List of saints of Scotland

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The Monymusk Reliquary, or Brecbennoch, dates from c. 750, and purportedly enclosed bones of Columba

This is a list of saints of Scotland, which includes saints from Scotland, associated with, or particularly venerated in Scotland.

Veneration of saints in Scotland[edit]

One of the main features of Medieval Scotland was the Veneration of Saints. Saints of Irish origin who were particularly revered included various figures called St Faelan and St. Colman, and saints Findbar and Finan.[1] Columba remained a major figure into the fourteenth century and a new foundation at the cite of his bones was endowed by William I (r. 1165–1214) at Arbroath Abbey.[2][3] In Strathclyde the most important saint was St Kentigern, whose cult (under the pet name St. Mungo) became focused in Glasgow.[4] In Lothian it was St Cuthbert, whose relics were carried across Northumbria after Lindisfarne was sacked by the Vikings before being installed in Durham Cathedral.[5] After his martyrdom around 1115, a cult emerged in Orkney, Shetland and northern Scotland around Magnus Erlendsson, Earl of Orkney.[6]

Veneration of Saint Andrew[edit]

St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and has a long history of veneration there.[7] The cult of St Andrew was established on the east coast at Kilrymont by the Pictish kings as early as the eighth century.[8] The shrine, which from the twelfth century was said to have contained the relics of the saint brought to Scotland by Saint Regulus.[9]

Developments in the Late Middle Ages[edit]

By the twelfth century it had become known simply as St. Andrews and it became increasingly associated with Scottish national identity and the royal family.[8] Queen Margaret was canonised in 1250 and after the ceremonial transfer of her remains to Dunfermline Abbey emerged as one of the most revered national saints.[8] In the late medieval period, as the doctrine of Purgatory gained in importance in the period, the number of chapelries, priests and masses for the dead within them grew rapidly,[10] along with the number of altars to saints, with St. Mary's in Dundee having perhaps 48 and St Giles' in Edinburgh over 50,[11] as did the number of saints celebrated in Scotland, with about 90 being added to the missal used in St Nicholas church in Aberdeen.[12]

Impact of the Reformation[edit]

The Reformation made the veneration of saints illegal and removed almost all evidence of saints and shrines from churches,[13] although Catholicism continued as a minority religion. The period created only one Catholic saint, the convert and martyr John Ogilvie (1569–1615).[14]

List of saints[edit]





















  1. ^ G. W. S. Barrow, Kingship and Unity: Scotland 1000–1306 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1989), ISBN 074860104X, p. 64.
  2. ^ M. Lynch, Scotland: A New History (Random House, 2011), ISBN 1446475638, p. 76.
  3. ^ B. Webster, Medieval Scotland: the Making of an Identity (New York City, NY: St. Martin's Press, 1997), ISBN 0333567617, pp. 52–3.
  4. ^ A. Macquarrie, Medieval Scotland: Kinship and Nation (Thrupp: Sutton, 2004), ISBN 0-7509-2977-4, p. 46.
  5. ^ A. Lawrence-Mathers, Manuscripts in Northumbria in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries (Woodbridge: Brewer, 2003), ISBN 0859917657, p. 137.
  6. ^ H. Antonsson, St. Magnús of Orkney: A Scandinavian Martyr-Cult in Context (Leiden: Brill, 2007), ISBN 9004155805.
  7. ^ St Andrew, Patron Saint of Scotland
  8. ^ a b c G. W. S. Barrow, Robert Bruce and the Community of the Realm of Scotland (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 4th edn., 2005), ISBN 0748620222, p. 11.
  9. ^ B. Webster, Medieval Scotland: the Making of an Identity (New York City, NY: St. Martin's Press, 1997), ISBN 0333567617, p. 55.
  10. ^ Andrew D. M. Barrell, Medieval Scotland (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), ISBN 0-521-58602-X, p. 254.
  11. ^ P. J. Bawcutt and J. H. Williams, A Companion to Medieval Scottish Poetry (Woodbridge: Brewer, 2006), ISBN 1843840960, pp. 26–9.
  12. ^ C. Peters, Women in Early Modern Britain, 1450–1640 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), ISBN 0-333-63358-X, p. 147.
  13. ^ J. D. Mackie, B. Lenman and G. Parker, A History of Scotland (London: Penguin, 1991), ISBN 0140136495, p. 153.
  14. ^ J. Buckley, F. C. Bauerschmidt, T. Pomplun, eds, The Blackwell Companion to Catholicism (London: John Wiley & Sons, 2010), ISBN 1444337327, p. 164.