Discover Scotland's Saints, some are well known, but most of the rest will not be. Piecing together the lives of these early Catholics in Scotland is not easy and is beset by legend, poor translations and often quite scant information. However, there is much to learn, not least it tells us something about the people who venerated these men and women.
St Walthen/Waltheof | 1160AD
An abbot of that great Cistercian house at Melrose, son of the Earl of Huntingdon, and Maud - grand niece of William the Conqueror. On his Fathers death Maud married David I and so his young life was spent around the Scottish court. However he was much attracted to Cistercian spirituality, having first entered religious life with the Austin Canons of York, he removed himself to Rievaulx taking up the habit there. Later he would be made Abbot of Melrose. He is mentioned in a a life of St Malachi and was also elected to Bishop of St Andrews which he declined. He died at Melrose and some years later (12 or 50 depending on sources) his body was found incorrupt. His life was written down by Jocelyn of Furness.
St Berchan/Barchan | 6th Century
Likely of Irish origin, spending some time in Scotland in the areas around Renfrewshire and Argyll. He appears to be held in high regard for the Martyrology of Donegal mentions him in an illustrious list of important Saints that included St Columba and St Moluag.
St Angus | 6th Century
Thought to have been a disciple of St Columba, this Saint's name is recorded on the Stone of Oengus in Balquhidder, Perthshire, in which those being baptised or married would kneel. As Gow noted they would say: 'Beannaich Aonghais ann san Aoraidh (Bleess Angus in the oratory or chapel).
There is some question as to whether this Angus is actually a reference to Mochta of Louth, disciple of St Patrick and one who was forced to make a strong defence of himself in Rome due to his Irish origins.
St Blaan of Bute | 6th Century
Potentially of Irish origin, he spent seven years in the formation of St Congall and kenneth before moving to Scotland to serve God and had some kind of connection with St Cattan. On pilgrimage to Rome he was raised to the Episcopate and as he travelled home raised from the dead a boy in Anglia. He was also said to have been able to call fire from his finger tips to aid in the Night office. He is buried in Bute but there was a connection in Dunblane, having, it is said, established a monastery here which would later become a Bishopric in the time of king David I.
St Erchard | 5th/6th Century
St Aidan was born in Ireland at the end of the 6th century and joined the other Irish monks who settled in the great Iona Monastery. From there he went to establish the famous monastery on Lindisfarne on the invitation of the Saint-King Oswald whose conversion to Christianity had happened under the influence of Ionan monks he encountered in Iona whilst in exile.
St Aidan became Bishop of Northumbria when Oswald had regained the Kingdom his father had lost in a battle in 633AD. St Aidan was known for his poverty, generosity and zeal for sharing the faith. He supported the establishment of Old Melrose, the earlier monastic settlement that predated Cistercian monastery which you can go and visit now. It is said he also helped Abbess Ebba establish a monastic community in Coldingham. His death in 651AD was the sign for a young shepherd by the name of Cuthbert to enter monastic rule at Melrose.