In the meantime, three vessels, exiled from Germany, arrived in Britain. They were commanded by Horsa and Hengist, brothers, and sons of Wihtgils. Wihtgils was the son of Witta; Witta of Wecta; Wecta of Woden; Woden of Frithowald, Frithowald of Frithuwulf; Frithuwulf of Finn; Finn of Godwulf; Godwulf of Geat, who, as they say, was the son of a god, not of the omnipotent God and our Lord Jesus Christ (who before the beginning of the world, was with the Father and the Holy Spirit, co-eternal and of the same substance, and who, in compassion to human nature, disdained not to assume the form of a servant), but the offspring of one of their idols, and whom, blinded by some demon, they worshipped according to the custom of the heathen. Vortigern received them as friends, and delivered up to them the island which is in their language called Thanet, and, by the Britons, Ruym. Gratianus Æquantius at that time reigned in Rome. The Saxons were received by Vortigern, four hundred and forty-seven years after the passion of Christ, and, according to the tradition of our ancestors, from the period of their first arrival in Britain, to the first year of the reign of king Edmund, five hundred and forty-two years; and to that in which we now write, which is the fifth of his reign, five hundred and forty-seven years.
The first prey by the Saxons from Ireland or in Ireland.
— Annals of Ulster, U434.1.
The Angles came to England.
— Annals of Ulster, U464.2.
The second prey of the Saxons from Ireland (as some state) was carried off this year, as Maucteus (Mochta) says. Thus I have found in the Book of Cuanu.
— Annals of Ulster, U471.1.
[These are the only V century citations of the “English” in the Annals of Ulster. In 409 or 410, the Romano-British were either invited by the emperor to see to their own defence or rather expelled the Roman magistrates from their cities, effectively ending Roman rule in Britain.]
Now when Colombcille had made round of all Ireland, and when he had sown faith and belief, and when numerous hosts and been baptized by him, and when he had founded churches and holy dwellings, when he left elders and reliquaries and relics therein, the determination which he had resolved on from the beginning of his life came to his mind, namely, to go into pilgrimage. He then minded to go over sea to preach God’s word to Highlanders and to Britons and Saxons.
So he fared forth on expedition. Forty-two years was his age went he went. Thirty-four he lived in Scotland. Seventy-seven was his full age. And the number that went (with him) was twenty bishops, forty priests, thirty deacons, fifty students; ut dixit—
Forty priests was their number,
Twenty bishops, a noble strength!
For the psalmody without work.
Thirty deacons, fifty boys.
He fared then in happy mood till he came to the stead which to-day is named Hii of Colombcille. On the night of Pentecost he reached it. Two bishops who were biding in the island came to cast him out of it. But God revealed to Colombcille that in truth they were not bishops, whereupon they left the island to him when he told of them their story and what they ought to perform.
Then said Colombcille to his household, ‘It is well for us that our roots should go under earth here;’ and he said to them, ‘It is permitted to you that some one of you go under the mould of this island to consecrate it.’ Odran rose up readily, and this he said: ‘If thou wouldst accept me,’ saith he ‘I am ready for that.’ ‘O Odran’ saith Colombcille ‘thereof shalt thou have the reward, namely, to none shall his request be granted at my grave, unless he shall seek it first of thee.’ Odran then fared to heaven.
Colomb then founded the church of Hii. Thrice fifty monks had he therein for contemplation and sixty for active life, as said (the poet)—
Wondrous the warriors who abode in Hii,
Thrice fifty in monastic rule,
With their boats along the sea,
Three score men a-rowing.
When Colombcille had founded Hii, he fared on his preaching throughout Scotland and Britons and Saxons; and he brought them to faith and belief after many miracles had been wrought by him, after bringing the dead to life out of death.
This post concerns a devotion to Our Lady that I suspect very, very few people are even aware. Hopefully this information will prove of interest to devotees and scholars of the Blessed Virgin. Interesting also is the record of vandalism against holy images by the Protestant Reformers as recorded in a native Irish annal for the year 1538.
The very miraculous image of Mary which was in the town of Ath-Truim, in which all the people of Erinn believed for a long time previously, which healed the blind, and deaf and lame, and every other ailment, was burnt by Saxons; and the Bachall-Isa, which was in the town of Ath-Cliath, working numerous prodigies and miracles in Erinn from the time of Saint Patrick to that date, and which had been in Christ’s own hand, was burned by Saxons in like manner; and not alone this, but there was not in Erinn a holy cross, or a figure of Mary, or an illustrious image, over which their power reached, that was not burned. And furthermore, there was not an Order of the seven Orders in their power that they did not destroy. And the pope, and the church abroad and at home, were excommunicating the Saxons on account thereof; but they had neither respect nor regard for that, et cetera. (And I am not certain that it is not in the last year above the burning of those relics should be).
— Annals of Loch Cé, LC1538.6.
* * *
“My bounden dutie unto your honerable Lordschip premysid. Theise shal be to advertise you, for that I endeavor my selff and also cause others of my clergie, to preache the Gospell of Christe and to set forthe the Kinge’s causes, there goeth a common brewte amonges the Yrish men that I intende to ploke down Our Lady of Tryme with other places of pilgramages, as the Holy Crosse and souch like, which in deade I never attempted, although my conscience wolde right well serve me to oppresse souche ydolles.” So runs the dispatch, dated June 20, 1538, from Browne, the first Anglican Archbishop of Dublin, to Henry the Eighth’s “vicar-general,” Thomas Cromwell.
“Our Ladye of Tryme” was a famous shrine of the Mother of God preserved in the abbey church of the Canons Regular at Trim, in Meath. Its story is but a brief chapter from the long and well-known history of the devotion of the Irish people to the Blessed Virgin, and the vandalism of the self-styled Reformers in our land.
The interesting town of Trim is situated pleasantly by the Boyne; in the olden time it was the seat of a bishopric, and possessed one of those puzzles to antiquarians, a Greek church; th[r]ough the Middles Ages parliaments and important gatherings were held in it. Its extensive remains of King John’s castle, its many ruined churches and frairies, still attest its former greatness. But perhaps more famous still was it for “its image of Mary” (dealb Muire, as it was called in Irish), that brought to the abbey of the Canons Regular pilgrims far and wide. I regret not to have been able to find the origin of the devotion, but will give such references as are made to it by our native annalists and in the State papers.
The first reference to it I find in the “Annals of the Four Masters,” where we read that “in the age of Christ 1397 Hugh MacMahon recovered his sight by fasting in honour of the Holy Cross at Raphoe, and of the image of Mary at Ath-Truim.” In Irish Our Lady is nearly always spoken of as Mary (Muire) — “Mary”; so St Patrick and the other saints are called “Patrick,” etc. Our Irish equivalent for “Good Morning” is, Dia agus Muire dhuit — “God and Mary be with thee”; and the frequent response is Dia agus Muire agus Padraig dhuit, — “God and Mary and Patrick be with thee.” It is sad to think that, unless great efforts be made by us to preserve our tongue, this beautiful greeting, with its invocation of Heaven[‘]s blessing, and its familiar tutoiement for stranger or neighbour, will soon be a thing of the past. But that must not be.
In 1412 again it is recorded that “the image of Our Lady at Ath Truim wrought many miracles.” Later on, in 1444, “a great miracle was wrought by the image of Mary at Trim — namely, it restored sight to a blind man, speech to a dumb man, the use of his feet to a cripple, and stretched out the hand of a person to whose side it had been fastened.
In 1472 a parliament was held at Naas (12 Edw., IV.) granted to the abbot and convent of the house of Our Blessed Lady of Trim and their successors two watermills in Trim, with their weirs, fisheries, etc.; trees in the park of Trim, and services of the villeins of the manor for the ordinary establishing, repairing, and continuance of a perpetual wax light from day to day and night to night burning before the image of our Blessed Lady in the pavement pedestal of Our Lady in the church of the said house; and for the support of four other wax tapers continually burning before the same at the Mass of the Holy Mary, at the anthem of Our Lady, to the honour of God and our said Lady, for the good estate of our sovereign lord and Cecilia his mother, and of his children, and for the souls of their progenitors and ancestors.
Trim was on the outmost borders of the English Pale; outside its walls the native clans held sway. To kill an Irishman beyond the Pale was no crime in English law, but a special act was passed by Parliament to allow the “rebel” to come and pay his homage without fear of death at Our Lady’s shrine at Trim. I have searched in vain for any description of a pilgrimage to it, but we can well imagine how on Mary’s festal days the saffron-gowned clansmen, the armoured invader, and the burgesses from Dublin and Drogheda thronged through the Sheep-gate or the Water-gate, hurrying to the blissful shrine. Then, too, would the Dominican from the Assumption, and the Franciscan for St Bonaventure’s; the Canon of St Victor, of Newton, and the cowled friar, leave their convents to join their brethren at St Mary’s in hymning the Virgin’s praise.
— The Month of Mary. Our Lady of Trim.
By Pierce Laurence Mary Nolan B.A., in the Ave Maria. New Zealand Tablet, Rōrahi XXI, Putanga 3, 18 Haratua 1894, Page 4.
(transcribed by Christian Clay Columba Campbell).