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Chapter VII
This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Celtic Britain

by Nora K. Chadwick

published by Frederick A. Praeger
New York

The text and engravings are in the public domain.

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 p142  Chapter VIII

The Church

The exact date or the circumstances of the introduction of Christianity into Britain are unknown, but both Tertullian and Origen refer to it in a manner which implies that it was already established by the second century,​1 and we have well attested traditions of three martyrdoms which took place in Britain before 260.​2 The three British bishops summoned to the Councils of Arles in 314 and Rimini in 359 imply an organised British Church,​3 and it doubtless had a continuous history, for we hear repeatedly in the correspondence of St Athanasius and St Hilary of Poitiers of the keen interest of the Britons in the affairs of the Western Church. Even after the withdrawal of the Romans from Britain, Pope Celestine evidently regarded this land as the stronghold of the Pelagian heresy;​4 for Prosper of Aquitaine, a good contemporary authority, tells us that in 429 he sent St. Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, as his own representative (vice sua), to uproot the evil.​5 The circumstances of the visit as related by Germanus' biographer Constantius are pure fantasy, but the actual journey of Germanus in entirely credible.​6 Pelagius was a Briton, and a number of interesting letters, Pelagian in tone, but probably written on the Continent,​7 confirm the impression of Britain as active in intellectual and religious questions, and as still in full rapport with Continental thought.8

Although Saxon raids must have rendered communications with the Continent difficult and dangerous, they certainly did not prevent them, as the colonisation of Brittany makes clear; as does also the evidence of the inscriptions on the west coast of Britain, and of voyages such as that of St Columbanus and his companions.​9 Even more than Saxon pirates, the barbarian invasions of Gaul and the consequent disorganisation of the  p143 country must have sadly hampered regular contact between the British Church and Rome. The British Church inevitably failed to keep in touch with every new development of the Continental Church, and involuntarily became to a considerable extent self-dependent, while Continental interest in Britain must have lessened as the troubles in Gaul increased. Thus, naturally Continental information about the British Church ceases with the fifth century. Henceforth our information is derived from native sources.

Traditions are consistent in their echoes of the westward spread of Christianity beyond the borders of the Roman Empire at this period. In the fifth century the northern half of Ireland was converted by St Patrick​10 — a native of western Britain, probably Strathclyde or the Solway area. The south of Ireland probably became Christian earlier. Wales had probably — but again not certainly — been Christian from Roman times. An eighth-century tradition claims that the earliest missionary in North Britain was St Ninian. Bede (H. E. III.4) records a tradition, apparently from an oral source ('ut perhibent'), that 'long before' the conversion of the Northern Picts by St Columba the Southern Picts had accepted the true faith from the preaching of Ninian,​11 who had been trained correctly​12 (edoctus regulariter) in it and its mysteries at Rome. Bede adds that the church containing his tomb was named after St Martin — though he does not actually state that this was already its dedication in Ninian's day — and that his own episcopal seat was 'now' in the possession of the English. Finally he tells us that his locus was known as Candida Casa ('the White House'),​13 'because he there built a church of stone which was unusual among the British'. We already know from the early inscribed stones that an important Christian community had been established at Whithorn in Roman times, and that it had survived the Northumbrian conquest with no apparent break  p144 till the revival of the old bishopric, or the establishment of a new one early in the eighth century. About this time a Life of St Ninian was composed, which we no longer possess, and shortly afterwards two poems, still extant;​14 but the twelfth-century life by St. Ailred of Rievaulx has very little independent value.15

The earliest Welsh saint​16 of the native tradition is Dubricius (Welsh Dyfrig), whose churches are on the River Wye but whose Life is not earlier than the twelfth century. His most distinguished pupil was St Illtud, who became the first abbot of the monastery of Llantwit Major, and whose traditional reputation for high intellectual prestige receives support from the number of inscribed crosses still preserved on the spot, and from the Lives of his contemporaries. The earliest Life of a Welsh saint, that of St Samson,​17 possibly written in the seventh century, claims that Samson was educated at Llantwit under Illtud. The Breton Church was intellectually ahead of the Welsh Church between the sixth and the ninth century, and Samson was its greatest saint, thus confirming the intellectual tradition of Llantwit.

Our earliest information of the Cornish Church shows it as partaking of the monastic character of the Celtic Church elsewhere, and medieval tradition claims that it was closely dependent on that of Wales from the earliest times, when a saintly 'family' of founders, 'children' of the eponymous king of Brycheiniog, established Cornish monasticism.​18 The similarity of the sculptured crosses of the two countries indicates an early connection, and indeed the stone sculptures are our earliest reliable evidence he says the establishment of Christianity in all the Celtic countries of the West. We have no early records of the conversion of the Isle of Man, but here again Christian sculpture has survived from the ninth century. That the island was converted from the early Christian centre of Whithorn, actually within sight, is highly probable, but the  p145 most characteristic remains of Manx Christianity, the small rectangular churches or oratories known as keeills, have their nearest affinities in Orkney. The remains of over 200 have been identified on the Isle of Man, a number in Christian churchyards. That of Maughold contains four.

The sixth century is known in the history of the Celtic Church as the 'Age of the Saints'. At this period the word 'saint' (sanctus) simply denotes any educated man, or a cleric, a Christian trained in a monastic institution. It is the rapid increase of these sancti, these educated 'religious', that has given its name to the period. The Age of the Saints is, in fact, the expression of a great wave of religious enthusiasm which organised itself in the rise of monasticism.

This religious movement began during the late Roman period in the Egyptian desert, where a number of ascetic Christians instituted various forms of strict religious discipline, some living in communities under a formulated 'rule', others as solitaries in caves and cells over a wide area of the desert. The movement spread from Egypt not only to Palestine, Syria, and Mesopotamia, but also to lands farther west where at this time the desire for solitude led to the foundation of sanctuaries and cells on islands all round the coasts of western Italy, to southern Gaul and western Spain, continuing along the Breton coasts. The island group of the Lérins, off the coast of Cannes, founded c. 410 by St Honoratus, became a 'nursery of bishops', and virtually a little university.19

In Britain, almost all the islands round the coast have traditions of the saints of this period. The most important is Iona, founded by St Columba, and like Lérins, a centre of study; but the most impressive is Sceilg Mhichíl (Skellig Michael), a bare and precipitous rock eight miles out in the Atlantic off the coast of Co. Kerry, where the beehive-shaped cells, the  p146 chapel, and the tiny graveyard of the monks still stand.20 Equally ascetic in their solitude are Inishmurray, 4 miles off the Sligo coast; and in Scotland North Rona, nearly 60 miles north of the Butt of Lewis, and Sula Sgeir to the north-west.​21 Bardsey Island off the tip of the Caernarvonshire Peninsula is claimed as 'the burial-place of 20,000 saints',​22 and Lindisfarne (Holy Island), Caldy Island in South Wales, and Ynys Seiriol off Anglesey, are among scores of others which could be named. In Orkney the Brough of Deerness east of Kirkwall and the Brough of Birsay​23 on the west, are both tidal, as is Nendrum in Strangford Lough in Ireland. Lismore in Loch Linnhe at the mouth of the Great Glen developed into a medieval bishopric. All of these, as well as the island of Burra in Shetland, and Glastonbury and Tintagel in the southern part of Britain, probably contained sizeable communities, though often the recluse monks themselves lived apart, somewhat retired from the communities to which they were probably technically attached. In such cases they commonly lived in pairs for mutual confession.

Many of our own place-names retain echoes of their ascetic life. For example, Merthyr was once a martyrium, an anchorite retreat, not necessarily the scene of a martyrdom. Dysart in Fife was once a deserta, the abode of a religious anchorite or of a community. Indeed this word came to be synonymous with the monastic community of the early Celtic Church.

Side by side with the development of the anchorite retreats was the rise and spread of monasticism. An outstanding personality of religious force would inevitably attract followers who formed a community devoted to his ideals, and vowed to obey his precepts. Thus his austere life would become crystallised into a monastic 'rule'. Simultaneously his monastic retreat — his deserta, uaimh, spelunca or martyrium — would develop into a nucleated community, pledged to carry out the ideas of the saintly founder. The life of St Martin of Tours illustrates  p147 the process, starting with his original simple community in the cave cells of Ligugé, followed by his larger and more formal monastery, Marmoutier (magnum monasterium), and finally the establishment at Tours. In the same way Irish monasticism ascribed its beginning to St Finian, founder of Clonard; Welsh, to St Dyfrig of Henllan ('the Old Monastery') on the Wye; Breton, to St Samson of Dol; Gaelic Scotland, to St Columba of Iona; Strathclyde and Cumbria, to St Kentigern, with his earliest church at Hoddom in Dumfriesshire, his later at Glasgow, his traditional early nurture by St Serf in the 'cave' of Culross in Fife. By a reverse process a monastery would found a solitary retreat at a convenient distance, to which the religious could retire for periods of silence. Thus St Fructuosus of the Celtic Church in Spain early in the seventh century founded island monastic retreats off both the Galician coast and on the island of Cadiz in Baetica. Bede (H. E. II.2) speaks of an anchorite as an habitual occupant of the monastery of Bangor (North Wales).

The anchorites of the stricter discipline are described in a later document, 'The Catalogue of the Saints of Ireland', as 'living in desert places' (in locis desertis), and as subsisting on herbs and water and alms, and possessing nothing of their own;​24 but the monastic ideals of the period everywhere placed purity of heart and simplicity of life even above formal observances, and Bede has unstinted praise for their sanctity. There was no flaw in their doctrine. They were perfectly orthodox, and they clung devotedly to the faith and precepts which they had received from their seniores. But two serious disadvantages militated against their survival, and both were the result of the circumstances of their early history. The first was the absence of central organisation. Each monastery with its dependencies was a self-governing unit, with its own rules and its own order of Mass. The second was that, owing to its remote position and the serious difficulties of communication,  p148 Britain had failed to keep pace with changes that had periodically taken place in the Continental Church, and so was in certain respects out of complete conformity of usage.

In the Age of the Saints this lack of unity and complete conformity was not serious. There was no clash. Indeed, the greatest development of the Celtic Church took place at this time under St Columba from the island of Iona in Scotland, and still later under his successors in Northumbria. For over a thousand years the name of Columba has been revered as that of the greatest saint of the Celtic Church, and the founder of our most illustrious island sanctuary. The broad outline of his life is well known as it has come to us from his biographer Adamnán,​25 a descendant of Columba's grandfather, and later himself abbot of Iona; and though the Life, like all hagiography of that time, contains much that is inadmissible, yet in its broad outline it is a relatively trustworthy work. The picture of the saint which it presents is typical of the Celtic Church at its best, especially in his humility, his sanctity, and the simplicity of the life which he led.

Columba's traditional birthplace was Gartán in Donegal, and he was the great-grandson of Conall Gulbán, son of the founder of the Northern Uí Néill, the so‑called High-King of Ireland. He himself stood near in the succession to the throne of Tara; but he abandoned his secular prospects, and c. 563 sailed to the newly founded kingdom of Dálriada in Scotland, and founded the monastery on Iona. From here, as we are told by Bede (H. E. III.4) he converted the Northern Picts, at this time ruled by Brude mac Maelchon, whom Adamnán tells us the saint visited in his villa regia — possibly on more than one occasion — and whose magus ('wise man', also called his nutricius) he confounded by his miracles.

Many legends relate the cause of Columba's migration to Iona, none of them wholly satisfactory; but the kingdom of Dálriada, already probably Christian, must have offered  p149 scope for the statesman­ship of this exceptionally able Christian priest. Subsequent history, as we learn from Adamnán, makes it clear that he was the strongest force in the new kingdom, and that he advised and directed its king Aedán mac Gabráin, and enjoyed his confidence throughout his life. His political relations with Brude must have been the paramount influence in securing the stability of both Dálriada, and the community of Iona. Everything that we know of him suggests that he was the most influential man in the political, no less than the spiritual, life of western Scotland in the sixth century.

Columba never became a bishop, and Bede notes it as a peculiarity of this branch of the Celtic Church that it was always ruled by presbyters. It is hardly less remarkable that, whereas few foundations are ascribed to his personal efforts, the abbot of Iona became the head of the largest and most powerful organisation of the Celtic Church. Moreover, though he is not represented as undertaking extensive missionary work, the Church of Iona rapidly spread throughout Scotland, and despite Bede's statement that the Southern Picts had been converted by St Ninian, it was the Columban Church which Nechtan IV dismissed across Druim Alban when he adopted the Roman rite in 717. Already in the early seventh century the monastery of Old Melrose had been founded in the tradition of Irish monasticism, and Eata, its first abbot, had been one of the twelve original pupils of St Aidan from Iona. St Cuthbert entered as a monk in 651 and from there visited the double monastery of Coldingham on St Abb's Head.

By a dramatic coincidence the date of the death of St Columba, A.D. 597, is also that of the arrival of St Augustine in Britain, coming as missionary from Rome to the Saxon kingdom in Kent. We are at the parting of the ways. The Celtic Church had many years of valuable spiritual life before it, and perhaps its greatest achievement, the establishment of  p150 Christianity in Northumbria, was still in the future. Nevertheless the arrival of the great Augustine from Rome, and his establishment of the cathedral at Canterbury, constituted the beginning of the Church that was finally to supersede the Celtic Order, first in the Saxon kingdom, and later throughout the British Isles.

The newly established Canterbury Church had two obvious duties before it — first to establish unity with the Christian British Church already established, and then to convert the Saxon kingdoms which still remained heathen. Bede relates how Augustine in the early days of his mission made two journeys to the western Border to seek to induce the British bishops and their most learned men (plures viri doctissimi) to observe Catholic unity and to join with him in preaching the Gospel to the heathen. Bede, our only authority for these meetings, tells the story in full saga style — the interviews, the scenes, the conversations, and the final conclusion and punishment of the obdurate British in the disastrous Battle of Chester in fulfilment of Augustine's prophecy. The whole is an admirably constructed short story, totally different in style from that in which the scriptorium at Canterbury would couch its documents. Perhaps Bede's informant was a Mercian monk, like Pecthelm, pupil of Aldhelm of Malmesbury, from whom he obtained other Mercian stories (H. E. V.13, 18).

The next mission from Canterbury was directed towards the heathen of Northumbria. Bede tells us (H. E. I.29) that Paulinus, who had accompanied Augustine from Pope Gregory, was sent north from Canterbury to the court of King Edwin as chaplain to his wife, and for long he sought the conversion of Edwin himself, till at last in 627 the king convened his counsellors at Whitby to ascertain their views. The story is too well known to need repeating here. We all recall the passage which first charmed us in Anglo-Saxon history —  p151 the worldly and naïve speech of the heathen priest Coifi, and the moving idealism in the speech of the unnamed alderman who likened our brief span of life to that of the flight of a sparrow from the darkness of a stormy night through the brightness of a king's hall, then out into the darkness again: 'So is this life of man. Of what went before, or what will follow, we know nothing. If this new doctrine has something more certain we ought to follow it' (H. E. II.13). This is where rhetoric and eloquence are indistinguishable.

The king was baptised at York in the same year. His subjects accepted the faith and for six years Paulinus continued to preach and baptise in Northumbria. His see was fixed at York, and the building of a splendid church there was begun; but before it could be completed Edwin perished in battle in 632 or 633, and a heathen reaction set in. Paulinus had to flee to Canterbury, taking the queen and her sons with him. A year later, with the restoration of the old royal line, Christianity was again restored by the new king Oswald (634‑641), who during Edwin's reign had been living in exile in Scotland, and had received Christianity from the monks of Iona (Bede, H. E. III.1).

The Christianity now introduced into Northumbria was very different in form from that of Paulinus earlier. Oswald appealed to Iona for help, and in response Aidan and a small group of monks established a monastery on the island of Lindisfarne, and within twenty years the Celtic form of Christianity was firmly established throughout Northumbria, with a rapid growth of monasticism, and the asceticism of Celtic practice. Bede, despite his whole-hearted devotion to the Roman Order, nevertheless bestows on the simplicity and beauty of Aidan's life the noblest praise accorded to anyone in his Ecclesiastical History.

The Celtic Church of Northumbria established by Aidan and his followers was in itself something of a mission Church,  p152 and in the following half-century Celtic missionaries had penetrated into many other parts of England, not only as independent ascetics but also as colleagues of Anglo-Saxon bishops and under the auspices of Anglo-Saxon kings. About the time of the withdrawal of Paulinus from Northumbria, East Anglia received a mission from Bishop Felix, who had been consecrated in Gaul; he was granted a see at Dunwich by the East Anglian king Sigeberht. Yet within a few years the king also allowed an Irish ascetic named Fursa to settle within his territory in a deserted fortress, preferably Burgh Castle, and here he was succeeded by his brother Foilán.

Under Aidan's successor, Fínán, the Celtic form of Northumbrian Christianity was extended south of the Humber, and Peada, the son of the heathen king Penda, was baptised. Penda himself allowed four priests to settle in his territory, all of whom appear to have followed Irish usage, owing both origin and obedience to Lindisfarne; and the see of Mercia seems to have been independent of Canterbury till 699, when Archbishop Theodore fixed the seat at Lichfield. The position of the growth of Christianity in England has been justly summed up by Sir Frank Stenton: 'There is little profit in trying to assess the relative importance of the Irish and the Continental influences in the Conversion of the English. . . . The strands of Irish and Continental influence were interwoven in every kingdom, and at every stage of the process by which England became Christian.'26

There was no clash of doctrine or of ideals between the Celtic and the Roman Orders, no difference in the form or the functions of the hierarchy, or in the fundamental order of church services. The bishop was always and everywhere the spiritual head of the Church, and he alone had the right to consecrate other bishops, and all new churches and cemeteries. The rights of an abbot did not extend beyond the organisation of his monastery and its affiliations. These had, however,  p153 grown to be institutions of great power, as in Gaul, where their influence in episcopal elections was viewed with disfavour by Pope Celestine.​27 In England also a division arose which focused itself on differences of organisation. In details of procedure the Celtic Order seemed impracticably out-of‑date to the Roman representatives at Canterbury. The most obvious of these discrepancies was the unreformed calculation of the date of Easter, resulting in not only a lack of uniformity in Church usage, but also in actual practical difficulties.

Already in the early seventh century a series of letters from Canterbury and Rome had urged the Irish and the Britons to conform with the rite of the Catholic Church and the peace and unity which it had spread throughout the world. In 629 most of the south of Ireland celebrated Easter according to the Roman dating, but it was nearly 60 years before the north of Ireland was finally brought to change its ancient usage. The reform was ultimately brought about largely through the efforts of the Northumbrian monk Ecgberht and Adamnán, abbot of Iona, who had been converted to the Roman usage during a visit to the Northumbrian court. It was not, however, until 716 that the Columban Church of Iona came under the Roman obedience, just about the time when Nechtan IV had accepted it for the Southern Picts. In Northumbria the change crystallised as a practical issue. The habits of King Oswiu, who had been trained in exile in Iona, were naturally those of the Celtic party, but his wife, a daughter of King Edwin, had been trained at Canterbury. Bede, with his natural instinct for a dramatic situation, pictures the court and the king celebrating Easter according to the old dating of the Celtic Church while the queen and her followers were still fasting and observing Palm Sunday. Obviously this could not continue, and at a 'synod' at Whitby in 663, the point was debated,​28 as a result of which the king gave his decision in favour of conformity to Roman usage.

 p154  There was no looking back. The Synod of Whitby inaugurated a new era for the Church in Britain, and the Roman obedience gradually spread throughout the Western World. Oswiu's son Ecgfrith (670‑685), a zealous Christian, did much to develop the newly established uniformity. It was about this time that the Church spread northwards into the Scottish Lowlands. But important as the Synod of Whitby was in the history of the British Church it was only a detail in the widespread movement towards uniformity in the Church of western Europe. The monastic Church, established probably in the sixth century in Spanish Galicia, had already accepted the Easter reckoning and the Roman tonsure at the fourth Council of Toledo in 633,​29 and by the middle of the eighth century the change had become general in most of the Celtic foundations of central Europe. The end of the Celtic Church was in sight; but custom changes slowly, and the process was everywhere a gradual one. In Britain it was more than half a century after the Whitby Synod that the Southern Picts conformed, and in Wales not till after Bede's death. Our earliest notice for Wales is in the Annales Cambriae for 665, where it is stated that 'Easter is changed among the Britons'. In Devon and Cornwall, Bede tells us (H. E. V.18), Aldhelm, abbot of Malmesbury and afterwards bishop of Sherborne, persuaded many of the Britons to conform,​30 but it was not until Athelstan's reign that the British bishop Conan submitted to Archbishop Wulfstan of Canterbury, and was nominated to the see of Bodmin in 936.

The controversy had not been inspired by petty issues. The timing of Easter and the nature of the tonsure were symbols of the fundamental principles for which the Celtic and the Roman parties were contesting. British Christianity had had a long history and high ideals, and it was natural that the Celtic peoples should cling loyally to the traditional form with which they were familiar. On the other hand it was equally natural  p155 that those who had received their training from the cultured Continental centres should realise the paramount need for unity and obedience if Christianity was to survive. The issue was deeply serious and devoid of rancour, and the controversy was carried on with dignity and mutual respect. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the long struggle is the absence of persecution. It would be idle to claim that political issues were not involved; but there is no record that either side made use of force. They were honourable opponents.

Looking back at this distance in time, we can realize something of the mental stimulus that the contest must have given to both the Celtic and the Roman parties. The absence of persecution was an all-important element in this stimulus, affording freedom for frank expression. Scriptoria were set a-buzzing to record whatever was deemed relevant to the claims of both parties. To the Celtic peoples especially it was important to set down in written form what had previously been transmitted orally and had been good enough for home use, but stood no chance beside the cultured written documents of the Roman party. The Lives of the Celtic saints must be recorded, and the basic traditions of their 'rule'. We may probably attribute the rise and spread of written literature among the Celtic peoples largely to the need felt to record their traditions and their customs in a manner worthy to compete with their more cultured opponents. Indeed, we may go further and claim that most of the literature of our period in Britain — Celtic and Saxon alike — was inspired directly or indirectly by the need felt by them to articulate the ideals for which they were contending, and which resulted in the greatest intellectual movement in the first millennium of our history. Bede's contribution to the history of the Church in Britain, and to our own early history, was prompted by his desire to offer a worthy picture of the Roman Church, to the service of which he had given his life, and which he lived to see supreme in our Islands.

 p165  The Author's Notes:

1 For the earliest references to Christianity in Britain, see H. Williams, C. E. B., 1‑138; J. M. C. Toynbee, J. B. A. A. XVI (1953).

2 Levison, 'St Alban and St Albans', Antiquity XV (1941), 337.

3 Richmond, Arch. J. CIII (1947), 64.

4 For Pelagius, see de Plinval, Pélage, ses Écrits, sa Vie, et sa Réforme (Lausanne, 1943); Ferguson, Pelagius (Cambridge, 1956).

5 Epitoma Chronicon, at 429.

6 The present writer has discussed the evidence for St Germanus in P. L., ch. 9.

7 Edited by Caspari, and translated by Haslehurst. For more precise references see the present writer in Chadwick, S. E. B. H., 210.

8 The literary evidence has been collected by the writer in Chadwick, ibid., ch. 8.

9 The precise details of his route are not recorded. For a general account see Kenney, S. E. H. I., 187; Walker, S. C. O. IX.

10 For recent works on St Patrick, see the studies of Bury, Bieler and Carney. The most recent and authoritative is that of Binchy, S. H. 2 (1962), 1.

11 The most recent study of St Ninian is by MacQueen.

12 Or possibly 'according to monastic discipline'.

13 The name undoubtedly refers to the exceptional building technique of dressed stone, in contrast to the wooden buildings which were common at that period. Cf. Belgrade (Beograd, 'White City') or the popular name of Moscow in Russian folk-songs, Belokamennaya Moskva, 'Moscow of the white stone walls', referring to the dressed stone, faceted or rusticated, of the Kremlin.

14 For an account of these documents and their relation­ship to the Ninian tradition see Levison, Antiquity XIV (1940), 280.

 p166  15 I have discussed some aspects of St Ninian in T. D. G. S. XXVII (1959), 9.

16 Evidence relating to individual British saints is collected by Baring-Gould and Fisher, L. B. S. A recent comprehensive series of studies of the Lives of the saints of Cornwall, Brittany, and Wales by the late Canon Doble, published in 'The Cornish Saints' series over a number of years at various places in southern England and Wales is valuable. For the saints more especially of Wales, see also Bowen, Settlements; also Conway Davies, J. H. S. C. W.; for Cornwall, see Chope, Halliday, Hencken; for Somerset, see Radford, P. S. A. Som.; for the Isle of Man, see Ashley, Kinvig.

17 Chief text and study by Fawtier, Engl. transl. by Taylor.

18 Baring-Gould and Fisher, I, 318; Gougaud, C. C. L., 102, n. 2; Chope, B. H., ch. II, and Appendices, pp210, 212.

19 Cooper-Marsdin, H. I. L., 54. For the island sanctuaries in western Europe see also N. K. Chadwick, L, ch. VI.

20 See M. and L. de Paor, E. C. I., 54.

Thayer's Note: For Skellig Michael and its recent restorations, see Horn et al., The Forgotten Hermitage of Skellig Michael and a sharply contrasting viewpoint, Skellig Michael: The Fabrication of History.

21 J. Anderson, S. E. C. T. I, 113 ff.; Stewart, Ronay (Oxford, 1937); Nisbet and Gailey, Arch. J. CXVI (1961), 88.

22 Book of Llandav, 282.

23 Radford, Birsay; ibid., in Wainwright, N. I., 113, 160.

24 For the date and value of this document see Grosjean, A. B. LXXIII (1955), and for the text see Haddan and Stubbs, Councils II, Pt. II, 292.

25 Edited by Reeves, also more recently (with English translation) by A. O. and M. O. Anderson; and for Adamnán's sources, see the latter, p18, with important references to Brüning and to Kenney.

26 Anglo-Saxon England2, (Oxford, 1950), 124.

27 See his famous letter to the bishops in Gaul in 428, Mansi, Councils III, 264; Migne, Patrologiae Latinae I, col. 430.

28 Bede (H. E. III.25), following a widespread literary convention, reports the debate in the style of a dispute between two opponents before a judge. See also the account by Eddius in his Life of Bishop Wilfrid, Colgrave, Eddius, Cap. X.

29 Haddan and Stubbs, Councils II, Pt. I, 99.

30 By his famous letter to King 'Geruntius (Gereint) Occidentalis regni', i.e. Devon and Cornwall. Haddan and Stubbs, Councils III, 268.

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