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The Cult of Saints and the Virgin Mary in Medieval Scotland

The Cult of Saints and the Virgin Mary in Medieval Scotland

STEVE BOARDMAN
EILA WILLIAMSON
Volume: 28
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 232
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt3fgmtb
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  • Book Info
    The Cult of Saints and the Virgin Mary in Medieval Scotland
    Book Description:

    Of all the Celtic countries, Scotland has lacked the kind of scholarly attention that has been lavished fruitfully on Wales, Ireland, Cornwall and Brittany. And yet of all of them, Scotland offers the widest range of interfaces with broader work on the cult of saints. The papers presented here cover this territory very effectively.... [the book] brings together excellent studies that successfully explore the wide ramifications of the topic. Anyone with an interest in saints' cults will want this book. DAUVIT BROUN, Professor of Scottish History, University of Glasgow. This volume examines the phenomena of the cult of saints and Marian devotion as they were manifested in Scotland, ranging from the early medieval period to the sixteenth century. It combines general surveys of the development of the study of saints in the early and later middle ages with more focused articles on particular subjects, including St Waltheof of Melrose, the obscure early medieval origins of the cult of St Munnu, the short-lived martyr cult of David, duke of Rothsay, and the Scottish saints included in the greatest liturgical compendium produced in late medieval Scotland, the Aberdeen breviary. The way in which Marian devotion permeated late medieval Scottish society is discussed in terms of the church dedications of the twelfth and thirteenth-century aristocracy, the ecclesiastical landscape of Perth, the depiction of Mary in Gaelic poetry, and the pervasive influence of the familial bond between holy mother and son in representations of the Scottish royal family. Dr Steve Boardman is Reader in History, University of Edinburgh; Eila Williamson gained her PhD from the University of Glasgow. Contributors: Helen Birkett, Steve Boardman, Rachel Butter, Thomas Owen Clancy, David Ditchburn, Audrey-Beth Fitch, Mark A. Hall, Matthew H. Hammond, Sim Innes, Alan Macquarrie

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-854-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Illustrations and Tables
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. List of Contributors
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. xi-xiv)

    This volume arises from a conference held in Edinburgh in September 2007 to mark the conclusion of an AHRC-funded project, The Survey of Dedications to Saints in Medieval Scotland. The publication includes chapters based on papers delivered at that conference, supplemented by a number of invited contributions. This is the second edited volume arising from the ‘Dedications to Saints’ project, the first, Saints’ Cults in the Celtic World, having been published by Boydell and Brewer in 2009. The database compiled by the project team can be consulted at http://www.shca.ed.ac.uk/Research/saints/. The main aim of the project is to stimulate and facilitate...

  7. 1 THE BIG MAN, THE FOOTSTEPS, AND THE FISSILE SAINT: PARADIGMS AND PROBLEMS IN STUDIES OF INSULAR SAINTS’ CULTS
    (pp. 1-20)
    Thomas Owen Clancy

    In this chapter, the focus is primarily on the problems that beset investigating saints’ cults in the early medieval period, something approached also in Rachel Butter’s incisive case-study of St Munnu.¹ The Survey of Dedications to Saints in Medieval Scotland ² is one of the most welcome developments in such investigations. First, it will help us understand the dynamism and evolution of saints’ cults during the later medieval period, a period for which there remains a great deal of work to do, and much headway to be gained in refining and opening out our understanding of medieval Scottish piety and...

  8. 2 ST MUNNU IN IRELAND AND SCOTLAND: AN EXPLORATION OF HIS CULT
    (pp. 21-42)
    Rachel Butter

    Munnu, or Fintan Munnu, as he is sometimes called in Scotland, is an apparently straightforward saint, with an eighth-century vita, an obit in the Annals of Ulster,¹ an appearance in Adomnan’s Vita Columbae,² and a name – Mun or Mund – which appears in a distinctive form in place-names in Scotland: four Kilmuns in Argyll, and an Eilean Munde near Ballachulish in Lochaber. He is intriguing too in the survival of traces of his cult in fifteenth-century references to a keeper of his crozier,³ and in the surname Mac Gille Mund, evident in Argyll at least into the seventeenth century.⁴...

  9. 3 THE STRUGGLE FOR SANCTITY: ST WALTHEOF OF MELROSE, CISTERCIAN IN-HOUSE CULTS AND CANONISATION PROCEDURE AT THE TURN OF THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY
    (pp. 43-60)
    Helen Birkett

    In mid-1206, a group of six inquisitive lay brothers at the Cistercian house of Melrose made an exciting discovery. The brethren had been preparing a tomb for the recently deceased Abbot William II, who was to be buried alongside the tomb of his saintly predecessor, Abbot Waltheof. Waltheof’s most famous attribute was the miraculous preservation of his body, a state that had last been witnessed over thirty years previously in 1171. Overcome by the desire to witness this miracle for themselves, the brothers urged the abbey’s mason, Brother Robert, to raise the marble cover of St Waltheof’s tomb and peer...

  10. 4 ROYAL AND ARISTOCRATIC ATTITUDES TO SAINTS AND THE VIRGIN MARY IN TWELFTH- AND THIRTEENTH-CENTURY SCOTLAND
    (pp. 61-86)
    Matthew H. Hammond

    What follows is an attempt to contextualise the fragmentary and dispersed evidence on local and insular saints in the kingdom of the Scots in the central middle ages, and to understand better the ramifications of Europeanisation and other well known, sweeping changes on their cults. These changes, which included the restructuring of the church establishment under greater papal control, the massive growth of the Cistercians and other reformist monastic orders, and the expansion of power by the Norman and Angevin kings of England across Britain and Ireland, amounted to tectonic shifts in the religious life of a kingdom. How the...

  11. 5 A SAINTLY SINNER? THE ‘MARTYRDOM’ OF DAVID, DUKE OF ROTHESAY
    (pp. 87-104)
    Steve Boardman

    On 25 or 26 March 1402 David, duke of Rothesay, the eldest son and heir of the Scottish king Robert III, died in Falkland castle in Fife while in the custody of his uncle Robert, duke of Albany.¹ David’s imprisonment and death were part of an intermittent but long-running struggle for control of the kingdom between the senior line of the royal dynasty represented by Robert III and his sons David and James (the future James I), and the cadet branch of the royal house headed by the duke of Albany. The rivalry between the royal house and the Albany...

  12. 6 WO/MEN ONLY? MARIAN DEVOTION IN MEDIEVAL PERTH
    (pp. 105-124)
    Mark A. Hall

    A recent study of Marian iconography in relation to The Lord of the Rings pithily notes that Mary, ‘in many respects is the central figure of the Middle Ages’.¹ There is a vast body of surviving texts, statues, pictures, rosaries, misericords, icons, etc., relating to Mary, and even in their vastness they are but a small portion of what existed during the middle ages. This fact underpins this exploration of Marian devotion, which aims to see what sense can be made of the varied but fragmentary evidence for that practice in medieval Perth. It assesses how that evidence fits the...

  13. 7 IS EAGAL LIOM LÁ NA HAGRA: DEVOTION TO THE VIRGIN IN THE LATER MEDIEVAL GÀIDHEALTACHD
    (pp. 125-142)
    Sìm R. Innes

    The later medieval Scottish poet Maol-Domhnaigh mac Mhághnais Mhuileadhaigh (Maol-Domhnaigh son of Magnus of Mull), in his poem Ná léig mo mhealladh, a Mhuire (Do not allow me to be deceived, O Mary), addresses the Blessed Virgin Mary in the hope that she will intervene with God on Judgement Day to save his soul:

    Is eagal liom lá na hagra,

    a inghean Anna an fhoilt tais;

    i n-aghaidh Dé ní fhoil aighneas,

    goir mé óm aimhleas ar m’ais.

    (I fear the day of accusation, O daughter of Anne of the soft hair; recall me from harm since there is no...

  14. 8 SCOTTISH SAINTS’ LEGENDS IN THE ABERDEEN BREVIARY
    (pp. 143-158)
    Alan Macquarrie

    Breviarium Aberdonense (hereafter BA), published in Edinburgh in 1510 (NS), is the most important collection of information we have about Scottish saints’ lives, as well as having the distinction of being Scotland’s first full-scale printed book.¹ The Propria Sanctorum at the end of each of its two volumes contain prayers and lectiones, lessons or readings, to be read out during the office on each saint’s feast day at Matins; in some cases these are interspersed with proper canticles, especially where the saint was patron of a cathedral or other important church. The readings are without exception short and do not...

  15. 9 MOTHERS AND THEIR SONS: MARY AND JESUS IN SCOTLAND, 1450–1560
    (pp. 159-176)
    Audrey-Beth Fitch

    In the past few decades there has been a great deal of interest expressed in the history of the family in medieval Europe, particularly the emotional bonds between parents and children. Analysing royal families is one place to start exploring familial bonds. Lois Huneycutt has begun the process for Scottish history by studying St Margaret of Scotland (ob. 1093) and her children.¹ Investigating the portrayal of the relationship between the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus is another route to understanding affective familial relations. Scots were children of Mary and siblings of Jesus, believing that a fuller understanding of Mary and...

  16. 10 THE ‘McROBERTS THESIS’ AND PATTERNS OF SANCTITY IN LATE MEDIEVAL SCOTLAND
    (pp. 177-194)
    David Ditchburn

    In 1968 The Innes Review published an article by David McRoberts which was (to use a word often overused in recent years) seminal.¹ Its influence is visible in much, indeed in almost everything, that has been written since 1968 about the Church and about religion in later medieval Scotland. The thesis which it presented was relatively straightforward. McRoberts argued that the fifteenth century witnessed a new and what he called ‘nationalist’ trend in Scottish religious observation. There were several dimensions to this development – but it was especially apparent, McRoberts argued, in the veneration of saints. Before the fifteenth century...

  17. INDEX
    (pp. 195-210)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 211-213)