- Celtic and Old English Saints 30 September
* St. Honorius of Canterbury
* St. Midan of Anglesey
* St. Brigid of Cluainfidhe or Kilbreedy
* St. Enghenedl of Wales
* St. Lery of Brittany
* Ss. Tancred, Torthred, and Tova
St. Honorius of Canterbury, Bishop
Born in Rome, Italy; died at Canterbury, England, on September 30, 653.
Saint Gregory the Great (f.d. September 3) chose the monk Honorius to
evangelize England because of his great virtue and learning. Honorius
succeeded Saint Justus (f.d. November 10) as archbishop of Canterbury,
was consecrated at Lincoln by Bishop Saint Paulinus (f.d. October 10).
He received the pallium sent from Rome by Pope Honorius I, together with
a letter by the Pope's hand stating that whenever the sees of York or
Canterbury became vacant, the surviving archbishop should consecrated
the duly selected successor of the other.
During Honorius's episcopacy, the faith spread throughout the island and
took root in many hearts. He carefully selected and trained his clergy
to ensure their commitment to the Gospel (Bonniwell, Husenbeth).
St. Midan (Nidan)
Died c. 610.
Two of those who accompanied Kentigern on his return from Cwymru (Wales) to
Strathclyde were St Nidan and St Finan. Nidan is still remembered in Wales,
having had his name attached to the parish of Llanidan on the Menai Strait
Nidan was the grandson of Pasgen, son of Urien Rheged, and was thus a cousin
of St Kentigern who was the son of Owain, another of Urien's sons. This
might suggest that he may have been one of Mungo's companions when he
journeyed to Wales to escape from the dangers which threatened his safety in
the kingdom of Strathclyde. It is also said that Nidan followed his master
as ab of the Andat (parent community) of Kynor near Huntly.
The two churches bearing Nidan's name, at Strathdon and Midmar, are
certainly of ancient origin. Both, interestingly, lie near to, or as part
of, a motte of Norman origin. There was a chapel within the walls of the
Norman motte and bailey at Invernochty which is known to have served as the
parish church for many years. However, the mound is known as the Doune of
Invernochty - doune, from the Celtic word dun, a fort, tells us that this
was a seat of power for the Picts long before the Anglo.Norman infiltration
of Alba. It is entirely probable then that this dun would have been an
irresistible magnet to the missionaries who came with Kentigern and who
looked to found their churches at important Pictish settlements. At Midmar,
the church lies a little to the east of a mound known as the Cunningar which
served as the centre of administration for that part of the Pictish province
of Mar known as Midmar.
Somewhat to the north of this site there is a very ancient druidic stone
circle with its recumbent stone. Obviously, this was an important centre of
population for the local Pictish tribes and would have been a natural focus
for the missionary work of Nidan. In the same way, Nidan's colleague St
Finan established a church at another of the important administration
centres of the province at Migvie, from which Cromar was governed.
For a map and some photographs please see
Troparion of St Midan tone 8
Amongst Angelsey's adornment of Saints,/ thy virtuous life shines forth
to illumine these islands, O Father Midan./ We pray thee to intercede
with Christ our God/ that His mercy, and not our weakness, will prevail
that our souls may be saved.
St. Brigid, of Cluainfidhe, or Kilbreedy
The very last day of September sees the commemoration on the Irish calendars
of a Saint Brigid, who is otherwise left unidentified. O'Hanlon identifies
the two main candidates who may claim to be commemorated on this day. The
first is a holy woman mentioned in the Life of Saint Senan (feastday 8th
March) and the second an unknown female saint associated with a holy well
and church at Kilbreedy (literally 'Brigid's church') in County Laois (or
Queen's County as it was called in O'Hanlon's time). I am not sure that he
really proves either case convincingly, but this mystery Saint Brigid is a
good example of the large number of Irish saints who are recorded in our
martyrologies without any further clues to their identity.
St. Brigid, of Cluainfidhe, or perhaps of Kilbreedy, Queen's County.
In the published Martyrology of Tallagh, the feast of St. Brigitta is thus
simply recorded, at the 30th of September. In the Book of Leinster copy, at
this day, there is a similar entry. Without any further designation, Brigit
is entered in the Feilire of Marianus O'Gorman, at this day. In the
Martyrology of Charles Maguire, as in the Martyrologies of Tallagh and of
Marianus O'Gorman, the feast of a St. Brigid is entered at the 30th of
Among the holy women, who are recorded as having flourished in the Irish
church, there is a St. Brigid, who was daughter to Conchraid, and she
belonged to the family of Mactail. Colgan says, this family seems to have
been derived, from the Kings of Munster, having issued from the race of
Oengus, King over that province. From this line, St. Mactail the Bishop was
descended. Or perhaps, the family of Mactail was derived from the O'Brien
sept. Cassius, surnamed Tallins, had several sons, among whom were Blodius,
Cassius, Sedneus, and Delbatius. Hence it happens, that some one of these,
or of their posterity-especially Blodius' children, who inherited the
chieftainship-might be considered as belonging to the family of Mactail. The
word itself signifies son of Tallius. If Colgan's conjecture be correct,
those circumstances connected with the family and place of her residence
point out St. Brigid, who is venerated on the 30th of September, as the one
mentioned in St. Senan's Second Life. From it we are able to procure the
following account of her.
We are told there, how St. Brigid, a holy virgin, had established herself in
a cell, on the banks of the river Shannon, and at a place, called Clain in
fidi, or Cluainfidhe. Whilst there, she had prepared a cloak or chasuble for
St. Senan, which she desired sent to him, but had not the necessary means
for transport. However, she covered the vestment with hay, and having placed
it, with some letters, in an osier
basket, which floated out on the river, the result was committed to a
providential issue. The letters were directed to St. Senan, and contained a
request, that he would send the Most Holy Sacrament to her. By a miracle of
Divine Providence, and without any human direction, the basket floated out
into the bed of the Shannon, which at this point was very wide; and, at
length it landed on the Island shore, near the church of St. Senan. This
circumstance, being revealed to the holy man, he called one of his
disciples, who was a Deacon. He was desired to bring the basket, which lay
on the shore, to the monastery. Having fulfilled such orders, Senan took the
vestment and letters contained in the basket. He then placed therein, as we
are told, two portions of salt and a pixis containing the Sacred Host. He
next ordered, in the name of God, to whom every creature owes obedience,
that the basket should return by the same way it had come, and restore to
St. Brigid one of the lumps of salt and the pixis it contained ; and that it
should bear the other portion of salt, to St. Diermit, who dwelt in the
monastery of Inis-clothrand. According to St. Senan's mandate, the basket
returned to St. Brigid. She took out therefrom the pixis, and one of the
salt portions. Before she had time to remove the other, the basket was
carried off by motion of the water; and it sailed, by a direct course,
against the river's current until it arrived at Inisclothrand. Having
understood what had occurred through a Divine revelation, St. Diermit went
forth, and brought the basket to his monastery with much joy. He gave thanks
to God, for the wonder wrought through his holy servant, St. Senan.
Of the thirteen saints bearing this name, as mentioned by our Irish
Martyrologists, Colgan supposed the circumstance already related can only
apply to that St. Brigid, who was venerated on the 30th of September.
However, in the Third and Fourth Lives of St. Brigid, such anecdote was
transferred to her, with this variation, that the basket or box was
entrusted to the ocean, and had to pass over a very great round and extent
of sea. Such a transaction-in which there is nothing improbable-was
transformed into a marvellous story, which has probably helped to give rise
to the opinion, that Senan was established at Inniscatthy before the death
of St. Brigid.
A St. Brighit, or Bride, seems to have been venerated in the Parish of
Bordwell, Queen's County. There had been a pattern at a Bride's Well, not
far from the old church and castle of Kilbreedy, and it was held between the
close of harvest and the month of November. Of this I was assured by an old
man- in 1870 considerably over 80 years of age- but he could not recollect
the exact day on which the pattern had been kept. No other saint bearing the
name of Brigid seems so likely to correspond with her to whom allusion has
been here made. The old church of Kilbreedy lies about a mile from
Rathdowney. Measured outside the old walls, it is 50 feet in length, by 24
feet in breadth. The walls of limestone are nearly four feet in thickness,
and were well built, but only the lower portions now remain. The church and
grave-yard are evidently very ancient ; but both have been enclosed by a
modern and well-built wall, with an iron-gate set up for entrance. Many
graves and magnificent hawthorn trees are within the grave-yard enclosure.
The remarkable fort of Middlemount rises to a considerable elevation, at
some little distance, and on the opposite side of the high road. Concentric
and diminishing circular fosses surround it, and ascend to the terminating
The festival of Brighit is set down, without further clue for
identification, in the Martyrology of Donegal, at the 30th day of September.
St. Enghenedl of Wales
Died 7th century. Nothing is known about the life of the Welsh Saint
Enghenedl to whom a church is dedicated in Anglesey
St. Laurus (Leri, Lery) of Brittany, Abbot
Born in Wales, 7th century. Saint Laurus migrated to Brittany, where
he became the abbot-founder of the monastery later known as Saint-Lery
on the Doneff River. He knew how to give all to God (Benedictines,
Ss. Tancred, Torthred, and Tova, Hermits
Died at Thorney, Cambridgeshire, England, in 870. Very little is known
of these hermits from Thorney, except that Tancred and Torthred were
men; Tova, a woman. According to the 12th-century Pseudo-Ingulph, which
may be based on older texts, they were martyred by Danish invaders. They
were venerated at their shrine at Thorney before the end of the first
millenium. Their bodies were translated by Saint Ethelwold (f.d. August
Benedictine Monks of St. Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate.
(1947). The Book of Saints. NY: Macmillan.
Encyclopaedia of Catholic Saints, September. (1966).
Philadelphia: Chilton Books.
Farmer, D. H. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Husenbeth, Rev. F. C., DD, VG (ed.). (1928). Butler's
Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints.
London: Virtue & Co.
These Lives are archived at: