Much Healing and Teaching

Reliquary containing the skull of St. Valentine, M., in Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome.

Sextodécimo Kaléndas Mártii Luna septima decima Anno 2017 Domini

Romæ, via Flamínia, natális sancti Valentíni, Presbýteri et Mártyris, qui, post multa sanitátum et doctrínæ insígnia, fústibus cæsus et decollátus est, sub Cláudio Cǽsare.

Brecbannoch

The Monymusk Reliquary, Plate 11 from Sculptured Stones of Scotland, Volume II, Aberdeen: printed for the Spalding Club, 1856.
The Monymusk Reliquary, Plate 11 from Sculptured Stones of Scotland, Volume II, Aberdeen: printed for the Spalding Club, 1856.

BRECBANNOCH. Between the years 1204 and 1211, King William the Lion granted to the monks of Arbroath “custodiam de Brechbennoche,” and “cum predicta Brachbennoche terram de Forglint datam Deo et sancto Columbe et le Brachbennache,” on the tenure “faciendo inde servicium quod michi in exercitu debetur de terra ilia cum predicta Brachbennache.” This grant is recited in the charter of Arbroath, passed by the same king in 1211-1214; and substantially repeated in a confirmation by King Alexander II. in 1214-1218. In 1314 the convent grants to Malcolm of Monimusk “totam terram nostram de Forglen que pertinet ad Bracbennach cum omnibus pertinenciis suis una cum jure patronatus ecclesie ejusdem terre.  . . . Dictus vero Malcolmus et heredes sui facient in exercitu domini Regis nomine nostro servicium pro dicta terra quod pertinet ad Bracbennach quociens opus fuerit.” From the Monimusks the lands of Forglen, with the custody of the Bracbennach, passed by inheritance to the Urrys and the Frasers, in the latter of which families they were found in 1388. In 1411 they were surrendered to the convent, and about 1420 they were conferred on Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum. In 1847 [sic; perhaps 1478?] they had passed to his grandson, who held them of the abbot and convent by service of ward and relief, “ferendi vexillum de Brekbennach in exercitu Regis,” and the payment of the annual rent of 40 shillings. In 1481 Alexander Irvine did homage for these lands and purtenances to the abbot, who “dixit et constituit ut tenentes regalitatis dicti monasterii de Aberbrothoc ubicumque existentes cum dicto Alexandro ad exercitum domini nostri Regis sub le Brecbennoch videlicet sub vexillo dictorum abbatis et conventus meabunt et equitabunt cum requisiti fuerint per dictum dominum abbatem et conventum dicti monasterii et suos successores pro defensione Regis et regni.” In 1483 Alexander Irvine had a charter of the lands of Forgone, the the advowson of the church “faciendo in exercitu domini nostri Regis servicium de le Brekbannach debitum et consuetum.” And lastly, in 1494 it was found that Alexander Irvine was the lawful heir of Alexander Irvine of Drum, his father, in the lands of Forglen, with the advowson of the church, held as above. From these notices we learn that this reliquary was a banner, and held so sacred in the beginning of the thirteenth century that it was named in the dedication clause of the earliest charter. Also, that it was coupled with St. Columba’s name, not because the abbey of Arbroath was under his invocation, for it was under that of St. Thomas of Canterbury; nor because he was patron saint of the parish, for St. Adamnan was reputed to be so; but, as we may conceive, because this banner was in some way connected with St. Columba s history, either by use or blessing. Possibly it was like the Vexillum Sancti Cuthberti, so fatal to the Scots at Neville’s Cross.

Ther did appeare to Johne Fossour, the Prior of the Abbey at Durham, a vision commanding him to take the holie Corporax Cloth, which was within the corporax, wherewith Saint Cuthbert did cover the chalice, when he used to say masse, and to put the same hole relique, like unto a Banner, upon a spare point.

The name Brecbannach seems to be formed from breac beannaighthe, “maculosum benedictum,” and denoted something like the bratacha breac-mergeada, pallia maculatorum vexillorum, which were carried in the battle of Magh Rath. The Brecbannach probably served a double purpose, being, like the Banner of Cuthbert, “shewed and carried in the abbey on festivall and principall daies,” and also “presented and carried to any battle, as occasion should serve.” Whence King William obtained the reliquary is not stated. Probably it had been kept in the parish of Forglen by the hereditary tenants of the church lands. Between 1172 and 1180 the king granted to the Canons of Holyrood the rights, tithes, and obventions of four churches in Cantyre, which had previously been enjoyed by the abbey of Hy; and his grant of this reliquary, with its appurtenances, to Arbroath, may have been a transfer of a like nature.

— Dr. William Reeves in the Introduction to his translation of St. Adomnán’s Life of Saint Columba, 1874.

 

Coigerach

The Coigerach (crosier, though the word itself signifies pilgrim or stranger) of St. Fillan in the Museum of Scotland.
The Coigerach (crosier, though the word itself signifies pilgrim or stranger) of St. Fillan in the Museum of Scotland.

Among the charters of lands, were found some documents of a less common character, and affecting less substantial rights, viz., the privileges attached to the custody of a certain relic of St. Fillan. Fillan, the son of Kentigerna, was of old reverence in the valleys of Breadalbane, and his monastery in Glendochart was still of such consequence in the time of William the Lion, that the Abbot, whether then a churchman or secularised, was named among the magnates of power to support the operation of a particular law beyond the reach of common legal process. It was a century later that a relic of St. Fillan is said (by Boece) to have been the subject of a notable miracle, which Bruce turned to account for encouraging his soldiers at Bannockburn. The story may be received as evidence of the reverence paid to St. Fillan in the historian’s time. That it continued afterwards, we learn from the following documents, though, I fear, they shew that his relics were degraded to the purpose of tracing stolen goods. The particular one which forms the subject of these instruments, the Coygerach, was known within the present generation in the hands of the family of Jore or Dewar, who so early vindicated its possession. It is the head of a staff or crozier of a Bishop or mitred Abbot, of silver gilt, elaborately and elegantly ornamented with a sort of diapered chasing. It is described and figured in the Transactions of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Vol. III., p. 290; and in Dr. Wilson’s Archaeology of Scotland, p. 664.

Two of these documents have been printed before, but from imperfect and faulty copies. They are now given for the originals:–

I.

Hec Inquisitio facta apud Kandrochid xxii die mensis Aprilis, anno Domini millesimo quadringentesimo xxviii., coram Johanne de Spens de Perth, ballivo de Glendochirde, de et super autoritate et privilegijs cujusdam Reliquie Sancti Felani, que vulgariter dicitur Coygerach, per istos subscriptos, viz.: Karulum Cambell, Reginaldum Malcolmi, Donaldum M’Arthour, Cristinum Malcolmi, Johannem M’Nab, Patricium M’Nab, Johannem Alexandri M’Nab, Johannem Menzies, Duncanum Gregorii, Dugallum Gregory, Duncanum Elpine, Alexandrum M’Austillan, Nicolaum Gregorij, Johannem M’Callura, et Felanum Pauli, Qui jurati magno sacramento dicunt, Quod lator ipsius reliquie de Coygerach, qui Jore vulgariter dicitur, habere debut annuatim et hereditarie a quolibet inhabitante parochiam de Glendochirde, habente vel laborante mercatam terre, sive libere sive pro finna, dimidiam bollam farine, et de quolibet in dicta parochia habente dimidiam mercatam terre ut predicitur, libere vel pro firma, medium farine, et de quolibet in ista parochia habente quadraginta denariatas terre, dimidiam modij farine. Et si quivis alius inhabitans dictam parochiam magis quam mercatam terre haberet nihil magis solveret quam ordinatum fuit de una mercata terre. Et quod officium gerendi dictam reliquiam dabatur cuidam progenitori Finlai Jore latoris presentium hereditarie, per successorem Sancti Felani, cui officio idem Finlaius est verus et legittimus heres. Et quod ipsa privilegia usa fuerunt et habita in tempore Regis Roberti Bruys et in tempore omnium regum a tunc usque in hodiernum diem. Pro quibus commodis et privilegijs, prefati jurati dicunt quod si contigerit aliqua bona vel catalla rapta esse vel furata ab aliquo dictam parochiam de Glendochirde inhabitante, et is a quo ipsa bona vel catalla rapta essent vel furata, propter dubium sue persone vel inimicitias hostium, eadem bona vel catalla prosequi non auderet, tunc unum servum suum vel hominem mitteret ad eundem Jore de le Coygerach, cum quatuor denariis vel pare sotularum, cum victu prime noctis, et tunc idem Jore abinde suis proprijs expensis prosequetur dicta catalla ubicunque exinde sectum querere poterit infra regnum Scotie. Et hec universa per dictam iniquisitionem fuerunt inventa, anno, die, loco et mense predominates. In cujus rei testimonium sigillum Johannis de Spens ballivi antedicti presentibus est appensum, anno, die, et loco supradictis.

II.

Another Instrument, not hitherto printed, records that on the 9th of February 1468, Margaret de Striveling, lady of Glenurquha,–

In curia de Glendochyrt tenta apud Kandrocht Kilin per balivum ejusdem a Johanne M’Molcalum M’Gregour petiit firmas suas de terris de Coreheynan. Qui Johannes respondebat plane in facie prefate curie coram omnibus ibidem existentibus denegauit et dixit quod non accepit assedationem dictarum terrarum a dicta domina Margareta sed a Deore de Meser et quod non tenebatur in aliquas firmas de terminis elapsis quia solvit illas dicto Deor’ a quo accepit prefatas terras. Testibus, Colino Campbel de Glenurquhay milite, domino Mauricio M’Nachtag et domino Roberto M’Inayr, vicariis de Inchecadyn et Kilin, Johanne de Stirling, &c.

III.

LITERA PRO MALISEO DOIRE, COMMORAN’ IN STRAFULANE.

JAMES be the grace of God King of Scottis to all and sindri our liegis and subditis spirituale and temporale to quhois knaulege this our lettre salcum greting. Forsemekle as we haue undirstand that our servitour Malice Doire and his forebearis has had ane Relik of Sanct Fulane callit the Quegrith in keping of us and of oure progenitouris of maist nobill mynde quham God assolye sen the tyme of King Robert the Bruys and of before, and made nane obedience nor ansuere to na persoun spirituale nor temporale in ony thing concernyng the said haly Relik uthir wayis than is contenit in the auld infeftments thereof made and grantit be oure said progenitouris; We chairg you therefor strately and commandis that in tyme to cum ye and ilkane of you redily ansuere, intend and obey to the said Malise Doire in the peciable broiking joicing of the said Relik, and that ye na nain of you tak upon hand to compell nor distrenye him to mak obedience nor ansuere to you nor till ony uthir bot allenarly to us and oure successouris, according to the said infeftment and fundatioun of the said Relik, and siclike as wes uss and wount in the tyme of oure said progenitouris of maist nobill mynde of before; And that ye mak him nane impediment, letting nor distroublance in the passing with the said Relik throu the contre, as he and his forebearis wes wount to do; And that ye and ilk ane of you in oure name and autorite kepe him unthrallit, bot to remane in siclike fredome and liberte of the said Relik, like as is contenit in the said infeftment, undir all the hiest pane and charge that ye and ilk ane of you may amitt, and inrun anent us in that pairt. Gevin undir oure priue sele at Edinburgh this vj day of Julij, the yere of God jm iiijc lxxxvii yeris and of oure regnne the xxvij yere.

JAMES R.

The Coygerach of St. Fillan was long afterwards known in the Highlands of Perthshire. The last of these deeds was registered as a probative writ at Edinburgh, 1st November 1734 ; and M. Latocnaye, who made a tour in Britain in this notice of the 1795, gives notice of the Relic,– “Ayant vu l’annonce d’une fameuse relique, en la possession d’un paysan aux environs, nous avons demandé à la voir. Elle ressemble assez au haut bout d’une crosse d’évêque, et est d’argent doré. Le bon homme qui nous l’a montré, et qui gagne quelque pen d’argent avec elle, vraisemblablement pour augmenter notre intérêt, nous a dit très sérieusement, que quand les bestiaux étaient enragés, il suffisait de leur faire boire de l’eau passée par l’intérieur de sa relique; l’eau bouillone sur le champ quand le remède ne veut pas opérer, (d’où on pourrait conclure qu’il opère souvent,) et que l’on venait de plus de cent milles chercher de son eau. . . Quoiqu’il en soit, j’ai été charmé de trouver une relique parmi les Presbyteriens.”

The Relic, it is believed, has been for some years in Canada, but whether it retains its virtues in the New World is unknown.

— reproduced in Cosmo Nelson Innes’ Preface to The Black Book of Taymouth: with Other Papers from the Breadalbane Charter Room, Edinburgh, 1850.

Manfully to Triumph Over Tyrannical Madness

Reliquary of St. Thomas Becket. Champlevé copper, engraved, chased, enameled and gilt. Limoges, ca. 1190–1200. From Palencia, region of León, Spain. Musée national du Moyen Âge, Paris, France.
Reliquary of St. Thomas Becket. Champlevé copper, engraved, chased, enameled and gilt. Limoges, ca. 1190–1200. From Palencia, region of León, Spain. Musée national du Moyen Âge, Paris, France.

O God, who hast not without reason mingled the birthday of the glorious high-priest, Thomas, with the joys of thy nativity, by the intervention of his merits, make these thy servants venerate thy majesty with the reverence of due honour. Amen. And as he, according to the rule of a good shepherd, gave his life for his sheep, so grant thou to thy faithful ones, to fear no tyrannical madness to the prejudice of Catholic truth. Amen. We ask that they, by his example, for obedience to the holy laws, may learn to despise persons, and by suffering manfully to triumph over tyrannical madness. Amen.

— Prayer for the Feast of St. Thomas Becket, listed under the heading “Proper Benedictions for the Circuit of the Year,” from a pontifical of Anianus, Bishop of Bangor (1268).

Relics of Patrick

The Bell of St. Patrick and its Shrine; Armagh, Ireland.
Shrine of the Bell of St. Patrick’s Will; National Museum of Ireland.

The relics of Patrick were enshrined sixty years after his death by Columcille. Three precious reliquaries were found in the tomb, sc. the Cup, the Angel’s Gospel, and the Bell of the Will. The angel directed Columcille to divide the three reliquaries thus: the Cup to Down, the Bell of the Will to Armagh, the Gospel of the Angel to Columcille himself. And it is called the Gospel of the Angel, because Columcille received it at the Angel’s hand.

Annals of Ulster, U553.3,
copied from a chronicle called the Book of Cuanu.

Dreikönigsschrein

Shrine of the Three Kings, Cologne Cathedral; Parts of the shrine were designed by the famous medieval goldsmith Nicholas of Verdun, who began work on it in 1180 or 1181. It has elaborate gold sculptures of the prophets and apostles, and scenes from the life of Christ. The shrine was completed circa 1225.
Shrine of the Three Kings, Cologne Cathedral; parts of the shrine were designed by the mediæval goldsmith Nicholas of Verdun, who began work on it in 1180 or 1181. It bears elaborate gold sculptures of the Prophets and Apostles, and scenes from the life of Christ. The shrine was completed circa 1225.

Temporibus domini Philippi episcopi, qui successit Reinoldo, fabricata est eis capsa … sicut nobis narraverunt qui presentes erant eorum translatoni …

Floss, Dreikoenigenbuch, 1864, page 116-122 (Latin); copy in MGH 25, 108.

Brecbennoch of St. Columba

The Monymusk Reliquary is an VIII century Scottish reliquary made of wood and metal characterised by an Insular fusion of Gaelic and Pictish design and Anglo-Saxon metalworking, probably by Ionan monks. It has been said to be the Brecbennoch of St. Columba (modern Gaelic Breac Bannoch or “embossed peaked-thing”), a sacred battle ensign of the Scottish army, used for saintly intercession.