a quarter of a mile north of the present ruins, which are on the south side of the mill-stream and therefore between the kiln and the shore. Outside of the vallum, or rampart, was the Bocetum, or cowhouse, mentioned by Adamnan; and 101the land on the east side of the island, south of the mill-stream, appears to have been used for pasture, while the fertile land forming the western part of the central plain, as well probably as the level land at the north end of the island, was used for tillage; and there appear to have been two granaries for storing the grain—one near the monastery, and the other close to the fields under tillage.

Map of Part of Iona shewing site of the Monasteries

Map of
PART OF IONA
shewing site of the
MONASTERIES.

J. Bartholomew, Edin.r

Constitution of the monastery.

The members of this community were termed brethren. They took a solemn monastic vow on bended knees in the oratorium, and were tonsured from ear to ear—that is, the fore part of the head was made bare, and the hair was allowed to grow only on the back part of the head. They were addressed by Columba as his familia or chosen monks. They consisted of three classes. Those of advanced years and tried devotedness were called seniors. Their principal duty was to attend to the religious services of the church, and to reading and transcribing the Scriptures. Those who were stronger and fitter for labour were termed the working brothers. Their stated labour was agriculture in its various branches, and the tending of the cattle; and probably, in addition to this, the service within the monastery in the preparation of food and the manufacture of the various articles required for personal or domestic use. Among these Adamnan mentions the pincerna, or butler, who had charge of the refectory and its appointments, and the pistor, or baker, who was a Saxon. The third class consisted of the youth who were under instruction, and were termed alumni, or pupils. The dress of the monks consisted of a white tunica, or under garment, over which they wore a camilla, consisting of a body and hood made of wool, and of the natural colour of the material. When working or travelling their feet were shod with sandals, which they usually removed when sitting down to meat. Their food was very simple, consisting of bread sometimes made of barley, milk, fish, eggs; and in Iona they appear to have also used seals’ flesh. On Sundays and 102festivals, and on the arrival of guests, there was an improvement of diet; and an addition, probably of flesh meat, as mutton or even beef, was made to the principal meal.

With regard to divine worship, Adamnan does not specially mention a daily service; but the recitation of the Psalter is so repeatedly alluded to as an important part of the service, that a part of the day was probably given to it, from which, however, the working brethren were exempt. But the principal service was unquestionably the celebration of the Eucharist, which took place on the dies dominica, or Lord’s day, on the stated festivals of the church, as well as on such particular occasions as the abbot may have appointed. It is termed by Adamnan ‘the Sacred Mysteries of the Eucharist,’ or ‘the Mysteries of the Sacred Oblation.’ The priest, standing before the altar, consecrated the elements. When several priests were present, one was selected, who might invite a brother presbyter to break bread with him in token of equality. When a bishop officiated, he broke the bread alone, in token of his superior office. The brethren then approached and partook of the Eucharist. The chief festival in the year was the Paschal solemnity, or Easter. The practice of making the sign of the cross is repeatedly mentioned by Adamnan. One very important feature of this monastic system was the penitential discipline to which the monks were subjected. The ordinary discipline consisted of fasting on Wednesday and Friday and during Lent, to which those who practised extreme asceticism added the strange custom of passing a certain time with the body entirely immersed in water, and in that uncomfortable condition reciting the whole, or part, of the Psalter; but when any one, whether lay or cleric, desired to enter upon a special course of exercises, it was usual to select a distinguished saint as his Anmchara, soul-friend, or spiritual director, under whose direction it was fulfilled. After the commission of any 103offence, the penitent was required to confess his sin before the community, generally on his knees, and to perform such penance as the abbot prescribed, when he was either absolved or enjoined a more lengthened discipline. Adamnan records two instances of this severer discipline. In one, where the sin was a very great one, Columba imposed as a penance perpetual exile in tears and lamentations, among the Britons; and in another, the penitent, who had assumed the clerical habit, was sentenced to do penance for seven years in the island of Tiree, and accomplished his penance in the monastery of Maigh Lunge in that island. In conclusion, all the members of the community, as well as the affiliated monasteries, were, by their monastic vow, bound to yield prompt and implicit obedience to the abbot of the mother church, who was termed holy father and holy senior.[201]

Such is a short view of the character of the monastic system established by Columba in the island of Iona. It presented the same life of strict submission to a rule enforcing observance of religious duty, ascetic practice and self-denial, which characterised the monastic church in Ireland, and its doctrines in no respect differed from those of that church. Their doctrinal system was that common to the Western Church prior to the fifth century, and it is pervaded by the ecclesiastical language of that early period. The divergence which took place between the Irish and the Roman Churches related to points of doctrine, or matters of observance, which emerged in the Western Church after that date, when all intercourse between it and the Churches 104of Britain and Ireland, beyond the bounds of the Roman empire, had been for the time interrupted; and to the authority of the Church of Rome with regard to such matters of faith and practice, when they again came into contact, the Columban Church, in common with the Irish Church, opposed the custom of their fathers, for which they claimed the sanction of the second general council, held in the year 381. To use the language of Columbanus, the Columban Church ‘received nought but the doctrine of the evangelists and apostles;’ and, as we learn from Adamnan, the foundation of Columba’s preaching, and his great instrument in the conversion of the heathen, was the Word of God.[202]

St. Columba’s labours among the Picts.

Such then was the form in which, in the monastery founded by him in the island of Iona, Columba exhibited the Christian life to the surrounding heathen, and such the spirit in which he proceeded to do battle with the paganism which confronted him. Directly facing him to the east was the great pagan nation of the northern Picts, occupying the whole of Scotland north of the great range of the Mounth, and extending from sea to sea. Immediately before him, separated from Iona by a narrow channel, was the large island of Mull, with its low flat promontory stretching out towards the island; and behind it, on the mainland, extended the western districts of Ardnamurchan, Morven, and Lochaber, separated from the main body of the Pictish kingdom by the western part of the range of Drumalban, that part of it which was situated south of the Mounth forming the eastern boundary of the Scottish kingdom of Dalriada.

It was probably not long before the influence of the little colony of Christian monks, and that of its founder, was felt in the neighbouring districts occupied by a Pictish population. Columba appears to have been two years on the 105island before he attempted to approach the powerful monarch of the Pictish nation, who was the more direct object of his mission, and in that period he probably won over the greater part of the people of the districts of Ardnamurchan and Lochaber. In Adamnan’s narrative he appears three times in the former district, which he appropriately terms that ‘stony region;’ on one occasion, travelling through it with two of his monks; on another, baptizing a child presented to him by its parents, who must have been already converted; and, on a third, denouncing some Scottish pirates, who had robbed Columban, whose guest he was then, and who is termed his friend.[203] In Lochaber he appears twice: once as the guest of a man of humble condition, who was the owner of five heifers, and whom the Saint blessed; and, a second time, when he relieves a very poor peasant who had come to him. These notices seem to indicate that Columba had at an early period made his way as a missionary among the rural population of these districts.[204]

A.D. 565.
Converts King Brude.

It was in the year 565, two years after he landed in Iona, that he appears to have crossed the great mountain barrier of Drumalban and made his way to the court of King Brude,[205] whose royal palace was situated near the river Ness.[206] Adamnan relates that, when the Saint made his first journey to King Brude, the king would not open his gates to him. When Columba observed this, ‘he approached the 106folding doors with his companions, and, having first formed upon them the sign of the cross, he knocked at and laid his hand upon the gate, which instantly flew open of its own accord, the bolts having been driven back with great force. The Saint and his companions then passed through the gate thus speedily opened.’[207] Adamnan does not tell us who his companions were, which is unusual with him; but we learn from the Life of St. Comgall that they were, in point of fact, two of the most distinguished saints of the period,—Comgall of Bangor and Cainnech of Achaboe. They both belonged to the race of the Irish Picts; and therefore Columba probably thought that his mission to the king of the Picts of Scotland would be materially aided by their presence. According to this Life, Comgall made the sign of the cross upon the gates of the castle, and they immediately fell broken to the ground. Columba made the sign of the cross on the door of the royal house, with the same effect. 107Cainnech, however, made the sign over the hand of the king, which held a sword with which he intended to slay them, and the king’s hand was instantly withered; and it so remained till he believed in God, and, being made faithful to God, his hand was restored.[208] The old Irish Life of Columba, in narrating the same occurrence, says simply that ‘the gate of the castle was shut against him, but the iron locks of the town (Baile) opened instantly through the prayers of Columcille;’ and we may well suppose that the bolts may have been withdrawn and the anger of the king disarmed through no greater miracle than the impression created by the imposing presence of the three ecclesiastics with their attendants. Adamnan implies this when he says that, ‘when the king learned what had occurred, he and his councillors were filled with alarm, and immediately setting out from the palace, advanced to meet, with due respect, the holy man, whom he addressed in the most conciliatory and respectful language. And ever after from that day, as long as he lived, the king held this holy and reverend man in very great honour, as was due.’[209] Although Adamnan does not specifically say that the king was then converted, we may infer that it was so, on the authority both of the Life of St. Comgall and of the Pictish Chronicle, which places the event in the eighth year of King Brude, and expressly says that he was in that year baptized by St. Columba.[210] The Irish Life adds an incident which is nowhere else recorded, that ‘Mailcu, the son of the king, came with his Drui to contend against Columcille, through paganism; but they perished through the words of Columcille, both the king’s son and his 108Drui with him; and the name of God and Columcille was magnified through it.’[211]

Character of the paganism of the Scots and Picts.

The indications which we receive from Adamnan and from other sources, as to what the character of the paganism of these northern Picts really was, are extremely slight; but such as they are, we may infer that the pagan system which Columba had to encounter among the heathen Picts in no respect differed from that which characterised the pagan tribes of Ireland, and which St. Patrick found opposed to him when executing his own Christian mission. The popular belief undoubtedly is that the so-called Druidical religion preceded Christianity both in Scotland and in Ireland; but, before examining the grounds of the traditionary belief as to the leading features of this system, it may be well to ascertain what we can really learn from the oldest sources as to its real character. The ancient metrical Life of St. Patrick, ascribed to Fiacc of Sleibhte, says of him—

He preached threescore years
The Cross of Christ to the Tuatha of Feni.
On the Tuatha of Erin there was darkness.
The Tuatha adored the Side.
They believed not the true Godhead
Of the true Trinity.[212]

And who these Side were we learn from the Book of Armagh, which tells us that on one occasion St. Patrick and his attendants assembled one morning at a well, or fountain, near Crochan or Cruachan, the ancient residence of the kings of Connaught, in the county of Roscommon; ‘and lo! the two daughters of King Laoghaire, Ethne the Fair and 109Fedelm the Ruddy, came early to the well to wash, after the manner of women, and they found near the well a synod of holy bishops with Patrick. And they knew not whence they were, or in what form, or from what people, or from what country; but they supposed them to be men of Sidhe, or gods of the earth, or a phantasm. And the virgins said unto them, “Where are ye? and whence come ye?” And Patrick said unto them, “It were better for you to confess to our true God, than to inquire concerning our race.” The first virgin said, “Who is God, and where is God, and of what is God, and where is his dwelling-place? Has your God sons and daughters, gold and silver? Is he everliving? Is he beautiful? Did many foster his Son? Are his daughters dear and beauteous to men of the world? Is He in heaven or on earth? in the sea? in rivers? in mountainous places? in valleys? Declare unto us the knowledge of Him! How shall He be seen? How is He to be loved? How is He to be found? Is it in youth? Is it in old age He is to be found?”’[213]

Whatever may be the traces of a higher and more advanced mythology among the Irish, we can see from the questions of the king’s daughter that the objects of the popular belief were rather the personified powers of nature. Mysterious beings, who were supposed to dwell in the heavens or the earth, the sea, the river, the mountain, or the valley, were to be dreaded and conciliated. These they worshipped and invoked, as well as the natural objects themselves in which they were supposed to dwell; and this conception of them runs through the early history of Ireland during the pagan period. Thus Tuathal Teachmhar, a mythic monarch of Ireland, is stated in the Book of Conquests to have received as pledges from the nation ‘sun and moon and every power which is in heaven and in 110earth,’ that the sovereignty should be for ever allowed in his family;[214] and King Laogaire, the contemporary of St. Patrick, when he attacked the people of Leinster in order to exact from them the tribute called the Borumha, and was defeated and taken captive, was obliged to give as pledges ‘sun and moon, water and air, day and night, sea and land,’ that he would not ask the Borumha as long as he lived; but having again attempted to exact the Boroime, he was killed by the ‘sun and wind and the other elements by which he had sworn: for no one dared to dishonour them at that time.’[215] By the Christian Church they were regarded as demons. Thus in an ancient tract, contained in the Leabhar na h-Uidhri, we are told that ‘the demoniac power was great before the introduction of the Christian faith; and so great was it, that they, that is, the demons, used to tempt the people in human bodies, and that they used to show them secrets and places of happiness, where they should be immortal; and it was in that way they were believed. And it is these phantoms that the unlearned people call Sidhe and Aes Sidhe.’[216]

In connection with this belief was the class of people called Druadh, who were supposed to be able to conciliate these gods of the earth, or, by their influence with them, practise incantations and work spells. Thus, in the ancient hymn called Ninine’s Prayer, he says of St. Patrick—

He fought against hard-hearted Druide.
He thrust down proud men with the aid of our Lord of fair heavens.
He purified the great offspring of meadow-landed Erin.
We pray to Patrick, chief apostle, who will save us at the judgment from doom to the malevolence of dark demons.[217]

St. Patrick himself, in the very old hymn attributed to him, prays to be protected

111Against snares of demons,
Against black laws of heathenry,
Against spells of women, smiths, and Druadh.

And Fiacc in his poem says, ‘The Druids of Laogaire concealed not from him the coming of Patrick.’[218] In the Book of Armagh we find, from the indications there given of the paganism which St. Patrick overthrew, that it bore the same character. Thus we are told in the Life of St. Patrick that ‘the gentiles were about celebrating an idolatrous solemnity accompanied with many incantations and some magical inventions and other idolatrous superstitions; their kings being collected, also their satraps with their chief leaders, and the principal among the people, and Magi and enchanters and soothsayers and doctors, inventors of all arts and gifts, as being summoned before Laogaire in Temar.’[219] Again the Magus of King Laogaire challenges St. Patrick ‘to perform signs’ to show their respective powers. The Magus, in presence of them all, ‘commenced his magical incantations, and brought down snow upon the whole plain;’ but St. Patrick blesses the plain, when ‘the snow immediately vanished without rain, clouds, or wind.’ The Magus, ‘having invoked the demons, brought down very thick darkness upon the earth,’ which also St. Patrick dispelled.[220] In Tirechan’s Annotations we are told that St. Patrick ‘came to the fountain of Findmaige, which is called Slan, because it was indicated to him that the Magi honoured this fountain and made donations to it as gifts to God,’ and further, ‘that they worshipped the fountain like a God.’[221] And again we are told that St. Patrick ‘came to Muada; and 112behold the Magi of the sons of Amolngid heard that the Saint came into the country, a very great crowd of Magi assembled, with the chief Magus, named Recrad, who wished to slay Patrick; and he came to them with nine Magi clad in white garments, with a magical host.’[222] Besides the objects of nature—the clouds of heaven, the water of the earth, the trees and fountains—in which these gods of the earth were supposed to dwell, they seem also to have been adored in the shape of idols. The word in Fiacc’s Hymn translated ‘darkness’ is glossed by ‘the worship of idols;’ and the few notices we have of them indicate that they were usually pillar stones. Thus, in the Dinnsenchus, Magh-Sleacht is said to have been thus called ‘because there was the principal idol of Erin, that is, the Cromcruach and twelve idols of stone around it, and himself of gold; and he was the God of all the people which possessed Erin till the coming of Padric;’[223] and in Cormac’s Glossary the word Indelba is glossed as ‘the names of the altars of these idols, because they were wont to carve on them the forms of the elements they adored there.’[224]

Among the Picts of Ireland we find indications of the same system. Thus, in an account of the foundation of Emain Macha, the chief seat of their kings, which is contained in the Book of Leinster, we are told that ‘three kings that were over Erin in co-sovereignty, who were of the Ultonian, or Pictish, race, made an arrangement that each man of them should reign seven years. There were three times seven guarantors between them: seven Druid, seven Filid, or poets, seven Octighern, or military leaders—the seven Druid to scorch them by incantations; the seven poets to satirise and denounce them; the seven toisechs to wound and burn them, if 113each man of them did not vacate the sovereignty at the end of his seven years.’[225]

The legendary accounts of the settlement of the Picts in Scotland are pervaded by the same pagan system. According to these legends, the Cruithnigh came from Thrace to Ireland under six brothers, and the king of Leinster offered them a settlement if they would expel a people called the Tuatha Fidhbha. One of the brothers, ‘Drostan, the Drui of the Cruithnigh, ordered that the milk of seven score white cows should be spilled when the battle should be fought. This was done, and the battle was fought by them, viz., Ardleamhnachta in Ibh Ceinnselaigh. Every one, when wounded, used to lie down in the new milk, and the poison did not injure any of them.’ They are then driven out to Scotland, but ‘six of them remained over Breaghmuigh. From them are every spell, and every charm, and every sreod, and voices of birds, and every omen.’[226] In the old poem which is quoted in these legends, Drostan, a thoroughly Pictish name, is called ‘the powerful diviner,’ ‘The plundering host of Fea’ are said to have been aided by poison. Then it is added—

The Drui of the Cruithnech in friendship
Discovered a cure for the wounded,
New milk in which they were washed
In powerful bathing.

The six who remained are thus described:—

There remained of them in Ealga,
With many artificers and warriors;
They would not leave Breaghmach—
Six demon-like Druadh
Necromancy and idolatry, illusion,
In a fair and well-walled house.
114Plundering in ships, bright poems,
By them were taught;
The honouring of sreod and omens,
Choice of weather, lucky times,
The watching the voice of birds
They practised without disguise.[227]

In another legend, when Cruithnecan, who had settled in Pictland, demands wives for his people from the Irish, ‘he swore by heaven and by earth, and the sun and the moon, by the dew and the elements, by the sea and the land, that the legal succession among them for ever should be on the mother’s side.’[228] There is a poem, attributed to Columba, in which the same account is given of the pagan system opposed to him. He says—

It is not with the sreod our destiny is,
Nor with the bird on the top of the twig,
Nor with the trunk of a knotty tree,
Nor with a sordan hand in hand.

And again—

I adore not the voice of birds,
Nor the sreod, nor a destiny on the earthly world,
Nor a son, nor chance, nor woman;
My Drui is Christ the Son of God.[229]

The indications afforded by Adamnan of the characteristics of the pagan system which Columba found opposed to him among the northern Picts, are quite in harmony with these notices. Thus, as we found King Laogaire with his Druid opposed to Patrick during his mission, so we find, in Adamnan’s account of Columba’s mission, Broichan the ‘Magus’ occupying an influential position at the court of King Brude, whose tutor he had been.[230] We have already 115seen that in the Book of Armagh the term ‘Magi’ is applied to those who in the Irish documents are termed Druadh; and that the one is the recognised equivalent in Latin for the other there can be no doubt, for in a tract contained in the Leabhar Breac, giving an account of the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus, the title is, ‘Of the story of the “Druadincipit;’ and in another tract in the same book, giving an account of the parentage and country of King Herod, and of the ‘Magi,’ or Wise Men of the East, the account of the latter begins, ‘It shall now be inquired what was the family of these Druad, and what country they came from.’[231] Adamnan too uses the name as one well known, when he tells of a robber who dwelt in the island of Colonsay and was in the habit of crossing to Mull and stealing the young seals which were bred for the use of the monastery of Iona, and whom he terms Erc Mocudruidi, or Erc the Druid’s son.[232]

We find too, that their beliefs, so far as Adamnan indicates them, possessed the same character. Thus he tells us that on one occasion, when Columba had been tarrying some days in the province of the Picts, he converted a certain peasant with his whole family, through the preaching of the Word of Life; and that the husband was, together with his wife, children and domestics, baptized. A few days afterwards one of his sons is attacked by a dangerous illness and brought to the point of death; whereupon the ‘Magi,’ or Druadh, began with great bitterness to upbraid the parents, and to extol their own gods as more powerful than the God of the Christians, and thus to despise God as though he were weaker than their gods. The son dies; but Columba comes and raises him from the dead, and thus confirms the faith of the peasant.[233] These gods, too, appear as demons dwelling in fountains. 116Thus we are told that again, when Columba was staying in the province of the Picts, he heard that there was a fountain ‘famous among the heathen people, which the foolish men, having their senses blinded by the devil, worshipped as God. For those who drank of this fountain, or purposely washed their hands or feet in it, were allowed by God to be struck by demoniacal art, and went home either leprous or purblind, or at least suffering from weakness or other kind of infirmity. By all these things the pagans were seduced and paid divine honour to the fountain.’ Columba blesses the fountain in the name of Christ; and, having washed his hands and feet, he and his companions drank of the water he had blessed. ‘And from that day,’ adds Adamnan, ‘the demons departed from the fountain,’ and people, instead of being injured, were cured of many diseases by it.[234] Then we find Broichan, the ‘Magus,’ or Drui, of King Brude, informing Columba that he will prevent him from making his voyage along Loch Ness; ‘for,’ he says, ‘I can make the winds unfavourable to thy voyage, and cause a great darkness to envelope thee in its shade.’ The Saint goes to the lake with a large number of followers, and the ‘Magi’ begin to exult, seeing that it had become very dark and that the wind was very violent and contrary. ‘Nor should we wonder,’ says Adamnan, ‘that God sometimes allows them, with the aid of evil spirits, to raise tempests and agitate the sea.’ Columba calls on Christ the Lord, and embarks in his small boat, which at once carries him along against the wind.[235]

These Christian missionaries appear not to have denied the reality of those powers exercised by the Druids through their earth gods, but to have attributed them to the agency of evil spirits, and to have believed that their gods were demons; and this seems to have called forth the counter-superstition that these old Celtic saints held familiar intercourse 117with the angels of God, and in their turn received powerful aid from them—a belief which these saints themselves perhaps were not unwilling to recognise. We can see how such a belief would colour mere natural phenomena, and we have perhaps a very striking instance of it in an incident narrated by Adamnan. While Columba, he tells us, was living in Iona, ‘he went to seek in the woods a place more remote from men and fitting for prayer. And there, when he began to pray, he suddenly beheld, as he afterwards told a few of the brethren, a very black host of demons fighting against him with iron darts. These wicked demons wished, as the Holy Spirit revealed to the saint, to attack his monastery and with the same spears kill many of the brethren. But he, singlehanded against innumerable foes of such a nature, fought with the utmost bravery, having received the armour of the Apostle Paul. And thus the contest was maintained on both sides during the greater part of the day; nor could the demons, countless though they were, vanquish him, nor was he able, by himself, to drive them from his island, until the angels of God, as the saint afterwards told certain persons, and those few in number, came to his aid, when the demons in terror gave way.’ On the same day, when the saint was returning ‘to his monastery, after he had driven the devils from his island, he spoke these words concerning the same hostile legions, saying, Those deadly foes who this day, through the mercy of God and the assistance of his angels, have been put to flight from this small tract of land, have fled to Tiree; and there, as savage invaders, they will attack the monasteries of the brethren and cause pestilential diseases, of which many will be grievously ill and die.’[236] We can understand how such a persuasion should, to Columba’s mind, have peopled a dark thunder-cloud with a host of demons preparing to attack his monastery, and converted 118its flashes of lightning into iron darts; and how when as it passed over to Tiree his prayers brought angels to his assistance—a belief that would be confirmed if, after seeing the thunder-clouds hang over Tiree, he received the news of a sudden outbreak of sickness there. We may compare this incident with the verses attributed to Columba, and believed to have formed the prayer with which he aided his kinsmen at the great battle of Culdremhne:—

O God! why wilt thou not drive from us
This mist which envelopes our number?
The host which has deprived us of our judgment,
The host which proceeds round the cairn?
He is a son of storm who betrays us.
My Drui—he will not refuse me—
Is the son of God and truth with purity.[237]

We thus see that the paganism which characterised the Irish tribes and the nation of the northern Picts exhibits precisely the same features; and all the really ancient notices we possess of it are in entire harmony with each other in describing it as a sort of fetichism, which peopled all the objects of nature with malignant beings to whose agency its phenomena were attributed, while a class of persons termed Magi and Druadh exercised great influence among the people from a belief that they were able through their aid to practise a species of magic or witchcraft, which might either be used to benefit those who sought their assistance, or to injure those to whom they were opposed. How unlike this is in every respect to the popular conception of what is called the Druidical religion will be at once apparent. The process by which this monstrous system has been evoked was simply to invest these same Druadh with all the attributes which Cæsar and the classical writers give to the Druids of Gaul, and to transfer to those northern regions all that they tell of Druidism 119in Gaul; to connect that with the stone monuments—those silent records of a remote age, and possibly of a different race, which have outlived all record of their time; and to assume that the stone circles and cromlechs, which are undoubtedly sepulchral monuments,[238] represent temples and altars. Add to this some false etymologies of terms which are supposed to contain the name of Bel or Baal,[239] and we have at once the popular conception of the Druidical religion, with its hierarchy of Archdruids, Druids, Vates, and Eubates, and all its paraphernalia of temples, altars, human sacrifices and the worship of Baal.[240]

Proceedings of St. Columba in converting the northern Picts.

Adamnan, unfortunately, gives us no details of the conversion of the nation of the northern Picts from the pagan system which prevailed among them; but so powerful a monarch as their king, Brude mac Maelchon, having been won over to the Christian faith, the task of spreading the knowledge of the true religion among the nation at large would be greatly facilitated, and less reluctance would 120be shown to follow his example. Columba, no doubt, proceeded in the usual way by establishing monasteries, or small Christian colonies, among the Pictish tribes. Adamnan records but two instances of conversion beyond the districts which more immediately surrounded Iona; but as we find, in the former, Columba in friendly intercourse with the families of peasants whom he had won over to the Christian faith, so, in the latter, the conversions are of those in the rank of chiefs. In the one case he was travelling near Loch Ness, and hearing that an old man, who was a heathen, but ‘who had preserved his natural goodness through all his life even to extreme old age,’ was at the point of death, he hurried on to the district of Airchartan, or Glen Urquhard, on the north side of the lake, where he found ‘an aged man called Emchat, who, on hearing the Word of God preached by the saint, believed and was baptized, and immediately after, full of joy and safe from evil and accompanied by the angels who came to meet him, passed to the Lord. His son Virolec also believed and was baptized with all his house.’[241] In the other instance he was staying for some days in the Island of Skye, when ‘a boat came into the harbour, on the prow of which sat an aged man, the chief of the Geona cohort. Two young men took him out of the boat and laid him at the feet of the saint. After being instructed in the Word of God, through an interpreter, the old man believed and was at once baptized by him; and when the baptism was duly administered, he instantly died on the same spot, and was buried there by his companions, who raised a heap of stones over his grave.’grave.’[242] In both cases these old men, who were obviously of the Flaith, or chieftain class, seem to have been prepared to accept the true religion, and probably partially instructed in its truth, and hastened to be received into the church before death carried them off.

The position which Columba appears now to have held 121at the court of King Brude, and the disappearance of the ‘Magi,’ or Druadh, from the struggle, show the extent to which the Christian Church had been adopted in the land; for we find him staying among the Picts, and addressing King Brude in the following terms, in the presence of the ruler of the Orkneys:—‘Some of our brethren have lately set sail, and are anxious to discover a desert in the pathless sea. Should they happen, after many wanderings, to come to the Orcadian islands, do thou carefully instruct this chief, whose hostages are in thy hand, that no evil befall them within his dominions. The saint took care to give this direction because he knew that, after a few months, Cormac would arrive at the Orkneys.’[243] This is the language of one in a position of influence and authority. It is unfortunate that Adamnan should tell us so little of St. Columba’s real history and work among the heathen Picts, and so much of his miracles, prophetic utterances, and the manifestations of angels towards him; but his work is rather a panegyric than a biography, and his object is more to throw light upon his character, and to demonstrate his superior holiness, than to contribute a detail of historical events. The early period at which he wrote makes every hint, however slight, of great value; and we must be thankful for what we have got.

Columba seems to have been mainly engaged in the work of spreading the truth among the Pictish tribes for nine years after the conversion of King Brude, when he appears to have at length also attained the political object of his mission. In the year 574 died Conall, son of Comgall, king of Dalriada, in the thirteenth year of his reign.[244] The territories over which he ruled were, as we have seen, greatly restricted in extent, as compared with those of the previous rulers, who were termed kings of Alban; and Saint Berchan says of him—

122Thirteen years altogether
Against the hosts of the Cruithnigh ruled the illustrious.
When he died he was not king,
On Thursday in Kintyre.[245]

According to the law of Tanistry, the succession fell to his cousin Eogan, son of that Gabran who had been defeated and slain by King Brude in 560; and Columba would have preferred to see him succeed, as he regarded him with affection; but he probably thought that his brother Aidan would suit his purpose better. Aidan was connected through his mother with the Britons of Strathclyde, and had played his part for a few years in the British wars. Columba announced that he had seen, ‘on a certain night, in a mental ecstasy, an angel sent to him from heaven, and holding in his hand a book of glass, containing the appointment of kings; and having received the book from the hand of the angel, had read therein the name of Aidan; and on his being reluctant to appoint him king, the angel had struck the saint with a scourge,’ and added these words,—‘Know for certain that by God am I sent to thee with the book of glass, that in accordance with the words thou hast read therein, thou mayest inaugurate Aidan into the kingdom.’ This was repeated three times.

A.D. 574.
St. Columba inaugurates King Aidan and attends the assembly of Drumceatt.

There was no gainsaying such a statement by one in Columba’s position. Aidan came to Iona, and Columba there ordained him king. During the words of consecration, he prophesied that the throne would remain to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and, laying his hand upon his head, he consecrated and blessed him.[246] Columba’s object in inaugurating Aidan with this solemn rite was to place him in the rank of an independent king, 123and to induce the Pictish monarch to recognise him as such over the whole of the Dalriadic territories. In order to secure the former object, he took advantage of an approaching synod, summoned to meet at Drumceatt, a mound on the river Roe, in the county of Londonderry. This great convention was called together by Aedh, son of Ainmire, king of Ireland, in the year 575,[247] and consisted of all the petty kings and heads of tribes, and of the principal clergy of Ireland. Columba attended it, accompanied by King Aidan, and by a retinue who are thus described by the poet Dallan Forgaill:—

Forty priests was their number,
Twenty bishops, noble, worthy,
For singing psalms, a practice without blame,
Fifty deacons, thirty students.[248]

The assembly was held not far from Columba’s monastery of Derry; and no doubt this retinue would consist of persons taken from his Irish monasteries, as well as of those who accompanied him from Iona. Columba’s object would be to make as imposing an appearance as possible; and there is no improbability in its having been composed not only of priests but of bishops.

According to the ancient tract called the Amra Columcille, there were ‘three causes for which Columcille came 124from Alban to Erin at that time—viz., for the releasing of Scannlan Mor, son of Cendfaelad, king of Ossory, with whom he went in pledge; and for the staying of the poets in Erin—for they were in banishment on account of their burdensomeness, for there used to be thirty in the company of each ollamh or chief poet, and fifteen in the company of each anrad, or poet next in rank; and for pacification between the men of Erin and Alban about Dalriada.’ Columba then came to the assembly, and ‘all rose up before him for welcome to him. According to another tradition,[249] however, there rose not up one before him but Domnall, the king’s son. For the king said there should not rise up one before him; for he knew that about which he had come, and his coming was not thought well of by him; for the staying of the poets or the releasing of Scannlan was not pleasing to him. So that it is then Columcille blessed this Domnall, because he was reverent to that extent.’ The burdensomeness of the poets arose from their right to exact what was called coinmed, or refection from the tribes for themselves and their retinue; and Columba, who, as a poet himself, sympathised with them, succeeded in having their sentence of banishment revoked on condition of the retinue, for which coinmed could be exacted, being reduced to twenty-four for each ollamh, and twelve for each anrad. The chief ollamh of Erin at this time was Dallan Forgaill; and out of gratitude for Columba’s efforts on behalf of the poets, he composed the poem termed the Amra, or praise of Columcille. The preface from which this account is taken states the superstitious use that was made of it. ‘Columcille promised to Dallan the gifts and produce of the earth for this praising; 125and he took not them, but heaven, for himself and for every one who would recite it each day, and would understand it between sense and sound. Ut quidam dixit,

Amra Coluim—every day
Whoever will recite it completely,
Will reach the good bright kingdom,
Which God granted to Dallan.’[250]

Columba did not, however, succeed in obtaining the liberation of Scannlan Mor. With regard to Dalriada, which was the main object of his attending the assembly, the question was how far the colony, now that Aidan had been solemnly inaugurated king, should be made independent of the mother country. As a colony or subject state, it was liable to the same burdens as were exacted from all the petty principalities in Ireland. These consisted in the payment of certain rents and tributes known as cain and cobach, and certain military services which consisted of what was called fecht, or the obligation of joining the superior king in expeditions, and sloged, or ‘hosting,’ that is, taking part in the general levy of the country for war. This question was referred to Colman, son of Comgellan, who was of Dalriada, ‘and Columcille said it is he who should make pacification between the men of Erin and of Alban; and this is the judgment he gave:—Their fecht and their sloged with the men of Erin always, for there is sloged with territories always; their cain and their cobach with the men of Alban, or their sea gathering only with the men of Alban, but all beyond that with the men of Erin.’[251] That is, the kingdom of Dalriada in Scotland was to be freed from all tribute towards the supreme king of Ireland, but they were to join in expeditions and hostings when called upon, with the exception of the sea gathering, or maritime 126expedition. This made Aidan practically independent, and Dalriada ceased to be a subject state to Ireland. On his return from the assembly, Columba had probably little difficulty in obtaining from King Brude a recognition of Aidan’s character as independent king over the western districts which were occupied by the Scots of Dalriada.


168. Hiisdem diebus sanctus, cum duodecim commilitonibus discipulis, ad Britanniam transnavigavit.—Pinkerton, Vit. Sanctor, p. 29.

169. Adam. Pref. 2, p. 3 (ed. 1874).

170. Adam. B. i. c. 7.

171. The ancient district of Kintyre was much greater in extent than the modern district of that name. It included Knapdale, and extended as far as Loch Gilp on the east and Loch Crinan on the west. John, Lord of the Isles, dates a charter from Cleandaghallagan, in Knapdale, which seems to be the same place.

172. New Stat. Ac. vol. vii. p. 263.

173. Gentemque illam verbo et exemplo ad fidem Christi convertit.—Bede, H. E., B. iii. c. 4.

174. Dr. Reeves has conclusively shown that the name of Iona has arisen from a misprint of the word Ioua, the adjective form used by Adamnan—the root of which was Iou.—See Reeves’s Adamnan, p. cxxvii. The oldest forms of the name are Hii, Ia, and I. But we shall, for greater convenience, retain the conventional name of Iona. The usual etymologies of I thona, the island of waves, or I shona, the sacred isle, are of course untenable.

175. Bass Conaill mic Comgaill Ri Dalriada xiii anno regni sui qui oferavit insolam Ia Colaimcille.Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 67.

176. Quæ videlicet insula ad jus quidem Brittaniæ pertinet, non magno ab eo freto discreta, sed donatione Pictorum, qui illas Brittaniæ plagas incolunt, jamdudum monachis Scottorum tradita, eo quod illis prædicantibus fidem Christi perceperint.—Bede, H. E., B. iii. c. 3.

177. Amra Choluim Chilli, translated by O’Beirne Crowe, p. 65. The expression ‘definite for indefinite’ is obscure, but means probably a ‘definite title from the tribe.’

178. O’Donnel, who introduces this statement into his Life, supposes they were Druids in disguise; but there is no warrant for this.

179. This plain is termed by Adamnan Occidentalis Campulus. It is now called the Machar. The hillock is now called Sithean Mor, but the circle of stones has long since disappeared.

180. This tract is termed by Adamnan “Saltus,” or wilds, and is now called Sliabh Meanach.

181. The author may be permitted here to enter his protest against the cockneyism which, under the inspiration of the guide-books, has transformed the name of the Coollin hills into the Cuchullin hills, now universally adopted. The change has taken place within the author’s recollection, and forty years ago was quite unknown. Martin terms them in 1702 the Quillins. The name Cuillin has no connection whatever with Cuchullin.

182. Such was the impression produced upon a party of archæologists who sat one day in 1876 on the brow of the hill.

The knolls bounding the plain on the north are called Cnuic na Bearna, ‘the knolls of the gap’; the highest of the two isolated hillocks, Cnoc na briste clach, and the other Cnoc an tuim dharich. The lake is called Lochan Mor, and the stream Sruth a Mhuilinn, or ‘the mill stream.’

183. The original of this interesting poem is in one of the Irish MSS. in the Burgundian Library at Brussels. It was transcribed and translated for the late Dr. Todd by the late Professor O’Curry, and was kindly given to the author by Dr. Reeves, Bishop of Down and Connor, then Dean of Armagh, in 1866.

184. Bede, H. E., B. iii. c. 4.

185. Adamnan, B. i. c. 29.

186. Ib., B. i. c. 35.

187. Pennant, who visited the island in 1772, after describing the existing ruins and the small rising ground on the west of them called the Abbot’s Mount, says, ‘Beyond the mount are the ruins of a kiln and a granary, and near it was the mill. The lake or pool that served it lay behind.’

188. Adamnan, Vit. S. Col., B. i. c. 35; B. iii. c. 24.

189. Ib. B. i. c. 18.

190. Ib. B. ii. c. 3.

191. Ib. B. iii. c. 7.

192. Ib. B. ii. c. 46.

193. Ib. B. ii. cc. 41-46.

194. Sanctus sedens in tuguriolo tabulis suffulto.—B. i. c. 19. Duo vero viri, qui eadem hora ejus tugurioli ad januam stabant, quod in eminentiore loco erat fabricatum.—B. iii. c. 23.

195. See Reeves’s Adamnan, Ed. 1874, App. i. p. 318, for a fuller account of these remains.

196. Ib. B. iii. c. 24, p. 97.

197. Reeves’s Adamnan, p. 33. The site of this cell must have been close to where the present house called Clachanach stands, and the remains of the cross which stood here were found behind the barn.

198. Adamnan, Vit. S. Col., B. i. c. 24.

199. Et cum forte post nonam cœpisset horam in refectorio eulogiam frangere, ocius deserit mensulam, unoque in pæde inherente calceo et altero pro nimia festinatione relicto festinanter pergit hac cum voce ad ecclesiam.Ib. B. ii. c. 12.

200. Lib. Hymn., part ii. p. 220. Mr. Hennessy suggests that the syllable Blath here stands for Blad, a portion, fragment, partition, division, which is also written Blod, Blag, Blog, and by O’Clery in his glossary Bladh, who explains it by rann no cuid do ni, a portion, or share, of a thing. That Moel, or Mael, when applied to a stone means a flat-surfaced stone, which exactly answers the description of the boulder. He thinks Moelblath may be fairly rendered ‘the flat stone of division.’

201. In the introduction to Dr. Reeves’s Adamnan, ed. 1874, will be found a most elaborate and exhaustive account of the constitution, discipline, and economy of the community at Iona, to which the reader is referred for the authorities of the above short sketch. A more important contribution was never made to the church history of Scotland than this work, which, for accuracy, critical judgment and thoroughness, is unsurpassed; and a constant reference to it must be understood in all that relates to Iona.

202. Adamnan, B. i. c. 27; B. ii. c. 33; B. iii. c. 15.

203. Adamnan, B. i. 8; B. ii. 9, 23.

204. Ib. B. ii. cc. 20, 38.

205. This appears to be the best solution of the discrepancy between the statements of Adamnan and Bede. Adamnan and all the Irish authorities place the arrival of Saint Columba in Britain in 563, but Bede distinctly places it in 565. Adamnan states that he lived thirty-four years in the island, while Bede says that he died at the age of seventy-seven, having preached in Britain thirty-two years. Bede, however, connects his mission entirely with the Picts, and places it in the ninth year of King Brude. The one, therefore, probably dates from the arrival in Iona, the other from the conversion of Brude.

206. It is usually stated in the local guide-books that Adamnan places King Brude’s palace ‘ad ostium Nesæ.’ No such expression, however, appears in Adamnan. The only indication he gives is, that it was near the river Nesa, but not on it. Dr. Reeves came to the conclusion that it must be identified with the vitrified fort of Craigphadrick, about two miles west of the river. It seems, however, unlikely that in the sixth century the royal palace should have been in a vitrified fort, on the top of a rocky hill nearly 500 feet high; and it is certainly inconsistent with the narrative that S. Columba should have had to ascend such an eminence to reach it. There is, however, about a mile south-west of Inverness, a gravelly ridge called Torvean. Part of this ridge is encircled with ditches and ramparts, as if it formed an ancient hill fort, and at its base, along which the Caledonian Canal has been carried, a massive silver chain was discovered in the year 1808, consisting of thirty-three circular double links, neatly channelled round with a prominent astragal, and terminating at either end in two rings larger than the others, which were about two inches in diameter, the whole weighing 104 ounces, and extending to 18 inches in length.—New Stat. Ac., vol. xiv. p. 14. Torvean seems to offer a more natural site if it is not to be sought for on the other side of the river, which may be inferred from the fact, that the only time Adamnan notices Columba going by land instead of sailing down Loch Ness, he went on the north side of the lake, and then he appears to have crossed the river (Adamnan, B. iii. c. 15; B. ii. c. 58); in which case it may have been on the eminence east of Inverness, called the Crown, where tradition places its oldest castle.

207. Adamnan, B. ii. c. 36.

208. Vit. S. Comgalli, c. 44. Comgall is said in his life to have visited Britain in the seventh year after the foundation of the monastery of Bangor, and, as it was founded in the year 559, this brings us to the year 565.

209. Adamnan, B. ii. c. 36.

210. In octavo anno regni ejus baptizatus est sancto a Columba.Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 7.

211. The visit of Columcille to Brude, and this incident which follows, is contained in the Advocates’ Library MS. only.

212. Whitley Stokes’s Gaedelica, 2d edit., p. 131. The word Tuath is left untranslated, as it means both a territory and a tribe, as well as the people generally.

213. Dr. Todd’s Life of Saint Patrick, p. 451. Book of Armagh, in Betham’s Antiquarian Researches, vol. ii. p. xxvii.

214. Petrie, Hist. Ant. of Tara Hill, p. 34.

215. Ib. p. 169.

216. O’Curry’s Lectures, vol. ii. p. 198.

217. Stokes’s Gaedelica, p. 133.

218. Stokes’s Gaedelica, p. 131.

219. Contigit vero in illo anno idolatriæ sollempnitatem quam gentiles incantationibus multis et magicis inventionibus aliis idolatriæ superstitionibus, congregatis etiam regibus, satrapis, ducibus, principibus, et optimatibus populi insuper, et magis, incantatoribus, auruspicibus, et omnis artis omnisque doni inventoribus, doctoribus, ut vocatis ad Loigairum.—Betham, Ant. Res., ii. App. p. v.

220. Ib. p. viii.

221. Ib. p. xxix.

222. Et venit ad illos cum viiii. Magis induti vestibus albis cum hoste magico.Ib., Ap. p. xxxi.

223. O’Connor, Script. Hib. Prolegomena, vol. i. p. xxii.

224. Cormac’s Gloss., Ir. Ar. Socy., p. 94. The gloss adds ‘verbi gratia, figura solis.’ Is it possible that this can refer to the cup-markings on stones and rocks?

225. O’Curry’s Lectures on MS. Materials, App. p. 527.

226. Chronicle of the Picts and Scots, p. 31.

227. Chron. Picts and Scots, pp. 37, 41, 42.

228. Ib., p. 45.

229. Misc. Irish Arch. Socy., p. 12. Dr. Todd, in his notes to the Irish Nennius, p. 144, translates Sreod by ‘sneezing;’ and the last line he renders ‘nor on the noise of clapping of hands.’—Life of S. Pat., p. 122.

230. Adamnan, B. ii. c. 34.

231. Leabhar Breac, Part i. p. 137; Part ii. p. 198. The old Irish word for Druid is in the singular Drui; nom. plural, Druadh or Druada; gen. plural, Druad. The modern form is Draoi, Draoite, Draoit.

232. Adamnan, B. i. c. 33.

233. Ib., B. ii. c. 33.

234. Adamnan, B. ii. c. 10.

235. Ib., B. ii. c. 35.

236. Adamnan, B. iii. c. 9.

237. Petrie, Ant. of Tara Hill, p. 123.

238. This Dr. John Stuart has most conclusively shown in the very able papers in the appendix to his preface to the Sculptured Stones of Scotland, vol. ii. It is to be regretted that these valuable essays have not been given to the public in a more accessible shape.

239. Dr. Todd, in a note as to the meaning of the word Beltine, says, ‘This word is supposed to signify “lucky fire,” or “the fire of the god Bel” or Baal. The former signification is possible; the Celtic word Bil is good or lucky; tene or tine, fire. The other etymology, although more generally received, is untenable.—Petrie on Tara, p. 84. The Irish pagans worshipped the heavenly bodies, hills, pillar stones, wells, etc. There is no evidence of their having had any personal gods, or any knowledge of the Phœnician Baal. This very erroneous etymology of the word Beltine is, nevertheless, the source of all the theories about the Irish Baal-worship, etc.’—Life of Saint Patrick, p. 414.

240. Dr. John Hill Burton was the first to expose the utterly fictitious basis on which the popular conceptions of the so-called Druidical religion rests, and he has done it with much ability and acuteness in an article in the Edinburgh Review for July 1863, and in his History of Scotland, vol. i. chap. iv. But he undoubtedly carries his scepticism too far when he seems disposed to deny the existence among the pre-Christian inhabitants of Scotland and Ireland of a class of persons termed Druids. Here he must find himself face to face with a body of evidence which it is impossible, with any truth or candour, to ignore.

241. Adamnan, B. iii. c. 15.

242. Ib., B. i. c. 27.

243. Adamnan, B. ii. c. 43.

244. Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 67.

245. Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 83.

246. This account of Aidan’s consecration is contained in the older Life by Cummine, and repeated by Adamnan, B. iii. c. 6. In Smith’s Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, the author of the article Coronation says,—‘Aidan was made king by him on the celebrated Stone of Destiny, taken afterwards from Iona to Dunstaffnage, and thence to Scone,’ and refers to Adamnan; but there is not a syllable about the stone in Adamnan. For its removal from Iona to Dunstaffnage there is no authority whatever, and that from Dunstaffnage to Scone is part of the exploded fable originated by Hector Boece. The subject is fully discussed in the author’s tract on the ‘Coronation Stone.’

247. 575 Magna mordail, .i. conventio Drommacheta, in qua erant Colum Cille ocus Mac Ainmireach.An. Ult. It is three times referred to by Adamnan, B. i. c. 38; B. ii. c. 6. He calls it ‘condictus regum.’

248. These lines are quoted in the old Irish Life as giving the retinue with which Columba went to Iona; but Dallan Forgaill’s poem relates to the convention of Drumceatt.

249. Amra Columcille by J. O’Beirne Crowe, pp. 9, 11, 15. The same account is given in the Advocates’ Library MS. of the old Irish Life, evidently taken from the Amra. The other tradition referred to seems to be that in Adamnan. See B. i. c. 8, where this incident is mentioned.

250. Amra Columcille, p. 15.

251. Ib., p. 13.

127

CHAPTER IV.

THE FAMILY OF IONA.

What St. Columba had accomplished in twelve years; and meaning of the expression “Family of Iona.”

Twelve years had now elapsed since Columba first set foot on the island of Iona, and he had already to a great extent accomplished the task he had set before him. He had founded his monastery in the island, as the central point of his mission; and the exhibition of the Christian life, as alone it was possible to present it in the state of society which prevailed among these pagan tribes, as a colony of tonsured monks following a monastic rule, had its usual effect in influencing the population of the adjacent districts. He had converted and baptized the most powerful monarch that ever occupied the Pictish throne, and secured his friendship and support; and this was soon followed by the whole nation ostensibly professing the Christian faith. He had succeeded in re-establishing the Irish colony of Dalriada in the full possession of its territories, and obtained from the Ardri, or supreme king of Ireland, the recognition of its independence. He now found himself occupying a position of great influence and authority both in Ireland and Scotland—as the founder of numerous monasteries in the former, and as the acknowledged head of the Christian Church in the latter. Adamnan tells us that he had founded monasteries within the territories both of the Picts and of the Scots of Britain, who are separated from each other by the great mountain range of Drumalban.[252] These monasteries, 128as well as those which he had founded in Ireland, regarded the insular monastery of Iona as the mother church, and as having, as such, a claim to their obedience; and became subject to her jurisdiction, while their inmates constituted the great monastic fraternity which was termed the Muintir Iae, or family of Iona, in the extended sense of the term. Adamnan mentions only a few of these monasteries, and gives no details which might enable us to fix the exact date of their foundation; though we can gather from his narrative that some of them existed during the earlier years of his mission, and all must, of course, have been founded at some period during the thirty-four years of his life in Iona.

Monasteries founded in the islands.

Among the islands in which he founded monasteries, the two most important are those termed by Adamnan ‘Ethica terra’ and ‘Insula Hinba,’ or ‘Hinbina:’ the former has been conclusively identified with the low-lying and fertile island of Tiree, the Tireth, or ‘land of corn,’ which lies about twenty miles to the north-west of Iona, and whose dim outline would be barely seen on the horizon were it not for the elevated promontory of Ceannavara at the south end of the island. The name Hinba or Hinbina seems to designate the group of islands called the Garveloch Isles, situated in the centre of the great channel which separates the island of Mull from the mainland of Lorn, and which were the Imbach, or ‘sea-surrounded.’ The most westerly of the four islands which constitute this group is termed Elachnave and Eilean na Naomh, or the Island of Saints. It is a grassy island rising to a considerable height, and has at the west side a small and sheltered bay, on the lower ground facing which are a fountain, called St. Columcille’s Well, and the foundations of what must have been a 129monastic establishment, near which are the remains of two beehive cells.[253] It is probable that on these two islands were founded the two earliest monasteries by Brendan before they were lost to the Scots of Dalriada by the defeat of the year 560, by which event they were probably swept away. In the year 565 Comgall of Bangor, who had come to the assistance of Columba on his first visit to King Brude, erected a monastery at a certain village in the land of Heth, or Tiree, where he is said in his Life to have abode some time; and that too was ruined by the Picts. We are told in his Life that, ‘one day when Comgall was working in the field, he put his white hood over his garment; and about the same time a number of heathen plunderers from the Picts came to that village to carry away everything that was there, whether man or beast. Accordingly when the heathen robbers came to Comgall, who was labouring in the field, and saw his white hood over his cape, thinking that this white hood was Comgall’s Deity, they were deterred from laying hands on him, for fear of his God. However, they carried off to their ship the brethren of Comgall and all their substance.’ The pirates are of course shipwrecked through the prayers of the Saint, and gave back their plunder; but afterwards Comgall was conducted back to Ireland by a company of holy men.[254] This took place during the interval of fourteen years between the defeat of the Dalriads in 560 and their re-establishment in 574; and during this period the islands around Iona, which had been occupied by the Scots and from which they were driven by the Picts, seem to have formed a sort of debateable ground with a mixed population of Scots and Picts, who carried on a kind of guerilla warfare with each other; and any Christian establishments which existed among them would form points of attack for the heathen Picts. Thus we 130have here Pictish sea-robbers attacking the monastery in Tiree; and Adamnan tells us of a noted pirate of the royal tribe of Gabhran, and therefore a Scot, called Johan, son of Conall, whose seat appears to have been the rude fort which gave the name of Dunchonell to one of the Garvelochs, and whom we find plundering in the district of Ardnamurchan.[255] He also tells us of a robber, Erc, the Druid’s son, who resided in Colonsay, and who plunders in the island of Mull.

Of Columban monasteries in Tiree, Adamnan mentions two. One he calls ‘Campus Lunge,’ or the plain of Lunge. It was situated near the shore over-against Iona, and had a portus, or harbour, which is probably the little creek or bay still known as Portnaluing; and the site of the monastery has been identified with that of Soroby on the south-east side of the island, where a large churchyard with some old tombstones and an ancient cross are the only remains of an ecclesiastical establishment. The monastery is frequently mentioned by Adamnan. It seems to have been founded at an early period, and was under the charge of Baithen, afterwards the successor of Columba in the abbacy of Iona.[256] The second is termed by Adamnan Artchain, and said to have been founded by Findchan, one of Columba’s monks, whose name also appears in Kilfinichen in the island of Mull.[257] The island, too, which he calls Hinba, is repeatedly mentioned by Adamnan, and seems also to have been an early foundation. He tells us that at one time Columba sent Ernan, his uncle, an aged priest, to preside over the monastery he had founded many years before in that island;[258] and it seems to have been especially connected with the penitential discipline of the order, and a place of retirement for 131those who wished to lead a more solitary life. Thus, we find Columba on one occasion visiting Hinba, and ordering that the penitents should enjoy some indulgence in respect of food, which one of the penitents in that place, a certain Neman, refused to accept.[259] Again, one of the brethren, Virgnous, after having lived for some time in the monastery of Iona, resolved to spend the rest of his life in Hinba, and led the life of an anchorite for twelve years in the hermitage of Muirbulcmar.[260] The church and the house occupied by Columba are mentioned by Adamnan, and it is not impossible that the hermitage here referred to yet exists in one of the two beehive cells, which is still entire.[261] Here, too, he tells us that four holy founders of monasteries came from Ireland to visit Columba, whom they found in Hinba. These were Comgall of Bangor and Cainnech of Achaboe, the two who had accompanied him in his first visit to King Brude, Brendan of Clonfert, and that Cormac for whom, when on a voyage in search of a solitary island in which to found a hermitage, he asked King Brude to secure the protection of the ruler of the Orkneys. This meeting must have taken place before the year 577, when Brendan died. They are termed by Adamnan ‘founders of monasteries,’ and he probably means here monasteries in Scotland; for Cormac is not known to have founded any monastery in Ireland, where he was superior of the monastery of Durrow, founded by Columba shortly before he began his mission in Iona; but in Galloway the church of Kirkcormac probably takes its name from him. The other three had all founded monasteries in Scotland—Brendan one in Tiree, and another probably in the island belonging to the Garveloch group, called Culbrandon; Comgall, in Tiree; while Cainnech 132founded several monasteries in Scotland. In his Life he is said to have lived in Heth, or Tiree, where the remains of a church called Cillchainnech still exist. He was also in Iona, where the remains of a burying-ground are still called Cillchainnech. He is also said to have dwelt at the foot of a mountain in the Drumalban range, referring, no doubt, to the church of Laggankenney, at the east end of Loch Laggan, and two islands are mentioned, Ibdone and Eninis, or the ‘island of birds,’ one or other of which was probably the island now called Inchkenneth, on the west side of Mull.[262] Adamnan mentions one other island monastery, that of Elena, of which one of Columba’s twelve followers, Lugneus Mocumin, became superior—probably Eilean Naomh on the west coast of Isla; and two monasteries on the mainland, one called Cella Diuni, of which Cailtan was superior, on the lake of the river Aba, which is probably Lochawe; and the other called Kailleauinde, of which Finten was superior, and which may be Killundine in the old parish of Killintag in Morvern.[263] A few of Columba’s other foundations in western districts and islands can be traced by their dedications to him. In the island of Skye, where he is mentioned by Adamnan as having been twice, in the very remarkable ruins on an island in a loch now drained, called Loch Chollumcille, in the north of Skye. Also, on an island in the river of Snizort, one which was of old called Sanct Colme’s kirk in Snizort; and one on a small island in the bay of Portree, called Eilean Columcille.[264] The church in Canna too bore his name. In Morvern one of the two old parishes was called Cillcholumchille, and within the limits of Dalriada, on the mainland, were a few churches bearing the same name.

Monasteries founded during St. Columba’s life by others in the islands.

133Of churches founded during his life, and no doubt in connection with him by others, three were sufficiently prominent to be occasionally mentioned in the Irish Annals. The first was that of Lismore, founded on the long grassy island of Lismore, lying between the coast of Lorn and that of Morvern, by Lugadius, or Moluoc, a bishop. He is termed by Angus the Culdee, under June 25th, ‘Lamluoc the pure, the bright, the pleasant, the sun of Lismore;’ and the gloss adds, ‘that is, Moluoc of Lismore in Alban.’ His death is recorded by Tighernac in 592.[265] He is said by the Breviary of Aberdeen to have been a disciple of Brendan; but it is more probable that he was attached to Columba, as his pedigree takes him up to Conall Gulban, the ancestor of Columba and the founder of the tribe to which he belonged.[266] The name of Kilmaluog in Lismore still commemorates his church there. The second of these monasteries is that of Cinngaradh, or Kingarth, a church in the south end of the island of Bute, which was founded by Cathan, who also was a bishop. He was of the race of the Irish Picts, and the contemporary and friend of Comgall and Cainnech;[267] and from him were named the churches termed Cillchattan. The third was founded in the island of Egea, or Egg, which, with its strangely-shaped hill called the Scuir of Egg, can be seen from the north end of Iona. The founder was Donnan. He is commemorated by Angus the Culdee in his Felire, on the 17th of April, as ‘Donnan of cold Eig,’ to which the gloss adds, ‘Eig is the name of an island which is in Alban, and in it is Donnan. This Donnan went to Columcille to make him his Anmchara, or soul-friend; upon which Columcille said to him, I shall not be soul-friend to a company of red martyrdom, for thou shalt come to red martyrdom and thy 134people with thee; and it was so fulfilled;’[268] and in his Litany he invokes the ‘fifty-four who suffered martyrdom with Donnan of Ega.’[269] This would place the settlement in the island of Egg in the lifetime of Columba, and probably during the interval between the defeat and death of Gabran in 560 and the succession of Aidan in 574, when it required no great gift of prophecy to anticipate such a fate for a Christian establishment in one of the group of islands which were at the time the scene of warfare between the two nations, though this fate did not in fact overtake them till some time after. The churches termed Cill Donnan were either founded by him or dedicated to him. The numerous churches in the west Highlands bearing the names of Cillmaluag, Cillchattan, and Cilldonnan show that these were centres of missionary work.

Monasteries founded by Columba and other among the northern Picts.

Of the monasteries which must have been founded by Columba in the Pictish territories east of the Drumalban range Adamnan gives us no account, nor does he even mention any by name; but of the foundation of one we have an instructive account in the Book of Deer, which shows that they extended as far as the Eastern Sea. The tradition of the foundation of the churches of Aberdour in Banffshire and of Deer in the district of Buchan are thus given. ‘Columcille and Drostan, son of Cosgrach, his pupil, came from Hi, or Iona, as God had shown to them, unto Abbordoboir, or Aberdour, and Bede the Cruithnech, or Pict, was Mormaer of Buchan before them; and it was he that gave them that cathair, or town, in freedom for ever from Mormaer and Toisech. They came after that to the other town; and it was pleasing to Columcille, because it was full of God’s grace, and he asked of the Mormaer—viz., Bede—that he should give it him, and he did not give it; and a son of his took an illness after 135refusing the clerics, and he was nearly dead. Then the Mormaer went to entreat the clerics that they should make prayer for the son, that health should come to him, and he gave in offering to them from Cloch in tiprat to Cloch pette mic Garnait. They made the prayer, and health came to him. Then Columcille gave to Drostan that cathair, and blessed it, and left as his word “Whosoever should come against it, let him not be many-yeared victorious.” Drostan’s tears came on parting with Columcille. Said Columcille, “Let Dear be its name henceforward.”’[270] In this traditional account preserved by the monks of Deer, we have a type of the mode in which these monasteries, or Christian colonies, were settled among the heathen tribes—the grant of a cathair, or fort, by the head of the tribe, and its occupation by a colony of clerics,—which is quite in accordance with what we learn as to the settlements of this monastic church in Ireland. The church of Rosmarkyn, now Rosemarky, on the northern shore of the Moray Firth, and that of Muirthillauch, or Mortlach, in the vale of the Fiddich, were dedicated to Moluog of Lismore, and were probably founded by him, as was that of Kildonan in Sutherland, by Donnan.

A.D. 584-597.
Monasteries founded by Columba among the southern Picts.

In 584 an event happened which appears to have opened up an additional field for Columba’s missionary labour. This was the death of his steady friend and supporter King Brude, who died in that year.[271] Adamnan seems to be at a loss to account for death having been allowed to overtake King Brude while the powerful intercession of the great saint might have been exercised on his behalf, and attributes it to the disappearance of a mysterious crystal which Columba had blessed, and which, when dipped in water, was believed to impart to it a curative virtue. It was preserved 136among the king’s treasures, but could not be found, though sought for in the place where it was kept on the day when King Brude died in his palace near the river Ness.[272] His successor was Gartnaidh, son of Domelch, who belonged to the nation of the southern Picts, and appears to have had his royal seat at Abernethy, on the southern bank of the Tay, near its junction with the river Earn. The only fact recorded of his reign is that he built the church of Abernethy two hundred and twenty-five years and eleven months before the church of Dunkeld was built by King Constantin.[273] The statement is so specific, that it seems to embody a fragment of real history contained in some early chronicle, and places the date of the foundation of Abernethy during the first ten years of Gartnaidh’s reign. The nation of the southern Picts had, as we have seen, been converted early in the previous century by Ninian; and the Pictish Chronicle attributes the foundation of the church of Abernethy to an early King Nectan, who reigned from 457 to 481; but the Christianity established among them had no permanence, and they gradually fell off, till hardly even the semblance of a Christian church remained. What King Gartnaidh did, therefore, was to found a new monastic church where the earlier church had been, which, like it, was dedicated to St. Bridget of Kildare, and this not only took place during Columba’s life, but is, in the ancient tract called the Amra Columcille, directly attributed to his preaching, for in alluding to his death it contains this line: ‘For the teacher is not, who used to teach the tuatha, or tribes, of Toi;’ and the gloss upon it is, ‘The teacher who used to teach the tribes who were around Tai. It is the name of a river in Alban;’ and again, ‘He subdued the mouths of the fierce who were at Toi with the will of the king,’ which is thus glossed: ‘He 137subdued the mouths of the fierce with the Ardrig, or supreme king of Toi; though it was what they wished—to say evil, so it is a blessing they used to make, ut fuit Balam.’[274] Gartnaidh is here called the supreme king of Toi, or of the Tay, and the people whom Columba taught, the tribes about the Tay, which leaves little doubt that the church of Abernethy on the banks of the Tay, at this time the chief seat of government, had been refounded in connection with his mission to the southern Picts. In this work Columba had also the assistance of his friend Cainnech, whose Pictish descent would render his aid more effective. Cainnech appears to have founded a monastery in the east end of the province of Fife, not far from where the river Eden pours its waters into the German Ocean at a place called Rig-Monadh, or the royal mount, which afterwards became celebrated as the site on which the church of St. Andrews was founded, and as giving to that church its Gaelic name of Kilrimont. In the notice of Cainnech on 11th October in the Martyrology of Angus the Culdee, the following gloss is added: ‘And Achadh-bo is his principal church, and he has a Recles, or monastery, at Cill Rig-monaig in Alban. Once upon a time, when Cainnech went to visit Finnin, he asked him for a place of residence. I see no place here now, said Finnin, for others have taken all the places up before thee. May there be a desert place there, said Cainnech, that is, in Alban;’[275] and this seems to be alluded to in the Life of Cainnech when it is said, ‘Afterwards the Irish saints sent messengers to Cainnech, having learnt that he was living as a hermit in Britain; and Cainnech was then brought from his hermitage against his will.’[276] The churches dedicated 138to Moluog, to Drostan, to Machut the pupil of Brendan, and to Cathan, and the church founded at Dunblane by Blaan of Cinngaradh, the son of King Aidan and nephew of Cathan,[277] show the spread of the Columban Church in the territory of the southern Picts.

Visit of Saint Columba to Ireland.

In the latter years of his life we find Columba residing for a few months in the midland part of Ireland, and visiting the brethren who dwelt in the celebrated monastery of Clonmacnois. His reception there shows the estimation in which he was now held. ‘As soon as it was known that he was near, all flocked from their little grange farms near the monastery, and, along with those who were within it, ranged themselves with enthusiasm under the Abbot Alither; then, advancing beyond the enclosure of the monastery, they went out as one man to meet Columba, as if he were an angel of the Lord; humbly bowing down, with their faces to the ground, in his presence, they kissed him most reverently, and, singing hymns of praise as they went, they conducted him with all honour to the church. Over the saint, as he walked, a canopy made of wood was supported by four men walking by his side, lest the holy abbot Columba should be troubled by the crowd of brethren pressing upon him.’[278] In 593 Columba completed thirty years of his missionary work in Britain, and this seems to have given him a foreboding of his coming end;[279] but he survived four years longer, and then his thirty-four years’ pilgrimage in Britain was brought to its close with his life.

Last day of his life.

The touching narrative which both his biographers, Cummene and Adamnan, give of his last days has been 139often quoted; but it presents such a charming picture of what his life in the island was, that it may well be repeated here. In the year 597 Columba had reached his seventy-seventh year, and towards the end of May in that year, says Cummene, the man of God, worn with age and carried in a car, goes to visit the working brethren, who were, adds Adamnan, then at work on the western side of the island, and addresses them, saying, ‘During the Paschal solemnities in the month of April just past I could have desired to depart to Christ, but lest a joyous festival should be turned for you into mourning my departure has been deferred,’ Hearing these words, the brethren, or, as Adamnan calls them, the beloved monks, were greatly afflicted. The man of God, however, as he sat in his car, turned his face towards the east and blessed the island with its insular inhabitants. After the words of blessing, the saint was carried back to his monastery. On Sunday the second of June we find him celebrating the solemn offices of the eucharist, when, as his eyes were raised to heaven, the brethren observed a sudden expression of rapture on his face, which he explained to them was caused by his seeming to see an angel of the Lord looking down upon them within the church and blessing it, and who, he believed, had been sent on account of the death of some one dear to God, or, as Adamnan expresses it, ‘to demand a deposit dear to God, by which he understood was meant his own soul, as a deposit intrusted to him by God.’

Columba seems to have had a presentiment that the following Saturday would be his last day on earth, for, having called his attendant Diormet, he solemnly addressed him—‘This day is called in the sacred Scriptures the Sabbath, a day of rest; and truly to me this day will be a day of rest, for it is the last of my life, and in it I shall enter into my rest after the fatigues of my labours; and this night preceding Sunday I shall go the way of my fathers, for Christ already calls me, and thus it is 140revealed to me.’ These words saddened his attendant, but the father consoled him. Such is Cummene’s short narrative. Adamnan, who amplifies it, states that Columba had gone with his attendant Diormet to bless the nearest barn, which was probably situated close to the mill and not far from the present ruins. When the saint entered it, he blessed it and two heaps of winnowed corn that were in it, and gave thanks in these words, saying, ‘I heartily congratulate my beloved monks that this year also, if I am obliged to depart from you, you will have a sufficient supply for the year.’ According to Adamnan, it was in answer to a remark which this called forth from his attendant that he made the revelation to him, which he made him promise on his bended knees that he would not reveal to any one before his death. Adamnan then introduces after it the incident that Columba, in going back to the monastery from the barn, rested half-way at a place where a cross which was afterwards erected, and was standing to his day fixed into a millstone, might be observed at the side of the road; and there came to him a white pack-horse, the same that used, as a willing servant, to carry the milk vessels from the cowshed to the monastery. It came up to the saint, and, strange to say, laid its head on his bosom and began to utter plaintive cries and, like a human being, to shed copious tears on the saint’s bosom, foaming and greatly wailing. The attendant, seeing this, began to drive the weeping mourner away; but the saint forbade him, saying, ‘Let it alone, as it is so fond of me—let it pour out its bitter grief into my bosom. Lo! thou, as thou art a man and hast a rational soul, canst know nothing of my departure hence, except what I myself have just told you, but to this brute beast devoid of reason the Creator himself hath evidently in some way made it known that its master is going to leave it;’ and saying this the saint blessed the work-horse, which turned away from him in sadness.

141According to both Cummene and Adamnan, he then went out, and, ascending the hillock which overhangs the monastery,[280] he stood for some little time on its summit, and, uplifting his hands, he blessed his monastery; and, looking at its present position and future prospects, he uttered a prophecy, the terms of which Adamnan alone adds: ‘Small and mean though this place is, yet it shall be held in great and unusual honour, not only by the kings of the Scots with their people, but also by the rulers of foreign and barbarous nations and by their subjects; the saints also of other churches even shall regard it with no common reverence.’ After this, both biographers tell us, descending from the hill and returning to the monastery, he sat in his cell and transcribed the Psalter. When he came to that verse of the thirty-third Psalm (the thirty-fourth of our version) where it is written, ‘They that seek the Lord shall want no manner of thing that is good.’—‘Here,’ he said, ‘I think I can write no more: let Baithen write what follows.’ Having thus written the verse at the end of the page, he entered the holy church in order to celebrate the nocturnal vigils of the Lord’s Day; and, as soon as they were over, he returned to his cell and spent the rest of the night on his bed, where he had for his couch the bare ground, or, as Adamnan says, a bare flag, and for his pillow a stone. While reclining there, he commended his last words to his sons, or, as Adamnan says, to the brethren. ‘Have peace always and unfeigned charity among yourselves. The Lord, the Comforter of the good, will be your helper; and I, abiding with Him, will intercede for you that He may provide for you good 142things both temporal and eternal.’ Having said these words, St. Columba became silent. Then, as soon as the bell rang at midnight, rising hastily, he went to the church, and, running more quickly than the rest, he entered alone and knelt down in prayer beside the altar. Diormet, his attendant, however, following more slowly, saw from a distance the whole interior of the church filled at the same moment with a heavenly light; but, when he drew near to the door, the same light, which had also been seen by some of the brethren, quickly disappeared. Diormet, however, entering the church, cried out in a mournful voice, ‘Where art thou, father?’ and, feeling his way in the darkness, the lights not having yet been brought in by the brethren, he found the saint lying before the altar; and raising him up a little, and sitting down beside him, he laid his holy head on his bosom. Meantime the rest of the brethren ran in, and, beholding their father dying, whom living they so loved, they burst into lamentations. The saint, however, his soul having not yet departed, opened wide his eyes and looked around him from side to side as if seeing the holy angels coming to meet him. Diormet then, raising his right hand, urged him to bless the brethren; but the holy father himself moved his hand at the same time as well as he was able, and, having thus signified to them his holy benediction, he immediately breathed his last. His face still remained ruddy and brightened in a wonderful way from the heavenly vision: so that he had the appearance not so much of one dead as of one that sleepeth.’[281]

‘In the meantime,’ as both biographers inform us, ‘after the departure of his saintly soul, the matin hymns being 143finished, his sacred body was carried, the brethren chanting psalms, from the church to his cell, where his obsequies were celebrated with all due honour for three days and as many nights; and when these praises of God were finished, his holy body, wrapped in fine clean linen cloths’cloths’ and, Adamnan adds, placed in a coffin, or tomb,[282] prepared for it, was buried with all due veneration. The stone which St. Columba had used as a pillow was placed, as a kind of monument, at his grave, where it still stood in Adamnan’s day. His obsequies, which lasted three days and nights, were confined to the inhabitants of the island alone; for there arose a storm of wind without rain, which blew so violently during the whole time that no one could cross the sound in his boat;[283] but immediately after the interment the wind ceased and the storm was quelled, so that the whole sea became calm.

Character of St. Columba.

Columba died on Sunday morning the 9th of June in the year 597,[284] and left behind him an imperishable memory in the affections and veneration of the people whom he first 144brought over to the Christian faith. It is unfortunately the fate of all such men who stand out prominently from among their fellows and put their stamp upon the age in which they lived, that, as the true character of their sayings and doings fades from men’s minds, they become more and more the subject of spurious traditions, and the popular mind invests them with attributes to which they have no claim. When these loose popular traditions and conceptions are collected and become imbedded in a systematic biography, the evil becomes irreparable, and it is no longer possible to separate in popular estimation the true from the spurious. This has been peculiarly the case with Columba, and has led to a very false estimate of his character. It has been thus drawn by a great writer, in language at least of much eloquence:—‘He was vindictive, passionate, bold, a man of strife, born a soldier rather than a monk, and known, praised and blamed as a soldier—so that even in his lifetime he was invoked in fight; and continued a soldier, insulanus miles, even upon the island rock from which he rushed forth to preach, convert, enlighten, reconcile and reprimand both princes and nations, men and women, laymen and clerks. He was at the same time full of contradictions and contrasts—at once tender and irritable, rude and courteous, ironical and compassionate, caressing and imperious, grateful and revengeful—led by pity as well as by wrath, ever moved by generous passions, and among all passions fired to the very end of his life by two which his countrymen understand the best, the love of poetry and the love of country. Little inclined to melancholy when he had once surmounted the great sorrow of his life, which was his exile; little disposed, save towards the end, to contemplation or solitude, but trained by prayer and austerities to triumphs of evangelical exposition; despising rest, untiring in mental and manual toil, born for eloquence, and gifted with a voice so penetrating and sonorous that it was thought of afterwards as one 145of the most miraculous gifts that he had received of God; frank and loyal, original and powerful in his words as in his actions—in cloister and mission and parliament, on land and on sea, in Ireland as in Scotland, always swayed by the love of God and of his neighbour, whom it was his will and pleasure to serve with an impassioned uprightness. Such was Columba.’[285] Or rather, such is the Columba of popular tradition, described in the beautiful and forcible language of his most eloquent biographer; but much of this character is based upon very questionable statements, and, as the facts which appear to sanction it do not stand the test of critical examination, so the harder features of his character disappear in the earlier estimates of it. Adamnan says of him, ‘From his boyhood he had been brought up in Christian training, in the study of wisdom, and by the grace of God had so preserved the integrity of his body and the purity of his soul, that, though dwelling on earth, he appeared to live like the saints in heaven. For he was angelic in appearance, graceful in speech, holy in work, with talents of the highest order and consummate prudence; he lived during thirty-four years an island soldier. He never could spend the space even of one hour without study, or prayer, or writing, or some other holy occupation. So incessantly was he engaged night and day in the unwearied exercise of fasting and watching, that the burden of each of these austerities would seem beyond the power of all human endurance. And still, in all these, he was beloved by all; for a holy joy ever beaming on his face revealed the joy and gladness with which the Holy Spirit filled his inmost soul.’[286]

Dallan Forgaill, in the ancient tract called the Amra Choluimchille, speaks of him in the same strain. He describes 146his people mourning him who was ‘their souls’ light, their learned one—their chief from right—who was God’s messenger—who dispelled fears from them—who used to explain the truth of words—a harp without a base chord;—a perfect sage who believed Christ—he was learned, he was chaste—he was charitable—he was an abounding benefit of guests—he was eager—he was noble—he was gentle—he was the physician of the heart of every sage—he was to persons inscrutable—he was a shelter to the naked—he was a consolation to the poor;—there went not from the world one who was more continual for the remembrance of the cross.’[287] There is no trace here of those darker features of vindictiveness, love of fighting, and the remorse caused by its indulgence; nor do the events of his life, as we find them rather hinted at than narrated, bear out such an estimate of it. He was evidently a man of great force of character and determined zeal in effecting his purpose—one of those master-minds which influence and sway others by the mere force of contact; but he could not have been the object of such tender love and implicit devotion from all who came under the sphere of his influence, if the softer and more amiable features pictured in these earlier descriptions of him had not predominated in his character.

Three peculiarities he had, which led afterwards to a belief in his miraculous powers. One was his sonorous voice. Dallan Forgaill tells us

The sound of his voice, Columcille’s,
Great its sweetness above every company;
To the end of fifteen hundred paces—
Vast courses—it was clear.[288]

Adamnan includes this among his miraculous gifts, and adds that to those who were with him in the church his voice did not seem louder than that of others; and yet, at the same time, persons more than a mile away heard it so distinctly 147that they could mark each syllable of the verses he was singing, for his voice sounded the same whether far or near! He gives us another instance of it. Columba was chanting the evening hymns with a few of his brethren, as usual, near King Brude’s fortress, and outside the king’s fortifications, when some ‘Magi,’ coming near to them, did all they could to prevent God’s praises being sung in the midst of a pagan nation. On seeing this, the saint began to sing the 44th Psalm; and, at the same moment, so wonderfully loud, like pealing thunder, did his voice become, that king and people were struck with terror and amazement.[289] Another trait, which was ascribed to prophetic power, was his remarkable observation of natural objects and skill in interpreting the signs of the weather in these western regions. Dallan Forgaill says: ‘Seasons and storms he perceived, that is, he used to understand when calm and storm would come—he harmonised the moon’s cocircle in regard to course—he perceived its race with the branching sun—and sea course, that is, he was skilful in the course of the sea—he would count the stars of heaven.’[290] When Adamnan tells us that Baithene and Columban asked him to obtain from the Lord a favourable wind on the next day, though they were to sail in different directions, and how he promised a south wind to Baithene next morning till he reached Tiree, and told Columban to set out for Ireland at the third hour of the same day, ‘for the Lord will soon change the wind to the north,’[291] it required no more than great skill in interpreting natural signs to foretell a south wind in the morning and the return breeze three hours after. The third quality was a remarkable sagacity in forecasting probable events, and a keen insight into character and motives. How tales handed down of the exercise of such qualities should by degrees come to be held as proofs 148of miraculous and prophetic power, it is not difficult to understand.

Primacy of Iona and successors of St. Columba.

After Columba’s death, the monastery of Iona appears to have been the acknowledged head of all the monasteries and churches which his mission had established in Scotland, as well as of those previously founded by him in Ireland. To use the words of Bede, ‘This monastery for a long time held the pre-eminence over most of those of the northern Scots, and all those of the Picts, and had the direction of their people,’[292] a position to which it was entitled, as the mother church, from its possession of the body of the patron saint.[293] Of the subsequent abbots of Iona who succeeded Columba in this position of pre-eminency, Bede tells us that, ‘whatever kind of person he was himself, this we know of him for certain, that he left successors distinguished for their great charity, divine love and strict attention to their rules of discipline; following, indeed, uncertain cycles in their computation of the great festival (of Easter), because, far away as they were out of the world, no one had supplied them with the synodal decrees relating to the Paschal observance; yet withal diligently observing such works of piety and charity as they could find in the Prophetic, Evangelic and Apostolic writings.’[294]

A.D. 597-599.
Baithene, son of Brendan.

149According to the law which regulated the succession to the abbacy in these Irish monasteries, it fell to the tribe of the patron saint to provide a successor; and Baithene, the cousin and confidential friend and associate of Columba, and superior of his monastery of Maigh Lunge in Tiree, who was also of the northern Hy Neill, and a descendant of Conall Gulban, became his successor, ‘for,’ says the Martyrology of Donegal, ‘it was from the men of Erin the abbot of I was chosen, and he was most frequently chosen from the men of Cinel Conaill.’ He appears to have been designated by Columba himself as his successor, and to have been at once acknowledged by the other Columban monasteries; for Adamnan tells us that Finten, the son of Tailchen, had resolved to leave Ireland and go to Columba in Iona. ‘Burning with that desire,’ says Adamnan, ‘he went to an old friend, the most prudent and venerable cleric in his country, who was called in the Scotic tongue Columb Crag, to get some sound advice from him. When he had laid open his mind to him, he received the following answer: “As“As thy devout wish is, I feel, inspired by God, who can presume to say that thou shouldst not cross the sea to Saint Columba?” At the same moment two monks of Columba happened to arrive; and when they remarked about their journey, they replied, “We have lately come across from Britain, and to-day we have come from Daire Calgaich,” or Derry. “Is he well,” says Columb Crag, “your holy father Columba?” Then they burst into tears, and answered, with great sorrow, “Our patron is indeed well, for a few days ago he departed to Christ.” Hearing this, Finten and Columb and all who were there present fell on their faces on the ground and wept bitterly. Finten then asked, “Whom did he leave as his successor?” “Baithene, his disciple,” they replied. And we all cried out, “It is meet and right.” Columb said to Finten, “What wilt thou do now, Finten?” He answered, “With God’s 150permission, I will sail over to Baithene, that wise and holy man; and if he receive me, I will take him as my abbot.”’[295] Baithene enjoyed the abbacy, however, for two years only, and died in the year 599, on the same day of the year as Saint Columba, on which day his festival was likewise held.[296]

A.D. 599-605.
Laisren, son of Feradhach.

His successor was Laisren, son of Feradhach, who was also a descendant of Conall Gulban, and had been superior of Durrow during Columba’s life. It was in his time that the discussion commenced between the Roman and the Irish Church regarding the proper time for keeping Easter. The mission of Columbanus to Gaul in the year 590, and that of Augustine to Britain in 597, had now brought the Roman Church in contact with the British and Irish Churches, and this—the most salient point of difference between them—became at once the subject of a contest for the enforcement of uniformity on the one part, and the maintenance of their ancient customs, to which the Celtic mind clings with peculiar tenacity, on the other. Augustine, on his death in 604, was succeeded by one of his companions, named Laurentius; and this prelate, Bede tells us, ‘did not only attend to the charge of the new church that was gathered from the English people, but also regarded with pastoral solicitude the old natives of Britain, and likewise the people of the Scots who inhabit the island of Ireland adjacent to Britain. For observing that the practice and sentiments of the Scots in their own country, and also those 151of the Britons in Britain itself, were contrary to church order in many things, particularly because they used not to celebrate the solemnity of Easter at the proper time, but supposed, as we have shown above, that the day to be observed in commemoration of the Lord’s resurrection was included in the week from the fourteenth to the twentieth day of the moon, he, in conjunction with his fellow-bishops, wrote them a letter of exhortation, beseeching and entreating them to keep the bond of peace and Catholic observances with that church of Christ which is extended all over the world. The beginning of his letter is here given: “To“To our lords and most dear brethren the bishops or abbots throughout all Scotia (or Ireland), Laurentius, Mellitus and Justus, bishops, the servants of the servants of God. When the Apostolic See, according to her practice in all the world, stationed us in these western parts to preach to the pagan nations here, and so it came to pass that we entered into this island which is called Britain, before we were acquainted with it, supposing that they walked in the ways of the universal church, we felt a very high respect for the Britons as well as the Scots, from our regard to their sanctity of character; but when we came to know the Britons, we supposed the Scots must be superior to them. However, we have learned from Bishop Daganus coming into this island and Abbot Columbanus coming into Gaul, that the Scots differ not at all from the Britons in their habits. For Bishop Daganus, when he came to us, would not take meat with us, no, not so much as in the same lodging where we were eating.”’eating.”’[297] This letter does not appear to have had any effect; but it shows the spirit in which the two churches came into contact with each other.

A.D. 605-623.
Fergna Brit, son of Failbhe.

Laisren died in the following year.[298] His successor was Fergna Brit, or the Briton. From what he derived this epithet it is impossible to say, for certain it is 152that he also was of the tribe of the patron saint and a descendant of Conall Gulban. He had apparently been a pupil in the monastery of Iona during Columba’s life, and Adamnan mentions him as Virgnous—the Latin form of Fergna—‘a youth of good disposition, and afterwards made by God superior of this church in which I, though unworthy, now serve.’[299] In his time we again hear of two of the three great island monasteries which are specially mentioned in the Irish Annals. In 611 Tighernac records the death of Neman, bishop of Lismore; and in 617 of Donnan of Egg having been burnt on the fifteenth day before the kalends of May, or 17th April, with his martyr clerics.[300] The tale of their martyrdom is thus told in the gloss upon the Martyrology of Angus the Culdee already quoted. It says, ‘Donnan then went with his muintir, or monastic family, to the Gallgaedalu, or Western Isles, and they took up their abode there, in a place where the sheep of the queen of the country were kept. This was told to the queen. Let them all be killed, said she. That would not be a religious act, said her people. But they were murderously assailed. At this time the cleric was at mass. Let us have respite till mass is ended, said Donnan. Thou shalt have it, said they. And when it was over, they were slain every one of them,’ The Calendar of Marian Gorman has the following commemoration: ‘Donnan the great with his monks. Fifty-two were his congregation. There came pirates of the sea to the island in which they were, and slew them all. Eig is the name of that island.’[301] The island of Egg is the most easterly of a group of islands lying between the promontory of Ardnamurchan and the island of Skye. It faces a wild and rugged district on the mainland, extending from Ardnamurchan to Glenelg, still known by the name 153of the Garbhcriochan, or rough bounds. The Christian religion appears to have as yet hardly penetrated the western districts north of Ardnamurchan, as is indicated by the dedications of their churches. The island of Egg was probably at this time connected with this district as a pasture island reserved for their flocks of sheep; and, while the people would seem to have been favourable to the little Christian colony established in the island by Donnan, the rule had passed into the hands of a queen who was still pagan and employed pirates to destroy them, who burnt the wooden church in which they were celebrating the eucharist, and the whole community accordingly perished. We have also at this time a slight trace of the Columban Church in the eastern districts of the northern Picts in the Irish Annals, which record in 616 the death of Tolorggain or Talarican, who is associated in the Scotch Calendars with the Church of Fordyce on the south shore of the Moray Firth, and who gives his name to the great district of Cilltalargyn, or Kiltarlity, in the district of the Aird, extending from the river Ness to the bounds of Ross-shire.[302]

The only other event which took place while Fergna Brit was abbot was one which was destined to lead to a great extension of the Columban Church. In the year 617 there arrived at Iona some young and noble Angles of Bernicia. They were the sons of Aidilfrid, king of Bernicia, who, while still pagan, as were his people, had been slain by Aeduin, king of Deira. Bede tells us that his sons, with many of the youth of the nobility, took refuge among the Scots or Picts, where they lived in banishment during the whole of Aeduin’s reign, ‘and,’ says Bede, ‘were there catechised according to the doctrine of the Scots, and regenerated by the grace of baptism.’[303] Many of them were no 154doubt sent to the monastery of Iona to receive this catechetical instruction, and among them was certainly Osuald, the second son of Aidilfrid, who was at that time about thirteen years old, and who, we are expressly told, with his followers had, ‘when in banishment, received the sacraments of baptism among the seniors of the Scots,’ by whom those of the monastery of Iona are meant. He appears to have remained there during the rest of Fergna’s tenure of the abbacy, and the first ten years of that of his successor.

A.D. 623-652.
Segine, son of Fiachna.

Fergna died in the year 623,[304] and was succeeded by Segine, son of Fiachna and nephew of Laisren the third abbot, who of course also belonged to the tribe of the patron saint, the race of Conall Gulban. The presidency of Segine over the family of Iona was chiefly remarkable for two great events in two opposite directions. One was the extension of the Columban Church into the Anglic kingdom of Northumbria; the other, that a large section of the Irish Church conformed to Rome: and both events appear to have taken place at the same time.

A.D. 634.
Extension of Columban Church to Northumbria.

At the time that the sons of Aidilfrid fled from the face of King Aeduin, the latter and his people were still pagans; but the king having married the daughter of the Christian king of Kent, in the eleventh year of his reign he was converted to Christianity by the preaching of Paulinus, who had been ordained bishop by Archbishop Justus of Canterbury, and accompanied the queen to York. Aeduin was baptized at York on Easter Sunday in the year 627, ‘in the church of Saint Peter the apostle, which he himself had there built of timber whilst he was being catechised and instructed in order to receive baptism. In that city also he appointed the see for the bishopric of his instructor and bishop, Paulinus.’[305] The people of the two provinces of Bernicia and Deira followed their king, and ostensibly embraced Christianity. 155As soon as the news reached Rome that the nation of the Northumbrians with their king had been, by the preaching of Paulinus, converted to the faith of Christ, Honorius I., who was at that time Pope, sent the ‘pallium’ to Paulinus, and at the same time wrote letters of exhortation to King Aeduin, exhorting him with fatherly charity that his people should persist in and profess the faith of truth which they had received.[306] When this letter reached York, King Aeduin had been slain, the heathen Penda of Mercia and the apostate Caedwalla of Wales were in possession of the country, the infant Christian Church was trampled under foot, and Paulinus, with his ‘pallium,’ had fled back to Kent. After a year, in which the land had been given up to paganism, Osuald, who was now thirty years old, and to whom the right to the Anglic throne had opened by the death of his brother Ainfrid, invaded Northumbria, and won his kingdom by the battle of the Heavenly Field, at Denisburn, near Hexham. His first object was to restore the Christian Church which had been swept away; and for this purpose he naturally turned to the church where he himself had been trained in the Christian faith. As Bede tells us, ‘He sent to the seniors of the Scots, among whom himself and his fellow-soldiers, when in banishment, had received the sacrament of baptism, desiring they would send him a bishop, by whose instructions and ministry the Anglic nation which he governed might be taught the advantages of faith in the Lord and receive its sacraments. Nor were they slow in granting his request, but sent him Bishop Aidan, a man of singular meekness, piety and moderation.’[307] Bede further tells us that ‘it is reported that when King Osuald had asked a bishop of the province of the Scots to minister the word of faith to him and his nation, there was first sent another man of more austere disposition, who, after preaching for some time to the nation of the Angles and 156meeting with no success, and being disregarded by the Anglic people, returned home, and in an assembly of the seniors reported that he had not been able to do any good in instructing that nation he had been sent to preach to, because they were untameable men, and of a stubborn and barbarous disposition. They, as is testified, in a great council seriously debated what was to be done, being desirous of the good of the nation in the matter which it demanded, and grieving that they had not received the preacher sent to them. Then said Aidan, who was also present in the council, to the priest then spoken of, “I am of opinion, brother, that you were more severe to your unlearned hearers than you ought to have been, and did not at first, conformably to the apostolic discipline, give them the milk of more gentle doctrine, till, being by degrees nourished with the Word of God, they should be capable of greater perfection, and be able to practise God’s sublimer precepts.” Having heard these words, all who sat with him, turning on him their eyes, began diligently to weigh what he had said, and presently concluded that he deserved to be made a bishop, and ought to be sent to instruct the unbelievers and unlearned, since he was found to be endowed with the grace of a singular discretion, which is the mother of other virtues; and accordingly, being ordained, they sent him to preach.’[308] Bede adds that ‘most of those that had come to preach were monks, and that Bishop Aidan was himself a monk of the island called Hii, whose monastery for a long time held the pre-eminence over almost all those of the northern Scots, and all those of the Picts;’ and again, ‘that from the aforesaid island, and from this college of monks, was Aidan sent to instruct the province of the Angles in Christ, having received the episcopal grade. At this time Segine, abbot and priest, presided over that monastery.’ There can therefore be little doubt that the 157great council was held in Iona under the presidency of Abbot Segine; and it would almost appear that he himself had gone personally to Northumbria on the failure of the first mission, as Adamnan refers to a conversation which he says Abbot Failbe solemnly declared that he himself heard between King Osuald and Abbot Segine after the battle of the Heavenly Field had been fought.[309]

As the first missionary sent had been a priest, and the result of Aidan’s interposition was that all declared him worthy of the episcopate, there can be little doubt that, as we have already had occasion to show, the distinction of the orders and the superiority of the episcopal grade were fully recognised. By the custom of the Scottish Church, only one bishop was necessary for the consecration of another bishop. That there were bishops in the Columban Church we know, for Bede tells us that ‘all the province, and even the bishops, were subject to the abbot of Iona;’ and, as we have seen, two of the monasteries subject to Iona—Lismore and Cinngaradh, or Kingarth—had episcopal heads. There may have been an especial reason why it should be better that Aidan should have episcopal orders, which did not exist in the case of the Columban monasteries; for, as the head of a remote church, he might have to ordain priests from among his Anglic converts; while the Columban Church had Ireland at its back as a great storehouse of clerics, both bishops and priests. When, therefore, it is said that he received the episcopal grade, no doubt a bishop had been called in to consecrate him. But though he was thus enabled to exercise episcopal functions, in other respects the organisation of the church thus introduced into Northumbria, both with respect to jurisdiction and to its monastic character, was the same as that of the Columban Church at 158home; for, instead of fixing his episcopal seat at York, he followed the custom of the monastic church by selecting a small island near the Northumbrian coast, bearing the Celtic name of Inis Metcaud,[310] but known to the Angles as Lindisfarne, as the site of his monastery, which he was to rule as episcopal abbot. Bede tells us that, ‘on the arrival of the bishop, the king appointed him his episcopal see in the isle of Lindisfarne, as he himself desired; which place, as the tide flows and ebbs, twice a day is enclosed by the waves of the sea like an island, and again, twice in the day, when the shore is left dry, becomes contiguous to the land,’—a very apt description of the island, which is now called Holy Island; and Bede adds, in his Life of Cudberct, ‘And let no man marvel that in this same island of Lindisfarne, which is of very small extent, there should be, as we mentioned above, the seat of a bishop, and, at the same time, as we now state, the residence of an abbot and monks. For so it is, in truth. For one and the same habitation of the servants of God contains both at the same time. Yea, all whom it contains are monks; for Aidan, who was the first bishop of this place, was a monk, and was always wont to lead a monastic life, with all his people. Hence, after him, all the bishops of that place until this day exercise the episcopal functions in such sort, that, while the abbot, who is chosen by the bishop with the consent of the brethren, governs the monastery, all the priests, deacons, chanters, readers and the other ecclesiastical orders, with the bishop himself, observe in all things the monastic rule.’[311] This Northumbrian church was therefore an exact counterpart of the monastic church of which Iona was the head; and Bede bears a noble testimony to its efficiency as a missionary church. He says, ‘From that 159time many from the region of the Scots came daily into Britain, and with great devotion preached the word of faith to those provinces of the Angles over which King Osuald reigned; and those among them that had received priests’ orders administered to the believers the grace of baptism. Churches were built in several places; the people joyfully flocked together to hear the Word; possessions and lands were given of the king’s bounty to build monasteries; the younger Angles were by their Scottish masters instructed; and greater care and attention were bestowed upon the rules and observances of regular discipline.’[312]

A.D. 634.
Church of the southern Scots of Ireland conforms to Rome.

The same year which brought to Segine this important request from King Osuald of Northumbria brought him likewise a letter of not less importance, but one of a very different tenor, from the head of one of the dependent monasteries in Ireland. This letter[313] was written by Cummian, one of the most learned of the Irish ecclesiastics, and believed to have been abbot of the monastery of Durrow in King’s County, founded by Columba shortly before he passed over from Ireland to Iona; and it is still extant. It is addressed to the abbot ‘Segine, successor of Saint Columba, and other holy men, and to Beccan the anchorite, his dear brother according to the flesh and in the spirit, with his wise companions.’ In this letter he tells him that, when the Roman mode of computation was first introduced into Ireland, he did not adopt it; but, retiring in private for a year, he entered into the sanctuary of God, that is, the holy Scripture, and examined it as well as he was able; after that, works on history; lastly, whatever cycles he could meet with. He then gives a very learned summary of 160the result of his investigations which led him to adopt the Roman system as correct. When the year had expired, he says, he applied to the successors of our ancient fathers, of Bishop Ailbe, of Kieran of Clonmacnois, of Brendan, of Nessan and of Lugidus, that they might tell him what they thought of the excommunication directed against them from the Apostolic See; and they having assembled together, some in person, others by representatives, at Magh Lene, or the plain of Lene, in which the monastery of Durrow was situated, came to the resolution that they ought to adopt without scruple the more worthy and approved practice recommended to them by the successors of the apostles of the Lord. They accordingly enjoined him to celebrate Easter in the following year with the universal church. Not long after, however, there arose up a certain whited wall, pretending that he was for upholding the traditions of his elders, which caused disunion and partly rendered void what had been agreed to. Upon this it was determined by ‘our seniors’ that if questions of a more weighty character should arise, they ought to be referred, according to the decree of the synod, to the head of cities. They therefore sent some that they knew to be wise and humble, as children to a mother, and having a prosperous journey by the will of God, and some of them having come to the city of Rome, they returned in the third year, and they saw everything accord with what they had heard, or rather they obtained a much clearer view of the matter, as seeing instead of hearing; and, being in one lodging with a Greek and a Hebrew, a Scythian and an Egyptian, they all celebrated their Easter together in St. Peter’s Church, while they differed from them by a whole month. And they solemnly assured him of this, saying, This Easter is celebrated to our knowledge all the world over. ‘These statements,’ adds Cummian, ‘I have made, not with a view to attack you, but to defend myself.’ 161Such is the substance of Cummian’s letter;[314] and as the times for celebrating Easter according to the Roman and to the Irish computation would be separated by the interval of a month in the year 631,[315] the synod must have been held about 630, the return of the deputies taken place in 633, and the letter have been written in the following year. According to Bede, Pope Honorius in this year ‘wrote to the nation of the Scots, whom he had found to err in the observance of Easter, earnestly exhorting them not to esteem their small number, placed in the utmost borders of the earth, wiser than all the ancient and modern churches of Christ throughout the world, and not to celebrate a different Easter, contrary to the Paschal calculation and the synodical decrees of all the bishops upon earth;’[316] and the result was that, as Bede tells us, ‘the Scots which dwelt in the southern districts of Ireland, by the admonition of the bishop of the Apostolic See, learned to observe Easter according to the canonical custom;’ while the northern province of the Scots and the whole nation of the Picts adhered to the old custom of the country.[317]

The distinction here drawn by Bede between the Scots inhabiting the southern districts and the northern province of the Scots obviously refers to the old traditional division of Ireland into two parts, termed severally Leth Mogha and Leth Cuinn, which were divided from each other by a ridge extending from the mouth of the Liffey to Galway, and termed Eisgir Riada.[318] The southern districts were Munster and Leinster south of the Liffey. The northern division contained the rest of Leinster, Ulster and Connaught. Durrow, though a Columban monastery, was situated in the 162southern division, and probably now broke off from the jurisdiction of Iona and, along with the rest of the Irish Church in the southern division of Ireland, conformed to Rome.

We meet with a passing notice of the monastery of Lismore in the following year, when Tighernac records the death of its abbot Eochaidh; and in the same year Abbot Segine appears to have founded a church in Rechrann, or the island of Rathlin off the north coast of Ireland.[319]

Some years after a letter appears to have been sent from the Irish Church to Pope Severinus, who succeeded Honorius in 640, but died within the year, which called forth a reply from his successor John, while Pope-elect, by the person who had taken the letter, which Bede tells us was ‘full of great authority and erudition for correcting the same error,’ and at the same time admonished them to be careful to crush the Pelagian heresy, which, he had been informed, was reviving amongst them. Bede gives us the opening of this epistle thus:—‘To our most beloved and most holy Tomianus, Columbanus, Cromanus, Dinanus, and Baithanus, bishops; to Cromanus, Ernianus, Laistranus, Scellanus, and Segenus, priests; to Saranus and the rest of the Scottish doctors or abbots, greeting from Hilarius, the arch-priest and keeper of the place of the holy Apostolic See; from John, the deacon and elect in the name of God; from John the chief secretary and keeper of the place of the holy Apostolic See, and from John the servant of God and councillor of the same Apostolic See.’[320] These Scottish doctors or abbots, with Tomianus, who was bishop of Armagh, at their head, all belonged to the northern province, and this appeal had no effect in altering their relation towards the Church of Rome. But it is instructive to observe that Segenus or Segine, abbot of Iona, is placed among the clergy of the 163Irish Church, of which his monastery, with its dependent monasteries in Scotland, was ranked as forming a part. Ten years afterwards news came of the death of Aidan, after a sixteen years’ episcopate over the church of Northumbria; and Finan, ‘who had,’ says Bede, ‘been sent from Hii, the island and monastery of the Scots,’ succeeded him.[321]

A.D. 652-657.
Suibhne, son of Cuirtri.

Segine’s own death followed a year after. His successor was Suibhne, of whom we know nothing except that his father’s name was Cuirtri, but it is unlikely that at this early stage any one who did not belong to the tribe of the patron saint could be elected an abbot, and the only notice we have of him is his death after having been five years in the abbacy.[322]

A.D. 657-669.
Cummene Ailbhe, son of Ernan.

He was succeeded in the abbacy by Cummene Ailbhe, the nephew of his predecessor Segene, whose tenure of office was signalised by equally important events. His first year is coincident with the extension of the dominion of Osuiu, the Northumbrian king, over the Britons of Strathclyde, the southern Picts and the Scots of Dalriada; but, though the latter ceased for a time to possess an independent king, the rule of Northumbria could not have affected the church to which her own church was affiliated. Accordingly, when Finan, the successor of Aidan, died, we find that Colman was also ‘sent out of Scotia,’ and succeeded him as bishop.[323] Tighernac records, in the same year, the death of Bishop Finan and of Daniel, bishop of Cinngaradh or Kingarth, in Bute; and in the following year, a visit of Abbot Cummene to Ireland;[324] and, as Bede says of Finan that he was ordained and sent by the Scots, while, in the case of Colman, he uses the expression that he was sent 164out of Scotia, or Ireland, this rather confirms our suspicion that the bishops called in to consecrate these Northumbrian missionaries were the bishops of Kingarth, and that the death of Bishop Daniel in the same year rendered an appeal to Ireland necessary.

A.D. 664.
Termination of Columban Church in Northumbria.

While, however, Segine’s tenure of the abbacy saw the extension of the Columban Church into Northumbria, that of his nephew Cummene was doomed to see its extinction after it had for thirty years been the church of the country. The cause was the controversy regarding the proper time for celebrating Easter. It had been raised, during the episcopate of Finan, by some ecclesiastics who came from Kent or France; and among them, says Bede, ‘was a most zealous defender of the true Easter, whose name was Ronan, a Scot indeed by nation, but instructed in ecclesiastical truth either in the parts of France or of Italy, who, by disputing with Finan, corrected many, or at least induced them to make a more strict inquiry after the truth; yet he could not amend Finan, but on the contrary made him the more inveterate by reproof, and an open opposer of the truth, he being of a hot and violent temper.’[325] The royal family, too, were divided. The queen, Eanfled, being from Kent and having a Kentish priest, Romanus, with her, followed the Catholic mode, so that one year the king and queen both celebrated their Easter at different times. Under Colman the controversy became more bitter, and the king Osuiu and his son Alchfrid were now opposed to each other, the latter having been instructed in Christianity by Wilfrid, a most learned man, who had been originally trained in the Scottish monastery of Lindisfarne, but had gone from thence to Rome to learn the ecclesiastical doctrine, and spent much time at Lyons with Dalfin, archbishop of Gaul, from whom he had received the coronal tonsure. Agilberct, bishop of the West Saxons, a friend to Alchfrid and to Abbot Wilfrid, 165having come to Northumbria, suggested that a synod should be held to settle the controversy regarding Easter, the tonsure and other ecclesiastical affairs. This was agreed to; and it was accordingly held, in the year 664, at the monastery of Streanashalch, near Whitby, where the abbess Hilda, a woman devoted to God, then presided. The king Osuiu and his son Alchfrid were both present. On the Catholic side was Bishop Agilberct, with the priests Agatho and Wilfrid, James and Romanus. On the Scottish side was Bishop Colman with his clerics from Scotia, or Ireland, the abbess Hilda and her followers, and Bishop Cedd of Essex, who had been ordained by the Scots, and acted as interpreter for both parties. The king called upon Colman and Wilfrid to conduct the discussion. It is given at length by Bede, but it is unnecessary to say more than that the usual arguments were used. Colman pleaded that the Easter he kept he received from his elders; and all his forefathers, men beloved of God, are known to have celebrated it after the same manner. Wilfrid opposed the custom of the universal church and the authority of Rome. Colman asks, ‘Is it to be believed that our most reverend father Columba, and his successors, men beloved by God, who kept Easter after the same manner, thought or acted contrary to the divine writings? whereas there were many among them whose sanctity is testified by heavenly signs and the working of miracles which they performed, whose life, customs and discipline I never cease to follow, nor question their sanctity.’sanctity.’ Wilfrid replied, ‘Concerning your father Columba and his followers, whose sanctity you say you imitate and whose rule and precepts you observe, which have been confirmed by signs from heaven, I might answer that when many, on the day of judgment, shall say to our Lord that in his name they prophesied and cast out devils and wrought many wonders, our Lord will reply that He never knew them. But far be it from me that I should say 166so of your father, because it is more just to believe what is good than what is evil of persons whom one does not know. If that Columba of yours—and I may say ours also, if he were Christ’s—was a holy man and powerful in miracles, yet should he be preferred before the most blessed prince of the apostles, to whom our Lord had given the keys of the kingdom of heaven?’ And as Colman admitted that these words were spoken to Peter, and could not show that any such power was given to Columba, the king decided to obey the decrees of Rome, and all present gave their assent and, renouncing the more imperfect institution, hastened to conform themselves to that which they found to be better.[326] Bede then tells us ‘that Colman, perceiving that his doctrine was rejected and his sect despised, took with him such as were willing to follow him and would not comply with the Catholic Easter and the coronal tonsure—for there was much controversy about that also—and went back into Scotia, or Ireland, to consult with his people what was to be done in this case.’ And he adds that Colman carried home with him part of the bones of the most reverend father Aidan, and left part of them in the church where he had presided, ordering them to be interred in its sacristy.[327]

The character which this most candid historian gives of the church of the Scots in Northumbria so much reflects that of the parent church of Iona, that it may be well to insert it. He says of Bishop Colman, ‘How great was his parsimony, how great his continence, the place which they governed shows for himself and his predecessors, for there were very few houses besides the church found at their departure, indeed no more than were barely sufficient for their daily residence. They had also no money but cattle; for, if they received any money from rich persons, they immediately gave it to the poor, there being no need to 167gather money or provide houses for the entertainment of the great men of the world? for such never resorted to the church except to pray and hear the Word of God. For this reason the religious habit was at that time in great veneration, so that, wheresoever any cleric or monk happened to come, he was joyfully received by all persons, as God’s servant; and, if they chanced to meet him as he was upon the way they ran to him and, bowing, were glad to be signed with his hand or blessed with his mouth. Great attention was also paid to their exhortations; and on Sundays the people flocked eagerly to the church or the monasteries, not to feed their bodies, but to hear the Word of God; and, if any priest happened to come into a village the inhabitants flocked together forthwith to hear from him the Word of Life. For the priests and clerics went into the villages on no other account than to preach, baptize, visit the sick and, in few words, to take care of souls; and they were so free from the curse of worldly avarice, that none of them received lands and possessions for building monasteries, unless they were compelled to do so by the temporal authorities.’[328]

Though Bede tells us in general terms that Colman returned to Ireland, he did not actually do so till after four years; for he mentions afterwards that Colman ‘repaired first to the isle of Hii, or Iona, whence he had been sent to preach the word of God to the Anglic nation. Afterwards he retired to a certain small island which is to the west of Ireland, and at some distance from its coast, called, in the language of the Scots, Inisboufinde,’ and’ and Tighernac places this event in the year 668.[329] As he had taken the relics of Aidan with him, it was probably during this interval that he founded the church of Fearn in Angus, dedicated to 168Aidan, and the church of Tarbet, in Easter Ross, with which his own name is connected; and if he reported to Abbot Cummene, as no doubt he would, the discussion he had held with Wilfrid, and the appeal which he had made in vain to the authority of Columba as a man whose sanctity was testified by heavenly signs and the working of miracles, it probably led to Cummene’s writing the Life of their great saint, which Adamnan calls ‘the book which he wrote on the virtues of St. Columba,’[330] in vindication of the assertion. This Life is still extant, and the whole of it has been embodied in Adamnan’s more elaborate production. Tighernac records the death of Cummene in the year 669, and along with it those of two saints who belonged to the church among the southern Picts—Itharnan or Ethernanus, of Madderdyn, now Madderty in Strathearn, and Corindu, or Caran, of Fetteresso in the Mearns.[331]

A.D. 669-679.
Failbhe, son of Pipan.

His successor was Failbhe, son of Pipan, also a descendant of Conall Gulban, and the first year of his tenure of the abbacy also saw Wilfrid in possession of the diocese of York. According to Bede, he at this time administered the bishopric of York and of all the Northumbrians, and likewise of the Picts as far as the dominions of king Osuiu extended.[332] His diocese therefore comprehended the territories of the southern Picts, the Britons of Strathclyde and the Scots of Dalriada, over all of which King Osuiu had extended his rule. Wilfrid retained this extensive diocese during the entire period of Failbhe’s abbacy; and, so far as he could make his power felt, his influence would no doubt be exercised against the Columban Church; for, as Eddi tells us, ‘under Bishop Wilfrid the churches were multiplied both in the south among the Saxons and in the north among the Britons, Scots and Picts, Wilfrid having ordained everywhere 169presbyters and deacons, and governed new churches.’[333] But the territories of the northern Picts were beyond his reach; and Failbhe’s tenure of the abbacy is chiefly remarkable for the extension of the Columban Church to those rugged and almost inaccessible districts which lay on the western seaboard between Ardnamurchan on the south and Loch Broom on the north.

A.D. 673.
Foundation of church of Applecross by Maelrubha.

The principal agent in effecting this was Maelrubha, who was of the race of the northern Hy Neill, but belonged to a different sept from that which had the right of furnishing abbots to the monastery of Iona. He was connected through his mother with Comgall of Bangor, and became a member of that monastery which, as situated among the Picts of Ireland, well fitted him to be a missionary to those of the same race in Scotland. He came over to Britain in the year 671, and two years afterwards he founded the church of Aporcrosan, now Applecross,[334] from which as a centre he evangelised the whole of the western districts lying between Loch Carron and Loch Broom, as well as the south and west parts of the island of Skye, and planted churches in Easter Ross and elsewhere. The dedications to him show that his missionary work was very extensive. In the same year Failbhe went to Ireland, where he appears to have remained three years,[335] and was probably engaged in arrangements for extending the missionary work; for it is probably at this period that we must place the arrival of Comgan with his sister Kentigerna and her son Fillan in the district of Lochalsh, where they planted churches, as well as in the districts south of it as far as Loch Sunart.[336] At this time too the church in Egg appears to have been restored.[337] In 170the year 678 Wilfrid was ejected from his extensive bishopric, but Failbhe only survived this event one year, when his death is recorded; and at the same time we have a trace of the church in the eastern territories of the northern Picts, in the death of Neachtan Neir, who can be identified with the great saint of Deeside in Aberdeenshire, called by the people there, Nathalan, or Nachlan.[338]

A.D. 679-704.
Adamnan, son of Ronan.

We are now brought in our narrative to the very important period when Adamnan, the biographer of Columba, ruled over his monastery as ninth abbot. He was also a descendant of Conall Gulban, and belonged to the tribe of the patron saint. He was born in 624, just twenty-seven years after the death of Saint Columba. During the first six years of his abbacy, the rule of the Angles, under King Ecgfrid, still extended as far as it did during the reign of his father Osuiu. After the ejection of Wilfrid from the diocese in this its fullest extent, it was divided between Bosa and Eata, the latter being appointed bishop of the northern part; and three years afterwards it was still further divided, Trumuin being appointed bishop over the province of the Picts which was subject to the Angles. The defeat and death of King Ecgfrid, however, at the battle of Dunnichen in the year 685 terminated this rule of the Angles, and with it the interference of the Anglic bishops with the Columban Church. The Scots of Dalriada recovered their independence. The southern Picts were relieved from the more direct yoke of the Angles, and Trumuin fled from his diocese.

A.D. 686.
His first mission to Northumbria.

The new king Aldfrid had been long in exile in Ireland, where he was known by the name of Flann Finn, and Adamnan was on terms of friendly acquaintance with him. His first proceeding was to go on a mission to him to ask 171the release of the Irish captives whom Berct, King Ecgfrid’s general, had carried away from the plain of Breg; and the Irish Life of Adamnan gives us the route he took. It says ‘The North Saxons went to him and plundered Magh Bregh as far as Bealach-duin; they carried off with them a great prey of men and women. The men of Erin besought of Adamnan to go in quest of the captives to Saxonland. Adamnan went to demand the prisoners, and put in at Tracht-Romra. The strand is long, and the flood rapid; so rapid that if the best steed in Saxonland ridden by the best horseman were to start from the edge of the tide when the tide begins to flow, he could only bring his rider ashore by swimming, so extensive is the strand, and so impetuous is the tide.’ Adamnan appears therefore to have gone in his curach and entered the Solway Firth, which is evidently the place meant, and landed on the southern shore. He succeeded in his undertaking, and brought sixty of the captives back to their homes.[339]

Adamnan repairs the monastery of Iona.

His next step was to repair the monastery, which had probably fallen into disrepair during Failbhe’s time; and for this purpose he sent twelve vessels to Lorn for oak trees to furnish the necessary timber.[340] In this monastery he received Arculfus, a bishop of Gaul, who had gone to Jerusalem to visit the holy places, and returning home was driven by a violent storm on the west coast of Britain and made his way to Iona and passed the winter there. During the dreary winter months, Adamnan committed to writing all the information he could obtain from him as to the holy places; and this work is still extant.[341]

A.D. 688.
His second mission to Northumbria.

172In 688 Adamnan proceeded on a second mission to King Aldfrid, with what object is not known; but it appears to have been connected with the affairs of Dalriada. This second visit to Northumbria had very important consequences both for himself and for his church; for Bede tells us that ‘Adamnan, priest and abbot of the monks that were in the isle of Hii, was sent ambassador by his nation to Aldfrid, king of the Angles, where, having made some stay, he observed the canonical rites of the church, and was earnestly admonished by many who were more learned than himself not to presume to live contrary to the universal custom of the church in relation to either the observance of Easter or any other decrees whatsoever, considering the small number of his followers, seated at so distant a corner of the world. In consequence of this he changed his mind, and readily preferred those things which he had seen and heard in the churches of the Angles to the customs which he and his people had hitherto followed. For he was a good and a wise man, and remarkably learned in the knowledge of the Scriptures;’[342] and Abbot Ceolfrid of Jarrow, in his letter to King Naiton of the Picts, who calls him ‘Adamnan, the abbot and renowned priest of the Columbans,’ says that he visited his monastery, and narrates at length the conversation he had with him, to which he attributes Adamnan’s conversion.[343] ‘Returning home,’ continues Bede, ‘he endeavoured to bring his own people that were in Hii, or that were subject to that monastery, into the way of truth, which he himself had learned and embraced with all his heart; but in this he could not prevail.’ We have thus the anomalous state of matters that the abbot of the monastery had conformed to Rome, but that his monks and those of the dependent monasteries refused to go along with him. In the year after his return to Iona, the death of 173Iolan, bishop of Cinngaradh, or Kingarth in Bute, is recorded; and in 692, which the annalist marks as the fourteenth after the decease of his predecessor Failbhe, he went to Ireland, but for what especial purpose which might render the reference to Failbhe appropriate, we do not learn; and the following year we find him again in Iona, when the body of Brude mac Bile, king of the Picts, who died in 693, is brought for interment.[344]

A.D. 692.
Synod of Tara. The northern Scots, with the exception of the Columban monasteries, conform to Rome.

Four years after, in the year 697, he goes again to Ireland, and on this occasion he was accompanied by Brude, son of Derile, king of the Picts. His object was to obtain the sanction of the Irish people to a law exempting women from the burden laid upon all, of what was called Fecht and Sluagad, or the duty attending hostings and expeditions. For this purpose a synod was held at Tara, which was attended by thirty-nine ecclesiastics presided over by the abbot of Armagh, and by forty-seven chiefs of tribes, at the head of whom was the monarch of Ireland. The law exempting women from this burdensome duty was termed ‘Lex innocentium;’ and the enactments of the synod were called Cain Adhamhnain or ‘Lex Adamnani,’ because among its results was the privilege of levying contributions under certain conditions.[345] In the list of those present occurs the name of Brude mac Derili ri Cruithentuaithe, or King of Pictland. It is to the occasion of this visit to Ireland that must be referred the statement of Bede that ‘he then sailed over into Ireland to preach to those people, and, by modest exhortation declaring the true time of Easter, he reduced many of them, and almost all that were not under the dominion of those of Hii, from their ancient error to the Catholic unity, and taught them to keep the 174proper time of Easter. Returning to his island after having celebrated Easter in Ireland canonically, he most earnestly inculcated the observance of Easter in his monastery, yet without being able to prevail; and it so happened that he departed this life before the next year came round. For the divine goodness so ordained it that, as he was a great lover of peace and unity, he should be taken away to everlasting life before he would be obliged, on the return of the time of Easter, to have still more serious discord with those that would not follow him in the truth.’[346] It would therefore appear that Adamnan did not return to Iona till the year of his death, which took place on the 23d of September in the year 704, and in the seventy-seventh year of his age.[347]

At what period of Adamnan’s abbacy he wrote his life of the patron saint and founder of the monastery cannot be fixed with any accuracy, but it was after his visit to Aldfrid in 688; and, as he states that he did so at the urgent request of his brethren, and alludes incidentally to the discord which arose among the churches of Ireland on account of the difference with regard to the Easter feast, it was probably compiled before the same discord had arisen between the brethren of Iona and himself as their abbot.[348] Neither can the precise period be fixed when he founded those churches in the eastern districts which are dedicated to him; but no doubt, after the termination of the Anglic rule over the southern Picts and Scots of Dalriada, he would be desirous to strengthen the Columban Church; and his relations with the kings of the Picts who reigned after the overthrow of the Angles were, as we have seen, 175cordial and friendly. In this work he appears to have been assisted by the family who had already evangelised the rugged district termed the ‘Rough Bounds,’ as the churches dedicated to them and him are found adjacent to each other. Among the northern Picts, Adamnan’s principal church was that of Forglen on the east bank of the river Doveran, in which the Brecbannoch, or banner of Columba, was preserved; and separated from it by the same river is Turriff, dedicated to Comgan. South of the range of the Mounth Adamnan’s most important foundation was the monastery of Dull in the district of Atholl, which was dedicated to him, and to which a very extensive territory was annexed; and closely contiguous to it was the district of Glendochart, with its monastery dedicated to Fillan, whose name is preserved in Strathfillan. Fillan again appears in Pittenweem on the south coast of the peninsula of Fife; and in the Firth of Forth which it bounds is Inchkeith, ‘on which Saint Adamnan the abbot presided.’[349]

A.D. 704-717.
Schism at Iona after death of Adamnan.

Adamnan, though, as Bede says, a man of peace and providentially removed before the coming Easter, when matters would have been brought to a crisis between him and his recalcitrant monks, seems notwithstanding to have left a legacy of discord behind him. For the first time since the foundation of the monastery of Iona, we find in the successor of Adamnan an abbot who was not a descendant of Conall Gulban. Conmael, son of Failbhe, was of the tribe of Airgialla in Ireland, who were descended from Colla Uais; but three years after Adamnan’s death we find Duncadh, who belonged to the tribe of the patron saint, obtaining the abbacy. Then three years after we have the death of Conmael as abbot of Iona. After his death appears Ceode, bishop of Iona, who dies in 712, and in 713 Dorbeni obtains the chair of Iona, but after five months’ possession of 176the primacy dies on Saturday the 28th of October in the same year. During the whole of this time, however, Duncadh is likewise abbot.[350] The explanation seems to be that the community of Iona had become divided on the subject of the Easter question, and that a party had become favourable to Adamnan’s views. As he had not succeeded in bringing over any of the Columban monasteries, they were driven to obtain an abbot elsewhere, and procured the nomination of Conmael; while the opposing party having got the upper hand three years after, Duncadh, the legitimate successor of the line of Conall Gulban, obtained the abbacy, and there was thus a schism in the community—one section of them celebrating their Easter after the Roman system, who had at their head Conmael, Ceode the bishop, and Dorbeni; and the other and more powerful section maintaining, under the presidency of Duncadh, the old custom of their church. After narrating how ‘at that time,’ that is, in 710, ‘Naiton‘Naiton, king of the Picts who inhabit the northern parts of Britain, taught by frequent study of the ecclesiastical writings, renounced the error by which he and his nation had till then been held in relation to the observance of Easter, and submitted, together with his people, to celebrate the Catholic time of our Lord’s resurrection,’ Bede closes his notices of the monastery of Iona by telling us that ‘not long after, those monks also of the Scottish nation who lived in the isle of Hii, with the other monasteries that were subject to them, were, by the procurement of our Lord, brought to the canonical observance of Easter and the right mode of tonsure. For in the year after the incarnation of our Lord 716, the father and priest Ecgberct, beloved of God 177and worthy to be named with all honour, coming to them from Ireland, was very honourably and joyfully received by them. Being a most agreeable teacher and most devout in practising those things which he taught, he was willingly heard by all; and, by his pious and frequent exhortations he converted them from the inveterate tradition of their ancestors. He taught them to perform the principal solemnity after the Catholic and apostolic manner;’ and Bede adds, ‘The monks of Hii, by the instruction of Ecgberct, adopted the Catholic rites, under Abbot Dunchad, about eighty years after they had sent Bishop Aidan to preach to the nation of the Angles.’[351] It is rarely, however, that, when a change is proposed in matters of faith or practice, a Christian community is unanimous, and there is always an opposing minority who refuse their assent to it. So it must have been here, for in the same passage in which Tighernac notices the adoption of the Catholic Easter in 716 he adds that Faelchu mac Dorbeni takes the chair of Columba in the eighty-seventh year of his age, and on Saturday the 29th of August; while he records the death of Abbot Duncadh in the following year.[352] We have here again a schism in the community; and no sooner does Abbot Duncadh with his adherents go over to the Roman party, than the opposing section adopt a new abbot.

A.D. 717
Expulsion of the Columban monks from the kingdom of the Picts.

The greater part, if not the whole, of the dependent monasteries among the Picts seem to have resisted the change, and to have refused obedience to the decree which Bede tells us King Naiton had issued, when ‘the cycles of nineteen years were forthwith by public command sent throughout all the provinces of the Picts to 178be transcribed, learned and observed;’ for we are told by Tighernac that in 717, when Abbot Duncadh had died and Faelchu remained alone in possession of the abbacy, the family of Iona were driven across Drumalban by King Naiton. In other words, the whole of the Columban monks were expelled from his kingdom;[353] and there is reason to think that Faelchu had been at the head of one of these dependent monasteries in the territories of the northern Picts.[354] It is possible that the monks of the monasteries recently established among the southern Picts by Adamnan may have conformed; but those of the older foundations, such as Abernethy and Cillrigmonadh, or St. Andrews, were probably driven out; and thus with the expulsion of the family of Iona terminated the primacy of its monastery over the monasteries and churches in the extensive districts of the east and north of Scotland which formed at that time the kingdom of the Picts.


252. Exceptis duobus populis, hoc est, Pictorum plebs et Scotorum Britanniæ, inter quos utrosque Dorsi montes Britannici disterminant.... Cujus (Columbæ) monasteria intra utrorumque populorum terminos fundata ab utrisque ad præsens tempus valde sunt honorificata.—B. ii. c. 47·

253. For an account of the remains on this island, see p. 97.

254. See Dr. Reeves’s Adamnan, ed. 1874, App. I. p. 306.

255. Adamnan, B. ii. 23, 25.

256. Ib., B. i. cc. 24, 41; B. ii. c. 15; B. iii. c. 8. See ed. 1874, Appendix I., for an account of the monasteries in Tiree.

257. Ib., B. i. c. 29.

258. Ib., B. i. c. 35.

259. Adamnan, B. i. c. 15.

260. Ib., B. i. c. 24.

261. See Reeves’s Adamnan, ed. 1874, App. No. I., for an account of the remains on this island.

262. Vit. S. Kannechi, cc. 19, 27, 28.

263. Adamnan, B. ii. c. 17; i. 25; ii. 32.

264. See the edition of 1874, p. 274, for a description of these ruins in Skye.

265. 592 Obitus Lugdach Lissmoir .i. Moluoc.Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 67.

266. Colgan, Tr. Th., p. 481. Obits of Christ Church, Dublin, p. 65.

267. Colgan, A.SS., p. 233.

268. Reeves’s Adamnan, ed. 1874, p. 293.

269. Cetrar for coicait lotar hi martrai la Donnan Ega.

270. Book of Deer, published by the Spalding Club in 1869, p. 91.

271. 584 Mors Bruidhe mac Maelchon Rig Cruithneach.—Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 67.

272. Adamnan, B. ii. c. 34.

273. Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 201. Constantin reigned from 790 to 820 and Gartnaidh from 584 to 599, which places the foundation of Abernethy during the ten years from 584 to 596.

274. Amra Columcille, by O’Beirne Crowe, pp. 29, 63.

275. Introduction to Obits of Christ Church, by Dr. Todd, p. lxxvii.

276. Vit. S. Cainneci in Archbishop Marsh’s Library, Dublin, cap. 19. The Breviary of Aberdeen gives his festival as ‘Sancti Caynici abbatis qui in Kennoquy in diocesi Sancti Andree pro patrono habetur.’Pars Æstiv. for cxxv.

277. Blaan is mentioned in the Martyrology of Angus the Culdee, at 10th August as ‘Blann the wild of Cinngaradh;’ and the gloss adds, ‘i.e. bishop of Cinngaradh, i.e. Dumblaan is his chief city, and he is also of Cinngaradh in the Gall-Gaedelu, or Western Isles.’—Int. to Obits of Christ Church, p. lxviii.

278. Adamnan, B. i. c. 3. Alither became fourth abbot of Clonmacnois on 12th June 585, and died in 599.—Reeves’s Adamnan, orig. ed., p. 24, note.

279. Adamnan, B. iii. c. 23.

280. This little hill is twice mentioned by Adamnan. In B. i. c. 24, he describes the saint as ‘in cacumine sedens montis qui nostro huic monasterio eminus supereminet;’ and on this occasion he has ‘monticellum monasterio supereminentum ascendens in vertice ejus paululum stetit.’ If the monastery and Columba’s cell have been rightly placed, it must have been the rocky knoll behind Clachanach called Cnoc an bristeclach.

281. Vit. Columbæ, autore Cummenio, apud Pinkerton, Vitæ Sanctorum, cc. 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22. Adamnan, B. iii. c. 24. Cummene’s account is enlarged by Adamnan, and he has added the visit to the barn and the incident of the white horse; but, as Cummene wrote so much earlier, it has been thought desirable to discriminate between the two accounts.

282. Adamnan’s word is ‘Ratabusta,’ an unknown word either in classical or mediæval Latin; and it appears to have puzzled the transcribers, as other MSS. read ‘Rata busta’ ‘Intra busta,’ ‘In rata tabeta.’ The Bollandists propose ‘Catabusta.’ Bustum is used for a sepulchre; and Ducange has Busticeta, which he defines ‘sepulchra antiqua,’ ‘sepulchra in agro.’ Dr. Reeves thinks it is used here for a coffin.

283. This frequently happens when the wind blows strongly from the south-west.

284. St. Columba’s day was the 9th of June, and the year on which he died is determined by the consideration of whether he must be held to have died on Saturday evening or on Sunday morning. If on Sunday, then the 9th of June fell on a Sunday in the year 597. If on Saturday, then the 9th of June fell on a Saturday in 596. The former is most consistent with Adamnan’s narrative, who places his death after midnight, and states the duration of his life in Iona at 34 years, which, added to 563, gives us the year 597. Bede’s statement, though made on different data, brings us to the same year. He brings him over in 565, but gives 32 years as the duration of his life after, which also brings us to 597. Tighernac seems to have adopted the other view, for he says that he died on the eve of Whitsunday, ‘in nocte Dominica Pentecosten,’ and Whitsunday fell on the 10th of June 596; but this is inconsistent with his other statement, that he came over to Britain in 563, and died in the thirty-fifth year of his pilgrimage, which brings us to 597.

285. Montalembert’s Monks of the West, vol. iii. p. 269. Montalembert accepts the whole of O’Donnel’s biography of St. Columba as true.

286. Adamnan, Pref. 2. His expression ‘insulanus miles’ has been entirely misunderstood by Montalembert.

287. Amra Choluimchille, by O’Beirne Crowe, pp. 27, 39, 49, 51, 53, 65.

288. Ib., p. 39.

289. Adamnan, B. i. c. 29.

290. Amra Choluimchille, pp. 43, 45.

291. Adamnan, B. ii. c. 14.

292. Bede, Η. E., B. iii. c. 3.

293. Bede seems to refer to this when he says, ‘in quibus omnibus idem monasterium insulanum, in quo ipse requiescit corpore, principatum teneret.’—B. iii. c. 4.

294. The expression, ‘whatever kind of person he was himself,’—verum qualiscumque fuerit ipse,—has been held to imply that Bede had no great opinion of St. Columba’s sanctity, or, at all events, referred to traits in his character which were unfavourable, and Dr. Reeves suggests that he may refer to current stories of the saint’s imperious and vindictive temper; but the expression appears to the author to refer to the immediately preceding sentence—‘de cujus vita et verbis nonnulla a discipulis ejus feruntur scripta haberi’—which surely refers to the Lives by Cummene and Adamnan. As Bede was acquainted with Adamnan’s work on the Holy Places, he could hardly have been ignorant of his Life of St. Columba; and probably all Bede meant to express was that he had some hesitation in accepting as true all that Adamnan said of him.

295. Adamnan, B. i. c. 2. It is unnecessary to follow Finten’s proceedings further. He is the Finten, surnamed Munnu, who founded Tach Munnu, now Taghmon, in Ireland, and to whom the churches of St. Mund in Lochleven and Kilmund in Cowal were dedicated.

296. 598 Quies Baethin abbatis Ea anno lxvi etatis sue.Tigh. Tighernac antedates the deaths of Columba and Baithene one year. The Martyrology of Donegal records two anecdotes of him. ‘When he used to eat food, he was wont to say Deus in adjutorium meum intende between every two morsels. When he used to be gathering corn along with the monks, he held one hand up beseeching God, and another hand gathering corn.’—Mart. Don. p. 165.

297. Bede, Η. E., B. ii. c. 4.

298. 605 Obitus Laisreni abbatis Iae.Tigh.

299. Adamnan, B. iii. c. 20.

300. 611 Neman Abbas Lesmoir.Tigh. 617 Combustio Donnain Ega hi xv kalendas Mai cum clericis martiribus.—Tigh. Chron. Picts and Scots, pp. 68, 69.

301. Dr. Reeves’s Adamnan, 1874, p. 294.

302. Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 168. Bishop Forbes’s Calendars, p. 449.

303. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. iii. c. 1.

304. 623 Bass Fergna abbas Iae.Tigh.

305. Bede, Η. E., B. ii. c. 14.

306. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. ii. c. 17.

307. Ib., B. iii. c. 3.

308. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. iii. c. 5.

309. ‘Hanc mihi Adamnano narrationem meus decessor, noster abbas Failbeus, indubitanter enarravit, qui se ab ore ipsius Ossualdi regis Segineo abbati eamdem enuntiantis visionem audisse protestatus est.’est.’Adamnan, B. i. c. 1.

310. 632 Inis Metgoit fundata est.Tigh. Tighernac antedates at this period transactions in Northumbria by about three years.

311. Bede in Vit. S. Cudbercti, c. xvi.

312. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. iii. c. 3.

313. The title of the letter is—‘In nomine Divino Dei summi confido. Dominis sanctis et in Christo venerandis Segieno abbati, Columbæ Sancti et cæterorum sanctorum successori, Beccanoque solitario, charo carne et spiritu fratri, cum suis sapientibus, Cummianus supplex peccator, magnis minimus, apologeticam in Christo salutem.’

314. The letter is printed at length in Usher’s Veterum Epistolarum Hibernicarum Sylloge, p. 24, and in Migne’s Patrologia, vol. xxxviii.

315. According to the Irish method Easter in 631 fell on 21st April, according to the Roman on the 24th of March.

316. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. ii. c. 19.

317. Ib., B. iii. c. 3.

318. Keating’s History of Ireland, cap. ii. § 7.

319. 635 Seigine abbas Ie ecclesiam Recharnn fundavit. Eocha abbas Lismoir quievit.Tigh.

320. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. ii. c. 19.

321. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. iii. c. 17. 651 Quies Aidain episcopi Saxan.—Tigh.

322. 652 Obitus Seghine abbas Iea .i. filii Fiachna.Tigh.

657 Quies Suibne mic Cuirthre abbatis Iea.—Tigh.

323. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. iii. c. 25.

324. 660 Obitus Finain mac Rimeda episcopi et Daniel episcopi Cindgaradh.

661 Cuimine abbas ad Hiberniam venit.Tigh.

325. Bede, H. E., B. iii. c. 25.

326. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. iii. c. 25.

327. Ib., c. 26.

328. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. iii. c. 26.

329. Ib., B. iv. c. 4.

A.D. 668 Navigatio Colmani episcop cum reliquiis sanctorum ad insulam vacce albe in qua fundavit ecclesiam.Tigh.

330. Adamnan, B. iii. c. 6.

331. A.D. 669 Obitus Cumaine Ailbe abbatis Iea. Itharnan et Corindu apud Pictores defuncti sunt.Tigh.

332. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. iv. c. 3.

333. Eddii Vit. S. Wilf., c. xxi.

334. A.D. 671 Maelruba in Britanniam navigat.

A.D. 673 Maelruba fundavit ecclesiam Aporcrosan.Tigh.

335. A.D. 673 Navigatio Failbe abbatis Iea in Hiberniam. A.D. 676 Failbe de Hibernia revertitur.Tigh.

336. Bishop Forbes, Scottish Calendars, pp. 310-341.

337. Dr. Reeves’s Adamnan, ed. 1874, p. 296.

338. A.D. 674 Quies Failbe abbatis Iea. Dormitatio Nechtain.Tigh. He appears in the Felire of Angus on 8th January as Nechtain Nair de albae, which is glossed Anair de Albain—from the east, from Alban.

339. A.D. 687 Adamnanus captivos reduxit ad Hiberniam lx.Tigh. Reeves’s Adamnan, ed. 1874, p. cli. Adamnan alludes to this mission, B. ii. c. 1.

340. Adamnan, B. ii. c. 46. Boece states that the monastery was rebuilt by Maelduin, king of Dalriada, whose death is recorded by Tighernac in 690. He therefore reigned at the very time when Adamnan was abbot, and this fixes the date of these repairs as between 687 and 690.

341. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. v. c. 15. Reeves’s Adamnan, ed. 1874, p. clxi.

342. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. v. c. 15.

343. Ib. c. 21. He calls him ‘Abbas et sacerdos Columbiensium egregius.’

344. A.D. 689 Iolan episcopus Cindgaradh obiit. 692 Adamnanus xiiii annis post pausam Failbe Ea ad Hiberniam pergit.Tigh. See Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 408.

345. Dr. Reeves’s Adamnan, ed. 1874, p. clvi. A.D. 697 Adamnan tuc recht lecsa in Erind an bliadhna seo (brought a law with him this year to Ireland).—Tigh.

346. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. v. c. 15.

347. A.D. 704 Adamnanus lxxvii anno ætatis suæ, in nonas kalendis Octobris, abbas Ie, pausat.Tigh.

348. See Adamnan, Pref. i. and B. i. c. 3. Dr. Reeves considers that it was written between the years 692 and 697, but it was more probably compiled immediately after his return from England in 688, and before his visit to Ireland in 692.

349. ‘Inchekethe, in qua præfuit Sanctus Adamnanus abbas.’Scotichronicon, B. i. c. 6.

350. A.D. 707 Dunchadh principatum Iae tenuit.Tigh.

710 Conmael mac abbatis Cilledara Iae pausat.Tigh.

712 Ceode episcopus Iea pausat.Tigh.

713 Dorbeni cathedram Iae obtinuit, et v. mensibus peractis in primatu v kalendis Novembris die Sabbati obiit.Tigh. The 28th day of October fell on a Saturday in the year 713. The passage recording the death of Conmael is corrupt.

351. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. v. c. 22.

352. A.D. 716 Pasca in Eo civitate commotatur. Faelchu mac Doirbeni cathedram Columbæ lxxxvii ætatis anno, in iiii kal. Septembris die Sabbati suscepit.Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 73. The 29th day of August fell on a Saturday in the year 716.

A.D. 717 Dunchadh mac Cindfaeladh abbas Ie obiit.Ib. p. 74.

353. A.D. 717 Expulsio familiæ Ie trans dorsum Britanniæ a Nectono rege.Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 74.

354. In the Breviary of Aberdeen is the legend of S. Volocus, patron saint of Dunmeth and Logy in Mar, both in Aberdeenshire. Volocus is the Latin form of Faelchu, as Vigeanus is of Fechin, Vynanus of Finan, and Virgilius of Fergal.

Map illustrating History of Monastic Church prior to the 8th Century

MAP
illustrating History of
MONASTIC CHURCH
prior to 8th. Century

J. Bartholomew, Edin.

179

CHAPTER V.

THE CHURCHES OF CUMBRIA AND LOTHIAN.

A.D. 573.
Battle of Ardderyd. Rydderch Hael becomes king of Strathclyde.

Ten years after the landing of St. Columba in Iona the great battle of Ardderyd, or Arthuret, was fought between the pagan and the Christian parties in Cumbria; and the same year which saw Aidan, who had taken part in it, inaugurated by St. Columba as independent king of Dalriada, likewise witnessed the establishment of another of the chiefs who fought in that battle, Rydderch Hael, or the Liberal, as Christian king of Strathclyde, and the restoration of a Christian Church to its Cumbrian population. As Columba was the founder of the Christian Church among the northern Picts, so Kentigern was the great agent in the revolution which again christianised Cumbria. We are not, however, so fortunate in the biographers of Kentigern as we are in those of Columba. While those of the latter lived when the memory of his words and acts was still fresh in the minds of his followers, Kentigern found no one to record the events of his life till upwards of five centuries had elapsed after his death. A fragment of the life which had been used by John of Fordun and a complete biography by Jocelyn of Furness are all we possess, but neither of them was compiled before the twelfth century.[355]

Oldest account of birth of Kentigern.

180The older life, of which a fragment only remains, states that ‘a certain king Leudonus, a man half pagan, from whom the province over which he ruled in northern Britannia obtained the name of Leudonia, had a daughter under a stepmother, and the daughter’s name was Thaney.’ This girl, having become Christian, ‘meditated upon the virginal honour and maternal blessedness of the most holy Virgin Mary,’ and desired, like her, to bring forth one who would be for the honour and salvation of her nation in these northern parts. She ‘had a suitor, Ewen, the son of Erwegende, sprung from a most noble stock of the Britons,’ but she refused to marry him; upon which the king her father gave her the alternative of either marrying him or being handed over to the care of a swineherd, and she chose the latter. The swineherd was secretly a Christian, having been converted by Servanus, a disciple of Palladius, and respected her wishes. Her suitor Ewen, however, succeeded by a stratagem in violating her in a wood, and she became with child, upon which her father ordered her to be stoned according to the laws of the country; but as none of the officers presumed to cast stones at one of the royal family, she was taken to the top of a hill called Kepduf and precipitated from it; having made the sign of the cross, however, she came down to the foot of the mountain unhurt. The king then ordered her to be given over to the sea, saying, ‘If she be worthy of life, her God will free her from the peril of death, if He so will.’ They brought her, therefore, to the firth, which is about three miles from Kepduf, to the mouth of a river called Aberlessic, where she was put into a curach, that is, a boat made of hides, and carried out into deep water beyond the Isle of May. She remained all night alone in the midst of the sea, and when morning dawned she was in safety cast on the sand at Culenros, which, according to sailors’ computation, is thirty miles distant from the Isle of May. Here she 181suffered the pains of labour; and, as she lay on the ground, suddenly a heap of ashes which the day before had been gathered together close to the shore by some shepherds, was struck by a gust of the north wind, which scattered around her the sparks which lay hid within it. When, therefore, she had found the fire, the pregnant young woman dragged herself at once, as best she could, to the place indicated by God, and in her extreme necessity, with anxious groans, she made a little heap with the wood which had been collected the day before by the foresaid shepherds to prepare the fire. Having lighted the fire, she brought forth a son, the chamber of whose maturity was as rude as that of his conception. Some herds found her there with the child, and while some gave her food, others went straight to the blessed Servanus, who at that time was teaching the Christian law to his clerics, with one accord saying, ‘Sir, thus and thus have we found;’ to whom the saint said, A Dia cur fir sin, which in Latin means ‘O utinam si sic esset,’esset,’[356] and the youths replied, ‘Yea, father, it is a true tale and no fable which we tell; therefore we pray you, sir, come and see, that thy desire may without delay be satisfied;’ and he also, when he had learnt the order of the events, rejoiced with great joy, and said, ‘Thanks be to God, for he shall be my dear one.’ For as the child was being born, when he was in his oratory after morning lauds, he had heard on high the Gloria in excelsis being solemnly sung.sung. And after an address to his clerics, in which he vindicates the manner in which the conception of the blessed Kentigern had taken place, and ‘praises Him who alone governeth the world, and hath, among others, blessed our country Britain with such a patron,’ this fragment unfortunately terminates.[357]

Jocelyn’s account of his birth.

Jocelyn, whose narrative, as the Bishop of Brechin well 182observes, is here directed at undoing the weird legend of the earlier life, which gives the unedifying account of the conception of Kentigern, does not name either father or daughter. He calls Kentigern’s mother simply ‘the daughter of a certain king, most pagan in his creed, who ruled in the northern parts of Britannia.’ Neither does he name the suitor who betrayed her, but declares that she had no consciousness by whom, when, or in what manner she conceived, and had possibly been drugged. He states that, according to the law of the country, any girl in her situation was to be cast down from the summit of a high mountain, and her betrayer beheaded; that she was taken to the top of a high hill called Dunpelder, and was cast down, but came to the bottom uninjured; that she was then taken out to sea by the king’s servants, and placed in a little boat of hides made after the fashion of the Scots, without any oar, and, ‘the little vessel in which the pregnant girl was detained ploughed the watery breakers and eddies of the waves towards the opposite shore more quickly than if propelled by a wind that filled the sail, or by the effort of many oarsmen;’ that the girl landed on the sands at a place called Culenros, in which place at that time Servanus dwelt, and taught sacred literature to many boys who went to be trained to the divine service. The birth then takes place as in the other narrative, and they are brought and presented to Servanus, who ‘in the language of his country exclaimed, Mochohe, Mochohe, which in Latin means “Care mi, Care mi,” adding, Blessed art thou that hast come in the name of the Lord. He therefore took them to himself, and nourished and educated them as if they were his own pledges. After certain days had passed, he dipped them in the laver of regeneration and restoration, and anointed them with the sacred chrism, calling the mother Taneu and the child Kyentyern, which by interpretation is Capitalis Dominus.’ He then educates him, and the gifts of grace manifested by 183the boy were so great that ‘he was accustomed to call him, in the language of his country, Munghu, which in Latin means Karrissimus Amicus.’[358] Kentigern is brought up by Servanus, and the usual boyish miracles are recorded as evidences of his sanctity, till, having excited the jealousy and hatred of his fellow-students, he resolves, under Divine guidance of course, to leave the place. He accordingly retreated secretly, and ‘journeying arrived at the Frisican shore, where the river, by name Mallena, overpassing its banks when the tide flows in, took away all hope of crossing;’ but the river is miraculously divided to enable him to pass, the tide flowing back so that the waters of the sea and of the river stood as walls on his right hand and on his left. He then crosses a little arm of the sea near a bridge, which by the inhabitants is called Servanus’s bridge; and on looking back, he saw that the waters had not only flowed back and filled the channel of the Mallena, but were overflowing the bridge and denying a passage to any one. Servanus, who had followed in pursuit of the fugitive, stood above on the bank and endeavoured to persuade him to return, but without success; and ‘having mutually blessed each other, they were divided one from the other, and never looked in each other’s face again in this world. And the place by which Kentigern crossed became after that entirely impassable; for that bridge, always after that covered by the waves of the sea, afforded to no one any longer means of transit. Even the Mallena altered the force of its current from the proper place, and from that day to this turned back its channel into the river Ledone; so that forthwith the rivers which till then had been separate from each other now became mingled 184and united.’ Kentigern passes the night at a town called Kernach, where he finds an old man, Fregus, on his death-bed, who dies in the night; and ‘next‘next morning Kentigern, having yoked two untamed bulls to a new wain, in which he placed the body whence the spirit had departed, and having prayed in the name of the Lord, enjoined upon the brute beasts to carry the burden placed upon them to the place which the Lord had provided for it. And in truth the bulls, in no way resisting or disobeying the voice of Kentigern, came by a straight road, along which there was no path, as far as Cathures, which is now called Glasgu’, and halted near a certain cemetery which had long before been consecrated by Saint Ninian. Here Kentigern lives for some time; and then ‘the king and clergy of the Cumbrian region, with other Christians, albeit they were few in number, came together and, after taking into consideration what was to be done to restore the good estate of the church, which was well-nigh destroyed, they with one consent approached Kentigern, and elected him, in spite of his many remonstrances and strong resistance, to be the shepherd and bishop of their souls;’ and ‘having called one bishop from Ireland, after the manner of the Britons and Scots of that period, they caused Kentigern to be consecrated bishop.’[359]

Anachronism in connecting St. Servanus with St. Kentigern.

Such is the substance of these narratives; and here we are met, at the very outset, by a great anachronism. Along with the lives of Kentigern there is found a life of Servanus, in which he is made the founder of the church of Culenros; but there is not one syllable about his having been the master of Kentigern, or in any way connected with him, but the whole events of his life, as there given, indisputably place him, as we shall afterwards see, nearly two centuries later.[360] In spite, therefore, of the statements of his biographers 185and of the belief of popular tradition, the only conclusion we can come to is that Servanus and St. Kentigern were divided by a more impassable barrier than the river Mallena—the stream of time, and that they had never looked in each other’s face at all. The scenery, however, of the narrative can be easily identified. The hill called in the one narrative Kepduf, and in the other Dunpelder, is Traprain Law, formerly called Dumpender Law, in the county of Haddington. It is an isolated hill and, along with North Berwick Law, forms a conspicuous object in the landscape. It is about 700 feet above the level of the sea, and on the south side it is nearly perpendicular. It is distant about seven or eight miles from Aberlady Bay, the Aberlessic of the older narrative. Culenros is Culross, on the north shore of the Firth of Forth, here called the Frisican shore, as the Forth itself is called by Nennius the Frisican Sea. The names of the two rivers Mallena and Ledone are simply the Latin terms for the flood and ebb tide, but the course of the two rivers, the Teith and the Forth, seems to have suggested the legend. They run nearly parallel to each other till they approach within three miles of Stirling, when the southern of the two rivers, the Forth, takes a sudden bend to the north, as if it would flow backwards, and discharges its waters into the Teith, the two forming one river, but adopting the name of the former. Kernach is Carnock, in the parish of Saint Ninian’s in Stirlingshire.

Earlier notices of St. Kentigern.

If, however, that part of the legend which introduces Servanus must be rejected, the remainder derives some support from the old Welsh documents. In the Triads of Arthur and his Warriors, which are undoubtedly old, the first is termed ‘Three tribe thrones of the island of Prydain;’ and the third of the tribe thrones is ‘Arthur, the chief lord at 186Penrionyd in the north, and Cyndeyrn Garthwys, the chief bishop, and Garthmwl Guledic, the chief elder.’[361] The chronology of the life of Kentigern is not inconsistent with that which here connects him with the historic Arthur, and the epithet Guledic, which was applied to the chief among the Cymric kings of the north, gives us Garthmwl as the name of the king of the district in which Glasgow was situated. In the Bonedd y Seint ynys Prydain, or Pedigrees of the Saints of Britain, we find the following pedigree: ‘Kyndeyrn Garthwys, son of Ywein, son of Urien Reged, son of Cynfarch, son of Meirchiawngul, son of Grwst Ledlwm, son of Cenau, son of Coel; and Dwynwen, daughter of Ladden Lueddog of the city of Edwin (Ddinas Edwin, or Edinburgh), in the north, was his mother.’[362] We have seen that prior to this period Monenna had founded a church on the summit of Dunpelder, in which she established nuns;[363] and it is possible that Dwynwen or Taneu may have been one of these nuns, who, by the violation of her religious vow, had incurred the sentence of being exposed in a curach in the adjacent firth. There is nothing impossible in a small boat being driven before an east wind as far as Culross; and certain it is that on the shore where she is said to have landed there was a small chapel dedicated to Kentigern.[364] We learn from the narrative that there had been an earlier church at Glasgow founded by Ninian, which Kentigern may have restored, and he makes his appearance in the martyrologies in the ninth century as ‘Saint Kentigern, Bishop of Glasgow and Confessor.’[365]

Kentigern driven to Wales.

Jocelyn, after describing Kentigern’s mode of life and how he spread the faith of Christ in his diocese, tells us 187that, ‘a considerable time having elapsed, a certain tyrant, by name Morken, had ascended the throne of the Cumbrian kingdom,’ who ‘scorned and despised the life and doctrine of the man of God in much slandering, in public resisting him from time to time, putting down his miraculous power to magical illusion, and esteeming as nothing all that he did.’ But after a time Morken dies and is buried in the royal town, which from him was called Thorp Morken. ‘After this,’ says Jocelyn, ‘for many days he enjoyed great peace and quiet, living in his own city of Glasgow, and going through his diocese;’ but, ‘when some time had passed, certain sons of Belial, a generation of vipers of the kin of the aforenamed King Morken, excited by the sting of intense hatred and infected with the poison of the devil, took counsel together how they might lay hold of Kentigern by craft and put him to death.’ In consequence of this Kentigern resolved to leave the north and proceed to Menevia in South Wales, now Saint David’s, where St. David then ruled as bishop. The Morken here mentioned is probably one of the kings termed Morcant by Nennius; and it is quite in accordance with the history of the period that the increasing power of the pagan party in the northern districts of Cumbria should have driven Kentigern from Glasgow and forced him to take refuge in Wales. Jocelyn describes him as proceeding by Carlisle, and says that, ‘having heard that many among the mountains were given to idolatry or ignorant of the divine law, he turned aside, and, God helping him and confirming the word by signs following, converted to the Christian religion many from a strange belief, and others who were erroneous in the faith.’ ‘He remained some time in a certain thickly-planted place, to confirm and comfort in the faith the men that dwelt there, where he erected a cross as the sign of the faith, whence it took the name of, in English, Crossfeld, that is, Crucis Novale, in which very locality a basilica, recently erected, is dedicated 188to the name of the blessed Kentigern.’ Jocelyn then tells us that, ‘turning aside from thence, the saint directed his steps by the sea-shore, and through all his journey scattering the seed of the Divine Word, gathered in a plentiful and fertile harvest unto the Lord. At length safe and sound he reached Saint Dewi.’

Kentigern founds the monastery of Llanelwy in Wales.

St. David was, as we have already seen, one of the great founders of the monastic church; and Kentigern had not been long with him when he applied to the king for land to build a monastery, where he might unite together a people acceptable to God and devoted to good works; and the king, whom Jocelyn calls Cathwallain, allowed him to choose his own place. Kentigern, ‘with a great crowd of his disciples along with him, went round the land and walked throughout it exploring the situations of the localities, the quality of the air, the richness of the soil, the sufficiency of the meadows, pastures and woods, and the other things that look to the convenience of a monastery to be erected;’ and is finally conducted by a white boar ‘to the bank of a river called Elgu, from which to this day, as it is said, the town takes its name.’ Here he commenced to construct his monastery; ‘some‘some cleared and levelled the situation, others began to lay the foundation of the ground thus levelled; some cutting down trees, others carrying them and others fitting them together, commenced, as the father had measured and marked out for them to build a church and its offices of polished wood, after the fashion of the Britons, seeing that they could not yet build of stone, nor were so wont to do.’[366] Here we are treading on somewhat firmer ground. The monastery described is that of Llanelwy, afterwards called St. Asaph’s. It is in the vale of Clwyd, at the junction of the river Elwy with the Clwyd, a name possibly given to it by Kentigern from some fancied resemblance to the river and valley in the north where he had his original seat; and 189the Red Book of St. Asaph’s records several grants made to Kentigern by Maelgwyn Gwyned, the king of North Wales at this time.[367]

The description given by Jocelyn of the construction of the monastery is probably not an inapt account of how these early Irish monasteries were erected; and indeed it may be considered a type of the larger monasteries, for Jocelyn tells us, ‘There flocked to the monastery old and young, rich and poor, to take upon themselves the easy yoke and light burden of the Lord. Nobles and men of the middle class brought to the saint their children to be trained unto the Lord. The tale of those who renounced the world increased day by day both in number and importance, so that the total number of those enlisted in God’s army amounted to 965, professing in act and habit the life of monastic rule, according to the institution of the holy man. He divided this troop, that had been collected together and devoted to the divine service, into a threefold division of religious observance. For he appointed three hundred, who were unlettered, to the duty of agriculture, the care of the cattle, and the other necessary duties outside the monastery. He assigned another three hundred to duties within the enclosure of the monastery, such as doing the ordinary work and preparing food and building workshops. The remaining three hundred and sixty-five, who were lettered, he appointed to the celebration of divine service in church by day and by night; and he seldom allowed any of these to go forth out of the sanctuary, but they were ever to abide within, as if in the holy place of the Lord. But those who were more advanced in wisdom and holiness and who were fitted to teach others, he was accustomed to take along with him 190when, at the urgent demand either of necessity or reason, he thought fit to go forth to perform his episcopal office.’[368] Allowing for some exaggeration in the numbers of those in the second and third divisions, this is probably a very correct picture of the monasteries in the early monastic church of Ireland and Scotland when the head of the monastery was also a bishop.

A.D. 573.
Rydderch Hael becomes king of Cumbria and recalls Kentigern.

After some account of Kentigern’s life at his monastery in North Wales, Jocelyn returns to the north in order to ‘show what his adversaries suffered, how he returned to the Cumbrian region, and what he did there.’ He tells us, after an imaginative account of the fate of those who had driven out Kentigern, that, ‘when the time of having mercy had arrived, that the Lord might remove the rod of his fierce anger and that they should turn unto Him and He should heal them, He raised up over the Cumbrian kingdom a king, Rederech by name, who, having been baptized in Ireland in the most Christian manner by the disciples of Saint Patrick, sought the Lord with all his heart and strove to restore Christianity.’ ‘Wherefore,’ continues Jocelyn, ‘King Rederech, seeing that the Christian religion was almost entirely destroyed in his kingdom, set himself zealously to restore it; and, after long considering the matter in his own mind and taking advice with other Christians who were in his confidence, he discovered no more healthful plan by which he could bring it to a successful result than to send messengers to Saint Kentigern, to recall him to his first see.’ It was by the great battle of Ardderyd, fought at Arthuret on the river Esk a few miles north of Carlisle, in which the pagan and Christian parties met in conflict, and a decisive struggle for the supremacy took place between them, that the victory of the Christian chiefs placed Rydderch Hael, or the Liberal, on the throne; and as this battle took place in the year 573, it gives us a fixed 191date for the recall of Kentigern. He responded to the call, and, having appointed Asaph, one of the monks, his successor, he enthroned him in the cathedral see; and, ‘blessing and taking leave of them all he went forth by the north door of the church, because he was going forth to combat the northern enemy. After he had gone out, that door was closed, and all who witnessed and heard of his egress and departure bewailed his absence with great lamentations. Hence a custom grew up in that church that that door should never be opened save once a year, on the day of St. Asaph, that is, on the kalends of May, for two reasons—first in deference to the sanctity of him who had gone forth, and next that thereby was indicated the great grief of those who had bewailed his departure.’ Jocelyn tells us that six hundred and sixty-five of the monks accompanied him, and that three hundred only remained with St. Asaph.[369]

Kentigern fixes his see first at Hoddam.

King Rydderch and his people went forth to meet him, and they encountered each other at a place called Holdelm, now Hoddam, in Dumfriesshire, where Kentigern addressed the multitude who had assembled to meet him; and in the supposed address which Jocelyn puts in his mouth we have probably a correct enough representation of the paganism which still clung to the people and influenced their belief—a sort of cross between their old Celtic heathenism and that derived from their pagan neighbours the Angles, who now occupied the eastern districts of their country. According to Jocelyn, he showed them ‘that idols were dumb, the vain inventions of men, fitter for the fire than for worship. He showed that the elements, in which they believed as deities, were creatures and formations adapted by the disposition of their Maker to the use, help and assistance of men. But Woden, whom they, and especially the Angles, believed to be the chief deity, from whom they derived their 192origin, and to whom the fourth day of the week is dedicated, he asserted with probability to have been a mortal man, king of the Saxons, by faith a pagan, from whom they and many nations have their descent.’ The ground on which he sat there ‘grew into a little hill, and remaineth there unto this day;’ and ‘men and women, old men and young men, rich and poor, flock to the man of God to be instructed in the faith.’ And here he fixed his see for a time; for Jocelyn then tells us that ‘the holy bishop Kentigern, building churches in Holdelm, ordaining priests and clerics, placed his see there for a time for a certain reason; afterwards, warned by divine revelation, justice demanding it, he transferred it to his own city Glasgow.’[370]

Mission of Kentigern in Galloway, Alban, and Orkneys.

It was while his see was still at Hoddam, and before he returned to Glasgow, that we are told by Jocelyn that Kentigern, ‘after he had converted what was nearest to him, that is to say, his diocese, going forth to more distant places, cleansed from the foulness of idolatry and the contagion of heresy the home of the Picts, which is now called Galwiethia, with the adjacent parts.’ There are, however, in Galloway proper no dedications to Kentigern, which somewhat militates against the accuracy of this statement. We are also told that ‘he went to Albania, and there with great and almost unbearable toil, often exposed to death by the snares of the barbarians, but ever standing undeterred, strong in the faith, the Lord working with him and giving power to the voice of his preaching, he reclaimed that land from the worship of idols and from profane rites that were almost equal to idolatry, to the landmarks of faith, and the customs of the church, and the laws of the canons. For there he erected many churches, and dedicated them when erected, ordaining priests and clerics; and he consecrated many of his disciples bishops. He also founded many monasteries in these parts, and placed over them as fathers the disciples 193whom he had instructed.’[371] By Albania are meant the eastern districts of Scotland north of the Firth of Forth, and Jocelyn here entirely ignores the work of Columba; but that the missionary labours of Kentigern were to some extent carried into these northern districts appears from the dedications to him; and, strangely enough, the traces of his missionary work are mainly to be found north of the great range of the Mounth, where, in the upper valley of the Dee, on the north side of the river, we find a group of dedications which must have proceeded from a Welsh source. These are Glengairden dedicated to Mungo, or Kentigern, 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. In the Welsh Calendar Nidan appears on 30th September, and his pedigree in the Bonedd y Seint makes him a grandson of Pasgen, son of Urien, and therefore a cousin of Kentigern.[372] Jocelyn’s statement that Kentigern likewise sent forth missionaries ‘towards the Orcades, Norwagia and Ysalanda,’ or Iceland, must be rejected as improbable in itself and inconsistent with the older and more trustworthy account given by Diciul, the Irish geographer, in the early part of the ninth century, that the earliest Christian missionaries to the northern islands were anchorites who had all proceeded from Ireland.[373] ‘All this being duly done,’ says Jocelyn, ‘he returned to his own church of Glasgow, where as elsewhere, yea, where as everywhere, he was known to shine in many and great miracles;’ and among those which 194he relates is the incident of the queen’s ring found in the salmon, which appears in the arms of the city of Glasgow.

Meeting of Kentigern and Columba.

The only remaining incident which may be considered as historical is the meeting of Kentigern with Columba. Adamnan tells us that ‘King Roderc, son of Tothail, who reigned on the rock of Cluaith,’ that is, at Alcluith, or Dumbarton, ‘being on friendly terms with the holy man, sent to him on one occasion a secret message by Lugbe Mocumin, as he was anxious to know whether he would be killed by his enemies, or not,’ and received from the saint the assurance that he should never be delivered into the hands of his enemies, but would die at home on his own pillow; and, says Adamnan, ‘the prophecy of the saint regarding King Roderc was fully accomplished, for, according to his word, he died quietly in his own house.’[374] It is plain, therefore, on better authority than that of Jocelyn, that during King Rydderch’s life some friendly intercourse had taken place between him and his people and Columba, and that clerics proceeded from Iona to Strathclyde. This could hardly have taken place without a meeting between the two saints, though Adamnan does not mention the name of Kentigern. Kentigern could hardly have returned to Glasgow much before 582; and we have seen that, after 584, Columba extended his missionary work into the region about the river Tay. He would thus be brought very near to the frontiers of the Strathclyde kingdom, and so be led to visit Kentigern. Jocelyn’s description of the meeting is too graphic to be omittedomitted. ‘Saint Columba the abbot, whom the Angles call Columkillus, a man wonderful for doctrine and virtues, celebrated for his presage of future events, full of the spirit of prophecy, and living in that glorious monastery which he had erected in the island of Yi, desired earnestly, not once and away, but continually, to rejoice in the light of Saint Kentigern. For, 195hearing for a long time of the fame in which he was estimated, he desired to approach him, to visit him, to behold him, to come into his close intimacy, and to consult the sanctuary of his holy breath regarding the things which lay near his own heart. And, when the proper time came, the holy father Saint Columba went forth, and a great company of his disciples and others, who desired to behold and look upon the face of so great a man, went with him. When he approached the place called Mellindonor, where the saint abode at the time, he divided all his people into three bands, and sent forward a message to announce to the holy prelate his own arrival and that of those who accompanied him. The holy pontiff was glad when they said unto him these things concerning them, and, calling together his clergy and people similarly in three bands, he went forth with spiritual songs to meet them. In the front of the procession were placed the juniors in the order of time; in the second, those more advanced in years; in the third, with himself, walked the aged in length of days, white and hoary, venerable in countenance, gesture and bearing, yea, even in grey hairs. And all sang “In the ways of the Lord how great is the glory of the Lord;” and again they answered, “The way of the just is made straight, and the path of the saints prepared.” On Saint Columba’s side, they sang with tuneful voices, “The saints shall go from strength to strength, until with the God of gods appeareth every one in Sion,” with the “Alleluia.”’ When they met, ‘they mutually embraced and kissed each other, and,’ says Jocelyn, naïvely enough, ‘having first satiated themselves with the spiritual banquet of divine words, they after that refreshed themselves with bodily food.’ Jocelyn then narrates a miracle of the usual character, and concludes by telling us that ‘they interchanged their pastoral staves, in pledge and testimony of their mutual love in Christ. But the staff which Saint Columba gave to the holy bishop 196Kentigern was preserved for a long time in the church of Saint Wilfrid, bishop and confessor at Ripon, and held in great reverence, on account of the sanctity both of him who gave it and of him who received it.’[375] It mustIt must, however, have reached Ripon after St. Wilfrid’s time, as otherwise he could hardly have expressed ignorance of Columba, as he did at the council of Whitby. Jocelyn concludes by saying that, ‘during several days, these saints, passing the time together, mutually conversed on the things of God and what concerned the salvation of souls; then saying farewell, with mutual love, they returned to their homes, never to meet again.’

Death of Kentigern.

Of Kentigern’s death Jocelyn gives the following strange account, which probably reports the tradition of the church:—‘When the octave of the Lord’s Epiphany, on which the gentle bishop himself had been wont every year to wash a multitude of people in sacred baptism, was dawning—a day very acceptable to Saint Kentigern and to the spirits of the sons of his adoption—the holy man, borne by their hands, entered a vessel filled with hot water, which he had first blessed with the sign of salvation; and a circle of the brethren standing round him awaited the issue of the event. And when the saint had been some little time in it, after lifting his hands and his eyes to heaven, and bowing his head as if sinking into a calm sleep, he yielded up his spirit.’ ‘The disciples, seeing what was taking place, lifted the body out of the bath, and eagerly strove with each other to enter the water; and so, one by one, before the water cooled, they slept in the Lord in great peace; and, having tasted death along with their holy bishop, they entered with him into the mansions of heaven.’ ‘The brethren,’ continues Jocelyn, ‘stripped the saint of his ordinary clothes, which they partly reserved and partly distributed as precious relics, and clothed him in the consecrated garments which became 197so great a bishop. Then he was carried by the brethren into the choir with chants and psalms, and the life-giving victim was offered to God for him by many. Diligently and most devoutly, as the custom of the church in those days demanded, celebrated they his funeral; and on the right side of the altar laid they beneath a stone, with as much becoming reverence as they could, that abode of virtues, etc. The sacred remains of all these brethren were devoutly and disposedly consigned to the cemetery for sepulture, in the order in which they had followed the holy bishop out of this life.’[376] He is thus said to have died on the 13th of January, which is the octave of the Epiphany. If we are to understand that he died on a Sunday, then the year of his death may most probably be fixed as 603, in which year the 13th of January fell upon a Sunday. The Annales Cambriæ, however, record his death in the year 612, which may otherwise be accepted as the true date.[377] Jocelyn tells us that he died full of years, when he was one hundred and eighty-five years old, but we cannot give him so many years. Such long periods of life are not an unusual feature in the traditionary acts of these early saints, and are usually inserted to reconcile some anachronism in the events of their life. The great anachronism in Kentigern’s life is the tale that he was a disciple of Servanus, and the latter of Palladius, and as Palladius died in the year 432, one hundred and eighty years before the death of Kentigern according to the Cambrian Annals, this long life was given him in order to fill up the interval; but, if we drop the 198century which has been added to it, we shall find that a life of eighty-five years is more consistent with the narrative, and furnishes us with an unexceptionable chronology. This would place his birth either at 518 or 527, according to the date we assume for his death; and, as Jocelyn states that he was twenty-five when he was consecrated a bishop, this gives us 543 or 552 as the date of it. We have thus an interval of about twenty or twenty-five years for his life at Glasgow, his expulsion to Wales, and his foundation of the monastery of Llanelwy, as his return under the auspices of King Rydderch must have taken place soon after the year 573.

A.D. 627.
Conversion of the Angles to Christianity.

Of the immediate successors of Kentigern we have no record whatever; but a quarter of a century had not elapsed from his death when the nation of the Angles were by the conversion of their king Aeduin, brought over to the Christian faith. Bede tells us that Aeduin was baptized at York by Paulinus on the holy day of Easter in the year 627, and that, ‘at a certain time, coming with the king and queen to the royal seat which is called Adgefrin, now Yevering, one of the Cheviots near Wooler, Paulinus stayed there with them thirty-six days, fully occupied in catechising and baptizing; during all which days from morning till night he did nothing else but instruct the people resorting thither from all villages and places in Christ’s saving word, and, when instructed, he washed them with the water of remission in the river Glen, which is close by.’ ‘These things,’ says Bede, ‘happened in the province of the Bernicians,’[378] which at this time extended to the Firth of Forth. By the continuator of Nennius, however, a different tradition has been handed down to us. He states that ‘Eadguin received baptism on Easter day, and that twelve thousand men were baptized along with him;’ and adds, ‘If any one would know who baptized them, Rum, son of Urbgen, baptized 199them, and for forty days did not cease to baptize the whole nation of the Ambrones; and by his preaching many believed in Christ.’[379] The Urbgen of Nennius is the Urien of the Welsh pedigree of Kentigern, which would place Rum in the position of being his uncle, which is hardly possible. But the tradition seems to indicate that the Cumbrian Church did play a part in the conversion of their Anglic neighbours; and the Angles occupying the district between the Tweed and Forth, being more immediately within their reach and coming directly in contact with them, may have owed their conversion to one who was of the same race as Kentigern, and, as belonging to the tribe of the patron saint, had succeeded him as head of the Cumbrian Church. Be this as it may, the short-lived church of Paulinus could not have had much permanent effect in leavening these Anglic tribes with Christianity; and the whole of the Cumbrian and Anglic districts were speedily thrown into confusion by the revolution which restored paganism for a time under the pagan Anglic king Penda and the apostate Welsh king Ceadwalla. When Christianity was again revived in Northumbria, it was in a different form, and one more assimilated to the church of Kentigern; but the Cumbrian kingdom fell, not long after, under the dominion of the Angles; and during the period of their rule there was probably no independent church there. It is to the Columban Church, established in Northumbria by King Osuald in 635, that we must look for the permanent conversion of the Angles who occupied the eastern districts between the Tweed and the Forth, and for the foundation of churches, or rather Columban monasteries, among them. The two principal of these were founded, the one by Aidan, the first of the Columban bishops; the second, in the time of Finan, his successor. Bede tells 200us that on the arrival of Aidan, ‘the king appointed him his episcopal see in the island of Lindisfarne, as he himself desired,’ and that ‘churches were built in several places; the people joyfully flocked together to hear the Word; possessions and lands were given of the king’s bounty to build monasteries; the younger Angles were by their Scottish masters instructed.’[380] And in another place he says that, when Aidan was first made bishop, ‘he received twelve boys of the Anglic nation to be instructed in Christ.’[381]

The monasteries in Lothian.

‘Among the monasteries so founded by him was that of Mailros, situated on the banks of the Tweed not far from the later foundation at the place, and called Old Melrose, a peninsula nearly surrounded by the Tweed, which is overhung on the farther side by its lofty precipitous banks, and is strongly guarded by natural defences on every quarter except the south, where a wall was drawn across the narrow isthmus.’[382] And the first abbot we hear of in connection with this monastery was Eata, one of the twelve boys whom Aidan had instructed.[383] The other monastery was that termed by Bede Urbs Coludi, the Saxon equivalent of which is Coldingaham, now Coldingham, built on a rock overhanging the sea, a short way south of the promontory termed Saint Abb’s Head. The neck of land on which it was built stretches into the sea, having for its three sides perpendicular rocks of great elevation. The fourth side was cut off from the mainland, and rendered impregnable, by a high wall and deep trench.[384] This monastery was founded by Aebba, daughter of King Aedilfrid, and half-sister of the kings Osuald and Osuiu, who became its first abbess.[385] It was a double monastery, and contained two distinct communities of men and of women, who lived under 201her single government. It is from her that the promontory of Saint Abb’s Head takes its name.

Saint Cuthbert.

But, if the great name in the Cumbrian Church was that of Kentigern, that which left its greatest impress in Lothian, and one with which the monastery of Mailros was peculiarly connected, was that of Cudberct, popularly called Saint Cuthbert. Several Lives of him have come down to us; but undoubtedly the one which, from its antiquity, is most deserving of credit, is that by the venerable Bede. In this respect Cudberct was more fortunate even than Columba, for this Life was written within forty years of his death. Bede, too, was born in the lifetime of the saint whose life he records, and must have been about thirteen years old when he died; and he tells us himself that he had frequently shown his manuscript to ‘Herefrid the priest, as well as to several other persons who, from having long dwelt with the man of God, were thoroughly acquainted with his life, that they might read it and deliberately correct or expunge what they judged advisable.’ ‘Some of these amendments,’ he adds, ‘I carefully adopted at their suggestion, as seemed good to me; and thus, all scruples having been entirely removed, I have ventured to commit the result of this careful research, conveyed in simple language, to these few sheets of parchment.’[386] Bede tells us nothing of the birth and parentage of Cudberct; and, though he relates an incident which occurred when the saint was in his eighth year, and which he says Bishop Trumuini of blessed memory affirmed that Cudberct had himself told him, he does not indicate where or in what country he had passed his boyhood. When he first connects Cudberct with any locality, he says that ‘he was keeping watch over the flocks committed to his charge on some remote mountains.’ These mountains, however, were the southern slope of the Lammermoors, which surround the upper part of the vale of the Leader, in Berwickshire; for the 202anonymous history of St. Cuthbert, which, next to his Life by Bede, has the greatest value, says that ‘he was watching over the flocks of his master in the mountains near the river Leder.’[387] There ‘on a certain night, when he was extending his long vigils in prayers, as was his wont,’ which shows the bent of his mind towards a religious life, he had a vision in which he saw the soul of Bishop Aidan of Lindisfarne being carried to heaven by choirs of the heavenly host; and resolved in consequence to enter a monastery and put himself under monastic discipline. ‘And,’ says Bede, ‘although he knew that the church of Lindisfarne possessed many holy men by whose learning and examples he might well be instructed, yet, allured by the fame of the exalted virtues of Boisil, a monk and priest, he chose rather to go to Mailros. And it happened, when he arrived there, as he leaped from his horse and was about to enter the church to pray, that he gave his horse to an attendant, as well as the spear which he held in his hand (for he had not as yet laid aside his secular dress), Boisil himself, who was standing at the gate of the monastery, first saw him.’ Boisil ‘kindly received Cudberct as he arrived; and, on his explaining the object of his visit, viz., that he preferred a monastery to the world, he kindly kept him near himself, for he was the provost of that same monastery. And after a few days, on the arrival of Eata of blessed memory, then a priest and the abbot of that monastery of Mailros, and afterwards abbot of Lindisfarne, and likewise bishop of the church of Lindisfarne, Boisil spoke to him of Cudberct, and, telling him how well disposed he was, obtained permission to give him the tonsure, and to unite him in fellowship with the rest of the brethren;’brethren;’[388] and thus Cudberct became a monk of the monastery of Melrose. As 203Bishop Aidan died in the year 651, this gives us the first certain date in his life.

Irish Life of St. Cuthbert.

The only Life which professes to give his earlier history is ‘The Book of the Nativity of Saint Cuthbert, taken and translated from the Irish.’[389] According to this Life, Cuthbert was born in Ireland, of royal extraction. His mother Sabina, daughter of the king who reigned in the city called Lainestri, was taken captive by the king of Connathe, who slew her father and all her family. He afterwards violated her, and then sent her to his own mother, who adopted her, and, together with her, entered a monastery of virgins which was then under the care of a bishop. There Sabina gave birth to the boy Cuthbert, and the bishop baptized him, giving him the Irish name of Mullucc. He is said to have been born in ‘Kenanus,’ or Kells, a monastery said to have been founded by Columba on the death of the bishop who had educated him. His mother goes with him to Britain by the usual mode of transit in these legends, that is, by a stone which miraculously performs the functions of a curach, and they land in ‘Galweia, in that region called Rennii, in the harbour of Rintsnoc,’[390] no doubt Portpatrick in the Rinns of Galloway. Then, leaving their stone curach, they take another vessel and go to ‘a harbour called Letherpen in Erregaithle, a land of the Scots. This harbour is situated between Erregaithle and Incegal, near a lake called Loicafan.’ A harbour between Argyll and the Isles must be on its west side, and the inlet called Lochmelfort may be meant, near the head of which is the lake called Loch Avich; or, if Loch Awe is meant, it may have been at Crinan, near which was Dunadd, the capital of 204Dalriada.[391] Here they landed, the mother and son and three men, and wishing to warm themselves, they collect for the purpose dry branches, and heap them up to light a fire. The place, however, was much exposed to robbers, and the glitter of the golden armlets of the mother attracted the notice of some, who rushed upon her with lances, and would have slain her, but were discomfited by the prayers of the holy boy. From that day to this, when that spot is covered with branches or pieces of wood, they ignite of themselves, which the inhabitants attribute to the merits of the boy.[392] Then they go to the borders of Scotia,[393] where Columba, the first bishop of Dunkeld, receives the boy and educates him with a girl, a native of Ireland, named Brigida, who tells him that the Lord destines him for the Angles in the east of this province, but reserves her for the western population of the land of the Irish. Here he excites the envy of three southern clerics from the region of the Angles.[394] They then go to the island which is called Hy, or Iona, where they remain some time with the religious men of that place. Then they visit two brothers-german of the mother, Meldanus and Eatanus, who were bishops in the province of the Scots, in which each had an episcopal seat; and these take the boy and place him under the care of a certain religious man in Lothian, while the mother goes on a pilgrimage to Rome. In this place in Lothian a church was afterwards erected in his honour, which is to this day called Childeschirche, and here the book of the nativity of St. Cuthbert, taken from the Irish histories, terminates.[395] Childeschirche is the old 205name of the parish now called Channelkirk, in the upper part of the vale of the Leader; and the Irish Life thus lands him where Bede takes him up.

It is certainly remarkable that Bede gives no indication of Cudberct’s nationality. He must surely have known whether he was of Irish descent or not. He is himself far too candid and honest a historian not to have stated the fact if it was so, and it is difficult to avoid the suspicion that this part of his narrative was one of those portions which he had expunged at the instance of the critics to whom he had submitted his manuscript. Unfortunately Bede nowhere gives us Cudberct’s age. He elsewhere calls him at this time a young man, and he says that his life had reached to old age.[396] Cudberct resigned his bishopric in 686, and died in 687. He could hardly have been under sixty at that time, and it was probably on his attaining that age that he withdrew from active life. This would place his birth in the year 626, and make him twenty-five when he joined the monastery at Mailros. The Irish Life appears to have been recognised by the monks of Durham as early as the fourteenth century,[397] and it is perfectly possible that these events may have taken place before Bede takes up his history, though they are characterised by the usual anachronisms. Dunkeld was not founded till more than a century after his death, and, as it was dedicated to St. Columba of Iona, he no doubt appears here as its bishop half-a-century after his death.[398] The Brigida there mentioned is also obviously intended for St. Bridget of Kildare, who belongs to a much earlier period; and the Bishop Eatanus, his 206mother’s brother, is surely no other than Eata, abbot of Melrose, and afterwards bishop of Lindisfarne. The truth may possibly be that he was the son of an Irish kinglet by an Anglic mother; and this would account for her coming to Britain with the boy, and his being placed under a master in the vale of the Leader.

A.D. 651-661.
Cudberct’s life in the monastery of Melrose.

Bede gives us no particulars of Cudberct’s life in the monastery of Melrose from 651, when he joined it, to the year 661, when he accompanies Abbot Eata to Ripon, where King Alchfrid had given the latter a certain domain to found a monastery, which he did, and having instituted in it the same monastic discipline which he had previously established at Mailros, Cudberct was appointed provost of the guest-chamber. During this period of ten years we may place the events recorded in the chapter annexed to the Irish Life. According to this chapter, ‘after the blessed youth Cuthbert had arrived in Scottish land, he began to dwell in different parts of the country, and coming to a town called Dul forsook the world, and became a solitary.’solitary.’ Not more than a mile from it there is in the woods a high and steep mountain called by the inhabitants Doilweme, and on its summit he began to lead a solitary life. Here he brings from the hard rock a fountain of water which still exists. Here too he erects a large stone cross, builds an oratory of wood, and out of a single stone, not far from the cross, constructs a bath, in which he used to immerse himself and spend the night in prayer, which bath still exists on the summit of the mountain. Cuthbert remains some time in the territory of the Picts leading a solitary life, till the daughter of the king of that province accuses him of having violated her; but, at the prayer of the saint, the earth opened and swallowed her up at a place still called Corruen, and it was on this account that he never permitted a female to enter his church—‘a custom,’ says the writer, ‘which is still rigidly 207observed in the country of the Picts;[399] and churches were everywhere dedicated in his honour.’ The saint, however, would no longer remain in these parts, but exchanged them for another part of the country.[400] The localities here mentioned can be easily recognised. Dul is the village of Dull in Strathtay in Atholl, where Adamnan, not long after Cudberct’s death, founded a monastery; and about a mile east of Dull is the church of Weem, situated under a high cliff called the Rock of Weem, about six hundred feet high, and in some places so steep as to be almost perpendicular.[401] In the year 657 Osuiu, king of Northumbria, had extended his sway not only over the Britons and Scots, but also over the territories of the southern Picts. The district in which these places are situated was now under the dominion of the Angles, which may have led to Cudberct having proceeded thither. Cudberct did not remain long at Ripon, for Bede tells us that, ‘since the whole condition of this world is fragile and unsteady as the sea when a sudden tempest arises, the above-named abbot Eata, with Cudberct and the rest of the brethren whom he had brought along with him, was driven home, and the site of the monastery he had founded was given for a habitation to the monks.’ This sudden tempest, as we learn from Bede’s history, was the return of St. Wilfrid to England, when King Alchfrid, ‘who had always followed and loved the Catholic rules of the church,’ gave him ‘the monastery of thirty families at a place called In Wrypum (Ripon), which place he had lately given to those that followed the doctrine of the Scots to build 208a monastery upon. But forasmuch as they afterwards, being left to their choice, would rather quit the place than adopt the Catholic Easter and other canonical rites according to the custom of the Roman and Apostolic Church, he gave the same to him.’[402]

A.D. 661.
Cudberct becomes prior of Melrose.

Boisil having soon after died, Cudberct was appointed prior of Mailros in his room, ‘and performed its functions for several years with so much spiritual zeal, as became a saint, that he gave to the whole community not only the counsels, but also the example, of a monastic life.’ He was also zealous in converting the surrounding populace, ‘and frequently went out from the monastery, sometimes on horseback, but more generally on foot, and preached the way of truth to those who were in error, as Boisil had been also wont to do in his time in the neighbouring villages. He was also wont to seek out and preach in those remote villages which were situated far from the world in wild mountain places and fearful to behold, and which, as well by their poverty as by their distance up the country, prevented intercourse between them and such as could instruct their inhabitants. Abandoning himself willingly to this pious work, Cudberct cultivated these remote districts and people with so much zeal and learning that he often did not return to his monastery for an entire week, sometimes for two or three, yea occasionally even for an entire month, remaining all the time in the mountains, and calling back to heavenly concerns these rustic people by the word of his preaching as well as by his example of virtue.’[403] It was during this time that we find him visiting Aebbe at Coludi or Coldingham, and spending the greater part of the night in prayer and prolonged vigils, ‘entering the sea till the water reached to his arms and neck;’ and that on one occasion he went to the land of the ‘Niduari Picts,’ or Picts of Galloway, who were then under the dominion of the Angles. He 209is described as quitting his monastery on some affairs that required his presence, and embarking on board a vessel for the land of the Picts who are called Niduari, accompanied by two of the brethren, one of whom reported the incident. They arrived there the day after Christmas, expecting a speedy return, for the sea was smooth and the wind favourable; but they had no sooner reached the land than a tempest arose, by which they were detained for several days exposed to hunger and cold; but they were, by the prayers of the saint, supplied with food under a cliff where he was wont to pray during the watches of the night; and on the fourth day the tempest ceased, and they were brought by a prosperous breeze to their own country.[404] The traces of this visit have been left in the name of Kirkcudbright, or Church of Cuthbert.

A.D. 664.
Cudberct goes to Lindisfarne.

In the year 664 the Columban Church in Northumbria was brought to an end by the adverse decision of the Council of Whitby, and Bishop Colman left the country with those of his Scottish clerics who would not conform to Rome. Eata, the abbot, however, and his provost, Cudberct, gave in their adhesion to the Roman party, and, at Bishop Colman’s suggestion, the monastery of Lindisfarne was placed under Eata’s charge, who thus became abbot both of Mailros and of Lindisfarne. To the latter monastery Eata transferred Cudberct, ‘there to teach the rules of monastic perfection with the authority of a superior, and to illustrate it by becoming an example of virtue.’ He appears to have become zealous in endeavouring to assimilate the Scottish system to the customs of the Roman Church, for Bede tells us that there still remained ‘in the monastery certain monks who chose rather to follow their ancient custom than to obey the new rule. These, nevertheless, he overcame by the modest power of his patience, and by daily practice he brought them 210by little and little to a better disposition.’[405] In the meantime Tuda, who had been initiated and ordained bishop among the southern Scots of Ireland, having also the coronal tonsure according to the custom of that province, and observing the Catholic time of Easter, and had come from thence while Colman was yet bishop, was appointed bishop of the Northumbrians in his place. ‘He was a good and religious man,’ says Bede, ‘but governed his church a very short time,’ being cut off by the great pestilence of that year.[406] King Alchfrid had sent Wilfrid to Gaul to be consecrated bishop over him and his people, and being still absent, King Osuiu sent Ceadda, abbot of the monastery of Laestingaeu, who had been one of Bishop Aidan’s disciples, to Kent to be ordained bishop of the church of York, where, as the archbishop had just died, he was consecrated bishop by Bishop Vini of Wessex, to whom were joined two bishops of the British nation who adhered to the Roman party.

A.D. 669-678.
St. Wilfrid bishop over all the dominions of King Osuiu, and founds church of Hexham, which he dedicates to St. Andrew.

Wilfrid now returned from Gaul a consecrated bishop. ‘Whence it followed,’ says Bede, ‘that the Catholic institution gained strength, and all the Scots that dwelt among the Angles either submitted to these persons or returned to their own country.’ Ceadda soon gave way to Wilfrid, and was translated to the province of the Mercians; while from the year 669 to 678, when he was expelled, Wilfrid administered the bishopric of York and of all the Northumbrians, and likewise of the Picts as far as the dominions of King Osuiu extended. During the period of his episcopate, Wilfrid, as we are informed by Eddi, founded the monastery of Hagustald, or Hexham, in the valley of the Tyne, the district having been given him by the queen Etheldreda, whose property it appears to have been; and he dedicated it to St. Andrew,[407] in commemoration of an early incident in his life recorded by Eddi, who tells us that, when he first conceived 211the purpose of endeavouring to turn the Northumbrians from the Columban institutions to Rome, he went in Rome to a church dedicated to St. Andrew, and there knelt before the altar and prayed to God, through the merits of his holy martyr Andrew, that He would grant him the power of reading the Gospels aright, and of preaching the eloquence of the Evangelists to the people. His prayer was answered by the gift of persuasive eloquence; and feeling himself peculiarly under the guidance of that apostle, he dedicated his monastery of Hexham to him. And thus were the dedications to St. Andrew first introduced into the northern parts of Britain.

A.D. 670.
Cudberct withdraws to the Farne island.

Returning to Cudberct, after he had been twelve years in charge of the monastery of Lindisfarne, he resolved, according to the custom of the time, to withdraw from the monastery and lead a solitary life in some remote island. Bede tells us that he had already ‘begun to learn the rudiments of a solitary life, and that he used to withdraw into a certain place which is yet discernible on the outside of his cell, than which it is more secluded.’ This place can still be identified. It is a low detached portion of the basaltic line of rock which runs in front of the ruins of the priory at the south-west corner of the island of Lindisfarne, which becomes an islet at high-water, while at low-water it is accessible by a ridge of stone covered with sea-weed. It still bears his name; and here subsequently existed a small chapel dedicated to him, which was called ‘the Chapel of St. Cuthbert on the Sea.’[408] Bede tells us that ‘when he had for a while learned as a recluse to contend thus with the invisible enemy by prayer and fasting, then in course of time he ventured still higher, and sought a place of conflict farther off and more remote from the abode of men.’ For this purpose he retired to the solitary island of Farne, at a greater distance from the mainland than Lindisfarne, and then uninhabited. 212It is about two miles and a half from the mainland, and presents to the land a perpendicular front of about 40 feet in height, from which there extends a grassy plain. Here he constructed an anchorite’s cell; and the description which Bede gives of it affords us a good idea of what such establishments usually were. ‘How this dwelling-place,’ says Bede, ‘was nearly circular, in measure from wall to wall about four or five perches. The wall itself externally was higher than the stature of a man, but inwardly, by cutting the living rock, the pious inhabitant thereof made it much higher, in order by this means to curb the petulance of his eyes as well as of his thoughts, and to raise up the whole bent of his mind to heavenly desires, since he could behold nothing from his mansion except heaven. He constructed this wall not of hewn stone, nor of brick and mortar, but of unwrought stones and turf, which he dug out of the centre of the place. Of these stones, some were of such a size that it seemed scarcely possible for four men to lift them; nevertheless it was discovered that he had brought them from another place and put them on the wall, assisted by heavenly aid. His dwelling-place was divided into two parts—an oratory, namely, and another dwelling suitable for common uses. He constructed the walls of both by digging round, or by cutting out much of the natural earth, inside and outwardly, but the roof was formed of rough beams and thatched with straw. Moreover, at the landing-place of the island there was a large house, in which the monks, when they came to see him, might be received and rest; and not far from this there was a fountain of water adapted for the supply of their wants.’ The remains of this establishment can still be traced on the island, and here, ‘having constructed the above abode and outhouses with the aid of the brethren, Cudberct, the man of God, began now to dwell alone.’[409] He had hardly done so two years when a discussion 213broke out between Wilfrid and King Ecgfrid. Wilfred was expelled from his see, ‘and two bishops were substituted in his stead to preside over the nation of the Northumbrians—viz., Bosa, to preside over the province of the Deiri, and Eata, over that of the Bernicians—the former having his episcopal chair in the city of York, the latter, in the church of Hagustald, or Hexham, or else in that of Lindisfarne, both of them being promoted to the episcopal dignity from a college of monks.’monks.’ Three years afterwards the great diocese of York was still further divided, and two other bishops were added to their number—‘Tunberct, in the church of Hagustald, while Eata remained in that of Lindisfarne, and Trumuini in the province of the Picts, which at that time was subject to the Angles.’[410]

A.D. 684.
Cudberct becomes bishop of Lindisfarne.

Cudberct had remained eight years in his solitude when Tunberct was for some cause deposed from his bishopric, and, at a great synod assembled at Twyford on the Alne, in the year 684, in presence of King Ecgfrid, and presided over by Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury, Cudberct by the unanimous consent of all was elected to the bishopric of Hagustald in his place, and was consecrated bishop at the Easter of the following year in the city of York, and in presence of King Ecgfrid, ‘seven bishops meeting at the consecration, among whom Theodore was primate;’ but, as he preferred being placed over the church of Lindisfarne, in which he had lived, it was thought fit that Eata should return to the see of the church of Hagustald, over which he had been first ordained, and Cudberct should take upon him the government of the church of Lindisfarne. This was done, says the anonymous history, ‘with the general assent of King Ecgfrid and of the archbishop and these seven bishops and of all the magnates.’[411] Two months after his consecration as bishop King Ecgfrid was slain in the battle of Dunnechtain by the 214Picts, Trumuini fled from his diocese, and the dominion of the Angles over the Picts, Scots and Strathclyde Britons came to an end.

A.D. 684.
Cudberct becomes bishop of Lindisfarne.

Cudberct, who had accepted the bishopric with great reluctance, after he had filled the office for two years from his election, becoming aware that his end was drawing near, resolved to lay down his pastoral office and return to his solitary life; and after making a complete visitation not only of his diocese but also of all the other dwellings of the faithful, in order to confirm all with the needful word of exhortation, he, soon after Christmas in the year 686, returned to the hermit’s life he loved so well, in his cell in the island of Farne. And as a crowd of the brethren stood around him as he was going abroad, one of them asked him, ‘Tell us, lord bishop, when we may hope for your return.’ And Cudberct, who knew the truth, answered his simple question as simply, saying, ‘When you shall bring my body hither.’ ‘After he had passed nearly two months,’ says Bede, ‘greatly exulting in the repose which he had regained, he was seized with a sudden illness, and by the fire of temporal pain he began to be prepared for the joys of everlasting happiness.’ The account which Bede gives us of his death was, he says, narrated to him by Herefrid, a devout and religious priest, who at that time presided over the monastery of Lindisfarne as abbot, and was with Cudberct when he died. It is too long for insertion, but one or two incidents recorded by him throw light upon some points relevant to our inquiry.

A.D. 687.
Death of Cudberct.

‘After three weeks of continued wasting infirmity, Cudberct came to his end thus. He began to be taken ill on the fourth day of the week, and in like manner on the fourth day of the week, his sickness having been accomplished, he departed to the Lord.’ Herefrid visited him on the morning after he was taken ill, and when he took leave of him, and said, ‘Give us your blessing, for it is time for us to go on board and return home,’—‘Do as you say,’ he said; ‘go 215on board and return home safe; and when God shall have taken my soul bury me in this cell, at the south side of my oratory, opposite the east side of the holy cross which I have erected there. Now there is at the north of the same oratory a stone coffin, hidden by sods,[412] which formerly the venerable abbot Cudda presented to me. Place my body in that, and wrap it in the fine linen which you will find there.’ Herefrid was prevented from returning by a storm which lasted five days, but, when calm weather returned, he went back to the island and found that Cudberct had left his monastery and was sitting in the house built outside the enclosure for the reception of visitors, in order that any of the brethren who came to minister to him should find him there, and have no need to enter his cell. When Herefrid returned to Lindisfarne, he told the brethren that their venerable father had given orders that he should be buried in his own island; they resolved therefore to ask him to permit his body to be translated hither, and to be deposited in the church with suitable honour. On his coming to the bishop and laying this request before him he replies, ‘It was my wish to rest in the body here, where I have fought my little wrestling, such as it has been, for the Lord, and where I desire to finish my course, and whence I hope to be raised up by the merciful Judge to a crown of righteousness. Moreover, I think it would be more advantageous to you that I should rest here, on account of the trouble you would have from fugitives and evil-doers, who will probably fly to my tomb for refuge; for whatsoever I am in myself, I know that the report will go abroad of me that I am a servant of Christ; and you would necessarily have very often to intercede with the powerful of the world, and so to undergo much labour and trouble from the possession of my body.’ But, on their pressing their request, he says, ‘If you would really overcome what I had 216disposed, and should bear my body from this place, it seems to me that it would be better, in that case, to bury me inside your church, so that you may visit my tomb whenever you please, and have it in your power to admit or not to admit those that come thither.’ The monks thanked him for his permission, knelt down, and then returned home, from that time forth visiting him frequently. ‘And when, his sickness continuing, he saw that the time of his dissolution was at hand, he commanded that he should be carried back to his little cell and oratory.’ Now it was at the third hour of the day. ‘There we accordingly carried him,’ says Herefrid, ‘for through his exceeding weakness, he was unable to walk. But, when we came to the door, we begged him to allow some one of us to enter along with him and minister to him; for no one but himself, had for many years, ever entered therein.’ He accordingly allowed one of the brethren to remain. When Herefrid returned about the ninth hour of the day, he found him reclining in a corner of his oratory opposite the altar; and when he pressed him ‘to leave some words which might be considered as a bequest and as a last farewell to the brethren, he began to speak a few words—but they were powerful—concerning peace and humility, and cautioning us against those persons that chose rather to wrestle against such things than take delight therein. “Keep peace,” he said, “one“Keep peace,” he said, “one with another, and heavenly charity; and, when necessity demands of you to hold counsel as to your state, take great care that you be of one mind in your conclusions; and, moreover, maintain mutual concord with other servants of Christ, and despise not the household of the faith who come to you seeking hospitality, but be careful to receive such persons, to entertain them, and to send them away with friendly kindness; and do not think you are better than other followers of the same faith and conversation.”conversation.” But, with the spirit characteristic of one who had just emerged from 217an ecclesiastical controversy, he adds,—“But“But with those that err from the unity of Catholic peace, either by not celebrating Easter at the proper time, or by living perversely, have no communion.”’communion.”’ ‘Thus he spent a quiet day till evening, and tranquilly continued the wakeful night also in prayer. Now when the wonted time of nocturn prayers was come, having received the salutary sacraments at my hands, he fortified his departure, which he knew had now come, by the communion of the body and blood of our Lord; and, having lifted up his eyes to heaven and extended his hands on high, his soul, intent on heavenly praises, departed to the joys of the kingdom of heaven.’[413]

The similarity of his death to that of Columba, both in the time and manner of its occurrence and in the touching simplicity of the narrative, is very striking, and not less so the mode in which it was made known and received by the monks of Lindisfarne. Herefrid says that he immediately went out and ‘announced the death to the brethren, who had in like manner been passing the night in watching and prayer; and it happened that, in the order of nocturnal lauds, they were at that moment chanting the fifty-ninth,’ or, as it is in our English prayer-books, the sixtieth psalm; ‘and forthwith one of them ran and lighted two candles, and, holding one in each hand, he went up to a higher place, to show to the brethren who remained in the monastery of Lindisfarne that the holy soul of Cudberct had now departed to the Lord; for such was the signal agreed upon among them to notify his most holy death. And when the monk who was intently watching afar off, on the opposite watch-tower of the island of Lindisfarne, saw this, for which he had been waiting, he ran quickly to the church, where the whole congregation of the monks were assembled to celebrate the solemnities of nocturnal psalmody; and it happened that they also, when he entered, were singing the before-mentioned 218psalm,’ The body of Cudberct was then brought in a boat to the island of Lindisfarne, where ‘it was received by a great multitude of people, who, together with choirs of choristers, met it, and it was deposited in a stone coffin in the church of the blessed apostle Peter, on the right side of the altar.’[414]

Α.D. 698.
Relics of Cudberct enshrined.

Eleven years after his death, the remains of Cudberct were enshrined, and, as the custom of enshrining the relics of their saints was now beginning in the Irish Church, the circumstances here detailed are very instructive. The Divine power, Bede tells us, ‘put it into the hearts of the brethren to raise his bones, which they expected to have found dry, as is usual with the dead when the rest of the body has been consumed and reduced to dust, in order that they might enclose his remains in a light chest; and they intended, for the sake of decent veneration, to deposit them in the same place, but above instead of below the pavement. When they expressed this their desire to Eadberct, their bishop, he assented to their proposal, and commanded that they should remember to do this on the day of his deposition, which occurred on the thirteenth of the kalends of April, or the 20th of March. This they accordingly did; but, on opening the sepulchre, they found his whole body as entire as when he was yet living, and more like one in a sound sleep, for the joints of the limbs were flexible, than one who was dead.’ They hastened to inform the bishop, who was at the time dwelling as a solitary in the island of Farne, of what appeared to them a miraculous preservation of the remains, and he desired them ‘to gird the body with fresh wrappings instead of those which they had removed, and so place him in the chest they had prepared.’ The monks did as they were commanded; ‘and the body having been wrapped in new raiment and laid in a light chest, they deposited it upon the pavement of the sanctuary.’[415] This 219is a very early example of enshrining, and shows that the shrine they had prepared was large enough to receive the entire body, and that the custom then was to inter a saint in a stone coffin under the pavement, at the right side of the altar; but to place a shrine, enclosing his remains, above the pavement.[416]

A.D. 688.
Strathclyde Britons conform to Rome.

Adamnan’s first visit to Northumbria was made in the year 686; but we know nothing of it beyond the fact that the object of it was to redeem from Aldfrid the captives who had been carried off from Ireland by his predecessor, King Ecgfrid. Cudberct was at this time bishop of Lindisfarne, and it is extremely probable that they met. Adamnan’s second visit, however, was in 688, after Cudberct’s death, but while the whole kingdom was still full of his memory and the report of his sayings and doings; and these may have probably had their effect in bringing Adamnan over to the adoption of the Roman system, of which Cudberct had latterly been such a strenuous supporter. Bede tells us that, through his efforts, a great part of the Scots in Ireland, and some also of the Britons in Britain, conformed to the proper and ecclesiastical time of keeping Easter. By the latter expression, the Britons of Strathclyde, who had recently regained their freedom from the yoke of the Angles, are meant,[417] as the Britons of North Wales did not conform till the year 768, nor those of South Wales till the year 777. With the Britons of Strathclyde, too, we may connect at this time Sedulius as their bishop, who was present at a council held at Rome in the year 721, under Pope Gregory II., and subscribes its canons as Sedulius, a bishop of Britain of the nation of 220the Scots.[418] The Strathclyde Britons therefore, on regaining their independence, appear to have obtained a bishop from Ireland, probably from the southern Scots; and his presence at this council proves that he was of the Roman party.

A.D. 705-709.
Wilfrid founds chapels at Hexham, dedicated to St. Michael and St. Mary.

On Cudberct’s death, Wilfrid, who had been restored to his bishopric of York by King Aldfrid in the previous year, held the episcopal see of Lindisfarne one year, till such time as a bishop was chosen to be ordained in his room,[419] and seems to have not a little troubled the monks during his short rule, as no doubt Bede alludes to his temporary government of the monastery when he says, ‘For in truth, after the man of God was buried, so violent a storm of temptation shook that church, that several of the brethren chose rather to depart from the place than to encounter such dangers. Nevertheless Eadberct was ordained to the bishopric the year after; and, as he was a man noted for his great virtues and deep learning in the Scriptures, and above all given to works of almsdeeds, he put to flight the tempest of disturbance which had arisen.’[420] Wilfrid was not more fortunate in the management of his restored diocese of York, for he was again expelled after having held it five years.[421] Wilfrid, as usual, appealed to Rome, and the Pope, as usual, decided in his favour; and we learn both from Bede and Eddi that on his return journey he was suddenly seized with illness in the city of Meaux in Gaul, where he lay four days and nights as if he had been dead; but on the dawn of the fifth day he sat up in bed, as it were awakening out of a deep sleep, and saw numbers of the brethren singing and weeping about him. He asked for Acca the priest, and, when he came, told him that he had a dreadful vision. ‘There stood by him,’ he said, ‘a 221certain person remarkable for his white garments, who told him that he was Michael the Archangel, and was sent to recall him from death; for the Lord had granted him life through the prayers and tears of his disciples and the intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary; and that he would recover from his illness. “But be ready,” he added, “for I will return and visit thee at the end of four years. Go home and rear a church in her honour who has won for thee thy life. You have already built churches in honour of St. Peter and St. Andrew, but hast done nothing for St. Mary who interceded for thee. Amend this, and dedicate a church to her.”’[422] The bishop accordingly recovered, and setting forward on his journey arrived in Britain. Notwithstanding the decision of the Pope, King Aldfrid refused to admit him, but, on the king’s death in 705, a synod was held near the river Nidd in the first year of the reign of his successor Osred, and after some contention he was, by the consent of all, admitted to preside over his church, and his two principal monasteries—Ripon and Hexham—were restored to him; and thus he lived in peace four years, that is, till the day of his death. His troubled life came to an end in 709; and he was carried to his first monastery of Ripon, and buried in the church of the blessed Peter the apostle close by the south end of the altar. During this period of four years Wilfrid had, as we have seen, regained possession of the monastery of Hexham, which he had founded and dedicated to St. Andrew; and now, according to the injunction of the archangel, as Eddi tells us, the church of St. Mary at Hexham had its beginning; and, as a thank-offering to St. Michael himself, another temple in the same place, or near it, was erected soon afterwards.

A.D. 709-731.
Relics of St. Andrew brought to Hexham by Acca.

Wilfrid was succeeded, as Bede tells us, in the bishopric of the church of Hagustald by Acca his priest, who, ‘being himself a most active person and great in the sight of God 222and man, much adorned and added by his wonderful works to the structure of his church, which is dedicated to the blessed apostle Andrew. For he made it his business, and does so still (for Acca was still bishop of Hexham when Bede wrote), to procure relics of the blessed apostles and martyrs of Christ from all parts, to erect altars in honour of them, dividing the same by porches in the walls of the church. Besides which he very diligently gathered the histories of their sufferings together with other ecclesiastical writings, and erected there a most numerous and noble library.’ Bede adds that ‘Acca was bred up from his youth and instructed among the clergy of the most holy and beloved of God, Boza, bishop of York. Afterwards coming to Bishop Wilfrid in the hope of improving himself, he spent the rest of his life under him till that bishop’s death, and, going with him to Rome, learnt there many profitable things concerning the government of the holy church which he could not have learnt in his own country.’[423] Among the relics of the blessed apostles thus collected and brought to Hexham by Acca were most certainly the relics of St. Andrew,[424] and among the histories gathered together by him would no doubt be the legend of that apostle. When Bede finishes his history in the year 731, he tells us that at that time four bishops presided in the province of the Northumbrians. Wilfrid (second of the name) in the church of York, Ediluald in that of Lindisfarne, Acca in that of Hagustald, or Hexham, and Pecthelm in that which is called Candida Casa, or the White House, ‘which, from the increased number of believers, has lately become an additional see, and has him for its first prelate.’[425]

Monastery of Balthere at Tyninghame.

223From the time when the great diocese of York was broken up in the year 681, its history has had no bearing upon that of the churches of Cumbria or Lothian. The diocese of Lindisfarne, however, extended to the Firth of Forth; and about this time the monastery of Tyninghame, at the mouth of the river Tyne in East Lothian, must have been founded within it by Balthere the anchorite. Simeon of Durham, in his History of the Kings, records in the year 756 the death of Balthere the anchorite, and, in his History of the Church of Durham, he adds ‘in Tiningaham.’[426] He is popularly known in the district as St. Baldred of the Bass. By Bower St. Baldred is connected with Kentigern, and said to have been his suffragan bishop; and he reports a tradition that, a contest having arisen between the parishioners of the three churches of Haldhame, Tyninghame, and Lyntoun, in Lothian, for the possession of his body, and arms having been resorted to, they were at night overcome with sleep, and on awaking found three bodies exactly alike, one of which was buried in each church. This sufficiently connects St. Baldred with Tyninghame; and Alcuin, who wrote in the eighth century, as clearly connects Balthere with the Bass.[427] He was thus removed from Kentigern’s time by more than a century, was in reality an anchorite, and connected, not with the British diocese of Cumbria, but with the Anglic see of Lindisfarne. This diocese contained the territory extending from the Tyne to the Tweed, including the district of Teviotdale; and we learn from the anonymous history of Cudberct that its possessions beyond 224the Tweed consisted of the districts on the north bank from the sea to the river Leader, and the whole land which belonged to the monastery of St. Balthere, which is called Tyningham, from the Lammermoors to the mouth of the river Esk.[428] Beyond this western boundary the church of Lindisfarne possessed the monastery of Mailros with its territory; Tighbrethingham, which cannot be identified with any certainty; Eoriercorn or Abercorn, on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, and the monastery in which Trumuini had his seat when he ruled over the province of the Picts during their subjection to the Angles, and from which he fled after the disastrous battle of Dunnichen; and Edwinesburch, or Edinburgh, where the church dedicated to St. Cuthbert still bears his name.[429] The history of the church of Hagustald, or Hexham, will be found to have an important bearing upon that of one of the more northern churches.

Anglic bishopric of Whithern founded about A.D. 730, and comes to an end about 803.

Between the diocese of Lindisfarne and the Western Sea lay that of Glasgow, or Strathclyde, now freed from the yoke of the Angles and under an independent bishop; but the district of Galloway was still under the rule of the Angles of Northumbria, and here the church of Ninian appears to have been revived under an Anglic bishop some 225few years before Bede terminates his History. By the increased number of believers Bede no doubt means those of the Anglic nation who had settled there. The line of the Anglic bishops was kept up here for upwards of sixty years, during which five bishops filled the see; and, when King Eadberct added the plain of Kyle and other regions to his kingdom, they would become more firmly seated. It was probably at this time that the veneration of Cudberct and Osuald was extended into Ayrshire, where there are numerous dedications; but soon afterwards the power of the Angles began to wane, and the Anglic diocese of Candida Casa, or Whithern—owing, according to William of Malmesbury, to the ravages of the Scots or Picts—came to an end in the person of Beadulf, its last bishop, who lived to about 803.[430] In other words, the disorganisation of the Northumbrian kingdom at this time and the decrease of its power enabled the native population to eject the strangers and assert their independence.


355. The life by Jocelyn is printed in Pinkerton’s Vitæ Sanctorum, but very inaccurately. The fragment was first printed in the Glasgow Chartulary; but both have been re-edited with a translation by the late Bishop of Brechin, in his Life of Saint Ninian and Saint Kentigern, forming the fifth volume of the Historians of Scotland.

356. This sentence would be in modern Gaelic, A Dhia gur fior sin, and means, ‘O God, that that might be true.’

357. Vit. Anon. S. Kent., cc. i. ii. iii. iv. v.

358. In this narrative Servanus speaks a mongrel language. Mochohe seems a Gaelic form, as the prefix Mo appears in the Gaelic interjections, as Mo thruaigh!—woe’s me! and Chohe is probably meant for Oche, Ochon!—alas! well-a-day! but ‘Capitalis Dominus’ is only applicable to the Welsh form of his name. Cyndeyrn and Munghu are pure Welsh—Cyndeyrn from Cyn, chief, teyrn, lord. Mwyngu from Mwyn, amiable; Cu, dear.

359. Jocelyn, Vit. S. Kent., cc. i. ii. iii. iv.

360. The Breviary of Aberdeen attempts to get over the difficulty by supposing two Servanuses—one the disciple of Palladius, the other the Servanus of the life; but this does not help matters much, as it involves the improbability of both having founded Culenros, and both dying on the same day, the 1st of July.

361. Four Ancient Books of Wales, vol. ii. p. 457. It is possible that the epithet Garthwys may be the word Jocelyn has converted into Cathures.

362. Myvyrian Archæology, vol. ii. p. 34.

363. See p. 37.

364. Old Stat. Ac., vol. x. p. 146.

365. Id. Jan. In Scotia sancti Kentigerni episcopi Glascuensis et confessoris.Mart. Usuardi, A.D. 875.

366. Jocelyn, Vit. S. Kent., cc. xxii. xxiii. xxiv.

367. Thomas’s History of the Diocese of Saint Asaph, p. 5. See also Index of the Llyfr Coch Asaph, printed in Archæologia Cambrensis, 3d series, vol. xiv. p. 151, where we have, ‘Nomina villarum quas Malgunus rex dedit Kentigerno episcopo et successoribus suis episcopis de Llanelwy.’

368. Jocelyn, Vit. S. Kent., c. xxv.

369. Jocelyn, Vit. S. Kent., cc. xxx. xxxi.

370. Jocelyn, Vit. S. Kent., c. xxxii.

371. Jocelyn, Vit. S. Kent., c. xxxiv.

372. Rees’s Essay on Welsh Saints, pp. 240 and 295. It is probable that some others of the dedications north of the Firths of Forth and Clyde have come through the Welsh Calendar, as Saint Modocus, or Madoc of Kilmadock, but these are the only ones which can be directly connected with Kentigern.

373. Diciul de Mensura orbis terræ, c. vii.

374. Adamnan, B. i. c. 8.

375. Jocelyn, Vit. S. Kent., c. xxxix.

376. Jocelyn, Vit. S. Kent., c. xliv.

377. The Annales Cambriæ have at 612 ‘Conthigirni obitus.’Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 14. The 13th January fell on a Sunday in the years 603 and 614; and, if this is to regulate it, the first year is preferable, as Jocelyn says that Kentigern and King Rydderch died in the same year, and this is the year in which we find King Aidan of Dalriada heading the Cumbrian forces, which he could hardly have done in the life of King Rydderch. The Aberdeen Breviary, in the Life of Saint Baldred, says he died on 13th January 503, by which 603 is probably meant.

378. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. ii. c. 14.

379. Si quis scire voluerit quis eos baptizavit, Rum map, Urbgen baptizavit eos, et per quadraginta dies non cessavit baptizare omne genus Ambronum, et per predicationem illius multi crediderunt in Christo.Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 13.

380. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. iii. c. 3.

381. Ib., B. iii. c. 26.

382. N. S. A., vol. iii. p. 56.

383. Vita S. Eatæ (Surtees).

384. N. S. A., vol. ii. p. 281.

385. Bede, Vit. S. Cudbercti, c. x.

386. Bede, Vit. S. Cudbercti, Præf.

387. Alio quoque tempore, in adolescentia sua, dum adhuc esset in populari vita, quando in montanis juxta fluvium, quoad dicitur Leder, cum aliis pastoribus pecos a domini sui pascebat.Vita Anon. S. Cuth.: Bedæ Opera Minora, p. 262.

388. Vit. S. Cud., cc. iv. vi.

389. Libellus de nativitate Sancti Cuthberti de Historiis Hybernensium excerptus et translatus—a MS. of the fourteenth century, in the Diocesan Library at York, printed by the Surtees Club.

390. Et miro modo in lapidea devectus navicula, apud Galweiam in regione illa, quae Rennii vocatur, in portu qui Rintsnoc dicitur, applicuit.—C. xix.

391. Post hæc, curroc lapidea in Galweia derelicta, navim aliam subiit, et alio portu, qui Letherpen dicitur, in Erregaithle, quæ est terra Scottorum, applicuit. Portus ille inter Erregaithle et Incegal situs est, lacus vero, qui ibi proximus adjacet, Loicafan vocatus est. Non tamen amplius quam tres viri cum matre et filio extiterant qui applicuerant.Ib.

392. Ib., c. xx.

393. Scotia is here distinguished from Erregaithle, or Argathelia, which indicates a certain antiquity.

394. Ib., c. xxi.

395. Ib., cc. xxii. xxiii.

396. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. iv. c. 27. Reverentissimus ecclesiæ Lindisfarnensis in Britannia ex anachorita antistes Cuthberctus, totam ab infantia usque ad senilem vitam miraculorum signis inclitam duxit.—Bede, Chronicon Adam., 701.

397. See Preface to the volume containing the Life, p. ix.

398. It is on the authority of this life alone that a Columba is sometimes called the first bishop of Dunkeld; but it is impossible to accept this as historical.

399. This is true of the Columban monasteries generally.

400. This account is abridged from the Irish Life, cc. xxvi. and xxvii. See Surtees’ edition, pp. 82, 83.

401. In the Statistical Account we are told that there is a spring of water about the middle of the Rock of Weem, of which St. David is said to be the patron, who had a chapel on a shelf of the rock called Craig-an-chapel. The fair is called Feill Dhaidh, and there is a burying-ground called Cill Dhaidh. St. David seems to have superseded St. Cuthbert here. The fair was held in March. St. Cuthbert’s day is 20th March.

402. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. v. c. 19.

403. Bede, Vit. S. Cud., c. ix.

404. Bede, Vit. S. Cud., cc. x. xi. See also for locality of Niduari Picts vol. i. p. 133, note.

405. Bede, Vit. S. Cud., c. xvi.

406. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. iii. c. 27.

407. Eddii, Vita S. Wilfridi, cap. 22

408. Bede, Vit. S. Cudbercti, c. 17; Raine’s North Durham, p. 145.

409. Bede, Vit. S. Cud., c. xvii.

410. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. iv. c. 12.

411. Ib., B. iv. c. 28. Sim. Dun. Opera (Surtees Club), p. 140.

412. Sarcophagum terræ cespite abditum.

413. Bede, Vit. S. Cud., cc. xxxvii. xxxviii. xxxix.

414. Bede, Vit. S. Cud., c. xl.

415. Ib., c. xlii.

416. The expression by Bede for the stone coffin is arca, and for the shrine, theca in the Ecc. Hist.; and in the Vita S. Cudbercti, Sarcophagus and theca are used.

417. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. v. c. 15. The expression is, ‘Nonnulla etiam de Brettonibus in Britannia,’ and Bede uses a similar expression when he says that a part of the Britons recovered their freedom in 655.

418. Sedulius, Episcopus Britanniæ de genere Scottorum, huic constituto a nobis promulgato subscripsi.—Haddan and Stubbs’ Councils, vol. ii. p. 7.

419. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. iv. c. 29; B. v. c. 19; Eddi, c. 43.

420. Vit. S. Cud., cap. 40.

421. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. v. c. 19; Eddi, c. 44.

422. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. v. c. 19; Eddi, Vit. S. Wilf., c. 54.

423. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. v. c. 20.

424. In the Liber de Sanctis Ecclesiæ Hagustaldensis et eorum miraculis there is this statement—‘Ipsa insuper ecclesia pretiosis decorata ornamentis et Sancti Andreæ aliorumque sanctorum ditata reliquiis tam advenientium quam inhabitantium devotionem adauxit.’—Mabillon, A.SS., sec. iii. part i. p. 204.

425. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. v. cap. 23.

426. Eodem anno (DCCLVI.) Balthere anachorita viam sanctorum patrum est secutus, migrando ad Eum Qui se reformavit ad imaginem Filii Sui.—Sim. Dun., Hist. Regum, ad an. 756.

427. Scotichron., B. iii. c. 29. Alcuin, in his poem De Pontificibus et Sanctis Ecclesiæ Eboracensis, has the following lines, obviously referring to the Bass, under the head of ‘Nota. Baltheri Anachoretæ res gestæ’:—

Est locus undoso circumdatus undique ponto,
Rupibus horrendis prærupto et margine septus,
In quo belli potens terreno in corpore miles
Sæpius aërias vincebat Balthere turmas, etc.
Gale, Scriptores, xv. p. 726.

428. Et illa terra ultra Tweoda ab illo loco ubi oritur fluvius Edre ab aquilone, usque ad illum locum ubi cadit in Tweoda, et tota terra quæ jacet inter istum fluvium Edre et alterum fluvium, qui vocatur Leder, versus occidentem; et tota terra quæ jacet ab orientali parte istius aquæ, quæ vocatur Leder, usque ad illum locum ubi cadit in fluvium Tweoda versus austrum; et tota terra quæ pertinet ad monasterium Sancti Balthere, quod vocatur Tinningaham a Lombormore usque ad Escemathe.—Sim. Dun., Opera (Surtees ed.), p. 140.

429. Omnes quoque ecclesia ab aqua quæ vocatur Tweoda usque Tinam australem et ultra desertum ad occidentem pertinebant illo tempore ad præfatam ecclesiam; et hæ mansiones, Carnham et Culterham et duæ Geddewrd ad australem plagam Tevietæ, quas Ecgfridus episcopus condidit; et Mailros, et Tigbrethingham, et Eoriercorn ad occidentalem partem, Edwinesburch et Petterham, et Aldham, et Tinningaham, et Coldingaham, et Tollmathe, et Northam.—Sim. Dun., His. Rec., p. 68.

430. Eum (Pehtelmum) subsecuti sunt Frithewald, Pectwine, Ethelbriht, Beadulf, nec præterea plures alicubi reperio, quod cito defecerit episcopatus, quia extrema, ut dixi, Anglorum ora est et Scottorum vel Pictorum depopulationi opportuna.—W. Malm., Gest. Pontific. Ang., Lib. iii. § 118.

226

CHAPTER VI.

THE SECULAR CLERGY AND THE CULDEES.

No appearance of name of Culdee till after expulsion of Columban monks.

It is not till after the expulsion of the Columban monks from the kingdom of the Picts, in the beginning of the eighth century, that the name of Culdee appears. To Adamnan, to Eddi and to Bede it was totally unknown. They knew of no body of clergy who bore this name, and in the whole range of ecclesiastical history there is nothing more entirely destitute of authority than the application of this name to the Columban monks of the sixth and seventh centuries,[431] or more utterly baseless than the fabric which has been raised upon that assumption. Like many of our popular notions, it originated with Hector Boece, and, at a time when the influence of his fabulous history was still paramount in Scotland, it became associated with an ecclesiastical controversy which powerfully engaged the sympathies of the Scottish people; and this gave it a force and vitality which renders it difficult for the popular mind to regard the history of the early Scottish Church through any other medium. At this most critical period of its history we unfortunately lose the invaluable light afforded 227by the trustworthy narratives of Adamnan and Bede, but their very silence shows that it was a name not identified with the Monastic Church, which then not only prevailed in Ireland, but embraced likewise the churches of the Scots and the Picts, of the Cumbrians and the Northumbrians, but rather associated with those influences which affected the monastic system in both countries.

Monastic Church affected by two opposite influences:

The Monastic Church was broken in upon by two opposite influences, which, though very different in their characters, yet possessed one feature in common, and were eventually to unite. One of these influences was external to the Monastic Church. The other developed itself within it.

First, by secular clergy.

The first arose when the Irish Church came in contact with that of Rome, and is associated with the controversy regarding Easter, and other Roman usages which arose out of it. Although the monastic system was an important and recognised institution in the Roman Church at the time, it was subordinated to a hierarchy of secular clergy; and a church which not only possessed monasticism as a feature, but was so entirely monastic in its character that its whole clergy were embraced within its rule, not only was alien to the Roman system, but necessarily produced peculiarities of jurisdiction and clerical life which were repugnant to it. Hence, where the Roman Church exercised a direct influence upon this Monastic Church, its tendency necessarily was to produce a return to the older system of a hierarchy of secular clergy, with monachism as a separate institution existing within the church, but not pervading the whole. It was this influence, which had been brought to bear upon the church of the Picts, originating with Wilfrid of York and affecting them through their connection with the Angles of Northumbria, that eventually severed their connection with the Columban church, and brought to an end the primacy of Iona over the churches of Pictland. We have hitherto regarded this church as identified with that founded by 228Columba in Iona, and, as such, intimately connected with the Church of Ireland. We have also found the interpretation of the peculiarities of the former in the institutions of the latter, and the leading facts of its history in the Irish Annals. We must now, however, treat the history of the church in the eastern districts, which formed the territory of the Picts, separately from that of Iona; and as, with this connection with the Irish Church, we likewise lose the invaluable guidance of Bede, we must find our main source of information in an analysis of those ecclesiastical traditions applicable to this period, which have come down to us. We have already seen, from the narrative of Bede, how Naiton, as he calls him, or Nectan, king of the Picts who inhabit the northern parts of Britain, taught by frequent study of the ecclesiastical writings, renounced the error by which he and his nation had till then been held in relation to the observance of Easter, and submitted, together with his people, to celebrate the Catholic time of our Lord’s resurrection; how he sought assistance from the nation of the Angles, and sent messengers to Ceolfrid, abbot of the monastery of Jarrow, desiring him to write him a letter containing arguments by the help of which he might the more powerfully confute those that persevered in keeping Easter out of the due time, and also concerning the form and manner of the tonsure for distinguishing the clergy; how he prayed to have architects sent him to build a church in his nation after the Roman manner, which he promised to dedicate to St. Peter; how, when he received the letter he requested, he had it read in his presence and that of the most learned men, and interpreted into his own language, and issued a decree that, together with his nation, he would observe this time of Easter, and that the coronal tonsure should be received by all the clergy in his nation; how this decree, by public command, was sent throughout all the provinces of the Picts to be transcribed, learned and observed; and how all the 229ministers of the altar and monks adopted the coronal tonsure, and the nation was placed under the patronage and protection of St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles. We have also learned from the Irish Annals that this powerful confutation, like many other efforts to enforce uniformity, resulted in the resistance of the Columban monks and their expulsion from his territories.

Legend of Bonifacius.

The legend which mainly deals with this revolution is that of Bonifacius, preserved in the Aberdeen Breviary; and his leading statements harmonise so well with Bede’s narrative, and are so much supported by the dedications of the churches mentioned in connection with it, that we may safely import them into the history of this period.[432] It is thus told:—Bonifacius was an Israelite by birth, descended from the sister of St. Peter and St. Andrew, and born in Bethsaida. In his thirty-sixth year he was ordained priest by John, Bishop and Patriarch of Jerusalem. When he attained his forty-sixth year he went to Rome, where he was made a bishop and cardinal, and then, by the election of all the cardinals, he was elevated to the papacy. He then called some of his brethren into the oratory, and informed them that he proposed to set forth on a mission to the ends of the earth, for the love of God and those people who dwelt in the northern regions beyond the bounds of Europe. They said, ‘Send religious men, as your predecessors Celestinus and Gregorius sent Palladius, Patricius and Augustinus.’ But Bonifacius replied that it had been revealed to him by St. Peter, in an angelic vision, that he should undertake this mission himself. Accordingly, after due preparation, he shortly afterwards set out from Rome. The mission consisted of Bonifacius, and of Benedictus, Servandus, Pensandus, Benevolus, Madianus, and Principuus, bishops and most devout men, who devotedly followed him, and two distinguished 230virgins, abbesses, Crescentia and Triduana; seven presbyters, seven deacons, seven sub-deacons, seven acolytes, seven exorcists, seven lectors, seven doorkeepers, and a great multitude of God-fearing men and women. They had a prosperous journey and voyage, and arrived in Pictavia, sailed up the Scottish Sea or Firth of Forth, and proceeded as far as Restinoth. Here they were met by Nectan, king of the Picts, at the head of his army, who, seeing such a multitude of strangers, was struck with astonishment, but finally, with all his nobles and officers, received the sacrament of baptism at the hands of Bonifacius and his bishops. The king then dedicated the place of his baptism to the Holy Trinity, and gave it to Bonifacius, who then performed the usual miracles, ‘wrote one hundred and fifty books, and founded as many churches, with an equal number of bishops and a thousand presbyters, and converted and baptized thirty-six thousand men and women; and finally, in the eighty-fourth year of his age, on the 17th day before the kalends of April, or 16th March, departed to Christ.’ Another form of the legend states that his name was Albanus Kiritinus, surnamed Bonifacius; that he founded a church at the mouth of the river Gobriat, or Gowry, in Pictavia, after baptizing Nectanus the king; that he preached sixty years to the Picts and Scots, and, at the age of eighty, died at Rosmarkyn, and was buried in the church of St. Peter.

These legends are borne out by the dedications, as we find that the churches of Restennot, near Forfar, and Invergowry, at the mouth of the water of Gowry, are dedicated to St. Peter; and Rosemarky, on the north shore of the Moray Firth, an old Columban monastery founded by Lugadius, or Moluog, of Lismore, was dedicated to St. Peter and Bonifacius; while the church of Scone, the chief seat of the kingdom, was dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The legends are obviously connected with the revolution by which King Nectan and the entire nation of the Picts conformed to Rome. 231The earlier part of the narrative is of course fictitious, and Bonifacius is here erroneously identified with one of the Bonifaces who occupied the papal throne in the seventh century. The object of this was no doubt to make more prominent and direct his character as a missionary in the interest of the Roman party. He was in reality a bishop from that party in the Irish Church which had conformed to Rome. When Adamnan went to Ireland and held the synod in which his law was promulgated in the year 697, its canons were signed, among others, by Cuiritan epscop, or Bishop Cuiritan, and also by Bruide mac Derili Ri Cruithintuath, or king of Pictavia, the brother and immediate predecessor of Nectan; and in the old Irish Calendars he appears on the 16th March as Curitan epscoip ocus abb Ruis mic bairend, that is, Curitan, bishop and abbot of Rosmarkyn.[433] This is also the day in which Bonifacius appears in the Scotch Calendars, and their identity seems beyond doubt. It is equally clear that the legend also shows the introduction of a body of secular clergy into the kingdom of the Picts, and, as we found that at the council on the banks of the Nidd, at which it was resolved to appoint Cuthbert bishop, and to place him at Lindisfarne, while Eata was transferred to Hexham, a body of seven bishops were present and confirmed the arrangement, so here the mission is composed of seven bishops, with an equal number of presbyters, deacons, sub-deacons, acolytes, exorcists, lectors and doorkeepers—that is, the entire hierarchy of the secular clergy of Rome with its minor orders. Wynton, in his notice of Boniface, well expresses this—

‘Sevyn hundyr wynter and sextene,
Quhen lychtare wes the Virgyne clene,
Pape off Rome than Gregore
The Secund, quham off yhe herd before,
232And Anastas than Empryowre,
The fyrst yhere off hys honowre,
Nectan Derly wes than regnand
Owre the Peychtis in Scotland.
In Ros he fowndyd Rosmarkyne,
That dowyd wes wytht kyngys syne,
And made was a place Cathedrale
Be-north Murrave severalle;
Quhare chanownys ar seculare
Wndyr Saynt Bonyface lyvand thare.’[434]
Legend of Fergusianus.

Another legend which appears to belong to this period, and which is likewise confirmed by the dedications, is that of Fergus, or Fergusianus. His story is this: He was for many years a bishop in Ireland, and then came to the western parts of Scotland, to the confines of Strogeth, where he founded three churches. Thence he went to Cathania, or Caithness, where for some time he occupied himself in converting the barbarous people. After that he visited Buchan, resting in a place called Lungley, where he built a basilica, which still exists, dedicated to himself. Then he came to Glammis, where he consecrated a tabernacle to the God of Jacob, and where he died full of years. His bones were afterwards enshrined in a shrine of marble, and his head taken with all due honour to the monastery of Scone, where many miracles were performed.[435] Now, we find that among the bishops who were present at the council held at Rome in the year 721, and signed the canons, is ‘Fergus the Pict, a bishop of Ireland,’[436] who is no doubt our Fergus before he passed over to Pictland in Britain, which appears to have been his native country; and his appearance at the council of Rome shows that he belonged to the party who had conformed to the Roman Church. At 233Strageath, in the district of Stratherne, and in the immediate neighbourhood, are three churches dedicated to St. Patrick—those of Strageath, Blackford and Dolpatrick—which shows that their founder had come from Ireland. In Caithness, the churches of Wick and Halkirk are dedicated to St. Fergus. In Buchan the village called in the legend Lungley is now named St. Fergus, and the neighbouring parish of Inverugie, now called Peterhead, is dedicated to St. Peter. At Glammis we have St. Fergus’ cave and St. Fergus’ well, and the statement that his head was preserved at Scone is confirmed by an entry in the accounts of the Lord High Treasurer, of a payment by James IV. for a silver case for it.

Churches dedicated to St. Peter.

The distribution of the churches among the Picts which were dedicated to St. Peter will show the extent to which the country at this time adopted him as their patron. Among the southern Picts we have Invergowry, Tealing, Restennot, and Meigle. Among the northern Picts we have in Aberdeen and Banff, Cultyr, Fivy and Inverugie; and in Moray and Ross, Drumdelgy, Ruthven, Glenbucket, Belty, Inverawen, Duffus and Rosemarky. King Nectan himself is said by the Irish annalist Tighernac to have become a cleric in the year 724,[437] and probably retired to the church which he had built after the Roman manner by the architects sent him from Northumbria, and which, as he had promised to dedicate that church to St. Peter, must have been one of these we have named, either Restennot or Rosemarky.

Second influence: the Anachoretical life.

These legends having thus so far indicated the external influence which led to the introduction of the secular clergy into the church among the Picts, we must now advert to another and more powerful influence of an opposite kind, which arose within the Monastic Church itself, and equally tended to break in upon the monastic character of that 234church. This influence was that increasing asceticism which led the monks to forsake the cœnobitical life for the solitary cell of the anchorite, and induced those who wished to pass from a secular to a religious life to prefer this more ascetic form of it. This form of the religious life had long existed in the Christian Church, and, from a very early period, there prevailed a feeling that the solitary life in the desert, or in the anchorite’s cell, was a higher form of the religious life than that afforded by the cœnobitical life of the monastery. Thus St. Jerome, writing in the fourth century, tells us that ‘there were in Egypt three kinds of monks. First, the Cœnobites, whom they call in the Gentile tongue Sausses but whom we may term those living in common. Secondly, the Anchorites, who live alone in desert places, and are so called as living apart from men; and, thirdly, that kind which are called Remoboth, the worst and most neglected;’[438] and John Cassian, a native of Scythia, who founded two monasteries at Marseilles, one for men and the other for virgins, and died about the year 440, writing what he terms ‘Conferences with the Monks,’ speaks, in his eighteenth, of the different sorts of monks in his day. He likewise distinguishes them into three sorts. First the Cœnobites, who live in common, under an abbot, imitating the life of the apostles. Second, Anchorites, who, after they have been instructed and educated in monasteries, withdraw into the deserts. The authors of this order were St. Paul the hermit and St. Anthony. And third, the Sarabaites, who pretended to retire from the world, and joined themselves together by two or three in a company, to live after their own humour, not being subject to any man. He looks upon these but as a corruption of the monastic state rather than a distinct order. He adds to these a fourth sort of monks, made of those who, not being able to endure the monastic life in a convent, retreated alone into certain cells to live more at 235liberty, but praises the second as the most perfect. In his nineteenth conference, an abbot called John, who had been an anchorite and had entered a monastery, is asked which of the two orders was to be preferred, and replies that he thought the life of the cœnobites best for those who were not absolutely perfect, and shows that none but those who have attained to a degree of eminent perfection are capable of living the life of a hermit.[439] Another of these ancient fathers, Nilus, who had betaken himself to a solitary life in the desert of Sinai, and died about the year 451, writes a treatise upon the question whether the life of the Anchorites, or Hermits, whom he also calls Hesycasts, or Quietists, who dwell in solitude, is to be preferred before the life of those religious who dwell in cities, and states that this is a question about which the judgment of spiritual men is much divided. Those who prefer the religious who live in communities in cities before the anchorites, say that they have more worth because they meet with more opposition; whereas those who live in solitude being quiet and not subject to temptations, have not so much virtue; to which Nilus replies that there are as many temptations in solitude as in cities, and that the reason why some persons argue so is because they regard outward sins only, not considering that there are infinite temptations and spiritual sins which encounter us as well in privacy as in cities; and he therefore supports the opinion that the solitary life is the higher form of the religious life.[440] Isidore of Seville, too, in the seventh century, distinguishes between the different kinds of monks, and says that the Cœnobites are they that live in common, like those in the days of the apostles, who sold their goods and had all things in common; the Hermits, they that withdraw into desert places and vast solitudes in imitation 236of Elias and John the Baptist, delighting, with a wonderful contempt of the world, in total solitude; and the Anchorites, they who, having perfected themselves in cœnobitical life, shut themselves up in cells apart from the aspect of men, inaccessible to all, and living in the sole contemplation of God.[441] But Bede, who was a Benedictine monk, seems also to regard the life of an anchorite as a higher form of religious life, when in his History he says of Cudberct on his retiring to the island of Farne, that, ‘advancing in the merits of his devout intention, he proceeded even to the adoption of a hermit life of solitary contemplation and secret silence;’ and, in his Life, that ‘he was now permitted to ascend to the leisure of divine speculation, and rejoiced that he had now reached the lot of those of whom we sing in the Psalm, The saints shall go from virtue to virtue; the God of Gods shall be seen in Sion.’[442]

The preference for this mode of life, as the highest form of a religious life that could be attained, seems to have arisen from an overstrained interpretation of some passages of Scripture. Thus Bede, in the beginning of his Life of Cudberct, tells us that he ‘would hallow its commencement by quoting the words of the prophet Jeremiah, who, in lauding the state of the perfection of the anchorite, says, “It is good for a man who hath borne the yoke from his youth; he shall sit alone and keep silent, because he shall raise himself above himself.”’[443] But the preference of the solitary life as the highest form of asceticism seems to have been mainly founded upon two passages in the New Testament. One is that passage in the Epistle of St. James in which he winds up his exhortation by saying, ‘Pure religion and undefiled, before God and the Father, is to visit the widows and fatherless in their affliction, and to keep 237himself unspotted from the world;’world;’ or, as a literal rendering of the old Latin version would be, ‘Pure and immaculate religious service towards God and the Father is this, to visit the infants and widows in their tribulation, and to keep oneself immaculate from this world.’[444] By an overstrained interpretation of this passage it was assumed that a person could only keep himself immaculate from the world by withdrawing himself from it altogether, and from all association with his fellow-creatures, except in works of benevolence to those in distress; and that this was a form of religion peculiarly acceptable to God and the Father. The other passage is that in the First Epistle of St. Peter, where it is said, ‘But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; which in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God; which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.’[445] And this was interpreted to mean that those who passed their lives in mortifying the body and praising God by singing the psalter, in living in this world as strangers from all society and as pilgrims to a better world, were a peculiar people and entitled to call themselves the people of God.

Anchorites called Deicolæ or God-worshippers.

They thus came to the conclusion that a solitary life passed in devotion and self-mortification, accompanied by acts of benevolence to the sick and bereaved, was a ‘cultus’ or ‘religio’ peculiarly acceptable to God and the Father; 238and hence they were called, if they did not call themselves so, Deicolæ, or God-worshippers, in contrast to Christicolæ, the name applied in a general sense to all Christians, and, in a narrower application, to monks leading a cœnobitical life. Thus in the Life of St. Anthony, written by Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, who introduced monachism into the Western Church, and translated into Latin by Evagrius, a priest of Antioch, in the year 358, we find it stated that ‘the neighbours and the monks whom he often visited, seeing St. Anthony, called him a Deicola, and, indulging in the expression of natural affection, they loved him, some as a son, others as a brother.’[446] Again, Martinus, a bishop, who terms himself Scotus, or a native of Ireland, writing to Miro, king of Gallicia, in the sixth century, probably about the year 560, regarding ‘the rules of an honest life,’ says that he will not urge him to follow ‘those more arduous and perfect rules which are practised by a few very excellent Deicolæ.’[447] Columbanus, too, in his second instruction or sermon to his monks, says, ‘Whosoever, therefore, willeth to be made a habitation for God, let him strive to become lowly and quiet, that not by glibness of words, nor by suppleness of body, but by the reality of his humility he may be recognised as a Deicola; for goodness of heart requireth not the feigned religion of words;’[448] and a disciple of Columbanus, who followed out this life after his master had been driven out of Luxeuil with his monks, retired to a solitary spot called Luthra in the midst of a 239forest, now Lure in the district of Besançon, ‘But his virtues having attracted religious men to him from all quarters, he formed a community of monks and erected two oratories; and, after governing his monastery for several years, he appointed one of his disciples abbot in his stead, and again withdrew to a solitary cell, where he devoted himself to divine contemplation till his death about 625. This man bears no other name in the calendars than Deicola, and his memory is still held in high estimation by the people of that country, who call him Saint Die.’[449]

Anchorites called the people of God.

We find, too, these solitaries also called the people of God. In the ancient Life of St. Patrick written by Probus, he tells us that, after Patrick had passed four years with St. Martin of Tours, where he was trained in monastic life, an angel appeared to him and said, ‘Go to the people of God, that is, to the hermits and solitaries, with naked feet, and live with them, that you may be tried for some time; and he went into a solitude, and remained with the hermits eight years.’[450]

The conception of this ‘cultus’ of God is well expressed in a passage of Simeon of Durham, who, in his History of the Kings, under the year 781, says, some 250 years after, of a certain Dregmo, in the territory of the church at Hexham, that ‘he greatly feared God and diligently devoted himself, as far as his means allowed, to the exercise of works of charity, leading a life in all respects apart from the customs of his countrymen—a man of remarkable simplicity 240and innocence, and of profound devotion and reverence towards the saints of God; on which account his neighbours held him in great honour, and called him a true God-worshipper.’[451]

In the seventh century attempts were made by several councils to bring the solitaries more under the monastic rule. By the fifth canon of the Council of Toledo, held in 646, it was provided that ‘well-instructed monks alone should be allowed to live separate from a cloister as recluses, and become the trainers of others in the higher forms of ascetic life. Those recluses and wanderers who are unworthy must be brought within a cloister, and in future no one must be devoted to this highest form of the ascetic life, as a recluse, who had not first been trained in a monastery to the knowledge and practice of the monastic life.’[452] By the Council of Trullo, held in 692, it was provided, by canon 41, that those who would live separate in their own cells must have first passed three years in a monastery, and that any one who has once withdrawn himself to a solitary cell must not again leave it; and by canon 42 that, as there are hermits who come to the towns in black clothing and long hair, and associate with secular persons, it is ordered that such persons shall be tonsured and enter a monastery, wearing the monastic dress. If they will not do this, they must be expelled from the town.[453]

A.D. 747.
Order of Secular Canons instituted.

Such attempts, however, seem to have had little effect, and the next century was to see the Anchorites and Recluses, 241who lived apart from the monastic rule, and practised what they considered the highest form of asceticism, and the secular clergy, who had never come under the monastic rule, but were subject only to the general canon-law of the church, brought more together, a tendency to which indeed had probably already manifested itself in the end of the previous century, which the forty-second canon of the Council of Trullo was designed to check. For though nothing could be more opposed in spirit, than the secular life of the ordinary clergy on the one hand and the ascetic life of the anchorites on the other, forming, as it were, the opposite poles of the ecclesiastical system, yet they had one feature in common—that both lived separately, in opposition to the cœnobitical life of the monks. The new institution which thus brought them together was that of the secular canons, founded by Chrodegang, bishop of Metz, in the year 747. His rule was at first intended for his clergy of Metz alone, with a view of leading them to adopt a more regular life in the ecclesiastical sense of the term. This rule consists of thirty-four chapters. By the third he directs that the canon clerics shall live together in a cloister, and shall all sleep in one dormitory, with the exception of those to whom the bishop shall give permission to sleep separately in their own dwellings within the cloister; that no woman or layman is to enter the cloister without an order from the bishop, the archdeacon, or the ‘primicerius’; that they shall eat in the same refectory, that laics shall only be allowed to remain in the cloister as long as they have work, and that those living separately within the cloister must live alone and have no other cleric with them. By the ninth chapter he enjoins them to perform the bodily labours in common as well as in private. By the thirty-first he enjoins his clerics to give to the church what real property they have, retaining the income only, but gives them leave to reserve to themselves their moveable 242property, for almsgiving, and to dispose of it as they please by their wills.[454]

Deicolæ brought under canonical rule.

The object of this rule was certainly to bring the secular clergy of this town to live a cœnobitical life, but with such relaxations as would both allow it to be considerably modified towards certain of the body, and to permit the recluses, though not expressly named, to be included within it; but the new canonical life became so popular, that the rule was revised and enlarged, so as to adapt it to the state of the clergy generally, and enable it to be extended over the whole church. This revised rule consists of eighty-six chapters. By the thirteenth it is provided that within the cloisters there shall be dormitories, refectories, cellars and other habitations; that all shall sleep in one dormitory, living as brethren in one society, except those to whom the bishop shall give leave to sleep separately on separate couches in their own dwellings in the cloister, with seniors among them to watch over them; and that no female or laic shall enter the cloister. Chapter thirty-nine bears that, as there is an evil zeal of bitterness which separates from God and leads to destruction, so there is a good zeal which separates from vice and leads to God and eternal life: therefore they ought to exercise zeal with the most fervent love, as servants of God (Servi Dei). The eighty-first chapter, however, deals directly with the Deicolæ, with the view of bringing them under the canonical rule. It consists of ‘the epistle of a certain Deicola, sent in the name of Christ to the priests and clerics for their instruction and exhortation;’ and it is addressed ‘to the beloved priests in the churches of Christ, the bishops and all the clergy therein everywhere, and their servants, and to all the Deicolæ living in the whole world.’[455] He begs of them that, ‘living 243justly, piously and holily, they should show a good example to others, and live with soul, heart and body under the canonical rule.’ He exhorts ‘all clerics under them to give humble obedience, and endeavour to fulfil the canonical rule without murmuring, serving the Lord willingly; seeing that every man ought to be subject to the higher powers and those put over them, how much more should they, as servants of God (Servi Dei), humbly obey their provosts?’ He finally exhorts them to be mindful ‘of the canonical rules, and to have their precepts always before their eyes.’[456] By the General Council held at Aix-la-Chapelle in 816 and 817, this canonical rule was adopted, and a number of canons were passed to give effect to it, with some modifications. They begin with the 114th canon. The 117th canon provides that each bishop must see that the cloister in which his clerics live is enclosed with a strong wall; the 120th, that those clerics who possess property of their own and an income from the church shall receive from the community their daily food only, with a share of the oblations. Those who have no private means are entirely supported and clothed. By the 135th, the boys and youths who are educated in the canonry shall be well cared for and instructed, be placed under a senior canon and dwell together in the upper floor of a house. By the 141st, each bishop must provide a hospital for the poor and strangers, and each cleric shall give the tenth of what he received for its support. By the 142d, canons are allowed to have separate dwellings, and proper places shall be provided for the aged and the sick within the canonry; and by the 144th, women must not enter the dwellings and the cloister, with the exception of the church.[457]

Deicolæ in the Saxon Church.

In the early English Church we find the name Deicola in a Saxon form applied to a community of solitaries. We find it stated in the Peterborough MS. of the Anglo-Saxon 244Chronicle, in the year 655, that ‘Peada, king of the Mercians, and Oswiu, the brother of King Osuald, came together and said that they would rear a monastery to the glory of Christ and the honour of St. Peter; and they did so, and gave it the name of Medeshamstede,’ now Peterborough. In 657 the monastery was finished, and consecrated by Deusdedit, archbishop of Canterbury, in the presence of King Wulfhere, the brother and successor of King Peada, and his earls and thanes. There were also present four bishops, and Wilfrid, who was then only a priest; and the king endowed it. Then ‘the abbot desired that he would grant him that which he would desire of him, and the king granted it to him. “I have here,” he said, “God-fearing monks, who would pass their lives in an anchoretage, if they knew where. But here is an island, which is called Ancarig,” now Thorney Isle, “and I will crave this—that we may there build a monastery to the glory of St. Mary, that they may there dwell who may desire to lead their lives in peace and in rest.”’ The king accordingly grants the request, and endows this monastery also.[458] The expression Gode-frihte, or God-fearing, here applied to these anchorite monks, is obviously the Saxon equivalent of Deicola. In the following century the canonical rule was introduced into England, as we find in a legatine synod held in Northumberland, in the year 787, that by the fourth canon bishops are required to take care that all canons live canonically, and all monks or nuns regularly—that is, according to monastic rule;[459] and that the title of God-worshippers passed down to the canon clerics, at least to those who lived separately, appears from this, that, when King Athelstan was on his march against the Scots in 936, he halted at York, and there besought of the ministers of St. Peter’s church, who were then called Colidei, to offer up their prayers on behalf of 245himself and his expedition. They are said to be ‘men of holy life and honest conversation, then styled Colidei, who maintained a number of poor people, and withal had but little whereon to live.’ ‘It would appear,’ says Dr. Reeves, ‘that these Colidei were the officiating clergy of the cathedral church of St. Peter’s at York in 946, and that they discharged the double function of divine service and eleemosynary entertainment;’[460] in other words, they were canon clerics, and the name Colidei is merely an inversion of that of Deicolæ. Those of Canterbury we find called in a charter by King Ethelred, in 1006, cultores clerici, or cleric God-worshippers, the word Dei being evidently implied.[461]

Anchoretical life in Ireland and Scotland.

In the early Monastic Church of Ireland, this tendency to prefer a solitary life, as a higher form of the religious life, developed itself at a very early period. It seems to have assumed two different aspects. One when the abbot or one of the brethren of the monastery retired for a time to a separate cell, for solitary prayer, or for penitential exercises, during which time he held no intercourse with the other inmates of the monasteries. The cells adopted for this purpose were usually those primitive dwellings called by the Irish Clochans, built of unmortared stone, with walls of great thickness, circular in shape, with a dome-shaped roof, somewhat of a beehive form, and hence often called beehive cells. When used for such retirement they were called Carcair, or prison cells. Thus, in an old poem attributed to Cuimin of Coindeire, he says of Enda, who founded the monastery on the principal of the Arann Isles:—

Enda of the high piety loved
In Ara, victory with sweetness,
A carcair of hard narrow stone,
To bring all unto heaven.[462]

246Of Ultan of Arbreccan he says—

Ultan loves his children;
A carcair for his lean side,
And a bath in cold water
In the sharp wind he loved.[463]

Of Molaissi of Devenish he says—

Molaissi of the lake loves
To be in a carcair of hard stone.[464]

Adamnan, too, tells us of Feargna, or Virgnous, who, ‘after having lived for many years without reproach in obedience among the brethren, led an anchoretic life for other twelve years, as a victorious soldier of Christ, in the abode of the anchorites in Muirbulcmar.’[465] This was, he also tells us, in the island of Hinba, which can be identified with Eilean na Naomh, one of the Garveloch isles, and here, in this solitary isle where there is little to disturb them, we find the remains of this abode of the anchorites in connection with other remains which are evidently the foundations of an early monastic establishment. It consists of two circular dome-shaped buildings joined together, built of uncemented stone. The larger one is internally fourteen feet in diameter; the other, a part of the beehive roof of which still remains, is about a foot less. The two buildings communicate with each other by means of a square-shaped doorway through the points of contact, and the larger one with the outside by another doorway of a similar kind facing south-west.[466]

The other form of this solitary life was one in which the inmate of a monastery withdrew from it altogether, and sought out some remote and desert spot or island in which he might pass the rest of his life in total solitude. Such 247retreats were called emphatically ‘Deserts.’ Of this desire, which with many became almost a passion, Adamnan gives us an instance in Cormac ua Leathan. Adamnan calls him ‘a truly pious man, who no less than three times went in search of a desert in the ocean, but did not find it;’ and he says Columba thus prophesied of him: ‘In his desire to find a desert, Cormac is this day, for a second time, now embarking from that district which lies on the other side of the river Moda, and is called Eirris Domno; nor even this time shall he find what he seeks, and that for no other fault than that he has irregularly allowed to accompany him on the voyage a monk who is going away from his own proper abbot without obtaining his consent.’[467] Again he tells us that Cormac made another attempt to discover a desert in the ocean, and Columba, who was then at the court of King Brude, says to the king in the presence of the ruler of the Orkneys, ‘Some of our brethren have lately set sail, and are anxious to discover a desert in the pathless sea. Should they happen, after many wanderings, to come to the Orkney islands, do thou instruct their chief, whose hostages are in thy hand, that no evil befall them within his dominions;’ and Adamnan tells us he did arrive in the Orkneys. On his third voyage, Cormac sailed for fourteen days and nights due north, before a south wind, without seeing land; and, when the wind changed to the north, he returned again to Iona,[468] without having in any of his three voyages succeeded in discovering such a ‘desert’ as he sought for.

Anchorites called Deoraidh De or God’s pilgrims.

Those who devoted themselves to such a solitary life were said to give themselves up to God,[469] and the name of Deoraidh, literally strangers, was applied to them as ‘strangers and pilgrims’ in the religious sense of the term, and ‘Deoraidh 248De,’ or pilgrims of God.[470] But their connection with the monastery from which they emerged was not entirely severed; for, as we have seen, when the abbacy became vacant, the Deoraidh De, or pilgrim, was entitled to succeed in the fifth place; and the Brehon Laws provide that if a bishop commit certain offences, ‘the Ferleginn, or lector, shall be installed in the bishopric, and the bishop shall go into the hermitage or pilgrimage of God’ (Aibilteoiracht no in Deoruighecht De).[471]

The third order of Irish saints Eremitical.

Towards the end of the sixth century this passion for a solitary life had increased so much that it tended greatly to break up the monastic system, and became embodied in what was termed the third order of saints; and, while the second order expresses a purely monastic church, this third order which succeeded it, was Eremitical. ‘It was,’ says the Catalogue, ‘of this sort. They were holy presbyters and a few bishops; one hundred in number; who dwelt in desert places, and lived on herbs and water and the alms of the faithful. They shunned private property; they despised all earthly things, and wholly avoided all whispering and backbiting; and they had different rules and masses, and different tonsures—for some had the coronal and others the hair; and a different paschal festival—for some celebrated the Resurrection on the fourteenth moon, or sixteenth, with hard intentions. These lived during four reigns, and continued to that great mortality,’ that is, from about 600 to 666. In 634, as we have seen, the church of the southern half of Ireland had conformed to Rome, while the northern Irish were not brought over to the Roman system till the end 249of the century. What, therefore, is alluded to, when they are said to have different masses and different tonsures, is that this order consisted of two parties—one belonging to the southern Irish which had adopted the coronal tonsure and the Roman method of calculating Easter; while the other in these respects adhered to the customs of their fathers. They appear at this time not only to have lived a hermit life in the desert, but to have founded eremitical establishments, where a number of hermits lived in separate cells within the same enclosures. To both the name of Desert or Diseart was usually given; and Colgan mentions no fewer than ten establishments, and the Annals of the Four Masters fourteen, the names of which commence with the word Diseart.

Among those who belonged to the party who adhered to the customs of their fathers was that ‘Beccan Solitarius,’ or the Solitary, to whom, along with Segine of Iona, Cumine in 634 addressed his letter regarding the proper time for keeping Easter; and it shows the importance now attached to this mode of life, that he is placed on the same platform with the abbot of Iona. Tighernac records, in the year 677, the death of ‘Beccan Ruimean in an island of Britain;’ and he appears in the Martyrologies as ‘Becan Ruim.’[472] His hermitage was therefore in one of the Western Isles; and what island that was we learn from his epithet of Ruimean or Ruim, that is, of the island of Rum. The names of seven bishops and eight presbyters who belonged to this order are given in the Catalogue, but they were mainly connected with the party which had conformed to Rome. The first of the presbyters named is Fechin of Fore; he is the Vigeanus of the Scottish Calendar, to whom the church of Arbroath was dedicated, and probably that of Ecclefechan, or Fechan’s church, in Dumfriesshire. In an island on the west coast of 250Ireland called Ardoilean, or High Island, an uninhabited and almost inaccessible island off the coast of Connemara, is one of the most interesting and best preserved specimens of these Anchoretical or Eremitical establishments, which is attributed to this Fechin. It consists of a Cashel, or uncemented stone wall, nearly circular, enclosing an area of one hundred and eight feet in diameter. Within this enclosure there is an oratory, one of the widest of these ancient structures, measuring internally twelve feet by ten, and ten feet in height. The doorway is two feet wide and four feet six inches high, having inscribed on its horizontal a cross similar to one on the lintel of the doorway of St. Fechin’s church at Fore. On the east side of the oratory is an ancient stone sepulchre like a Pagan kistvaen. There are also within the enclosure two clochans, or dome-roofed cells—one externally round, but internally a square of nine feet, and seven feet six inches high. The other is circular, and internally seven feet by six, and eight feet high. The doorways are two feet four in width, and only three feet six in height. On the other side are a number of smaller cells, about six feet long by three wide and four feet high, and are mostly covered with rubbish.[473] There are no buildings adapted for a cœnobitical life; and it is probably a good specimen of the eremitical establishments of this third order of the saints.

Deicolæ termed in Ireland Ceile De.

The ancient document termed the Catalogue of the Saints, which affords us such a valuable clue to the main characteristics of the Irish Church during these different periods, leaves us at the period of the great pestilence in the year 666; but we find that after that date the nomenclature of the Continental anchorites begins to appear, in an Irish form, attached to the eremitical class in the Irish Church. In lieu of the term Deicolæ, which as we have seen, was from 251the earliest period the designation of those who adopted what they considered the higher form of religious life, peculiarly the ‘cultus’ of God and the Father, we find these Irish anchorites having the term of Ceile De applied to them. These terms, though not etymologically equivalent, may be considered as correlative,[474] and intended to represent the same class; and as Christicola becomes in Irish Celechrist, so Deicola assumes in Irish the form of Ceile De.[475] There is a poem in the Leabhar Breac attributed to St. Mochuda of Rathen, who died in 636, which gives us a picture of the constituent elements of the Irish Church at this period. It bears this title: ‘Here begins the rule of Mochuta of Rathen, inculcating ten commandments upon every person;’ and consists of nine sections. Of these, the title of the second 252is, ‘Of the occupations of a bishop here;’ of the third, ‘Of the abbot of a church;’ of the fourth, ‘Of the occupations of a priest;’ of the fifth, ‘Shouldst thou be a person’s anmchara, or soul’s friend?’ of the sixth, ‘Of the occupations of a monk;’ and of the seventh, ‘Of the Cele De, or of the clerical recluse,’[476] thus distinguishing the Cele De from the monk.

Deicolæ and Ceile De show the same characteristics.

These Ceile De, however, show precisely the same characteristics which belonged to the Deicolæ of the Continent. Like the Deicolæ, they were Anchorites, for we find that, when the name of Cele De appears as a personal title, it is borne by one who had lived as a solitary in a desert, or who is termed an Anchorite. Thus Angus the Hagiologist, who founded a desert called after his name Disert Aengus, now Disert Enos, is well known as Aengus Cele De; Comgan, whose death is recorded in the Ulster Annals in 869 as ‘Comgan Fota, Anchorite of Tamhlacht,’ appears in the Calendar of Tamhlacht as ‘Comgan Cele De;’ and in the earliest notice of the Cele De at Clonmacnois, in 1031, we find that Conn nambocht, or ‘of the poor,’ is termed Head of the Cele De and anchorite of Clonmacnois.[477] Again, like the Deicolæ, they are the ‘people of God.’ Thus the Ulster Annals tell us that in 921 ‘Armagh was pillaged on the Saturday before St. Martin’s Day, which was the 10th of November, by Gofrith, grandson of Ivar, and his army, who saved the houses of prayer with their people of God, that is, Cele De, and their sick, and the whole church town, except some houses which were burned through neglect.’[478] Like the Deicolæ, they too claimed to be strangers and pilgrims in 253the religious sense of the term; hence Cele De is occasionally used in the sense of stranger. Dr. Reeves gives us a curious instance of this. In one of the Irish MSS. in the Bodleian Library is an Irish translation of a Latin tract ‘de Bragmannis,’ containing a supposed correspondence between Alexander the Great and Dindimus, king of the Brahmins. In this tract occurs the sentence, ‘We are not, says Dindimus, inhabitants of this world, but strangers. Nor did we come into this world that we might remain, but that we might pass through. We hasten to the lares of our fathers,’ etc., which is thus translated: ‘Not of the inhabitants of the present world are we, I tell thee, O Alexander, said Dinnim; but Cele De is our title. We do not accept land unnecessarily in the world; for our patrimony is before us, namely heaven, with its abodes and rewards.’[479] Thus fully expressing the sentiment of the Brahmins being strangers and pilgrims in the same sense as were the Cele De. In a lake in the county of Tipperary, formerly called Lochcre, but afterwards Monaincha, there were two islands: on one a monastery was founded in the sixth century; and on the other, termed Innisnambeo, or the island of the living, a church was founded in the eighth century by St. Elair, whose death is recorded on 7th September 807 as ‘anchorite and scribe of Loch Crea.’[480] This island was visited by Giraldus Cambrensis in the twelfth century, and his description will show us the two churches—the ancient monastic church and the anchorite church of the Cele De—side by side. He says, ‘In South Munster is a lake containing two isles; in the greater is a church of the ancient religion; and in the lesser a chapel wherein a few celibates, called Cœlicolæ or Colidei, devoutly serve. Into the greater no woman or any animal of the feminine gender ever enters but it immediately dies. This has been proved 254by many experiments. In the lesser isle no one can die; hence it is called “insula viventium,”“insula viventium,” or the island of the living.’living.’[481]

Ceile De brought under the canonical rule.

Like the Deicolæ, they evidently came under the canonical rule. The Irish Annals record the following singular entry:—‘In this year (811) the Cele De came over the sea with dry feet without a vessel; and a written roll was given him from heaven, out of which he preached to the Irish; and it was carried up again when the sermon was finished. This ecclesiastic (literally son of the church) used to go every day southwards across the sea, after finishing his sermon.’[482] Eliminating the miraculous element, we have here an ecclesiastic, whose title is given in the Irish form of Cele De, coming from the Continent with a written precept, which he urged upon the Irish. This was sixty-eight years after Saint Chrodegang framed his rule for the canonical life, and also after the revised rule was framed containing the urgent appeal of the Deicola to all the Deicolæ over the world, and only five years before the Council of Aix-la-Chapelle. We may therefore reasonably conclude that what the ecclesiastic called the Cele De introduced into Ireland was the canonical rule. There is also preserved in the Leabhar Breac a prose rule attributed to Maelruain of Tamhlacht, who died in 792, and the title is ‘Here beginneth the rule of the Cele De, from what Maelruain composed.’[483] This rule, however, was evidently not intended for a monastic body, and shows more resemblance to the canonical rule.[484] The Cele De are only mentioned in a few places in Ireland. Nine only are enumerated by Dr. Reeves. These are Tamhlacht, if Maelruain’s establishment belongs to this order, Armagh, Clonmacnois, Clondalkin, Monaincha, Devenish, Clones, Pubble 255and Scattery. These could hardly then be the representatives of the great monastic church, but must have been a new order which had not spread very widely among the churches; and Dr. Reeves admits that ‘possibly the institution of Maelruain may have borrowed from or possessed some features in common with the order of canons; for certain it is that in after ages both the Keledei of Scotland and the Colidei of Ireland exhibited in their discipline the main characteristics of secular canons.’[485] Thus we find he again says, ‘the Cele De of Armagh occupying very much the same position as the Colidei of York, as canons of the cathedral, and latterly having the name Latinised into the same form.’

Cele De, called Keledei in Scotland, and first appear in territory of southern Picts.
Legend of Saint Servanus.

In Scotland the name takes the form of Keledei; and they make their first appearance in the territory of the southern Picts after the expulsion of the Columban monks. This we learn from the history of Servanus or St. Serf. His life is found in apparent connection with that of Kentigern, but the tale that it tells is very different from that which we find in the lives of the latter saint. Its story is as follows: There was a king in the land of Canaan called Obeth, son of Eliud, and his wife was Alpia, daughter of a king of Arabia. As usual in such legends, the worthy couple had no children for twenty years, and then, after they had often prayed to God and offered alms, and the whole people had fasted three days and nights, comes the usual vision, and they have two sons. The name of the one was Generatius, that of the other Malachias, or Servanus. He was called Servanus because he served God day and night; and this name was given him by Magonius, bishop of Alexandria, who baptized him. His father dies when he was seven years old. He then studies in Alexandria for thirteen years, when he receives from the bishop the monastic habit. After thirty years he receives priest’s orders from the same bishop, 256and then returns to Canaan, where all the Canaanites elect him bishop. Here he remains twenty years erecting monasteries and churches. An angel then appears and gives him the usual mandate to leave his country and kindred. He takes leave of all the clerics and laics of his bishopric, and he goes with sixty soldiers (that is, of Christ) to the banks of the Nile, crosses it and goes to the Red Sea, which he crosses, as usual, dryshod, and thence to Jerusalem, where he remains seven years as its patriarch, in room of bishop Jacob, patriarch of Jerusalem. Here an angel takes him up Mount Sion, and shows him the wood of the true cross, from which he cuts three pastoral staves. Then he goes to Constantinople, where he remains three years. Thence to Rome, where he finds the papal throne vacant, and he is elected pope and fills the vacant chair of St. Peter seven years. The angel again tells him he must go forth to distant lands. He goes forth followed by a great number of clerics and people, men and women, and he tells them to divide themselves into two parts, one of which must remain in Rome, and the other accompany him on his mission. He crosses the Alps, and after several adventures, arrives at the Ictian Sea or Straits of Dover, with seven thousand soldiers (of Christ), and crosses it dryshod. They then go from place to place till they arrive at the river Forth. Adamnan, at this time an abbot in Scotland, meets him on Inchkeith, and receives him with much honour. Servanus asks him how he is to dispose of his family and companions. Adamnan tells him they may occupy Fife, and from the Mount of the Britons to the Mount which is called Okhel, that is, the Ochil Hills. Servanus then goes with a hundred followers to Kinel, and throws across the sea his rod, which becomes an apple-tree, called Morglas by the moderns. He then goes to the place called Culenros, purposing to live there, and removes the thorns and brushwood which abounded there. The king who then ruled over the Picts, Brude, son of Dargart, is wroth because he resided 257there without his leave, and sends to have him killed. There is then the usual deadly sickness of the king, and the cure through the prayers of the saint; and the king gives him the place where he inhabits as an offering for ever. Servanus then founds and dedicates the church and cemetery at Culenros, or Culross. Then he goes to Lochleven to see Adamnan, who receives him there, and shows him an island in that lake well adapted for his religious community which is granted him. Servanus founds a monastery in that island in which he remains seven years, and from thence he goes about the whole region of Fife, founding churches everywhere. The other places mentioned in this life in connection with him are the cave at Dysart on the north shore of the Firth of Forth, where he had his celebrated discussion with the devil, and where the memory of St. Serf is still held in honour; Tuligbotuan, or Tullybothy, Tuligcultrin, or Tillicoultry, Alveth and Atheren, now Aithrey, all in the district on the north side of the Forth, extending from Stirling to Alloa. The only other place mentioned is his ‘Cella Dunenense,’ or cell at Dunning in Stratherne, where he slew a dragon with his pastoral staff, in a valley still called the Dragon’s Den. Finally, ‘after many miracles, after divine virtues, after founding many churches, the saint, having given his peace to the brethren, yielded up his spirit in his cell at Dunning, on the first day of the kalends of July;’ and his disciples and the people of the province take his body to Culenros, and there, with psalms and hymns and canticles, he was honourably buried; and so ends the life.[486] Here we have the same strange eastern origin, the same journey to the west, the same occupation of the papal throne, as we found in the legend of Boniface. This feature seems to characterise the legends of those missionaries who promoted the great change by which a new order of clergy, under the influence of the 258Roman Church, superseded the Columban monks in the eastern and northern districts of Scotland; and probably the invention had no greater motive than to separate them, in a very marked manner, from the clergy of the older church, and to give weight and authority to their promotion of the influence of the Roman party.

Servanus introduces Keledei, who are hermits.

In this case, however, an older Irish document gives him a closer connection with the west. In the tract on the mothers of the saints, which is ascribed to Aengus the Culdee, in the ninth century, we are told that ‘Alma, the daughter of the king of the Cruithnech,’ or Picts, ‘was the mother of Serb, or Serf, son of Proc, king of Canaan, of Egypt; and he is the venerable old man who possesses Cuilenros, in Stratherne, in the Comgells between the Ochill Hills and the sea of Giudan.’[487] Here Alpia, a name which has a very Pictish look, the daughter of the king of Arabia, becomes Alma, the daughter of the king of the Picts, and the husband of a Pictish princess must have belonged to a race nearer home than the people of Canaan, here placed on the west bank of the Nile and connected with Egypt. The Scotch part of the legend, like that of Bonifacius, is supported by the dedications, all the churches in the places mentioned in connection with him being dedicated to St. Serf. The chronology of this part of the Life, too, is quite consistent; we find no anachronisms in it, and there is not a syllable about his being a disciple of Palladius or the teacher of Kentigern. The Brude, son of Dargart, of the Life, may be identified with Brude, son of Derile, who reigned from 697 to 706, and preceded that Nectan, son of Derile, who expelled the Columban monks from his kingdom. Brude 259appears in one of the chronicles, which seems to have been connected with Lochleven, as Brude, son of DargartDargart; and the chronicle adds, ‘in which time came Saint Servanus to Fife.’[488] Then Adamnan, who is brought into such close connection with Servanus, died in 704, only two years before the death of Brude; and there were, as we know, the most friendly relations between them. Now there is in the Chartulary of St. Andrews a memorandum of some early charters in the Celtic period, and one of them is a grant by which ‘Brude, son of Dergard, who is said by old tradition to have been the last of the kings of the Picts’—which however he was not—‘gives the isle of Lochlevine to the omnipotent God, and to Saint Servanus, and to the Keledei hermits dwelling there, who are serving, and shall serve, God in that island.’ In another, ‘Macbeth, son of Finlach, and Gruoch, daughter of Bodhe, king and queen of the Scots, give to God omnipotent, and the Keledei of the said island of Lochlevine, Kyrkenes.’ And in a third, ‘Macbeth gives to God and Saint Servanus of Lochlevyne, and the hermits there serving God, Bolgyne.’[489] We thus see that the establishment founded by Servanus about the beginning of the eighth century was one of hermits, and that they bear the name of Keledei. There is nothing inconsistent with probability that they may have been introduced by Adamnan, after he had himself conformed to Rome and was endeavouring to bring over his brethren, and that that part of the Life which brings him to the south shore of the Firth of Forth—in other words, from Northumbria—when he is met in Inchkeith by Adamnan, may be perfectly true.

Keledei of Glasgow, who were solitary clerics.

Jocelyn of Furness, in his Life of Kentigern, tells us that he ‘joined to himself a great many disciples whom he trained in the sacred literature of the Divine law, and 260educated to sanctity of life by his word and example. They all with a godly jealousy imitated his life and doctrines, accustomed to fastings and sacred vigils at certain seasons, intent on psalms and prayers and meditation on the Divine Word, content with sparing diet and dress, occupied every day and hour in manual labour. For, after the fashion of the primitive church under the Apostles and their successors, possessing nothing of their own, and living soberly, righteously, godly and continently, they dwelt, as did Kentigern himself, in single cottages, from the time when they had become mature in age and doctrine. Therefore these solitary clerics were called in common speech Calledei.’[490] In assigning the Calledei, or Keledei of Glasgow to the time of Kentigern, Jocelyn is no doubt guilty of as great an anachronism as when he assigned to him Servanus as a teacher; and the statement belongs to the same period in Kentigern’s supposed history, when he first became bishop of Glasgow; but this part of his life is very problematical, ‘and the historical part of his legend probably begins only when he returned from Wales after the battle of Ardderyd. Here, however, he appears connected with the Monastic Church of Wales, he is followed by six hundred and sixty-six of his monks of Llanelwy, and Jocelyn tells us that these monks all rest, as the inhabitants and countrymen assert, in the cemetery of the church of the city of Glasgow.’ Jocelyn, however, wrote while there existed bodies of Keledei in Scotland, and he is no doubt reporting a genuine tradition as to the original characteristics of the Culdean clergy before they became canons. What he here describes is simply a community of anchorites, or hermits. Servanus was contemporary with that Scottish Sedulius, bishop of the Britons, who had conformed to Rome, and whom we find bishop of the Strathclyde Britons after they had acquired their independence and became freed from the yoke of the Angles. It is to this 261period that these Calledei of Glasgow properly belong; and this connection with the real Servanus may have led to the history of this period having been drawn back, and both Calledei and Servanus associated with the great apostle of Glasgow in popular tradition.

Legends connected with the foundation of St. Andrews.

We have seen that in the year 710, Nectan king of the Picts placed his kingdom under the patronage of St. Peter, and we have now reached the period when that apostle was superseded by St. Andrew as the patron saint of the kingdom. Two separate editions of the legend of the foundation of St. Andrews have come down to us. The older of these is a document of the twelfthtwelfth century, and appears in connection with the earliest of the chronicles in which the century which intervened between the last of the Scottish kings of Dalriada and the first of the Scottish dynasty which ascended the throne of the Picts is suppressed, and the line of the Scottish kings of Dalriada made immediately to precede Kenneth mac Alpin, the founder of the latter dynasty. The second form of the legend is longer and more elaborate, and emerges, at a somewhat later period, from St. Andrews itself. The older legend bears this title: ‘How it happens that the memory of St. Andrew the apostle should exist more widely in the region of the Picts, now called Scocia, than in other regions; and how it comes that so many abbacies were anciently established there, which now in many cases are by hereditary right possessed by laymen.’[491] The legend itself obviously consists of five parts, very inartistically put together. In the first, we are told that St. Andrew, the brother-german of St. Peter, preached to the northern Scythian nations, and sought the Pictones, then the Achæans, and finally the town of Patras, where he was crucified on the second day before the kalends of December, and where his bones were kept down to the time of Constantine the Great, and his sons Constantine and Constans, that 262is, for a space of two hundred and seventy years. In their reign they were taken up and transferred to Constantinople and there enshrined, and remained there till the time of the Christian emperor Theodosius, a period of about one hundred and ten years. In the second part we are told that a king of the Picts, called Ungus, son of Urguist, rising with a great army against the British nations inhabiting the southern part of the island, and cruelly ravaging and slaying, came at last to the plain of Merc, or the Merse. Here he wintered. Then came nearly the whole of the natives of the island and surrounded him, wishing to destroy him with his army; but, next day, when the king was walking with his seven most intimate companions, a divine light surrounded them, and, falling on their faces, they heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Ungus, Ungus, hearken unto me, the apostle of Christ called Andrew, who am sent to defend and protect you. Behold the sign of the cross in the air; let it advance against your enemies. You must, however, offer up the tenth part of your inheritance as an oblation to God omnipotent, and in honour of St. Andrew.’ On the third day he divides his army into twelve troops, each preceded by the sign of the cross, and they were victorious. The king then returned home resolved to immolate the tenth part of his inheritance to God and St. Andrew the apostle. The third part of the legend tells us that one of the custodians of the body of St. Andrew the apostle at Constantinople, when he had taken counsel and fasted for two, three, nay four days, and prayed for the mercy of God, was admonished by a vision that he must leave his country and kindred and home and go to a land which would be shown him. Accordingly he went, conducted by the angel, and arrived safely at the summit of the King’s Mount, that is, Rigmund. The fourth part tells us that, in the same hour in which he sat wearily with his seven companions, a divine light overwhelmed the king of the Picts, who with his army was coming to a particular place 263called Kartenan; and not bearing the light, they fell on their faces, and deaf and blind were healed to the number of seven; and one, who had been blind from his birth and received sight, cried with a loud voice that he saw the place full of the visitation of angels; and the king with his army came to the place which the Lord had shown to the blind man. The fifth part begins, ‘Regulus, therefore, a monk, a pilgrim from the city of Constantinople, with the relics of St. Andrew, which he had brought with him, met the king at the gate which is called Matha, that is, Mordurus. They saluted each other, and fixed their tents where now is the Royal Hall.’ King Ungus then gave that place and city to God and St. Andrew the apostle, that it should be the head and mother of all the churches which are in the kingdom of the Picts. ‘Regulus, therefore, abbot and monk, with his dear companions, occupied that place, leading a monastic life, and serving God day and night, in holiness and justice all the days of his life, and their bodies rest there. Regulus held in his hand and power the third part of the whole of Scocia, and ordained and distributed it in abbacies. This country commended itself, by the situation and amenity of its localities, to Picts, Scots, Danes, Norwegians, and others, who arrived to ravage the island; and, if they needed refuge, it offered them always a safe receptacle, and received them within her as in their own camp.’ The first part of this legend may be put aside as connected with the history of the relics of St. Andrew prior to the fifth century, and is true enough; but it is obvious that the other parts are inconsistent with each other, and appear to be derived from different sources and to have been inartistically brought together. Thus, in the third part, an unnamed custodier of the relics brings them from Constantinople and lands at Rigmund; but in the fifth part Regulus, a monk, brings them from Constantinople and arrives at the gate called Matha; and this last part seems unconnected and 264as if it belonged to a different narrative from those that precede.

The second legend, which emanated from St. Andrews itself, is much more elaborate.[492] The first part of this form of the legend states that in the year 345 Constantine collected a great army to invade Patras, in order to avenge the martyrdom of St. Andrew and remove his relics; that an angel appeared and ordered Regulus, the bishop, with his clergy, to proceed to the sarcophagus in which the bones of St. Andrew were enshrined, and to take a part of them, consisting of three fingers of the right hand, a part of one of the arms, the pan of one of the knees, and one of the teeth, and conceal them; that the following day Constantine entered the city and carried off to Rome the shrine containing the rest of the bones; that he then laid waste the Insula Tyberis and Colossia, and took from thence the bones of St. Luke and St. Timothy, and carried them to Constantinople along with the relics of St. Andrew. The second part of this legend is an elaboration of the second part of the other. The Pictish king is called Hungus, son of Ferlon. His enemy is Adhelstan, king of the Saxons; and he is encamped at the mouth of the river Tyne. The night before the battle St. Andrew appears to Hungus in a dream and promises him the victory, and tells him that his relics will be brought to his kingdom, and the place where they are brought will become honoured and celebrated. The people of the Picts swear to venerate St. Andrew ever after if they prove victorious. Adhelstan is defeated, and his head is taken off and carried to a place called Ardchinnechun, or Queen’s Harbour. According to the third part of this form of the legend, some days after this victory the angel of God appears a second time to the blessed bishop Regulus, and warns him to sail towards the north with the relics of St. Andrew which he had reserved, and, wherever 265his vessel should be wrecked, there to erect a church in honour of St. Andrew. Bishop Regulus, accordingly, accompanied by holy men, sails towards the north, voyages among the islands of the Grecian Sea for a year and a half, and wherever he lands erects an oratory in honour of St. Andrew. At length they direct their sails towards the north, and on the eve of St. Michael arrive at the land of the Picts, at a place once called Muckros, but now Kylrimont; and, his vessel being wrecked, he erects a cross he had brought from Patras, and remains there seven days and nights. Having intrusted the care of this place to the seniors St. Damian and his brother Merinach, Regulus and the rest go with the relics to Forteviot, and find there the three sons of King Hungus—viz. Owen, Nectan, and Finguine—who, being anxious as to the life of their father, then on an expedition in the region of Argathelia, give a tenth part of Forteviot to God and St. Andrew. They then go to a place called Moneclatu, but now Monichi, and there Finchem, the queen of King Hungus, is delivered of a daughter called Mouren, who was afterwards buried at Kylrimont; and the queen gives the place to God and St. Andrew. They then cross the mountain called the Mounth, and reach a place called Doldencha, but now Chondrohedalvan, where they meet King Hungus returning from his expedition. The king prostrates himself before the relics, and this place also is given to God and St. Andrew. They then return across the Mounth to Monichi, where a church was built in honour of God and the apostle; thence to Forteviot, where also a similar church is built. King Hungus then went with the holy men to Chilrymont, and, making a circuit round a great part of that place, immolated it to God and St. Andrew for the erection of churches and oratories. King Hungus and Bishop Regulus and the rest proceeded round it seven times, Bishop Regulus carrying on his head the relics of St. Andrew, his followers chanting 266hymns, and King Hungus following on foot, and after him the magnates of the kingdom. Thus they commended that place to God, and protected it with the king’s peace; and, in commemoration, the holy men surrounded it with twelve stone crosses. King Hungus afterwards gave to the basilica of the holy apostle, as a parochia, the land between the sea called Ishundenema and the sea called Sletheuma, and in the district adjacent to it the land within a line drawn from Largo through Ceres to Naughton. King Hungus gave this place, viz. Chilrymont, to God and St. Andrew his apostle, with waters, meadows, fields, pastures, moors and woods, as a gift for ever, and granted the place with such liberty that its inhabitants should be free and for ever relieved from the burden of hosting, and building castles and bridges, and all secular exactions. Bishop Regulus then chanted the Alleluia, that God might protect that place in honour of the apostle; and, in token of this freedom, King Hungus took a turf in presence of the Pictish nobles, and laid it on the altar of St. Andrew, and offered that same turf upon it. This part of the legend concludes with the names of thirteen Pictish witnesses of royal race, whose names have been apparently taken at random from the earliest part of the list of the Pictish kings.

Older legend belongs to foundation of monastery in sixth century.

Now these two forms of the legend are in very striking contrast to each other, especially in the part which Regulus plays in each. In the former and older legend, he makes his first appearance when he meets the king at the gate called Matha with the relics. In the latter he is introduced into the history of the removal of the relics from Patras, and reserves a portion to be conveyed to a distant land; and thus, along with him, the whole history is removed back to the fourth century. His character too, and that of his foundation, is quite different in the two legends. In the older he is presented to us as a monk and abbot. He and all his people follow a monastic life at St. Andrews, and he 267founds abbacies or monasteries. He possesses the third part of all Scotia, and devotes it to the foundation of abbacies or monasteries throughout the whole of it. In the later legend he appears as a bishop. He has two presbyters and two Deacons among his followers, and he founds churches and oratories which are dedicated to St. Andrew. In the one we have a purely monastic foundation; in the other a church with secular clergy. The older legend, therefore, takes us back for Regulus to the Monastic Church which had been founded among the southern Picts by Columba towards the end of the sixth century, and to it we must look for the Regulus of this form of the legend. Now, we find it stated in the Acts of Farannan that, after the great synod of Drumceitt in the year 573, which was attended both by Columba and by Aidan, king of Dalriada, the former, before he returned to Britain, founded a church in the Region of Cairbre. This was the church of Drumcliffe, situated a little to the north of Sligo, in the barony of Cairbury and diocese of Elphin, the foundation of which is attributed to Columba in the old Irish Life. We are then told that on this occasion he was met by the leading ecclesiastics of the neighbourhood, with the men and women most noted for sanctity, who accompanied him in some of his wanderings. Now, among these ecclesiastics we find recorded the name of Regulus, or Riagail, of Muicinis, an island in the lake formed by the river Shannon called Loch Derg;[493] and this Regulus appears in the old Irish Martyrologies on the 16th day of October. In the Felire of Angus the Culdee there is commemorated, on that day, ‘Riagail, gifted was his career;’ and the gloss is, ‘that is, Riagail of Muicinish, in Loch Derg.’[494] Regulus of St. Andrews, however, is commemorated in the Scottish Calendar on the 17th of the same month; and we find that there is usually a confusion 268in the celebrations on these two days, when the 16th day of the month is also the 17th day before the kalends of the next month.[495] We also find that, while the name of the Irish Regulus’ foundation is Muicinis, or the isle of swine, the name of St. Andrews, before it received that of Chilrymont, is said in the second legend to have been Muicross, or the promontory of swine. It seems, therefore, to be a reasonable conclusion that the Regulus of Muicinis, commemorated on the 16th October, and the Regulus of Muicross, on the 17th of that month, were the same person, and that the historic Regulus belongs to a Columban church founded among those which Columba established among the southern Picts during the last years of his life, and at the same time when Cainnech of Achaboe had his hermitage there; and to those older foundations must be appropriated the churches dedicated to Regulus, or St. Rule.

The Columban monasteries among the Picts fell into the hands of laymen.

The title of the older legend states that the abbacies or monasteries then founded ‘in the territory of the Picts, which is now called Scotia,’ that is, in the districts between the Firth of Forth and the river Spey, had to a great extent passed into the possession of laymen; and the legend seems to attribute this to the depredations of the occupiers of the land—the Picts, Scots, Danes, Norwegians and others who took possession of them as a safe refuge. The order in which these occupiers are enumerated is historically correct; and, though the expressions are somewhat obscure, they seem to indicate that the expulsion of the Columban monks, which terminated the Monastic Church in these districts, had been followed by the same process as we learn from Bede took place in Northumbria after the Scottish monks had withdrawn from thence. The assimilation of the church there to that of Rome, and the reaction towards a 269secular clergy, appear to have led there to a secularisation of the monasteries to a great extent. Bede gives us an account of this in a letter written in the last year of his life, that is, in 735, to Bishop Ecgberct; and the picture he draws shows a complete disorganisation of the monastic institution in the land, and its usurpation by the secular world. ‘As you yourself very well know,’ he says, ‘those who are utterly regardless of a monastic life have got into their power so many places under the name of monasteries, that there is no place at all which the sons of the nobility or of veteran soldiers may occupy.’ Again, ‘But there are others guilty of a still more grievous offence. For, though they are themselves laics, and neither habituated to nor actuated by the love of a regular life, yet, by pecuniary payments to the kings, and under pretext of founding monasteries, they purchase for themselves territories in which they may have freer scope for their lust; and, moreover, they cause these to be assigned to them by royal edicts for an hereditary possession;’ ‘and, though they themselves are laymen, yet they have monks under their rule,—or, rather, they are not monks when they assemble there, but such as, having been expelled from the true monasteries for the crime of disobedience, are found wandering up and down; or those whom they themselves have succeeded in alluring from these monasteries; or, at any rate, those among their own servants whom they have been able to induce to take the tonsure and make a promise of monastic obedience to them. With these motley bands they fill the cells which they have constructed.’ ‘Thus,’ says Bede further, ‘for about thirty years, that is, from the time when King Aldfrid was removed from the world, our province has been so demented by this mad error, that from that period scarcely has there been a single prefect who has not, during the course of his prefectship, founded for himself a monastery of this description. And, since this most wretched custom has become prevalent, 270the ministers also and servants of the king were content to do the same. And thus, contrary to the established order, numberless persons are found who style themselves indiscriminately abbots and prefects, or ministers or servants of the king; and, though laymen might have been instructed in something of the monastic life, not indeed by experience but by hearsay, yet these persons have nothing in common with the character or profession whose duty it is to give the instruction. And indeed such persons, at their own caprice, suddenly receive the tonsure, as you are aware; and by their own decision are made from laymen, not monks, but abbots.’[496] This piteous wail of the true-hearted Bede seems to find an echo in the title of the older legend of St. Andrew. King Aldfrid died in 705, and the thirty years Bede refers to extend to the year in which he wrote this account, and which was indeed the last of his life. It was but twelve years after King Aldfrid’s death that King Nectan expelled the Columban monks from his dominions. The monasteries would naturally fall into the possession of the tribe of the land; and, if we substitute monasteries founded by the Columban church, from which their monks were expelled, for monasteries and cells directly founded by laymen, it is probable enough that the withdrawal of the Columban monks in the one country and their expulsion in the other, with the introduction of a secular clergy in both, was followed by similar results; and that the kingdom of the Picts may have exhibited the greater part of these monasteries in the hands of laymen, the semblance and the nomenclature of the monastic institution being thus kept up without the reality. Bede indicates that the motive for doing so was to preserve the privileges of such foundations, such as exemption from service and right of sanctuary, without the corresponding obligations; and such grounds of action would be equally powerful in the one country as in the other. Tighernac 271records in 747 the death of Tuathal, abbot of Cinnrighmonadh,[497] or Kylrimont. He may have been one of those titular abbots; but as this is the only instance in which an abbot of Kilrymont is noticed in the Irish Annals, it is more probable that he was the expelled abbot of the old monastery, who had died in Ireland.

Second legend belongs to the later foundation to which relics of St. Andrew were brought.

But if the historic Regulus belongs to the older Columban foundation at Muicross, and if the expulsion of the Columban monks was followed by such results, it is equally certain that King Hungus and the reception of the relics of St. Andrew, which is inseparably connected with him in the legend, must be brought down to a later period, to which also the fictitious Regulus belongs. The lists of the Pictish kings show no Angus or Hungus, son of Fergus, till we come to the powerful king of that name who reigned from 731 to 761; and the events ascribed to him in the legend correspond with those of his reign. He was engaged in war in the Merse, and he had penetrated into those parts of Argathelia which formed the Scottish kingdom of Dalriada, on an expedition which had for its object the entire conquest of that kingdom, and might well lead his sons to fear for his safety. The narrative which Bede gives us of the circumstances which led King Nectan to place his kingdom under the patronage of St. Peter in 710 entirely excludes the possibility of the national veneration of St. Andrew having been introduced before that date; and, while it is obvious, from an analysis of the legends, that a fictitious and artificial antiquity has been given to it, yet the knowledge of its true date seems not to have been entirely extinguished by the fabulous one: for we find a record of it in one chronicle, though not a very early one, when it is said, ‘The zeire of God sevynn hundir lxi ye relikis of Sanct Androw ye Apostle com in Scotland;’[498] 272and this year synchronises with the last year of the reign of Angus mac Fergus, who was one of the most powerful kings of the Picts. If, then, the relics of St. Andrew were brought into Scotland in the reign of this Angus, king of the Picts, the question at once arises, Where did they come from?—and here the mind naturally reverts to the church of Hexham. It too was dedicated to St. Andrew. It too possessed relics of St. Andrew. But in both it preceded in date the foundation of St. Andrews in Scotland; for Hexham was founded in 674 by Wilfrid, who dedicated it to the apostle, and the relics were brought there by his successor, Bishop Acca, whose episcopate lasted from 709 to 732. In one remarkable respect, too, one church was a reflection of the other; for Wilfrid dedicated his church to St. Andrew in consequence of his belief that he had received the gift of persuasive eloquence through the intercession of the apostle, in answer to his prayers offered up in the church of St. Andrew in Rome; and he afterwards erected two chapels at Hexham, dedicated to St. Mary and St. Michael, owing to his belief that he had recovered from a mortal sickness through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, announced to him in a vision by Michael the Archangel. This peculiar combination, therefore, at Hexham, of a principal dedication to St. Andrew with chapels to St. Mary and St. Michael, arose out of incidents in Wilfrid’s life. And yet we find the same combination at St. Andrews in Scotland, for the second legend tells us, after narrating the foundation of St. Andrews, ‘Afterwards in Chilrymont the holy men erected seven churches—one in honour of St. Regulus, the second in honour of St. Aneglas the Deacon, the third in honour of St. Michael the Archangel, the fourth in honour of St. Mary the Virgin, the fifth in honour of St. Damian, the sixth in honour of St. Brigida the virgin, and the seventh in honour of a certain virgin Muren.’ The first of these churches belongs, of course, to the older foundation; but here we find that the third and 273fourth are chapels dedicated to St. Michael and St. Mary. There seems, too, to have been a tradition that about this time the foundation of an episcopal see among the Picts proceeded from Hexham. When Bede wrote his history in 731, Acca was still living at Hexham, and exercising his episcopal functions there apparently without disturbance; but Simeon of Durham tells us that in 732—that is, in the following year—Acca was expelled from his see;[499] and Prior Richard of Hexham adds to this statement, ‘By what urgent necessity he was driven forth, or whither he directed his steps, I do not find recorded. But there are some who say that at that time he commenced and prepared the episcopal see at Candida.’[500] or Whithern. He certainly founded no see at Whithern, for we have the contemporary authority of Bede for the fact that it had been founded some years before, and that Pecthelm was its first bishop; but, at the time Prior Richard wrote, the memory of the great Pictish kingdom had passed away, the Picts of Galloway alone retained the name, and writers of that period transferred to Galloway events that truly belonged to the northern portion of the race. Thus Florence of Worcester placed Trumuini as bishop of Candida, though it is clearly stated by Bede that the Picts he presided over were those north of the Firth of Forth; and Prior Richard, in quoting the passage from Bede, where he says that Wilfrid’s bishopric extended over the Picts as far as Osuiu’s dominion extended, over whom Trumuini was afterwards placed, adds the expression, ‘because Whithern had not yet its own bishop,’[501] thus transferring what was intended by Bede to apply to the Picts north of the Forth to those of Galloway. The Hexham tradition was probably 274no more than that it was believed Acca had gone to the nation of the Picts and founded a bishopric among them. It is certainly a remarkable coincidence that Acca, the venerator of St. Andrew, and the importer of his relics into Hexham, should have fled in 732, and that a report should have sprung up that he had founded a bishop’s see among the Picts; and that St. Andrews should have been actually founded by a Pictish king between the years 736 and 761, and part of the relics of St. Andrew brought to it at that time. Indeed, the correspondence between the church history of the Northumbrian and Pictish kingdoms in this respect is at this time very striking:—the Northumbrians expelling the Columban clergy, introducing secular clergy with dedications to St. Peter, and then dedicating Hexham to St. Andrew, and receiving the relics of the apostle brought there by one of its bishops; and, sixty years later, the Picts expelling the Columban monks, introducing the secular clergy, placing the kingdom under the patronage of St. Peter, and then receiving from some unknown quarter the relics of St. Andrew, and founding a church in honour of that apostle, who becomes the national patron saint. The second legend concludes with this statement:—‘These are the names of those holy men who brought the sacred relics of St. Andrew the apostle into Scotia—St. Regulus himself; Gelasius the deacon; Maltheus the hermit; St. Damian, presbyter, and his brother Merinach; Nervius and Crisenius from the island Nola; Mirenus, and Thuluculus the deacon; Nathabeus and Silvius his brother; Seven hermits from the island of the Tiber—Felix, Juranus, Mauritius, Madianus, Philippus, Eugenius, Lunus; and three virgins from Collossia, viz., Triduana, Potentia, Cineria. These virgins are buried at the church of St. Aneglas. Thana, son of Dudabrach, wrote this document for King Pherath son of Bergeth, in the town of Migdele.’ The king here meant is probably the last king but one of the Picts, called in the Pictish Chronicle Wrad 275son of Bargoit, who reigned from 840 to 843; and Migdele is Meigle in Perthshire.

Keledei of St. Andrews originally hermits.

The church of St. Andrews, then, is represented in this legend as consisting of three groups—First, one of secular clergy, viz., Bishop Regulus himself, with two priests and two deacons, and three others, whose quality is not given; secondly, a group of hermits, viz., Maltheus, with two from the island of Nola, and seven from the island of Tiber—in all, a community of ten; and, thirdly, three virgins. The second group is that of the hermits, representing a community of Keledei similar to those established by Servanus in Lochleven. The legend of Triduana, which is preserved in the Aberdeen Breviary, tells us that she led a heremitical life, with her virgins Potentia and Emeria, in a desert place at Roscoby (Rescobie in Forfarshire). The tyrant Nectanevus, prince of the neighbourhood, pursued her, whereupon she fled to Dunfallad (Dunfallandy) in Athol. There his ministers coming to her and telling her that the beauty of her eyes had attracted the prince, she plucked them out and gave them to them. Triduana then devoting herself to prayer and fasting in Lestalryk, now Restalrig, in Laudonia, passed into heaven.[502] Here, as usual, the legend is supported by the dedications. At Rescobie is St. Triduan’s fair. Restalrig is also dedicated to her; and here too a connection with Northumbria, to which it then belonged, seems to peep out.

Canonical rule brought into Scotland, and Keledei become canons.

The canonical rule appears to have been adopted in Scotland not long after it had been introduced into Ireland; for, as we learn from the Chronicles, two hundred and twenty-five years and eleven months after the church of Abernethy had been founded by Gartnach, son of Domelch, who reigned from 584 to 599, the church of Dunkeld was founded by Constantin, son of Fergus king of the Picts, who reigned from 790 to 820. This places the foundation of 276Dunkeld some time between the years 810 and 820, and the tradition of Dunkeld, as reported by Alexander Mylne, a canon of that church in 1575, is that he placed there ‘religious men who are popularly called Keledei, otherwise Colidei, that is God-worshippers, who, according to the rite of the Oriental Church, had wives, from whom, however, they withdrew while ministering, as was afterwards the custom in the church of St. Regulus, now St. Andrew;’[503] while Wyntoun, the prior of Lochleven, tells us that

Awcht hundyr wyntyr and fyftene
Fra God tuk fleysch off Mary schene,
Leo and Charlys bath ware dede,
And Lowys than in Charlys stede.
The kyng off Peychtis Constantyne
Be Tay than foundyd Dwnkeldyne,
A place solempne cathedrale,
Dowyd welle in temporalle.
The byschape and chanownys thare
Serẅys God and Saynct Colme, seculare,
Off oure byschoprykis, off renowne
The thryd, and reputatyowne.[504]

The date assigned by Wyntoun to the foundation of Dunkeld is probably correct, and those religious men who Mylne says were popularly called Keledei, Wyntoun here calls ‘chanownys seculare.’

Conclusion as to origin of the Culdees.

The result, then, that we have arrived at is that the Culdees originally sprang from that ascetic order who adopted a solitary service of God in an isolated cell as the highest form of religious life, and who were termed Deicolæ; that they then became associated in communities of anchorites, or hermits; that they were clerics, and might be called monks, but only in the sense in which anchorites were monks; that they made their appearance in the eastern districts of Scotland at the same time as the secular 277clergy were introduced, and succeeded the Columban monks who had been driven across the great mountain range of Drumalban, the western frontier of the Pictish kingdom; and that they were finally brought under the canonical rule along with the secular clergy, retaining, however, to some extent the nomenclature of the monastery, until at length the name of Keledeus, or Culdee, became almost synonymous with that of secular canon.


431. The latest and ablest supporter of the view that the Columban monks were the Culdees is Ebrard, in his Culdeische Kirche. He rightly gives, as the correct form of the name in Irish, Ceile De, and properly explains Ceile as meaning ‘Socius,’ but entirely fails in his attempt to connect the name with the Columban Church. He finds the word Ceile in the Irish name of St. Columba, Coluim cille, which he says should be Coluim ceile, or the Culdee, and that the name of Urbs Coludi, given by Bede to Coldingham, means the town of the Culdees. This is etymology of the same kind as that which makes Kirkcaldy, the old form of which is Kyrc-aldyn, to mean the church of the Culdees.

432. The legend of Bonifacius is printed in the Chronicles of the Picts and Scots, p. 421.

433. Reeves’s British Culdees, p 45. Dr. Reeves remarks that, if Rosmicbairend has been written for Rosmbaircind, the name would be pronounced Rosmarkyn.

434. Wynton’s Chronicle, B. v. c. xiii., in series of Scottish Historians, vol. ii. p. 58.

435. Bishop Forbes’s Calendar of Scottish Saints, p. 336.

436. Fergustus Episcopus Scotiæ Pictus huic constituto a nobis promulgato subscripsi.—Haddan’s Councils, vol. ii. part i. p. 7. The epithet Pictus at this period implies that he was of the race of the Scottish Picts.

437. It is possible that Neachtan may have made up his quarrel with the Iona monks and retired to Iona, as we find there, at the end of a broad and elevated terrace near the present ruins, the remains of a burying-ground called Cill-ma-Neachtan, which marks the site of an oratory.

438. Epist. ad Eustochium.

439. Collationes, xviii. and xix.; Migne, Patrologia, vol. xix.

440. See Dupin’s Ecclesiastical History for an abstract of this treatise, vol. iv. p. 18.

441. Isidore, De Ecc. Off., lib. ii. c. 16. Migne, Patrologia, vol. xli.

442. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. iv. c. 28. Vit. S. Cudbercti, c. 17.

443. Bede, Vit. S. Cudbercti, c. 1.

444. Religio munda, et immaculata apud Deum et Patrem hæc est: visitare pupillos et viduas in tribulatione eorum, et immaculatum se custodire ab hoc sæculo.—Cap. i., 27.

445. Qui aliquando non populus, nunc autem populus Dei; qui non consecuti misericordiam, nunc autem misericordiam consecuti. Charissimi, obsecro vos tanquam advenas et peregrinos abstinere vos a carnalibus desideriis, quæ militant adversus animam.—Cap. ii. vv. 10, 11.

446. Nam et vicini et monachi, ad quos sæpe veniebat, Antonium videntes, Deicolam nuncupabant; indultisque naturæ vocabulis, quidam ut filium, alii ut fratrem diligebant.—Migne, Patrologia, vol. xxxv. col. 129.

447. Non illa ardua et perfecta, quæ a paucis et peregregiis Deicolis patrantur.—Martinus de Vitæ honestæ Formula: D’Achery, iii. 312.

448. Quicunque ergo se habitaculum Dei effici voluerit, humilem et quietum se facere contendat, ut non verborum aviditate et corporis flexibilitate, sed humilitatis veritate cognoscatur esse Deicola: cordis enim bonitas non verborum fictis indiget religionibus.—Migne, Patrologia, vol. xxxvii. col. 234.

449. Colgan, A.SS., p. 115; Fleury, l. 37, c. 27. Colgan supposes that Deicola may be the Latin form of the Irish name of Dichuill, and this is usually assumed to be the case; but there is no authority for it, and no other analogy between the names than an accidental resemblance in appearance.

450. Peracto vero quadriennio, apparuit ei angelus Domini et dixit illi, Vade ad plebem Dei, id est, Eremitas et solitarios nudis pedibus et conversare cum eis, ut proberis per aliquot tempus. Et venit in solitudinem et mansit cum Eremitis per 8 annos.—Colgan, Tr. Th., p. 48, recté 52.

451. Tempore illo fuit quidam Dregmo in territorio Hagustaldensis ecclesiæ, Deum valde timens et elymosinarum operibus, prout facultas sibi suppeditabat, haud segniter deditus ac per omnia a comprovincialium moribus vita discordans. Erat enim miræ simplicitatis et innocentiæ homo ac erga sanctos Dei devotionis et venerationis immensæ. Quapropter eum omnes vicini sui in magno honore habebant, illumque verum Dei cultorem appellabant.—Sim. Dun., Hist. Regum (Surtees Ed.), p. 26.

452. Hefele, Concilien Geschichte, vol. iii. p. 88.

453. Ib., vol. iii. p. 306.

454. Hefele, Concilien Geschichte, vol. iv. p. 18.

455. Dilectissimis sacerdotibus ecclesiarum Christi præsulibus et cunctis cleris in eisdem ubique et famulantibus et Deicolis omnibus per totum mundum degentibus.

456. D’Achery, Spicilegium, vol. i. p. 565.

457. Hefele, Concilien Geschichte, vol. iv. p. 10.

458. Thorpe, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, vol. ii. p. 27.

459. Haddan and Stubbs’ Councils, vol. iii. p. 450.

460. Reeves, The Culdees of the British Isles, pp. 59, 144.

461. Dei servitium passim nostra in gente a Cultoribus Clericis defleo extinctum et tepefactum.Statuta Ecclesiæ, vol. i. p. ccxiii. See other notices there mentioned.

462. Mart. Don., p. 83.

463. Mart. Don., p. 235.

464. Ib., p. 245.

465. Adamnan, Vit. S. Col., B. iii. c. 42.

466. See for a description and ground-plan the Appendix No. I., p. 322, to the edition of Reeves’s Adamnan in series of Scottish Historians.

467. Adamnan, Vit. S. Col., B. i. c. 6.

468. Ib., B. ii. c. 43.

469. A.D. 1007 Muredach mac Cricain do deirgiu Comarbus Columcille ar Dia (resigns the corbeship of Columcille, or abbacy, for God).—Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 366.

470. In the Irish Glosses, edited by Mr. Whitley Stokes, the Latin word advona is glossed by Deorad. Among the Charters of Kells is one founding, in 1084, a Diseart, which is given to God and devout pilgrims; ‘no wanderer (Erraid) to have any possession till he surrenders his life to God (do Dia) and is devout;’ and in 1000 Tempull Gerailt is rebuilt for pilgrims of God (Deoradaibh De).

471. Ancient Laws of Ireland, vol. i. p. 59.

472. A.D. 677 Beccan Ruimean quievit in insula Britanniæ.Tigh. 17th March, Beccan Ruim.—Mart. Don.

473. Abridged from Petrie’s description in his Round Towers, p. 421. See also Proceedings of R. S. A., vol. x. p. 551.

474. Ceile, as a substantive, means literally, ‘socius, maritus,’ but it has a secondary meaning, ‘servus,’ and as an adverb it means ‘pariter.’ Dr. Reeves, in his work on the British Culdees, adopts the secondary meaning, and considers that it is simply the Irish equivalent of Servus Dei, which, he says, was the ordinary expression for a monk, and hence starts with the assumption that the Ceile De were simply monks. This is one of the very few instances in which the author has found himself unable to accept a dictum of Dr. Reeves. This rendering appears to him objectionable—first, because no example can be produced in which the term Servus Dei appears translated by Ceile De; secondly, that the term Ceile De is applied to a distinct class who were not very numerous in Ireland, while the term Servus Dei is a general expression applicable to religious of all classes, and included, as we have seen, the secular canons as well as the monks. Ebrard rejects the rendering by Servus Dei, and supposes that it is the Irish equivalent of Vir Dei; but this is still more objectionable. Vir Dei was a term applied to all saints of whatever class; and in the Litany of Angus, who himself bore the name of Ceile De, or the Culdee, it is translated Fer De, but in the glosses on the Felire of Angus the word Ceile is glossed Carait, or friend; and the author long ago came to the conclusion that, though not etymologically identic, it is the Irish equivalent of Deicola, God-worshipper, in its primary meaning, that is, in the sense of companionship or near connection with God. The late Dr. Joseph Robertson, when he was preparing the Introduction to the Statuta, came by an independent inquiry to the same result (see Introduction, vol. i. p. ccxii.); and the author cannot help thinking that, had it not been for the etymological considerations which weighed with Dr. Reeves, his historical inquiry would have brought him to the same conclusion.

475. Colgan, A.SS., p. 454.

476. Leabhar Breac, part ii. p. 261. Dr. Reeves has printed the part that relates to the Cele De from a different MS., with a translation, in his British Culdees, p. 82.

477. A.D. 869 Comgan fota Ancorita Tamlachta quievit.An. Ult. 2 August, Comgan Cele De.—Mart. Tam. A.D. 1031 Cond na mbocht, cend Celed nDe agus Ancoiri Cluana mic Nois.—An. F. M., vol. ii. p. 525.

478. An. Ult. ad an. 921.

479. Reeves’s British Culdees, Pref. p. ix.

480. Elarius ancorita et scriba Locha Crea.An. Ult. ad an. 806.

481. Topog. Hib., dist. 2, c. 4.

482. Reeves’s British Culdees, p. 79.

483. Printed with translations in Dr. Reeves’s History of the British Culdees, p. 84.

484. Compare the rule in page 84 with canons of the Council of Aix-la-Chapelle.

485. Reeves’s British Culdees, p. 10.

486. This life is printed from the Marsh MS., Dublin, in the Chronicles of the Picts and Scots, p. 412.

487. Alma ingen rig Cruithnech mathair Sheirb mec Proic rig Canand Eigeipti acus ise sin in sruith senoir congeb Cuilendros hi Sraith Hirend hi Comgellgaib itir sliab Nochel acus muir nGiudan.Book of Lecan, fol. 43. bb. Reeves’s British Culdees, p. 124. The sea of Giudan is the Firth of Forth, so called from the city of Giudi, which Bede says was in the middle of it, and which may be identified with Inchkeith. It is called in the Latin life Mons Britannorum, a mistake perhaps for Mare.

488. Brude fitz Dergert, xxx, ane. En quel temps ueint Sains Seruanus en Fiffe.Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 201.

489. Registrum Prioratus S. Andreæ, pp. 113-118. Reeves’s British Culdees, pp. 125, 126.

490. Bishop Forbes’s Lives of S. Ninian and S. Kentigern, p. 66.

491. This legend is printed in the Chronicles of the Picts and Scots, p. 138.

492. Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 183.

493. Colgan, A.SS., p. 337.

494. Riaguil raith arremsin, i.e. Riagail Muicindsi fa Loch Derc.

495. Thus St. Patrick is commemorated at Auvergne on the 16th of March, while his day in the Irish Martyrologies is the 17th of that month.

496. Bædæ epistola ad Ecgberctum antistitem, §§ 6 and 7.

497. 747 Mors Tuathalain Abbas Cindrighmonaigh.—Tigh. Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 76.

498. Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 387.

499. 732 Acca Episcopus eodem anno de sua sede fugatus est.—Sim Dun. Hist. Regum.

500. Qua autem urgente necessitate pulsus sit, vel quo diverterit, scriptum non reperi. Sunt tamen qui dicunt quod eo tempore episcopalem sedem in Candida inceperit et præperaverit.—Cap. xv.

501. Quia Candida Casa nondum episcopum proprium habuerat.—Cap. vi.

502. Brev. Aberd. Pars Hyem. fol. lxx.

503. Mylne, Vitæ Episcoporum Dunkeldensium, p. 4.

504. Wyntoun, Chron., B. vi. c. vii.

278

CHAPTER VII.

THE COÄRBS OF COLUMCILLE.

A.D. 717-772.
Schism still exists in Iona.

‘It appears to have been a wonderful dispensation of the Divine goodness, that the same nation which had wittingly and without envy communicated to the people of the Angles the knowledge of the true Deity, should afterwards, by means of the nation of the Angles, be brought, in those points on which they were defective, to the rule of life;’ such is the reflection of the Venerable Bede when contemplating the change which had taken place in the Columban Church in the beginning of the eighth century, which he thus expresses: ‘The monks of Hii, or Iona, by the instruction of Ecgberct, adopted the Catholic rites under Abbot Dunchad, about eighty years after they had sent Bishop Aidan to preach to the nation of the Angles.’[505] He had previously stated that, not long after the year 710, ‘those monks also of the Scottish nation who lived in the island of Hii, with the other monasteries that were subject to them, were, by the procurement of our Lord, brought to the canonical observance of Easter and the right mode of tonsure;[506] and this had been effected by the most reverend and holy father and priest Ecgberct, of the nation of the Angles, who had long lived in banishment in Ireland for the sake of Christ, and was most learned in the Scriptures and distinguished for the perfection of a long life, and who came among them, corrected their error, and changed them to the true and canonical day of Easter.’[507] Bede implies that 279this took place in the year 716; but the change was not so general or so instantaneous as might be inferred from this statement. The monks of Iona, or a part of them at least, had certainly in that year adopted the Catholic Easter;[508] but it is not till two years after that date, and a year after the death of Abbot Dunchad, that they adopted the coronal tonsure. The expression of the Irish annalist who records the event rather implies that it had been forced upon an unwilling community;[509] and, so far from the other monasteries that were subject to them having generally submitted to the change in 716, the resistance of those within the territories of the Pictish king to the royal edict commanding the adoption of the Catholic Easter and the coronal tonsure throughout all the provinces of the Picts led to the expulsion of ‘the family of Iona’—by which expression the Columban monks are meant—from the Pictish kingdom in 717. This conflict then appears to have led to two results. In the first place, it separated the churches of the eastern districts from Iona, broke up the unity of the Columban Church, and terminated the supremacy of the parent monastery of Iona over the churches in the Pictish kingdom, which had been subject to them; and, in the second place, it seems undoubtedly to have caused a schism in the community on the island, as such innovations usually do when the attempt to force upon an entire body the views of a majority is sure to be met by a resisting minority.

Two partiesparties with rival abbots.

There were thus at this time two parties among the brethren in Iona. One party, who had reluctantly given way on some points, but in the main adhered to the customs of their fathers, and clung with tenacity to the monastic system hallowed by their veneration for the founder Columba; the other, and probably the larger and more influential, conforming in everything to the Roman party, and leaning 280towards a modification of their monastic institution by the introduction of a secular clergy—each party putting up a rival abbot as soon as they found themselves sufficiently powerful to do so. By the death of Dunchad, in 717, Faelchu was left for the time sole abbot of Iona. He was of the race of Conall Gulban, and the legitimate successor of the old abbots according to the law which regulated the succession to the abbacy in the Monastic Church; and his party would be strengthened by those of the refugee monks from the monasteries in King Nectan’s dominions who took shelter in Iona. Of the monks who had been driven out of the Pictish kingdom, some would merely pass over the Drumalban range into the territory of the Scottish kings of Dalriada, or seek a farther home among the Columban monasteries in Ireland; but many would no doubt be drawn to the parent monastery in Iona, which was beyond King Nectan’s power, and add numbers and force to what might be termed the Conservative party in the island. On the other hand, Ecgberct was still alive and resident in Iona, and would naturally be at the head of what may be called the Reforming party, and use all his influence in promoting and extending their authority in the island. The account Bede gives of his life there shows that his efforts were not so immediately and entirely successful as one would infer from his other statements, and that his progress was slow. He says, ‘This man of God, Ecgberct, remained thirteen years in the aforesaid island which he had thus consecrated again to Christ, by kindling in it a new ray of divine grace, and restoring it to ecclesiastical unity and peace. In the year of our Lord’s incarnation 729, in which the Easter of our Lord was celebrated on the eighth day before the kalends of May—that is, on the 24th April—when he had performed the solemnity of the mass in memory of the same resurrection of our Lord, on that same day he departed to the Lord; and thus finished, or rather never ceases to celebrate, with 281our Lord, the apostles and the other citizens of heaven, the joy of that greatest festival, which he had begun with the brethren whom he had converted to the grace of unity. But it was a wonderful provision of the divine dispensation that the venerable man not only passed out of this world to the Father at Easter, but also when Easter was celebrated on that day on which it had never been wont to be kept in these parts. The brethren, therefore, rejoiced in the certain and Catholic knowledge of the time of Easter, and rejoiced in the protection of their father, departed to our Lord, by whom they had been corrected. He also rejoiced that he had been continued in the flesh till he saw his followers admit and celebrate with him as Easter that day which they had ever before avoided. Thus the most reverend father, being assured of their correction, rejoiced to see the day of our Lord; and he saw it, and was glad.’[510] These expressions are hardly consistent with the statement that he had brought the entire community over to the adoption of the Catholic customs thirteen years before, in 716; and we find that during his life, after Faelchu had been left in sole possession of the abbacy, it was not till he had possessed it for five years that a rival abbot, Feidhlimidh, is put forward in the year 722, who is recorded as holding the abbacy in that year,[511] though Faelchu was still in life. His pedigree is not recorded, and he could have had no claim as belonging to the tribe of the saint, to whom the succession belonged. Again, when Faelchu dies in 724, we find that a certain Cillene Fada, or the Long, succeeds Faelchu in the abbacy,[512] and on his death, in 726, another, Cilline, surnamed Droichteach,[513] appears as abbot, though during the whole of this time Feidhlimidh also is abbot of Iona. Ecgberct did not, therefore, see entire conformity 282during his life, and the schism was in full vigour up to the day of his death.

Two missionaries, St. Modan and St. Ronan, in connection with Roman party.

We must place probably at this time and in connection with these events two missionaries, who likewise appear to have proceeded from the south towards the western districts and the Isles. These are Modan and Ronan. Modan appears in the Scotch Calendars as an abbot on the 4th February, and as a bishop on the 14th November; but the dedications to him are so much mixed up together that it is probable that the same Modan is meant in both. Ronan appears as bishop on the 7th of February. The dedications to them are usually found so close together as to show that they both belonged to the same mission. We first find Modan at Dryburgh, on the south bank of the Tweed, and then at the church called by the Celtic people Eaglaisbreac, and by the Anglic population Fahkirk, now called Falkirk, both meaning ‘the speckled church.’ We then find him at Rosneath, in the district of Lennox, and near it is the church of Kilmaronok dedicated to St. Ronan.[514] They appear to have proceeded to Lorn, where Balimhaodan, or ‘St. Modan’s town,’ is the old name of Ardchattan, and where on the opposite side of Loch Etive, is again Kilmaronog. Ronan appears then to have carried his mission to the Isles. He has left his trace in Iona, where one of the harbours is Port Ronan. The church, afterwards the parish church, was dedicated to him, and is called Teampull Ronaig, and its burying-ground Cladh Ronan. Then we find him at Rona, in the Sound of Skye, and another Rona off the coast of Lewis; and finally his death is recorded in 737 as Ronan, abbot of Cinngaradh, or Kingarth, 283in Bute.[515] The church, too, in the island of Eigg again appears about this time, when we hear in 725 of the death of Oan, superior of Ego.[516]

A.D. 726.
An anchorite becomes abbot of Iona.

A new element seems now to have been introduced into the controversies at Iona, and probably still further complicated the state of parties there. This was the appearance, after the death of Cillene the Long, but while Feidlimidh, the rival abbot, was still alive, of an anchorite as abbot of Iona. Tighernac tells us that in 727, the year after Cillene’s death, the relics of St. Adamnan were carried to Ireland and his law renewed,[517] that is, what was called the law of the innocents, which exempted women from the burden of hosting. An ancient document, however, in one of the Brussels MSS. explains this to mean not that the bones of Adamnan had been enshrined and carried to Ireland, but other relics which had been collected by him. The passage is this: ‘Illustrious was this Adamnan. It was by him was gathered the great collection of the relics (martra) of the saints into one shrine; and that was the shrine which Cilline Droichteach, son of Dicolla, brought to Erin, to make peace and friendship between the Cinel Conaill and the Cinel Eoghain.’[518] Cilline Droichteach, however, appears in the Martyrology of Tallaght as ‘Abb Iae,’ or abbot of Iona; and the Martyrology of Marian expressly says, ‘Abbot of la Cholumcille was this Cilline Droichteach;’Droichteach;’[519] while his death is recorded by Tighernac in 752 as ‘anchorite of Iona.’[520] Here then we have an anchorite who 284was abbot from 727 to 752 during the tenure of the same office by Feidhlimidh. Cilline was not of the race of Conall Gulban, and therefore not of the line of legitimate successors to the abbacy, but belonged to the southern Hy Neill. The collecting of the relics of the saints by Adamnan is clearly characteristic of that period in his history when he had conformed to Rome; and Cilline’s bearing the shrine as a symbol of his authority in renewing Adamnan’s law connects him also with the same party. The results then of the controversy at Iona correspond with those which we have already found among the Picts after the expulsion of the Columban monks—that, besides the secular clergy who made their appearance in connection with the Roman party, there likewise came clergy belonging to the more ascetic order of the anchorites; and they now appear as forming one of the parties in Iona. The epithet of Droichteach means literally bridger, or bridgemaker, a name apparently little appropriate in an island where there are no streams large enough to render bridges necessary; but behind the vallum of the monastery, and extending from the mill-stream to the hill called Dunii, was a shallow lake, occupying several acres, which fed the stream, and which was probably partly natural and partly artificial. Through the centre of this lake, which is now drained, there runs a raised way pointing to the hills. It is a broad and elevated causeway constructed of earth and stones, and is now called Iomaire an tachair, or ‘the ridge of the way.’ It is 220 yards long and about 22 feet wide.[521] In a hollow among the hillocks to which it points, and at some little distance, is the foundation of a small oval house measuring about 18 feet long by 14 broad, outside measure, now called Cabhan Cuildeach; and from the door of the house proceeds a small avenue of stones, which grows wider as it ascends to a hillock; and there are traces of walls which appear to have 285enclosed it. It is difficult to avoid the conjecture that it was the construction of this causeway which gave to Cillene, the anchorite abbot, his epithet of Bridgemaker, more especially as it points towards what appears to have been an anchorite’s cell, to which it was probably designed to give ready access across the lake; and, if he constructed it, we have only to look to an old anchorite establishment in Ireland to find what afforded him his pattern. In the island of Ardoilen, on the west coast of Ireland, already referred to as affording an example of an early anchorite establishment, we find that ‘on the south side of the enclosure there is a small lake, apparently artificial, from which an artificial outlet is formed, which turned a small mill; and along the west side of this lake there is an artificial stone path or causeway, 220 yards in length, which leads to another stone cell or house, of an oval form, at the south side of the valley in which the monastery is situated. This house is eighteen feet long and nine wide, and there is a small walled enclosure joined to it, which was probably a garden. There is also, adjoining to it, a stone altar surmounted by a cross, and a small lake which, like that already noticed, seems to have been formed by art.’[522] There is no appearance of a stone altar near the cell in Iona. In other respects the resemblance seems too striking to be accidental.

The term Comhorba, or Coärb, applied to abbots of Columban monasteries.

It is during this period, while Feidhlimidh and Cilline the anchorite appear as rival abbots, that a catastrophe is recorded by Tighernac in 737,[523] in which Failbe, son of Guaire, the heir of Maelruba of Apuorcrosan, was drowned in the deep sea with twenty-two of his sailors. The monastery founded by Maelruba at Apuorcrosan, now Applecross, had therefore remained intact. The word ‘hæres,’ or heir, 286is here the equivalent of the Irish word Comharba, pronounced coärb, signifying co-heir or inheritor,[524] which occasionally appears as applied to the heads of religious houses in Ireland during the preceding century, in connection with the name of its founder, and which now makes its first appearance in Scotland. In the Monastic Church in Ireland, when land was given by the chief or head of a family, it was held to be a personal grant to the saint or missionary himself and to his heirs, according to the ecclesiastical law of succession. Heirs of his body such a founder of a monastery, who was himself under the monastic rule, of course could not have; but, as we have seen, when the tribe of the land and the tribe of the patron saint were the same, the former supplied the abbacy with a person qualified to occupy the position; and, when they were different, the abbot was taken from the tribe to which the patron saint belonged. These were his ecclesiastical successors and co-heirs. As such they inherited the land or territory which had been granted to the original founder of the church or monastery, and as such they inherited, as coärbs, or co-heirs, his ecclesiastical as well as his temporal rights.[525] When the integrity of the monastic institutions in Ireland began to be impaired in the seventh century under the influence of the party who had conformed to Rome, the heads of the religious houses found it necessary to fall back more upon the rights and privileges inherited from the founders; and hence in this century the term of Coärb, in connection with the name of some eminent saint, came to designate the bishops or abbots who were 287the successors of his spiritual and temporal privileges, and eventually the possessor of the land, bearing the name of abbot, whether he were a layman or a cleric. Thus, at A.D. 590, the annals record the appointment of Gregory the Great to be coärb of Peter the Apostle, that is, bishop of Rome. At 606 we have the death of Sillan, son of Caimin, abbot of Bangor and ‘coärb of Comgall,’ who was its founder. In 654 we find the superior of the church of Aranmore called ‘coärb of Enda’ its founder; and in 680 the superior of the monastery at Cork is termed coärb of St. Barry, who founded it.[526] Here in 737 the abbot of the monastery at Apuorcrosan is termed the heir, that is coärb, of Maelruba, who founded it; and, as we shall see, the abbots of Iona became known under the designation of coärbs of Columcille. Twelve years afterwards a similar catastrophe befell the family of Iona, who were drowned in a great storm in the year 749,[527] a not unnatural occurrence if they were caught in their curach between Iona and Colonsay in a southwesterly gale; but which party suffered by this loss we do not know—probably that which supported Cilline the anchorite, as, on his death in 752, we find the abbacy assumed by Slebhine, son of Congal, who was of the race of Conall Gulban, and therefore belonged to what may be termed the Columban party. In the same year Tighernac records the death of Slebhine’s brother Cilline in Iona, and of Cuimine, grandson or descendant of Becc the religious of Ego, or the island of Eigg.[528] Slebhine, the Columban abbot, appears to have endeavoured to get his authority as the legitimate successor of Columba recognised by the Columban monasteries in Ireland; for we find him going to Ireland in 754, and enforcing the law of Columcille three years after, 288when he seems to have returned to Iona, but again went to Ireland in the following year.[529] Feidhlimidh, the rival abbot, dies in the year 759, having completed the eighty-seventh year of his age.[530] But this did not terminate the schism: for we find a Suibhne, abbot of Iona, who goes to Ireland in the year 765,[531] apparently for the purpose of endeavouring to win the Columban monasteries there; but the death of Slebhine two years after[532] leaves him sole abbot for five years, when, on his own death in the year 772,[533] he is succeeded by Breasal, son of Seghine, whose pedigree is unknown; and in him the schism seems to have come to an end. Slebhine appears to have been the last of the abbots who at this time were of the race of Conall Gulban and had thus a hereditary claim to the abbacy; and more than a hundred years elapsed before another of the race obtained the abbacy. The fall of the Scottish kingdom of Dalriada about this time may have contributed to this suspension of the rights of the tribe of the patron saint. But all opposition to the entire conformity of the whole family of Iona to the Roman Church appears now to have ceased, and there is no indication of any further division among them.[534]

A.D. 772-801.
Breasal, son of Seghine, sole abbot of Iona.

Breasal appears to have held the abbacy without challenge for nearly thirty years; and, five years after his accession, he seems to have been fully recognised by the Columban monasteries in Ireland, as we find that the law of Columcille was enforced in 778 by Donnchadh, king of Ireland, and head of the Northern Hy Neill, and by him as abbot of 289Iona.[535] In 782 we have the first notice of a new functionary in Iona, in the death in that year of Muredach son of Huairgaile, steward of Iona.[536] His functions were probably connected with the law of Columcille, which involved the collection of tribute. We find, too, during this period, some incidental notices of two of the other foundations in the Isles. In 775 dies Conall of Maigh Lunge,[537] the monastery founded by Columba in Tyree. In 776 the death of Maelemanach, abbot of Kingarth[538] in Bute, and in 790 that of Noe, abbot of the same monastery, are recorded.[539] We learn, too, that while Breasal was abbot two Irish monarchs retired to Iona and died there. Niall Frosach, formerly king of all Ireland, died there in 778.[540] Airtgaile, son of Cathail, king of Connaught, assumed the pilgrim’s staff in 782, and in the following year retired to Iona, and died there after eight years 290spent in seclusion.[541] The last connection of the Scots, too, with Dalriada was severed for the time by the removal of the relics of the three sons of Erc, the founders of the colony, who had been buried in Iona, to the great cemetery of Tailten in Ireland.[542]

A.D. 794.
First appearance of Danish pirates, and Iona repeatedly ravaged by them.

Breasal’s tenure of the abbacy, however, was to be characterised by a greater event, which was to exercise a fatal influence on the fortunes of the Scottish monasteries for many a long and dreary year. This was the appearance in the Isles, in 794, of a host of sea pirates from the northern kingdom of Denmark, who were to render the name of Dane equivalent in the ears of the Columban monks to the spoliation of their monasteries and the slaughter of their inmates. In 794 there appears in the Irish Annals the ominous entry of the devastation of all the islands of Britain by the Gentiles, as they were at first called, followed, in 795, by the spoliation of Iae Columcille, or Iona, by them. Again, three years after, the spoliation of the islands of the sea between Erin and Alban by the Gentiles.[543] The Danes soon discovered that the richest spoil was to be found in the monasteries, and directed their destructive attacks against them. Breasal, however, though doomed to witness these acts of spoliation, was spared the sight of the total destruction of his monastery; for in 801 he died, in the thirty-first year of his tenure of the abbacy.[544]

A.D. 801-802.
Connachtach, abbot of Iona.

In the following year the monastery of Iona was burnt 291down by the Danes, and the Annals of the Four Masters place in the same year the death of Connachtach, a select scribe and abbot of Iona; and four years afterwards the community of Iona, then consisting of only sixty-eight members, were slain by the Danes,[545] |A.D. 802-814.
Cellach, son of Congal, abbot of Iona.|
Cellach, son of Conghaile, the abbot who succeeded Connachtach, having apparently taken refuge in Ireland. The monastic buildings thus destroyed belonged, no doubt, to the original monastery, which, as we have seen, had been originally constructed of wood, and repaired by Adamnan. Hitherto there had been no feeling of insecurity in connection with such wooden buildings, but since the ravages of the Danes began there is abundant evidence of the frequent destruction of such buildings by fire; and in the present instance there seems to have been not only the entire destruction of the monastery, but also the slaughter of those of the community who remained behind. So complete was the ruin, and so exposed had the island become to the ravages of the Danes, that the abbot Cellach appears to have resolved to remove the chief seat of the Columban order from Iona to Kells in Meath, of which he had obtained a grant two years previously. The Irish Annals record, in the year following the slaughter of the community, the building of a new Columban house at Kells; and we are told that in 814 Cellach, abbot of Iona, having finished the building of the church at Kells, resigns the abbacy, and Diarmicius, disciple of Daigri, is ordained in his place.[546] This monastery at Kells, which thus took seven years to build, was constructed of stone,[547] which now began 292universally to supersede wood in the construction of ecclesiastical buildings, as less likely to suffer total destruction from the firebrand of the Danes.

A.D. 802-807.
Remains of St. Columba enshrined.

At this time, too, the remains of St. Columba seem to have been raised from the stone coffin which enclosed them, and carried to Ireland, where they were enshrined. We know from Adamnan that the body of the saint had been placed in a grave prepared for it, and apparently enclosed in a stone coffin, and that the place in which it lay was perfectly well known in his day. We also know that, at the time Bede wrote his History in 735, his remains were still undisturbed; but, at the time the Book of Armagh was compiled, that is, in 807, they were enshrined and preserved at the church of Saul Patrick on the shore of Strangford Lough in the county of Down in Ireland.[548] It is therefore between these dates, 735 and 807, that they must have been removed.

293Among the customs which sprang up in the Irish Church after she had been brought into contact and more frequent correspondence with the Roman Church, and had, to some extent, adopted her customs, was that of disinterring the remains of their saints and enclosing them in shrines which could be moved from place to place, and which were frequently used as a warrant for enforcing the privileges of the monasteries of which the saint was the founder. Notices of such enshrining of their relics first appear in the Irish Annals towards the middle of the eighth century. Thus we read, in 733, of the enshrining of the relics of St. Peter, St. Paul and St. Patrick for enforcing his law;[549] in 743, of the enshrining of the relics of St. Treno of Celle Delgon, and in 776, of those of St. Erc of Slane and St. Finnian of Clonard;[550] in 784, of the relics of St. Ultan; in 789, of those of St. Coemgin and St. Mochua.[551] Then, in 799, we have the placing of the relics of Conlaid, who was the first bishop of Kildare, and, in 800, of those of Ronan, son of Berich, in shrines of gold and silver.[552]

We have already seen that the remains of St. Cuthbert were enshrined eleven years after his death; and the circumstances are given in so much detail by Bede, who is a contemporary 294authority, that the proceedings of the Lindisfarne monks will throw light upon those of the monks of Iona. St. Cuthbert had wished to be buried in a stone coffin which had been given him by the abbot Cudda, and was placed under ground on the north side of his oratory in the island of Farne, but which he wished to be placed in his cell on the south side of his oratory opposite the east side of the holy cross which he had erected there.[553] However, he accedes to the request of the Lindisfarne monks that they should bury him in their church at Lindisfarne. Accordingly, after his death his body was taken to Lindisfarne and deposited in a stone coffin in the church on the right side, that is, the south side, of the altar.[554] Eleven years later the Lindisfarne monks resolved to enclose his remains in a light shrine, and, for the sake of decent veneration, to deposit them in the same place, but above, instead of below, the pavement.[555] On opening his sepulchre they find the body entire, and they laid it in a light chest and deposited it upon the pavement of the sanctuary.[556] Bishop Eadberct, St. Cuthbert’s successor, then died, and they deposited his body in the tomb of St. Cuthbert, and placed above it the shrine which contained the relics of the latter saint.[557]

We see then that at this time, and in a church which derived its origin from Iona and preserved many of its Scottish 295customs, the place where the patron saint was buried was on the right, or south, side of the altar, and that when his remains were enshrined the shrine was placed in the same situation, but above the pavement of the church, instead of being sunk beneath it, that they might more readily be made the object of veneration. As the saint’s body was said to have been found entire, the light chest or shrine must have been large enough to contain it. We know from Simeon of Durham’s History of the Church of Durham that, when, owing to the cruel ravagings of the Danes, the monks resolved to abandon Lindisfarne, they took this shrine with them, and that it was finally deposited at Durham. He then tells us that in the year 1104 ‘the body of St. Cuthbert was disinterred, on account of the incredulity of certain persons, and was exhibited, in the episcopate of Bishop Ralph, in the presence of Earl Alexander, who afterwards became King of Scots, and many others. Ralph, abbot of Seez, afterwards bishop of Rochester, and ultimately archbishop of Canterbury, and the brethren of the church of Durham, having examined it closely, discovered that it was uncorrupted, and so flexible in its joints that it seemed more like a man asleep than one dead; and this occurred four hundred and eighteen years, five months and twelve days after his burial.’[558] The description here given of the state of the body of St. Cuthbert is a verbatim repetition of that given by Bede when his tomb was opened eleven years after his death, and must be taken as having no other foundation; but we have from Reginald of Durham what is more material, an exact description of the shrine which enclosed it. He says—‘We have hitherto treated of the manner in which St. Cuthberct, the glorious bishop of Christ, was placed in his sepulchre; we will now give a description of the inner shrine (theca) itself. In this inner shrine he was first placed in the island of Lindisfarne, when he was raised from his grave; and in this his incorruptible 296body has been hitherto always preserved. It is quadrangular, like a chest (archa), and its lid is not elevated in the middle, but flat, so that its summit, whether of lid or sides, is all along level and even. The lid is like the lid of a box, broad and flat. The lid itself is a tablet of wood, serving for an opening, and the whole of it is made to be lifted up by means of two circles, or rings, which are fixed mid-way in its breadth, the one towards his feet and the other towards his head. By these rings the lid is elevated and let down, and there is no lock or fastening whatever to attach it to the shrine. The shrine is made entirely of black oak, and it may be doubted whether it has contracted that colour of blackness from old age, from some device, or from nature. The whole of it is externally carved with very admirable engraving, of such minute and most delicate work that the beholder, instead of admiring the skill or prowess of the carver, is lost in amazement. The compartments are very circumscribed and small, and they are occupied by divers beasts, flowers, and images, which seem to be inserted, engraved, or furrowed out in the wood. This shrine is enclosed in another outer one, which is entirely covered by hides, and is surrounded and firmly bound by iron rails and bandages. The third, however, which is decorated with gold and precious stones, is placed above these, and, by means of indented flutings projecting from the second, for which, in due order, similar projections are fabricated in this, is closely attached and fastened to it by long iron nails. This cannot possibly be separated from the rest, because these nails can by no device be drawn out without fracture.’[559]

The Irish shrine was probably not so elaborate, but it too, as we have seen, was decorated with silver and gold; and in the Life of St. Bridget, written probably in the first half of the ninth century, and attributed to Cogitosus, an account is given us of the shrines in the church of Kildare. We have 297seen that the remains of Conlaid, the first bishop of Kildare, were disinterred and enshrined in the year 799; and Cogitosus, in his description of the church of St. Bridget, says, ‘in which the glorious bodies both of Bishop Conleath and of this virgin St. Bridget repose on the right and left sides of the altar, placed in ornamented shrines decorated with various devices of gold and silver and gems and precious stones, with crowns of gold and silver hanging above them.’[560] If we are to look, then, to the period between the years 735 and 807 for the circumstances which led to the remains of St. Columba being disinterred, taken over to Ireland, and enshrined at the church of Saul Patrick, one of the nearest churches to Iona on the Irish coast, the most natural inference certainly is that they were connected with the piratical incursions of the Danes and the destruction of the original monastery by fire in 802.

A.D. 814-831.
Diarmaid abbot of Iona. Monastery rebuilt with stone.

In the year 818, Diarmaid, abbot of Iona, returned to the island, bringing with him the shrine of St. Columba.[561] This implies that there had been by this time a reconstruction of the monastery at Iona. The same causes which led to the new foundation at Kells being constructed of stone applied with equal force at Iona; and, looking to the time which was spent in erecting the buildings at Kells, which required seven years to complete them, and that four years had elapsed before Diarmaid could bring the shrine to Iona, there can be little doubt that the new monastery there was now likewise constructed of stone. The site, however, was changed. The 298position of the original wooden monastery was, we have seen, in the centre of the open level ground which extends between the mill-stream on the south and the rocky hillocks which project from the east side of Dunii on the north, and about a quarter of a mile to the north of the present ruins; but of this no vestiges now remain, save the western vallum, or embankment, which can still be traced, and the burying-ground near the shore, marked by two pillar-stones about five feet high and three feet apart, across the top of which a third stone lay, forming a rude entrance or gateway.[562] This monastery had never before been exposed to any hostile attack; but, now that it had become the object of the plundering and ravaging incursions of the Danes, it was discovered to be in a very exposed situation. In front was the sea, and behind it, on the west, from which it was separated by the vallum, was the lake extending from the mill-stream to the base of Dunii. The ground south of the mill-burn presented a much more secure site, for here it was bounded on the west by a series of rocky heights which could be fortified; and here, where the present ruins of a late Benedictine monastery are situated, can be discovered the traces of older stone buildings, which must have belonged to an earlier monastery.[563] These no doubt may not be part of a stone monastery erected so long ago as the beginning of the ninth 299century, but the monastery then erected would merely be repaired, and such parts as entirely gave way rebuilt from time to time; and it may be assumed that, when the monastic buildings were once constructed of stone, the monastery would always be preserved in the same place. Here, then, the new stone monastery was probably constructed, consisting of an oratory or church, a refectory, the cells of the brethren and an abbot’s house. Behind the latter is a small rocky hillock called Torrabb, or the abbot’s mount, in which is still to be found the pedestal of a stone cross; and on a higher rocky eminence on the west, which overhangs the monastery, are still to be seen the remains of entrenchments and outworks by which it appears to have been strongly fortified.[564]

Shrine of St. Columba placed in stone monastery.

300Here the brethren were reassembled, and hither was brought the shrine containing the relics of St. Columba, which, according to what we have seen was the usage of the time, would be placed on the right, or south, side of the altar in the church, so as to be exposed for the veneration of the inmates of the monastery. It might be supposed that the monks of Iona would have felt a reluctance to leave a site hallowed by the memories of their venerated patron saint, even though the new site may have promised greater security; but it must be recollected that it is the presence of the saint’s body that hallows the site of the monastery he has founded, and confers upon it the privileges of an Annoid, or mother church. Any spot to which his relics might be taken would be equally sacred in the eyes of the community, and the new monastery equally endowed with the privileges connected with them. It was so with the monks of Lindisfarne, whose veneration accompanied the body of St. Cuthbert when forced to retreat from their monastery under very similar circumstances; and it hallowed every spot in which it was deposited, till it finally invested the church at Durham, which held his shrine, with the same feeling of devotion and reverence which had attached to their first seat in the island of Lindisfarne.

A.D. 825.
Martyrdom of St. Blathmac protecting the shrine.

Whether the new stone monastery in Iona was to afford them better security against their pagan plunderers the Danes was now to be tested, as seven years had not elapsed before they renewed their attack; and we now get a glimpse into the state of the monastery at this time from a contemporary, in the metrical life of St. Blathmac, written by Walafrid Strabo, who himself died only in the year 849.[565] He tells us that Blathmac was of royal descent, heir of a throne in that rich Ireland which had given birth to him as her future king; that, renouncing all secular prospects, he 301resolved to lead a religious life and do honour to his name, which signifies in Latin ‘pulcher natus;’[566] that he surreptitiously joined a certain monastery, which his biographer does not name, but which was in his father’s principality, and finally, as abbot, ruled a venerable body of monks; that he finally, in order to attain the height of perfection, coveted the crown of martyrdom, and, in order to attain his desire, thought he could not do better than go to ‘a certain island on the shores of the Picts placed in the wave-tossed brine, called Eo,’ or Iona, ‘where Columba, the saint of the Lord, rests in the flesh. This island he sought under his vow to suffer the marks of Christ, for here the frequent hordes of pagan Danes were wont to come armed with malignant furies.’ He seems to have had the care of the monastery intrusted to him, and had not long to wait, ‘for the time soon came when the great mercy of God decreed to associate his servant with his glorious hosts above the stars, and confer a sure crown,’ viz. that of martyrdom, ‘upon the pious victor.’ He became aware that an attack on the island was about to be made by the Danes, and he thus addressed the brethren:—‘“Ye, O companions, seek within your own minds whether it be your determination to endure with me the coming fate, for the name of Christ. Whoever of you can face it, I pray you arm yourselves with courage; but those who are weak at heart and panic-struck should hasten their flight, that they may avoid the obvious danger, arming their hands for better vows. Before us stands the imminent trial of certain death. May a firm faith keep us prepared for future events; may the careful guardian of the flying protect those less strong.” The community, touched by these words, determined to act according to their strength. Some, with a brave heart resolved to face the sacrilegious bands, and rejoiced to have to submit their heads to the raging sword; but others, whom the confidence of mind had 302not yet persuaded to this, hasten their flight to known places of refuge.’

Blathmac was aware that in attacking the monasteries the great object of desire to the Danes was the shrines enriched with precious metals; and therefore the monks ‘took the shrine from its place,’ which was, no doubt, on the right side of the altar, and ‘deposited it in the earth in a hollowed tumulus, or grave, and covered it with sods.’[567] The fatal day is then ushered in rather poetically, showing how thoroughly the narrator realised the scene. ‘The golden aurora,’ he says, ‘dispelling the dewy darkness, dawned, and the glittering sun shone again with glorious orb, when this pious cleric stood before the holy altar, celebrating the holy offices of the mass, himself a victim acceptable to God to be offered up to the threatening sword. The rest of the brethren lay commending their souls with prayers and tears, when, behold, the cursed bands rushed raging through the unprotected houses, threatening death to those blessed men, and, furious with rage, the rest of the brethren being slain, came to the holy father, urging him to give up the precious metals which enclosed the sacred bones of Saint Columba,’—a description which shows that there was a church or oratory, with an altar—that the services of the church were again observed, and that there were houses or cells for the monks. ‘This booty,’ he proceeds, ‘the Danes coveted; but the holy man stood firm with unarmed hand, by a stern determination of the mind taught to resist battle and to challenge encounter, unaccustomed to yield. He then poured out in the barbarous tongue—that is, in Danish—the following words: “I know not truly what gold ye seek, where it may be placed in the ground, and in what recesses it may be hid; but, if it were permitted me to know, Christ permitting, never would these 303lips tell this to your ears.[568] Savagely bring your swords, seize their hilts and kill. O God, I commend my humble self to Thy protection.” Hereupon the pious victim is cut in pieces with severed limbs, and what the fierce soldier could not compensate with a price he began to search for by wounds in the stiffened entrails. Nor is it a wonder, for there always were and always will arise those whom evil rage will excite against the servants of the Lord.’ And so Blathmac attained his desire, and was made ‘a martyr for the name of Christ.’ This event, so graphically described by the abbot of Augiadives, or Reichenau, took place in the year 825.[569]

Four years after the martyrdom of Blathmac, we find Diarmaid, the abbot of Iona of whose presence in Iona while the Danes attacked the monastery in 825 we saw no trace, coming to Scotland with the Mionna of Coluimcille.[570] The word Mionna, as Dr. Reeves has pointed out, ‘signifies articles of veneration, such as the crozier, books, or vestments of a saint, upon which oaths used in after-times to be administered,’ in contradistinction to the word Martra, denoting the bones or remains of the body of the saint. Thus we find Adamnan mentioning the brethren endeavouring to avert the effects of a drought by walking round a field, with the white tunic of St. Columba and some book written in his own hand.[571] By this time, then, the brethren who had escaped were reassembled at Iona under their abbot; and to this period we may assign the construction, over the spot where the shrine had been concealed, of a small oratory for its reception. At the west end of the present ruins of the abbey church, and attached to the west 304wall of the cloister, are the foundations of a small quadrangular cell which goes by the name of St. Columba’s tomb. The walls are about three and a half feet high, but it has been partly excavated, as the interior floor is somewhat below the surface of the surrounding ground. It has at the west end a regularly formed entrance, and within it—at the east end—are two stone cists placed along the north and south walls, with the space of a few feet between them. That this so-called cell is, in fact, the remains of a small oratory, is at once evident when we compare these remains of the building with oratories of this description in Ireland; and of one of these, which is more entire, it seems to be almost a reproduction. In the parish of Templemolaga and county of Cork there are the remains of some ecclesiastical buildings. They consist of a central or enclosing wall, within which are the remains of a church about twenty-five feet long by twelve feet broad inside measure, and on the north side of this, at a little distance, is a small oratory, which goes by the name of Leaba Molaga, or St. Molaga’s bed. It measures internally ten feet by seven feet two inches clear of walls, which are two feet nine inches thick. The cell at Iona measures internally ten feet five inches by seven feet, and the walls are about two feet thick. The west gable of St. Molaga’s bed is partly preserved, and shows in the centre a doorway formed of two upright stones for jambs, which support a massive horizontal lintel. It is five feet six inches in height and two feet four inches in width. The entrance to the cell at Iona is in the same place and of the same width. This kind of oratory in Ireland has one peculiarity, and that is a prolongation of the side walls beyond either gable to the extent of from eighteen inches to two feet, which is carried up the gables on a line with the stone roof, forming a species of pilaster. These exist in Leaba Molaga, being about two feet three inches wide and one foot four inches deep; and the same peculiar feature is seen in 305the cell at Iona. At the east end of Leaba Molaga there were a small window and an altar of stone on which were preserved two stones believed to have been candlesticks; and on the south side of the altar, and along the south wall of the oratory, was a stone cist, or tomb, which measures five feet six inches in height, one foot eight inches in width, and one foot in depth. Within the cell at Iona there are two stone cists, one lying along the south wall of the oratory, and the other along the north wall, with the space of a few feet between them. The cist on the south wall is eight feet ten inches in length, and that on the north wall six feet nine inches, and both cists are also one foot eight inches broad. The east end of the cell now forms the wall of the cloister, and, if a window existed, it has been built up, but the resemblance between the two buildings is so striking, that we can hardly doubt that it was an oratory of the same kind, and that the space between the two cists was once filled, at the east end, by a stone altar.[572] The stone cist on the right, or south, side of the altar would, according to custom, contain the shrine of St. Columba, the patron saint; that on the north side probably the remains of St. Blathmac, who died a martyr in protecting it from the Danes and who, we are told by his biographer, ‘reposes in the same place, where, for his holy merits, many miracles are displayed.’[573]

A.D. 831-854.
Innrechtach ua Finachta, abbot of Iona.

Abbot Diarmaid did not remain long in Iona, for we find him in the year 831 returning to Ireland with the 306Mionna,[574] and we hear no more of him. In 849 Innrechtach, abbot of Iona, is said to have gone to Ireland with the Mionna of Columcille, from which we may infer that they had been restored to Iona, and that some time between the year 831 and 849 Innrechtach had become abbot. We know nothing of his race except that his surname was Ua Finachta, and nothing of his history except that he was slain by the Saxons when on a journey to Rome in the year 854, and that he is then called heir, or coärb, of Columcille.[575] In the meantime that great revolution had been effected which placed a Scottish dynasty on the throne of the Picts. This is the most obscure portion of the history of Scotland, and it is now hardly possible to trace the circumstances which combined to elevate a Scot, in the person of Kenneth mac Alpin, to a position of so much power, or to ascertain to what extent the ecclesiastical element entered into this revolution; but we can gather that it led to the reintroduction of the Scottish clergy into the eastern districts thus added to Kenneth’s kingdom, and to an attempt to reclaim for them these monasteries from which they had been expelled in the preceding century. And this appears to have extended even to the Scottish foundations in Lothian; for Kenneth, we are told, invaded Saxonia, as the country south of the Firth of Forth was still termed, six times, and burnt Dunbarre and Mailros, which had been usurped. In whatever sense Dunbarre was held to be usurped, or whether this epithet was intended to apply to it as well as to Mailros, the latter was unquestionably founded by the Scottish missionaries from Iona, who were, as we know, expelled from the monasteries they had founded, if they would not conform to 307Rome; and it is possible that Dunbar may also have been a Scotch foundation. It was undoubtedly in the possession of the Angles of Northumbria; but Melrose appears to have been transferred to the Britons of Strathclyde, as we find it afterwards in the diocese of Glasgow; and it was probably in retaliation that the Britons burnt Dunblane.[576] Be this as it may, Kenneth certainly resolved to re-establish the Columban Church within the territories of the southern Picts, which now formed the heart of his kingdom, on a different basis; and, for this purpose, selected Dunkeld, where Constantine, king of the Picts, had founded a church, probably as being the nearest of the Pictish churches to the former Scottish kingdom of Dalriada, and the most central for the whole kingdom.

A.D. 850-865.
Tuathal, son of Artguso, first bishop of Fortrenn and abbot of Dunkeld. Cellach, son of Aillelo, abbot of Kildare and of Iona.

Here, we are told, he built a church, and removed to it the relics of St. Columba—that is, probably, only a part of them—in the seventh year of his reign,[577] which corresponds with the year 850, the year after Innrechtach had departed to Ireland with the Mionna. Iona, as we have seen, had already lost her primacy over the Columban monasteries in Ireland, which, in consequence of the destruction of her monastery by the Danes, was transferred to Kells; and, in taking the relics to Dunkeld, Kenneth constituted it too as an Annoid, or mother church, over the Columbans in 308Scotland, and seems to have resolved to place the abbot of his new monastery of Dunkeld as bishop over the church in the territories of the southern Picts which had now come under his rule, with a view to the more ready reorganisation of Scottish monasteries within them, so that it should form one diocese, as it were, under one bishop. Accordingly, five years after Kenneth’s death, we find recorded the death of Tuathal mac Artguso, abbot of Dunkeld and first bishop of Fortrenn, as the kingdom of the southern Picts was then called.[578] As abbot of Dunkeld, a church dedicated to St. Columba and possessing part of his relics, he thus occupied towards the Columban monasteries in Scotland the same position as had belonged to Iona, and would be regarded by them as coärb of Columcille. As bishop of Fortrenn he was the recognised head of the Pictish church.[579]

The same year in which the death of the first bishop of Fortrenn is recorded contains also the record of the death in the territory of the Picts of Cellach son of Aillel, abbot of Kildare, and abbot of Iona.[580] Nothing can better show how completely Iona had lost her position for the time, and 309how difficult it now was to find a person to occupy the post of danger, than the abbacy falling to an abbot of Kildare; but, though he is said to have been also abbot of Iona, he did not die either there or in his own monastery of Kildare, but in the country of the Picts. He had probably been driven from his own monastery in the province of Leinster by its exposure to the attacks of the Danes, by whom it was plundered and its church burnt in the year 836; and in 845 its vice-abbot was slain,[581] a title which seems to indicate the absence of the abbot. Kildare was, as we know, dedicated to the great virgin saint of Ireland, St. Bridget, or St. Bride, and was the mother church of all her foundations; but there was within the country of the Picts one church in especial which was also dedicated to St. Bride, and was held to be in a manner affiliated to that of Kildare, and that was the church of Abernethy; and when we find an abbot of Kildare seeking refuge in the Pictish kingdom and dying peacefully within its bounds, it could hardly be elsewhere than in this church of Abernethy that he took refuge; and he appears, when Innrechtach had left his monastery of Iona and been slain on his way to Rome in 854, to have been appointed abbot of Iona. Abernethy thus comes again into view for the first time since it was refounded by St. Columba at the end of the sixth century. The Columban monks were, no doubt, expelled from it in the beginning of the eighth century, but now, in the reign of Kenneth mac Alpin, it was once again occupied by Irish clergy. It is at this time probably that we may place the erection of the round tower there, which could only have been the work of Irish clergy; and this is the more probable as it is undoubtedly of an older type than the round tower at Brechin, the date of the building of which can be placed with some degree of certainty late in the succeeding century, and as a round tower had been erected 310at Kildare, which Dr. Petrie places at the close of the preceding century.[582]

A.D. 865-908.
Primacy transferred to Abernethy, where three elections of bishops take place.

The year 865, which saw the deaths both of the first bishop of Fortrenn and of the abbot of Kildare, corresponds with the second year of the reign of Constantine, the son of Kenneth; and he seems to have transferred the bishopric from Dunkeld to Abernethy, for we find the next abbot of Dunkeld, who died during this reign, called simply superior of Dunkeld, while the title of bishop of Fortrenn is dropped;[583] and Bower, the abbot of Inchcolm, tells us of Abernethy that ‘in that church there had been three elections of bishops when there was but one sole bishop in Scotland; and at that time it was the principal royal and episcopal seat, for some time, of the whole kingdom of the Picts.’Picts.’[584] 311He is surely here reporting a genuine tradition, and the statement as to the three elections during the time when there was one sole bishop is so specifically made that it must have been derived from some authentic record. But the time when there was one sole bishop cannot have been before the nomination of the abbot of Dunkeld as first bishop of Fortrenn. It must, however, have been before the bishops of St. Andrews appear as sole bishops in the succeeding century. We are driven, therefore, to place it in this interval between the death of Tuathal, first bishop of the Picts, in the year 865, and the first appearance of that position being occupied by a bishop of St. Andrews, which, as we shall see, was in the year 908. We have no record of the three bishops elected at Abernethy during this interval; but we may possibly find the name of one of them in the dedication of a neighbouring parish. The church of Lathrisk, now Kettle, was dedicated to St. Ethernascus, whose day in the Scotch Calendar is the 22d December; and we find on the same day in the Irish Calendar Saints Ultan, Tua and Iotharnaisc, at Claonadh, now Clane, in the county of Kildare, which too connects him with the mother church of St. Bridget of Kildare.[585]

Legend of St. Adrian.

There is a legend which seems intimately connected with the events of this very obscure portion of Scottish history. It is the legend of St. Adrian, and, like all such legends, possesses some features which may be considered historical. It is thus told in the Aberdeen Breviary at 4th March, the day of St. Adrian:—Adrian, a distinguished soldier of Christ, derived his origin from the province of Pannonia, a part of the region of Hungary. He was, as usual, of royal descent, and, from his transcendent merits, was early raised to the episcopate; and a large number of clerics and laymen can testify to his labours among them. Desirous of extending them to other countries, and inflamed with zeal for the 312Christian religion, he took with him a venerable company and set out for the central parts of Scotia, which were then occupied by the Picts, and landed there, having with him confessors, clerics, and common people to the number of six thousand and six, among whom the most notable were Glodianus, who was crowned with martyrdom, Gayus and Monanus, white-robed confessors, Stobrandus and other chief priests adorned with the mitre. These men with their bishop Adrian, the Pictish kingdom being destroyed, did many signs and wonders among the people, but afterwards desired to have a habitation of their own on the Isle of May, at the entrance of the Firth of Forth. But the Danes, who then devastated the whole of Britain, came to the isle and there slew them. In this island of May there was anciently a monastery founded, built of fair-coursed masonry in honour of God and of his martyred saints, which was afterwards destroyed by the nation of the Angles; but there still remains a church often frequented by the faithful people on account of their merits. There is also a celebrated cemetery where the bodies of the martyrs repose.[586] At 1st March, on which day St. Monanus was celebrated, the Breviary legend further tells us that ‘Monanus, born in Pannonia, a province of the region of Hungary, belonged to that company who, with the blessed Adrian, came from the pagan inhabitants of Noricum to the Isle of May, where they were crowned with martyrdom. But, before that the aforesaid company was destroyed by the fury of the Danes, blessed Monanus preached the Gospel to the people on the mainland and in a place called Inverry in Fyf. There his relics rest. Many miracles of healing were performed there.’[587] The only other version we have of this legend is that given by Wyntoun, who was prior of Lochleven and there composed his Chronicle, and possessed no doubt sources of information as to church legends now lost 313to us. He thus in his quaint verse tells the tale in connection with Constantin, son of Kenneth, who reigned from 863 to 876:—

This Constantyne than regnand
Oure the Scottis in Scotland,
Saynt Adriane wyth hys cumpany
Come off the land off Hyrkany,
And arryẅed into Fyffe,
Quhare that thai chesyd to led thar lyff.
At the king than askyd thai
Leve to preche the Crystyn fay.
That he grantyd wyth gud will,
And thaire lykyng to fullfille,
And to duell in to his land,
Quhare thai couth ches it mayst plesand.
Than Adriane wyth hys cumpany
Togydder come tyl Caplawchy.
Thare sum in to the Ile off May
Chesyd to byde to thare enday.
And sum of thame chesyd be northe
In steddis sere the Wattyr off Forth.
In Invery Saynct Monane,
That off that cumpany wes ane,
Chesyd hym sa nere the sé
Till lede hys lyff: thare endyt he.
Hwb, Haldane, and Hyngare
Off Denmark this tym cummyn ware
In Scotland wyth gret multitude,
And wyth thare powere it oure-yhude.
In hethynness all lyvyd thai;
And in dispyte off Crystyn fay
In to the land thai slwe mony,
And put to dede by martyry.
And upon Haly Thurysday
Saynt Adriane thai slwe in May
Wyth mony off hys cumpany:
In to that haly Ile thai ly.[588]

The chronology of this tale is quite clear. They came just at the time when the so-called destruction of the Picts 314by Kenneth mac Alpin took place; and they themselves perished by the Danes in the reign of his son Constantin. Of so remarkable an event, however, as the invasion of Fife by a body of six thousand and six Hungarians history knows nothing, and it is obvious that we have here to deal with a myth somewhat similar to that which brought St. Bonifacius and St. Servanus from Palestine. It appears, however, that there were two traditions as to the origin of these people, and Boece, who reports the fact, may probably here be trusted. He says—‘There are not wanting those who write that these holy martyrs of Christ were Hungarians, who, flying from the pagan fierceness which was then rampant in Germany, passed into Scotland to preserve their religion. Others say they were a company gathered together from Scots and Angles.’[589] The first refers to the legend in the Breviary; the second contains probably an admission of the truth; and an examination of the legend will confirm this. The names of most of the company are disguised under Latin forms, but one seems to preserve its original shape. Monanus is simply the Irish Moinenn, with a Latin termination. His relics are preserved at Inverry, now St. Monans, and he is venerated on the 1st of March; but this is the day of St. Moinenn in the Irish Calendar, who was first bishop of Clonfert Brenain on the Shannon, and whose death is recorded by Irish annalists in 571.[590] This leads us at once to Ireland as the country from whence they came; and, so far from being accompanied by a living St. Monan, who lived at Inverry, they had probably brought with them the relics of the dead St. Moinenn, bishop of Clonfert, of the sixth century, in whose honour the 315church, afterwards called St. Monans, was founded. But, when we turn to the history of Ireland at this period, we find Turgesius the Dane had placed himself at the head of all the foreigners in Ireland, and had brought the whole of the south of Ireland under subjection to him. In the year 832 he attacked Armagh and sacked it three times in one month. During the next nine years he appears to have remained content with his secular possession of the country, and did not attempt to overthrow the power of the ecclesiastical authorities; but in 841 he banished the bishop and clergy and usurped the abbacy of Armagh, that is to say, the full authority and jurisdiction in Armagh and the north of Ireland; and he seems not only to have aimed at the establishment of a permanent rule of the Northmen over Ireland, but to have attempted the establishment of his national heathenism in place of the Christianity which he found in the country.[591] This continued for four years, till his death in 845. Now, at this very time Kenneth mac Alpin was establishing his Scottish kingdom in Pictland, and reclaiming for the Scottish clerics their old ecclesiastical foundations. This must naturally have led to an extensive immigration of Scots, both lay and cleric, into his new territories, and we find that, after Turgesius had usurped possession of Armagh, he went to Loch Ree, with a fleet of his countrymen, and from thence ‘plundered Meath and Connaught; and Cluainmicnois was plundered by him, and Cluain Ferta Brenain and Lothra, and Tirdaglas, and Inisceltra, and all the churches of Loch Derg-dheirc, or Loch Derg on the Shannon, in like manner.’[592] This took place between 841 and 845; and under the latter year the Irish Annals report the destruction as still more complete, for they tell us that at Loch Ree ‘a fortress was erected by Turgesius 316for the foreigners, so that they spoiled Connaught and Meath, and burned Cluain mic Nois with its oratories, and Cluainferta Brennain, and Tirdaglas, and Lothra, and numerous cities.’[593] Clonfert then was one of a group of monasteries which were plundered and burnt by the Danes at the very time when a body of clerics and laymen are said to have arrived in Fife and erected a church at Inverry, which was dedicated to St. Monenn, the first bishop of Clonfert, and where his relics were deposited. It seems, therefore, a reasonable conclusion that the two events were connected, and that it was probably owing to the state into which the church in Ireland had been brought by the Danes, and to the coincident establishment of a Scottish dynasty on the throne of the Picts, that we find an abbot of Kildare appearing as also abbot of Iona, and dying in the country of the Picts which had come under Scottish rule, and that the arrival of so large a body of Scots in Fife is intimately connected with the revolution which placed these Pictish districts under the rule of a Scottish king.[594]

317The Caplawchy of Wyntoun is now called Caiplie, on the shore of Fife opposite the Isle of May, and Inverry is now called St. Monans. Both are within the eastern district of Fife, which was said to have been given to St. Regulus as a ‘parochia.’ Wyntoun tells us that some of the company who landed there chose to remain on the Isle of May, and others in places beyond the north shore of the Forth; and we may infer that, while the great body of them spread over Fife and the neighbouring districts, some resorted to an eremetical life and were slain by the Danes.[595]

A.D. 878.
Shrine and relics of St. Columba taken to Ireland.

In the meantime the security of Iona was threatened by new enemies. These were the Norwegian Vikings who occupied the Western Isles about the middle of this century, and continued to do so from time to time, till their permanent settlement in the Orkney Islands, towards the end of the century, led to a more continued possession of the Isles; and in the year 878 it appears to have been necessary to remove the relics of St. Columba from Iona to Ireland for safety. These consisted not only of the Mionna, or reliquaries, which had been so frequently taken to Ireland, but also of the shrine which contained the remains of his body; for we are told that in this year ‘the shrine of Colum Cille and all his reliquaries were taken to Ireland to escape the foreigners,’[596] and two years later Feradach, son of Cormac, abbot of Iona, dies.[597] He was, no doubt, the successor of Cellach, the abbot of Kildare, but his pedigree is unknown, and there is nothing to show whether he was connected with any other religious house. The line of Conall Gulban, however, the ancestor of the tribe of the patron saint, now comes in again, but merely to give to the abbacy of Iona its last independent abbot for 318many a long year. Flann, the son of Maelduin, whose death as abbot of Iona is recorded in the year 891,[598] was a descendant of Conall Gulban; but one of the same tribe, Maelbrigde, son of Tornan, having been in 888 elected abbot of Armagh, the abbacy of Iona seems to have fallen under his rule also, and thus he is described as ‘coärb of Patrick and of Columcille’ in the Martyrology of Donegal, which adds that he was ‘a man full of the grace of God, and a vessel of the wisdom and knowledge of his time.’[599] His death is recorded in 927.[600]

In his time, however, the shrine of St. Columba must have been restored to Iona, as we learn from the Life of St. Cadroë, a work of the eleventh century. Cadroë was a native of Scotia, or Scotland,[601] and was born about the year 900.[602] His father was Faiteach, a man of royal blood; his mother, Bania, of similar wealth and nobility. She had been previously married and had sons by her first husband; but after her marriage with Faiteach she continued childless, till, with her husband, she applied to the merits of St. Columba, and, going to his sepulchre and passing the night in prayer and fasting, had hardly slept, when they saw themselves in a vision holding two different candles, which suddenly united into one light, and a man of shining apparel appeared and told her that her tears had stained her stole and assisted her prayers in the sight of God, and that she should bear a son called Kaddroë, a future light of the church, who should have courage like his name; a warrior in the camp of the 319Lord, he shall go up unconquered against the opposing wall, prepared to stand in battle for the house of Israel.[603] They awake full of joy, and after a time the woman has a son whom, according to the divine command, they called Kaddroë. When the child is old enough, his father’s brother Beanus, an aged priest, wishes to put him to school, but the father objects, and insists that the child must be dedicated to him who gave it. The mother then has another child called Mattadanus. They then go a second time to the tomb of St. Columba, and offer to him the second boy, and deliver the eldest to Beanus to be educated.[604] The expressions used of the sepulchre and the tomb of St. Columba imply that they went to Iona; and the small cell at the west end of the abbey church, now called the tomb of St. Columba, is, as we have seen, in all probability the remains of the oratory in which the shrine of St. Columba was kept, and to which it must have been restored when the parents of St. Cadroë passed the night in prayer and fasting before it. And this connection with Iona is further indicated; for, when the boy reaches an age to require more advanced instruction, he is sent to Armagh, the metropolitan town of Ireland, to be further trained, at a time when, as we have seen, the abbacy of Iona was under the rule of the abbot of Armagh.


505. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. v. c. 22.

506. Ib.

507. Ib., B. iii. c. 4.

508. 716 Pasca in Eo civitate commotatur.Tigh.

509. 718 Tonsura corona super familiam Iae datur.Tigh.

510. Bede, Hist. Ec., B. v. c. 22.

511. 722 Feidhlimidh principatum Iea tenet.Tigh.

512. 724 Faelchu mac Dorbene abbas dormivit. Cillenius longus ei in primatum Ie successit.Tigh.

513. 726 Cillenius longus abbas Ie pausat.Tigh. For Celline Droichteach, see note 528.

514. This is an example of a peculiar form in which the names of many of the saints appear in Irish. As a mark of affection, the syllable mo, meaning ‘my,’ was prefixed, and the syllable og, meaning ‘little,’ added to the name; and when the name ended with the diminutive form an, it was altered to og. Thus, Ronan becomes Moronog, or my little Ronan; Colman, Mocholmog; Aedan, Moaedog or Madoc, etc.

515. 737 Bass Ronain abbatis Cindgaradh.Tigh. For the legends of St. Modan and St. Ronan see Bishop Forbes’s Calendars of the Scottish Saints, pp. 400, 441.

516. 725 Oan, princeps Ego, mortunsmortuns est.An. Ult.

517. 727 Adamnani reliquie transferuntur in Hiberniam et lex renovatur.Tigh.

518. This passage is quoted by Dr. Reeves in his edition of Adamnan (Ed. 1874, p. clxv.), on whose authority it is here given.

519. 3d July. Cilline Abb. Iae.Mart. Tam.

Abb. Iae Cholaimcille an Cilline Droichteach sin.Mart. Marian. Ib., p. clxxiii.

520. 752 Mors Cilline Droichtigh ancorite Iea.Tigh.

521. Reeves’s Adamnan, ed. 1874, pp. cxxxix.-cxliii.

522. Petrie’s Round Towers, p. 423.

523. 737 Failbe mac Guairi eires (hæres) Maelrubai in Apuorcrossan in profundo pelagi dimersus est cum suis nautis numero xxii.Tigh., Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 76.

524. Colgan gives the following correct explanation of the word:—‘Vox autem Hibernica comhorba vel radicitus comh-fhorba, a qua desumitur, derivata videtur a comh, id est, con vel simul; et forba, id est, terra, ager, districtus; ut ex vocis origine Comhorbanus idem sit quod Conterraneus.’Tr. Th. p. 630.

525. See Dr. Todd’s St. Patrick, p. 155, for an account of the Coärbs; also Dr. Reeves’s paper in Proceedings of R. I. A., vol. vi. p. 467.

526. See King’s Introduction to the Early History of Armagh, p. 17.

527. 749 Ventus magnus. Dimersio familiæ Iea.Tigh.

528. 752 Mors Cilline Droictigh ancoritæ Iea. Cumine hua Becc religiosus Eco mortuus est. Bass Cilline mac Congaile in Hi.Ib.

529. 754 Slebine abbas Iea in Hiberniam venit.Ib.

757 Lex Coluimcille la Slebine.Ib.

758 Reuersio Slebine in Hiberniam.Ib.

530. For this we have only the Annals of the Four Masters, who have in 754 (recte 759) Feidhlimidh mac Failbe abb Iae decc iar secht mbliadhna ochtmoghat a aeisi.

531. 766 Suibne abbas Iae in Hiberniam venit.An. Ult.

532. 767 Quies Slebine Iae.Ib.

533. 772 Mors Suibne abbas Iae.Ib.

534. It may be useful to insert here a table showing these rival abbots from the death of Adamnan in 704 to the accession of Breasal in 772. Those who belonged to the race of Conall Gulban are printed in old English letters; the strangers in Roman.

Adamnan, abbot of Iona, dies 704.
704-710 Conamhail, son of Failbhe, first abbot of a different race. 704-707 Interval of three years.
710-712 Coeddi, bishop of Iona. 707-717 Dunchadh, son of Cinnfaeladh, abbot of Iona.
713 Dorbeni obtains chair of Iona, and dies same year.  
713-716 Interval of three years.  
716-724 Faelchu mac Dorbeni obtains chair of Iona 29th August 716. 717-722 Interval of five years.
724-726 Cillene the Long succeeds Faelchu in abbacy. 722-759 Feidhlimidh mac Failbhe holds abbacy of Iona.
726-752 Cilline Droichteach the anchorite, abbot of Iona.  
752-767 Slebhine, son of Congal, abbot of Iona. 759-766 Interval of seven years.
767-772 Interval of five years. 766-772 Suibhne, abbot of Iona.
772 Breasal, son of Seghine, becomes abbot for thirty years.

535. 778 Lex Coluimcille la Donnchadh acus Bresal.An. Ult.

536. 782 Muredach mac Huairgaile equominus Iae periit.Ib.

537. 775 Mors Conaill Maighe Luinge.Ib.

538. 776 Mors Maelemanach Ab. Cinngaradh.Ib.

539. 790 Mors Noe abbatis Cinngaradh.Ib.

540. 765 (recte 770) Niall Frosach mac Ferghaile secht mhliadhna os Eirinn na righ, co nerbail in I Cholaimchille aga oilithre iar nocht mhliadhna iaromh (was seven years king over Ireland, and died in Iona on his pilgrimage eight years afterwards).—An. F. M.

541. 782 Bacall Airtgaile mic Cathail R. Conacht et peregrinatio ejus in sequenti anno ad insulam Iae.An. Ult.

790 Artgal mac Cathail rex Conacht in Hi defunctus est.Ib.

542. 784 Adventus reliquiarum filiorum Eirc ad civitatem Tailten.Ib.

543. 794 Vastatio omnium insolarum Britanniæ a gentibus.Ib.

795 Orcain Iae Choluimchille.An. Inis.

798 Indreda mara doaibh cene itir Erinn et Albain.An. Ult.

544. 801 Bresal mac Segeni, abbas Iae, anno principatus sui 31 dormivit.Ib.

545. 802 Hi Coluimbea cille a gentibus combusta est.An. Ult.

797 (recte 802) Condachtach, Scribbneoir tochaidhe acus abb. Iae deg.An. F. M.

806 Familia Iae occisa est a gentibus .i. lx octo.An. Ult.

546. 807 Constructio novæ civitatis Columbæ Cille hi Ceninnus (in Kells).—Ib.

814 Ceallach, abbas Iae, finita constructione templi Cenindsa reliquit principatum, et Diarmitius, alumpus Daigri, pro eo ordinatus est.Ib.

547. This appears from the term ‘templum,’‘templum,’ usually applied to a stone church, and from its being afterwards called a Damhliag or stone church.

548. Adamnan, B. iii. c. 24, says that the body of St. Columba was placed in a coffin prepared for it, and buried. He uses the strange word ‘ratabusta,’ which the transcribers of the Life apparently did not understand, as the MSS. present the following readings:—‘Rata busta,’ ‘intra busta,’ ‘rata tabeta;’ and the Bollandists alter it to ‘catabusta,’ an inversion of ‘busticeta,’ which Ducange defines as ‘sepulchra antiqua,’ ‘sepulchra in agro.’ It seems to have been an attempt to render in Latin the Irish ferta, which was either generally a grave, or, as Dr. Reeves has shown in his Ancient Churches of Armagh, p. 48, the equivalent of sarcophagus, or stone coffin, in which sense it is used here; but in Adamnan’s time his grave was undisturbed, and the place of his burial was well known; for he says that the stone which he had used as a pillow stands to this day as a monument at his grave, and that ‘until the present day the place where his sacred bones repose, as has been clearly shown to certain chosen persons, doth not cease to be frequently visited by holy angels, and illuminated by the same heavenly light.’ Bede, also, in talking of the ‘Monasterium insulanum’ founded by St. Columba, adds, ‘in quo ipse requiescit corpore.’Hist. Ec., B. iii. c. 4. The passage in the Book of Armagh is as follows:—‘Colombcille, Spiritu Sancto instigante, ostendit sepulturam Patricii, ubi est confirmat, id est, in Sahul Patricii, id est, in ecclesia juxta mare proxima ubi est conductio martirum, id est, ossuum Columbcille de Britannia et conductio omnium sanctorum Hiberniæ in die judicii.’ The passage is obviously somewhat corrupt, and has been well explained by Dr. Reeves in the Introduction to his Adamnan, ed. 1874, p. lxxx. The word ‘proxima’ is in the original ‘pro undecima;’ but Mr. Henry Bradshaw, of the University Library, Cambridge, has happily suggested that the transcriber mistook the letters xi in proxima for the numeral undecim. Conductio is the word frequently used in connection with enshrining, and Martra, here rendered Martirum, has been shown by Dr. Reeves to be the word used to designate the enshrined bones of a saint, the word Mionna being used for other relics, consisting of articles hallowed by his use. The passage clearly shows that in 807, when the book of Armagh was compiled, the bones of St. Columba had been enshrined, and were then at the church of Saul Patrick.

549. 734 Commutatio martirum Petri et Pauli et Patricii ad legem perficiendam.An. Ult.

550. 743 Commutatio martirum Treno Cille Deilgge.Ib.

776 Commutatio martirum Sancti Erce Slane et Finniain Cluaina Irard.Ib.

551. 784 Commutatio reliquiarum Ultani.Ib.

789 Commutatio reliquiarum Coimgin et Mochuæ mic Culugedon.Ib.

552. 799 Positio reliquiarum Conlaid hi Scrin oir ocus airgid.Ib.

800 Positio reliquiarum Ronain filii Berich in arca auri et argenti.—Ib.

553. In hac mansione juxta oratorium meum ad meridiem contra orientalem plagam Sanctæ Crucis, quam ibidem erexi.Vit. S. Cuth., c. 37.

554. Atque in ecclesia beati apostoli Petri in dextera parte altaris petrino in sarcophago repositum.Ib., c. 40. At that time the right side of the altar was the south side, but in 1485 this was altered in the Roman Church, and the right side declared to be the north side, because the right hand of the crucifix on the altar pointed to that side.

555. Atque in levi arca recondita in eodem quidem loco, sed supra pavimentum, dignæ venerationis gratia, locarent.Ib., c. 42.

556. Et involutum novo amictu corpus levique in theca reconditum super pavimentum sanctuarii composuerunt.Ib.

557. Cujus corpus in sepulcro beati Patris Cudbercti ponentes, adposuerunt desuper arcam, in qua incorrupta ejusdem Patris membra locaverunt.Ib. c. 43.

558. Sim. Dun, Hist. Reg., ad an. 1104.

559. Reg. Mon. Dun. Lib. de admirandis Beati Cuthberti, c. 43.

560. Nec et de miraculo in reparatione ecclesiæ tacendum est, in qua gloriosa amborum, hoc est, Episcopi Conleath et hujus virginis S. Brigidæ corpora a dextris et a sinistris altaris decorati in monumentis posita ornatis vario cultu auri et argenti et gemmarum et pretiosi lapidis, atque coronis aureis et argenteis desuper pendentibus requiescunt.—Messing. Florileg., Vit. S. Brigidæ, p. 199.

561. 818 Diarmaid Ab. Iae co sgrin Colaim Cille do dul a nAlbain (Diarmaid, abbot of Iona, went to Scotland with the shrine of St. Columba).—Chron. Scot. The same notice appears in the Annals of the Four Masters.

562. This burying-ground is now called Cladh an Diseart. It was carefully examined this summer (1876) by the author and Mr. James Drummond, R.S.A., and some excavations they made disclosed the foundations of a rude stone oratory, about 26 feet long by 14 broad, the wall being two feet thick. At the eastern end is a small recess in the wall, and in this recess was found some years ago the stone which is figured in the Proceedings of the Antiq. Society, vol x. p. 349, and believed to be the stone pillow which was placed as a monument at St. Columba’s grave. The oratory may have been erected over his grave by Abbot Breasal, as he appears in the Calendars at 18th May as Breasal o Dertaigh, or Breasal of the Oratory.—Colg. A.SS.

563. In examining the existing ruins there is a peculiarity which cannot fail to be observed. On the north side of the abbey church, and at a little distance from it, is a chapel or oratory, about 33 feet long by 16 broad. This chapel, however, is not parallel to the abbey church, but has an entirely different orientation. It points more to the north, and the deflection amounts to no less than fourteen degrees. If the chapel was connected with the abbey church, it is impossible to account for this variation; but if it existed before the abbey church was built, we can quite understand that the orientation of the latter may have been quite irrespective of the former. Alongside of this chapel are the foundations of a large hall, probably a refectory, which have the same orientation. Then on the west of the ruins is a building which goes by the name of Columba’s House, and this, too, has nearly the same orientation. It was, no doubt, the abbot’s house. On the south side of the present ruins there is, at a little distance, another chapel called St. Mary’s Chapel, and here again we find the same orientation. It can hardly be doubted that these buildings formed part of the establishment which preceded the Benedictine monastery, and this is confirmed by the discovery, between the abbot’s house and the abbey church, of the foundations of an enclosure, the pavement of which consists of monumental stones, two of them bearing Irish inscriptions of the same character as the two oldest in the Relic Orain.

564. Martin, in his account of Iona, speaking of St. Martin’s cross says—‘At a little farther distance is Dun Ni Manich, i.e. the monks’ fort, built of stone and lime in the form of a bastion, pretty high. From this eminence the monks had a view of all the families in the Isle, and at the same time enjoyed the free air’ (page 259). Dr. Reeves remarks ‘that the artificial part does not now exist.’ He looked for it, however, on the small eminence called Torr Abb; but immediately behind it is a higher rocky eminence which better answers the description, now called Cnoc nan Carnan, or the hillock of the heaps or cairns, on which the remains of a fortification with outworks are still quite discernible.

565. Printed in Messingham’s Florilegium, p. 399, and Pinkerton, Vitæ Sanctorum, p. 459.

566. From Blath, beautiful, and Mac, a son.

567.

... Quam quippe suis de sedibus arcam
Tollentes tumulo terra posuere cavato
Cespite sub denso....

This reminds one of St. Cuthbert’s ‘sarcophagus terræ cespite abditus.’

568. The shrine appears to have been hid by the monks, and Blathmac purposely remained ignorant of the spot where they buried it.

569. 825 Martre Blaimhicc mic Flainn o gentib in Hi Coluim Cille. (The martyrdom of Blaithmaic by the pagans in Iona.)—An. Ult.

570. 829 Diarmait ab Iae do dul an Albain cominnaib Coluim Cille.Ib.

571. Reeves’s Adamnan, ed. 1874, p. 232; and the Life, B. ii. c. 45.

572. For a description of these Irish oratories, and especially St. Molaga’s Bed, see Brash, Ecclesiastical Architecture of Ireland, p. 8, and Lord Dunraven’s magnificent work on Irish Architecture, p. 62, where it is figured.

573.

Ille igitur Christi factus pro nomine Martyr,
Testis fert ut fama, loco requiescit eodem,
Multa ubi pro meritis dantur miracula sanctis.

At the west end of the oratory at Iona, overlapping its side walls, is an enclosure, which is of late construction, but is filled with gravestones, two of which bear Irish inscriptions. Inserted in the west end of the enclosure is a cross, which, however, is not in the centre, but directly faces the end of the cist on the south side of the oratory.

574. 831 Diarmait totiachtain in hErin comminaib Coluim Cille.An. Ult.

575. 849 Innrechtach ab Iae do tiachtain do cum nErenn commindaib Coluimcille.Ib.

854 Heres Columbecille sapiens optimus iv Id. marcii apud Saxones martirizatur.Ib.

Indrechtaig hua Finechta abbas Iae hi mardochoid oc dul do Roim Saxanu.—An. Inis.

576. Concremavit Dunbarre atque Malros usurpata, Britanni autem concremaverunt Dunblain.Pict. Chron. The name Dunbarre seems connected with St. Bar or Finbar, and may have been a Scotch foundation, and been named from him, as Dunblane is from St. Blane.

577. Septimo anno regni sui reliquias Sancti Columbæ transportavit ad ecclesiam quam construxit.Chron. Pict. Dunkeld was dedicated to St. Columba, and possessed some of the relics. Hickes, in his Thesaurus (vii. 117), has published a Saxon document compiled about 1058, giving the localities in England in which the relics of eminent saints were placed; and in it we find a passage which he thus translates:—‘Sanctus Columcylle requiescit in loco Duncahan juxta flumen Tau.’ This does not imply that his body, or his tomb, was there, but merely part of his relics; and that by Duncahan Dunkeld is meant—the letters ld having been read h—appears from an incident preserved by Alexander Mylne, a canon of Dunkeld, who died in 1549, in his Lives of the Bishops of Dunkeld. He says that in the year 1500, when a severe pestilence afflicted the whole kingdom of Scotland, the town of Dunkeld alone remained unaffected by it through the merit of its patron saint Columba, and that the bishop visiting some who were sick of the pest in the church lands of Caputh, administered the sacrament to them, and next day having blessed some water in which he had dipped a bone of St. Columba, sent it to them by his chancellor to drink and many receiving it were made whole.—Mylne, Vit. Ep. Dunk. pp. 40, 43.

578. 865 Tuathal mac Artguso, primus episcopus Fortren et abbas Duincaillenn dormivit.An. Ult.

579. Kenneth seems to have taken for his model the establishment of a bishop from Iona in Northumbria, where the whole kingdom formed one diocese under one bishop. The term ‘primus episcopus’ here unquestionably means first in time, not in dignity. The Scotch Episcopal Church appears to have understood it in the latter sense, and thus presents the anomaly of one of the successors of a long line of bishops bearing the title of ‘primus episcopus.’ An elective primacy, too, is as great an anomaly.

580. 865 Ceallach mac Aillelo abbas Cilledaro et abbas Ia dormivit in regione Pictorum.Ib.

581. Chron. Scotorum, ad an. 836-845.

582. In a note by Dr. Petrie appended to Sir James Simpson’s Essay on a Stone-Roofed Building in the Island of Inchcolm, as printed in his Archæological Essays, edited by Dr. John Stuart, vol. i. p. 134, he states that no one can doubt that the age of the Abernethy tower is much greater than that of Brechin, and adds, ‘This is the opinion I formed many years ago, after a very careful examination of the architectural peculiarities of each, and I came to the conclusion that the safest opinion which could be indulged as to the age of the Abernethy tower was that it had been erected during the reign of the third Nectan, i.e. between 712 and 727, and by those Northumbrian architects of the monastery of Jarrow for whose assistance the king, according to the high authority of Bede, had applied to build for him, in his capital, a stone church in the Roman style.’ It appears to the author that this opinion, though proceeding from so high an authority as Dr. Petrie, is not tenable, for, first, Bede says nothing about the church being in his capital, but he distinctly says that it was to be dedicated to St. Peter, and there is no dedication to St. Peter at Abernethy; secondly, though undoubtedly older than the tower at Brechin, it cannot, he thinks, be taken so far back as the beginning of the eighth century; and thirdly, the author has been unable to discover any peculiarity so marked as to take it out of the class of the Irish round towers altogether, or to warrant the supposition that it is a solitary instance of a round tower built by Anglic architects in the Roman style.

583. 873 Flaithbertach mac Murcertaigh princeps Duincaillden obiit.An. Ult.

584. Et in illa ecclesia fuerunt tres electiones factæ, quando non fuit nisi unus solus episcopus in Scotia. Nunc fuit locus ille sedes principalis regalis et pontificalis, per aliquot tempora, totius regni Pictorum.Scotichron., B. iv. c. 12.

585. Bishop Forbes’s Calendars, p. 334.

586. This legend is printed in the Chronicles of the Picts and Scots, p. 423.

587. Breviary of Aberdeen, Pars Hyem. f. lix.

588. Wyntoun, Chron., B. vi. cap. 8.

589. Non desunt qui scribant sanctissimos Christi martyres Hungaros fuisse genere in Scotiam ethnicorum feritate, quæ sub idem tempus in Germania debacchabatur fugientes, servandæ religionis causa trajecisse. Alii ex Scotis Anglisque gregarie collectos.Boetii Scot. Hist., fol. ccxiii.

590. 571 Moenen Eps Cluanaferta Brenand quievit.Tigh. 1st March, Maoineann espoc Cluana Ferta Brenainn.—Mart. Don.

591. See this view brought out by Dr. Todd in his Introduction to the Wars of the Gaedhel with the Gaill, pp. xlii.-xlviii.

592. Wars of the Gaedhel with the Gaill, p. 13.

593. Annals of Ulster, ad an. 844; Chron. Scot., 845.

594. How the Hungarian story should have arisen it seems difficult to guess, but possibly it may have been brought forward about the time of Queen Margaret, when her own connection with Hungary might lead some of the ecclesiastical parties to suppose that a legend of this kind would find favour with her. There is a cluster of Adrians in the Martyrologies about this time. On 1st March, Adrianus, a Roman martyr of Bologna; Adrianus, martyr in Africa; Adrianus of Marseilles. On the 4th March, Adrianus, martyr, with thirty-three companions of Nicomedia, under Diocletian; and on the 5th, Adrianus, martyr of Cæsarea; but there is no Adrianus of Hungary. Bishop Forbes notices, in his Calendars (p. 267), that Usuardus has also a St. Gagius on the 4th, who seems to correspond with the Gayus of the legend. The Irish name that seems to come nearest Adrian in form is Odhran; and the Martyrology of Donegal has this name on 6th March, and we find a subsequent bishop of St. Andrews called Mac Gilla Odran, or the son of the servant of Odran. The parishes of Flisk and Lindores, both within the parochia, are dedicated to a St. Macgidrin, and his name is connected with Macduff’s Cross, the boundary-stone of the region of Fife. It is possible that the name which appears under this form may be that which was Latinised Adrianus. He may also have been one of the three bishops elected at Abernethy.

595. See the interesting notice of the Coves at Caiplie and other places on the coast of Fife in the Sculptured Stones of Scotland, vol. ii., appendix to preface, p. lxxxvii.; and Dr. John Stuart’s remarks in his Preface to the Chartulary of the Isle of May, p. v.

596. 878 Scrin Coluim Cille ocus aminna orchena do thiachtain do cum n-Erenn for teicheadh na Gallaibh.An. Ult.

597. 880 Feradach mac Cormac abbas Iae pausat.Ib.

598. 891 Flann mac Maileduin abbas Iae in pace quievit.An. Ult.

599. Mart. Donegal, p. 55.

600. 927 Maelbrigda mac Tornain Comhorba Patraic et Coluimcille, felici senectute quievit.An. Ult.

601. At the time this Life was compiled, the name of Scotia had already been transferred to Scotland, and a candid examination of the Life shows the scene of his early years was in Scotland.

602. He is said in the Life to have died in the seventieth year of his age and the thirtieth of his pilgrimage, but it began when Constantin was king of Alban, and Eric ruled at York. Eric’s reign at York began about 938, and Constantin died in 942, which limits us to four years for the year of his birth.

603. Colgan explains Kaddroë as Cath, battle, Roe, the same as Agon, place of contest.—A.SS., p. 503.

604. This part of the Life is printed in the Chronicle of the Picts and Scots, p. 106.

320

CHAPTER VIII.

THE SCOTTISH CHURCH.

A.D. 878-889.
First appearance of the name ‘the Scottish Church’ when freed from servitude under Pictish law.

‘This is he who first gave liberty to the Scottish Church which had been until now under servitude, according to the law and custom of the Picts.’[605] Such is the almost unanimous testimony of the chronicles as to King Giric, who reigned from 878 to 889; and this is the first appearance of the church under the name of ‘the Scottish Church.’ At this time the kingdom ruled by the new dynasty of kings of Scottish race was still the kingdom of the Picts, and the kings were still called kings of the Picts. Giric therefore must be regarded as such; and he seems also to have broken in upon the Tanistic law of succession, and reintroduced the Pictish law, by which the throne descended to the sister’s children in preference to the son’s; while by ‘the Scottish Church’ could only be meant that church which his predecessor Kenneth had constituted and placed under the rule of one bishop. The first, as we have seen, was the abbot of Dunkeld; but the election of this bishop was now in the hands of the church of Abernethy. Giric’s object therefore probably was to secure the support of the Scottish clergy by conferring a boon upon their church. Whatever that boon may have been, the expression ‘that he first gave it’ seems to imply that it was something which the Pictish kings had not previously given, but in which he was followed by his 321successors. What then was implied by the church being under servitude, and having liberty given to it? These are terms which, in connection with the church lands, have a very definite meaning. About thirty years before this date Ethelwulf, king of Wessex, as we are told in the Saxon Chronicle, in the year 855, ‘chartered the tenth part of his land, over all his kingdom, for the glory of God and his own eternal salvation;’ and in the deeds rehearsing this grant we find the same expressions used. Thus, in one grant he says that he has not only given the tenth part of his lands to the holy churches, but also ‘that our appointed ministers therein should have them in perpetual liberty, so that such donation shall remain permanently freed from all royal service, and relieved from all secular servitude;’ and in another there is a still more detailed explanation of it. He grants the tenth part of his lands ‘to God and St. Mary, and to all the saints, to be safe, protected and free from all secular services, not only the greater and lesser loyal tributes or taxations, which we call Witeredden, but also free from every thing, for the remission of souls and my sins, to the sole service of God, without hosting or construction of bridges or fortification of citadels, that they may pray for us without ceasing, in as far as we have freed them from their servitude.’[606] In the early Irish Monastic Church, the land granted for the endowment of a church or monastery to its first founder or patron saint, was usually called its Termon land, and was considered by right to have the privilege of sanctuary and to be free from any rents, tributes, or other exactions by temporal chiefs; but the close connection between the church and the tribe, and the rights of the latter in connection with the succession to the abbacy, led to a constant attempt on the part of the secular chiefs to bring these lands under the same obligations towards themselves as affected the tribe lands; and, when they succeeded 322in this, they were held to have brought the church under servitude. This appears even as late as the Synod of Cashel, in 1172, the fourth act of which is as follows:—‘That all church lands, and possessions belonging to them, be wholly free from exaction on the part of all secular persons, and especially that neither petty kings, nor chieftains, nor any other powerful men in Ireland, nor their sons with their families, are to exact, as has been customary, victuals and hospitality in lands belonging to the church, or presume any longer to extort them by force;’[607] and there is an instructive passage in the Annals of the Four Masters, about the same time, where we find it stated, in the year 1161, ‘It was on this occasion that the churches of Columcille in Meath and Leinster were freed by the Coärb of Columcille, Flaithbheartach Ua Brolchain; and their tributes and jurisdiction were given to him, for they had been previously enslaved.’[608]

When the Columban monks were expelled from the Pictish territories in the beginning of the preceding century, and a different system introduced, the church lands would no doubt be brought under the same burdens and exactions as applied to other lands. This appears to have taken place about the same time in England; for St. Boniface, archbishop of Mentz, who was himself an Englishman, writes to Cudberht, archbishop of Canterbury about 745, regarding ‘the enforced servitude of the monks in royal works and buildings, which is not heard of in the whole Christian world save only among the nation of the Angles—which cannot be acquiesced in or consented to by the priests of God—which is an evil unknown to past ages.’[609] So it seems also to have been among the Picts; and it had become their custom and usage that the church lands and their 323occupants should not be exempted from secular services. It is therefore probably by a prolepsis that the first grant of St. Andrews by King Hungus is accompanied by exemptions really due to King Giric, when we are told that the donation is ‘with such freedom that its occupiers should always be free and quit from all hosting and construction of castles and bridges, and the vexation of all secular exactions.’ The ordinary burdens of the land among the Picts were exigible by their kings, mormaers and toiseachs; and the proportion received by each was termed their share, as appears from the grants in the Book of Deer. What King Giric did, therefore, was probably to issue a decree, similar in terms to that of the Synod of Cashel at a later period, ‘that all church lands and possessions belonging to them be wholly free from exaction on the part of all secular persons, and that neither kings nor mormaers nor toiseachs are to exact, as has been customary among the Picts, victuals and hospitality in lands belonging the church, or presume any longer to extort them by force.’[610]

A.D. 908.
Primacy transferred to St. Andrews. Cellach first bishop of Alban.

Though the church benefited by this act of King Giric, it does not appear to have availed much, so far as his personal object was concerned; for he was, along with his pupil the British son of Kenneth’s daughter, driven out, and the throne was once more occupied by his male descendants. They now were called no longer kings of the Picts, but kings of Alban; and the districts between the Forth and the Spey are no longer Fortrenn, or Pictland, but Alban. The reign of the second of these kings of Alban was an important one for the Church, for in his sixth year—that is, about 908—a great meeting was held on the Moothill of Scone, at which King Constantin and Bishop Cellach ‘solemnly vow to protect the laws and discipline of the faith, and the rights of the churches and of the Gospel, 324equally with the Scots.’[611] Two facts may fairly be deduced from the short notice of this meeting given in the Pictish Chronicle; first, that it secured the rights and liberties of the church as now amalgamated into one body; and secondly, that the leading part taken in it by Bishop Cellach obviously places him at the head of the church, and the primacy must now have been transferred from Abernethy to St. Andrews. There are two lists of the bishops of St. Andrews given to us; one by Bower, who was abbot of Inchcolm, and the other by Wyntoun, who was primate of Lochleven. These lists agree, and in both Cellach appears as first bishop of St. Andrews.[612] This meeting may be held to have in fact finally constituted the Scottish Church under its then organisation, in which it was placed under the government of one bishop, who was designated Epscop Alban, or bishop of Alban.[613]

A.D. 921.
Introduction of canonical rule of Culdees.

It is followed in some dozen years after by another event, which, though the notice of it from another source is short enough, yet had evidently a very important influence upon the church. We have already seen that a fraternity of Cele De are mentioned in connection with the Church of Armagh as early as the year 921, when we are told by the Irish Annalists that in that year Armagh was pillaged, on the Saturday before St. Martin’s day, which was the 10th of November, by Gofirth, grandson of Ivar, and his army, who spared the houses of prayer with their people of God, the Cele De, and their sick, and the whole church town, except 325some houses which were burnt through neglect; but two of the annalists add in the same year that ‘Maenach Cele De, or the Culdee, came across the sea from the west, that is, from Ireland, to establish the ordinances of Erinn.’[614] We have thus the decrees of 908, followed by a Cele De, or Culdee, coming over from Ireland and establishing laws, which can only mean those rules which regulated the community of the Cele De at the time in Ireland, who had now been for a century under the canonical rule; and at this period we must date the establishment in Scotland of the form of canonical life which we find the Culdees in Scotland afterwards exhibiting.

We get a glimpse into the state of the church in this reign too in the Life of St. Cadroë. Having been fully instructed at Armagh, he returned to Beanus, his uncle, and ‘scatters the seeds of wisdom throughout the whole of Scotland; for, though the Scots have had many teachers, they have not had many fathers. He here trained them in the knowledge of the arts, whence, because he instructed many with his lips, he had no associates; for, from the time of his arrival, none of the wise men had crossed the sea, but still remained in Ireland. The old man rejoiced to possess the youth, and had not his equal in anything which he tried.’ In the meanwhile time passed on, and, as usual, he received a divine warning that he was to leave his native country and go on a foreign mission. There flowed near his residence a large river, close to which, as it happened, was the trunk of a certain tree. Thither he went at night, and removing 326his garments entered the stream in the extreme rigour of cold, and, holding by the tree, that he might not be carried off by the current, he recited Psalms, from the 118th to the 123d Psalm. He then entered upon his pilgrimage, and as grief filled the whole region, and the population assembled, the king of the country, called Constantin, endeavoured to retain him. In his journey Cadroë, desiring to pray, entered the monastery of St. Bridget, when the people coming from different parts completely fill the noble and rustic church. All begged him not to quit the country, and after some discussion a certain abbot, called Maelodarius, came with the king and persuaded them to let him go, and he departed to the land of the Cumbrians.[615] We need not follow him any farther. As Cadroë was born about the year 900, his return from Armagh was either coincident with or soon after the arrival of the Culdee in 920, as is implied in his statement that he was the last of the instructors who had come from Ireland. The large river was no doubt the river Earn; and we may thus identify Beanus with the St. Bean to whom the church of Kinkell in Strathearne, on the north bank of the Earn, was dedicated. He commenced his foreign mission about the year 940. The monastery where he entered the Church of St. Bridget can have been no other than that of Abernethy, and Maelodarius, or Maelodhar, was no doubt its abbot. The first notice of the Cele De at Armagh, as we have seen, occurs in the same year in which Maenach the Cele De came to Scotland, and during the tenure of the abbacy by Maelbrigde, the instructor of Cadroë; and he too probably was connected with the mission which brought the Cele De to Scotland, and with the establishment of its rule. Constantin, who so strenuously urged his not leaving the country, makes a fitting termination to his own reign when, according to the Pictish Chronicle, worn out with age, he assumed the pilgrim’s staff, and served the Lord, and 327resigned the throne to Malcolm, son of Donald. This is echoed by St. Berchan when he says—

Afterwards God did call him
To the monastery on the brink of the waves,
In the house of the apostle he came to death;
Undefiled was the pilgrim.

By the house of the apostle St. Andrews is meant, and here, according to the testimony of the same chroniclers who reported the grant in favour of the church by King Giric, he becomes abbot of the Keledei, or Culdees.[616]

Fothad, son of Bran, second bishop of Alban.

Whether Cellach the bishop was alive at this time we do not know, but his successor was certainly Fothad, son of Bran. He appears in the Chartulary of St. Andrews as having made an arrangement with the Keledei of Lochleven, by which they gave the island of Lochlevyne to the bishop of St. Andrews, who, in return, undertook to provide them with food and clothing. This grant is said to have been made by ‘Ronan, monk and abbot, a man of admirable sanctity, who first conveyed the place, by a precaria, to the bishop Fothath, son of Bren, who then and since was celebrated throughout all Scotland, and was of a commendable life. The bishop gave his benediction to all who should observe that convention and the friendship established between the bishop and the Keledei; and, on the other hand, gave his malediction to all bishops who should infringe or revoke that convention.’[617] Fothad remained bishop during the whole of the reign of Malcolm, who succeeded Constantin; but we are told that he was expelled by his successor, Indulph, who reigned from 954 to 962, and that he lived eight years afterwards. As his death is recorded in the year 963, this places his expulsion in the 328year 955. During the whole of this period the island of Iona was in the main cut off from any connection with Scotland, by the occupation of the Western Islands by the Norwegians, and its monastery had to fall back upon Ireland for such nominal connection with the Columban monasteries as could be kept up. One of the abbots of these monasteries was usually elected coärb of Columcille, and the abbacy of Iona became a dependent monastery under his rule. As we have seen, in the beginning of the century a descendant of Conall Gulban, Maelbrigde, son of Tornan, had been elected abbot of Armagh, and, as belonging to the tribe of the patron saint, became coärb of Columcille; but on his death in 927, Dubthach, son of Duban, who was also of the race of Conall Gulban, became coärb of Columcille. He was abbot of Raphoe, in Ireland, and as such was likewise coärb of Adamnan, and accordingly his death is recorded by the Ulster Annals in 938 as coärb of Columcille and Adamnan; but he is styled by the Four Masters ‘coärb of Columcille and Adamnan both in Erin and Alban.’[618] During his time, however, the actual government of the abbacy as a dependent monastery seems to have fallen to the Anchorite, or Deorad as he is termed in the Brehon Laws; for we find that an anchorite had been elected abbot, though he died before his right was confirmed, as in 937 the death is recorded of Angus, son of Murcertach, a learned man, anchorite and abbot-elect of Iona.[619] Dubtach’s successor was Robartach, who was likewise abbot of Raphoe, for his death is recorded in 954 as coärb of Columcille and of Adamnan; and during his time also we find an abbot of the dependent monastery in 947, when Caen-comhrac, abbot of Iona, dies.[620]

A.D. 955-963.
Malisius bishop of Alban.

329An attempt seems now to have been made to connect the monastery of Iona with the Scottish Church, for the next two coärbs of Columcille, Dubhduin and Dubhscuile, whose joint tenure of the coärbship extends from the year 954 to 964,[621] do not appear to have had any connection whatever with Iona; while Bower betrays the cause of the expulsion of Fothad, when he tells us that his successor Malisius was a disciple of the blessed St. Duthacus in Ireland, who had foretold of him that he would be the future bishop of the Scots.[622] He quotes as his authority a Life of St. Duthacus which does not now exist. This Duthacus can be no other than that Dubhthach who was coärb of Columcille both in Erinn and Alban from 927 to 938; and Indulph’s attempt was to bring Iona into connection with the Scottish Church by placing a disciple of his in St. Andrews as its bishop. The abbacy of Dunkeld, too, to which a Columban monastery would naturally look as its head in Scotland, seems now to have passed into the hands of laymen, and to have been held by a lay abbot; for we find Dunchad, abbot of Dunkeld, taking part in the war of succession between the kings Dubh and Cuilean, and being slain in the battle of Duncrub.[623] Malisius is said to have been eight years bishop, which is the exact time Fothad is said to have lived after his expulsion; and St. Andrews seems at this time to have drawn pilgrims from Ireland; for in 963 we find, in the Irish Annals, the death of Aedh, son of Maelmithidh, in pilgrimage at Cinnrimonadh or St. 330Andrews.[624] But when Indulph was succeeded by Dubh, in 962, he appears to have been restored in the last year of his life, as the first event mentioned by the Pictish Chronicle in the reign of Dubh is the death of Fothad the bishop, and in the year 963 the Annals of the Four Masters record his death as that of Fothadh, son of Bran, scribe and bishop of Inis Alban.[625]

A.D. 963-970.
Maelbrigde bishop of Alban.

The succeeding bishop was Maelbrigde, and during his time we find that Dubhscuile, who is simply styled coärb of Columcille and died in 964, was succeeded by Mughron, whose death is recorded in the Annals of Ulster in 980 as ‘coärb of Columcille in Erinn and in Alban,’[626] showing that Iona had once more fallen back upon the coärb of Columcille in Ireland. During the first two years of Mughron’s possession of the coärbship, the government of Iona as a dependent monastery seems to have again fallen to the Anchorite, who joined with it the title of bishop, but after his death, a new official makes his appearance—an Aircinnech of Iona, whose death is recorded in 978.[627] The name of Aircinnech first appears in the Irish Annals in the ninth century, when it is occasionally mentioned, but more frequently in the succeeding centuries. It was essentially a lay office, though we find it combined with the titles of bishop, of abbot and of priest. The duties of the office were to superintend the lands and farms of the church or monastery and their tenants, to collect the rents or other tributes paid by them, and perhaps also to distribute amongst the poor the alms or hospitality of the coärb and his ‘familia.’[628] 331When the functions of abbot were discharged by an anchorite, such an office became necessary for the management of the secular concerns of the monastery.

A.D. 970-995.
Cellach, son of Ferdalaig, bishop of Alban.

The short and unsatisfactory notices of the church given in the Pictish Chronicle show, in the reign of Cuilean, from 967 to 976, indications of some disturbance in the church of St. Andrews, the nature of which we can only guess at. We learn that a Marcan, son of Breodolaig, was slain in the church of St. Michael, which was one of the seven churches of St. Andrews; that Leot and Sluagadach go to Rome; that Bishop Maelbrigde died, and that Cellach, son of Ferdalaig, ruled in his stead;[629] and when Bower adds that he was the first who went to Rome for confirmation, and lived twenty-five years after his confirmation,[630] we can see that all these events were connected; but whether it was a violent attempt to seize the bishopric, which ended in the pretender being slain in the church, and whether Leot and Sluagadach went to Rome to obtain absolution for the slaughter, or whether it was a contested election on the death of Maelbrigde, and they went to obtain for Cellach the additional authority of the pope’s confirmation, we cannot tell. The reign of Kenneth, who succeeded Cuilean, was an important one both for the Scottish Church and for Iona. The important event for the former was the foundation of the church of Brechin, which appears to have taken place early in his reign, and to have been dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The short statement which the Pictish Chronicle gives us of this donation to the church conveys no further information regarding it than that Brechin was even then considered an important place.[631] We can only infer, from its subsequent history, that it was a 332monastery after the Irish model, in which form the Scottish foundations after the accession of Kenneth mac Alpin appear to have been made, with which was now combined a college of Cele De, and that it has left us, as a mark of its early connection with Ireland, the only other specimen of the round towers to be found in Scotland, besides that which had been erected at Abernethy. The churches, too, which afterwards formed the diocese of Brechin, were probably, even at this early period, possessions of the new foundation at Brechin. In the districts of Angus and Mearns the churches were shared between the dioceses of Brechin and St. Andrews, in a manner so irregular and unsystematic as to point to a mixed population in which some of the villages were still Pictish and others had now a Scottish colony. It seems to have been through the medium of the recovery of the old foundations, and the creation of new, that a Scottish population was spread over the country; and the object of King Kenneth in this foundation may have been to bring a Pictish population more under the direct influence of the Scots. The church of Brechin was founded during the time that Mughron was coärb of Columcille both in Erinn and Alban, when probably there was freer intercourse between the Scotch and Irish Churches; but his death, after he had held the coärbship for sixteen years, was followed by events fatal for Iona.

Iona ravaged by Danes. Shrine of St. Columba transferred to Down.

At this time the Western Isles, including the Isle of Man, were the subject of a constant struggle between the Danes and the Norwegians, for their acquisition by the former and their retention by the latter. The Danes of Limerick had, during the latter part of this century, acquired possession of the Isle of Man, and, as early as the year 973, we find Maccus, son of Aralt, who was at their head, called king of many islands;[632] but how far his sway over the Western Isles extended we do not know. Of the two 333pagan races who infested Ireland and the West of Scotland, the Danes were by far the more cruel and destructive in their attacks upon the monasteries, and appear to have been most dreaded. The last year of Mughron’s life had witnessed the arrival at Iona of one of the most powerful kings of the Danes of Dublin, Anlaf Cuaran, who in that year ‘went on a pilgrimage to Hi Coluimcille,’ where he died, ‘after penance and a good life;’[633] he was, however, closely connected with the Scottish royal family, having been son-in-law of King Constantin, and in close alliance with him, and had been baptized when king of the Northumbrians; but Mughron’s successor, Maelciarain ua Maigne, coärb of Columcille, ‘suffered red martyrdom from the Danes at Athcliath,’—that is, was slain by the Danes at Dublin in 986; and in the same year Iona is plundered by the Danes, on the eve of the nativity, and the abbot and fifteen of the clergy of the church were slain.[634] These were the Danes of Limerick, who were now under the rule of Gofraigh mac Aralt, the brother of Maccus, and who is termed by the Irish Annalists king of Innsigall, or the Western Isles. But he was encountered by Sigurd, earl of Orkney, and we find that in the following year a great slaughter was made of the Danes who had plundered Iona, and three hundred and sixty of them were slain; while two years later their king, Gofraigh, was himself killed in Dalriada, and the Isles once more passed into the undisturbed possession of the Norwegians, and were governed by the earls of Orkney.[635] The monastery which had been plundered was of course that stone monastery which had been built after the destruction of the wooden monastery by fire, and the small number of 334monks slain indicates that the greater part had taken refuge in the fort; but, like Blathmac, the abbot, whose name is not recorded, remained at his post, and tradition still points out a bay in the north end of the island, remarkable for its pure white sand, and called Traith ban na manach, or the White Bay of the Monks, as the scene where an abbot and fifteen monks were slain by the Danes. As this was the last time that Iona was plundered by the Danes, who not many years after were converted to Christianity, it is probably to this occasion that the tradition regarding the shrine of Saint Columba, given by Colgan on the authority of St. Berchan, may be referred. The story is this: ‘Manderus, son of the king of Denmark and leader of a fleet of Northmen, wasting the northern parts of Britain with fire and sword, came to Iona, where these satellites of Satan, mixing sacred things with profane, and pillaging everything which they met, excavated the ground in search of hidden treasure. Among others they found the sarcophagus, or shrine, in which was a true treasure, viz. the body of Saint Columba. They took the shrine on board, and on their way to Ireland opened it; but, finding nothing but the bones and ashes of a man, shut it again and threw it into the sea. It was cast by the waves upon the shore at Downpatrick, and the abbot, having found it, and being instructed by a divine revelation that it contained the relics of Saint Columba, placed it along with those of Saint Patrick and Saint Bridget.’[636] Certain it is that in the following century the shrine was believed to be at Downpatrick. In the old tract called the Amra Coluimcille we find the following statement:—‘In Dun’—that is Downpatrick—‘again, some say, the resurrection of Coluimcille will be, as the poet has said—

335Hy (Iona), with the multitude of its martra (relics),
Of which was Colum, beauteous disciple;
He went out yet at last,
So that Dun is his blessed church.’church.’[637]

St. Berchan, writing in the end of the eleventh or beginning of the twelfth century, repeats as a saying of Saint Columba—

My grace on Hi (Iona) without crime,
And my soul in Derry,
And my body under the stone,
Under which are Bridget and Patrick.[638]

And we find that in the year 1127 ‘the shrine of Coluimcille was carried off into captivity by the Galls of Atacliath’—or Danes of Dublin—‘and restored again to its house at the end of a month,’[639] which certainly implies that it was then in Ireland.

During the three years that followed this plundering of the monastery, we find Dunnchadh Ua Robhacain coärb of Columcille and Adamnan, which implies that he was abbot of Raphoe; but, on his death in 989, we find that Dubdahthe, the abbot of Armagh, takes the coärbship of Columcille by the advice of the men of Erinn and Alban.[640] The monastery of Iona, however, appears soon after in an efficient state, as we find it governed by a local abbot whose death is recorded in 1005.[641] In the same year Malcolm the Second commenced his thirty years’ reign over Alban, now for the first time called Scotia. He is said, in a chronicle of the twelfth century, after the great battle of Carham in 1018, ‘to have 336on that day distributed many oblations to the churches as well as to the clergy.’[642] In Iona he appears for the time to have restored to the abbot the title of coärb of Columcille, for we find that in 1007 ‘Muredach mac Crican resigns the coärbship of Columcille for God’—that is, becomes a recluse; and Ferdomnach is elected to the coärbship by the advice of the men of Erinn at the fair of Taillten,[643] which implies that his coärbship was limited to Ireland; and we find that he was in fact abbot of Kells, as was his successor; while, on the other hand, the death of Flannobra, coärb of Iona, is recorded in 1025.[644] In the following year Maelruanaidh Ua Maeldoraigh, lord of Cinel Conall, that is, of the tribe of Conall Gulban, went over the sea on his pilgrimage.[645] The expression ‘over the sea’ implies that he went to Iona.

A.D. 1025-1028.
Alwynun bishop of Alban.

Cellach, the bishop of Alban, is said to have filled that office for twenty-five years, which brings his death towards the end of the tenth century. The first bishop to whom we can assign a fixed date after that is Alwynus, who is said to have been bishop three years, and whose death must have taken place in 1028, which places his election as bishop in the year 1025. Between Cellach and Alwyn we have two names given us by Bower and Wyntoun, those of Malmore and Malisius; but we know nothing beyond their names. During the tenure of one or other of them, the district of Lothian was ceded to Malcolm the Second by Eadulf Cudel after the battle of Carham in 1018, and the churches of Lothian naturally fell under the superintendence of the 337bishop of St. Andrews as sole bishop in Scotland. But not the least important event connected with Malcolm the Second was that he gave his eldest daughter in marriage to Crinan, lay abbot of Dunkeld, and by this marriage the hereditary lay abbots of Dunkeld gave to the Scottish throne a dynasty of kings who were destined to extinguish that ancient church, with its peculiar institutions, from which their ancestors had emerged.

Lay abbots of Dunkeld.

We can readily trace this descent of Dunkeld from a high ecclesiastical position to a lay possession. We see it first as a Culdee church, founded shortly before the accession of the Scottish kings to the Pictish throne; then as a Scottish monastery, its abbot filling the high office of bishop of Fortrenn, the new kingdom acquired by the Scots. Then the bishopric passes to Abernethy, and the successor to the abbot who was first bishop, appears as ‘princeps,’ or superior, of Dunkeld, a term which leaves it doubtful whether he was a cleric or a layman. Then we find Duncan, abbot of Dunkeld, slain in battle while fighting for one of the kings in a war of succession—evidently a layman. Then we have Crinan, abbot of Dunkeld, marrying one of the daughters of the king, while the other is given to Sigurd, earl of Orkney. The possessions of Dunkeld were large and situated in the very heart of the kingdom, but Crinan appears to have held, along with them, those of the monastery of Dull, also secularised, which extended from Strathtay to the boundary between Atholl and Argyll. Between the two, a large tract of country was in his hands, and his following of men must have been very great. We find him under the name of ‘Hundi jarl’ in the Orkneyinga Saga fighting with the Norwegians along with other jarls, and in 1045 he is slain in battle in a great contest between the people of Alban. The character of these abbots as great lay lords seems plain enough, and their hereditary descent equally so; for the name of Crinan’s son being Duncan gives a strong 338presumption that he was himself the son or grandson of the former abbot whose name was Duncan; and we find that the abbacy of Dunkeld remained with his descendants. The abbey, too, seems, during his time, to have come to an end, for we are told that in 1027 Dunkeld was entirely destroyed by fire.[646]

Hereditary succession in benefices.

This state of matters, however, was not peculiar to Scotland, or very different from what existed both in Ireland and in Wales at the time. In the early Monastic Church of Ireland celibacy was enforced, at least upon one class of the monks, for the saints of the second order ‘refused the services of women, separating them from the monasteries;’ but still there was a succession to the abbacy, the tribe or family in whom it was vested providing a fit person in orders to fill the office; but when the stringency of the monastic rule was broken in upon, under the influence of the secular clergy, marriage was gradually permitted or connived at, and at length became general, the rebound towards a secular state being great in proportion to the enforced strictness of the previous system. The natural consequence was that a direct descent from the ecclesiastical persons themselves came in place of the older system of succession, and the church offices became hereditary in their family. The next step in the downward process was that the abbots and superiors did not take orders, and became virtually laymen, providing a fit person to perform the ecclesiastical functions, but retaining the name and all the secular privileges and emoluments of the abbacy. The performance of the church services was either intrusted to a secular priest, who was called the ‘sacerdos,’ or sagart, or it fell to the Cele De, when there was such a body connected with the monastery, or to both combined.

Church offices held by laymen, and retained by their heirs.

The great ecclesiastical offices thus became hereditary in the persons of laymen in two ways; either by the usurpation of the benefice by the lay chieftains from whose tribe or 339family it had been supplied, or in the family of the abbot by whose direct descendants the office was filled, and who ceased after a time to take orders. It must be borne in mind that prior to 1139, though celibacy was enforced upon monks by their monastic rule, and upon the clergy generally as a matter of discipline, marriage, when it did take place, was not unlawful. It was not till the second great Council of Lateran, held in that year, declared all such marriages ipso facto null and void, that they became so; and the effect of this, where the benefice had become hereditary in a particular family, was, instead of restoring the former clerical character of its possessor, to stereotype their condition of laymen and to convert them into a purely lay family. The well-known passage in Giraldus Cambrensis’ Itinerary of Wales, in which, talking of the church of Llanpadarn Vawr, he says ‘that this church, like many others in Wales and Ireland, has a lay abbot; for a bad custom has prevailed amongst the clergy, of appointing the most powerful people of a parish stewards, or rather patrons, of their churches, who in process of time, from a desire of gain, have usurped the whole right, appropriating to their own use the possession of all the lands, leaving only to the clergy the altars with their tenths and oblations, and assigning even these to their sons and relations in the church. Such defenders, or rather destroyers, of the church have caused themselves to be called abbots, and presumed to attribute to themselves a title, as well as estates, to which they have no just claim,’[647] gives us an illustration of the first, and the equally well-known statement by St. Bernard, in his Life of St. Malachy, as to the state of Armagh when Celsus became coärb, or abbot, in 1105, affords an illustration of the second. He says, ‘A scandalous custom had been introduced by the diabolical ambition of certain of the nobles, that the holy see should be obtained by hereditary succession. For they allowed no one to be promoted to the 340bishopric unless such as were of their own tribe and family. Nor was it for any short period this execrable succession had continued, as nearly fifteen generations had already passed away in this villainy; and so firmly had this wicked and adulterous generation established their unholy right, or rather wrong, which deserved to be punished with any sort of death, that although, on some occasions, clergymen of their blood were not to be found among them, yet bishops they were never without. In fine, there had been already, before the time of Celsus, eight individuals who were married and without orders, yet literates.’[648] The church of Armagh was situated in the territories of a tribe descended from Colla-da-Chrioch, one of the founders of the Oirghialla, or Oriel race; and Dr. Reeves tells us that a descendant of Colla, named Sinach, founded a family, called from him the Clann Sinaich, and that to this family the enjoyment of the abbacy of Armagh, styled the coärbship of St. Patrick, became limited, so that for a space of about two centuries it never left it. He adds that ‘from the pedigrees of the Clann Sinaich, preserved in the Books of Lecan and of Mac Firbis, illustrated by the details and chronology of the Irish Annals, we are able to construct a genealogical table of the abbots of Armagh, which answers with wonderful exactness to the statements of St. Bernard.’[649] His account, too, of the state in which Malachy found the great monastery of Bangor when he resolved to restore it, shows that it also had fallen into the hands of a succession of lay abbots. After referring to its ancient glory, and to its destruction by the Danes, in which ninety of its inmates were slain in one day—which probably refers to the event recorded in the Ulster Annals in 823, when ‘Bennchair was plundered by the Gentiles, the oratory destroyed, and the relics of St. Comgall shaken from their shrine’—he adds, ‘Still, from the time when the monastery 341was destroyed, there were not wanting those who held it, with its possessions; for they were appointed by the usual mode of election, and called abbots, preserving in name, but not in reality, what once existed.’[650] It was then possessed by a rich layman who was St. Malachy’s uncle, and who retained the lands while Malachy refounded the church.

The Irish Annals afford us several illustrations of the hereditary succession, not only in abbacies, but in other offices at this time. Thus, in the monastery of Lusk, in the list of abbots between the years 731 and 927, we find that the second and third abbots were brothers, and sons of the first abbot named in it; that the fourth abbot and the prior were brothers; that the son of the second abbot was ‘economus,’ or house-steward; that the fifth abbot was son of the third; that the eighth abbot was son of the sixth; and that the tenth abbot and the bishop of Duleek and Lusk were brothers, and sons of the eighth abbot.[651] Again, in the monastery of Gleann Uissean, near Carlow, we find between 874 and 1016 the names of eight abbots and one Aircinnech, or Erenagh. Of these, the second and third are brothers, and sons of the first; the fourth and fifth are brothers, and sons of the third; the sixth was foster-son to the second, while his son was Aircinnech, or Erenagh; the seventh abbot was son of the fourth, and the eighth, grandson of the second. Here the whole are direct descendants of the abbot who died in 874.[652] Then we find also that the office of ‘economus’ or house-steward of Armagh was hereditary from 779, when the death of Cearnach, son of Suibhne, who was bishop of Armagh, is recorded, when he is called ‘economus’ of Armagh. He is succeeded by three sons, one 342after another. His grandson by the third son is bishop and anchorite of Lann Leire. Another grandson is abbot of Lann Leire. The son of the latter is abbot of Lann Leire and ‘economus’ of Armagh, whose son again is abbot of Lann Leire.[653] But perhaps the most instructive example is connected with the celebrated monastery of Clonmacnois. Torbach, abbot or primate of Armagh in 812, was the son of one abbot of Louth, and the father of another abbot of the same place; and from him descended a family who filled many offices connected with Clonmacnois, and among them we shall find that even the Anchorites married and were succeeded by sons. This family were called the Cinel Torbaigh. Their connection with Clonmacnois began with his son Aedhagan, who died on his pilgrimage at Clonmacnois in 834; and his son was Eoghan, the anchorite, who died in 845. Eoghan’s son Luchairen, scribe and anchorite at Clonmacnois, died in 863; and in 893 his son Egertach, the Aircinnech or Erenagh of Eaglais-beg, or the little church at Clonmacnois, died. In 947 the son of the latter, Aenagan, Erenagh of the little church, and bishop and pure virgin—that is, unmarried—died; and in 953 his brother Dunadhach, bishop of Clonmacnois; whose son Dunchadh, Ferleighinn, or lector of Clonmacnois, and its anchorite, afterwards head of its rule and history, died in 1005. He was father of Joseph, who was anmchara, soul-friend or confessor of Clonmacnois. Joseph’s son was Conn na-mbocht, or of the poor, who appears in the Annals of the Four Masters in 1031 as ‘Head of the Cele De and Anchorite of Clonmacnois,’ the first that invited a party of the poor of Cluain at Iseal Chiarain, and who presented twenty cows of his own to it. Of this it was said—

O Conn of Cluain! thou wert heard from Erinn in Alban;
O head of dignity! it will not be easy to plunder thy church.

And Conn was father of Maolchiarain, coärb of Ciaran, or 343abbot of Clonmacnois.[654] It is unnecessary to follow this further, but it is obvious how prevalent at this time in Ireland was the marriage of the clergy of all classes and the perpetuation of their ecclesiastical offices in the lines of their own descendants, and that it had even broken down the asceticism of the Anchorite and the canonical rule of the Cele De in this respect. In Scotland we find that the territory of the old monasteries was called Abdaine, or Abbacy, a word represented in Latin by ‘abbatia’ or ‘abthania,’ and had to a great extent passed into the hands of laymen who often retained for several generations the name of abbot.[655] The territory termed the Abthania of Dull, which was of great extent and included the modern parishes of Dull and Fortingall, seems to have been in the hands of Crinan, the lay abbot of Dunkeld, and, along with the possessions of the latter abbacy must have placed him on a par as to power and position with the great Mormaers of Alban.

A.D. 1028-1055.
Maelduin bishop of Alban.

During the reigns of his son Duncan, and of the usurper Macbeth, we find that Maelduin, called by Bower son of Gillandris, was bishop. He appears as Maldunus, bishop of St. Andrews, granting the church of Markinch with all its land to God, St. Servanus and the Keledei of the island of Lochleven;[656] and his death is thus recorded in 1055 by Tighernac, who was his contemporary: ‘Maelduin, son of Gillaodran, bishop of Alban, the giver of orders to the Gael of the clergy, died in Christ.’[657] Wyntoun tells us he was 344bishop twenty-seven years, which places the commencement of his episcopate in 1028.

A.D. 1055-1059.
Tuthald bishop of Alban.
A.D. 1059-1093.
Fothad last bishop of Alban.

His successor was Tuthald, who is said by Bower to have held the bishopric for four years only, and during his episcopate he grants the church of Scoonie to the same Culdees.[658] This brings us to the year 1059 when Fothad became bishop, two years after Malcolm, surnamed Ceannmor or Great Head, had, by the defeat and death of Macbeth, recovered for his family the kingdom of Scotia; and Fothad’s tenure of the bishopric lasted throughout the whole of his reign. Probably the most important act he performed, and one that exercised a most powerful influence on his church, was the marriage of King Malcolm to the Saxon Princess Margaret, which took place in the spring of 1069. Wyntoun tells us—

Malcolme oure Kyng than till hys wyff
Weddyd Saynt Margret; wyth hyr hys lyff
In lele spowsale he thowcht to lede,
Departyd quhyll thai suld be wyth dede.
Off Saynt Andrewys the byschape than
The secund Fothawch, a cunnand man,
Devotly mad that sacrament,
That thai than tuk in gud intent.[659]
Character of Queen Margaret and her reforms in the Church.

There is perhaps no more beautiful character recorded in history than that of Margaret. For purity of motives, for an earnest desire to benefit the people among whom her lot was cast, for a deep sense of religion and great personal piety, for the unselfish performance of whatever duty lay before her, and for entire self-abnegation, she is unsurpassed, and the chroniclers of the time all bear testimony to her exalted character. Ordericus Vitalis says of her, in few words, ‘This distinguished princess, descended from a long 345line of kings, was still more eminent for her great worth and the sanctity of her life;’[660] and the Saxon Chronicle considers that her marriage took place by divine appointment, for ‘the prescient Creator knew beforehand what He would have done by her; for she was to increase the praise of God in the land, and direct the king from the erroneous path, and incline him, together with his people, to a better way, and suppress the evil habits which the nation had previously cultivated, as she afterwards did;’ and the Chronicle sums it up by saying that she ‘performed many useful deeds in the land to the glory of God, and also in royal qualities bore herself well, as to her was natural.’[661] It was not unnatural that her religion, though unquestionably pure and genuine, and the all-pervading motive of her actions, should yet be identified with the church in which this feature of her character had been developed, and that the rites and customs of that church formed the standard to which she brought everything as the only rule of right; and thus much that appeared strange to her in the customs of the church of her adopted land could only present itself to her mind as erroneous and as evil practices which required to be corrected. Unfortunately the life of Queen Margaret which has come down to us, and which has been attributed to Turgot, her confessor, while it enters into details as to her private life which amply bear out her personal character as a religious, pious and devoted woman, is extremely meagre and unsatisfactory in describing her relations with the native church.[662] It tells us that in the place where her nuptials were celebrated, that is, in Dunfermline, she erected a noble church, which she dedicated to the Holy Trinity; and she decorated it with many ornaments, among which not a few of her gifts, which were 346designed for the most holy service of the altar, consisted of vases of solid and pure gold. She also introduced the crucifix into the church, having presented one to this church richly ornamented with gold and silver intermixed with precious stones; and similar crucifixes she left to other churches, ‘as marks of her piety and devotion, of which the church of St. Andrews affords an instance, where a beautiful crucifix which she there erected is still to be seen.’[663] Her attention, however, appears to have been soon directed towards the state of the Scottish Church generally, in which she naturally found many practices, peculiar to the old Celtic Church, which differed from those she was accustomed to see in the church in which she had been reared. Estimated by the standard of that church, they appeared to her ‘to be contrary to the rules of the true faith as well as to the sacred customs of the universal church,’ and she sought, by frequent councils, to have them rectified. Her biographer tells us that ‘at the principal council thus held she, with a few of her own ecclesiastics, contended for three days with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, against the supporters of these strange customs; while her royal husband, who was equally well acquainted with the Anglic language and with his native Gaelic, acted as interpreter.’[664]

Margaret began by pointing out that they who agreed with the Catholic Church in worshipping one God, in one faith, should not differ in regard to certain new and strange practices. And she, first of all, ‘explained they did not rightly observe the forty days’ fast, inasmuch as they did not commence the fast, with holy church everywhere, on Ash Wednesday, but on Monday in the following week. To which they replied, that what they observed was a six weeks’ fast, on the authority of the Gospels which narrate the fast of Christ. The queen answers that they differed 347widely in this from the Gospel: for it is read thus, that our Lord fasted forty days, which it is obvious you do not; for, if the six Sundays during the six weeks are deducted from the fast, there only remain thirty-six days for you to observe the fast. It is necessary, therefore, to add four days to the time at which you commence the fast, if you would follow the Lord’s example by fasting forty days; otherwise you alone repudiate the authority of our Lord and the tradition of the entire holy church. Convinced by this clear exposition of the truth, they thenceforward commenced the solemn period of the Lenten fast at the same time with the holy church everywhere.’ Here the whole point is whether, as the Catholic Church at this time never fasted on the Lord’s day, the Sundays should be counted in computing the forty days’ fast of Lent, or not. That the forty days’ fast of our Saviour was a continuous fast, is obvious, and in this the Scottish Church followed the recognised practice of the earlier church. The queen then urged another point, and ‘required them to explain why they refrained from partaking of the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ on Easter day, according to the custom of the holy and apostolic church.’ To this they replied, ‘The apostle tells us, “He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself;” and, as we feel that we are sinners, we are afraid to partake of that sacrament, lest we eat and drink judgment to ourselves.’ ‘What then,’ said the queen, ‘shall all who are sinners refuse to partake of that holy mystery? No one in that case ought to partake, for no one is free from the stain of sin, not even the infant who has lived but a single day upon earth. But, if no one ought to partake, why does the Gospel proclaim the saying of our Lord, “Unless ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, ye have no life in you”? But the saying of the apostle, which you quote, must evidently, according to the judgment of the Fathers, be otherwise understood; for he 348does not esteem all sinners to be unworthy to partake of the sacrament of salvation. For when he said, “He eateth and drinketh judgment to himself,” he added, “not discerning the Lord’s body,” that is, not distinguishing it in faith from ordinary food, he eateth and drinketh judgment to himself. So he who without confession and penitence, with the stains of his trespasses, presumes to approach these sacred mysteries, he, I say, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself. But we, who having, many days before, made confession of our sins, are chastened with penance, worn with fasts, and washed from the stains of our sins with alms and tears, on the day of the Lord’s resurrection, approaching his table in Catholic faith, partake of the flesh and blood of the immaculate Lamb Jesus Christ, not to judgment but to the remission of our sins, and to the salutary preparation for the enjoyment of eternal blessedness.’ Having nothing to oppose to these propositions, they afterwards observed the rules of the church in the reception of this life-giving mystery. Besides this, there were certain of the Scots who, in different parts of the country, were wont to celebrate masses in I know not what barbarous rite, contrary to the custom of the whole church, which the queen—full of godly zeal—resolved to suppress and abolish, so that henceforth no one in the whole nation of the Scots should be found to presume to do such a thing. They were wont also to neglect the due observance of the Lord’s day, prosecuting their worldly labours on that as on other days, which she likewise showed, by both argument and authority, was unlawful. ‘Let us keep,’ she said, ‘the Lord’s day in reverence, on account of the resurrection of our Lord from the dead on that day, and let us do no servile work on that day on which, as we know, we were redeemed from the slavery of the devil. The blessed Pope Gregory lays this down, saying that “we must cease from earthly labour on the Lord’s day, and continue instant in prayer, so that, if aught has been done amiss during the six days, it 349may be expiated by our prayers on the day of our Lord’s resurrection.” Being unable to oppose anything to these weighty arguments of the queen, they ever after observed the due reverence of the Lord’s days, no one being allowed to carry burdens, or to compel others to do so, on these days.’

It cannot certainly be said to be very consistent with modern theories to find the Roman Church reproving the so-called pure Culdean Church for celebrating the eucharist without communicating, and for desecrating the Sabbath. It is obvious, however, from the mode in which these two points are stated, that there was no neglect in the native church in celebrating the eucharist; but that, while in the Catholic Church the people were accustomed to communicate on the great festivals, and especially that of Easter, the Scots celebrated on that day without communicating; and that in some parts of Scotland the eucharist was celebrated in a manner contrary to the custom of the church. It is not explained in what this peculiarity consisted, but it was something done after a barbarous manner, so that it was impossible to tell how it was celebrated, and it was entirely suppressed. This is hardly applicable to the mere introduction of some peculiar forms or ceremonies, and the most probable explanation of these expressions is that in the remote and mountainous districts the service was performed in the native language and not in Latin, as was the custom of the universal church. Her next point was that they did not duly reverence the Lord’s day, but in this latter instance they seem to have followed a custom of which we find traces in the early Monastic Church of Ireland, by which they held Saturday to be the Sabbath on which they rested from all their labours, and on Sunday, on the Lord’s day, they celebrated the resurrection by the service in church. Thus Adamnan tells us that St. Columba, on the last Saturday of his life, said to his attendant Diormit, ‘This day, in the holy 350Scriptures, is called the Sabbath, which means rest, and this day is indeed a Sabbath to me, for it is the last day of my present laborious life, and on it I rest after the fatigues of my labours; and this night at midnight, which commenceth the solemn Lord’s day, I shall, according to the sayings of Scripture, go the way of our fathers.’[665] There was no want of veneration for the Sunday, though they held that Saturday was properly the Sabbath on which they abstained from work.

The last point, one which also savoured somewhat of Judaism, was that it was not unusual for a man to marry his stepmother or his deceased brother’s wife; but Giraldus Cambrensis accuses the Irish church of the very same custom—that in some parts of Ireland men married the widows of their brothers;[666] and it does not appear in either case that this was a custom sanctioned by the church. ‘Many other practices which were contrary to the rule of faith and the observances of the church she persuaded the council to condemn and to drive out of the borders of her kingdom.’[667] It seems, however, strange that more important questions than these were not touched upon. There is nothing said about the marriage of the clergy, about high offices in the church being filled by laymen, about the appropriation of the benefices by the laity, and their being made hereditary in their families. But possibly she was restrained by the knowledge that the royal house into which she had married owed its origin to the lay abbots of one of the principal monasteries, and was largely endowed with the possessions of the church; and if in the Council her eye lighted upon her young son Ethelred, who, even in boyhood, was lay abbot of Dunkeld, her utterances on that subject could hardly be otherwise than checked.

Anchorites at this time.

351The biographer of St. Margaret bears testimony, however, in favour of the Anchorites. He says that at this time ‘there were many in the kingdom of the Scots, who, in different places, enclosed in separate cells, lived in the flesh, but not according to the flesh, in great straitness of life, and even on earth lived the life of angels. In them the queen did her best to love and venerate Christ, and frequently to visit them with her presence and converse, and to commend herself to their prayers; and, as she could not induce them to accept any earthly gift from her, she earnestly requested them to deign to prescribe for her some work of charity or of mercy. Whatever was their desire she devoutly fulfilled, either in recovering the poor from their poverty, or relieving the afflicted from the miseries which oppressed them; and as the religious devotion of the people brought many from all parts to the church of St. Andrews, she constructed dwellings on both sides of the sea which divides Lodoneia, or Lothian, from Scotia—that is, the Firth of Forth—that the pilgrims and the poor might put up there and rest and find there ready everything required for the refreshment of the body. Servants were placed there to minister to them, and vessels provided in which they were ferried across without payment.’[668] It is probable that among those anchorites who commended themselves so much to her favour were the Cele De of Lochleven, for we find Malcolm and Margaret, king and queen of Scotia, giving devoutly the town of Ballechristin to God the Omnipotent and the Keledei of Louchleven, with the same liberties as before;[669] and Bishop Fothad too, here called Modach, son of Malmykel, ‘a man of most pious memory, bishop of St. Andrews, with whose life and doctrine the whole region of the Scots was happily enlightened, gives to God and St. Servanus and the hermit Keledei on the 352island of Lochleven, living there in the school of all virtues devoutly and honourably, with the same liberties, the church of Auchterderran.’[670]

Queen Margaret rebuilds the monastery of Iona.

The church of Iona, too, benefited by her. When, on the death of Thorfinn, earl of Orkney, in 1057, the provinces of Scotland which he had subjected to his sway reverted to their natural rulers, the native population of the Western Isles appear to have placed themselves under an Irish chief, Diarmed, son of Maelnambo, who ruled them till his death in 1072.[671] This led to a renewed connection with Ireland; for, in the same year, 1057, Gilchrist Ua Maeldoraid, who was of the race of Connal Gulban, became coärb of Columcille both in Ireland and in Alban, and died in 1062,[672] and three years later Dubhtach of Alban, the chief anmchara, or soul-friend, of Erinn and Alban, died at Armagh.[673] This is no doubt that St. Duthac who has left his name on the west coast in Loch Duich, and in Bailedhuich or Tain. After Gilchrist’s death we find the coärb of Columcille at Kells, while there appears at Iona a separate abbot, who is simply called grandson of Baetan; but in 1070 he is slain by Gilchrist’s son,[674] and the absence of the Christian names of both, with what appears to have been a violent attempt to establish hereditary succession in the family of Ua Maeldoradh, rather indicates that these were laymen. Two years after, on the death of Diarmed, the Isles seem to have fallen into the hands of King Malcolm, and the state of Iona with 353a ruined monastery, and the decay of its clergy, seems to have attracted the attention of Margaret; for Ordericus Vitalis tells us that, ‘among the other good deeds of this illustrious lady, she restored the monastery of Iona, which Columba, the servant of Christ, erected in the time of Brude, son of Meilocon, king of the Picts. It had fallen to ruin in the storms of war and the lapse of ages, but this faithful queen rebuilt it, and furnished it with monks, with an endowment for performing the Lord’s work.’[675] It is clear from this statement that what the queen repaired was the monastery. The existing ruins show no appearance of any work of the time of Queen Margaret, but they are the remains of a later monastery. What she restored was the older stone monastery which preceded the present buildings. The church, which is situated on the south side of the choir of the abbey church, and the small oratory which had enclosed the shrine of St. Columba, were probably still entire, and their remains belong to a still older period; but the other buildings of the monastery were no doubt in a ruinous state, and had perhaps been so ever since the great attack of the Danes upon it in 986; and these she now rebuilt, and reorganised the establishment of monks. It is probable, too, that she has left traces of her restoration in the Norman doorway of the chapel of St. Odhran. In the last year, however, of King Malcolm’s life the Western Isles passed again under the rule of the Norwegians, having been ceded by him to Magnus surnamed Barefoot, king of Norway; and this cession was renewed by his son Edgar in 1097. The two expeditions by King Magnus to the Western Isles, which led to their cession in these years, have been combined in the Norse Saga into 354one, so that it is difficult to know to which of them to refer the following incident related in the Saga:—‘King Magnus came with his army to the Holy Island, that is, to Iona, and gave quarter and peace to all men that were there, and to the property of every one. It has been said that King Magnus opened the smaller church of Kollum-killa, but did not go into it. He immediately locked the door, and said that no man should be so bold as to go in there, and that church has never been opened since.’[676] This was no doubt the small oratory which had held the shrine of St. Columba. The Saga was written about the year 1221, and it is unlikely that a church used simply for the service of the monks should have remained closed for a century and a quarter; but it is probable that if, as in the case of Templemolaga, the ecclesiastical buildings consisted only of the larger church, the remains of which still exist in what is called the Nameless Chapel, on the north side of the choir of the abbey, and of the small oratory of the shrine, the latter would be meant by the expression of the little church of Kollum-killa; and the awe and reverence with which King Magnus regarded it, and his motive for closing it, would be natural enough. In the last year of the century but one, 1099, died Donnchad, grandson of Moenaig, the last of the old abbots of Iona.[677]

A.D. 1093-1107.
After death of Fothad, no bishop for fourteen years.

The line of the native bishops of Alban, too, was to come to an end in this century, for in the last year of King Malcolm’s reign died also Fothad, who is termed high bishop of Alban,[678] and no successor was appointed to him for fourteen 355years, when a stranger, the first of a line of bishops who were of foreign descent, was placed in the see of St. Andrews. We get a glimpse into the state of the church at this time from a grant to the Keledei of Lochleven by Ethelred, a younger son of King Malcolm. It runs thus:—‘Edelradus, a man of venerated memory, son of Malcolm king of Scotia, abbot of Dunkeld and likewise earl of Fyf, gave to God the Omnipotent and St. Servanus and the Keledei of the island of Louchleven, with the utmost reverence and honour, and with every freedom, and without any exaction or demand whatever in the world from bishop, king, or earl, Admore, with its rightful boundaries and divisions; and, seeing that this possession was given him by his parents while he was yet in boyhood, he with the more affection and love immolates it to God and St. Servanus and those men serving God there; and this collation and donation, when first made, was confirmed by the two brothers of Edelradus, David and Alexander, in the presence of several men worthy of credit, such as Constantin, earl of Fyf, a most discreet man, and Nesse; and Cormac, son of Macbeath, and Malnethte, son of Beollan, priests of Abernethy; and Mallebride, another priest; and Thuadhel and Augustinus, a priest, who were Keledei; and Berbeadh, rector of the schools of Abernethy; and before the rest of the whole community of Abernethy then living there, and before God the Omnipotent and all saints.’[679] Here we find Edelradus, or Ethelred, the young son of King Malcolm and Queen Margaret, appearing as lay abbot of Dunkeld, and granting lands to the Keledei of Lochleven, who still continued 356to be the same community of hermits which they were at the beginning. The grant appears to have been confirmed at Abernethy. The community there were its witnesses, and we find that they consisted, first, of secular priests, of whom two are named; secondly, of a body of Keledei, three of whom are named, two of them being priests; and, thirdly, of a functionary here called rector, or governor, of the schools, but who can have been no other than the Ferleighinn, or lector, of the Irish churches.

Keledei of St. Andrews.

To the same period we may apply the description of the church of St. Andrews given at the end of the larger legend of St. Andrew. We there read that the ‘kingdom of the Picts having been entirely destroyed and occupied by the Scots, the substance and possessions of the church alternately increased or decreased as kings and chiefs showed devotion to St. Andrew. Of these we cannot speak in detail, but we must treat compendiously of what relates to ourselves. The royal city was called Rymont, or royal mount, which King Hungus gave to God and the holy apostle. Those holy men who brought the relics of the blessed apostle having departed this life, as well as their disciples and followers, the religious service there died away, as the people were barbarous and uncultivated. There were kept up, however, by carnal succession, in the church of St. Andrew, such as it then was, thirteen, commonly called Keledei, whose manner of life was shaped more in accordance with their own fancy and human tradition than with the precepts of the holy fathers. Nay, even to the present day their practice continues the same; and although they have some things in common, these are trifling in amount and value, while they individually enjoy the larger and better portion, just as each of them happens to receive gifts, either from friends who are united to them by some unavoidable tie, such as kindred or connection, or from those whose soul-friends, that is, spiritual advisers, they are, or from any other source. And after they are made 357Keledei they are not allowed to keep their wives within their lodgings, nor any other women who might give rise to injurious suspicions. Moreover, there were seven “personæ,” or beneficiaries, who divided among themselves the offerings of the altar, of which seven portions the bishop used to enjoy but one and the hospital another; the remaining five were apportioned to the other five members, who performed no duty whatever either at altar or church, and whose only obligation was to provide, after their custom, lodging and entertainment for pilgrims and strangers when more than six chanced to arrive, determining by lot whom and how many each of them was to receive. The hospital, it is to be observed, had continual accommodation for a number not exceeding six; but, from the time that, by God’s goodness, it came into the possession of the canons, it has been open to all comers. The above-mentioned beneficiaries were also possessed of their private revenues and property, which, upon their death, their wives whom they openly lived with, and their sons or daughters, their relatives or sons-in-law used to divide among themselves; even the very offerings of the altar at which they did not serve—a profanation which one would blush to speak of, if they had not chosen to practise it.’ We are further told that at this time ‘there were none who served at the altar of the blessed apostle, nor used mass to be celebrated there, except upon the rare occasions when the king or the bishop visited the place. The Keledei, however, were wont to say their office after their own fashion in a corner of a church, which was very small.’[680]

From this account we can gather that there were at St. Andrews at this time in point of fact two churches, and that the community consisted of two divisions, connected with these churches respectively. The first was the church containing ‘the altar of the blessed apostle’ St. Andrew, and 358the revenues of this church were appropriated by seven persons, one of whom was the bishop, the second the hospital, and the other five laymen, or lay rectors as they might be termed, who were married, and whose portions were inherited by their families. The only burden imposed upon them was to provide lodging and entertainment for pilgrims and strangers beyond the number which the hospital could accommodate. There was no provision for service in this church, except on rare occasions when the king or bishop visited the place. The second was a smaller church, which belonged to a body of thirteen Keledei, probably the prior or provost, and twelve brethren, who lived apart, had wives, and possessed private property, as well as certain ecclesiastical dues which were inherited by their families. In this church they performed divine service according to their own rite, and they also provided from their body an anmchara, soul-friend, or confessor.[681] That this was one of their proper functions appears from the Rule of the Cele De, attributed to Maelruain, which contains the following passage: ‘Difficult indeed is the duty of the anmchara, or soul-friend, because, if he give the proper remedy, it is oftener violated than observed; but if the soul-friend does not give it, its liability falls upon himself, because several deem it enough to make the confession without doing the penance; but it is better to proclaim their welfare to them, though they do not respond to the penance enjoined by the confessor. Another soul-friend may be gone to, if necessary, after the permission of the first soul-friend.’[682] The one party represented that portion of the community which formerly consisted of secular clergy, but whose position and revenues had, with the exception of those of the bishop and the hospital, been usurped by laymen, while their clerical duties remained unperformed. The other party consisted of 359the only clerical portion of the community. They represented what had originally been a society of Anchorites or Hermits, but now presented all the features of Secular canons, as they became modified in Ireland on the introduction of the canonical rule. The state of the church of St. Andrews, as we find it here pictured, is almost an exact reproduction of what we find at Armagh at the same time. Here, prior to 1126, the abbacy was in the hands of laymen, and there is no appearance of any of the usual officers of a great monastery. The only clergy who are mentioned in connection with the houses of prayer are the Cele De. Dr. Reeves gives us the following account of the Cele De of Armagh. After stating that the ‘community of the Culdees was originally a college of secular clergy who lived together and submitted to a rule, the principal requirement of which was a common table:’ ‘that they were analogous to secular canons, who in many instances formed the ancient chapters of cathedral and collegiate establishments;’ and also that ‘the maintenance of divine service, and, in particular, the practice of clerical worship, seems to have been their special function, and on this account they formed an important element in the cathedral economy;’ he adds, ‘These Cele De, then, of Armagh continued to be the officiating clergy of the churches here, and by degrees grouped themselves around the great church, where they became the standing ministers of the cathedral. They were presided over by a prior, and numbered about twelve individuals. This prior had the charge of the services in church, and superintended the order of public worship, which was principally choral;’[683] and this correspondence between the Cele De of the metropolitan churches of Ireland and Scotland is what we might expect, as we have seen that the rules adopted in Ireland for the Cele De were introduced into Scotland in 921 shortly after the church of St. Andrews had been placed at the head of the Scottish Church.

The Cele De of Iona.

360The only other church where we obtain some insight into its condition is the church of Iona. It remained for upwards of half a century under Norwegian rule, and we hear nothing of it after King Magnus’s visit to the holy island; but when, along with the southern portion of the Western Isles, it again reverted to their native rulers, we obtain a notice of the state of the community, which we may well consider equally applicable to this period. No abbot appears; but the goodmen, or chiefs of the family of Iona, who claimed the right of electing an abbot, were four in number. These were, first, the Sacart mor, or great priest; secondly, the Ferleighinn, or lector; thirdly, the Disertach; and fourthly, the Cenn, or head, of the Ceile De, and the rest of the chiefs of the family.[684] During this period, when Iona was in the hands of the Norwegians, the coärbs of Columcille were the abbots of Kells, and we find in that church the counterpart of the first three of these chiefs of the family. In the Irish charters in the Book of Kells we find mention of the Sacart and the Ferleighinn. Thus, in the oldest charter, granted before 1084, there is mention of ‘the coärb of Columcille, that is, Domnall mac Robartaigh, with all the ecclesiastics of Kells, in like manner, both Sacart, or priest, Epscop, or bishop, and Ferleighinn, or lector.’[685] Again, a charter, some ten years later, relates to ‘land which the Sacart, or priest of Kells and his kinsmen purchased, that is, O’Breslen and his kinsmen,’[686] which rather implies that the priesthood was hereditary in his family. Then, in a charter granted between 1128 and 1138, we have the ‘coärb of Columcille, viz., Gilla Adomnan O’Coirthen, and the Sacart of Kells, viz., Maelmartin O’Breslen, and the Ferleighinn of Kells, viz., Guaire O’Clucan;’[687] and finally, in a charter granted between 1128 and 1140, the goodmen, or chiefs, of Kells are mentioned. They 361are ‘Muredach O’Clucan, abbot of Kells; Conaing O’Breslen, the Sacart; Guaire O’Clucan, the Ferleighinn; and Aedh, son of Mac Rechtogan, the Vice-Erenagh.’[688] From these charters we see that the office of Sacart, or priest, was hereditary in the family of O’Breslen. The charters of Kells, too, throw light upon the chief of the family of Iona termed the Disertach; for the oldest charter in the Book of Kells is one before 1084, in which the king of Tara, or of Ireland, Maelsechnaill, and the coärb of Columcille, ‘with all the ecclesiastics of Kells, both priest and bishop and lector, and also the vice-erenagh, with the young clerics of the congregation of Columcille, have all granted for ever Disert-Columcille in Kells, with its garden, to God and to pious Deoradh, or pilgrims, no pilgrim having any lawful possession in it at any time until he devotes his life to God and is devout.’ This last clause is obviously to prevent the Disert falling into the hands of a layman.[689] Then, in a later charter, ‘the family of Kells have granted, for the support of Deoradh, or pilgrims, Ardcamma, that is, Baile Ui Uidhrin, with its mill and all its land, and Baile Ui Chomhgain, with all its land and with its mill, to God and to Columcille and to the bishop O’Cellaigh, the senior of all the men of Meath, and to Malmaire O’Robhartaigh, the Cenn, or head, of the Disert, on the third of the Ides of November, the feast of Martin, in the year when the kine and swine of Ireland perished by a pestilence. The Disert of Kells is granted to pious pilgrims for ever. Whatever layman or clergyman shall oppose this grant, he shall be accursed of Columcille and Finan and the clergy of Ireland and of the Christian church in general.’[690] We find then the name of Cenn na Disert, or Head of the Disert, 362appearing at Kells about the same time as that of Disertach makes its first appearance in connection with the family of Iona, and that in the former case it originated from the abbot of Kells, Domnall Ua Robartaigh, in conjunction with the king of Ireland, founding what was called a Disert for pious Deoradh, or pilgrims, and that this Disert became known by the name of Disert Coluimcille. The old burying-ground in Iona, which, along with the remains of the vallum, is the sole relic of the original monastery of Columcille, bears the name of Cladh an Disert, or the burying-ground of the Disert; and as Domnall, the abbot of Kells, was coärb of Columcille from the year 1062 to 1098, that is, during the entire life of Margaret as queen, who had shown such a warm interest in the anchorites and pilgrims of Scotland, it is not an unreasonable supposition that she too, in conjunction with the coärb of Columcille, had included in her work of restoration at Iona the foundation here of a Disert for pious pilgrims.

Of the Cele De there is no trace at Kells, at least under that name, for by this time the name of Cele De had long passed in Ireland from the Deoradh, or pilgrims, to the Secular canons, nor do they appear in connection with any of the Columban monasteries in Ireland; but we find the type of the Iona Cele De in another Irish monastery. This was the celebrated monastery of Clonmacnois, which was founded on the banks of the Shannon in the sixth century by St. Ciaran, one of the twelve apostles of Ireland, and where St. Columba had been received with so much honour in the later years of his life. And here, with the exception of the Disert and its Disertach, which, as we have seen, had been derived from the Columban monastery of Kells, we find the same ecclesiastical functionaries in the community as appear in that of Iona. 363The Sacart, or priest, makes his appearance at Clonmacnois before the year 914, when the death of Maelbairrfinn, Sacart, or priest, of Clonmacnois, is recorded. In 948 we have the death of a prim-sacart, or chief priest of Clonmacnois; and in 1109 he appears under the same designation as he bears in Iona, and in the same position of being, in the absence of an abbot, at the head of the community; for in that year died Flaithbertach Ua Loingsigh, coärb of Ciaran, and Sacart mor, or great priest, of Clonmacnois. We also find the Ferleighinn frequently mentioned both under that title and that of Scribnidh, or scribe, during the eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries, as one of the community of Clonmacnois; and here, as elsewhere, this office was frequently combined with others in the community. But the most remarkable feature of the community at Clonmacnois is the appearance of a line of hereditary Anchorites, descending from father to son for several generations, and finally merging in the title of Cenn na Cele De, or head of the Culdees. The first of these is Eoghan, Anchorite of Clonmacnois, who died in 845. His son Luchairen appears as scribe and anchorite at Clonmacnois. Egertach, the son of the latter, is Erenagh of the little church of Clonmacnois, and his son Dunadhach is bishop of Clonmacnois; but Dunadhach’s son Dunchadh is first Ferleighinn, or lector, of Clonmacnois and afterwards its Anchorite. His son Joseph appears as Anmchara, or soul-friend, of Clonmacnois, and he was father to Conn na mbocht, or of the poor, whose death is recorded in 1031 as Cenn na Cele De, or Head of the Culdees, and Anchorite of Clonmacnois.[691] A century later we find this title of Head of the Cele De of Clonmacnois hereditary in a family called Ua Neachtain; for in 1132 is recorded the death of Uareirghe Ua Neachtain, Cenn Cele De, or Head of the Culdees of Clonmacnois. In 1170 that of Maelmordha, son of Uareirghe, ‘a learned charitable senior, the 364prosperity and affluence of Clonmacnois and Cenn na Chele De,’ or Head of the Culdees; and in 1200 that of Uareirghe, son of Maelmordha, son of Uareirghe Ua Neachtain, ‘one of the noble sages of Clonmacnois, a man full of the love of God and of every virtue, and Cenn Cele De,’ or Head of the Culdees of Clonmacnois.[692]

We thus find this title of Head of the Culdees emerging in the eleventh century out of that of Anchorite at Clonmacnois; and at Iona we likewise find that there were Anchorites in the tenth century who occupied an important position in the community, while a century later the same title of Cenn na Cele De, or Head of the Culdees, appears there also. The origin and position of the Cele De were probably the same in both communities.[693]


605. Hic primus dedit libertatem ecclesiæ Scoticanæ quæ sub servitute erat usque ad illud tempus ex consuetudine et more Pictorum.Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 151. The Chronicle of St. Andrews has, for consuetudine, constitutione. The Chronicon Elegiacum has

Hic dedit ecclesiæ libertates Scoticanæ
Quæ sub Pictorum lege redacta fuit.

606. See Haddan and Stubbs’ Councils, vol. iii. pp. 636, 638, 641.

607. See King’s Introduction to the Church of Armagh, p. 18.

608. O’Donovan, Annals of Four Masters, vol. ii. p. 1143.

609. Haddan and Stubbs’ Councils, vol. iii. p. 382.

610. See on this subject Mr. Robertson’s Statuta Ecclesiæ, vol. i. p. 19, and Dr. John Stuart’s preface to the Book of Deer, where the whole subject is well and fully treated.

611. In vi anno Constantinus rex et Cellachus episcopus, leges disciplinasque fidei atque jura ecclesiarum evangeliorumque, pariter cum Scottis, in colle credulitatis prope regali civitati Scoan devoverunt custodiri.Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 9.

612. Scotichronicon, B. vi. cap. 24; Wyntoun, Chron., B. vi. cap. 9 and following chapters. In his first edition Bower places Fothad as first bishop and Kellach as second; but in his revised edition, two years after, in the Cupar MS. he corrects himself, and puts Kellach as first bishop.

613. In the legend of St. Andrew it is said of the bishops of St. Andrews—‘Sic et nunc quoque in vulgari et communi locutione Escop. Alban, id est, Episcopi Albaniæ, appellantur.’Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 191.

614. 921 Maonach Cele De do thiachtain don fhairrge aniar dodhenamh reachta h-Erenn.Chron. Scot.; An. F. M., p. 605. This passage has been misunderstood. Mr. O’Donovan translated it ‘Maonach, a Cele De, came across the sea westwards to establish laws in Ireland;’ but Mr. Hennessy correctly points out that aniar is ‘from the west,’ not ‘to the west.’ In fact aniar is generally used for ‘from Ireland to Scotland,’ and anair ‘from Scotland to Ireland;’ but reachta h-Erenn means the laws of Ireland, Erenn being the genitive form. What he brought over may have been the rule of St. Maelruain.

615. See Vit. S. Cadroë, Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 113.

616. Et in senectute decrepitus baculum cepit et Domino servivit et regnum mandavit Mael. filio Domnail.Pict. Chron. Hic dimisso regno sponte Deo in habitu religionis abbas factus est Keledeorum Sancti Andreæ, quinque annis servivit ibi et mortuus est et sepultus.Chron. Picts and Scots, pp. 9, 151, 174, 288.

617. Registrum Prioratus S. Andreæ, p. 113.

618. 938 Dubthach Comharba Coluimcille et Adomnain in pace quievit.An. Ult.

936 (recte 938) Dubhthach Comharba Coluimcille acus Adomnain i nErinn acus i nAlbain deg.—An. F. M.

619. 935 (recte 937) Aonghas mac Muirchertaigh Saoi, Angcoire acus tanaisi Abbaidh Iae decc.Ib.

620. 945 (recte 947) Caenchomhrac abb Ia decc.—An. F. M. 954 Robartach Comharba Coluimcille acus Adomnain in Christo pausavit.An. Ult.

621. 959 Dubduin Comharba Coluimcille obiit.An. Ult. 964 Dubscuile mac Cineda Comhorba Coluimcille quievit.Ib.

622. Iste Malisius, ut legitur in vita gloriosi ac eximii confessoris beati Duthaci, discipulus fuit beato Duthaco in Hibernia. Cui beatus Duthacus vaticinando futurum episcopum Scotorum se dixit: quod et adimpletum est.Scotichron., B. vi. c. 24.

623. Bellum inter Nigerum et Caniculum super Dorsum Crup in quo Niger habuit victoriam; ubi cecidit Du[n]chad abbas Duncalden et Dubdon satrapas Athochlach.Pict. Chron.