Sunday 11 November 2012

An Eighteenth-Century List of Irish Saints, A-E

Below is a list of Irish saints whose written Lives have survived, taken from a 1776 work by a former Anglican Bishop of Carlisle.  The list includes the four female saints who come into this category, Saints Brigid, Ite, Moninna and Samthann. Altogether the author records notices of 55 saints. I have divided the list up into three parts, modernized the spelling in most cases and omitted some of the longer Latin passages.

Abban, Abbot, he lived at the same time with St. Brendan. One of the MS. copies of his life says, that he was born in Ultonia, quae est quinta pars Hiberniae. This wants the beginning; but another more complete seems to be in the Bodleyan library, under the name of Abdon. See Ibar.

Aed, founder of the monastery of Enach Midbrinin in the county of Muscraytire in the province of Munster; but afterwards made bishop of Meath, his native country. The writer of his life says, he died before St. Columb; and Sir James Ware more particularly acquaints us, that his death happened on the tenth of November, 589.

Albe, he, as well as Declan and Ibarus, was forerunner to St. Patrick; and the monastery of Chell-Ruaid in the county of Dalaraid, where he was born, was built by Colman according to his directions. His life begins, Albeus, episcopus virorum Memoniensium.. In this we are told that he was much beloved by St Patrick; who joined with Aengus, King of Munster, in making him Archbishop of Cashel; he was indeed the first  Bishop of Emly, and died September the twelfth, A.D. 527.

Bar or Finbar, he was first Bishop of Cork: lived about the latter end of the sixth century, and his festival is kept on the twenty-seventh of September; his life begins Sanctus Dei Electus.

Benigne, his life is in J. Tinmouth's Sanctilogium, he was scholar and immediate successor at Armagh to St Patrick; and died November the ninth, 468.

Berach, Abbot, lived in 630, his life begins Inter caetera quae Dei potentia.

Brendan, native of Kerry, died at Clonfert, May the sixteenth, 577. Among the many different MS. copies of his life, besides that in Tinmouth, that has frequently appeared in print, there is one belonging to the friars minorites at Kilkenny, written in the year 1340. And another more ancient in the Abbey of St. Mary's at York, which is now in the Cotton Library, where we have likewise one in old French metre. A third in old English verse, is in the Bodleyan. Multitudes more there are in the public and private libraries of both kingdoms ...

Bridget, she was born at Fochard in the county of Louth, lived in her own nunnery at Kildare or Cella Quercus and died on the first of February 523. Her life was first written by Cogitosus, supposed by some to have been her nephew; who, Bishop Usher thinks, was certainly mistaken in burying her at Kildare... Her miracles were collected in an alphabetical volume by Ultan Mac Concubar Bishop of Ardbraccan in Meath; who died September the fourth, A.D. 606. Aileran the Wise, wrote her life about the year 650, and so did Chaelian, a monk of Iniskeltra, in the diocese of Killaloe. Amongst the many anonymous writers on the same subject, in the libraries of England and Ireland, one begins, Fuit Gloriosus Rex in Hibernia; and another, Erat quidam vir Nobilis Laginensis Genere. In the Cottonian library there is a large volume, in English, of the visions and revelations of St Bridget: But it is to be observed, that this is the Swedish Bridget, who died at Rome, in the year 1373, and was canonized by Pope Boniface the Ninth, in 1391. These revelations of hers were first printed in Latin at Lubech, in the year 1492, and have often since been reprinted at Rome, Nuremberg, Antwerp, &c. Our Irish Bridget's life, in Latin heroicks, was procured for Archbishop Usher by his friend Stephen White; in the elegiac prologue to which, in proof of Ireland's being the true old Scotland, is this distich:

De qua nata fuit quondam Sanctissima Virgo
Brigida; Scotorum Gloria, Nomen, Honor.

Carthag, the first Bishop of Lismore died on the fourteenth of May, 637. Archbishop Usher had two MS. copies of his life; in one of which the number of his scholars, in his monastery at Rath in Meath, are said to be 867, in the other 844. One of these begins; Gloriosus Christi miles.

Catald, he was born in Munster, Bishop of Ratheny, and afterwards of Trent in Italy. His life was written in Latin by two brothers, Bartholomy and Bonaventure Morini; by the former in prose, and by the latter in verse, both published at Rome, A.D. 1614, with a commemoration speech in Italian, of the said Bonaventure's. And T. Dempster, who will have him to be his own countryman, says that it was also written by an anonymous author; whose manuscript is in the Ambrosian Library. Another there was that, before the restitution of the Officium Romanum, used to be yearly read in the choir of the Cathedral Church at Trent.

Coemgen. See Keivin.

Colman, bishop of Dromore. He died, June the seventh, about the beginning, as is supposed, of the seventh century. His life begins, Beatissimus vir Colmanus Drunorensis episcopus, Aradeorum gente fuit criundus.

Colman Ela, had his name from the woods of Ela, where he kept his common residence. He died, say the Martyrologies, on the twenty-sixth of September, in the year 611, His life begins, Fuit vir quidam. It calls his monastery Land-Elo, now Linalli in the King's County.

Columba, senior, abbot of Tirdaglas, died December the thirteenth, 552. His life begins; Sanctus Columba filius Crimthayn dictus, Nobili Lageniensium genere ortus fuit.

Columba, junior, called by his countrymen Columbcylle, from the many cells or monasteries which he is said to have founded; whence Londonderry is by ancient writers called Derry Columcille. A Book of his virtues and praises was written by his contemporary Brendan, Abbot of Birr, who died A.D. November the twenty-ninth, 572. Whether this be in prose or metre is not said: but we know that St. Congal, another of his contemporaries, founder of the abbey of Bangor, in the Ardes of Ulster, wrote his acts. His life was also written by St. Kynnie or Kenny, who died A.D. 600. Adamnanus's three books of the life of this saint, the most full and complete of all the rest, are published by Canisius.. ..Adamnanus's life of Saint Columba seems to have been transcribed by Simeon, a Scot; who was put upon writing the life himself by King Alexander the Second: And perhaps that large volume of the same life in the Irish tongue, said to have been written by Magnus, or Manus, son  of Hugh, O'Donnel of Tyrconnel, may prove only a translation of the same. In the western isles of Scotland, two copies of St. Columb's life were met with by Mr. Martin; which, he says, were written in the Irish character: The one in the custody of John Mackneal, and the other kept by Mac Donald of Benbecula. Mr. Sacheverel also mentions a book MS book of above three hundred ancient inscriptions at J. Columkill, communicated to the Earl of Argyle in King Charles the Second's time, which, if still in being, may probably give some light into the history of this saint. Adamanus cites a former life written by Commenius Albus. In the Bodleyan library are the works of Columkill, or St Columbus in verse, containing some account of his own life, his exhortation to princes, and his prophecies: Also the sayings and propheices of Congallus, Mongan, Brenan, and some others. It is an old vellum manuscript, consisting of an hundred and forty pages, in the form of a music-book.

Columbanus, a native of Leinster, died Abbot of Bobi, near Naples, November the twenty-first, 615. His life, with some of his homilies, is published by Tho. Messingham, in his Florilegium Ins. Sanctorum. It is also written by Jonas, Abbot of Luxnel in Burgundy, who lived in 640, and is himself reckoned an Irishman by Trithemius. This and others of Jonas's pieces are falsely ascribed to Bede, and published in his works.

Coeman or Comman, as his life calls him, was born in Ulster, read under St. Finian; who sent him to plant Christianity in Connaught. Here he founded the famous Abbey of Roscommon; once a bishop's seat, but now annexed to Elphin.

Congal, the first Abbot of Bangor, died May the tenth, 600. His life begins; Beatus ac Venerabilis Abbas: And it says, that in his monastery of Beanchor in the Ardes of Ulster, and in the cells thereunto belonging, he had 3000 monks...

Cronan, abbot (sometimes called bishop of Rosscrea, flourished in the year 580, and died (in what year uncertain) April the twenty-eighth. His life begins: Gloriosus Abbas Cronanus. This tells us that he was son of Odran; and that he did abundance of miracles in his monastery of Ross-Cree; which is now in the county of Tipperary; and was given by king Edward the First to Edmond Butler, Earl of Carrick, in the year 1281.

Cuthbert, consecrated Bishop of Lindisfarn, in the year 684, is said by come to have been born at Kenmuse; by others at Kells, and by others at Kilmancudrick near Dublin. As an Irishman, he had his life written by he had his life written by Matthew O'Heney, Archbishop of Cassels in the year 1200; as also by Malachy O'Mongair, St. Bernard's great correspondent, who died in the year 1148. Besides these, there are two more in the Cotton library, which bear the same title of Liber de Vita Sancti Cuthberti Lindisfarnensis Episcopi, de Historijs Hibernorum excerptus. And a short abstract, in one folio page, under the title of Libellus de ortu beati Cudberti, ex Historijs Hibernorum decerptus.

Declan, the first Bishop of Ardmore, died the twenty-fourth of July, the day whereon his festival is still kept; but in what year my author does not inform me: But that he was one of the four bishops, who were fore-runners to St. Patrick, and that he preached the Gospel here in the year 402, Mr. Flaherty is positive. His anonymous life is imperfect in the beginning; but the writer, it appears, lived soon after him. In it he assures us that his saint was born in the county of Breg, in east-Meath.

Edan, or Moedoch, first Bishop of Fernes, died January the thirty-first, 631. We have two manuscript lives of this saint, whereof the one begins, Fuit quidam vir Nobilis in Regionibus Connactorum. And the other Fuit quidam vir Nobilis in partibus Hiberniae. Archbishop Usher blames John of Tinmouth and Capgrave for miscalling St Lasreamus by the name of Molossus in this saint's life; whereas the Ulster annals make Laisre and Mouisse several persons, though both of Daiminis. Both these biographers conclude their lives of this saint in the same words: Sanctus iste in Vita S. David Aidanus vocature, in Vita vero sua Aidus dicitur; et apud Meneviam in Ecclesia S. David appellatur Moedock quod est Hibernicum. The learned prelate observes that Edan was metropolitan of Leinster at Fernes; from whence, says he, the dignity seems to have been translated, as it was hither from Slebhty, to Kildare, and thence to Dublin.

Ende, Abbot of Arran, lived about the year 490. His life begins Mirabilis Deus Omnipotens. The formentioned learned prelate takes notice that this Ende, or Enna Airne, that is, Enna of Aran, as the Irish call him is said in his life, to have been son to Conal Deyre Prince of Oriel in Ulster, and Brig, daughter to a Prince of Conacht.

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