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Sed quanquam utilitates multae et magnae 
consecutae sunt, non sunt taraen ab earura spe 
causae diligendi profectae. 



IN one of the most brilliant of modern books its 
author ^ calls attention to the common fallacy 
which assumes that " if you can find a principle 
which gives an adequate explanation of three different 
facts it is more likely to correspond with the truth 
than three different principles which give adequate 
explanations of the same facts severally." 

This fallacy underlies much that is being urged in 
favour of a common origin for religious doctrines and 
methods of worship. A single source of religious 
belief or of religious phenomena is preferred to several 
sources as being more tidy and more in keeping with 
what we have learnt to expect in other departments 
of research. It may be illogical, but still it is recom- 
mended as a safe guide to the truth. 

Indeed, it is difficult for a modern student to con- 
ceive how any real advance can be made in scientific 
pursuits unless the principle, which prefers one ex- 
planation of phenomena to many, is favoured. 

Before the days of Kepler and of Newton it may 
have been possible, it may be possible still, to imagine 
more than one explanation of the fall of a heavy 
body to the ground and of the action of one inert 
mass upon another. The law of gravity, as elaborated 
by Newton, represents what, so far as we know, has 

^ R. A. Knox, Some Loose Stones, p. 89. 

viii Celtic Christtanky of Cornwal 

invariably happened and what we believe will in- 
variably happen in space between two or more bodies, 
namely, that they will, as heretofore, each attract all 
the other bodies directly as their mass and inversely 
as the square of their distance. This law is not 
merely preferred before all other laws ; it is the very 
foundation of the whole of what is called Physical 
Astronomy. It is a law to which there are, within 
its own province, no known exceptions. 

We accept this law not because we prefer one ex- 
planation to many, but because it meets not only the 
requirements of cases which might conceivably be 
explained in other ways but also the requirements of 
cases for which no other explanation has been sug- 
gested or conceived. Among laws, which are not 
received as self-evident, the law of gravity is unique. 
This will be clear to anyone who contrasts the secure 
position which it occupies with the perilous position 
occupied by laws which have been formulated within 
recent years. 

Men do not prefer Newton's explanation to other 
explanations : the evidence in its favour is so over- 
whelming that they feel compelled to accept it. 

It is far otherwise with other laws like evolution. 
These fascinate or repel from the very first. Prefer- 
ence undoubtedly enters into the complex intellectual 
process which leads us first to accept and then to 
defend this or that explanation of an array of facts. 
And this preference, admittedly illogical, may arise 
from our limited knowledge of the facts or from regard 
for some particular protagonist of one of many con- 
flicting theories ; but, other things being equal, it 
seizes hold of that explanation which claims to cover 
the most ground and to reconcile the largest number 

Preface ix 

of facts. It only becomes mischievous when it claims 

It is perhaps too readily assumed that in the domain 
of religious phenomena there is a law by which these 
phenomena are bounded and conditioned. Assuming 
such a law to exist, the attempts to formulate it will 
be directed in a greater or less degree by preference. 
For religious phenomena, by which is here meant 
the outward manifestations of religions, cannot be 
examined and classified, without a comprehensive 
knowledge of the religions themselves. And if, as a 
French ^vriter has contended, " the man who would 
write the history of a religion must believe it no 
longer but must have beheved it once," it follows 
that few persons, even in this versatile age, can claim 
to be proficient in more than three or four religions. 
From which it also follows that lack of knowledge 
must be supplied by fertility of imagination or by the 
exercise of preference on the part of him who employs 
the comparative method in order to discover the law. 

And yet, it is only by eliminating this personal 
element and by confining our attention to material 
which is neither inaccurate nor defective that we 
can hope to arrive at the truth. It must be confessed 
that the rough and ready generalisations with which 
we are so familiar in this connection and the lack of 
care which is taken in gathering and sifting the 
materials upon which they are based, almost lead us 
to despair of useful results. The attempt to evolve 
a law from insufficient data is like an attempt to 
measure volume in terms of two dimensions or like 
an attempt to classify animals without an intimate 
knowledge of them. A salamander has four legs and 
a tail : so has a sheep. A zoology based on these 

X Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

criteria alone would not carry us very far. The 
biologist might kindly step in with his law of evolu- 
tion and say some soothing w^ords respecting their 
common origin, but we should leave off where we 
began and know no more of those animals than 
we did at the start, namely, that they each have 
four legs and a tail.^ 

In studying religions those points of resemblance 
which are most obvious are sometimes the most mis- 
leading. And for this reason. The essence of a religion 
— what may be called its soul — is not always revealed 
in its methods of worship. This is said to be especially 
true of Buddhism, at least by those writers who, like 
Mr. Feilding, strive to commend it to the Western 
world. Certainly it is no disparagement of a true 
religion that it should have, in the department of 
worship, many points in common ^vith a false one. 
Every religion requires some machinery if it is to do 
its work. And it is more true to say of religions that 
they agree in machinery but differ in what they teach 
than to say that they agree in what they teach but 
differ in machinery. It would be most untrue, never- 
theless, to assert that these common elements have 
always been acquired in the same way or have meant 

* A friend of mine performed the surprising feat of evolving an 
entire system — god, religion, worshippers and all — out of much less 
than four legs and a tail. His only material consisted of a word, 
half-obsolete, of uncertain derivation and meaning. The jaw-bone 
in the hands of Samson was as nothing compared with the magic 
of tliis word in the mind of the valiant expositor of prehistoric 
religions. While reading the paper in which he proclaimed his 
discovery to a learned society, one could not fail to note the pro- 
found impression which it made upon the hearers or to admire the 
transparent sincerity of the reader. 

It will not surprise those who read this book to learn that its 
author spent some portion of the wakeful night which followed the 
reading of the paper in the composition of a simple liturgy to crown 
his friend's achievement. 

Preface xi 

the same thing or have been used with the same 
object. Before any deductions whatever can be 
legitimately drawn the religious })henomena must be 
submitted to the most rigorous scrutiny. Dates, 
places, distances count for more, whether the pheno- 
mena be prehistoric or historic, than almost anything 
save accurate definition. This will be clear if we take 
an imaginary case. Let us consider the eagle as an 
object of worship. In the year 4000 a.d. a popular 
archaeologist of liberal views notes the immense 
number of brass eagles which are unearthed from 
beneath the sites of ancient churches, and inasmuch 
as no mention is made in history and no rubric is to 
be found in any of the old service books of the func- 
tion assigned to the image of the king of birds, he 
comes to the conclusion that the Christians of the 
Victorian era were, in spite of much quarrelling con- 
cerning the point of the compass towards which the 
priest should stand at the altar and the use of lights 
and incense, united at least on one point — the worship 
of the eagle. He reflects that reverence for the eagle 
was as dear to the hearts of Roman soldiers as it was 
abhorrent to the Jews. He recalls the incident at 
Csesarea. He does not forget that long after the 
Roman Empire had ceased to be an important factor 
in European poHtics the Jews were regarded with 
unreasoning hatred. Putting two and two together 
he comes to the conclusion that Christians, in order to 
emphasise their contempt for Jewish susceptibilities, 
admitted into their religious system the cult of the 
eagle and that this cult attained its high-water mark 
in the nineteenth century. If it be objected that such 
a notion is altogether preposterous and absurd, that 
it is, in fact, an insult to average intelHgence to 


Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

attempt to influence human judgment by a fiction 
so transparent, it ought to be sufficient to recall the 
erudite expositions of rock basins, stone circles and 
dolmens which, elaborated by men of the highest 
eminence, were welcomed as brilliant discoveries by a 
generation by no means remote. It is a common 
enough practice, but it serves no useful purpose to 
hold up the wisdom of one age to the scorn of another. 
There are two cautions which are needed in all ages ; 
the first, that eminence in one department of human 
learning does not, of itself, constitute a qualification 
to pass authoritative judgments in other departments ; 
the second, that as all knowledge, when unhindered, 
is progressive the present generation may indeed 
hope to have got somewhat nearer the truth than its 
predecessors, but in virtue of the same principle it is 
still far from its final stage. 

Archaeology which at the beginning of the nineteenth 
century could hardly claim to be regarded as a science, 
had by the end of that century attained to the highest 
rank as a science. It has not outlived the record of 
past mistakes and some years may yet have to elapse 
before its achievements are fully recognised. 

It is impossible to discuss the Christianity of Corn- 
wall in its earlier stages without devoting some space 
to its Celtic inhabitants. This is all the more neces- 
sary because in the county there are many monu- 
ments, both pagan and Christian, and in some 
quarters there has been a disposition to confound 
them. Only by referring the pagan monuments to 
their true place in pre-history is it possible to avoid 
this confusion. 

For such knowledge as he possesses of archaeology 
the writer is largely indebted to M. Joseph Uechelette's 

Preface xiii 

Manuel d'Archeologie. There is no work in English 
which, based on sound principles, attempts, as this 
does, to cover the whole ground. Like the Principles 
of Geology the Manuel stands alone. 

When the losses in human life, due to the Great 
War, come to be reckoned up and those losses come to 
be analysed, there will be few names to take prece- 
dence of that of M. Dechelette. The Revue Celtique^ 
after expressing its profound regret for his death, 
says that after honouring France by solid and learned 
works, notably by his Manuel d' Archeologie — a unique 
monument of erudition — ^at the age of fifty-three, 
though not compelled to serve in the army, he chose 
to take part in the campaign and to die like a hero. 
An order of the day of the French army supplies 
particulars of his death. He was a captain in the 
29th Regiment of infantry and was shot down while 
leading his company. With his men he had won 
800 metres of ground. As he lay dying he asked his 
colonel whether they had kept the conquered ground, 
and being answered in the affirmative, he replied that 
he was happy that his death was of service to France. 
The writer finely adds, Belle vie, et fin plus belle encore. 

In a small book hke the present, there will neces- 
sarily be many points which deserve some fuller ex- 
planation than was possible, while here and there 
some points will seem to be unduly magnified. The 
chapter on St. Michael's Mount might, at first sight, 
seem to add little to the main subject, but in this 
case it was not so much the hope of gain as the fear 
of loss which had to be considered. Should the 
reader meet with phrases and expressions which ap- 
pear to him inconsistent with a serious treatment of 
the subject the writer can only crave his indulgence 

xiv Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

and assure him that they were not altogether un- 

Chapter III was in substance contributed to the 
Truro Diocesan Magazine ; Chapter IV was read at 
a conference of the Kirrier Rural Deanery ; Chapters 
V and VI were printed concurrently in the Revue 
Celtique and the Journal of the Royal Institution of 
Cornwall. For permission to reprint them their 
author tenders his thanks to those journals. 

Besides the Manuel d'ArcMologie there are two 
other works to which he is much indebted, Dom 
Gougaud's Chretientes Celtiques and Miss Clay's 
Hermits and Anchorites of England. No better intro- 
duction to Celtic Christianity could be desired than 
Dom Gougaud's book. Miss Clay has treated her 
subject with a particularity which is as rare as it is 
valuable, and although her book furnished little 
material for the present work, it was of great value 
in supplying the cartography of an unfamiHar region. 

To Professor J. Loth and to Mr. H. Jenner, f.s.a., 
his obligations are of a more personal character and 
therefore more difficult to express. To both of them, 
in all matters which concern Celtic language and 
hterature, he stands in the relation of pupil to master. 
As such he acknowledges gratefully their friendly and 
patient guidance and ever ready help. 

It should be needless to add that in so doing he 
has no wish to shelter himself behind great names. 
For all blundering and backsliding he and he alone is 
responsible, inasmuch as throughout the perilous ad- 
venture he has cheerfully bestridden his own beast. 



I. Coincidence and Resemblance . . . 1 

Often misleading. The Eucharist. Christian Passover 
a development of the Jewish and its origin to be sought 
in primitive Israel. Ancillary Christian Festivals. Direct 
and Collateral descent. St. Patrick's fire. 

II. The, Celts . . . . . 18 

Prehistoric Remains in Cornwall. Ligurians, Iberians, 
and Celts. No trace of Phoenicians. Celtic worship. 
The Druids. Fetich worship. Cornish crosses. 

III. Cornwall and Brittany . . . . 37 

Dumnonian Exodus. Breton nobles in the Conqueror's 
army. Tristan and Iseult. Henry the Eighth's subsidy 
roll. Mystery and Morality Plays. 

IV. The Celtic Christianity of Cornwall . . 50 

Language. Isolation of Cornwall. Monasticism. 
Church Dedications. Easter and Tonsure controversies. 

V. The Monastery-Bishoprics of Cornwall . . 58 

Celtic Monasticism sui generis. Episcopacy. Gildas, 
Kenstec, and Plegmund. Athelstan. Bodmin Gospels. 
Lyfing. Leofrlc. See of Exeter. 

VI. Evolution of the Diocesan Bishopric . . 70 

Episcopal manors in Domesday Book— their sources 
and their value. Three important holdings— Pawton, St. 
Germans, and Gerrans. Independent of each other. 
Each of them sees of Celtic bishops. Kerrier and Pen- 

xvi Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 


VII. Cornish Saints. . . . 90 

Not topological or eponymous. St. la, St. Dennis, St. 
Allen, St. Paul, and St. Buryan. Lives of the Saints. 
Religion of the Cornish. 

VIII. Ancient Religious Houses . . . 104 

Celtic or English? Monasticon and Domesday Book 
examined. Conversion of Celtic monasteries to Norman 
estabUshments. St. Kew. Summary of results. 

IX. Cornish Hermits . . . . 122 

St Guron. The Three Brothers. St. Neot. Ogrin. 
Andrew Paugan. SS. Philip and Robert. Roger God- 
man. Cecilia and Lucy Moys. The Hermit of St. 
Teath. Margaret of Bodmin. Roche Rock. 

X. St. Michael's Mount . . . . 141 

Ictis. Dinsul. Mons Tumba. Cult of St. Michael. 
Pre-Norman origin of the monastery. Examination of 
Charters and Domesday extracts. Identification of St. 
Michael's lands. The Meneage. WiUiam of Worcester. 


A. Extract from Vita Samsonis . . .169 

B. Edward the Confessor's Charter . .172 

C. The Count of Mortain's Charter. . . 173 

D. Erection of St. Michael's Priory by Abbot 

Bernard . . . . . 175 





p. XV, last line but one, for " Each " read " All." 
p. 48, line 22, for "but which, as" read *' when." 
p. 48, line 24, omit " is." 

as an insurance agent would have told them was 
extremely probable. A succession of such coincidences 
does not lead them to study the insurance tables, or to 
calculate the expectation of life ; it only helps to 
confirm the superstition. 

The sight of one magpie by the road-side alarms : 
the sight of two encourages. At the end of the day 
the single magpie is recalled when reckoning up the 
day's disappointments. 

The devout Christian behever is not more prone 
to superstition than others. A man lay dying of 
consumption at St. Just. He was a crack rifle shot, 

2. . Cdtia Christianity of Cornwall 

an unbeliever and inclined to suicide. He insisted 
upon having his rifle by him as he lay in bed and, 
for the sake of peace, his ^vife allowed it. A single 
magpie came and perched daily on the hedge outside 
his bedroom window. One day seizing his w^eapon 
and steadying it on his knee as he lay there, he shot 
the magpie. The death of the solitary bird brought 
peace and all thought of suicide was banished and 
forgotten. The above are examples of superstition in 
the sense in which the word is here used. 
But the shepherd's proverb : 

'' A rainbow in the morning is the shepherd's warning : 
A rainbow at night is the shepherd^s delight." 

and the fisherman's 

'^ When the wind is in the south 
It blows your bait into the fish's mouth." 

are based upon sound observation and contain no 
taint of superstition ; they could doubtless be referred 
to recognised scientific principles. 

Again, the study of biology has led men to look, 
not in vain, for resemblances between the gills of a 
fish and the lungs of a mammal, between the hands 
of a man and the forefeet of a quadruped. Postulating 
the theory of evolution a common origin is discovered 
in either case. 

The prehensile and tentacular movements of 
certain plants call to mind the like movements 
of certain fishes. Whether by means of the same 
theory, with the aid of the accredited results of 
research, they can be held to have had a common 
origin ; whether, for example, they can be re- 
ferred to some such quality or instinct as that 
which characterises the Proteus animalcule is perhaps 

Coincidence and Resemblance 3 

an open question. It seems, however, quite clear 
that these bhnd, involuntary movements on the part 
of fishes are not derived from the similar movements 
of plants or vice versa, but that, if a common origin 
is to be found, it must be sought in some very early 
stage before animal and vegetable became differ- 
entiated. The evolution hypothesis, whether it be 
regarded as proved or unproved, is in any case in- 
valuable because it stimulates thought, observation, 
and research. By means of it knowledge becomes 
coherent, articulate, scientific. 

The application of this principle to religion is be- 
coming more and more the vogue, and, provided 
that its adherents are content to work on the same 
lines as the students of physical science, there is no 
reason why useful results should not be obtained. 
There is, however, a tendency to transmute this 
working hypothesis into a superstition which, in 
point of sanity, is only comparable to that of the 
number thirteen and that of the single magpie — ^the 
superstition, in short, which notes coincidences and 
resemblances and ignores their opposites. 

It is by no means clear that resemblance of rite 
and ceremonial and coincidence in point of time of 
calendared festivals furnish the proper material from 
which to formulate the law and to determine the 
source of religious observance. For example, how- 
ever we may judge of the Salvation Army, it is obvious 
that a very different principle underlies and animates 
Mr. Booth's following from that which inspires the 
soldiers of King George. Military organisation merely 
suggested a useful and convenient form of discipline. 
In this case resemblance is utterly misleading, and 
the archaeologist of the distant futiire, who should 

4 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

argue that the venerated coat of the General, suppos- 
ing it to have been preserved, points to some mad but 
futile attempt to repeat the religious conquests of 
Mahomet, would be quite as wide of the truth as he 
who should seek the General's prototype in the 
militant ecclesiastic of the Middle Ages. 

A further danger attends the student of religions. 
This arises from prepossession rather than from hypo- 
thesis and leads him to mistake deduction for induc- 
tion. He finds, we will suppose, what he takes to be 
a latchkey. It is an instrument considerably the 
worse for wear and of a somewhat unusual pattern. 
He is quite certain it is a key. There is no room for 
doubt. He determines to find a lock which it will fit. 
Starting with the key he examines locks prehistoric, 
mediaeval and modern, but all in vain, for the simple 
reason that the implement in his hands is not a key 
at all but the head of a fish spear. 

It is not the critical method of induction but the 
uncritical method of deduction which is to be repro- 
bated. When, for example, we discover by observa- 
tion, the practical universality of sacrifice as a dis- 
tinguishing mark of rehgion, we may explain the fact 
in a dozen different ways, but in every case we are 
compelled to recognise the behef in a God of some 
sort, and when we find that generally, at some stage 
of religious development, sacrifice is offered by way of 
propitiation, we are led to the conclusion that safety 
and salvation were held to be only possible by atone- 
ment. We have before us a multitude of locks and 
one key fits them all, and we are therefore led to con- 
clude that aufond offence and sacrifice are related as 
poison to antidote. When, however, we descend to 
particulars, resemblances and coincidences are found 

Coincidence and Resemblance 5 

to be as misleading as the Salvationist's tunic. Their 
evidential value, to use a threadbare but useful 
phrase, is infinitesimally small and sometimes a 
negative quantity. 

Relying upon resemblance, a person might be led 
to conclude that it was the spring turnip which sug- 
gested the shape of the watch and the duck's tgg the 
morphology of toilet soaps. 

Utility and convenience have entered largely into 
the ritual systems of all religions. The same acces- 
sories are required for the worship of Baal as for the 
worship of Jehovah. To identify Baal with Jehovah 
is to beg the question and to fall a victim to the 
tyranny of coincidence and resemblance. 

When 'attempts are made to discover a common 
origin for the Christian Eucharist, the Aztec com- 
mmiion described by Prescott, and the ceremonial 
eating and drinking practised by the worshippers of 
Mithras, it is often assumed that the closer the ritual 
resemblance between them the stronger the argument 
in favour of a common origin. It does not seem to 
have occurred to the maintainers of this hypothesis 
that public worship, of whatsoever kind it may be, 
finds expression in a symbolism of its own, just as 
thought expresses itself in speech and in written lan- 
guage. The fact that Christianity expressed itself in 
symbol and sacrament does prove that from the very 
first it claimed to be a religion and not a mere philo- 
sophy or school of thought, but it does not prove 
identity of origin or of intention with the pagan 
religions which employed the same or similar sym- 
boHsm. It was inevitable that the Christian Pass- 
over should have been singled out in order to illus- 
trate the prepossession that in origin it is essentially 

6 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

pagan. In this case, however, it is not resemblance 
but coincidence (in point of time) which is supposed 
to afford the ground of proof. One writer, at least, 
who rightly connects it -with the Jewish Passover, in 
order to exhibit its sacrificial character,^ does not 
hesitate to refer its origin to the worship of Attis 
or Tammuz, the earth-god, on the ground that the 
time of its occurrence roughly coincides with the 
solemnities of Attis. No better illustration of the 
tyranny of observed coincidence could be found than 
in his ingenious but futile attempt to apply the 
principle to Cornwall. His object is to identify the 
May-day festivities, which he conceives to be a sur- 
vival of Beltane solemnities, with those of the Chris- 
tian Passover. Unfortunately for him the latter 
festival occurs too early ; it can never occur later 
than the twxnty-fifth of April. But he has read of 
Little Easter, which occurs a week later, and attribu- 
ting to the Cornish a preference for a rechauffe of the 
Easter banquet to the banquet itself — a preference 
for which no reasons are vouchsafed — he concludes 
that Little Easter is the Cornish equivalent of the 
Beltane Feast. It might have occurred to the main- 
tainer of this opinion to test it by means of the same 
calculations which forbade the synchronising of 
Easter itself with the pagan solemnity. Had he done 
so he would have found that Little Easter (Paskbian) 
or Low Sunday occurs in May only once in sixty or 
seventy years, and on May-day less than once in a 
century.'^ A coincidence which occurs once in a 
century does not convince the writer and will hardly 

* R. A. Courtney, The Rill and the Circle, p. 15. 

• Between the years 1854 and 1930, inclusive, Little Easter 
occurs once — on the 2nd of May, 1886. 

Coincidence and Resemblance 7 

convince the reader of the identity of the Celtic feast 
of Beltane with the Christian Passover, or even with 
the Low Sunday celebration at Lostwithiel described 
by Richard Carew, the historian.^ 

It is impossible, without destroying the character 
of this enquiry, to consider the Christian Passover in 
all its bearings upon the subject before us, but a few 
remarks are needed in order to place it in a right 
relation to the more ancient solemnity from which 
incidentally it sprang. 

The Jewish Passover was kept at the time of the 
first full moon which followed the vernal equinox. 
The primitive Christians of Asia Minor, claiming for 
precedent the practice of St. John the Divine, com- 
memorated our Saviour's Passion on the same day 
as the Passover and His Resurrection on the third 
day after. Thus it frequently happened that the 
very event which had led to the observance of the 
first day of the week as the Christian Sabbath had 
its yearly commemoration on some day which was 
not the Christian Sabbath. On the other hand, the 
Christians at Rome, following as they believed the 
practice of St. Paul, kept not only the weekly but 
also the yearly feast of the Resurrection on the first 
day of the week and the anniversary of the Passion 
on the third day before, in other words they kept 
their Paschal feast as we do now on the first day of 
the week which occurred next after the first full 
moon following the Spring equinox. The origin and 
signification of the feast were the same for both 
Eastern and Western Christians. It was the Christian 
Passover (Pascha) and was known by that name. 
The ancient Cornish word for it was Pask. In North 

* Quoted in the Parochial History oj Corjiwall, iii., 176. 

8 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

Staffordshire forty years ago it was the custom, 
and it is probably still the custom, for bands 
of men and maidens to soHcit Pace (Pasch) eggs. 
The use of the term Easter, of Saxon origin, is 
merely a proof of the stubborn independence of the 
English character which refused to receive not only 
the names of the days of the w^eek but also of the 
Christian seasons from the Latin. The coincidence in 
point of time of the Paschal feast with a pagan feast, 
if such coincidence can be discovered, was purely 
accidental ; and the same can be said of Ascension, 
Pentecost and all other movable feasts which are 
ancillary to or supplementary of it. In this connec- 
tion it is noteworthy that throughout the bitter con- 
troversy, dating from an amicable discussion held in 
the year 162 when Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, paid 
a visit to Anicetus, bishop of Rome until the sixth 
century, it never occurred to either party to suggest 
a pagan origin for the feast or to connect the time of 
its celebration with nature or nature worship.^ As 
the commemoration of a notable historical event — 
the Resurrection of Jesus Christ — it was observed 
by East and West, just as the Jewish Passover was 
observed as the anniversary of the " self -same day 
that the Lord did bring the children of Israel out of 
Egypt by their armies," and of that hurried meal of 
which a lamb of the first year and unleavened bread 
were the more important constituent elements. In 
the Bible and in the Primitive Church the two feasts 
are so closely linked together that, in order to demon- 
strate identity of origin for the Christian Passover 
and the feast of Tammuz the earth-god, it will be 

* The Celtic controversy respecting the incidence of the Christian 
Passover was concerned solely with astronomical calculations and 
has, of course, no bearing upon the matter here under discussion. 

Coincidence and Resemblance 9 

necessary to show that the Jewish Passover derived 
its raison d'etre from the same source as the wor- 
ship of Tammuz. That any such source has been 
found or that any connection has been found, or 
will be found, is not to be taken for granted. The 
connection between the Jewish and the Christian 
Pascha is not open to dispute. Had the Christian 
Church repudiated the Pascha and kept a festival of 
the Resurrection entirely distinct from it, something 
might have been urged in favour of a pagan origin. 
It is the indissolubility of their union which forbids 
any such interpretation. 

The wi'iter has no desire to be regarded as an 
obscurantist and, for this reason if for no other, he 
offers to the students of folklore in general and to all 
deductive philosophers obsessed with the unique 
evidential value of coincidence and resemblance in 
particular, the following facts, for the authenticity of 
which he is prepared to vouch whenever he is required 
so to do. He believes that when their import is 
fully grasped they will carry, to the minds of the said 
philosophers to whom the discovery, never previously 
announced, is humbly but confidently dedicated, 
the conviction that not in Asia, the accredited home 
of mystery, not in Africa the cradle of theologies old 
and new, not in America the foster mother of science 
Christian and otherwise, but in Australia will be found 
the true origin of the Easter festival and its cere- 
monial. He regrets that his command of scientific 
language is unequal to the task which a discovery of 
such absorbing interest and far-reaching possibility 
demands. He therefore craves the indulgence of the 
learned for expressing himself in terms which he hopes 
will be intelligible to learned and unlearned alike. 

10 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

In the low-lying land which borders Hahfax Bay 
in the colony of Queensland there is to be found an 
edible root called the bulgaroo which, at the time of 
the European Spring equinox, after the heavy rains 
wliich begin in the month of February, betrays its 
presence by sending forth shoots of a bright and tender 
green colour. For some occult reason this root is 
preferred by the aboriginal inhabitants to the choicest 
delicacies which the white man, notwithstanding his 
cultivated taste in the matter of food and drink, can 
supply. Accordingly every year the black man, if 
employed, seeks his master's permission for a month's 
sojourn in the land of the bulgaroo. It is well known 
to all who have lived in Queensland that the black 
man is a keen observer of the heavenly bodies and is 
much distressed by the sight of an eclipse of the sun 
or moon, from which it may be inferred that he re- 
joices when the sun and moon are not obscured. 
Whether, strictly speaking, he can be described as a 
sun worshipper has not been determined, but it is 
believed that the disclosure of these particulars will 
help incidentally to solve this as well as the larger 
problem under discussion. The coincidence of the 
Spring equinox with the resurrection of the said 
bulgaroo from its dark retreat under the earth, and 
of both events with the assembling of the aboriginal 
tribes and of their partaking together of what may 
not unfitly be described as the root of ages (for in 
all probability we have here a vegetable food known 
to the black man's ancestors long before they emerged 
from a pre-human archetype) ; above all, the addi- 
tion to the bulgaroo banquet of human flesh when- 
ever it may be safely had, and the marked preference 
for those portions of the human body which, like the 

Coincidence and Resemblance 11 

heart, are essential to life, and therefore, as they 
suppose, are the better fitted to stimulate and in- 
crease the eater's physical courage and efficiency ; 
to which must also be added the attendant dance and 
song of corroboree and the more secret and mysterious 
bora meeting whereat, after due proof has been given, 
both oral and experimental of the candidate's forti- 
tude, he is admitted to the full privileges of manhood 
by a solemn rite of initiation : all these ceremonial 
acts, whose significance it is impossible to misinter- 
pret and to exaggerate, strengthened and not weak- 
ened (as might be supposed by a superficial observer) 
by the fact that at the antipodes Spring synchi'onises 
with European Autumn, estabhsh a strong presump- 
tion that the continent of Australia affords the verit- 
able solution of the great problem of the origin of 
Christian ceremonial observance. Nor is this sur- 
prising when we remember that according to an 
eminent German archaeologist, Dr. Buttel-Reepen,^ 
the Australian aborigines are the direct descendants 
of the propithecanthropi, i.e. pre-ape-men or common 
progenitors of apes and men, " since their foot had 
not yet undergone the definite change from a grasping 
organ to a supporting apparatus." Nay more, when 
we reflect that from the great concourse of pre-men 
one huge horde poured away in the direction of 
Africa, some of its members pursuing their wanderings 
through generations, until they eventually reached 
Europe across a bridge of land that then united the 
two continents ; being accompanied in their migra- 
tion by the pre -glacial fauna, the Elephas aniiquiis, 
Rhinoceros merckii and other great beasts whose 
fossilised remains bear ^vitness of this emigration, 
^ Buttel-Reepen, Man and Hia Forerunners, pp. 72-3. 

12 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

we are driven to conclude that throughout incal- 
culable periods of time, from the Tertiary era at least, 
when, according to Dr. Woodward, man was already 
emerging from his pre-ape condition, down through 
the ages, palaeolithic, neolithic, bronze, and iron, 
across continents which have been overwhelmed or 
refasliioned, this simple meal of bulgaroo has per- 
sistently held its ground and won its triumphs in the 
social and afterwards in the religious life, pagan and 
Christian, of man as he has progressed steadily but 
surely from generation to generation. 

Absurd as the foregoing presentment of a few, 
plain verifiable facts will appear to the reader, it is 
neither more absurd nor more wildly fantastic than 
much that passes for penetration with those who 
allow themselves to become the slaves of resemblance 
and coincidence. So far as the bulgaroo feast is con- 
cerned, it would be possible to write in the same 
grandiloquent manner and with an equal amount of 
wisdom of a beanfeast at Blackpool. 

To resume. The deductive philosopher having 
identified the Cliristian Passover, which in England 
is commonly known as Easter and which always occurs 
in March or April, with the Celtic feast of Beltane 
which always occurs in May, it would be strange if he 
did not discover a pagan archetype for Christmas. 

In this case both coincidence and resemblance 
point to the birthday of Mithras the Persian sun-god 
whose worship was introduced at Rome in the time 
of the Emperors. Is it unfair to remark that here 
conviction is rendered doubly certain by reason of 
the fact that the date of the earliest Christian observ- 
ance of the Christmas festival is somewhat obscure ? 
We know that it originated at a very early period 

Coincidence and Resemblance 18 

and that the Alexandrians and the Churches of 
Palestine kept it, until the year 428, at Epiphany^ 
and not on the 25th of December. Clement of 
Alexandria, who died about a.d. 220, refers to cal- 
culations of the year and day of the Lord's nativity 
not to encourage but to caution. It is noteworthy, 
however, that he gives no hint of the danger which 
might arise from the possibility of its being con- 
founded with pagan celebrations of like nature. It 
is well known that a festival of the sun was held at 
the time of the winter solstice (dies natalis invicti 
soils), but it is equally well known that the early 
fathers never ceased to warn the people against con- 
founding^Christian festivals with pagan. ^ 

Having satisfied himself that the keeping of Christ- 
mas originated in sun worship at the winter solstice, 
our philosopher would hardly do himself justice did 
he not discover a similar explanation of the com- 
memoration of the birthday of St. John the Baptist 
at Midsummer. The ordinary uninstructed Christian 
would probably argue, and to better purpose, that if 
you keep the Saviour's birthday on the 25th of Decem- 
ber you ought to keep the Baptist's birthday on the 
24th of June, because the latter was six months older 
than the former. ^ 

It is possible that pagan rites may have become 
associated with the Christian festival, but in Cornwall 
the Midsummer fires do not appear to have been so 
associated. Whatever their origin may be, there is 

^ The Armenians still keep the Nativity on the 6th of January. 

2 The subject is fully dealt with by Neander ; Church History 
(Bohn's ed.), vol. ii., pp. 419-48. 

' He would be led so to argue by reflecting that in the Church's 
Kalendar Ascension and Pentecost are similarly related to the 
Paschal Feast and Annunciation to Christmas. 

14 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

no evidence that they have at any time entered into 
the Christian system. 

The position for which, in the interests of truth, it 
seems vital to contend may be illustrated by citing a 
familiar episode from the life of St. Patrick — ^the 
episode of the Paschal fire. There is indisputable 
evidence that, from the days of the Emperor Constan- 
tino (a.d. 274-337) at least, Easter was distinguished 
by the Christian Church from other festivals by the 
lighting of fires or tapers to signify the rising of 
Christ from the dead to give light to the world. 
When St. Patrick arrived at the hill of Slane, in sight 
of Tara, on the eve of the Christian Passover, he set 
about preparing for that great solemnity. He lighted 
the sacred fire. But it so happened that the then 
pagan Irish were, at that moment, equally intent 
upon keeping a festival of their own, and that their 
festival also involved the observance of a similar 
ceremony. They, too, had a fire to light, and the act 
of lighting by anyone except King Leoghaire himself, 
or by one of his ministers at a signal given by him, 
was punishable with death. St. Patrick in ignorance 
of the prohibition lighted his fire first, and the fire 
was seen by the King and his subjects at Tara. He 
would doubtless have acted as he did had he known 
of the edict ; but it was, as events soon showed, this 
particular transgression, insignificant enough in itself, 
which at once brought about the collision between 
him and Leoghaire. 

St. Patrick manifestly was not consciously observ- 
ing a practice of pagan origin. Whatever thoughts, 
memories or associations his fire kindled within him 
they were definitely Christian. We are not told what 
meaning the King's fire had for him. The casual 

Coincidence and Resemblance 15 

onlooker would probably have seen little to choose 
between the one fire and the other : he might con- 
ceivably have regarded them as expressive of one 
and the same intention. Had a modern philosopher 
been present he would almost inevitably have dis- 
cerned a common origin and therefore a more or less 
near relationship. Yet both would have been wrong ; 
the first, because the motives and intentions of 
Patrick and Leoghaire were not the same ; the second, 
because until a common origin has been shown any 
inference derived from similarity of ceremonial is apt 
to be misleading however reasonable it may seem. 

An inference is misleading when it carries with it 
consequences w^hich are irrelevant to the main facts 
upon which it is founded. 

You cannot say that because the Christians used 
fire in their worship at Easter and the pagans also 
used fire in their w^orship, therefore the Christians 
adopted the practice from the pagans ; still less can 
you say that Easter originated in a pagan festival. 
All you can say is that fire, as an accessory of worship, 
was used by both, just as prayer was also so used 
by both. The paraphernalia (using the term in a 
neutral sense) of two religions may be precisely alike, 
while the religions themselves may be as wide as 
the poles asunder. And the complaint one has to 
make against much that is brought forward as evi- 
dence of a common origin for customs, both religious 
and secular, is that it is not evidence at all, and that 
though it be repeated or multiplied a thousandfold, it 
follows the familiar rule of mathematics and amounts 
to nothing. Even when legitimate inferences have 
been drawn from groups of observed facts, it is by 
no means uncommon to find them so manipulated by 

16 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

writers as to convey wrong and erroneous impressions. 
Having regard to the laws of the physical growth and 
development of organic matter and to other considera- 
tions of a more technical character it may be con- 
sidered a legitimate inference that men and apes are 
descended from a common ancestor, but it is a mis- 
representation of the inference to say that it implies 
that men are descended from apes. For although it 
may be a source of comfort to all English-speaking 
people to believe that their ancestors " either came in 
with William the Conqueror or went out in the May- 
flower,'* it is clearly impossible for them to believe that 
they can all trace their descent either from George the 
Third on the one hand, or from George Washington 
on the other. A genealogical enthusiast may perhaps 
be pardoned for seeking to embrace as many of the 
elect as possible in his family tree, because even in his 
moments of deepest depression he can point to Adam as 
the common ancestor. The student of religions in like 
manner may be pardoned for desiring to express in tabu- 
lar form the successive stages through which doctrines 
and rites have passed ; have been developed, arrested, 
modified, governed and conditioned. But neither the 
genealogist nor the religious philosopher can be par- 
doned for mistaking a collateral for a direct ancestor. 
The Christian Church has, with generous and ready 
welcome, received into her bosom all that could 
produce credentials of kinship, holding nothing as 
common or unclean, however unworthy its associa- 
tions and however perverted its use in the past. 
Painting, music, poetry, drama, philosophy, archi- 
tecture, ritual, organisation, each has found a place 
and received a fresh consecration as the result of 
its admission to the embrace of the true mother 

Coincidence and Resemblance 17 

of them all. Only one barrier has she interposed — 
the barrier of heresy. She has always insisted that 
the postulant's real intentions should be clearly known. 
By sacrament, creed, and confession she has exercised 
every precaution to secure peace within her sacred 
walls. She has sacrificed popularity, endured perse- 
cution, incurred hatred in order that all her children 
should share the same affections, should speak the 
same things and think the same thoughts. This has 
ever been and is still her great offence, her unpardon- 
able sin, in the eyes of those outside her communion, 
viz. that she has been so uncompromisingly true to 
herself. For this reason it might have been thought 
superfluous, or at any rate a more or less academic 
matter, fo discuss the origin of her symbolism and 
its affinities. The human mind, however, almost in- 
evitably, refuses to admit the appropriateness of a 
newly imported symbol unless its past associations 
are free from suspicion. Not only so, the student of 
religions obsessed with the superlative value of re- 
semblance and coincidence, is apt to suppose that if 
he can show that the paraphernalia of Christian wor- 
ship approximately resembles that of some pagan 
religion he has proved identity of intention and belief. 
By way of reply it would be possible to argue, with 
greater force and to better purpose, that historically it 
can be shown that Christian worship would be, at this 
time, fuller, richer, more ornate, more attractive and 
possibly not less true to its supreme purpose if larger 
use had been made of the common sources of religious 
ceremonial. The history of heresy is, however, a suffici- 
ent refutation of the main contention. An examination 
of some particular forms which the pagan theory has 
assumed in relation to Cornwall will be given later on. 



IT is almost, if not quite, impossible to acquire a 
right perspective of the position which the Celts 
occupy in British history without examining the 
incidence of that position and some of its relation- 
ships by the light of the results of modern archae- 
ological research. 

In Cornwall, as elsewhere, the prehistoric races 
which inhabited the county before the Celts appeared 
have left abundant evidence of their presence. That 
evidence, however, will be hard to discover in the 
warp and bent of character and in the physical 
development which doubtless all Englishmen have 
in some measure inherited from them, and towards 
which these extremely remote ancestors have to 
some slight extent contributed. We shall probably 
never know enough about any of them so as to be 
in a position to say of any one living in the county 
as we might say, for example, of an Irishman " that 
splendid act of daring or that hairbrained escapade 
must be set down to his Irish breeding.'* Yet, inas- 
much as no one supposes that an incoming race 
commonly extirpates the race it supplants there is 
always the suspicion that the new race may have 
yielded to the moral influence or to the religious 
atmosphere of the old. History supplies us with 


The Celts 19 

instances of this triumph of spiritual over physical 
force, Christianity itself being the most striking 
instance of all. 

For this reason it is necessary to go back to those 
ages which have been distinguished as palaeolithic, 
neolithic, and bronze, in other words to those periods 
during which unpolished stone, polished stone, and 
bronze implements were in use,^ in order to dis- 
cover, if possible, whether as the tide of industrial 
progress flowed in, there are indubitable signs of an 
unbroken tradition of religious thought and practice 
which became articulate in the historic narrative of 
Julius Caesar. 

Mr. Clement Reid, f.r.s., has thought that he 
detected traces of the palaeolithic age in the raised 
beach at Prah Sands, ^ and there is, a priori, no reason 
to suppose that his discovery will not be confirmed 
by further investigation. Quite the contrary ; it is 
not unlikely that some of the implements which 
have been found in the county and which are now 
commonly regarded as belonging to the later stone 
age will be found to belong to the earlier. This 
consideration, however, has only a very indirect 
bearing upon the present enquiry, for it has not yet 
been shown that the men of the earlier period had 
any religious belief at all. 

On the other hand, there is a very strong presump- 
tion that the races of the later period had, towards 
the end of it, religious beliefs more or less definite. 
In this connection there is no need to call attention 

1 A still earlier age, the eolithic, which in Sussex has supplied 
my school contemporary, Dr. A. Smith Woodward of the British 
Museum, with what he believes to be a link between man and his 
pre-human ancestor is not represented in Cornwall. 

» Qeology o/ the liQud'a End District, pp. 79-80. 

20 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

to the different kinds of stone implements which 
have been fomid in Cornwall and which have been 
identified with this — ^the neolithic — period. It will 
be useful, however, to consider, very briefly, the more 
striking of its monuments, found chiefly in the wxst 
and, by reason of their size, styled megalithic. They 
are distinguished as dolmens sometimes but incor- 
rectly termed cromlechs, cists (stone chests), circles, 
menhirs or long stones, and ahgnments of w^hich there 
are comparatively very few in the county. All belong 
to the same period ; all appear to have been erected 
by the same race. They are all found in greater 
numbers and of larger dimensions in Brittany. The 
general opinion of competent archseologists is that, 
with the exception perhaps of the menhirs, they are 
all sepulchral in character and with the exception of 
some of the cists that they all belong to the neolithic 
or else to the earlier half of the Bronze Age. The 
dolmens, of which Chun Quoit and Lanyon Quoit are 
good examples, differ only in size and detail from the 
cists which are abundant in Cornwall, and which have 
been proved to be depositories for the dead by their 
contents. The circles probably performed the very 
useful function of marking and protecting either 
single graves, as many of the smaller ones are still 
found to do, or a more or less large collection of graves 
like a modern churchyard wall. The fact that some 
of the circles no longer surround human interments, 
or that some cists are found without circles to protect 
them, presents no difficulty to those who accept this 
explanation, but who at the same time admit a variety 
of use in the disposal of the dead and who have 
abundant proof of a bygone vandalism which is not 
unknown in Cornwall to-day. Stonehenge is not 

The Celts 21 

only larger and more elaborate, but of later date 
than most of the larger circles, being the only one in 
England which is constructed of hewn stone, all the 
rest being built of undressed stone. Even of this, 
for which, on that account, there might have been 
presumed a quasi -religious origin. Sir Arthur Evans, 
one of the most eminent of living archaeologists, can 
only assert that " it is one of the large series of primi- 
tive rehgious monuments that grew out of purely 
sepulchral architecture." 

Of alignments it is hardly possible to say more 
than this, that they are usually associated with 
circles and may have served as avenues to them. 
The menhirs, sometimes isolated and independent of 
other ancient remains and sometimes as, for example, 
at St. Buryan and Dry cam, sufficiently near to 
circles to suggest association with them, are even 
less easy to explain. Some of them are of enormous 
dimensions, like the Men-er-Hroeck at Locmariaquer 
in Brittany ; some are so small as to be liable to be 
mistaken for the rubbing stones of cattle. The former 
must have required vast numbers of men to erect, 
and it is their weight and size which has invested 
both the smaller and the greater with an interest and 
importance which would otherwise have been lacking. 
It is probable that some of them served as boundary 
stones, some as guide posts, and others as stones of 
memorial, like those reared by Jacob at Bethel, 
Joshua at Jordan, and Samuel at Ebenezer. The 
isolated menhirs of the largest size, i.e. the true 
menhirs or great undressed stones, reared by human 
instrumentality, wherever no traces of burial can be 
found either underneath or near them, undoubtedly 
suggest a rehgious purpose. While there is nothing 

22 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

to connect them with nature worship,^ as commonly 
miderstood, or with solar worship, it is difficult to 
conceive how they came to be erected unless it was 
either to commemorate a departed chiefs or to serve 
as symbols or objects of religion. Reverence paid to 
the dead, at certain stages of human development, 
may and probably does imply a belief in life after 
death. These monuments are of the late neolithic 

The transition from it to the Bronze Age took 
place in Europe, according to the best authorities, 
about 1800 years before Christ. Bronze gave place 
to iron about 900 years later. The use of bronze in 
Cornwall, judging from the comparatively small 
number of bronze implements which have been dis- 
covered in the county, and from the fact that for its 
manufacture both of its constituent metals are 
abundant, would seem to have been of shorter dura- 
tion here than elsewhere. Bronze celts have been 
found in Lelant, St. Just-in-Penwith, St. Hilary, St. 
Mawgan-in-meneage, Gwinear and in a few other 
places, but the net result is somewhat disappointing. 

It is, however, during this period that in Gaul we 

^ " Le preiendu caractere phallique de quclques-una de ces monu- 
ments rCeat q'une conjecture chimerique qui a permis d certaitis eaprits 
imagintaifs de ae donner carriere.'' D^ohelette, Manuel d'Archdologie, 
I, 431, n. 2. 

2 W. C. Borlase, Ncenia Cornubice, p. 99 : 

'* Wishing to put beyond dispute the origin and purpose of some 
few at least of these monoliths, and to ascertain if any were indeed 
sepulchral, the author . . . examined the ground roimd some half- 
dozen of them." 

At the foot of a menhir at Pridden, St. Buryan, he foimd " a 
deposit of splinters of human bone." At the foot of a menhir at 
Trelew, St. Buryan, ho found "a deposit of splintered bones similar 
in quantity and appearance to that found at Pridden." A precisely 
similar discovery was mado at Trenuggo, Sancreed. Another at 

The Celts 28 

meet with two races, the Ligurian and Iberian, 
occupying lands east and west of the Rhone respec- 
tively. These races must not be identified too closely 
with the countries whose names they bear. 

They appear to have followed different occupations, 
the Ligurians devoting themselves to agriculture and 
the Iberians to the keeping of sheep and cattle.^ 

It is remarkable that little evidence should have 
been discovered respecting the character of the 
reHgion of either race. A bronze disc from Ireland 
and a horse mounted on (not harnessed to) a six- 
wheeled curricle to one of the axles of which is affixed 
a disc, from Denmark, have been supposed to be 
emblematic of the Bronze Age sun worship of those 
countries. Again, the swan-shaped prow of Scan- 
dinavian boats has been recognised as a solar emblem, 
but the freedom with which that ancient bird has 
been treated for decorative purposes, leaves one 
somewhat in doubt as to its religious signification. 
No evidence of the use of either symbol has appar- 
ently been found in Britain or in Armorica. 

If the distinction between Ligurian and Iberian 
can be sustained is it not possible that the latter if 
not both emblems were confined to the Ligurians and 
were introduced by them along with their religious 
associations as traders engaged in the overland 
amber traffic between the Baltic and the Mediter- 
ranean ? 

The same dearth of evidence meets us when we 
come to consider the cult of the bull and the sacred 
horns and that of the axe. Had this cult been peculiar 
to a pastoral people like the Iberians an irreverent 

^ This is sho^vn by the presence of bronze sickles in Ligurian 
graves and their absence in Iberian. 

24 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

mind might have been pardoned for suggesting that 
they hit upon a very appropriate symbohsm. Un- 
fortunately the Bronze Age of Britain and Armorica, 
whether Iberian or otherwise, supphes us with very 
few if any illustrations of it. Two bronze bulls of 
small size found in Morbihan have been claimed to 
represent it in Armorica. The bronze bull found in 
the Vicarage garden at St. Just, undoubtedly fashioned 
for a religious purpose, seems to have an equal 
claim ; but until more evidence is forthcoming it is 
allowable to doubt whether the Minoan beliefs, 
associated with the bronze period in the JEgea,n, 
ever gained a footing in Britain. M. Dechelette has 
with great pains striven to show that the mythology 
and the metal were closely related, perhaps contem- 
poraneous and coextensive^ — at least this seems to 
be the general drift of his exposition. While yield- 
ing to no one in gratitude for his great work — a 
challenge to English archaeologists — it seems to the 
present writer that, in dealing with the religious 
symbolism of the Bronze Age, so far as North- 
western Europe is concerned, he has done little more 
than to show that the double axe (bipenne) of the 
-^gean has its analogue, perhaps archetype, in the 
single axe with handle (hache simple et emmancMe) 
which is found inscribed on some of the Ai'morican 
dolmens of an earlier age. Nor is it self-evident that 
either the sacred horns or the axe is a solar emblem, 
though both appear to have been received into the 
Minoan system. 

When we leave the Bronze Age and come to the 
Iron, we enter upon what has been termed proto- 
historic archaeology. Within about 300 years of its 
* Archdologie : Age du Bronze, chap. xiii. 

T}i£ Celts 26 

commencement we find ourselves in the presence of 
a race which has survived and has in a measure 
retained its individuahty up to the present time. 

The Celts, it is true, were only one of several races 
wliich from the east and north pressed westward and 
southward over Europe for a period of over a thousand 
years ; but no invasion has ever been more complete 
or the effects of an invasion more profound and per- 
manent. The Celts became identified with our island 
to a greater extent than either of their successors, 
the Saxons and Normans. The second body of them 
imparted to it its name. In the fifth century before 
Christ they had reached the Atlantic and had begun 
to invade^ Britain although the main body were near 
the Danube. In 387 B.C., they sacked Rome, and in 
the succeeding century a section of them crossed the 
Hellespont, overran Asia Minor and eventually 
settled in what became known as Galatia. 

The point of greatest importance at the present 
stage of our enquiry is that of the Celtic rehgion 
between the close of the Bronze Age and Caesar's 
invasion of Gaul and Britain. Was it one of the 
many forms of nature worship w^hich found the central 
object of its adoration in the glorious orb who in the 
words of the Psalmist " cometh forth as a bridegroom 
out of his chamber and rejoiceth as a giant to run 
his course " ? Did the worship of the sun form its 
most prominent distinguishing featm-e ? 

The much-quoted passage given by Diodorus the 
Sicihan, who lived in the first century before the 
Christian era and who reproduced it from the De- 
scription of the World written by Hecataeus in the 
fifth century, states that in the island of the Hyper- 
boreans over against Celtica there is a magnificent 

26 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

circular temple which they have erected to Apollo.^ 
The passage presents more than one difficulty. The 
Hyperboreans were known to the ancient world as 
the possessors of the sources of amber, a substance 
which is not found in Britain but in the neighbour- 
hood of the Baltic. Those who would identify the 
Hyperborean island with Britain and the temple 
with Stonehenge, have to face the greater difficulty 
of accounting for the fact that a sepulchral structure 
erected in pre-Celtic times was, in the fifth century 
before Christ, being used for sun worship by Hyper- 
boreans who may or may not have been Celts, but 
who in the passage are described as having erected 
it for that purpose. It should be remembered that 
Hecataeus had been dead for over a century when 
P3^heas the daring Greek explorer made his famous 
voyage of discovery, and that if that voyage was, 
as M. Dechelette contends, ^ to the navigator of the 
fourth century before the Christian era what a polar 
expedition is to the navigator of to-day, it is hardly 
likely that Hecataeus could have had very rehable 
information concerning either Britain or its Celtic 

It may, perhaps, be allowable to hazard an opinion 
wliich after all is only an opinion, viz. that the Ligur- 
ians who dwelt along the transcontinental amber 
route were sun worshippers, but that until the days 
of Julius Caesar we know very little, if indeed any- 
thing for certain, of the religion of the Celts who 
inhabited western Gaul and Britain. Whether Stone- 
henge was the temple referred to is very doubtful ; 

* Quoted by D6chelette, ArcMologie, II, pp. 413, 667 ; by Lord 
Avebury, Prehistoric Times, p. 132 ; by D. Gougaud, Chr^tientiSf 
p. 13. 

• ArcMologie, II, p. 30. 

The Celts 27 

whether it was orientated with respect to the sun is 
a matter which, as Professor Oman justly observes, 
need not be taken seriously. ^ 

But what of the Phoenicians, and where do they 
come in ? It is a cruel thing to say to a generation 
which can ill afford to part with any fragment of its 
diminished archaeological patrimony, but it must be 
said without reserve or qualification : the Phoenicians 
do not come in at all. 

It would be comparatively easy, as some have 
already found, to provide Celtic Britain with all the 
elaborate machinery of sun worship if it could be 
shown that there were direct and close relations 
between Britain and Phoenicia either before or after 
the Celtic invasion. No one, of course, doubts or denies 
the glory of the Phoenician thalassocracy. The Bible 
is only one of many witnesses. Hiram King of Tyre 
supplied Solomon both with craftsmen for the brass 
work of the Temple at Jerusalem and with sailors for 
his trading expeditions to India. Gades (Cadiz) the 
port of Tartessus, or Tarshish, was founded by the 
Phoenicians before 1100 B.C. The ships of Tarshish 
are rooted in the memory like the bulls of Bashan 
and the cedars of Libanus. Ezekiel's lamentation 
for Tyre 2 is not only one of the most profoundly 
pathetic but also one of the most illuminating passages 
in the Old Testament. 

Speaking of Tyi'c, he says, "Tarshish was thy 
merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of 
riches, with silver, iron, tin, and lead they traded 
in thy fairs : " " the ships of Tarshish did sing 
of thee in thy market : and thou wast replenished 

1 England before the Norman Conquest, p. 9. 

2 Ezekiel, xxvii and xxviii, 

28 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

and made very glorious in the niidst of the 

Nevertheless, great, extensive and varied as was 
the commercial enterprise of the Phoenicians, scholars 
are now generally agreed that they never got beyond 
Gades in their Atlantic voyages. 

Moreover, the Cassiterides or Tin Islands, men- 
tioned by Diodorus, which a former generation strove 
to identify with the Scilly Isles, lay undoubtedly to 
the north of Spain. ^ At the same time it must be 
noted that the same author Diodorus, who probably 
had his information from Poseidonius (born circa 
135 B.C.), does expressly state in the same passage 
that tin was conveyed from Britain to Gaul and over- 
land to Marseilles. By that time, however, the doom 
of Carthage, the daughter city of Tyre, situated on 
the Bay of Tunis, had also been sealed. 

This absence of historical evidence respecting 
Phoenician intercourse with Britain, supposing such 
intercourse to have existed, might have been in some 
measure explained — and not as the Privy Council 
explained the Ornaments Rubric of the Church of 
England, by arguing that omission impHes prohibi- 
tion — by assuming that the source of the tin supply 
was kept secret, like that of amber, by the traders 
in that commodity. It is the fact that no vestige of 
these Semitic navigators has been found either in 
Gaul or in Britain, which decisively excludes the 
supposition that they ever visited those countries. 
Dr. Birch in giving his judgment upon the bronze 
bull found in the garden of St. Just Vicarage states 
it as his conviction that no object has yet been found 
in Britain which can be satisfactorily identified with 
* Sir Hercules Read, Early Iron Age, p. 85. 

The Celts 29 

the Phoenicians, 1 and M. Dechelette is equally 
emphatic respecting the absence of similar objects in 
Gaul. 2 What M. Alexandre Bertrand says of Celtic 
civilisation, namely, that neither the Ligurians, nor 
the Phoenicians, nor the Greeks, nor the Iberians 
collaborated in that educational work, may with 
some reservations in favour of the two latter nations 
be accepted as true of the Celtic religion. 

From Julius Csesar some useful information is to 
be gained respecting the religion of the Celts of his 
own day. He states that they had many gods, the 
chief of whom, in Gaul at least, answered to the 
Roman Mercury, patron of arts and crafts. Mars, 
Apollo, Minerva and Dis Pater were represented in 
the Celtic system, but it is not easy to equate them 
satisfactorily. After the Roman conquest the Britons 
followed the custom of other subject races and iden- 
tified their gods with those of Olympus. Some of 
their gods found no corresponding analogue, like 
Nodens, whose temple overlooked the Severn ; others 
again were purely local and patronal. 

During the three centuries while Britain remained 
a province of the Empire the Romanisation of the 
native religion had free scope, the spread of Chris- 
tianity meanwhile striving -with indifferent success 
to keep pace with it. " The larger half of the altars 
and shrines, discovered in Britain are simply set up 
to honour the ordinary gods of the Roman world." ^ 
Among these latter were many strange divinities, who 
in origin were neither Celtic nor Roman, but were 
those of ahen races led to Britain by the hope of pro- 
fitable traffic or by compulsory miUtary service. 

^ Arch. Journal, viii, 8. ^ Age du Bronze, p. 29. 

^ Oman, England before the Norman Conquest, p. 107, 

80 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

Mithras, for example, whose worship was intro- 
duced at Rome under the Emperors, found in this 
way a place in the British pantheon. 

There is no evidence to show that either nature 
worship or sun worship was the dominant religion of 
the Celts either before, during or after the Roman 
occupation. It is, of course, possible to say of the 
Romans that they practised both, but it is an abuse 
of language to say that they were either sun wor- 
shippers like the Egyptians or nature worshippers 
like the Phoenicians. The same holds good of the 

Under Roman influence the days of the week 
received Latin names derived from the planetary 
system, all of which except Sunday (Dies Solis which 
became Dies Dominica) continued to be used by our 
lawyers until English took the place of Latin in the 
courts of record. In Cornwall, notwithstanding the 
Saxon invasion, the Latin names were retained until 
Cornish ceased to be a spoken and written language. 
Thus Sunday, Dies Solis became De Zil, Zil being the 
Cornish derivative of Sol and not a variant of the 
Cornish word Houl.^ Until the Roman occupation 
the Celts reckoned time by nights, not days. Thus 
the first night (of the week if they had weeks) was 
the sixth night after new moon, that is when the 
moon was on the point of becoming half -full. Their 
year, therefore, consisted of thirteen months. The 
Celtic mind appears to have revelled in the realm 

1 Mr. Henry Jenner, r.s.A., to whom I am indebted for this 
statement, has reminded me that St. Michael's Mount is given in 
the Life of St. Cadoc as Dinsul (Mens solis) and that Tregaseal in 
St. Just may be a compound of which 8eal=Zil=8ol. Both are 
possible. Roman intercourse with the extreme west of Cornwall 
is proved by the Roman milestone at St. Hilary, which is within 
easy distance of both places, 

The Celts 81 

of mystery. The practice of magic ; the prevalence 
of human sacrifice ; the numerous local divinities, 
with strange names preserved to us only in the 
dedications of their shrines, whose attributes and 
powers remain unknown ; the hidden virtues of the 
mistletoe and the selago ; above all, the secrets of 
the Celtic priesthood — ^the Druids — suggest, but un- 
fortunately only suggest, a religious differentiation 
which carries us back to a period more remote than 
that of any religious system with which we are familiar. 

Professor Sir John Rhys has attempted to show 
that Druidism was a pre-Celtic survival, the religious 
system, in short, of some race which preceded the 
Celts in Britain, and his judgment would doubtless 
have been accepted had there not been good evidence 
to show that the system was not peculiar to Britain 
but to the Celts themselves. It prevailed among the 
continental Celts just as it prevailed among those of 
Britain and Ireland. On the other hand, its affinities 
with classical m)i:hology are not sufficiently pro- 
nounced at the time when it is first encountered to 
indicate an iEgean origin. When the original home 
of the Celt has been determined it may be possible 
to discover the home of his religion. 

The Druids 1 were the interpreters of divine things 
to the Celtic conscience. They shared with the 
knights the administration of public affairs, expounded 
the ceremonial law and determined the times and 
modes of its application. Caesar states, but not on 

^ Gougaud, Chretientes, p. 22. The derivation of the word 
Druid is uncertain. There appears to be no doubt that the Druids 
practised a form of divination founded not on the flight but on 
the song of birds, that of the wren in particular. Dren is Irish for 
wren. From this some have inferred that Druid is derived from 
dren drui-en. There is another Irish word drM (genitive druad) 
which meant a magician, Anwyl, Celtic Religion, p. 56, 

32 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

good authority, that Druidism originated in Britain, 
and Tacitus, who lived towards the end of the first 
century of the Christian era, that Anglesey was its 
religious centre. An impressive picture is given of 
the scene (a.d. 60) which was presented to the army 
of Suetonius Paulinus preparing to attack that 
venerable sanctuary. " Along the shore was seen a 
dense line of armed warriors, while women were rush- 
ing about between the ranks garbed like the Furies, 
in black go^vns, their hair flowing loose, and torches 
in their hands. The Druids were visible in the rear 
offering sacrifices to their gods, raising their hands 
to heaven, and calHng down dire imprecations upon 
the head of the invader."^ 

Of Druidical worship in Cornwall there is no direct 
evidence. 2 The kinship and intercourse and close 
relations, however, which subsisted between Cornwall, 
Wales and Ireland leave no room for doubt that 
Druidism was its religious system. It should be need- 
less to observe that its megalithic remains, dolmens, 
circles, and the like, which were erected many cen- 
turies before the Celts appeared in Britain, had 
originally no connection with Druidism and that there 
is no evidence to show that they ever became identified 
with it. 

Without stopping to compare Irish and Gaulish 
Druidism with that of Britain there is one point 
which claims attention and which, whether Druidical 
or essentially primitive and sporadic, bears witness 
to the existence of a cult which, occurring in Ireland, 
could not have been introduced by the Romans. 

* Prof. Oman's translation, England before the Norman Conquest, 
p. 74. 

' See, however, chap, iv. 

The Celts 88 

From the life of St. Patrick we learn that in Ireland 
idols of stone, sometimes adorned with gold, silver, 
or copper, and in particular one stone, that of Ceen 
Cruaich or Cronn Cruach, were worshipped by all 
the people of the land.^ Practices similar though not 
necessarily identical — in other words idol worship — 
characterised the Cornish paganism of the sixth cen- 
tury. Henoc the biographer of St. Sampson relates 
an incident of such absorbing interest that a transla- 
tion of the Latin, 2 however imperfect, will be wel- 
comed. It was during the saint's sojourn at Docco 
(St. Kew) that we read, " Now it came to pass, on a 
certain day as he journeyed through a certain district 
which they call Tricurius (the hundred of Trigg) he 
heard on his left hand {in sinistra parte de eo) to be 
exact, men worshipping (at) a certain shrine after 
the custom of the Bacchantes by means of a play in 
honour of an image. Thereupon he beckoned to his 
brothers that they should stand still and be silent 
while he himself, quietly descending from his chariot 
to the ground and standing upon his feet and observ- 
ing those who worshipped the idol, saw in front of 
them, resting on the summit of a certain hill an abom- 
inable image. On this hill I myself have been and 
have adored and with my hand have traced the sign 
of the cross which Saint Sampson, with his own 
hand, carved by means of an iron instrument on a 
standing stone. When Saint Sampson saw it (the 
image), selecting two only of the brothers to be with 
him, he hastened quickly towards them, their chief 
Guedianus standing at their head, and gently ad- 

1 D. Gougaud, Chritientds, pp. 16, 17. 

2 Edited by M. Fawtier (Paris, Champion, 5 Qiiai Malequais, 
1912). The Latin text is given in the appendix to this book p. 169. 

84 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

monished them that they ought not to forsake the 
one God who created all things and worship an idol. 
And when they pleaded as excuse that it was not 
wrong to keep the festival of their progenitors in a 
play, some being furious, some mocking but some of 
saner mind strongly urging him to go away, straight- 
way the power of God was made clearly manifest. 
For a certain boy driving horses at full speed fell 
from a swift horse to the ground and t^visting his 
head under him as he fell headlong, remained, just 
as he was flung, little else than a lifeless corpse. 

" Then St. Sampson, speaking to the tribesmen as 
they wept around the body, said, ' You see that your 
image is not able to give aid to the dead man. But 
if you will promise that you will utterly destroy this 
idol and no longer adore it I, with God's assistance, 
will bring the dead man to life.' And they consent- 
ing, he commanded them to withdraw a little further 
off and after praying earnestly over the lifeless man 
for two hours he delivered him, who had been dead, 
alive and sound before them all. 

" Seeing this they all with one accord, along with 
the aforementioned chief, prostrated themselves at 
St. Sampson's feet and utterly destroyed the idol." 

It will have been noticed that the writer does not 
state whether the idol was of stone or of wood ; nor 
is it quite clear whether it was itself the object of 
worship or the representation or symbol' of a god. 
Probably it was the latter. 

Whatever its nature and character the saint decided 
upon its destruction and marked the sign of the cross 
not upon it but upon a stone standing in its vicinity. 
It does not seem likely that the word abominable 
(simulacrum ahominabile) would have been employed 

The Celts 85 

to describe a wheel-headed stone. The idol was 
probably a fetich pure and simple or possibly a symbol 
of nature worship. 

Whatever may have been the pm-poses for which 
menhirs were erected during the neolithic period and 
whatever adoration may have been paid them by 
succeeding races — we have no evidence that such 
adoration was paid — it appears certain that they had 
nothing to do with sun worship. The Minoan sym- 
bolism, as such, which included the cross or rather 
the wheel with foiu* spokes (in this connection a better 
and more accurate description because it explains the 
most beautiful form which it assumed as the swastika), 
is entirely absent from the prehistoric monuments of 
Western Europe.^ The stone crosses of Cornwall are 
not of an earlier date than the sixth or seventh 
century of our era, and by that time not only was 
the county actively Christian but the Minoan sym- 
bolism was dead, buried and forgotten. 

Stones may be, and in many ages and in many 
lands have been, venerated for their supposed powers 
and virtues. Such stones, especially in Brittany, 
have received Christianisation, that is, have been 
marked with or surmounted by a cross within com- 
paratively modern times. There is no reason why 
some such course may not have suggested itself to 
the Cornish Christians of the seventh and succeeding 
centuries. But the golden age of Celtic Christianity 
was during the latter half of the seventh and first 
half of the eighth century, and at that time Cornwall 
was in constant communication with Ireland, the 
centre of Christian learning. ^ 

^ Dechelette, ArcMologie Prdhistorique, p. 441. 

2 Oman, England before the Norman Conquest, p. 30. 

86 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

About 270 stone crosses are to be found in Cornwall. 
They are mostly of granite and have been fashioned 
by means of iron implements, in some instances with 
considerable taste and skill. 

They are too well known to require description. 
To suppose them to have been erected by sun 
worshippers in the sixth and succeeding centuries 
is to suppose the prevalence of a religion in Cornwall 
which at that time prevailed nowhere else in Europe 
and concerning which history is silent. On the other 
hand, to suppose them to have been originally con- 
nected with nature worship of a peculiarly revolting 
character and to have been Christianised by signing 
them with the sign of the cross is highly improbable 
if, as the maintainers of this hypothesis assert, that 
sign was regarded as pagan. 

A much simpler and more convincing explanation 
is that the stone crosses were erected in order to 
disaffect and sanctify places which from time im- 
memorial had been devoted to old pagan super- 
stitions.^ This at any rate has the merit of being 
in accordance with the facts disclosed by the Sampson 
episode. Moreover, it avoids the anachronism which 
connects them with sun worship, while at the same 
time it disallows the charge of incredible folly which 
must otherwise be imputed to the founders of Cornish 
Christianity if we suppose those earnest men to have 
retained a degrading symbol of nature worship with 
little or no modification of its structural features. 

* Anatole le Braz, La nuit des feux. 



ALTHOUGH much good work has been done and 
useful results have been obtained in many fields 
of research both by individual Cornishmen and by 
societies like the Royal Institution of Cornwall, 
there is one department at least which has been 
somewhat, neglected by those for whom it might 
have been expected to possess a special attractive- 

The interest which of late years has been awakened 
in the Cornish language and in Celtic Christianity 
has not been the result of any revival in Cornwall 
itself. Mr. Whitley Stokes is an Irishman by birth 
and extraction, Professor Loth a Breton, Mr. Henry 
Jenner a Cornishman. In fact no Cornishman 
except the last-named has so far thrown himself 
wholeheartedly into the movement which has for 
its object the critical study of the language and 
religion of the Celtic-speaking nations. This is much 
to be regretted, because both of these subjects were 
assigned a place in the comprehensive scheme of 
Dr. Borlase, which, as conceived and elaborated by 
him, entitled him to rank among the leading European 
antiquaries of his own day. Although Dr. Borlase 
achieved little of permanent value in the way of 
exposition, he gathered much valuable material 
which, but for him, would have been lost, and by his 


38 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

sagacity and diligence succeeded in riveting the 
attention of his compatriots. 

He was, hke all the leading archaeologists of his 
time, a resolute believer in the Druidical origin of 
the preliistoric remains of the county, a theory 
which he advocated with consummate skill and 
particularity. Since his death the theory has been 
found to be untenable without any serious injury, 
however, being done to his high reputation. 

The brilliant essay of his great-great-grandson, the 
late Mr. William Copeland Borlase, on the Age of 
the Saints f first printed in 1878, has been one of the 
very few original works accomplished in the county 
having for its object the exposition of Celtic Chris- 
tianity. In this work its writer attempted too much. 
Subsequent research has shown that many of his 
identifications of the Cornish saints are untrust- 
worthy, and that his arbitrary delineation of the 
spheres of influence of the respective groups of Irish, 
Welsh and Breton saints is often fanciful and mis- 

Given leisure and the spirit of enquiry, the two 
subjects which ought to appeal most strongly to a 
Cornishman are the ancient religion and the ancient 
language of the county to which he belongs. 

Both subjects are now^well within his reach owing 
to the immense amount of material which has, within 
recent years, been made available by the publication 
of ancient records. The Councils and Ecclesiastical 
Documents of Haddan and Stubbs, the Episcopal 
Registers, edited by Hingeston-Randolph, the Parish 
Registers, edited by Phillimore and others, the 
p ublications of the Record Commissioners and of the 
Royal Institution of Cornwall, the Revue Celtique, 

Cornwall and Briitany 89 

the Ancient Cornish Drama, edited by Mr. Edwin 
Norris, the critical works of Mr. Whitley Stokes, of 
Pi'ofessor Loth and Dom Gougaud, the Cornish 
Grammar of Mr. Jenner ; these are a few of the 
many sources whence valuable information may be 
derived for the comparative study of these subjects. 
In this connection it may be observed that little 
satisfaction will be gained from facts and statements 
which are obtained at second hand. Facts must be 
sought out in the original documents and examined 
in their original settings. 

The context is often more illuminating than the 
fact which it enshrines. Not documents only ; the 
to^^Tis, villages, hamlets and homesteads, with their 
ancient 'names, address silent appeals to the hearts 
and understandings of those who live among them. 

An interesting illustration is supplied by the three 
Cornish words, Eglos (Ecclesia), Escop (Episcopus) 
and Pleu (Plebs) — interesting because the final judg- 
ment must be held in suspense until a survey has 
been made of their ramifications. All three words 
arc found in the place-names of this county. Eglos 
is found in Lant eglos, Egloskerry and in some other 
places ; Escop is found in Trescobeas in Budock, 
formerly appendant to the bishop's manor of Penryn, 
also in Mainen Escop (Bishop's Rock), in the Isles 
of Scilly ; Pleu is found in Plunent, the ancient name 
of Pelynt, in Pluvathack (Budock) and possibly in 
Bleu Bridge in Gulval. Names beginning or ending 
in Eglos are numerous in Cornw^all ; those having Pleu 
for the first syllable are very few in number. In 
Brittany very few place-names are composed of 
Eglos and Escop, w^hereas Pleu enters into many. 
Why does Pleu rather than Eglos lend itself so 

40 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

readily in Brittany to the exigencies of ecclesiastical 
nomenclature ? Were it not that Lan (monastery) 
is equally distributed in the two countries, we should 
be tempted to say that in Cornwall a Celtic word 
(lan) was preferred to a Latin word (plebs) to describe 
the ecclesiastical unit. Some difference of condition 
or of association there must have been to account 
for it. That which most readily occurs is that 
Armorica was thoroughly Latinised before the 
insular Celts arrived there, whereas Cornwall was 
probably never brought into close contact -svith 
f Roman civilisation as such except on and near the 
coast ; in other words, that Plebs was in use in the 
former country before it became Christian and 
acquired afterwards a specific ecclesiastical significa- 
tion, whereas in Cornwall it was introduced along 
with Christianity or after Christianity had taken 
root. Very few traces of Roman civilisation are to 
be found in this county. The Roman milestone at 
St. Hilary is almost unique. Roman coins, of which 
many have been found in the county, do not prove 
Roman settlement. It is certain, however, that 
Britain had become Christian, at least in name, before 
the Roman legions were withdrawn, and it is there- 
fore probable that the words Eglos, Escop and Pleu 
had been received into the Cornish language before 
that time. And the true explanation of the per- 
sistence of Pleu in the place-names of Brittany seems 
to be that the insular Britons, who had acquired the 
word Plebs during the Roman occupation, con- 
verted it, for ecclesiastical purposes, into Pleu and 
took it with them when they emigrated to Armorica, 
where very soon it had to give place to the word 
Pares (from the French Paroisse), though not before 

Cornwall and Brittany 41 

it had taken root in the place-names. In Cornwall 
and Wales, on the other hand, Pleu remained in 
current use and is therefore seldom found in the 
place-names of those countries. Making allowance 
for changed conditions, the same explanation accounts 
for the persistence of the word Lan in the place-names 
of all three countries — it persisted in the place-names 
because it had fallen out of current use. 

For reasons which will appear later, it is important 
to keep well in mind the relations which subsisted 
between Cornwall and Brittany from the time of the 
Dumnonian exodus, which began in the first half of 
the fifth century, until those relations were inter- 
rupted in the sixteenth century. 

Leaving for future discussion the question of 
religion, there are points of contact between the two 
countries which deserve attention, not only because 
they are interesting in themselves, but because they 
can hardly fail to suggest others. 

The colonisation of Armorica by the people of 
Dumnonia is accepted by every scholar of repute. 
The gradual re -settlement of Bretons in Cornwall is 
not so well kno^vn. Nevertheless, the historical 
evidence is not open to question. Domesday Book 
shows that, with, three exceptions, all the landholders 
in Cornwall were, in the days of Edward the Con- 
fessor, Saxons. When WiUiam the Norman set 
about the conquest of England, he was joined by 
several Breton nobles, who, by way of reward, 
received considerable grants of land in Cornwall. 
Richard Fitz Turold, the ancestor of the baronial 
house of Cardinan, received thirty-one manors, 
Brient six, Blohiu five, Jovin thirteen, Wihumar 
three and Judhel one. 


Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

It was, doubtless, owing to the presence of these 
Breton knights that Cornwall came to play so 
important a part in the Arthurian romances, which, 
soon after the Conquest, became kno^vn throughout 
western Europe. There has been much controversy 
respecting their origin. They have been attributed 
to England, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. That of 
Tristan and Iseult was, until quite recently, com- 
monly referred to an English archetype which 
assumed literary form at the hands of British and 
Welsh minstrels or jugglers. 

It has remained for Professor Loth to demonstrate, 
beyond the possibility of doubt, that it originated in 
Cornwall at a time when Celtic, Saxon and Norman 
were all spoken languages. Those who are famiUar 
with the romance will have been puzzled by the 
presence of two Iseults in one and the same story. 
On this point M. Loth says, " in my opinion it is 
from the juxtaposition in Cornwall of two legends, 
the Cornish and the Armorican, and from a com- 
promise between the two that the creation of the 
two Iseults has originated."^ 

No better proof could be found of the friendly spirit 
which existed between the two nations than their mu- 
tual consent to share the tales and traditions of both. 

It was a Breton who, in 1177, carried away the 
body of St. Petrock to the monastery of St. Mewan 
in Brittany. As a canon of Bodmin he had learnt 
to venerate the saint, and doubtless considered that 
he could confer no greater boon upon his own country- 
men than to present them with the saint's relics. 
At the instance of Henry II, Roland de Dinan 
restored them to the Priory. 

1 Romans de la Table Bonde, p. 110. 

Cornwall and Brittany 43 

The trade between the two countries was con- 
siderable. The Patent Rolls supply ample evidence 
of this. In 1343 we find an inquisition respecting 
certain mariners of the county of Cornwall who had 
been received into the service of the Duchess of 
Brittany, but who had turned pirates and plundered 
the vessels of both countries. 

More convincing still is the evidence supplied by 
the first subsidy roll of King Henry VIII. The roll 
is undated, but the date cannot be later than 1523. 
In it are given the names of all those who were 
required to contribute to the subsidy and the several 
amounts of their assessment, in land and goods, for 
the purpose. The roll for the hundred of Penwith 
is almost complete, only the parishes of Crowan, 
Illogan, Redruth and a part of Camborne being 
missing.^ In all the Penwith parishes, save five of the 
smaller ones, are found Bretons who are described as 
nati in partibus Britannice sub obediencia Regis 
Francorum. These Bretons constitute more than 
one-sixth of the total tax-paying population of the 
hundred of Penwith. They are described as tinners, 
fishermen, smiths, servants, labourers and cooks : the 
occupations of twenty-nine of them are not given. 
Although the several amounts to be contributed by 
them are in every case in respect of goods and com- 
paratively small, there is fortunately reliable evidence 
to prove they were not mere sojourners but persons 
who had come to stay. 

The order to keep parish registers issued by Thomas 

* The Roll was printed by the Royal Institution of Cornwall in 
1887. Extracts from some of the later rolls are given by Mr. J. H. 
Matthews in his History of St. Ivea, Lelant, Towednack and Zennor^ 
pp. 133-42 ; and by Dr. W. J. Stephens in liis Collections for a 
History of Crantock. 

44 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

Cromwell in 1537, and the further order, in 1597, 
requiring a transcript of them to be made on parch- 
ment, would have provided future generations with 
an invaluable source of information, had those orders 
been generally obeyed and the records carefully 

Unfortunately, few parishes can claim to possess an 
uninterrupted record of baptisms, marriages and 
burials from the year 1538 up to the present time. 
In Penwith only Camborne enjoys this distinction. 
All the rest of the registers begin after the accession 
of Queen Ehzabeth. The earliest of the Madron 
registers, which begins in 1577, has been printed and 
is accessible : the Camborne marriages have also 
been printed. From these two registers it will 
suffice to give extracts which bear upon Breton 
settlement in the county. Camborne supplies the 
following marriages : 

1538. John Cart ho we, brito, and Nora his wife. 
1540. Stephen Bryton and Jane his wife. 
1540. G'ua Bryton and Margaret his wife. 
1540. Uden John, brytton, and his wife. 
1540. Gregorie Brytton and Margaret his wife. 
1546. John Gerecrist and Margaret Willm, bryttons. 
1568. Peres Brytton and Alson his wife. 

If the above list is compared with the subsidy roll, 
to which reference has been made, it will be clear 
that Bryton is not a surname but a descriptive 
epithet. The list, in fact, supplies only four surnames, 
Carthowe, John, Willm and Gerecrist. Of these the 
first and last are interesting : the first survives in 
Cornwall as Carthewe and in Brittany as Carzou ; 

Cornwall and Brittany 45 

the last is a Breton place-name — Kergrist, near 

As showing that the Breton immigrants did not 
return to their own comitry the following entries 
from the Madron register ^ will be helpful, if not 
conclusive. Among the burials we have : 

1582. Jane, wife of John Brittayne. 

1585. Elizabeth, wife of Oliver, the Brittonn. 

1587. Joane, wife of John Britton. 

1599. Peres Brittayne. 

Unfortunately the Madron baptisms are missing 
until 1592 and the marriages until 1577. It is im- 
possible, iiowever, with the Camborne marriages and 
the Madron burials before us, to resist the conclusion 
that in the first half of the sixteenth century Bretons 
arrived, married and were buried in the county. They 
doubtless left descendants. It is remarkable, however, 
that whereas, at the present time, in Cornwall the 
surname Britton or Bridden is rare, in the Midlands, 
where Breton influence was never considerable, it is 
comparatively common. The explanation appears 
to be that the Christian names of the Breton immi- 
grants became surnames, and in this way the number 
of Christian surnames, which in West Cornwall now 
amounts to little short of 30 per cent of the whole 
number, was vastly increased. 

For how long the tide of Breton immigration had 

^ I am indebted to Professor Loth for the identification of these 

* Some further light would doubtless be thrown on the subject 
if the Camborne registers were searched for the children of the above 
marriages and for the burial of their parents. It is noteworthy that 
Carthew marriages were solemnised at Camborne in 1683 and 1588. 
They may have been, and probably were, those of John Carthowe's 

46 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

been flowing, when we meet with it in the sixteenth 
century, it is impossible to say. Its persistence in 
the first half of that century is not more noteworthy 
than its arrest in the second half.^ 

Brittany had become a French province in 1495 
by the marriage of Anne, Duchess of Brittany, to 
Charles VIII. The tortuous foreign policy of Queen 
Elizabeth of England, no less than the political and 
religious complications of her protracted reign, could 
hardly have been favourable to Breton immigration. 
The reformed religion and the decline of the Cornish 
language have prevented a renewal of close relations 
between the two countries. 

The mystery and miracle plays constituted another 
link between Cornwall and Brittany. Whether 
written in Cornish or Breton they could be under- 
stood by the inhabitants of both countries. 

They were acted on both sides of the Channel in 
the open air. The subject matter — sacred history 
and religious biography — was the same for both. 
The trilogy called the Ordinalia, which, in three plays, 
covered roughly the same ground as the Old and 
New Testament, represents the Cornish treatment, 
by means of the Cornish language, of the mystery, 
wliich, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, was 
common to western Europe. But the miracle play 
of Beunans Meriasek, the life of St. Meriasek, was 
Celtic in origin and treatment. The Cornish version, 
written by Dom Hadton, in 1504, had probably a 
Breton archetype. St. Meriasek or Meriadec, who 
shares with St. Martin the patronage of Camborne, 

^ As late, however, as 1599 we meet with Bretons at Redruth, 
who contributed handsomely to the subsidy of that year. Six may 
bo noted in the St. Ives district in 1571, but none in 1693 or after 
that date (Lay Subsidies, 87 (218) ). 

Cornwall and Brittany 47 

was unquestionably a very important personage in 
Brittany. He gave his name to a tr^ve of Plumergat, 
Pluvigner, Pluneret and Noyal-Pontivy i^ he is the 
patron of Stival and of Plougasnou. He was also 
numbered among the early bishops of Vannes, though, 
according to M. Loth, mistakenly. ^ 

It is significant that in the Cornish Beunans 
Meriasek his elevation to that see forms an important 
episode. This fact, of itself, would suggest a Breton 
origin for the play. Mi-. Thurstan Peter has, on other 
grounds, arrived at the same conclusion.^ 

The mystery and miracle plays were still in vogue 
when Richard Carew wrote his Survey of Cornwall. 
There is iip need to quote the well-known passage in 
which he describes the degradation of what had once 
been a valuable means of instruction, but which, in 
his day (1590), had become a questionable form of 
popular entertainment. 

At St. Just-in-Penwith and Perranzabuloe the 
plain- an-gware, place of the play, is more or less 
carefully preserved. The populous district of Plain- 
angwarry in the parish of Redruth also reminds the 
inhabitants of the days of old and the years that 
are past. In more than one manorial extent, as, for 
example, in that of the manor of St. Buryan, the 
writer has found a tenement, described as Plain- 
angware, the site of which is now unknown. It is 
not improbable that every considerable Cornish 
parish had formerly a space reserved for the mystery 
and miracle play. 

^ The tr^ve is described by Dom Gougaud as a parochial sub- 
division still recognised in certain cantons of Brittany (Chrdtientds, 
p. 124). 

* Loth's Les Saints hretona, pp. 92, 93. 

2 Peter, Old Cornieh Drama, p. 34. 


Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

No attempts have hitherto been made to revive 
these plays in Cornwall. ^ A graduate of Missouri 
University, visiting the Plain -an -gware at St. Just, 
informed the writer that in New York, with the 
assistance of wealthy patrons, the Cornish plays had 
been successfully rendered by members of the 
University. In Brittany there has been of late years 
a notable revival of the mysteries on modern lines in 
the Breton language. Under the direction of an 
enlightened clergy, encouraged by eminent Celtic 
scholars, the plays are attracting the attention of 
many besides those for whom they have been written. 
The marked histrionic ability of the players, most, if 
not all, of them simple country folk, the atmosphere 
of reverent adoring faith, and of robust inspiring 
patriotism, the utter absence of anything like vanity 
or pretence, the intense reality of the Gospel story 
which, too often, in the case of ordinary Englishmen, 
has, under the soothing influence of an inimitable 
authorised version of the Holy Scriptures, become an 
idyllic, poetical and idealistic presentment of Scrip- 
tural truth, but which, as proclaimed by the living 
voice and the impassioned fervour of believing hearts 
amid circumstances not very dissimilar to those 
which gave it birth: all this is irresistibly pathetic 
and convincing. 

No one who has been present at St. Anne d'Auray 
and who has followed, even by means of a French 
translation, the Boeh-er-go^d (the Call of the Blood), 
in which the parable of the Prodigal Son is unfolded 

1 After the above was written, Mr. Thurstan Peter, President of 
the Royal Institution of Cornwall, announced that under the segia 
of that institution the Beunans Mcriasek would be performed in 
the year 1915. The great war hewa necessarily caused the postpone- 
ment of the enterprise. 

Cornwall and Brittany 49 

strictly on the lines of the sacred narrative, can ever 
forget it. In the words of Abbe le Bayon, the writer 
of the Hbretto, it is " par dela ce pauvre pere qui 
souffrit un jour, dans quel que coin ignore, de 
Tabandon inqualifiable de son fils — que chacun des 
spectateurs veuille bien entrevoir ; le coeur de Dieu 
^ternellement blesse des abandons humains ; mais 
aussi, la vieille Bretagne toute dechiree au delaisse- 
ment des siens et confiante encore, toujours aimante, 
rappelnnt a sa vieille langue, a ses croyances anciennes, 
les fils oublieux en qui repose I'espoir de la race." 
The appeal " a sa vieille langue " for Cornishmen 
comes too late, but that " a ses croyances anciennes " 
should meet with a response from those at least who 
are zealous for the traditions of their Cornish fore- 


BY comparing the development of Christian in- 
stitutions in the various portions of the Celtic 
world and observing those elements which were, for 
three centuries at least, characteristic, common and 
permanent, it ought to be possible to arrive at some 
very definite and useful results. It ought to be pos- 
sible to supplement the evidence, supplied by writers 
like Gildas and the venerable Bede, and, from the 
common store of Celtic learning, acquired in Wales, 
Ireland and Brittany, to remedy our defective 
knowledge of Cornwall and of Cornish Christianity. 
Obviously the closer the relations between the four 
Celtic families the stronger the presumption in favour 
of an identity of ecclesiastical organisation. 

Until the Saxon raids, wliich began in the year 428, 
Cornwall and Wales were integral portions of Great 
Britain ; the inhabitants, though differentiated into 
kingdoms, were bound together by a common religion 
and by a more or less common language. 

The Roman occupation which in Armorica had 
changed the vernacular from Gaulish to Latin (which 
in the fifth century was, in that country, already 
giving rise to a romance language) achieved no such 
marked result in Britain. Latin may have been spoken 
in the centres of population and in places where the 


Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 51 

Roman influence was exceptionally strong ; it may 
have been spoken, as Professor Haverfield contends, 
in the eastern counties ; but the absence of any f 
trace of a romance language goes to prove that it 
was never the vernacular. 

The Saxon invasion which, during the fifth and 
sixth centuries, reduced the Britons to a state of 
servitude, or drove them to the more inaccessible f 
and remote regions of Wales and Cornwall, was the 
immediate cause of a great exodus to Armorica. No 
event in British laistory proved more fruitful in results: 
no event is more suggestive for the purpose of eluci- 
dating Cornish Church history. How large was the 
share taken in that emigration by the people of 
Dumnonia (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset) 
may be gathered from the fact that the language 
which the emigrants introduced into Armorica — a 
language wliich speedily superseded Latin just as 
Latin had superseded Gaulish — was Cornish rather 
than Welsh, the language, in short, which survived 
in some parts of Cornwall until the eighteenth cen- 
tury and which is, wdth some slight modification, still 
spoken in Finist^re and to some extent in Morbihan 
and C6tes du Nord. Professor Loth, whose eminence 
as a Celtic scholar no one will dispute, has wiitten, 
"it is certain that hnguistically the Britons of Corn- 
wall were nearer of kin to the emigrants than the 
Welsh : they doubtless occupied the nearer neigh- 
bourhood of ancient Dumnonia." " The Breton 
language forms with Cornish a closely compacted 
unity as opposed to Welsh, although the three 
languages were assuredly very near neighbours at 
this period " (the fifth century). ^ 

^ Led Noma de^ Saints bretons, p. 143. 

52 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

Armorica itself became known as Brittany in the 
sixth century. Cornwall (Cornouaille) was adopted 
as the name of that portion of it between the Elorn 
and the Elle soon afterwards. Dumnonia was the 
name given to the northern portion between the Elorn 
and the Cuesnon in the ninth century. The settlers 
in Armorica introduced their own form of Christianity, 
and the object of the British and Irish missionary 
saints who flocked thither soon afterwards was not, 
as ancient writers have supposed, in order to convert 
the pagan Gauls, but rather to administer to the 
spiritual needs of their compatriots. To these mis- 
sions our Dumnonia contributed little in comparison 
with Wales. Cornwall after the foundation of the 
kingdom of Wessex in 519 became isolated : its 
relations with Brittany were doubtless closer than 
with Saxonised Britain. But it never became, like 
Wales and Ireland in the fifth and sixth centuries, a 
great missionary centre. The founders of the Breton 
monastery-bishoprics — Pol Aurelian, Lunaire, Mag- 
loir c. Me wan and Malo were all Welsh : Tutwal only, 
the founder of Treguier, was of British Dumnonia. 
Of the British saints whose names are found in the 
parishes, fractions of parishes and holy places of 
Brittany, from 80 to 90 are Welsh ; about 60 appear 
in Cornwall ; from 30 to 40 appear only in Brittany 
and in Cornwall and Devon, and a few in Somerset.^ 

The British refugees remind us of iEneas whom 
tradition represents as bringing with him his Lares 
and Penates to Italy. The Dumnonian immigrants 
brought with them the cult of their own insular 
saints. At a later period Brittany was able to make 
a return in kind. Pol Aurelian, Sampson, Columba, 
1 Loth, ibid., p. 124, n. 1. 

Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 58 

Meriadec, Corentin and others of Breton fame were 
received into the devotional system of Cornwall. 

Not only were the Breton and Cornish people one 
in origin, tradition, language and religious sentiment, 
they were one in their Celtic ideal of the priestly and 
religious life. Theirs no less than that of the Welsh 
and Irish was the monastic ideal. Every Cornish 
place-name bearing the prefix Ian, together with 
some j)lace-names bearing the prefix nan, implies a 
monastic foundation. Lanisley, Landithy, Lan- , 
hydrock, Lanherne and Landegy, Nancekuke and 
Nansladron are a few examples which show that the 
quasi -monastic foundations of Domesday Book were 
only modified survivals of what was in the sixth . 
century the accepted ecclesiastical type, a type which 
continued to exist apparently long after the parochial 
system made its appearance. A body of celibate 
clergy, living in community, observing a religious 
rule and entrusted with the care of souls over an ill- 
defined area will probably represent the normal, just 
as an anchorite living solitary with a view to the 
perfecting of his soul in holiness will represent the 
abnormal development of the monastic ideal. We have 
no means of estimating the number of monks whose 
segregation constituted a Cornish lan. It is probable 
that the communities were small as compared with 
those of Wales and Ireland. The great monastery of 
Bangor Iscoed on the Dee had, according to the Vener- ^ 
able Bede, at the beginning of the seventh century no 
less than 2100 monks. Clonard, in the county of 
Meath, founded by St. Finnian about the year 520, ■ 
is said to have been larger. It may be extravagance 
on the part of the biographer of St. Patrick to state 
that the saint enjoined a levy of a tithe of the men as 


Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

well as a tithe of the land for the support of the 
Church, 1 but there can be no doubt that a very con- 
siderable fraction of the Celtic population embraced 
the religious life. At the same time we shall probably 
arrive at a false economic inference unless we bear 
in mind the tripartite division of the monk's day 
which required one-third of it to be spent in manual 

Professor Loth, as the result of a careful study of 
Breton toponomastic, has arrived at the conclusion 
that the Armorican parishes were placed as early as 
the sixth and seventh century under the invocation 
of the saints — ^national, emigrant, or otherwise — 
whose names they still bear. ^ It is therefore possible, 
I think probable, that the Cornish parish is older 
than the English. The reforms of Archbishop Theo- 
dore (668-690) which resulted in the subdivision of 
dioceses and the formation of parishes, were begun 
though not completed a little less than a century 
later. Cornwall and Wales were unaffected by these 
reforms, the Archbishop of Canterbury's jurisdiction 
not being acknowledged by Cornwall until the days 
of Egbert (803-839), or by Wales until the beginning 
of the twelfth century. 

In the absence of clear historical evidence it would 
be rash to assert that every development in Wales, 
Brittany and Ireland was followed by a corresponding 
development in Cornwall, but where the same religious 
influences were at work in every other Celtic-speaking 
country it may be assumed that those influences were ■ 
at work in Cornwall, and the receptivity of the Cornish 
in the matter of religion, when the influence was held 

* Quoted by Dom Gougaud, Les ChrHierUia cdtiques, p. 82. 
■ Gougaud, ibid., p. 107, 

Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 55 

to come from the right quarter, is witnessed by the 
readiness wherewith they admitted Welsh, Irish and 
Breton saints into their hagiologies. 

At the time imder discussion it will be borne in 
mind that the saints reverenced in Cornwall were \ 
almost if not wholly Celtic. Even at the present time, 
in spite of the Saxon conquest and the submission to 
Canterbury, in spite of the attempt to substitute 
saints from the Roman Kalendar for the Celtic patrons 
of Cornish churches in the fourteenth century, and 
in spite of the ignorant perversion of spelling and the 
abortive attempts at identification on the part of the 
Enghsh registrars who conducted the business of the 
bishop's court at Exeter, it is a matter for wonder 
and gratitude that so many Cornish churches should 
still be known by their ancient saints' names. 

If we compare the dedications of Derbyshire with 
those of Cornwall we find that of the 168 ancient 
churches in the former county, 72 are under the 
invocation of Scriptural saints, 18 under St. Michael, 
28 under All Saints, 34 under historical saints like 
Martin, Lawrence and Giles and about 16 under 
English and Saxonised saints, like Edmund, Oswald, 
Wilfrid, Wer burgh and Cuthbert. 

On the other hand, in Cornwall, of the 200 dedica- 
tions 30 are Scriptural, less than 30 are strangers 
(either historical and non-English like Martin, Ger- j 
man and Clement, or aggressively English, like 
Morwenna, Werburgh, Swithun and Neot, or Saxon- 
ised like Cuthbert, Olave, Odulph and Hugh) and the 
rest, more than two-thirds of the total number, are 
Celtic. Nor is it difficult to account for the presence 
of the Saxon element. The monastic ideal presented 
by Werburgh the abbess and by Cuthbert the abbot- 

56 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

bishop would appeal to the prevailing monastic 
temper, while the early settlement of Saxons in the 
north-eastern portion of the county, of which we have 
abundant proof in its toponomastic (e.g. in Morwen- 
stow, Jacobstow, Aldestow and Neotstou) and in the 
will of King Alfred (871-901) whose possessions in 
Triconshire (the hundred of Trigg which at that time 
probably embraced the hundred of Stratton) are 
expressly mentioned, will account for saints like 
Neot, Swithun and Morwenna who probably dis- 
placed the Celtic saints of an earlier period. 

Before passing to what is of greatest interest — ^the 
Celtic episcopate — a few words are required respect- 
ing the two great controversies, which, however 
trivial in themselves, served the purpose of furnishing 
records of a period concerning which records are very 

The Easter no less than the Tonsure controversy 
was one of the results of the isolation of Celtic Chris- 
tianity. In order to find Easter the Roman Church 
had, until the year 457, used the old Jewish cycle of 
84 years. In that year a cycle of 532 years was 
adopted. The Welsh and Cornish, who had received 
their Christianity during the Roman occupation of 
Great Britain, and therefore long before 457, con- 
tinued to use the Jewish cycle. They refused to 
conform to the Roman use and persisted in their 
refusal for a very considerable period. Ireland, which 
had also become Christian before 457, was the first to 
adopt the Roman Easter in 633. Cornwall followed 
in or about 705, as the result of St. Aldhelm's famous 
letter to Geruntius, prince of Dumnonia. North 
Wales held out until 768 and South Wales until 777.^ 
* Haddan and Stubbs, Councils^ etc., i, 201. 

Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 57 

Mr. Haddan, who identifies the " errores " of bishop 
Leofric's Missal (909) with the " egregium errorem 
Brittonum " of Bede's history, is incUned to the 
opinion that St. Aldhelm's letter was inoperative out- 
side the Kingdom of Wessex ;^ but the opinion is 
open to dispute. 

The shaving of the head does not appear to have 
been associated with the Christian ministry until the 
fourth century. The apostolic injunction respecting 
long hair was observed, but it was the monks who 
introduced the tonsure which, at first, was a tonsure 
of the entire head and known as that of St. Paul. 
St. Peter's tonsure, which allowed to the shaven 
ecclesiastic an aureole or crown of hair around the 
denuded pate, was not introduced until the sixth 
century. Long before this time, however, the monks 
of the Celtic world had become distinguished by a 
tonsure which apparently made bare the fore part 
only of the head and left a semicircular fringe in 
front. The Celtic tonsure was taken by the British 
refugees to Brittany and Galicia. It was as char- 
acteristic of the Celtic clergy as the kilt is characteris- 
tic of Scottish soldiers to-day. Its origin was almost 
certainly Druidical, and, if so, it is one of the few 
shreds of evidence we possess of the presence of 
Druids in Cornwall. Their presence in Great Britain 
at an earlier period is generally allowed ; their 
presence and power in Ireland is conclusively proved. 

The Celtic tonsure appears to have been abandoned 
at the time when the Roman Easter was accepted. 
1 Ibid., i, 674 and 676. 


THE chief interest of Celtic Christianity gathers 
around the monastery-bishopric and the abbot- 
bishop who ruled it. In the sixth century the 
religious hfe had become much more than a counsel 
of perfection. In Ireland the Church was almost 
exclusively monastic. In Wales St. German is said 
to have founded a monastery during his second visit. 
Iltut, whom he ordained priest, was the founder of 
Llantwit, the great school of monks whence came 
Sampson, Paul Aurelian and possibly Gildas and 

At the outset it is necessary to guard against 
the undercurrent of thought which connects Celtic 
monasticism with one or other of the great religious 
orders. The earliest of these orders — ^that of St. 
Benedict — was not established until about a.d. 529, 
and was not introduced into Britain until St. Augus- 
tine's arrival in a.d. 597. At the interview between 
Augustine and the Welsh bishops in 603 Dinoot 
abbot of Bangor Iscoed was among the strongest 
opponents of compromise. Celtic monasticism owed 
nothing to St. Benedict or to St. Augustine. When 
therefore we read the statement of a shrewd and 
learned wi'iter like Sir John Maclean that "St. Pet rock 
founded his monastery at Bodmin adopting the rule 


Monastery-Bishoprics of Cornwall 50 

of St. Benedict " and when we recall an admission 
by the same writer that Petrock was educated at 
the great monastery of Clonard towards the end of 
the fifth or at the beginning of the sixth century, 
i.e. presumably between 490 and a.d. 510 and 
therefore before the Benedictine order was founded, 
we realise how mischievous this undercurrent of 
thought may prove. 

There is no evidence that any early monastic 
foundation in the Celtic world was established in 
accordance with the Benedictine discipline. Celtic 
monasticism was quite definitely sui generis. The 
mission of St. German in 429 and 447 probably laid 
the foundations of it in Britain. 

It had achieved some of its greatest victories before 
St. Augustine of Canterbury was born. Paul Aurelian, 
the Welsh monk, established the monastery -bishopric 
of Leon in a.d. 530 : Sampson, a compatriot, the 
similar foundation at Dol in a.d. 565 : Tutwal of 
British Dumnonia was abbot before he became abbot - 
bishop of Treguier in the same century. In Ireland 
the monastery of Clonard was founded before the 
Benedictine order came into existence. St. Patrick 
was a contemporary of St. German. Celtic Chris- 
tianity, while it was practically independent of 
Rome,^ became intensely monastic. There is nothing 
therefore to lead us to regard the canons of St. 
Petrock, St. Piran, St. Stephen, St. Keverne and 
St. Probus, mentioned in Domesday Book, as 
subject to the discipline of St. Benedict. Such 

1 Cornwall's independence of Rome implied neither repudiation 
of nor secession from the Roman Church. It was merely the 
temporary suspension of outward communion with Latin Chris- 
tianity as the result of political events which had placed Cornwall in 
a state of isolation. 

60 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

evidence as we possess tends to confirm the contrary 
opinion. What has been said of the order of St. 
Benedict appHes with greater force to that of St. 
Augustine, the Black Canons, whose earhest founda- 
tion in England dates from a.d. 1108, that is, 22 
years after Domesday Book was compiled. Cardinal 
Gasquet truly says the clergy of every large church, 
as being subject to rule, were called canons. The 
rule of St. Augustine w^as not introduced at 
Bodmin until the time of Bishop William Warelwast 

Under the strong pressure exerted by monastic 
expansion the governmental character of episcopacy 
became attenuated. This was especially the case in 
Ireland and in those churches which owed their 
foundation to Irish missions. The multiplication of 
bishops tended to degrade the office. It is impossible 
to read the accounts of monastic rule as developed by 
St. Bridget at Kildare and by the Irish mission at 
lona, and of the mechanical and subsidiary part 
which the bishops were called upon to play in the 

1 The statement is based upon the assumption that the decrees 
of Pope Leo III were as inoperative in Conawall as they were in 
Wales and Ireland. It should be needless to warn the reader against 
confoimding Augustine of Canterbury with the bishop of Hippo. 
The latter is said to have sanctioned certain regulations for the 
religious life which subsequently became loiown as the rule of 
St. Augustine. In the beginning of the ninth century Pope Leo III 
made this rule obligatory upon all the clergy who had not embraced 
some other rule. Had the monks of St. Petrock been in outward 
communion with western Christendom they would probably have 
become canons, regular or secular, of St. Augustine and, in that 
case and in that sense only, Sir John Maclean's statement might 
have been excusable. But in that sense the words had no meaning 
in the sixth century when St. Petrock founded the Cornish com- 
munity. Augustine of Canterbury was a Benedictine monk nnd 
the canons regular introduced by Bishop Warelwast, knovm as 
Black Canons, belonged to one of the three great orders which 
sprang from the rule attributed to his groat namesake the bishop of 


Monastery- Bishoprics of Cornwall 61 

drama, without being aware of the subversion of one 
of the fundamental marks of episcopacy. The 
present wi'itcr has found but slight evidence of this 
disastrous policy in Wales and Brittany. There the 
abbot -bishop is seen as the ruler of a monastery or 
of a tribe. Innumerable monasteries had no bishop 
at all. The presence of a bishop gave to the monastery 
the elements of permanence and priority. The Breton 
and Welsh monastery-bishoprics have in many 
instances survived as bishoprics up to the present 
time solely, as it would seem, owing to their early 
episcopal character. 

The distinction between the Irish and British 
conception of episcopacy must be borne in mind 
when we attempt to reconstruct the ecclesiastical 
institutions of Cornwall. It has been shown that the 
relation between Cornwall and Brittany was that of 
mother and daughter. Between Wales and Cornwall 
the relation, though probably less close, was far closer 
than that between Ireland and Cornwall. It is there- 
fore more than probable that while the abbot -bishop 
was everywhere a distinguishing feature of Celtic 
Christianity there was here (in this county) no such 
perversion of the episcopal office as to give rise 
to a body of episcopi vagantes of whom we read in 
connection with Ireland and Irish missions. ^ 

That Cornwall possessed bishops is certain, and 
that they ruled monasteries is equally certain, 
diocesan bishops being, during the period under 
consideration, practically unknown to the Celtic 
world. History helps us little as regards Cornwall. 
We know that in a.d. 664 two British bishops (duobus 

^ Dom Gougaud speaks of them as ^iqties dddasees et errants 
{Chrdtientes, p. 219). 

62 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

de Brittonum gente episcopis), whom Mr. Haddan 
considers to have been Cornish, assisted Wini, the 
Saxon bishop of Wessex, in the consecration of 
St. Chad.i 

Gildas, the Jeremiah of Britain, whose De Excidio 
is stated to have been written in the sixth century, 
introduces us to an ecclesiastical system which, in 
respect of its main features, differs hardly if at all 
from that ^vith which we are famihar, but wliich 
both surprises us by the evidence of its progress and 
alarms us by the extent of its perverseness. Gildas 
speaks of the clergy " intruding themselves into the 
preferments of the Church, yea, rather buying the 
same at a high rate " and " after the example of 
Simon Magus buying the office of a bishop or of a 
priest." There was, therefore, already in the sixth 
century, if the traditional date of the De Excidio be 
accepted, a gradation not only of dignity but also of 
office and emolument, for which, without Gildas' 
evidence, we should hardly have been prepared. The 
denunciations of Gildas have been held to apply to 
the civil rulers and the secular clergy only,^ but 
there seems to be no good reason for accepting this 
hypothesis unless we read into the sixth century 
conditions which are found at a later period. It is 
important and sufficient for us to know that the 
British Church was highly organised and compara- 
tively wealthy at this time. 

To suppose, however, that Celtic monasteries were 
large, solid structures of stone with cloisters, refec- 
tories, dortors and the like is to mistake the economic 
conditions of the period and of the countries under 

* Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, 1, 124. 

* Gougaud, Chritientis, p. 67. 


Monastery-BisJioprics of Cornwall 63 

review. To associate the Celtic bishop with a durable 
and spacious cathedral church is almost as grotesque 
an anachronism as to represent St. Lucy (who died 
in the year 303), as they do in the sailors' church at 
Naples, apparelled in a modern court dress with a 
tiara of gems and a necklace of beautiful pearls. 

The Celtic monastery has been compared to a 
pioneer settlement. It consisted of a congeries of 
detached cells, each suitable for the habitation of one 
or more monks. The cells, like the churches of the 
period, were commonly of wood, sometimes of stone. 
It is therefore, after the lapse of so many centuries, 
usually futile to seek for traces of them. Of existing 
Christian remains of the Celtic period in Cornwall 
the most noteworthy and interesting are the granite 
crosses and those monuments especially which bear 
the Chi-rho monogram. The chapels at Perranza- 
buloe, at Gwithian and at Madron are also of this 
date, the two former probably owing their preserva- 
tion to the sand which buried them and the latter 
to the healing virtues of the waters of the holy well 
which flow through it.^ 

Having sho^vn that the Celtic conception of 
episcopal jurisdiction was definitely monastic, as 
opposed to the Roman which, at an early period, had 
become diocesan, it is necessary to fix approximately 
the date at which, in Cornwall, the former gave place 
to the latter. Upon the solution of the problem 
depends the character to be assigned to the four 
Celtic bishops, Kenstec, Conan, Daniel and Comoere, 
whose names are disclosed in certain authentic docu- 
ments and are given in the Truro Diocesan Kalendar. 

^ To this period Mr. Jenner would also assign the dwellings at 
Chysauster which may indeed, as he suggests, have been St. Gulval's 

64 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

In Brittany, a more progressive country and less 
isolated than Cornwall, the change was violently 
effected by the patriot Nominoe in the year 849. In 
Ireland the diocesan system was not adopted until 
1152.1 Wales submitted to the jurisdiction and 
discipline of Canterbury in 1207. It is certain, there- 
fore, that Cornwall, more opposed to Saxon influence 
than any of the others, did not accept the diocesan 
system until the days of Egbert (836). There is good 
reason to believe that the change took place much 
later. Kenstec's letter to Archbishop Ceolnoth 
(833-870) states explicitly that his bishopric was 
monastic (Ego Kensiec . . . [ad] episcopalem sedem 
in genie Cornubia in monasterio quod lingua Brettonum 
appellatur Dinuurin electus, etc.).^ 

The next bit of historical evidence is that of Asser, 
the adviser of King Alfred, to whom Alfred in 884 
committed Exeter cum omni parochia quae ad se 
pertinebat in Saxonia et in Cornubia.^ The precise 
nature of the commission is uncertain. If the gift 
was made after Asser became bishop of Sherborne 
it probably involved the oversight of Devon and of 
that portion of Trigg, in Cornwall, where Alfred's 
possessions were situated. There is nothing to lead 
us to conclude that the Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 
was to be affected by it. 

A very distinct advance, in intention if not in 
achievement, was made when, in 909, Archbishop 
Plegmund constituted the see of Crediton. To Eadulf 
the bishop were given three vills in Cornwall, — 
" Pollton, Coelling and Landuuithan from wlxich 

1 stokes, Ireland and the Celtic Church, p. 347. 
« Haddan and Stubbs, CounciU, I, 676, 
» Ibid., I, 676. 

Monastery-Bishoprics of Cornwall 65 

year by year he might visit the Cornish people in 
order to extirpate their errors. For in times past, as 
far as possible, they resisted the truth and were not 
obedient to the apostolical decrees." Pollton and 
Landuuithan are unquestionably Pawton in St. 
Breock and Lawhitton. CoeUing presents some 
difficulty because Domesday Book and all subsequent 
records represent Callington (with which it has been 
identified) as ancient demesne of the Crown. It is 
possible, however, that before the Norman Conquest 
Coelling may have been surrendered to the King or 
have been exchanged for another holding.^ 

How far Eadulf was successful it is again im- 
possible to say. A conquered race does not readily 
surrender its traditional religious customs. One of 
the most instructive records of the Jewish captivity 
is that which preserves the pedigrees of the priests 
who were themselves to preserve and perpetuate the 
priestly succession. ^ 

Athelstan's policy (925-940) of excluding the 
Cornish from Exeter and confining them within the 
limits of their own province does not at first sight 
point to improved relations between the two races. 
His conquest of the whole of Cornwall may be 
accepted as fact and also his grant of lands to the 
church of St. Buryan. Perhaps the most important 
act of his life, so far as Cornwall was concerned, was, 
in the words of Leland, " to set up one Conan to be 
bishop in the church of St. Overman. '* The statement, 
even if copied from what he regarded as a trust- 
worthy document, would have carried little weight 

* It is even possible that Coelling may be Callestock in Perranza- 
buloe. The canons of Exeter had lands in that parish in the twelfth 

» Ezra VII ; Nehemiah XII. 


Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

as coining from a writer who lived 600 years after 
the event, had not Bishop Conan been found signing 
chai-ters, undoubtedly authentic, between the years 
931 and 934. Moreover, the name Conan is Celtic 
and occurs frequently in Cornish place-names. I am 
inclined to think that the Bishop Donan whose name 
is appended to the St. Buryan charter is a tran- 
scriber's mistake for Bishop Conan. ^ The question 
naturally suggests itself, how was it possible for a 
people smarting under recent defeat to accept the 
religious ministrations provided by their conqueror ? 
Close upon a century had elapsed since the decisive 
battle of Hengestisdun, and during the interval 
doubtless a considerable portion of the Cornish had 
come to accept the Saxon supremacy. Athelstan's 
mission may have been, generally speaking, pacific 
though involving punishment to the disaffected and 

In choosing a Cornishman, and one probably 
already a bishop, for the see of St. Germans, he would 
be acting in a conciliatory spirit, especially if he, at 
the same time, recognised the traditional type of 
Cornish Christianity. There is no reason to interpret 
his action as involving a departure from it. 

An interesting note is given by Haddan and Stubbs^ 
which calls attention to the signature of one Mancant, 
a bishop, to a charter of 932 to which also Bishop 
Conan's name is appended. The learned editors 
rightly conjecture that Mancant was a Cornish 
bishop (Mancant, or more correctly Maucant). Coeval 

* Donan, however, is a Celtic name (see Loth, Rev. Celt., XXIX, 
277). For the purpose of the argument which is here put forward 
it would have been more convenient to have distinguished between 

« Councils, I, 979. 


Monastery 'Bishoprics of Cornwall 67 

Cornish bishops are just what we should expect to 
find in the tenth century no less than in the sixth. 

Quite the most valuable extant document of 
Cornish Christianity, however, is the List of Manu- 
missions on the Bodmin Gospels which dates from the 
year 942 and carries us almost to the middle of the 
eleventh century. From this precious manuscript 
we gather that there were during that period the 
following bishops in, or connected with, Cornwall ; 
(1) Athelgea[rd] possibly bishop of Crediton, (2) 
Comoere contemporary with Edgar (958-975), (3) 
Wulfsige of a slightly subsequent date, (4) Burthwold 
mentioned in Cnut's charter and described by William 
of Malmesbury as uncle of Living or Lyfing the 
penultimate bishop of Crediton. Charters also dis- 
close two additional bishops : Ealdred (993-997) and 
Aethelred (1001). Of these Comoere, Wulfsige and 
Ealdred are identified by Mr. Haddan with Bodmin 
and Burthwold with St. Germans. Comoere's name 
is Celtic ; the rest of the names are Saxon. But the 
important point is that they are all, except possibly 
the first, contemporary with, though not identical 
with, bishops of Crediton, in other words, some 
measure of independence continued to exist between 
the Saxon see and the see or sees of Cornwall. There 
is nothing to show that, before the days of Wulfsige 
(967), i.e. until within 80 years of Leofric, the first 
bishop of Exeter, the greater part of Cornwall was 
not Celtic both in religion and language. The change 
of ecclesiastical organisation was made at a period 
much later than is commonly supposed.^ 

^ In the West of Cornwall there are indications in Domesday 
Book (1086) of the recent introduction of Saxon place-names, e.g. in 
Edward the Confessor's time it can hardly be a coincidence that 
Aluuarton {hodie Alverton) was the holding of Aluuar. 


Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

The charter of King Aethelred to Bishop Ealdred 
(994) seems to point to a period of transition. He 
gives to Bishop Ealdred episcopal jurisdiction in the 
province of Cornwall that it (the province ?) may be 
free and subject to him and his successors, " that he 
may govern and rule his diocese (parocJdam) in the 
same way as other bishops who are in his realm, 
both the monastery (locus) and the domain (regimen) 
of St. Petrock being under the control of him and 
his successors." If the English conception of 
diocesan jurisdiction had been generally known and 
allowed in Cornwall there would have been no need 
to require the stipulations contained in the con- 
cluding paragraph. Ealdred was to administer the 
see of St. Petrock on English lines. History does not 
tell us what was, in the meanwhile, happening at 
St. Germans ; but twenty-four years later (in 1018) 
we meet with a grant of lands, in Landrake and 
Tiniel, by King Cnut to Burhwold bishop of St. 
Germans ; the Landrake lands were to be held by 
the bishop during his life and after his death they 
were to be held for the good of the souls of him and 
the King. The Tiniel lands were to be used as the 
bishop thought fit. It is interesting to note that 
these lands were not annexed to the bishopric but 
continued to be held by the prior of St. Germans until 
the dissolution of the priory in the sixteenth century. 

At the time of Cnut's grant Cornwall had practically 
lost its independence both civil and ecclesiastical. 
All the witnesses of his charter, twenty-seven in 
number, bear Saxon names. 

Burhwold died in or about a.d. 1043. Lyfing his 
nephew, who had become bishop of Crediton in 1027, 
was, in pursuance of an arrangement made long before 

Monastery-Bishoprics of Cornwall 69 

between him and King Cnut, allowed to hold both 
sees. On Lyfing's death, in the third year of the 
Confessor's reign (1046), Leofric the King's chaplain 
was appointed to the united bishopric (episcopatum 
Cridionensis ecclesiae atque Cornubiensis provinciae) 
and the see transferred to Exeter. Papal sanction was 
obtained for the transaction three years afterwards. 

By his charter of ratification, dated 1050, Edward 
the Conficssor transfers the Cornish diocese which had 
formerly been assigned to a bishop's see (episcopali 
solio) in memory of Blessed German and in veneration 
of Petrock, this, with all parishes, lands, etc., he 
transfers to St. Peter in the city of Exeter. The 
absence of clear definition in the last paragraph is 
sufficiently obvious : no clearer definition was pos- 
sible. There had been hitherto no Cornish diocese 
in the English and Roman acceptation of the word. 
There had been bishops both at Bodmin and at 
St. Germans within living memory holding lands and 
exercising jurisdiction, but the monastic tie was still 
probably stronger than the diocesan. 

Yet it was obviously important, now that Exeter 
was to be the seat of ecclesiastical government for the 
two counties, that ample provision should be made 
for the great bishop who was to occupy it. Exeter 
lacked lands, books and almost every church orna- 
ment ; so stated Pope Leo in his letter to King 
Edward. Accordingly the King not only gave to it 
lands of his own but he provided for the transfer of 
all that could under any reasonable pretext be claimed 
for its support. In effect, he made it possible for the 
Exeter bishopric to derive nearly one-half of its entire 
revenue from Cornish monastic lands. But the endow- 
ment of the see of Exeter requires a chapter to itself. 





THE Roman and, consequently, the Saxon con- 
ception of episcopal government was territorial 
and diocesan ; the Celtic conception was tribal and 
monastic. An ecclesiastical system based upon tribal 
and monastic principles, recognising no supreme 
central authority, can afford to dispense with clearly 
defined boundaries. At the same time a monastic, 
no less than a tribal organisation, requires a centre of 
its own, towards which its activities may converge, 
and from which its influences may radiate. 

The present is an attempt to show where the more 
important of such centres existed in Cornwall before 
diocesan was substituted for monastic rule. Doubtless 
every Ian represented some such centre, however in- 
significant, just as every caer represented a fortified 
seat of civil authority. The Ian justified its existence 
by the strength and fervour of its prayers and 
spiritual influence : the caer by the strength of its 
natural position and its artificial defences. A monas- 
tic settlement with a definite amount of demesne land, 
corresponding to its size and importance, upon which 
the monks worked for the support of the community, 
will sufficiently indicate what is meant. Some mon- 
asteries had bishops ; some — the greater number — 


Evolution of Bishoprics 71 

were without them. The great monasteries of Lan- 
devennee in Brittany, Llantwit in Wales, and Bangor 
in Ireland, do not appear to have had bishops of 
their own, or, if they had, their episcopal character 
was submerged. On the other hand, the monastery- 
bishoprics of all three countries are too well known 
to require demonstration. The isolation of the Church 
in Cornwall until the middle of the tenth century 
encouraged and perpetuated the system in the 
mother country which in the fifth and sixth century 
it had helped to establish in Brittany. 

Domesday Book, when studied by the light of 
earlier and later records, supplies invaluable informa- 
tion upon the subject of Cornish ecclesiastical organ- 
isation even before the Saxon conquest. 

At the time of the Great Survey (1086), the bishop 
of Exeter held the following manors in Cornwall : 

Treliuel (Treluswell in St. Gluvias). 
Matela (Methleigh in St. Breage). 
Tregel (Trewell in St. Feock). 
Pauton (Pawton in St. Breock). 
Berner (Burneir in Egloshayle). 
St. German (St. Germans). 
Lanherneu (Lanherne in Pydar). 
Tinten (Tinten in St. Tudy). 
Languititon (Lawhitton). 
Landicla (Gulval). 
St. Winnuc (St. Winnow). 

Of these eleven manors all except five, viz. Burneir, 
Lanherne, Tinten, Lanisley, and St. Winnow, were 
demesne lands, the whole of their revenues going 
direct to the bishop. Richard Fitz Tm'old held 
Burneir and Tinten of the bishop, who received the 

72 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

profits of the former. Fuleard held Lanherne, and 
Godfrey St. Winnow. The services or profits rendered 
to the bishop in respect of four of the five manors 
would be comparatively trifling, except on the death 
of the tenant in demesne and during the minority of 
his heir. Consequently they are not considered worthy 
of mention in the Taxatio, made by Pope Nicholas IV 
of the bishop's temporalities in the year 1291. 

In order to estimate the extent and value of the 
bishop's possessions in Cornwall it will suffice to com- 
pare them with those of the clergy, as given in the 
Taxatio or assessment just mentioned. It must, 
however, be remembered that Methleigh had ceased 
to be an episcopal manor before that assessment was 
made, having been granted by Bishop Robert Warel- 
wast, between 1155 and 1161, to the dean and chapter 
of Exeter.^ On the other hand, the manor of Cargol, 
in Newlyn, had been acquired in the meanwhile. ^ 
Moreover, Treluswcll and Tregella, for civil purposes, 
had become differentiated into Camwerris (Penwerris), 
Trevella, Tolverne, Fentongollen, Trevennal, and 
Trelonk,^ and for the purpose of ecclesiastical assess- 
ment had become known as Tregaher and Penryn.* 
In 1306 Tregaher, or Trocair, was the name of the 
major portion of the hundred of Powder, and was 
itself regarded as a hundred. The Bishop's holdings 
by military tenure in this hundred were rated at four 
knights' fees. Tregaher, the seat of these possessions, 
which lay east and west of the river Fal, is now known 
as Tregear in Gerrans. Roughly speaking, the bishop's 
manors in this district included the whole of the 

^ Inventory of Bp. Grandisson. 

" Exeter Episc. Registers, Stapeldon, p. 97. 

3 Feudal Aids 1303, 1306, 1346. 

* Episc, Reg. Bronescomhe, App. p. 473. 

Evolution of Bislioprics 78 

parishes of Gerrans, St. Gluvias with Falmouth, 
Budock, Mabe, Mylor, Philleigh, Merther, St. Just-in- 
Roseland, and Ruan Lanyhorne. His demesne lands 
were very extensive and valuable, as will be seen by 
comparing the papal assessment of Tregaher (£20 
lis. 5d.) with that of the rectory of Gerrans (£2 6s. 7d.) 
and the assessment of Penryn (£21 8s. Id) with that 
of the benefice of St. Gluvias (£2). 

PaA\i:qn and Burneir must be considered together, 
for they were doubtless both included in the grant 
made by King Edward the Elder to Eadulf when the 
see of Crediton was constituted in 909. The extent 
of the bishop's holding in Pawton at the time of the 
Domesday Survey (1086) is declared to be the entire 
hundred of Pawton, comprising 44 hides of land. It 
extended over the parishes of St. Breock, Egloshayle, 
St. Ervan, St. Eval, St. Issey, Little Petherick, St. 
Merryn, and Padstow. Pawton is only a contracted 
form of Petrockton, and there is sufficient reason to 
believe that these lands of the bishop had formerly 
belonged to the monastery of St. Petrock. In the 
Inquisitio Geldi (1085) the scribe appears to have 
found it difficult to describe the hundred of Pawton 
according to the prescribed formula. In his list of 
the hundreds he has interlined over " Rieltone 
Hundret " the words " Sci Petrochii,"^ and has 
added Pauton at the end of the list. In his second 
attempt he has placed the hundred of Pauton first 
and omitted St. Petrock's altogether. It is interesting 
to observe that so late as the year 1691 the hundred 

^ St. Petrock's hundred had, of course, no connection with 
Rielton or Rillaton, subsequently known as the hundred of East. 
The confusion may have arisen from the fact that the baiUwick of 
Pydar was at Rialton, and that of East at Rillaton, formerly 

74 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

of Pydar is described in a grant from the Crown as 
" Petrockshire alias Pidershire alias the hundred of 
Pider." ^ Whether the word Pydershire is a sublimated 
equivalent of Petrockshire is a question for etymo- 
logists. That the two were not quite territorially 
conterminous is evident from Domesday Book itself, 
in which Nancekuke in Penwith and Forsne^vth in 
West are included among the manors of St. Petrock. 
The important point to grasp is that out of the very 
heart of St. Petrock's province, Pawton, and with it 
what subsequently became known as the bishop's 
peculiar jurisdiction, embracing five parishes {decana- 
ius de Poltone), was transferred in 909 from the 
monastery of St. Petrock to the new see of Crediton, 
and in 1046 to the see of Exeter. The episcopal 
revenue from Pawton in 1291 may be estimated by 
comparing its assessment (£49 16s. 3d.) with that of 
the church (appropriated rectory and vicarage) of 
Egloshayle (£5). 

Lawhitton, given to Crediton at the same time as 
Pawton, was also of considerable extent. It con- 
sisted of eleven hides of land in 1086, and was assessed 
in 1291 at £25 10s. lid., while the church or rectory 
of Lawhitton was assessed at £2. From what source 
it was obtained for the endowment of Crediton is not 
clear. Along with Lezant and South Petherwyn it 
was subsequently within the bishop of Exeter's 
peculiar jurisdiction. Possibly it had been taken 
(in 909) from the canons of St. Stephen near Launces- 

The manor of St. German, or, as it is called in the 
Exchequer Domesday, the manor of the church of 
St. German, consisted in 1086 of twenty-four hides 
» Patent Roll, 3 William and Mary. 

Evolution of Bishoprics 75 

of land, the whole of which had been held by Bishop 
Leofric in the time of the Confessor. At the time of 
the Survey (1086) the bishop had twelve hides and 
the canons of St. German had twelve hides. The 
bishop had one hide in demesne, and the canons had 
one hide in demesne : the rest of the land was held 
by villeins either of the bishop or of the canons. It is 
clear, therefore, that between 1066 and 1086 a redis- 
tribution had taken place, as the result of which the 
bishop and the canons had been assigned equal 
shares of the lands. A Sunday market which had 
fallen to the latter had been reduced to nothing owing 
to a market on the same day having been established 
at Trematon Castle by the Count of Mortain. There 
had also been taken away by the Count from the 
church of St. German a hide of land which rendered 
as custom a cask (cupa) of ale and 30 pence, an acre 
(Cornish) of demesne land sufficient for one plough, 
and a virgate of demesne land which called for no 
remark. Of the usurped lands Reginald de Valletort 
held the two former, and Hamelin the latter, of the 
Count. In 1291 the bishop's manor of St. German 
was assessed at £17 16s. 5d., and the prior's holding 
at £14 13s. 4d. for lands in St. Germans, £l for dues 
from South PetherwjTi and Landulph, and £9 16s. 2d. 
for lands, including those of Tiniel and Landrake 
given to Bishop Burhwold by King Cnut in the year 
1018. In the Valor ecclesiasticus (1535) to the 
revenues of the priory from the above sources there 
is added the impropriated tithe of Gulval, of which 
something more will be said when treating of Lanisley. 
What actually happened shortly after the Norman 
Conquest in regard to St. Germans is not obscure, 
although some confusion has resulted owing to a 

76 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

misapprehension on the part of more than one writer. 
Cnut's gift to Bishop Burhwold, as we have seen,^ 
only served to augment the revenues of the religious 
community, of which Burhwold was doubtless the 
head. Under Lyfing, the nephew and successor of 
Burhwold, and before the death of Cnut, the see of 
St. Germans, such as it was, was united with that of 
Crediton, the community still consisting of secular 
canons. Leofric succeeded Lyfing, and in his days the 
see of Crediton and its possessions were transferred 
to Exeter. The revenue of St. German was conse- 
quently impoverished. Nothing appears to have 
been done to repair the loss until after Edward the 
Confessor's death, but, somewhere between 1066 and 
1073, Leofric consented to a partition of the revenue 
by which the bishop and the canons became possessed 
of equal shares, as stated in Domesday Book.^ 

* See Monastery-Bishoprics, supra. 

* The Patent Roll of 7 Richard II (cf . also Monaaticon, edited by 
Oliver, p. 4) should be compared with the Patent Roll of 9 Richard 
II. The former states that Cnut was the foimder of the priory 
of St. German, while the latter states that Leofric was the founder. 
Inasmuch as the charter of Cnut required the land of Landrake to 
be given after Burhwold's death to St. German for the good of the 
souls of Cnut and Burhwold {Terram . . . commendat . . . Sancto 
Oermano) it follows that both statements were (and were probably 
imderstood to be) legal fictions. The earlier document, however, 
confirms, if confirmation were needed, the evidence as to the 
reconstruction of the monastery by Leofric as given in Domesday 
Book, though it is not necessarily conclusive as to the substitution 
of regular for secular canons. Preb. Hingeston Randolph {Architec. 
Hist, of St. Oermans, p. .31) states that "there is no reason to 
suppose that Leofric took any steps to found a priory at St. 
Germans." The statement is far too sweeping. On the other hand, 
Mr. Haddan {Councils, etc., I, 704) relies upon the ipsisaima verba 
of the Patent Roll for one of his main arguments for a single Comisli 
see in the days of Cnut. By itself the evidence supplied by an early 
patent roll relating to a transaction which took place nearly four 
centuries previously is not conclusive, especially when, as in this 
case, a legal title was needed in order to settle a dispute, and to 
place a bishop in midisputed possession of an advowson. 

Evolution of Bishoprics 77 

Having briefly reviewed the more important of the 
Cornish contributions to the revenue of the Exeter 
bishopric, a few words are required respecting the 
manors wlxich, though absent from the Taxatio of 
1291, were in 1086 amongst the possessions of the 
bishop, and were recorded in Domesday Book. 

Matela or Methleigh, reckoned at a hide and a half 
in 1086, was granted by the bishop to the dean and 
chapter-of Exeter, about the year 1160 and, by them, 
was conveyed soon afterwards to the family of Nan- 
sladron. It was to this manor that the church of 
St. Breage was appendant, and it may well have 
been the demesne land of a religious community 
before the Saxon invasion. 

Landicla or Lanisley, also a hide and a half, was 
held by Holland the archdeacon, of the bishop in 
1086, having been Bishop Leofric's in the time of 
the Confessor. It embraced the whole parish of 
Gulval. Before the enactment of the statute Quia 
emptores in 1290, the whole of the demesne land ap- 
pears to have been granted to the family of Fitz Ive. 
There is consequently no mention of it in the Taxatio 
of the following year, although the seignorial rights 
were subsequently claimed and exercised by the 
bishop from time to time as occasion arose. In 1580 
it is described in an inquisition as having been held 
by John Tripcony of the bishop as of his manor of 
Penrjm Foren, but the description, far from indicating 
a common origin of the two manors, probably only 
indicates a late expedient enabling the bishop to 
claim the services and collect the dues, if any, at his 
chief manor in the west. The advowson, and with it 
the rectorial tithe of Lanisley or Gulval, was at an 
early date held by the prior and canons of St. Germans, 

78 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

and continued to be held by them until the dissolution 
of their religious house in the sixteenth century. In 
the Valor ecclesiasticus their holding was assessed at 
£10 6s. 8d. It is not unlikely that when Bishop 
Leofric reconstituted the church of St. German he 
gave to it the advowson of Lanisley. ^ 

Lanherne, the Lanherneu of Domesday, was a 
holding of Bishop Leofric before the Norman conquest, 
and was in 1086 held by Fulcard of the bishop. It 
was estimated at three hides. Of the incidents of 
tenure in subsequent times nothing remained to the 
bishop save homage, wardship, and the like, and the 
manor was not considered worthy of assessment in 
the Taxatio of 1291. It would be interesting to know 
how this manor came into the bishop's hands. It 
adjoined his manor or hundred of Pawton, and may 
have passed with it, but, curiously enough, the parish 
of St. Mawgan, with which it was almost conterminous, 
was not within the bishop's peculiar jurisdiction. The 
manor was, doubtless, St. Petrock's before it became 
the bishop's. 

The manor of St. Winnuc or St. Winnow had already 
passed to a sub-tenant at the time of the Domesday 
Survey, and the impropriated tithe and advowson 
of the church of St. Winnow to the dean and chapter 
of Exeter, before 1291. There is nothing to suggest 
the source whence the manor was obtained for the 
endowment of the bishopric, save that St. Winnow 

* There is a temptation to identify Lanisley with the Lannale- 
densis of the Miasa S. Oermani (Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, etc., I, 
696). Alet, or Aloth, and Idles, in the parish of Konwyn, are 
regarded as synonymous, if not identical, in several ancient charters. 
On the same principle Lanaleth would become Lanidles, a form 
sufficiently near that of Lanisle to convey the idea of identity. But 
Mr. Haddan is satisfied that Lanadleth is the British name of 
St. Germans, and the confusion introduced by the above suppoBition 
would be practically insurmountable. 

Evolution of Bishoprics 79 

adjoins Lanhydrock, which belonged to St. Petrock, 
and may, therefore, have been taken from the saint. 

The manor of Tinten in St. Tudy, held in 1086 by 
Richard, of the bishop, was not considered worthy of 
separate mention in the Taxatio of 1291. It is the 
only episcopal manor the name or locality of which 
does not suggest an ecclesiastical origin. The ad- 
vowson of St. Tudy was independent of it being 
appendant to the manor of Trethewell in St. Eval. 
Does the half hide of Tinten represent the lay con- 
tribution of Cornwall towards the endowment of the 
see of Exeter ?i 

We are now in a position to summarise the results 
of the foregoing survey. We have seen that the 
Cornish possessions of the see of Exeter, at the time 
of the Domesday Survey, consisted chiefly of manors 
wliich had St. Germans, Lawhitton, Pawton and 
Penryn (or Tregear) for their centres. St. Germans 
and Pawton, and probably Lawhitton, were derived 
from monastic sources, viz. from the monasteries of 
St. German, St. Petrock, and probably from St. 
Stephen. The possessions in and around Penryn 
require further examination. 

That there was a monastery-bishopric at Dinurrin 
or Dingerein in the ninth century is clear from 
Kenstec's profession of obedience to Archbishop 
Ceolnoth. To treat of Gerrans and its associations 
in an impartial spirit is wellnigh impossible. Legend, 
history and fact are so strangely and so suggestively 
interwoven that the temptation is equally great to 
say too much or too little. The name Gerrans is a 
modern form of Geraint or Geruntius. The presence 

^ Eglostudic (St. Tudy) and Polrode belonged to St. Petrock in 
the time of the Confessor, and Tinten may have been claimed for 
Exeter by virtue of the grant of 909. 

80 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

of Gerrans, Just and Cuby, as the names of three 
churches and parishes near together, is indeed a 
remarkable coincidence if they are not identical with 
Geraint of Anglesey, his son Jestyn or Just, and his 
grandson Cuby, son of Selyf. No valid reason has 
been offered against the identification. Mr. Baring- 
Gould considers St. Gerrans the same person as 
Gerennius, King of Cornwall, who requested St. Teilo 
to visit and communicate him when dying (circa 

Both Geraint and Gerennius must be distinguished 
from Gerontius, prince of Dumnonia, to whom St. 
Aldhelm wrote at the request of an English synod in 
705 urging him to abandon the Celtic method of deter- 
mining Easter and the Celtic tonsure which the saint 
described as the tonsure of Simon Magus. All three 
(who are here distinguished as (ieraint, Gerennius 
and Gerontius, though the names are identical) were 
historical personages and worthy of the veneration 
of after ages. For our present purpose it is not 
material to determine the identity of St. Gerrans : it 
is sufficient for us to know that Dingerein may be 
derived from any one of them. In the ninth century 
Dingerein or Dinurrin was the seat of the Abbot- 
bishop Kenstec. In the absence of evidence to the 
contrary we may suppose that his episcopate was con- 
centrated at Gerrans and embraced the lands or 
parishes bordering the estuary of the Fal — ^those 
parishes in fact which subsequently became for 
ecclesiastical purposes the deanery of Penryn, and 
for civil purposes formed a large portion of the 
hundred of Trocayr or Tregeare. There is nothing to 
show that, either for ecclesiastical or for civil pur- 
poses, there were close relations, much less that there 

Evolution of Bishoprics 81 

was a bond of union, between the Gerrans territory 
and that of Pawton, Pydar, St. German or Lawhitton. 
Gerrans was self-contained and independent. It may 
have retained, and probably did retain, traces of its 
episcopal character until Edward the Confessor, by 
charter, transferred the Cornish diocese with its lands 
and parishes to the see of Exeter. Some justification 
was doubtless required for the annexation of so much 
land in and around Gerrans to the bishop's demesne, 
and the only justification which is apparent is that it 
was already regarded as such.^ 

In the case of St. Gerrans hardly any trace was 
left of its monastic and episcopal associations. In 
the Taxatio of 1291 the benefice of St. Gerrans con- 
sisted of two portions, the rector's and the prior of 
St. Anthony's, which may point to a corporate life 
at an earlier date. 

A glance at the map of Cornwall, in the light of 
what has been said, reveals, at the time of the Domes- 
day Survey, present or past activities, on a consider- 
able scale and monastic in character in every part of 
the county except in the north-east, and in the pro- 
montories of the Lizard and of the Land's End. 

The north-east became Saxonised at a very early 
period. This is clear from the place-names. There is 
no reason to doubt that St. Neot, the Saxon monk 
of Glastonbury, settled in that part of Cornwall which 
bears his name, in the ninth century, and after found- 
ing a college of priests died, and was buried there. 
There is no reason to doubt the substantial accuracy 
of Asser's narrative — ^whether it be Asser's or another's 

^ At a much earlier date (670) St. Wilfrid claimed ecclesiastical 
endowments of the British for the Saxon Church in the neighbour- 
hood of Ripon. 

82 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

— which states that Alfred the Great hunted in the 
neighbourhood of St. Neot, and was healed, or be- 
lieved himself to have been healed, at the shrine of 
St. Guerir. Alfred's possessions in Triconshire have 
been referred to. The community at St. Neot held 
two hides of land in the days of the Confessor, but 
the whole of it save one (Cornish) acre had been stolen 
by the Count of Mortain in 1086. 

Again, the canons of St. Stephen-by-Launceston 
appear to have suffered a diminution of their power 
and also of their revenue owing to Saxon settlement. 
At the time of the Survey their affairs were in a state 
of utter confusion. They were attempting to hold 
on to lands which had been theirs, and are styled 
theirs in Domesday Book, which Harold held before 
the Norman Conquest, and which the Count of 
Mortain was striving to re-annex. In North-East 
Cornwall the Celtic type of Christianity had given 
place to the Saxon. 

The promontory of the Lizard never became 
Saxonised. Everything here points to the persistence 
of the Celtic type and to very close and fruitful 
relations with Brittany. The names of the churches, 
including Manaccan, the monks' church,^ are all to 
be found in Armorica except Grade (of very uncertain 
derivation) and St. Keverne. The word Meneage is 
itself possibly a derivative form of Manach. The 
lands given by the Count of Mortain to St. Michael's 
Mount, and described in his charter as situated in 
Amaneth,^ were certainly in Meneage. Landivick, 
Langwcath, Lantenning and, above all, Landewednack 
speak of monastic settlement. It is curious that the 

^ Loth, Lea Noma dee Saints hratona, p. 87. 

* Amaneth may be an English equivalent for Anmanach. Tre- 
veneage appears at Trevanek in 1284, and as Trevanaek in 1361. 

Evolution of Bishoprics 


84 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

Breton monastery of Landevennec and the church of 
Landewednack both claim Winwaloe for patron,^ 
although St. Guenoc is possibly their true patron. 
However this may be, it is clear that a common 
influence has been at work in determining the nomen- 
clature in both countries. In Domesday Book the 
hundred of Kerrier appears as Wineton or Winenton, 
the usual Saxon termination being added to a Celtic 
word as in Tedinton and Conarton. In later docu- 
ments it is found as Winianton, and as such it re- 
mained until comparatively recent times, when it 
became Winnington. The point less than a mile 
west of Winianton is known as Pedngwinion. Mr. H. 
Jenner has suggested an interpretation which is 
almost certainly correct, viz. that Winianton means 
the home of the shining or blessed ones. Winianton, 
as the name of a hundred, implies some sort of local 
pre-eminence, past or present. Before the Norman 
Conquest the manor of Winianton embraced 22 
sub-manors which were in the hands of 17 thegns. 
The description of these thegns is interesting — ^they 
could not be separated from the manor and they 
rendered custom in the same manor. Before 1086 
they were supplanted by the Count of Mortain's men. 
A thegn, according to Professor Maitland, was, before 
the tenth century, " a household officer of some great 
man " and, from the tenth century until the Norman 
Conquest, a person socially above a churl with corre- 
sponding privileges and responsibilities. ^ Now it is 
remarkable that the thegns of Winenton differed in 
no respect from those of St. Petrock, except that 
whereas the former could not be separated from the 

* Loth, Les "Noma dee Saints bretons, pp. 52, 63. 
« Hist, of English Law, i, 33. 

Evolution of Bishoprics 85 

manor, the latter could not be separated from the 

Have we here the note of tragedy, inseparable from 
a lost cause, of which the Lizard district, to its lasting 
credit, furnished two other conspicuous examples in 
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries ? It looks^ 
as if there had been the overthrow of monkish 
supremacy by the Cornish, followed by Saxon Con- 
quest, and in the meantime the preservation of thegn- 
ship until the Norman Conquest. The small com- 
munity of St. Keverne despoiled by the Count of 
Mortain represents Irish influence, if we suppose with 
Mr. W. C. Borlase that Keverne is identical with 
Kieran. This saint is not found among the Breton 
dedications, Peran and Kerrien being regarded by 
Professor Loth as different saints, and neither of 
them identical with Keverne or Kieran. We, there- 
fore, conclude that the agency which compassed the 
destruction of Brittonic monachism in Meneage left 
the Irish house to the tender mercies of the Norman 
invader. It is possible that in the church of St. 
Breage we have an attempt at reparation. From 
time immemorial it embraced Germoe, Cury, and Gun- 
walloe as chapelries. Methleigh, the only manor which 
escaped Norman rapacity as the result of its having 
been added to the Exeter bishopric, may have been 
originally a portion of the demesne of the monastic 
body which dominated the Lizard peninsula. 

Respecting the hundred of Penwith, we have little 
historical evidence prior to the Norman Conquest. 
Athelstan's grant to the church of St. Buryan and 
Edward the Confessor's grant to St. Michael's Mount, 

> The references are to Kilter's rising in 1649, and to the pro- 
longed defence of Little Dennis by Sir Richard Vyvyan in 1646. 


Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

whatever fault may be found with the charters, as 
they have come down to us, are sufficiently authentic. 
The story of St. la's arrival with her Irish companions 
must be received with caution ; but there is no reason 
to doubt that a substratum of truth lies beneath a 
legend which is by no means modern. Seven churches 
in Pen with bear the names of these missionaries. On 
the other hand, no less than fourteen dedications, 
including two which subsequently became obsolete 
and two which are among those of the Irish mission, 
are common to Pen with and Brittany. The remaining 
dedications are of doubtful origin. It seems, there- 
fore, certain that Irish and Breton influences had a 
great deal to do with the moulding of the church life 
of the hundred. The preponderating influence was 
Breton. The presence of St. Pol Aurelian (Paul) and 
of Winwaloe (Towednack) is sufficient evidence of 
this. It is remarkable that four, if not more, of the 
Pen^vith churches afford traces of presumably earlier 
dedications. St. Erth (possibly also Perranuthnoe) 
was known as Lanudno, Gulval as Lanisley, Madron 
probably as Landithy,^ and Illogan probably as 
Lancichuc. St. Just may have borne the name of 
Lafrowda, as being situated near the holy springs. 
Udno (Goueznou) the companion of Pol Aurelian 
(circa 530) is commemorated in three Breton parishes. 
Pol was originally of Wales, and a contemporary of 
Just of Anglesey, who is probably the patron of the 
church which bears the name in Penwith. If this be 
so, St. Levan will be Seleven, Salomon, Selyf, or 
Selus, whose memorial stone is preserved in St. Just 
Church. It is quite possible that the changed dedica- 

^ The evidence is indirect. Trengwainton, to which the advow- 
son was appendant, was itself a sub-manor of Rosoworthy in 
Gwinear. Landithy is only a short distance from the church. 

Evolution of Bishoprics 87 

tions indicate a change from monastic to some sort 
of parochial organisation. In Penwith there does 
not appear to have been any monastic community of 
commanding importance whose revenues could be 
seized without leaving the people spiritually destitute. 
Lanisley may have been one which had outstayed its 
welcome and on that account may have become 
attached to what was eventually to become the see 
of Exeter. 

To sum up. Three large holdings, or, to use a 
modern though inadequate word, estates, stand out 
clear and distinct, viz. those of Gerrans, Pawton and 
St. Germans, each of them at one time or another 
associated with the see of a Cornish bishop, monastic 
in character. Such records as we have, carefully dis- 
tinguish these lands from one another. Neither St. 
Petrock (Pawton) nor St. German possesses any 
rights in Gerrans, nor Gerrans in Pawton or in St. 
Germans. Neither does St. Germans claim rights in 
Pa^vton, nor Pa^vton in St. Germans. It is not only 
opposed to the evidence of Domesday, it is incon- 
ceivable that any Cornish bishop exercised lordship 
ovcj all three at the same time. The Pawton lands 
were almost certainly claimed by Crediton by virtue 
of the provision made in 909 for missionary visits to 
them yearly by the bishop of Crediton. The St. 
Overmans holding was certainly annexed to Exeter 
when that see was founded. The Gerrans holding 
presents several difficulties. We have no record of 
any bishop at Gerrans save Kenstec (865). But 
because no records have been preserved, we cannot 
say that no bishops existed. Such a principle if 
applied to Cornish parishes w^ould be fatal to their 
claim to have had a rector before the days of Bishop 

SS Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

Bronescombe (1257). Nevertheless, the absence of 
recorded evidence is distinctly embarrassing. What 
were the events or circumstances which justified the 
annexation of the Gerrans property to the see of 
Exeter ? Some justification there doubtless was. 
Was it found in the letter of submission written by 
Bishop Kenstec to Archbishop Plegmund (833-870) 
about fifty years before the see of Crediton w^as 
founded ? Was it found in the forfeiture of royal 
possessions consequent upon the conquest of Cornwall 
by Athelstan (925-940) ? It is possible that both 
these events may have contributed to the result, for 
there is good reason to believe that Gerrans was a 
residence of the kings of Cornwall in the seventh 
century, and it is certain that it was the residence of 
Kenstec in the ninth century. If the lands w^ere 
claimed by King Athelstan there ought to be some 
charter to show when and by whom they were trans- 
ferred to the see of Crediton or of Exeter. If they 
passed to the Saxon bishopric by virtue of the grant 
of Edward the Confessor in 1050, then we must con- 
clude that they had preserved their episcopal associa- 
tions until within a few years of that time, and that, 
therefore, Bishop Kenstec probably had successors 
at Gerrans. It is inconceivable that there were not 
valid grounds for the transfer of the lands. The fact 
that they were monastic lands would not have 
sufficed, for the canons of St. Petrock and St. German 
survived the annexation of a portion of theirs, 
whereas no vestige of a monastery remained at 
Gerrans in the days of the Confessor. It was its 
former connection with episcopal rule which led to 
the inclusion of Gerrans in the endowments of the 
bishopric of Exeter. 


Evolution of Bishoprics 89 

The foregoing fragmentary sketch is not to be 
regarded as a conclusive proof of the existence of 
concurrent Cornish bishoprics so late as the eleventh 
century, but it is intended to call attention to some 
of the sources from which others may seek the 
necessary means of forming a judgment for them- 
selves. That the monastery-bishoprics were hard to 
suppress will be evident to everyone who examines 
the evidence. That they survived in Cornwall for a 
much longer period than is generally supposed seems 
more than probable. 



IN the first chapter it has been attempted to show 
how the t;yTanny of resemblance and coincidence 
leads to false analogies and ^vrong inferences. Some 
further illustrations of this principle which have a 
direct bearing upon the main purpose of the present 
enquiry may be found instructive. 

In this chapter we are not so much concerned with 
the Lives of the Cornish Saints, as they have come 
down to us, as with the question whether they had 
any actual existence as human beings at all. Of la, 
Uny, Dennis, Allen, Paul and Berrian it has been 
stated that "it is more than probable that there was 
no man in either case. la is the Island saint, Uny 
the Downs saint, Dennis the Hill saint, Paul or Pol 
the Pool saint," Buryan or Berrian the saint of 

But why stop there ? Domesday Book supplies us 
with Eglostudic, Sainguilant and Sainguinas. It is 
just as easy to imagine places bearing the names of 
Tudic, Guilant and Guinas as to imagine one bearing 
the name of Berrie, and quite as good etymology to 
derive them from Tutton a chair, Guilan a king- 
fisher and Guenan a blister. 

Most will admit that a chair saint is suggestive of 
saintly pursuits — study and contemplation ; many 
saints have been fishermen ; some have suffered 


Cornish Saints 01 

from pimples and perhaps have known how to cure 

Again we have two more ancient parishes one of 
which occurs in Domesday Book, viz. Eglosros 
(Philleigh) and Egloshayle, the church on the heath 
and the church on the estuary, yet no one has ever 
ventured to describe or to speak of them as the 
churches of St. Rose and St. Hayle, and for the 
obvious" reason that Cornish saints have not been 
manufactured in the way that has been suggested. 

In choosing la, Uny, Dennis, Allen, Paul and 
Berrian to demonstrate his theory, the critic could 
hardly have made a more unfortunate selection. 
With one exception they are all to be found in 

la is said to have been an Irish missionary who 
came with her brothers Uny and Erth and some 
others to complete the conversion of the Cornish in 
the golden age of Celtic Christianity. For our 
present purpose it is not material to accept the 
legend, but it is useful to know that la is com- 
memorated at St. Ives in Cornwall and in Finistere 
in Brittany, Erth at St. Erth in Cornwall and at 
Chittlehampton in Devon, Uny at Lelant and 
Redruth in Cornwall and at Plevin in Cotes du Nord. 
St. Dennis (or Denys), his church being situated in 
the centre of a hill-fort, is the only one whose name 
seems, at first sight, to lend colour to the new 
criticism. But to quote Professor Loth, writing on 
a totally different subject,^ "it is quite impossible 
for Dinas by itself to be a man*s name. It is one of 
the most widely distributed place-names in Cornwall. 
Dinas in Cornish, as in Welsh, signifies a fortified 
^ Bomans de la Table ronde, p. 90. 

92 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

town." Assuming that a personage derived his name 
from the place Dinas we should have Dinan as in 
Cardinan. St. Dennis or Denys appears to have 
been the name given to a chapelry of St. Stephen 
(Etienne) but there is no reason to suppose that it 
was ancient when it first appears along with that of 
Caerhayes in the Inquisitio Nonarum (1340) as Capella 
Sci. Dionisii. St. Denys, supposed, but mistakenly, 
to be identical with Dionysius the Areopagite, was 
from the seventh century onwards venerated through- 
out Europe, and it is not remarkable to find him the 
patron of a chapel in Cornwall in the fourteenth 

That the name of the site of the chapel may have 
suggested to its founder a name for its patron saint 
is quite possible. As late as the seventeenth century 
the heralds chose St. John Baptist's head for the 
arms of Penzance (holy head). There are, in truth, 
no better grounds for regarding St. Dennis as 
mythical than St. Stephen to whom his chapel was 

St. Allen, as the presiding saint of the hail or moor, 
reminds one of some rather irreverent lines by the 
greatest of Irish poets : 

Our preacher prays he may in'erit 
The hinspiration of the Spirit. 
Oh ! grant him also, 'oly Lord, 
The haspiration of thy word. 

St. Allen is found as St. Alun in the Episcopal 
Registers. The name occurs in the cartulary of 
Redon and in Coed-Alun near Carnarvon in Wales. 
St. Alan is among the disciples of Iltut and is the 
patron of Corlay (Cotes du Nord). In no instance is 
the name found with the aspirate, or hail without it. 

Cornish Saints 93 

Pol de Leon is a personage quite as historic as 
Napoleon. It must rest with the reader to say 
whether the church in Cornwall which bears his 
name got it from Gwavas Lake or from the well- 
known British saint, a disciple of Tutwal, who 
founded a Breton bishopric, who was a fellow- 
student of St. Sampson the patron of Golant and 
who is himself the patron of fifteen parishes, one of 
which curiously enough is in Cornouaille in Brittany. 

Eglosberria remains and this, we are told, is com- 
pounded of Eglos and a Cornish place-word presumed 
to be Berrie. The fact that no such place is now 
to be found in the parish of St. Buryan does not, of 
course, prove that in the far remote past there may 
not have been one. Nor does it concern us much to 
know that in the parish berries of sorts are abundant, 
holly berries, elder berries, blackberries and goose- 
berries ; still less to consider whether the last-named 
berry is indigenous or acclimatised. This is not a 
treatise on Botany. 

Had our critic consulted his reference, Domesday 
Book, he would have read in the Exchequer redaction, 
" The Canons of St. Berriona hold Eglosberrie " ; 
in the Exeter book — the original document — under 
the heading Inquisitio Geldi (1085), " St. Berriana 
holds a hide of land " ; and under the heading Land 
of St. Berriona the Virgin, " the Canons of St. 
Berriona hold a manor which is called Eglosberria, 
which the same Virgin held in the time of King 
Edward freely " (i.e. free from the payment of dues). 
The first point to notice is that in every case the 
name of the saint is trisyllabic, Berrian or Berrion. 
Berria, the second half of the name of the manor, is 
probably only a contraction for Berriana made by 

94 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

the earlier scribe and copied by the later. This 
explanation is placed almost beyond dispute by 
earlier and later documents concerning the manor 
and the church. Again it is well known that the 
letters b and v are, in certain Cornish words, inter- 
changeable as, for example, in Trebean and Trevean. 
Professor Loth had pointed out to the present 
writer that Berrian (Buryan) and Verrian (Veryan) 
were identical, but it was two years before a striking 
confirmation of his statement was disclosed. A 
charter dated 1450 was recently handed to me to 
decipher relating to this very manor of Eglosberrie. 

In it the lands were described as those of Eglos- 
veryan. The Domesday record is not only in perfect 
agreement with, but confirms, the charter of Athelstan, 
which, in spite of some adverse criticism, probably 
arising from the fact that it has been copied and 
attested more than once, is acknowledged to be a 
trustworthy document, and as such was always 
regarded whenever the rights and privileges of the 
royal chapel of St. Buryan were called in question. 
Veryan and Buryan being identical, it follows that, 
on the assumption that they are derived from Berrie, 
a place-name, that place will be found in both 
parishes. It is found in neither. It is purely 

It may be asked, why devote so much space to a 
matter of secondary importance ? The reason is that 
here we have to meet an attempt to bring the Celtic 
saints within the province of comparative m>i:hology, 
an attempt to show that they were eponymous in 
somewhat the same sense as Romulus, Cypris, 
Pallas Athene and Ceres (as representing Siculus) 
were the genii and afterwards the presiding deities 

Cornish Saints 95 

over Rome, Cyprus, Athens and Sicily. It is useless 
to deny the assertion that " the Church history of 
Cornwall before the Norman Conquest is chiefly a 
matter of legendary lore " and that " the cult of 
the sun was that of Cornwall not a thousand years 
ago " unless we have something to say in support of 
our denial. 

Let us therefore carry the argument a little further 
— let us^ suppose that the topological origin of the 
saints is the true one ; let us suppose that there 
is indisputable evidence, gathered in Cornwall, in its 
favour ; in other words, that the Cornish saints are 
local divinities ; how will it fare with them when 
their votaries have crossed the seas ? Will the Island 
which gives its name to St. Ives, will the Downs of 
Lelant, the Hail (deprived of its aspirate), the Dinas 
of Mid-Cornwall and Gwavas Lake win Armorican 
devotion ? Or conversely, assuming the saints to 
have been of Armorican manufacture, will they 
appeal to the devotional instincts of the Cornish ? 
Or must we assume that there was a sacred island 
at Plouye, a sacred downs at Plevin, a sacred pool at 
L6on and a sacred Berrie at Berrien and Lan-verrien 
in Finist^re ? It is as difficult to imagine an affirma- 
tive answer being returned to any of these questions 
as St. Thomas Aquinas found it to bcHeve that a 
religious could tell a lie, and therefore, according to his 
biographer, more difficult to believe than that an ox 
could fly. The Celtic saints were not eponymous, but 
men of like passions with us, who lived their lives, told 
their story, impressed their contemporaries and were 
gathered to their fathers, men honoured in their 
generation and the glory of their times. 

This leads to a brief notice of their biographies. 

96 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

The subject is not free from difficulty. It requires 
a rearrangement of thoughts, a re-focussing of ideas. 
The Lives of the Saints do not conform to ordinary 
standards or respond to ordinary appeals. 

They are not plain, unvarnished accounts of simple 
earnest men written by their contemporaries, but, in 
their present form, they are for the most part highly 
coloured stories addressed not to the intellect but 
to the imagination. They are not always free from 
anachronisms. The ideals of their Avi'iters are not 
ours to-day. 

They abound in the miraculous. They are 
adorned after a common pattern peculiarly their 
own. They draw largely upon Holy Scripture. 
Incidents related of one saint are sometimes trans- 
ferred to another. Similarities of expression are 
found in them, perhaps pointing to a common origin 
or authorship. In short, all the elements which 
provoke adverse criticism are found in them. 

And yet, making due allowance for the mentality 
of those who wrote and those who read them, there 
is no sufficient reason for impugning the veracity of 
the writers, much less for despising them.^ They 
were neither deceivers nor deceived. The hagio- 
grapher had probably as great a regard for truth as 
his modern critics, but he knew nothing of the canons 
of literary excellence. He had never heard of 
" nature unadorned " ; but he knew, just as we 

1 To quote M. Loth, whose gentle irony would be spoiled by 
translation, in his answer to M. Fawtier's criticism : "II (M. 
Fawtier) a 6t6 6videmment, d'avance, facheusement impres8ion6 
par lo fait meme d'avoir affaire A un hagiographe et ce qui plus est, 
comme il I'avoue sans d6tour d un hagiographe breton. Si nos 
hagiographes meritent uno place d'honneur dans le martyrologe de 
la critique, c'est peut-6tre bien que nos vies de saints sent d'une 
assez basse 6poque : la vie de Samson mise k part, les deux plus 
anciennee ont 6t6 redig6es vers la fin du ix" ei^cle," 

Cornish Saints 97 

know, how banal and commonplace are the lives of 
many of the best men and women who have lived 
and worked for others, and he strove to portray 
them in colours which might make them interesting 
to a generation whose intelligence, so far as religion 
was concerned, had been chiefly moulded by Holy 
Scripture. He recognised analogies and emphasised 
them. He was conversant with the main facts and 
knew ho\y impressive had been the personality and 
the life of his hero, but he had not, like Boswell, 
followed him about with a note-book. He was 
himself an impressionist and by no means sparing 
of his paint, one whose work doubtless won the 
approval of the age in which he lived. He had no 
message for succeeding ages. 

At the same time only ignorance or prejudice will 
place all hagiographers on the same level or refuse 
to take account of alleged facts, even when they are 
concealed underneath an intolerable deal of fanciful 

In some cases the Lives of the Saints, as presented 
by their authors, possess real historical value. Those 
of Sampson, Paul Aurelian, Winwaloe, Tutwal and 
Malo (Machutus) fall within this category. ^ The life 
of St. Sampson drawn up, according to Mgr. 
Duchesne, towards the end of the seventh century, 
of which the earliest and most valuable MS. is of 
the eleventh century, will repay diligent study. ^ It 
has a direct and important bearing upon monastery- 
bishoprics, and ought to possess a special interest for 

1 J. Loth, Revue Celtique, xxii, p. 96. 

' Tho text has been edited by M. Favvtier and published by 
MM. Champion (Paris). The reader should consult also the more 
critical notes on S. Samson de Dol, by Prof. Loth (Champion, 
Paris) and if possible a very illuminating little treatise, La vie de 
S. Samaon, by M. L'Abbd Duine. 


Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

the people of Cornwall whose forefathers profited by 
St. Sampson's ministry. The biography, as we should 
expect, contains its full share of miracles, but is, 
nevertheless, characterised by veracity in those 
statements which relate to the saint's parentage, 
private life, travels and career. The picture is a true 
picture, however much we may dislike the method 
of treatment. The landing of the saint near Padstow, 
his sojourn at St. Kew, his destruction of the pagan 
idol in the hundred of Trigg and other details are 
all related and the topographical knowledge of the 
writer has been shown to be accurate. ^ It is doubtful, 
however, whether, at the present stage of historical 
research, it is possible for those, who are most 
competent to form a judgment of the value of the 
evidence afforded by the Lives of the Saints, to do 
so dispassionately and impartially owing to the 
antagonism which is provoked by the extraordinary 
play of fancy on the part of their writers. 

That some of them possess historical value is 
proved by a Life the earliest MS. of which is com- 
paratively recent. In the life of St. Petrock the text 
of which is not earlier than the fifteenth century it 
is stated that " Petrock, after visiting his com- 
patriot St. Sampson, betook himself ad cellam 
Wethnoci episcopi. A little further on we read unde 
etiam lingua gentis illius Landuuethmoch (for Lann- 
wethnoc) adhuc usque hodie dicitur. Now Lann- 
wethnoe presents itself in Domesday Book under 
the forms of Lanwehenoc (wrongly written Lan- 
wenahoc) and Lan-guihenoc."^ 

The remarkable thing is that a fifteenth-century 

1 Loth, Saint Samson de Dol, p. 26. 
• See the previous footnote. 

Cornish Saints 99 

writer should have recorded two facts which were as 
Httle kiioAMi at the time when he wrote as they are 
to the generahty of EngHsh readers to-day ; the 
first, that in the days of St. Petrock a bishop might 
have been found occupying a cell, living as a monk or 
hermit, though not necessarily living alone ; and the 
second, that there was in pre-Norman times a place 
bearing the name of Languihenoc, both of which are 
placed beyond dispute by the evidence given us in 
the chapter on Monastery-Bishoprics and by the 
testimony of Domesday Book. It surely requires an 
imagination of -svider scope to believe that the writer 
was not transcribing or interpreting an authentic 
document than to accept the most fantastic legends 
of Celtic saints. The service rendered to research is 
twofold : it witnesses to the historicity of the Life 
even if it does not establish the reputation of its 
writer, and it adds one more to our list of Celtic 
bishops in the person of Guethnoc, who as Gwethnoc 
is honoured in Finistere and elsewhere in Brittany. 

At this point it seems convenient to summarise the 
results of our survey. It has been maintained that 
coincidence and resemblance have been invested 
with an importance disproportionate to their Teal 
value, that where coincidence has been claimed for 
the purpose of discrediting traditional doctrine it 
has often proved as illusory as the rainbow, that 
resemblance unsupported by other evidence has 
proved to be imaginary or superficial, that in the 
case of the Cornish saints, whose names have been 
supposed to resemble place-names, there is nothing 
to warrant the suspicion that they are eponymous, 
that the Lives of the Saints as they have come down 
to us must be estimated in the lighrof the mentality 

100 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

of the writers and readers of them, that, however 
ornate or barbaric they may be considered to be, 
when they record ordinary events the statements 
are worthy of investigation and often of historical 
value, and that a comparatively modern life of a 
saint may afford evidence of the substantial accuracy 
of the facts which it records. 

It may not unreasonably be asked what then is 
the attitude to be observed towards those students 
of comparative mythology who endeavour to find 
a common origin for all religions by studying religious 
phenomena ? There is no reason why it should not 
be friendly or even helpful. But, whatever may be the 
final verdict of that study, its present value will be 
generally determined by psychology rather than by 
logic. The man who starts with a theory, whether in 
favour of a common origin of religious belief or with 
one opposed to a common origin, will probably find 
enough evidence to confirm his theory. Darwins are 
not born every day ; yet there is no hope which is 
more widely shared or more secretly cherished by 
those who give themselves to mythological research 
than the hope that they are at least potential 
Darwins. The desire to be scientific, that is, to 
reduce to system an array of facts, vastly pre- 
ponderates over the desire to ascertain the accuracy 
of certain alleged facts and their relation to other 
facts of a similar nature. It is possible to accept the 
statement that worship originated in sacrifice, in the 
attempt to propitiate an offended deity, and to 
deduce conclusions diametrically opposed to each 
other. To the Catholic Christian it will perhaps be 
a substantial aid to faith, to the Protestant an 
encouragement to discard the errors of paganism, to 

Cornish Saints 101 

the unbeliever a confirmation, of unbelief. The 
subject — only as yet in its infancy — can hardly be 
ignored. At the same time its ramifications cover so 
much ground that comparatively few can be expected 
to acquire sufficient knowledge to be in a position 
to judge of its conclusions. Archaeology, philology, 
ethnology, ancient philosophy, theology and myth- 
ology are only some of the departments of a study 
which aims at determining the origins of religious 
belief. Who then is sufficient for these things ? He 
has yet to be born. 

Cornwall, with its large admixture of Celtic blood, 
until lately speaking a Celtic language, inheriting 
a Celtic tradition, for centuries in close contact with 
Brittany, might have been expected to furnish 
materials enabling the student to differentiate the 
quality of its religious belief and practice from that 
of the Midlands. To accept the same creed is not 
necessarily to hold the same belief or to have the 
same religious ideal. Each people has doubtless its 
own instinctive beliefs which may or may not find a 
place in the creed which is professed. If those beliefs 
do find a place in it they will find emphasised expres- 
sion in the popular worship. The appeal of Wesley in 
the eighteenth century struck home to the instinctive 
beUefs of the Cornish. In spite of the marked pro- 
gress of Anglicanism during the last half- century 
the Cornish are largely Methodists, whose worship is 
still conducted in buildings which usually have as 
little claim to beauty as a railway station. They 
have no stereotyped form of service, no liturgy which 
lends itself to musical adornment. The hospitals and 
other charitable institutions in the county have in 
many cases been built and are mainly supported by 

102 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

others. And yet the Cornish possess a keen sense of 
beauty. They are musical, refined and generous. In 
skill and intelHgence they will bear comparison with 
the rest of the United Kingdom. jThey are open- 
minded, fond of discussion and never tired when it 
takes a religious turn. Their nearest kinsmen in 
blood are the Bretons, with whom they have much in 
common, although in the matter of religious practice 
they are as far as the poles apart. While the latter 
cling with unrivalled devotion to the old religion, the 
former spend much time, like the men of Athens, in 
telling or hearing some new thing. Methodism on 
the old lines is moribund in Cornwall ; Catholicism 
on the old lines is a living and a growing power in 
Brittany. During the last quarter of a century a 
remarkable change has passed over the face of 
Cornish nonconformity. Revivals have almost 
become things of the past. Conversion, theoretically 
the starting-point of Methodist religion, is no longer 
required to be sudden. The class meeting has lost 
much of its attractiveness. There is less reverence 
for the Holy Scriptures. Many of the old doctrines 
are being recast. Methodism is in a state of tran- 
sition. The drift is towards rationalism, but the 
end is not yet in sight. Under these circumstances 
it is not easy to form a right judgment or to forecast 
the future of Cornish Methodism, but to one who has 
spent twenty-five years in its midst and who knows 
how deeply and instinctively religious is the character 
of the people it would seem that at a no distant date 
there will be a volte-face, in other words, that the 
essentially religious instinct will reassert itself. Two 
alternatives may supervene. There may be a return 
to the Cathohc faith, AngUcan or Roman, of which 

Cornish Saints 103 

there are already signs or there may be recourse to 
Christian Science, Spirituahsm or some occult system 
which attracts by its novelty and promises to satisfy 
religious craving. Rationalism, which may suit the 
Teutonic race and be a substitute for religion, is 
impossible to the emotional God-fearing temper of 
the Celt. 



A BRIEF survey of the monastic and quasi - 
monastic foundations is required in order to 
determine if possible which of them, if any, were 
originally Celtic in character. It will suffice to take 
the Monasticon, as edited by Dr. Oliver, and to ex- 
amine the charters and notes respecting the several 
houses and to check them by means of such other 
records as are available. Neither Sir William Dug- 
dale nor Dr. Oliver distinguished between institu- 
tions which were Celtic and institutions which 
were the common heritage of Western Christi- 

If a monastery existed before the Norman Conquest 
their main purpose was to trace it back, if possible, 
beyond that date, and, having done this, to record 
its fortunes as it fared forth through the centuries 
which followed. This purpose they achieved by 
printing in chronological order all its charters, whether 
preserved as chirographs or as inspeximi^ derived 
from Charter and Patent Rolls. The following list 

* Inspeximi is a convenient plural of the word inspeximue (we 
have inspected). Royal grants of liberties and privileges are 
frequently baaed upon earlier grants which the Royal grantor 
declares ho has inapected. The charters of these earlier grants in 
many instances no longer exist. 


Ancient Religious Houses 105 

comprises all the Cornish religious foundations given 
in the Monasticon : 

St. Petroek's (Bodmin) Priory. 

St. German's Priory. 

St. Michael's (Mount) Priory. 

St. Stephen's (Launceston) Priory. 

St. Buryan Collegiate Church. 

St. Crantock Collegiate Church. 

St. Cyricus, or St. Cyriacus, Priory. 

St. Probus Prebendal Church. 

St. Keverne Collegiate Church. 

St. Piran Collegiate Church. 

Minster or Talkarn Priory. 

Scilly Priory. 

Tregony Priory. 

Tywardreath Priory. 

St. Anthony, Cell of Plympton. 

St. Michael of Lammana Cell. 

Truro Convent. 

Endellion Collegiate Church. 

Glasney Collegiate Church. 

St. Michael's (Penkevil) Collegiate Church. 

St. Teath Collegiate Church. 

Helston Hospital of St. John the Baptist. 

Liskeard Lazar-house. 

Of the twenty-three religious houses enumerated the 
first nine are mentioned in Domesday Book, which 
also mentions the priests of St. Neot, the lands of St. 
Constantine and of St. Goran and the honour of St. 
Che {Honor St. Chei), There are also a few churches 
which call for examination like those of St. Kew, 
Mawnan and Manaccan whose religious character is 
omitted in both. Languihenoc and Gerrans have 

106 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

been already considered. It is obvious that to give a 
full and complete review of all of them would require 
not a chapter but a volume. 

Before attempting to deal with the subject, within 
even the narrowest possible limits, we may profitably 
ask ourselves what courses were open to the members 
of monastic communities, which had been in the 
ascendant until the Saxon Conquest of Cornwall, in 
order that they might come into line with the new 
ecclesiastical regime ? Three courses presented them- 
selves. The first was to allow themselves to be 
disbanded as the regular clergy were compelled to 
be at the time of Henry's reformation ; the 
second was to conform to the rules of one or other 
of the recognised western orders and to become 
affiliated to it ; the third was to transform their 
convents of regular clergy into colleges or collegiate 
churches of secular clergy. No doubt there was a 
strong conservative party who resisted all change, 
otherwise it would be difficult to understand the 
spoliation of which there are traces during the Saxon 
period and of which after the Norman Conquest 
there is abundant proof in Domesday Book. Of the 
three courses which have been suggested the third 
seems to have been favoured under the Saxons and 
the second under the Normans. 

Taking the nine monastic bodies which stand at 
the head of the foregoing list in order, it will suffice 
to say that after serving as the seat of an abbot - 
bishop the monastery of St. Petrock probably became 
collegiate and parochial. In Domesday Book it is 
always referred to as St. Petrock or the Church of St. 
Petrock. The date of its reconstruction as a monas- 
tery is obscure. There does not appear to be any 

Ancient Religious Houses 107 

evidence to show to which of the religious orders it 
belonged until the Ordinatio of the Priory by Bishop 
Grandisson in 1347, in which it is ordained that the 
prior and convent shall celebrate the Divine Office 
and observe vigil, fast, silence and prayer according 
to the rule of Blessed Augustine. Long before that 
date it had therefore doubtless become a convent of 
the Black Canons. Sir John Maclean expressly states, 
though 'on what authority I have not been able to 
discover, that it was Bishop William Warelwast 
(1107-1136) who settled therein regular canons of 
St. Augustine. In the Taxatio of the vicarage, by 
Bishop Bronescombe in 1269, the vicar was assigned, 
as a part of his emolument, the victuals {liberacionem) 
of one canon. 

The monastery of St. Germans was served by 
secular canons before the Norman Conquest. Bishop 
Leofric (1046-1073) removed them and introduced 
canons regular. In 1270 Bishop Bronescombe ordered 
the excommunication of certain persons concerning 
whom he vouchsafes no particulars save that they 
were Sathane satellites, proprie salutis immemores and 
that they had expelled those whom he had sent to 
take charge of the priory during the vacancy caused 
by the death of Richard the late prior. His letter 
is valuable because it affords evidence that the bishop 
of Exeter claimed absolute power over the priory 
and its possessions so long as there was no prior ap- 
pointed, and apparently the right of confirming the 
prior's appointment. 

Of St. Michael's Mount some particulars will be 
found in Chapter X. 

The church of St. Stephen by Launceston was Hke 
that of St. German served by secular canons at the 

108 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

time of the Domesday Survey. By Bishop WilHam 
Warelwast (1107-1138) to whom Ralph the dean of 
St. Stephens had surrendered the deanery it was 
made an Augustinian priory and so remained until the 
dissolution of the religious houses by Henry VIII. 
Harassed and despoiled by Robert Count of Mortain 
in the years which followed the Norman Conquest, 
under the fostering care of Reginald Earl of Cornwall 
(1140-1175) and Richard King of the Romans (1225- 
1272), it soon became the wealthiest of the religious 
houses in Cornwall. The relations between the 
parochial church of St. Stephen and the priory are 
somewhat obscure. The church was taxed inde- 
pendently of the priory in 1291, but in the Inquisitio 
nonarum of 1346 the church was assessed at £10, of 
which 40s. was chargeable to the prior. 

The collegiate church of St. Buryan is undoubtedly 
an early instance of the conversion of a Celtic monas- 
tery to a recognised Enghsh type. King Athelstan 
by charter gave a small piece of his land in a place 
which is called the church of St. Berrian ... to 
be free of all taxation unless the clerks who had 
promised him their prayers, viz. 100 masses, 100 
psalters and daily supplications failed, to perform 
their task. The place which is called the church of 
St. Berrian was evidently Eglosberria or Eglosveryan, 
of which we have already spoken. In later times it 
was advantageous to the dean and liis fellows to cite 
Athelstan as their founder and their church as a 
royal chapel. All that the Saxon King did for them 
was probably to guarantee to them security of tenure 
for the lands which they already held and freedom 
from payment of geld. 

The Canons of St. Crantock who held the manor of 

Ancient Religious Houses 109 

Langorock at the time of the Survey (1086) also sur- 
vived the various changes made in the constitution 
of their community until their dissolution in 1536. 
Robert, Count of Mortain, had already seized their 
lands when the Survey was made. His son, Count 
William, founded the Cluniac house at Montacute 
in Somerset, and to it he is said to have given the 
church of St. Crantock. It is certain that in 1236 
the pricTr of Montacute transferred the church and 
its possessions to William Briwer, bishop of Exeter. 
The bishop thenceforth became patron of the deanery 
and prebends. In 1291 there were on the foundation 
a dean and nine prebendaries. St. Crantock had 
become a typical collegiate church. The several 
stages through which it passed leave no doubt that 
as Langorock it had established its claim to consider- 
ate treatment by Saxon and Norman alike. 

Of St. Keverne we learn from Domesday Book 
that the canons of St. Achebran had one manor which 
was called Lannachebran, which the same saint had 
held in the Confessor's time. There is, however, 
evidence of its quasi -prebendal character more than 
a century before the Survey was made. ^ By Richard, 
Earl of Cornwall and King of the Romans, the 
church was given to the abbot and convent of Beaulieu 
for the good of his own soul and that of King John 
his father. 2 The vicarage was taxed by Bishop 
Bronescombe, in 1260, very unfavourably to the 
vicar, there being assigned to the abbot and convent 
of Beaulieu more than five-sixths of the income. 
Leland, writing about the year 1530, states that 
near " The Paroch church of S. Keveryn otherwise 

1 Jour. Arch. Asaocn., XXXIX, 282. 
« Pat. RoU, 18 Edw. Ill, 1345. 

110 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

Piranus," there is a sanctuary with ten or twelve 
dwelling houses and hard by " there was a sel of 
monkes but now gonn home to ther Hed Hows." 
These monks were doubtless Cistercians from Beaulieu 
who, for some reason or another, had been temporarily 
resident in the parish. The appropriation of the 
church by Earl Richard, and its taxation by Bishop 
Bronescombe, had left it a rather poorly endowed 
vicarage, of which the patronage and greater tithes 
belonged to Beaulieu. That Lannachebran was 
originally Celtic and monastic does not admit of 

The account supplied by Domesday Book respecting 
St. Pieran (Perranzabuloe) is very illuminating. 
" The Canons of St. Pieran,'* so the statement runs, 
" have a manor called Lanpiran, which in the time 
of King Edward they held freely. . . . From this 
manor have been taken away two manors which in 
the time of King Edward rendered to the Canons of 
St. Pieran four weeks* farm {firmain Hi septimanarum). 
Of these manors Berner holds one of the Count. 
And from the other hide which Odo holds of St. 
Pieran the Count has taken away all the stock 
(pecuniam). These two manors rendered to the Dean 
by way of custom 20s. in addition to the said farm 
(firmam)y The first of these two manors was that 
of Tregebri, which elsewhere in Domesday Book is 
described as being " of the honour ^ of St. Perann.'* 
The Count of Mortain took from both all that had 

* Another honour is mentioned in the same record, viz. that 
of St. Cheus, which awaits identification. The Exeter book reads 
correctly that Tremar uustel is de honore S. Chei, whereas the 
Exchequer version has belongs ad honore S. Chei. This led General 
James to translate the words " belongs to the honours of Chei " : 
honore is probably an abbreviation for honorem and the full stop 
after the S a contraction of SancH, 

Ancient Religious Houses 111 

formerly belonged to the saint. Dean and canons 
were swept away at an early date and the church 
given by Henry I to the dean and chapter of Exeter. 
When the vicarage was taxed in 1269, to the vicar 
was assigned the altarage of the mother church of 
St. Piran and of the chapel, together with all the 
offerings derived from the exposition of the relics, 
the vicar rendering a yearly tribute of six marks to 
the dean and chapter. The relics referred to were 
those of St. Piran the founder of the church, con- 
cerning which some interesting particulars are supplied 
in an inventory of the year 1281. Among other trea- 
sures mention is made of a reliquary in which is kept 
the head of St. Pyeran, with the rest of the relics 
secured with iron and a lock, a hearse in which the 
body of Pyeran is placed for processions, a tooth of 
St. Brendan and a tooth of St. Martin within a silver 
box, also a pastoral staff of St. Pyeran adorned with 
silver and gold and precious stones. Two centuries 
later when making St. Agnes parochial, the bishop 
ordained that if the parishioners of St. Pyran should 
bring the saint's relics to St. Agnes in procession as 
formerly, on Rogation Tuesday, they should receive 
honourable welcome and the oblations presented in 
the chapel of St. Agnes according to custom. 

There has been much doubt concerning the identity 
of St. Piran. From the inventory of 1281 it would 
seem that at that time he was identified with St. 
Kieran of Saighir in Ireland, otherwise it would be 
difficult to account for the presence at Perranzabuloe 
of relics of St. Brendan, the friend to whom the saint 
sent a supply of milk in the form of a milch cow, and 
of those of St. Martin the founder of churches in 
Ossory, St. Kieran's native county, a person so 

Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

highly esteemed by the saint that he extracted a 
promise from him that when they died they should 
be buried in the same grave. It is certain that in 
the thirteenth century, and a fortiori in the eleventh 
century, the foundation of St. Piran was regarded as 
Celtic and that the church claimed to have in its 
custody the crozier of its episcopal founder. 

" The canons of St. Probus have one manor which 
is called Lanbrabois (Lamprobus. Exch. D.) which 
King Edward held at the time of his death." Such 
is the testimony of Domesday Book. The name of 
the manor suggests a monastic origin, but nothing 
whatever appears to be known of the saint or of the 
founder of the prebendal church. Had St. Edward 
been the founder it is probable that some use would 
have been made of the circumstance by succeeding 
generations. King Jolm confirmed the grants of the 
church made by his ancestor (avi) Henry I and by 
his father Henry II to the bishop and cathedral 
church of Exeter.^ By Bishop Briwer it was appro- 
priated to the office of treasurer of the cathedral, 
together with the patronage of the five prebends, but 
the patronage was subsequently transferred to Bishop 
Bronescombe and exercised by him and his succes- 
sors until the suppression of the prebends by 
Edward VI. 

Having briefly considered the rehgious houses — 
using that term in its widest sense — concerning which 
mention is made in Domesday Book, it is worth while 
to pass on to those whose endowments either excited 
not the rapacity of the Norman, or were too slender to 
find a place in the Great Survey, and to those which 
were evidently founded after the Norman Conquest. 
* Monasticon, p. 72. 

Ancient Religious Houses 113 

Taking them in the order already indicated, we have 
the five estabhshments dignified by the name of 

The priory of St. Cyricus or St. Cyriacus in the 
parish of St. Veep is stated by Lysons to have been 
founded by WilHam Count of Mortain, but no au- 
thority is quoted for the statement. In 1236 Bishop 
Briwer wishing to reheve the church of St. Nonn 
(probably the neighbouring church of Pelynt) from 
a yearly charge of six marks, four shillings and three 
pence heretofore payable to the little cell (cellula) of 
St. Cyricus, granted to the latter out of the revenues 
of his see a yearly payment of five marks. The cell 
was affiliated to the Cluniac priory of Montacute in 
the county of Somerset and was for a long time in 
the patronage of the family of that name. It is futile 
to speculate respecting its origin, and it is not safe 
to say that it was of Saxon or Norman origin, for St. 
Carreuc is found in three Breton parishes. ^ 

The priory of Minster or Talkarn described as the 
church of St. Merthian of Laminster was, somewhere 
about the year 1130, given by WiUiam, son of Nicholas 
(Botreaux), to the monks of the Benedictine abbey of 
St. Sergius at Angers. Here again we have monastic 
associations suggested by the locality of the priory. 
Laminster was apparently already a place-name 
when the gift was made little more than half a 
century after the Norman Conquest. The priory, 
by reason of its connection with the French abbey, 
was suppressed during the fourteenth century. 

The priory or cell of St. Nicholas, situated on the 
island of Tresco, Scilly, was probably Celtic in origin. 
The Charter of Henry I granting to the abbot and 
^ Loth, Lee Nome dee Saints bretona, p. 19. 

114 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

church of Tavistock and to its monk Turold, the 
churches and land in Scilly uses the following words 
to limit and describe the tenure of the land — ^it is to 
be held " just as the monks or rather hermits {monachi 
aut heremite melius) held it in the time of King 
Edward of Burgald bishop of Cornwall." 
^ Tavistock was a Benedictine abbey founded in the 
latter half of the tenth century. The rule of St. 
Benedict was broad and elastic, and monasteries 
could and did embrace it without parting entirely 
with their traditions.^ It was, in fact, the only rule 
recognised in England during the whole of the Saxon 
period. Admitting all this the phrase " monks or 
rather hermits," is so studiously vague as to imply 
a doubt as to whether the brothers had in the Con- 
fessor's day submitted to any recognised rule what- 
ever. It is certain that while bringing them into a 
closer relationship with Tavistock the King intended 
to enforce a stricter discipline, otherwise his further 
provision that they should, like " the King's own 
prebendaries " have his peace and protection, would 
have been unnecessary. The King does not confu*m 
any supposed charter of Athelstan or of Edward, 
but gives the religious community at Scilly to the 
abbey at Tavistock, and, apart from the reference to 
the latter King, there is nothing to lead us to regard 
the monks as Benedictine or as affiliated to the abbey 
until Henry's charter was granted. As a cell of 
Tavistock, the Scilly monastery appears to have 
existed until the suppression of the mother house, 
but little is known of it subsequent to the middle of 
the fifteenth century. 

Tregony Priory. At an early date the churches of 
* Oasqiiet, English Monastic lAfe, p. 214. 

Ancient Religious Houses 115 

St. James, Tregony, and of St. Cuby, appear to have 
accepted the rule of St. Augustine and to have been 
constituted a cell of the abbey of de Valle in Nor- 
mandy. When and by whom this appropriation was 
made is unknown, but it is certain that it was 
made after the Norman Conquest. In the year 1278 
Bishop Bronescombe gave his sanction to the transfer 
of the priory of Tregony to the priory of Merton in 
the county of Surrey. This was in furtherance of an 
arrangement between the prior of Merton and the 
abbot of de Valle, whereby the possessions of the 
former in the diocese of Bayeux were exchanged 
for those of the latter in England. Bishop Quivel 
confirmed the sanction of his predecessor in 1282, 
and until the dissolution of the religious houses the 
cell, which had become a vicarage, belonged to the 
monastery of Merton. 

Of Tywardreath Priory little need be said here. At 
the time of the Domesday Survey, Tywardreath was 
one of the thirty manors in Cornwall which had been 
given by the Conqueror to Richard Fitz Turold. 
By Richard the priory was founded and affiliated to 
the great Benedictine abbey of SS. Sergius and Bacchus 
at Angers. The list of charters recording successive 
endowments is exceptionally complete, and for 
genealogical purposes the charters are of very great 
value, but they afford no suggestion of a pre-Norman 

The cell of St. Anthony in Roseland represented a 
survival of an order of things of which we have 
little recorded evidence. In the thirteenth century 
it derived its main support from the church of St. 
Gerrans. In the Taxatio of Pope Nicholas IV the 
prior of St. Anthony is assessed at the same amount 

Celtic Christianity of 

for his portion in the church of St. Gerrans as the 
rector himself. A httle more than a century later, 
in the Inquisitio nonarum, St. Anthony is described 
as a chapel (capella) of St. Gerrans. Such informa- 
tion as we have points to a quasi -monastic establish- 
ment of St. Gerrans, followed by a parish church at 
Gerrans and a small monastery at St. Anthony. The 
latter was made, at an early date, dependent on the 
Augustinian priory of Plympton, and in the earlier 
half of the sixteenth century consisted of two 

The Cell of St. Michael of Lammana, situated in 
the parish of Talland opposite Looe Island, which 
formed a portion of its possessions, was given by 
John de Solenny in the twelfth century to the Bene- 
dictine abbey of Glastonbury. Richard, Earl of 
Cornwall, granted to the abbot a licence to farm out 
its revenues, and this probably accounts for the scant 
information supplied by the public records respecting 
the cell. The name Lammana points to Celtic 

The Convent of the Preaching Friars at Truro 
throws no light upon the subject before us. The friars 
first came to England in the year 1221. It is a 
striking proof of the rapidity with which the order 
spread that Bishop Bronescombe should Iiave dedi- 
cated their church at Truro in 1259. 

The origin of the Collegiate Church of Endellion is 
obscure. In 1273 the rectory belonged to the prior 
and convent of Bodmin ; in 1342 Bodmin or King's 
prebend belonged to the same ; in 1265 Marny*s 
prebend belonged to the family of Bodrugan, and in 
1266 Trehaverock prebend belonged to the family of 
Modret. The parish of Endellion was not in St. 

Ancient Religious Houses 117 

Petrock*s hundred of Pawton, nor do any of its three 
Domesday manors appear to have belonged to the 
saint. It would therefore seem as if the advowson 
or a moiety of it had been given to the priory after 
its reconstitution on English lines. In any case it 
would be rash to claim a pre-Norman origin for 
Endellion Collegiate Church. 

The similar establishment at Glasney, near Penryn, 
owed its foundation to Bishop Bronescombe, who in 
1267 consecrated the church of St. Thomas the 
Martyr and its churchyard. Glasney was an entirely 
new college, not the rehabilitation of an earlier institu- 
tion, and on that account it does not enter into the 
present enquiry. ^ 

The church of St. Michael Penkevil was made 
collegiate in 1319, as the result of the benefaction of 
Sir John de Trejagu. It was to be administered by 
an archpriest and three fellows who were to live 
under the same roof and to dine at the same table. 
It had no early monastic associations. 

The date of the erection of St. Teath into a Collegi- 
ate Church is more obscure. Between the years 1258 
and 1264 Bishop Bronescombe founded two prebends 
in St. Teath church, and, inasmuch as the number of 
prebends does not appear ever to have exceeded two, 
it is probable that the church owed its prebendal 
character solely to the bishop. 

The Hospital of St. John the Baptist at Helston 
and the Lazar house at Liskeard, being comparatively 
modern foundations, need not be examined. 

Reference has been made to three churches or 
religious houses — it is not clear which is the appro - 

* Mr. Thurstan C. Peter has written an interesting and reliable 
account of Olasney Collegiate Church (Camborne, 1903). 

118 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

priate term — ^which are mentioned in Domesday- 
Book, but which are omitted in the Monasticon, 

In the former document it is stated that St. Con- 
stantine has half a hide of land which in the time of 
King Edward was free of all service, but since the 
Count of Mortain received the land it has always 
rendered geld unjustly like villeins' land. This land, 
known as the manor of Tucoyes, was bestowed upon 
Wihumar and henceforth lost to the Church. The 
exemption from geld implies a monastic foundation, 
but no other trace of monastic origin has been found 
in connection with the church of St. Constantine. 

Of St. Neot it is stated that the saint held a manor 
called Neotstou, consisting of two hides of land in 
the time of the Confessor, Godric being the priest in 
charge, and that the Count of Mortain has despoiled 
the priests of all their land save one (Cornish) acre. 
It is also stated that the two hides of land have never 
rendered geld. Monastic the church of St. Neot un- 
doubtedly was, but in this case we have trustworthy 
historical evidence to prove that it was not Celtic 
but Saxon. St. Neot had himself founded the house 
in Saxonised territory. No trace of its original 
character is to be found in later documents. It would 
therefore seem that it load already become (in 1086) 
purely parochial. 

The honour of St. Che us or Che, of which the manor 
of Tremaruustel was a member at the time of the 
Domesday Survey, has hitherto resisted all attempts 
at identification. It probably represents a moribund 
and extinct monastic holding of considerable extent. 

The Domesday manor of St. Mawnan (wrongly 
written Maiuian or Ma wan in both copies) had fallen 
into the King's hand before the Conquest. But the 

Ancient Religious Houses 119 

church of St. Mawnan is referred to in many subse- 
quent translations under the name of Minster, which 
suggests a monastic origin. 

Manaccan, the monks' church, calls for no com- 

A very interesting and convincing example of the 
conversion of a purely Celtic monastic house to 
English uses is supplied by St. Kew. On linguistic 
grounds' alone Professor Loth arrived at the con- 
clusion that Docco, the monastery where St. Sampson 
made the acquaintance of St. Winniau, was St. Kew. 
An examination of the various forms under which 
the church is described in the Episcopal Registers 
revealed the forms Landoho, Lanho and Lanow. A 
Patent Roll of 1307 furnished the following state- 
ments, viz. that King Edgar (958-975) gave to the 
canons of Plympton two carucatcs of land, 100s. of 
rent in Landoho and the church there for the support 
of two canons celebrating divine service there and 
dispensing alms and hospitality to the poor, to 
pilgrims and other guests, that in a case tried before 
John de Berewyk and other justices (circa 1300) it 
was shown that the prior and convent of Plympton 
had failed to fulfil the above conditions and that, 
taking into account all the circumstances, the King 
now (1307) grants to the prior and convent the right 
to substitute a secular vicar and chaplain for the 
two canons at Landoho. 

An examination of the Plympton charters showed 
that Henry I gave the church of Tohou to William 
Warelwast, bishop of Exeter, and that he gave the 
church to the priory of canons regular which he 
founded at Plympton in the year 1121. No one can 
doubt that Tohou and Docco are variants of the 

120 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

same word, which is found in Brittany as Tohou and 
Ohou. It is not difficult to follow the various acts of 
spoliation. King Edgar evidently reduced the 
patrimony of the Celtic monastery to the amount 
specified above while retaining the manor of Landoho, 
which until the Norman Conquest embraced the 
manors of Poundstock and St. Gennys. The three 
manors passed as an undivided whole to Earl Harold 
as demesne lands. By the Conqueror they were given 
to the Count of Mortain. Henry I claimed the re- 
maining revenue of the monks and gave it to the 
bishop who transferred it to Plympton priory. Edgar's 
gift to Plympton was a legal fiction which enabled the 
priory to evade responsibilities which were implied 
in the charter of Henry I and explicitly stated in 
that of Henry II when canons regular were substituted 
for secular canons.^ 

In brief, St. Kew was the site of an important 
Celtic monastery wliich, visited by St. Sampson in 
the days of St. Winniau, despoiled by King Edgar 
and stripped bare by Henry I, nevertheless retained 
some semblance of its ancient glory until the latter 
half of the tloirteenth century. 

As the result of the above examination it will be 
observed that of the twenty-six religious houses about 
one-half afford evidence of Celtic origin. In some 
cases the evidence is convincing ; in some it is of 
itself insufficient to convince. Taken as a whole, it 
adds considerably to the weight of the argument 
which is here advanced, namely, that in Cornwall the 
Celtic form of Clxristianity had not wholly disappeared 
at the time of the Norman Conquest. Of its secure 
and comprehensive hold upon the religious life of the 

* MonasHcon, p. 136. 

Ancient Religious Houses 121 

whole county at an earlier period there is abundant 
proof in the names of the parishes. Excluding those 
which have been considered, fifteen bear the prefix 
Lariy the mark of monastic settlement. Others, like 
St. Erth (Lanudno), St. Madron (Landithy), St. Just- 
in-Penwith (Lafrowda), Kea (Landegy), Gulval 
(Lanisley), Lelant (Lananta), Lezant (Lansant), re- 
tained the prefix for a time, in an alias, which in some 
cases suggests an earher dedication ; or, as in the 
case of Lanherne, Langunnet, Lanyhorne and Lan- 
hadron still retain it in the name of the manor to 
which the advowson of the church was appendant ; 
while a very large number bear, without prefix or affix, 
the names of Celtic saints, many of them unknown 
to the outside world. From one end of the comity to 
the other the impress of Celtic Christianity can be 
clearly traced. It is monastic in character. But it 
is not a monasticism which has intruded within the 
confines of parishes already formed, but a monasticism 
wiiicli has occupied the whole territory from the very 
first. This it is which, in the tenth and eleventh 
centuries, either finds itself gradually superseded by 
the newer parochialism, or which ensures, in some 
sort, its survival in collegiate bodies or in recognised 
monastic orders by submitting to new conditions and 
new ideas. 



THE subject of English hermits and anchorites 
has been so exhaustively dealt with by Miss 
Rot ha M. Clayi that a writer may well hesitate before 
he ventures to enter upon a small portion of the ground 
which she has covered. Miss Clay has performed her 
task with great judgment, learning and literarj^ skill 
and with consummate diligence. So conscientiously 
and so impartially has she performed her task that 
the reader will seek in vain to discover whether she 
is in full sympathy with the hermit's vocation or the 
reverse. Her book will be read with pleasure and 
with profit by all. 

The present writer wishes to acknowledge his 
obligations to Miss Clay, whose researches have both 
confirmed and supplemented conclusions already 
formed. The titles of the several chapters of her 
book are illuminating and suggestive, and the con- 
tents abundantly justify the distinction she has 
made between one type and another. We find our- 
selves introduced in succession to hermits of island 
and fen, forest and hillside, cave, lighthouse, liigh- 
way and bridge, town, church and cloister. 

Unless the student keeps in mind the fact that the 

eremitical impulse fulfilled itself in varied activities 

he will fail to understand its true nature and purpose. 

1 Hermite and Anchorites of England, Methuen & Co. 



Cornish Hermits 123 

Here was no lawless spirit, disdaining the restraints 
of an ordered life, but " the fiery glow that whirls 
the spirit from itself away " to make it the ready 
instrument in God's hands for works of mercy, charity, 
counsel and service while seeking by prayer, medita- 
tion, vigil and fasting to attain unto perfection. 

Again, while it is allowable to assume that the 
hermit who dwelt apart and in solitude was the 
precursor of the conventual body — ^the word monk 
implies as much — it nevertheless seems certain that, 
at the time when he first emerges into the clear light 
of Celtic history he is not, as popular fancy has im- 
agined, a distraught enthusiast seeking refuge and 
rest from an evil and adulterous generation, but a 
tried soldier who has learnt in the convent by precept 
and by practice the art of war, and who goes forth 
in all the panoply of celestial might to fight singly 
and alone the enemies of his soul and to bring deliver- 
ance to others. No sooner has he achieved his own 
salvation than he sets about the salvation of his 
fellow-men. He has little in common with the self- 
regarding Christian of the Pilgrim's Progress. He is 
eager to be of use. He becomes a minister to the 
dwellers amid untrodden ways and in remote corners, 
it may be as a waywarden, a bridge repairer, or a 
light keeper, but in any case as the guide, the coun- 
sellor, the friend of all. Inevitably his sphere of 
influence widens out. Soon he has become equally 
necessary to the pilgrim, the traveller and to those 
who are round about him. As time goes on his cell 
and the little sanctuary where he and they have met 
for worship become hallowed by association, and, 
when he dies, a successor must be sought to carry on 
the tradition. The hermitage thus remains as a 

124 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

memorial of its foimder long after his name has been 

Or, it may be, the hermit is joined by others like- 
minded and founds a religious community, a Ian 
whose growth and permanence are promoted by the 
industry and self-denial of its members. This would 
seem to have been the normal course of events in 
Cornwall. In this case the individual founder is 
often content to leave his work to be carried on by 
others during his lifetime. He may be a bishop, 
priest, deacon or layman who determines to undergo 
the hardships of the wilderness for a season, but who 
has no intention of devoting his whole life to solitude. 
Diversities of gifts under the spell of a common im- 
pulse give rise to diversities of ministration and of 

Of the hermits of the Celtic period in Cornwall we 
have very little historical evidence. Presumptive 
evidence we have which, if it told against the tradi- 
tional interpretation of early Christianity, would 
doubtless be held to possess great value. For ex- 
ample, we have, in the Hves of the saints, references 
to ecclesiastical types and economic conditions which 
had been obsolete for centurie's when some of those 
lives are held to have assumed their present literary 

We have holy wells bearing the names of saints 
which are not the names of the patron saints of the 
parishes in which the wells are situated. We have 
legends which, for the purpose of comparative myth- 
ology, are highly esteemed. There are, for example, 
holy wells at St. Ingunger, Chapel Uny (St. Uny's) 
and Jetwells, but these are not the patrons of the 
parishes, though they are all three well-known Celtic 

Cornish Hermits 125 

saints. On the other hand, there are wells bearing 
the names of St. Levan, St. Madron, St. Clether, St. 
Keyne and St. Just (Venton — east) situated in the 
parishes which do bear their names. If the ancient 
Cornish churches derived their names from their 
founders or founders' kin it seems probable that the 
holy wells acquired their names from association with 
the saints whose names they bear. 

There >would be the same inducement for a hermit 
to fix his abode near a spring of water as there is for 
an Australian squatter to choose a similar spot for 
the headquarters of his sheep or cattle station. So 
late as a.d. 1086, when Domesday Book was com- 
piled, the county of Cornwall was very sparsely 
populated. In the place-names may be recognised 
traces of a fauna long extinct but nevertheless extant 
in Celtic times. ^ It is necessary to bear in mind the 
transformation of the county, which during the last 
thirteen centuries has resulted from increased settle- 
ment and the more extensive cultivation of land, in 
order to be in a position to estimate the value of the 
evidence supplied by the hagiographer. 

Early in the sixth century St. Petrock succeeded 
St. Guron at Bodmin ; such is the tradition. Leland 
(circa 1540) thus records the event, ^ Bosmana, id est, 
mansio monachorum in valle, ubi St. Guronus solitarie 
degens in parvo tugurio, quod reliquen(s) tradidit St, 
Petroco. Guron was doubtless a hermit. Petrock 
enlarged the hermitage, which was situated in the 
valley where the town now stands and near the well 
which still bears the hermit's name, so as to make it 

^ Nancherrow and Camyorth, two neighbouring hamlets in 
St. Just-in- Penwith, denote respectively the valley of the stag and 
the hill of the roebuck. 

' Leland, Collectanea^ i, 76. 

126 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

capable of sheltering himself and three brethren. 
Guron is probably the same as Gk)ran, the name-saint 
of the parish in the ancient deanery of Powder. 
Traces of the name are to be found in Brittany.^ 

William of Worcester (1478) introduces us to three 
Cornish hermits, Vylloc or Willow, Mybbard and 
Mancus. They were companions. 

The first is described as a hermit and martyr born 
in Ireland and beheaded by Melyn's kinsfolk {Melyn 
ys kynrede) near the place (in Lanteglos-by-Fowey) 
where Walter, bishop of Norwich, was born. 

From this place to the bridge of St. Willow, a 
distance of half a mile, he carried his (head) to a spot 
where the said church was built in his honour. 2 
Mybbard, otherwise Calrogus, is stated to have been 
a hermit, the son of a King of Ireland, and his body 
is said to rest within the shrine (scrinio) of Cardynham 
Church. Mancus, their companion and a hermit, is 
said, on the authority of Robert Bracey, to lie in 
the church of Lanreath, within two miles of Fowey, 
and, on the authority of the canons of Launceston, in 
the parish of Lanteglos presumably at Bodinnick. 
All three are said to be commemorated on the same 
day, viz. the Thursday next before Whitsunday. 
William of Worcester's account of the three hermits 
is prefaced by the sentence " there were three brothers 
under the name of St. Genesius and each carried his 
head, one of them archbishop of Lismore.** Is it 
possible that St. Gennys may be a corruption of a 
Latinised Greek word auyyevei^ (kinsmen) ? It is 
curious, in any case, that the feast of Cardynham and 
St. Gennys should be held on Whitsunday, that of 

* Loth, Lee Noma dee Saints bretone, p. 48. 

■ Parochial History of Cornwall, Supplement, pp. 102, 110. 

Cornish Hermits 127 

Lanteglos having been abandoned and that of Lan- 
reath, whose patron is now given as Marnarch, being 
kept on the third of August. Anciently there was a 
chapel at Bodinniek bearing the name of St. John 
the Baptist. St. Willow is regarded as the patron of 
Lanteglos and Mybbard as the patron of Cardynham. 
When all due allowance has been made for accretions 
and errors in transmission it seems impossible to doubt 
that thre^ Irish hermits were martyred at or near 
Lanteglos and commemorated by churches built in 
their honour. 

St. Neot represents a prevalent type of religious 
which, from the first days of British Christianity 
until the eleventh century, combined the habits and 
aspirations of the hermit with the practical useful- 
ness of the missionary. Neot was born in the earlier 
years of the ninth century of parents who were nearly 
related in blood to the West-Saxon Kings. For- 
saking a military career for which he had been 
intended, he entered the monastery of Glastonbury, 
where he received Holy Orders and became eminent 
for piety, learning, ^visdom and counsel. The fear of 
popular applause drove him forth into the wilderness. 
He fixed his abode in the Cornish parish which now 
bears his name, near to a hamlet then known as 
Hamstoke and therefore apparently already a Saxon 
settlement. Here he lived seven years. At the end 
of that time he visited Rome and was advised by 
the Holy Father to renounce his habit of solitary 
devotion to return home and scatter the word of 
God among the people of Cornwall. 

He came back to Hamstoke and founded there the 
college of priests of which mention is made in Domes- 
day Book. At Hamstoke he was visited more than 

Celtic Christianity of Cornwai 

once by his kinsman Alfred the Great, who hunted 
in the neighbourhood and who is said to have been 
healed at the shrine of St. Guerir of a malady which 
had afflicted him from boyhood. 

St. Neot's hermitage was near the spring which is 
about half a mile west of the church and is known as 
St. Neot's well. In his day there appear to have 
been two pools, one of them with an unique un- 
failing supply of three fishes, of which one only was 
to be caught in a day, and the other, a pool in which 
the saint was wont to stand daily while repeating 
the Psalter. Many stories are told of the saint's 
sojourn by the well. The fox which stole his shoe, 
the rescue of the doe from the hounds, the theft of 
his working bullocks and the employment of stags 
for the ploughing of his land are sufficiently well 

By the advice of St. Neot King Alfred is said to 
have restored the English school at Rome. The saint 
continued to be abbot of his own foundation until 
his death, which took place on the 31st of July, 877. 
He was buried in the church which he had built on 
the site of the chapel of St. Guerir. About a century 
later his bones were fraudulently removed to the 
monastery of Eynesbury in Huntingdonshire. 

There are several points of interest. There does 
not appear to have been any marked difference be- 
tween St. Neot's eremitical career and that of others 
of Cornish origin. This may be owing to the late 
composition of the lives of many of the saints. The 
substitution of St. Neot for St. Guerir as the name- 
saint of the church has many precedents and would 
call for no remark here did it not afford a good 
example of what was also in Cornwall a fairly general 

Cornish Hermits 129 

practice, of which the proofs are not abundant — that 
of calling churches after the names of their founders.^ 
At this point it is convenient to call attention to 
the story of Tristan and Iseult, which has been shown 
to be of Cornish origin and which assumed literary 
form probably towards the end of the eleventh cen- 
tury. Most of the places mentioned in the story are 
found in Cornwall and, although the actors in the 
drama are presumed to have lived some five centuries 
before their deeds were committed to writing, there 
are nevertheless inferences to be derived from the 
record of them which have a direct bearing upon our 
subject even if we suppose the setting of the story to 
have been, at the time, comparatively modern. The 
following episode is an example. During the sojourn 
of Tristan and Iseult in the forest of Morrois (Moreske), 
which then extended from the Fal to the Helford 
river, they meet with a hermit, Ogrin by name, who 
does not hesitate to give them some much-needed 
advice. He calls them to repentance and then listens 
patiently to Tristan's excuses. It is not suggested 
that in admonishing them he is exceeding his duty. 
He is described as a hermit with a hermitage in the 
forest, a personage quite distinct from the parish 
priest, whose sphere of influence had already become 
a recognised geographical unit, as is shown by the 
following passage : 

En Cornoualle n'a parroise 
Ou la novele n'en angoise 
Que, qui porroit Tristan trover 
Qu'il en feist le cri lever. 

Ogrin, as a man of sense, advises the Queen to return 

* The name of Neot's predecessor, like that of Veronica, may 
have been suggested to Asser by the reputed miracle ; but, if so, 
it would not invalidate the truth of the narrative so far as it relates 
to the successive founders of the church. 

130 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

home, and himself undertakes the delicate task of 
reconciling the lovers to King Mark. 

Throughout the narrative he is represented as a man 
of God. It does not seem to have occurred to the 
romancer that there is something slightly incon- 
gruous in selecting a hermit for a shopping expedition 
to the market of St. Michael's Mount, where, for the 

lair Iseult : Asses achate ver et gris 

J)ras de soie et de porpre bis, 
Escarlates et blanc chainsil, 
Asez plus blanc que flor de lil, 
Et palefroi souef amblant 
Bien atorne d'or flaiiboiant. 

The hermit, as a man of affairs, may have been familiar 
to those for whose ears the romance was intended. 
It is difficult, otherwise, to assign a reason why 
the writer exaggerated his character beyond the 
bounds of recognition. The position which the 
hermit occupied in the popular estimation, august 
as it undoubtedly was, was not more exalted than 
that which was voluntarily conceded to him by those 
who were highly placed. To this fact must doubtless 
be attributed the more or less successful attempts 
to perpetuate the office when its occupant was re- 
moved by death. It is therefore possible that in the 
hermit of Colemanshegg, mentioned in a Roll of 1258, 
we have a reference to one of Ogrin's successors. ^ 
Of this latter personage we know nothing save that 
Richard hermit of Colemanshegg received 50s. yearly 
to find a chaplain to celebrate divine service for the 
soul of Catherine the King's daughter. 

But for this mention of Richard of Colemanshegg 

^ Colemanshegg is probably Kelmonsog (1308)=Kilmon8eg 
(1332)=Kilmon8ek (1427)=Kyliyniansak (1442)=Calainansack 
(hodie), in Constantine pariali, which in the eleventh century was 
embraced in the forest of Morrois. 

Cornish Hermits 131 

the earliest notice of a Cornish hermit after the 
Norman Conquest would have been that contained 
in the Assize Roll of the 30th year of Edward I 
(1301-1802) in which it is recorded that Thomas de 
Pentnargh noctanter intravit domum Andreae Paugan 
heremitae infra capellam Divi Justi et eum occidit. 
Johannes filius Andreae heremitae primus invenitor. 
The entry is under the heading of the hundred of 
Penwitb. Penmargh is doubtless Penmarth in Wen- 
dron. Pagan, of which Paugan may be a variant, is 
not uncommon as a personal name in early records. 
We are not told why Thomas of Penmargh killed 
Andrew, or how long it was before John discovered 
the dead body of his father, but it looks as if Andrew 
had been seen alive the day before his death and 
found dead by his son the day after. Where was the 
hermitage ? It is described as below the chapel of 
St. Just, but St. Just was not a chapel (capella). It 
was a church (ecclesia), and the terms are never used 
indiscriminately. If it be allowable to render the 
passage " below a chapel of St. Just," that is, below 
a chapel in the parish of St. Just, the record is very 

For one of the most interesting spots in that parish 
is Chapel Carn Brea, upon the summit of which stood 
until 1816 a chapel of which a sketch was made by 
Dr. Borlase, who described it as being approached 
from the south side by a large flight of steps and as 
being twenty feet in height, and the roof arched 
^vith stone well wrought. Hals tells us it was about 
ten feet wide and fourteen feet long, with a window 
in the east end. Both writers speak of an immense 
heap of stones lying around it, suggesting a large 
vault or hermitage underneath. The chapel was 


Celtic Chnmanuyo} Cornwall 

pulled down in 1816 to build a barn elsewhere. When, 
in 1879, Mr. W. C. Borlase made an examination of 
the confused mass of stones which remained, and still 
remain, he failed to discover any trace of a hermit's 
cell, and concluded that the greater portion of the 
debris had done service as a covering for the pre- 
historic chambered grave which was found at a lower 
level. While it is not unlikely that the tumulus sug- 
gested, at a very early period, the site for the chapel 
to the first Christian solitary who found his way to 
that remote spot, the amount of stone there at the 
present time is too great to warrant the conclusion, 
unless the tumulus was of a type and size which has 
no rival in the county. 

Some building doubtless existed besides the chapel, 
the size of which was obviously too small for public 

The most striking feature of Chapel Cam Brea is 
the commanding view which it affords not only of 
the Channel but of the whole of Penwith and of a 
large portion of the Lizard. No better spot could be 
chosen for a beacon. 

Within a couple of hundred yards is the ancient 
mule track from Marazion to the Land's End. After 
reading Miss Clay's chapter on hermits as light - 
keepers, it seems impossible to doubt that the hermit 
of Chapel Carn Brea was one of those who in the day 
of small things performed that function, and whose 
simple signal was to the seafarer no less than to the 
traveller over the lonely moor a bright beacon of 
God. Andrew Paugan was probably only one of a 
long line of hermits who dwelt on the hill. A curious 
extract is found in Dr. Borlase's collections which, as 
one of the latest specimens of Cornish literature, has 

Cornish Hermits 133 

a value all its own and, as the witness of a tradition 
extant in the latter half of the seventeenth century, 
is useful for the present purpose. I am indebted to 
Ml'. Henry Jenner for a transcript and translation of it. 

" The Accusation of the Hermit (who Uv'd in Chapel 
Karn Bray in Buryan) address'd to ye Duchess. 
Rag an Arlothus woolaes Kernow 
/ Dreth 'guz kibmias beniggas. 

Why ra cavas dre eu an gwas Harry ma Poddrack 

Kensa, wit a hagar-awal iggeva gweel do derevoll 
war ren ny Keniffer termen dre ra ny moas durt 
Pedden an woolaes do Sillan. Nessa, wit an skavoll 
Crack-an-codna iggava setha war en cres a'n awles 
ewhall (cries tutton Harry an Lader) heb drog veeth. 
Tregga, wit an gurroll iggeva gwell gen askern skooth 
Davas, etc." 

To the Countess of the Dominion of Cornwall. 
By your sacred leave. 

You shall find by him that this fellow Harry is a 
great witch. 

First, from the stormy weather he does work to 
raise upon us every time that we do go from the end 
of the Land to Silly. Second, from the break-neck 
stool which he can (or does) sit upon in the middle 
of the high cliff (call'd The Chair of Harry the Thief), 
mthout any hurt. Thirdly, from a sliip he does make 
with the bone of a shoulder of mutton. 

Mr. Jenner is inclined to think that the " seat of 
Harry the thief " (Tutton Harry an Lader) refers to 
a piece of cliff at Tol Pedn Pen with called " Chair 
Ladder." The whole passage as it stands detached 

134 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

from the context (which has been lost) is Httle more 
than so much gibberish. Possibly it may have been 
so intended, for the romance, of which it is a fragment, 
was written by Mr. Boson for his children. But this 
consideration, assuming it to be well founded, would 
not rob the allusions of their evidential value. Quite 
the contrary. Every romance requires some element 
of fact or vraisemblance to recommend it to the 
popular imagination. Not more than half a mile 
from Chapel Carn Brea, at the foot of the hill, is 
Crows -an- Wra, the Witch's Cross, which may have 
suggested the character personified by Harry the 
Wizard of the break-neck stool. Some vague 
memories of the hermit who served the little chapel, 
tended the beacon and directed the travellers across 
the desolate moor doubtless still survived. Andrew 
Paugan was only one of the occupants of the cell, 
one who like many others in various parts of England 
spent his life in solitude, enduring privation and 
hardship and cultivating piety by prayer, meditation 
and active philanthropy. He was probably a widower 
when he gave himself to the career which Thomas 
of Pcnmargh, in the stillness of night, for some un- 
known reason brought to an untimely end. 

The next mention of Cornish hermits is found in 
the Inquisitio post-mortem of Edmund, Earl of Corn- 
wall.^ Following the inventory of honours, lands 
and services held by him at the time of his death 
there is a list of the charges upon his estates and among 
them the entry : " alms to St. PhiUp of Restormel, 
hermit, and St. Robert of Penlyn, hermit." The earl- 
dom and its possessions reverted to the King on Earl 
Edmund's death, and we are therefore not surprised 

1 Inq. p.m., 28 Edw. I, 44 (4). 

Cornish Hermits 135 

to find an entry in the Close Roll of the following 
year, 1301, which reads as follows : " To the sheriff of 
Cornwall. Order to deliver to brother Robert of 
Penlyn, hermit, the island surrounded {inclusam) by 
the water of Fawe with a rent of 56s. 2d. from certain 
tenants of the manor of Penkneth, to be held by him 
for life as he held them before the death of Edmund, 
Earl of Cornwall, by reason of whose death the sheriff 
took tiiem into the King's hands ; on the same 
terms as the earl granted them, together with the 
houses built on the island, to Robert by his charter 
which the King has inspected."^ 

All attempts t© identify the island have hitherto 
failed. The manors of Penlyn or Pelyn and Penkneth 
or Pennight are in the parish of Lanlivery, of which 
the river Fowey is, roughly speaking, the eastern 
boundary, but no island is now to be discovered in 
its course. The site of the hermitage of Restormel 
is also uncertain. It may have been that of the chapel 
of the Holy Trinity in the park, sometimes called the 
King's free chapel, to which frequent reference is 
made in the Rolls, and from which, according to an 
inventory made in 1338, a bell weighing 100 lbs. had 
been removed to the chapel within the castle walls of 
Restormel. There is nothing to lead us to suppose that 
St. Philip and St. Robert had successors. It is not im- 
probable that royal chaplains were substituted for them. 

In 1339 the Patent Roll records the King's pro- 
tection granted to Roger Godman, hermit of the 
chapel of St. Mary by Liskeard (Liskerith), collecting 
about the realm the alms whereon he depends for 
subsistence. 2 It is probable that the chapel of St. 

1 Calendar of Close Rolls, 20 May, 1301, p. 488. 
« Pat. R., 13 Edw. Ill, 1339. 

136 Celtic ChrisU 

of Cornwall 

Mary was the same as the King's free chapel of St. 
Mary in the park of Liskeard to which Edward II 
appointed Roger de Aqua his chaplain in 1316.^ It 
must be distinguished from that of the Hospital of 
St. Mary Magdalen. The former appears to have 
become a chantry, for, in 1378, a royal grant was 
made to Richard Lagge, chaplain, that he might 
celebrate service in it, and in the same year the 
bishop issued a licence to him in which it is stated 
that he is to celebrate for the welfare of the King.^ 
The chantry was suppressed by Edward VI, and the 
" Chapel of our Lay dye " granted to Thomas Pomray 
in 1549.2 It is interesting to compare the fortunes of 
this chapel with that of the Holy Trinity in the park 
of Restormel. Both of them appear to have been 
served originally by hermits, to have been converted 
into royal chapels and to have shared the same fate. 
A little more than half a century later, in 1403, 
the following entry occurs in Bishop Stafford's 
register : " One Cecilia Moys, desiring to lead the 
contemplative life of an anchorite* in a certain house 
in the cemetery of Marhamchurch, the bishop on 
the 4th of May, 1403, commissioned Philip, abbot of 
Hartland, and Walter Dollcbcare, vicar of Southill, 

» Ibid., 9 Edw. II, 1316. 

» Ibid., 1 Rich. II, 1378, and Reg. Brantynyham, p. 387. 

» Pat. R., 3 Edw. VI, 1549. 

* Hermit (Gr. Eremites, L. Hercmita), one who lives in the 
desert ; Anchorite (Gr, Anachoretcs, L. Anchorita), one withdrawn 
from the world ; Monk (Gr. Monachos, L. Monaclius), one wlio 
dwells alone. The difference between a hermit and an anchorite 
was that the former was free to move from place to place, the latter 
was confined. The monk wlio had at first been a solitary soon 
became a member of an ordered and celibate community. 

It is curious to notice that the impulse which created the hermit 
produced the monastery, and that, at a later date, the monastery 
incidentally produced the hermit. 

Cornish Hermits 137 

to place her there under proper protection, assigning 
her till Christmas as a time of probation." 

Churchyards were regarded as places specially 
suitable for the dwellings of anchorites as being dead 
to the world. It was, moreover, an obvious advantage 
to the parish priest that they should be near the 
church for the purpose of Communion. A second 
entry in the same bishop's register probably refers 
to the same anchorite, though the name is given as 
that of Lucy Moys, anchorite of Marhamchurch. 

She receives on the 10th of October, 1405, a licence 
to choose her confessor. Another entry in the same 
register records a bequest of 40s. by Richard Tyttes- 
burry, canon of Exeter, to the anchorite of Marham- 
church. His will was made on the 24th of February, 
1405, and proved on the 7th of June, 1409. ^ 

At St. Teath there was a hermit, name unknown, 
who in 1408, under the will of Sir WilHam Bonevylle, 
received 20s. to pray for the soul of the testator : 
" al heremyte de Stetth pour prier pour moy." In 
the Lambeth manuscript the bequest is recorded 
" a lermytage de Stath," suggesting, but by no means 
proving, a permanent hermitage in the parish. ^ 

Seven years later, in 1415 : " Margaret an anchorite 
dwelling near Bodmin, having asked permission to 
migrate to the monastery of St. Bridget by Schene 
and to join the order settled there, is licensed by the 
bishop accordingly." To her or to her predecessor 
Richard Tyttesburry, whose name has been already 
mentioned, bequeathed in 1405 the sum of 40s. ^ 

It has been generally supposed that Roche Rock, 
a natural and rugged monolith some 300 feet in 

1 Register Stafford, pp. 26, 251, 294. 

' Ibid., p. 391. 

3 Ibid., pp. 25, 294. 

138 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall^^^^M 

height, situated in the parish which bears its name, 
was formerly the seat of a hermitage, and there is 
much to favour the supposition. Norden (1584) 
describes it as "a verie high, steepe and craggie rock, 
upon the top whereof is placed a cell or hermitage, 
the walls whereof are partly wroughte, and that with 
great labour out of the obdurate rock." In the 
illustration, which he gives, the building is complete 
with roof, windows and door. A detailed account 
is supplied by Davies Gilbert (1838), from which it 
appears that in his day the roof and upper chamber 
(as shown in Norden's plate) had already disappeared, 
the beam holes of the chamber being the only evidence 
that such a chamber had existed. The dimensions 
of what is supposed to have been the chapel are 
given by him : the length 20 feet, the breadth 12 feet 
and the height 10 feet. 

There are apparently only two purposes for which 
a building, at such an elevation and in so desolate 
and remote a spot, could serve — ^that of a beacon 
house or of a hermitage. The former is the less 
probable explanation because of more suitable sites 
in the neighbourhood. The lack of documentary 
evidence in support of the latter hypothesis is not 
surprising and will carry little weight with those who 
reflect that it is only, as it were, by accident that we 
have any evidence at all respecting the other hermit- 
ages in the county. Comparing the cell on Roche 
Rock with other similar cells in various parts of 
England it may be inferred that the building was at 
one and the same time used by its occupants for both 

The foregoing survey discloses no such secrets as 
might have been expected. It leaves the story of 

Cornish Hermits 139 

Cornwall's conversion where we found it. The key 
of the position remains undiscovered — the key where- 
with to open and unroll the unwritten record of the 
struggles of those first fateful days when the Christian 
faith gained a foothold in the land. We are thrown 
back upon the witness of an age so late as to render the 
witness of doubtful value. If we refer to it, it is 
with diffidence, having little or no hope that, as evi- 
dence, it will receive the consideration it deserves. 
Yet in spite of all that may be urged against any 
particular legend, we must not forget that hagio- 
grapher and monk, chronicler and poet, cross and 
cell, holy well and church, all proclaim the same story 
and tell the same tale when they represent the heralds 
of the good tidings as wandering in deserts and in 
mountains and in dens and caves of the earth. The 
account of St. Sampson's visit and the legend of St. 
Petrock are but types of the rest. 

It would doubtless help towards the solution of 
the problem if something more definite could be 
known of the quarter whence the earliest of those 
heralds came. Was it from Gaul, from Lerins, from 
the East or from Rome ? We know that St. Hilary 
of Poitiers, in the middle of the fourth century, 
dedicated his treatise Be Synodis to the bishops of 
the British provinces, that St. German of Auxerre 
accompanied by St. Lupus of Troyes came over to 
Britain in 429 to assist in extirpating the Pelagian 
heresy. Does this point to some closer and deeper 
connection than that of mere propinquity between 
the Churches of Gaul and of Britain ? 

The intercourse between Rome and Britain, the 
Roman soldiers and merchants who during the occupa- 
tion were brought into daily contact with the Britons 

140 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

could not fail to effect some change in the religious 
attitude of the latter. It is not, however, this slow, 
silent, indirect influence which excites our interest. 
It is rather of that direct attack upon paganism 
which so far succeeded as to impress a definite 
character and to make it possible to speak of Celtic 
Christianity as a distinct type that we wish to hear. 

We allow that the same truths when accepted by 
different races produce different effects and find ex- 
pression in different ways. An orthodox Russian 
Churchman and an English Churchman profess the 
same creeds, accept the same Scriptures, and are in 
all essentials of one heart and of one soul ; yet it 
will be some time before the latter can be got to feel 
at home in the public worship of the former. Race, 
temperament and tradition reveal themselves in 
external modes of worship. This is true, but it is 
not sufficient to account for the role of isolation 
assumed by the British Church and by the daughter 
Church of Brittany. Some external influence appears 
to have been at work at a very early period, monastic 
in character, which was unfavourable to the cultiva- 
tion of close relations with the rest of Western 
Christianity. It could hardly have been either of 
Roman or of Gaulish origin. Had it been Roman it 
would have constituted a bond of union instead of 
being, as it was, a barrier against which Augustine 
could not prevail ; had it been Gaulish it would 
probably have been attempered by intercourse with 
the source of its inspiration. Possibly it came from 
the Mediterranean or from the East by way of 



IT is of little consequence to consider when and 
by whom the suggestion was first put forward, 
but it was one which captivated all who were anxious 
to endow their native county with a unique distinc- 
tion. The suggestion was that St. Michael's Mount 
was identical with the island of Ictis, mentioned by 
Diodorus Siculus about the beginning of the first 
century before the Christian era. 

Assuming the truth of this hypothesis, for which, 
indeed, many cogent arguments could be urged, his- 
torical writers were enabled to make a better start 
in the case of Cornwall than in the case of any other 
English county. 

It is therefore somewhat disquieting to find a 
distinguished geologist staking a great reputation 
upon a counter -theory which, though promulged so 
recently as the year 1905, has at the present moment 
the support of the majority of those who are com- 
petent to form a judgment of its scientific value. Mr. 
Clement Reid, f.r.s., basing his arguments upon the 
evidence of geology and physical geography, has been 
able to show^ that, nineteen hundred years ago, the 
Isle of Wight was, at high water, an island and, at 
low water, a peninsula answering exactly to the 
description of the island of Ictis given by Diodorus, 

1 Archaeologia, LIX (2), 281 et seq. 

142 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

whereas St. Michaers Mount was at that time " an 
isolated rock rising out of a swampy wood." On the 
other hand, however, it is only fair to say that 
Prof. Oman, who has doubtless examined and weighed, 
with his accustomed acumen, Mr. Reid's reasoning 
and conclusions, remains unconvinced. The Rev. 
H. R. Coulthard has broached a new theory, which 
has perhaps not yet received the attention it deserves ; 
it is that Ictis was the entire peninsula of Western 
Penwith. As against this, there is the evidence of 
Pliny who, on the authority of Timaeus, states that 
the island of Mictis, apparently only another form of 
Ictis, was distant six days' sail along the British 
coast, a statement which is as fatal to the claims of 
Penwith as to those of the Mount itself. 

The question can hardly be said to be finally 
decided, but the prevailing opinion is in favour of 
the Isle of Wight. 

The Mount has had several names. In the life of 
St. Cadoc^ it is called Dinsul, which probably means 
the citadel of the sun. 

St. Cadoc is said to have visited his aunt St. 
Keyne there, and to have miraculously provided the 
Mount with a supply of water. 

By the Cornish it was called Careg Cowse, or Karrek- 
luz-en-Kuz, which William of Worcester correctly 
translates " Hoar Rock in the Wood." It would be 
interesting to discover earlier evidence of this name. 
Its survival in the fifteenth century 2 — in spite of the 
monastic and military occupation of the Mount for 
many centuries — is very remarkable and seems to 

1 Cott. MS. Vesp. A. XIV. 

' The namo survived until the Cornish language was obsolete. 
Boson (1702) uses it. 

St. Michaels Mount 143 

carry us back to the time when Mr. Reid*s descrip- 
tion was exactly reaHsed. 

At some period, very difficult to determine, the 
Mount became known as Mons Tumba.^ A charter 
in the Otterton custumal recording the reconstitu- 
tion of St. Michael's priory, in the reigns of Henry I, 
and Stephen, enjoins that the Cornish monks shall 
receive the blessing of their abbot at Monte Tumba 
unless, perchance, it shall please him to come into 
Cornwall and bless them there ; from which it may 
be inferred that the religious house in Monte Tumba 
was at that time identified \vith Mont St. Michel in 
Normandy, although the latter was then, at an 
earlier date and long afterwards, commonly described 
as St. Michael in Periculo Maris. ^ When dealing with 
the medley of notes collected by William of Worcester 
it will be necessary to bear this in mind. 

The Mount was associated with St. Michael before 
the Norman Conquest, in all probability before the 
Saxon invasion of Cornwall. 

As Professor Loth has pointed out,^ the name- 
saints {hagio-onomastique) of ancient Brittany are 
entirely national. " With the exceptions of some 
apostles, of St. Michael, St. Matthew, of St. Peter 
who has given his name to Ploubezre, it is useless to 
seek for them in Gaul and the Roman Church : they 

^ See dispensation granted by Thomas (Cranmer) to John 
Arscott, archpriest of St. Michael de Monte Tumba Exonienaia 
diocesis {Monasticon, p. 30). 

' The statue of the Blessed Virgin in the parish church of Mont 
St. Michel, known as the black virgin, also bears the name of Notre 
Dame de Mont Tombe and the small island in the bay about two 
miles from Mont St. Michel is called Tombelaine. Tumba [iwinp in 
Welsh from Latin tumulus) and Tombelaine (the Teutonic diminu- 
tive of Tumba) are probably derived from the prehistoric remains 
of which there is now no trace. 

* Lea Noma dea Sainta bretona, p. 5. 

144 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

are all of them insular (British or Irish) or native 
Breton." The same may be said of Cornwall with 
very few exceptions. The position assigned to St. 
Michael was everjrvvhere unique. At some time 
subsequent to the Babylonish captivity St. Michael 
came to be had in special veneration of the Jews. 
From apostolic times in the East and from the fifth 
century, at least, in the West, he was received into 
the devotional system of the Christian Church. 
Nothing could have been more sane or scriptural 
than the honour paid to St. Michael. As the Prince 
of God's people and the Captain of the heavenly 
hosts ^ {militiae celestis signifer) he, who had prevailed 
against the Spirit of evil, might well be expected to 
lend his aid when the wrestling was against the 
spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places. 
And what spot so worthy to be the site of an earthly 
fane for one whose warring is in the regions above 
man's head, as the lonely mountain's top. There is 
a sense of security felt by those who live on, or sur- 
rounded by, hills even now when so many ages have 
run since they were remotely responsible for it. 
The proper seat of the Archangel was clearly on the 
hill-top. They " found liim an house " accordingly 
on the Cornish Mount, on Ro^vtor, on Rame Head, on 
Penkevil, on Caerhayes and on the western Cam 
Brea. Whether the cult of St. Michael superseded 
some earlier pagan cult in Cornwall it is impossible 
to say. Until some evidence is forthcoming it can 
serve no useful purpose to dilate upon the possible 
identity of Michael, Elias and Helios, or upon the 
possibility of one whose most notable achieve- 
ment was the destruction of sun worship on Mount 

» Dan. X. 13, 21 ; xii. 1 ; Rev. xii. 7. 

SL MichaeVs Mount 145 

Carmel, being himself its personification to after 

That there was a rehgious community at the Mount 
bearing the name of St. Michael before the Norman 
Conquest hardly admits of doubt. All the saints, with 
three exceptions, found there by William of Wor- 
cester, in the Calendar, were Celtic and insular. 

The late Professor Freeman and Mr. Horace Round 
have, hoAvever, expressed a contrary opinion based 
upon the doubtful authenticity of two charters, certain 
particulars of which, connected chiefly with their 
attestation, are admittedly and obviously inaccurate. 

The first of these charters ^ purports to be a grant 
made by Edward the Confessor, " King of the 
English, to Michael the Archangel for the use of the 
brethren serving God in that place, of St. Michael 
near the Sea, of the whole of the lands of Vennefire 
and of the port called Ruminella with its mills and 
fisheries." This charter bears the signatures of 
Edward the King, Robert archbishop of Rouen, 
Herbert bishop of Lisieux, Robert bishop of Cou- 
tances, Ralph, Vinfred, Nigell the sheriff, Anschitill, 
Choschet and Turstin. The second charter^ claims to 
be a grant by Robert Count of Mortain to the monks 
of St. Michael in Periculo Maris (Normandy), of St. 
Michael's Mount in Cornwall with half a hide of land 
and a market on Thursdays ; and three (Cornish) 
acres of land in Amaneth, namely Trevelaboth, Lis- 
manoch, Trequaners and Carmailoc, the signatories 
being King William (the Conqueror), Queen Matilda, 
Count Robert, William Rufus the King's son, Henry 
the Boy (prince), Robert Count of Mortain, Matilda 
(his) countess, their son William, William Fitz 

1 See appendix, p. 172. * Ibid., p. 173. 

146 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

Osborn, Roger de Montgomery, Tossetin the sheriff, 
Warin and Turulf. 

To the grant there are added, 1 — a confirmation 
of it by Livric (Leofric), bishop of Exeter, bearing 
date 1085 ; and 2 — a postscript signed by the bishop, 
exempting by command of Pope Gregory, the church 
of St. Michael in Cornwall from episcopal control and 
conveying a remission of one -third of their penance 
to those who should enrich, endow or visit the said 

With regard to Edward's charter, it has been 
pointed out by more than one writer that Edward 
probably did not assume the title of King of the 
English until after the death of Hardicanute in 1042, 
and that Robert, archbishop of Rouen, died in 1037. 
It is not stated whence Dugdale obtained his copy 
of the charter, but a footnote by Oliver informs us 
that the MSS. of the abbey of St. Michael are pre- 
served in the public library at Avranches ; and it is 
noteworthy that the charter in his Monasiicon is 
labelled Carta Edwardi regis Anglorum pro abbatia 
Sancti Michaelis, and that the three episcopal signa- 
tories are Norman ecclesiastics. It is therefore pos- 
sible that during his sojourn in Normandy Edward 

, . . loved tlie holy company 

Of jjeople of religion, 

Wlio loved only all tliat was good ; 

Especially a monk who led 

A high and heavenly life 

may have been induced to promise or to give Cornish 
lands to the Norman St. Michael and that his friends 
may have styled him Rex Anglorum, knowing that 
only when he became de facto King of the English 
could any benefit accrue to the abbey. But it seems 

St. MichaeVs Mount 147 

more probable that a gift of lands was made by him 
to the Cornish St. Michael after Hardicanutc's death 
and that after the Norman Conquest when the two 
religious houses were united by the cession of the 
Cornish priory to the Norman abbey the deed which 
may have borne the signature of Robert, archbishop 
of Canterbury, was altered so as to bear that of 
Robert, archbishop of Rouen. In that case the grant 
would have been made between 1050 and 1066. There 
were undoubtedly bold and fruitless attempts made 
on the part of the Norman abbots to enrich the 
Norman at the expense of the Cornish house, just as 
at a later period there were bold and successful 
attempts made to enrich the latter by borrowing the 
legends and traditions of the former. 

The substantial genuineness of Edward's charter 
will be regarded as probable when it is remembered 
that no ultimate advantage can be shown to have 
accrued from it to either house. A spurious document 
would hardly have been preserved in the face of facts 
witnessing to its failure. Neither Domesday Book 
nor the Inquisitio Geldi makes mention of any 
possessions in Meneage belonging to St. Michael. 

The suggestion offered in Chapter VI, viz. that the 
Meneage was at an early period monks' land both in 
name and in fact, may possibly account for the 
entire series of transactions. Grants to religious 
houses and for religious purposes have not infre- 
quently been a trifling recompense made to Paul 
for the spoiling of Peter. It was notably so in the 
reign of King Henry VIII. If in the early part of the 
eleventh century the Meneage represented alienated, 
that is, usurped monastic land, no one would have 
been more disposed than King Edward to make 

Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

restoration or to honour St. Michael by granting it 
to the Mount. It is not unhkely that the grant 
remained inoperative owing to the difficulty of making 
terms with the layfolk in possession. 

In the appendix 1 to volume iv. of his Norman 
Conquest, Mr. Freeman, after referring to the doubtful 
authenticity of Edward the Confessor's charter, 
goes on : " doubtful as this charter is, the spurious - 
ness of that which accompanies it (the charter of 
Robert Count of Mortain) is still more manifest." 
He then recites the fact that whereas the latter charter 
is dated 1085, it bears the signatures of Queen 
Matilda, who died in 1083, and of Bishop Leofric, 
who died in 1072 ; also the exemption from ecclesias- 
tical jurisdiction granted by Leofric at the instance 
of Pope Gregory, who did not become Pope until 
after Leofric's death — altogether a most formidable 
indictment — and he proceeds to quote from the Exeter 
Domesday, with a view of establishing the real date 
of the foundation of St. Michael, the following 
passage (which will also be found below labelled A.) : 

" Sanctus Michahel habet i. mansionem quae 
vocatur Treiwal quam tenuit Brismarus ea die qua 
Rex E. fuit vivus et mortuus. . . . De hac mansione 
abstulit Comes de Moritonio i. de praedictis ii. hidis 
quae erat de dominicatu beati Michahelis." 

" This," he says, " is the only mention of the 
house I can find, and it would seem to imply a founda- 
tion between 1066 and 1085. Brismar was a man of 
large property in all the three shires. He is not 
unlikely to have been the founder of the Cornish 
Saint Michael, and if so he must have founded it, or 
at least have given the estate, after Edward's death." 

* Norman Conqueat, pp. 766, 767, 

SL Michaels Mount 149 

" It seems plain . . . that whoever was the founder 
of the Cornish house it was not Earl Robert." And 
he concludes, *' a note in the Monasticon (vii. 989) 
speaks of another tradition as naming Robert's son 
William as the pei^son who gave the Cornish house to 
the Norman one. Here we most likely have the clue 
to the mistake." 

When therefore Mr. Round is found endorsing Mr. 
Freemah's opinion ^ that " Treiwal was given to St. 
Michael between the death of Edward the Confessor 
and the making of the great Survey," and suggesting 
that Earl Brian (who could have had no footing 
in England before the Conquest) may have been the 
founder, it may seem presumption to express an 
opinion clean contrary to both. But let Domesday 
Book tell its own story. There are three references 
in the Exeter Book and two in the Exchequer Book 
which bear upon the subject. They are given below 
and labelled A, B, C, D, E for convenience of refer- 
ence — ^those portions only being omitted which do 
not concern the present discussion. The extensions 
are for the use of those who are not familiar with 
the abbreviated Latin text. 

A. Exeter Domesday, fol. 208b. (Ed. 1816, p. 189). 

Terra Sancti Michahelis de Cornugallia. Sanc- 
tus Michahel habet unam mansionem quae vocatur 
Treiwal quam tenuit Brismarus ea die qua rex Ed- 
wardus fuit vivus et mortuus. In ea sunt ii hidae 
terrae quae nonquam reddiderunt gildam. Has pos- 
sunt arare viii carrucae. Ibi habet Sanctus Michahel i 
carrucam. . . . De hac mansione abstulit comes de 
Moritonio i de praedictis ii hidis quae erat de domi- 
nicatu beati Michahelis. 

1 Genealogist, N.S., XVII, 2. 

150 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

B. Ibid., fol. 508 (Ed. 1816, p. 471). 

Sanctus Michael habet i mansionem quae vocatur 
Treiwal de qua abstulit comes de Moritonio i hidam, 
quae erat in dominicatu Sancti die qua rex Edwardus 
fuit vivus et mortuus. 

C. Ibid., fol. 258b (Ed. 1816, p. 138). 

Comes habet i mansionem quae vocatur Treuthal 
quam tenuit Brismarus sacerdos ea die qua rex 
Edwardus fuit vivus et mortuus. In ea est i hida 
terrae et reddit gildum (sic) Sancto Michaele (sic). 
Hanc abstulit comes Sancto. Bluliidus Brito tenet 
cam de comite. 

D. Exchequer Domesday, page ii, column 2. 
Terra Sancti Michaelis. Ecclesia Sancti Michaelis 

tenet Treiwal. Brismar tenebat tempore Regis Ed- 
wardi. Ibi sunt ii hidae quae nunquam geldaverunt. 
. . . De his ii hidis abstulit comes Moritoniensis i 

E. Ibid., columns 1 and 2, 125 a and b. 

Idem (Blohiu) tenet Trevthal. Brismar tenebat 
tempore Regis Edwardi . . . Hanc terram abstulit 
comes aecclesiae Sancti Michaelis. 

The very title which introduces extract A is sug- 
gestive. The land of St. Michael " of Cornwall '* 
implies another St. Michael just as "St. Ives in 
Cornwall " implies a St. Ives elsewhere. And it is 
this St. Michael of Cornwall and no other who " has 
one manor which is called Treiwal which Brismar 
held at the time of Edward the Confessor's death. 
There are two hides of land which have never paid 
geld. From this manor the Earl of Mortain has taken 

St, MichaeVs Mount 151 

away one of the aforesaid two hides which was of 
Blessed Michael's demesne." If St. Michael of Corn- 
wall did not exist before the Conquest it is difficult 
to understand how he could have had lands in demesne 
in the time of the Confessor. But it may be objected 
there is here no mention of the saint holding lands 
in the time of the Confessor. Accepting the correc- 
tion for what it is worth, which is probably infinitesi- 
mal, because the whole tenor of the Domesday assess- 
ment — both as regards its ruling principle and its 
literary flavour — ^is found in the reiteration of the 
contrast or comparison of the land values as deter- 
mined in the days of King Edward and at the time 
of the Survey, admitting the correction, let the reader 
refer to extract B. This reads, " St. Michael has one 
manor, which is called Treiwal, from which the Count 
of Mortain has taken away one hide which was in 
the demesne of the saint on the day upon which 
King Edward was alive and dead." St. Michael (of 
Cornwall) was, therefore, quite as truly alive at the 
decease of the Confessor as Edward was dead. In 
the light of what has been said consider extract C. 
This is important, because it tells us that Brismar 
was a priest and a very different person from the 
magnate described by Mr. Freeman who held lands 
in three shires. 

Extract C also introduces us to Treuthal, which 
Brismar the priest held at the Confessor's death. 
" Therein is one liide and it renders geld to St. 
Michael." (The Domesday scribe, not the printer, 
is responsible for " gildum " and " Michaele.") " This 
the Count has taken away from the saint. Bluhid 
Brito (Blohiu of Brittany) holds it of the Count." 
No one who is acquainted with the history of Treuthal, 

152 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

with its almost endless variety of spellings, can doubt 
either where it was or what it was. It was the 
patrimony and the place of residence in the parish 
of Ludgvan of the Bloyou family, the descendants 
of Bluhid Brito (Ralph Bloyou was born there ^ on 
the Feast of the Nativity of the B.V.M. 21 Edward I) 
until 1354, when Elizabeth, daughter and heir of 
Alan Bloyou, sold it to Sir Nigel Loring.^ It is still 
the name of a village and the name of a manor. While 
Treiwal, by which name the Domesday compiler seeks 
to distinguish St. Michael's land from Blohiu's, is 
almost, if not quite, forgotten, the variant Truthwall 
survives. But to revert to Brismar. Comparing A, 
B, and C, it is clear that one hide was taken away 
from Treiwal, that it was of Blessed Michael's demesne 
in the time of King Edward, that Brismar the priest 
held it in the time of King Edward, that the Count 
of Mortain took it away from St. Michael, that it, 
nevertheless, paid geld to St. Michael at the time of 
the Survey, that Blohiu held it of the Count at 
the time of the Survey, and that it was called 
Trent hal to distinguish it from Treiwal, the name of 
the parent manor. With these facts before us it is 
impossible to doubt that for fiscal purposes Brismar 
the priest and St. Michael the archangel were re- 
garded as identical in the time of King Edward — in 
other words, Brismar was the visible representative 
of the invisible archangel. This explains why in 
extract D Brismar held Treuthal in the time of 
Edward, and why in extract E Brismar held, in 
Edward's time, that which "" the Earl has taken away 
from the church of St. Michael." 

* Chan. inq. p.m., 12 Edw. II, No 16. 

» De Banco, 12 Henry VI, Hilary, m. 443. 

SL Michael's Mount 153 

There are two further considerations which may be 
adduced in support of the contention that St. Michael 
of Cornwall was the name of a religious community 
which was not, at the time of the Sm-vey, identical 
with St. Michael of Normandy. It will strike every 
careful reader of that part of Domesday which relates 
to Cornwall that wherever a church or a saint is 
mentioned the reference is to what we now call either 
a conventual or a collegiate church. 

St. Aliquis holds a manor which is called Quidvis, 
the church of St. Aliquis holds a manor which is 
called Quidvis — these are only different ways of 
saying that the manor of Quidvis belongs to the 
community of St. Aliquis. When, therefore, we read 
that one liide of Treiwal was of the demesne of St. 
Michael in the days of the Confessor, we know that 
the land belonged to a body of religious. 

The second consideration is this : It has been 
pointed out to me that the phrase " nunquam 
geldaverunt " (have never paid geld) is also pecuHar, 
in Cornwall, to quasi - monastic lands. But St. 
Michael not only did not pay geld, he received geld, 
and received it from that hide of land of which he 
had been despoiled by the Count. 

Excluding St. German, who fared badly, the Count 
usurping all his demesne lands, and whose only dues 
had consisted of a cask of beer and 30d. paid to the 
church, there were ten such communities in Cornwall 
at the time of the Survey. Of these only three, St. 
Michael, St. Petrock and St. Stephen, ever became 
affiliated to the larger monastic bodies. The rest 
remained what they then were, collegiate churches, 
served by a body of secular canons, who in course 
of time disappeared, giving place to a rector. St. 

154 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

Buryan was apparently the last of these communities 
to be dissolved. To sum up the results. It will, I 
think, be admitted that extract A is not the only 
mention of the house of St. Michael to be found in 
Domesday, that it was not founded between 1066 
and 1085, that Brismar — ^the Brismar of St. Michael — 
was not a man of large property but a priest represent- 
ing St. Michael, that if he founded the house it was 
before and not after the Conquest, and, finally, that 
for reasons already stated, Earl Brian was not the 
founder. Moreover, it is hardly likely that a body of 
ecclesiastics, either at Mont IMichel or at St. Michael's 
Mount, would have cited Edward as the patron of 
the Cornish house if there had been some earlier patron 
to cite. It would rather seem that what Mr. Round 
says of Count Robert's charter is not far from the 
truth, viz. " the fact that the form of the charter 
as we have it is probably not genuine does not of 
necessity invalidate its substance." 

In justice to Mr. Round it must be added that after 
reading the arguments here put forward, he would, 
in support of his contention, read the concluding 
words of extract B elliptically : " one hide which was 
in (what became) the saint's demesne on the day on 
which King Edward was alive or dead (i.e. after the 
Confessor's death)." It is clear that such a method 
of interpreting Domesday Book can only be allow- 
able when there is overwhelming evidence in its 
favour. In this case the evidence does not seem to 
warrant its application. 

As we have seen, Count Robert by his charter gives 
to the Norman house, St. Michael's Mount with half 
a hide of land and a market on Thursdays and lands 
in Amaneth. Comparing this statement with that of 

St. MichaeVs Mount 155 

Domesday Book, it will be observed that in the 
latter there is no mention of lands in Amaneth and 
no mention of the market, although in Domesday 
markets are frequently mentioned, while on the other 
hand there is mention made of two hides of land, 
one of which, Treuthal, the Count has taken from 
St. Michael to be held of him by Bloyou, the other 
being held by St. Michael in demesne. The question 
which arises is : Did the Count restore one half of 
the usurped lands or, assuming the charter to have 
been made before Domesday Book (1086) was com- 
piled, did he by a later instrument add half a hide, 
thereby endowing St. Michael with a moiety of the 
hide held in demesne ? We know from the subsequent 
history of the lands under discussion that the Bloyous 
remained in possession of Truthall, which never had 
a market, and we know that a market was held at 
Marazion or thereabouts within the Domesday manor 
of Treiwal. We therefore conclude that the Count's 
gift to the Norman abbey was a further act of spolia- 
tion, which by connivance of the Conqueror he was 
allowed to practise against the Cornish monks, and 
also that his charter was executed subsequent to 
1086. The presence of Queen Matilda's name among 
the 'v^itnesses is the only invalidating element in 
what we have every reason to regard as an authentic 
document. Its confirmation by Bishop Leofric, and 
also the bishop's postscript, are probably both of 
them forgeries. To give them the appearance of 
genuineness the Queen's name may have been added 
to the authentic document. Be that as it may, 
the alleged date, 1085, supposed to have been 
supplied by the bishop, is impossible, inasmuch 
as the fourteenth year of indiction with which it 

156 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

is made to synchronise would be either 1070 or 

In 1094 the Conqueror was dead, and in 1070 
" Henricus puer " was in the second year of his age. 
It must also be added that the date does not occur 
in the charter, but is supplied from the cartulary. 

The composite character of the postscript to which 
also Leofric's signature is appended is seen in the 
wild statement to which it bears witness. In it we 
are informed that by command and counsel of Pope 
Gregory and of the King, Queen and Nobles of Eng- 
land, the bishop grants immunity from all episcopal 
control to the church of Blessed Michael the Archangel 
of Cornwall, and a remission of one-third of their 
penance to all who shall enrich, endow or visit it. 
Pope Gregory (Hildebrand) was not elected till 1073, 
the year after Leofric's death, and the indulgence 
which the postscript contains and which constitutes 
its raison d'etre was manifestly only an expedient to 
foster pilgrimages to St. Michael's Mount which, 
supposing the monastery to have been founded after 
the Conquest, would have been too obvious to achieve 
its object. Something more will be said under this 
head when dealing with the testimony of William of 

When allowance has been made for clerical errors 
and for the interpolations and additions to which 
attention has been drawn, there is no sufficient reason 
to reject either the literal interpretation of Domes- 
day or the authenticity of Edward's charter, or the 
substantial accuracy of Count Robert's. The date 
of the latter would probably be 1086, or a little later, 
probably in the last year of the Conqueror's reign. A 
third charter of the reign of William Rufus records 


St MichaeVs Mount 157 

the grant to the Norman St. Michael, by Count 
Robert of IMortain and Almodis his Countess of the 
manor of Ludgvan held by Richard Fitz Turold, also 
that which Bloyou formerly held in Truthwall 
(Treiuhalo), and both the fairs (ferias) of the Mount, 
the monks paying to the grantors the sum of sixty 

Now it is worthy of remark that neither of these 
manors ev^r became permanently attached to either 
reHgious house. Though it is impossible to speak 
with certainty, it looks as if the Count had wrested 
Ludgvan from Richard, had claimed Truthwall on 
the death of Bloyou and had sold them both to the 
Norman abbot, who afterwards found it impossible 
to resist the claims of the rightful heirs. 

The Cornish St. Michael had assuredly no cause 
to hold the Count in grateful remembrance. From 
first to last he acted the part of a robber. On this 
occasion one is inclined to suspect that the posses- 
sions of the brethren serving God at the Mount were 
much more extensive before than after the Norman 
Conquest. Assuming the Confessor's charter to be 
genuine it would almost appear that the Meneage 
district had, at a remote period, become attached to 
a Celtic monastery at the Mount, and that he was 
merely ratifying the title while perhaps limiting the 
extent of its possessions. 

There is yet another document of great import- 
ance. It is described in the Otterton custumaP as 
the Erection (Constructio) of the Priory of St. Michael 
in Cornwall. It is, in reality, a notification by Ber- 
nard, abbot of the Norman house, that the church of 
Blessed Michael of Cornwall, built by him in 1135, 

* Oliver, Moruuiicon, p. 414. 

158 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

was consecrated in his presence by Robert (Chiches- 
ter), bishop of Exeter, that, with the advice of the 
said Pontiff and of Count Raner, and with the appro- 
bation of the barons of the province, he has got 
together thirteen brethren and has made provision 
for them out of old endowments and current contribu- 
tions, that he has enacted that he who shall be selected 
by the parent house to be prior of St. Michael's Mount 
shall not fail to make a return to it of 16 marks yearly, 
that if he shall prove refractory he shall be degraded 
and another prior appointed by the abbot with the 
abbey's consent, and so on. Moreover, the Cornish 
brethren are to receive the benediction of the mon- 
astic order from the abbot in Monte Tumba unless 
perchance it please him to come to Cornwall and 
bless them there. At the end of the instrument 
there is a list of the possessions of the Blessed Michael 
of Cornwall, given to the archangel by Count Robert 
of Mortain, viz. Tremaine, where there is sufficient 
land for two ploughs, Trahorabohc for three, Listya- 
havehet for three, Treganeis for two, Carmahelech 
for two. 

The entire document is needlessly defiant and men- 
acing. The Cornish house is reduced to a mere 
appanage of the abbey and the prior to a mere col- 
lector of 16 marks for its benefit. Every vestige of 
independence is swept away, and that, too, in sub- 
version of the primary principle of the saintly founder 
of the order. One hardly expected to find evidence 
in Cornwall in confirmation of Dante's description 
given more than a century later. 

'ITie walls, for abbey reared, turned into dens (of tbieves). 
The cowls to sacks, choked up with musty meal. 

It is therefore satisfactory to note that the priory 

St. MichaeVs Mount 159 

could only reckon among its possessions the lands 
given by the Count of Mortain, the rest of St. Michael's 
lands having either been confiscated or alienated be- 
tween the date of the Domesday Survey (1086) and 
that of the document (1135). 

To identify the several grants of land a more or 
less careful examination of the places mentioned in 
the charters becomes necessary. Taking them in 
order of date, the Confessor by his charter gives to 
St. Michael for the use of the brothers serving God 
the place known as St. Michael, which is by the sea, 
with all that belongs to it, and he adds the whole 
land of Vennefire, with its towns, vills and lands ; 
also the port of Ruminella, with its mills and fisheries. 
One of the witnesses is Vinfred, or, as the name is 
commonly written, Winfred. We are therefore justi- 
fied in substituting " W " for " V '* in Vennefire, 
and " s " for " f " according to the Avranches cartu- 
lary. Vennefire becomes Wenneshire. A glance at 
the Feudal Aids reminds us that the hundreds of 
Cornwall were entered as Poudreschir (Powder), 
Pydrisire,^ Pydar, Trigrishire, etc. It is therefore 
safe to regard Vennefire as the equivalent of Wenne- 
shire. But the name of the hundred in Domesday 
Book is Wineton, a correlative, in this case the 
equivalent of Wenneshire. Vennefire is therefore the 
hundred of Kerrier. Ruminella is the diminutive or 
feminine, not only in Latin but in Welsh, ^ of Rumin 
or Rumon. The port of Ruminella thus becomes the 
port of Ruan Minor, i.e. Cadgwith. One or more 
mills still exist in the valley and at no great distance 
from the port. If, as we have already suggested, the 

1 Feudal Aids, 1303, 130G, etc. 

* Loth, Vie de Saint Samson, p. 15. 

160 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

Meneage district was, like the hundred of Pydar, 
settled by Celtic monks, the Confessor's grant would 
mean little more than the confirmation to them of 
their ancient patrimony, focussed at St. Michael's 

Edward can hardly be supposed to have had an 
intimate knowledge of the locality or of its conditions. 
Under the influence of men like Robert of Jumieges 
he may well have given more than he had at his 
disposal. The futility of the attempt is the best 
proof of its having been made. It is certain that at 
the time of his death the monks of St. Michael had 
no considerable holding in Kerrier. Earl Harold had 
become overlord of the manor of Wineton, seventeen 
thegns holding eleven hides of him, the rest being 
held by him in demesne. After the Conquest Wineton 
fell to the King, who gave the whole to Robert Count 
of Mortain, to be held of the Count by sub-tenants. 
It may have been in some measure as an act of 
reparation, but it was chiefly in order to augment 
the influence and revenue of St. Michael of Normandy 
that he granted to that abbey St. Michael's Mount in 
Cornwall, with half a hide of land and three (Cornish) 
acres of land in Amaneth, to wit Trevelaboth, Lis- 
manoch, Trequaners and Carmailoc. No conditions 
of tenure are specified except freedom from the 
King's jurisdiction in all matters but homicide. It 
is not stated, for example, whether the lands shall 
be held of the Cornish or of the Norman St. Michael. 
In some sense no doubt the community at the Mount 
became henceforth an alien priory of Mont St. Michel, 
but there does not seem to have been any definition 
of the relations between the two houses until 1135. 

The identification of the names Amaneth, Trevela- 

St, MichaeVs Mount 161 

both, Lismanoch, Trequaners and Carmailoc is not 
free from difficulty. The word Amaneth is probably 
for An-maneth, i.e. An-manech, the monastic (terri- 
tory) and equivalent to Meneage.^ Manaccan the 
monk's (church) (cf. Plou-manach in Brittany, the 
monk's parish) is situated in the northern portion of 
what is still known as the Meneage district, which 
Leland (1533-1552) calls the land of Meneke or 

The next name — ^Trevelaboth — presents no diffi- 
culty. There is a continuous chain of evidence to 
show that it is identical with Traboe, a small manor 
in the parish of St. Keverne. In order to equate the 
three holdings which remain, viz. Lismanoch, Tre- 
quaners and Carmailoc, it will be necessary to refer 
to a document in the Otterton custumaP in which 
they appear as Tremain, Listyavehet, Treganeis and 
Carmaheleck. Carmailoc is obviously Carmaheleck 
or Carvallack, a holding in St. Martin's parish which 
derives its name from the prehistoric earthwork in 
that parish. If we suppose the " n " in Trequaners 
and Treganeis to be a false reading for " u " — a pardon- 
able blunder of constant occurrence — we have the 
modern tenement of Tregevas or Tregevis also in 
St. Martin's. We are thus left with Lismanoch as the 
equivalent of Tremain (the modern Tremayne) and 
Listyavehet. Tremain calls for no remark in this 
connection : everyone knows where it is. Lismanoch, 

^ Anmaneth may be an Anglicised form of An-manegh (cf. 
Carnyorth and Respeth for Camyorgh and Reepegh), but it is more 
likely that Amaneth is an adjectival form, viz. Man6ghek or 
Menaghek, which became successively Menehek, Meneck, Menek, 
Meneage (cf. infra Trevanaek). I am indebted to Mr. Henry 
Jeimer for this suggestion and for some other notes on the derivation 
of Cornish place-names. 

' See appendix, p. 175. 

162 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

of which it appears to have formed a portion, presents 
some difficulty, because in that form the name is 
now unknown. As Lesmanaoc it occurs in a grant of 
King Edgar in 967 to Wulfnod Rumancant. In that 
grant its boundaries are minutely described, but 
unfortunately to little purpose owing to the fact that 
many of the place-names in it are either purely 
descriptive or have become so altered during the ten 
centuries which have elapsed since the grant was 
made as to be incapable of recognition. One or two 
points are clear. Lesmanaoc was of considerable 
extent. For some distance it lay along the river 
which empties itself at Porthallow. It must have 
reached well towards the south of St. Keverne parish 
if " Castell Merit " and " Crouswrah " (two places 
mentioned in the charter) are, as seems probable, 
the modern tenement of Kestlemerris and Crousa 
Downs. At the time of Count Robert's charter its 
area had evidently been contracted, otherwise it 
could hardly have escaped mention in Domesday 
Book. The portion which had been lost was probably 
the southern portion, for no mention is made of any 
possessions south of Traboe in the grants of the 
priory lands after its dissolution. 

These considerations lend support to what is some- 
thing more than a conjecture of Mr. Henry Jenner, 
viz. that in the two tenements now known as Les- 
neage we have the site of Lesmanaoc. Lesncage, as 
he points out, may well be a contracted form of 
Lesmeneage, which in turn may be only another form 
of Lesmanaoc, on the same principle as Treveneage 
in St. Hilary can be shown by an unbroken series of 
documents to have been derived from Trevanaek. 
It is worthy of remark that within a short distance 

St, MichaeVs Mount 163 

of Lesneage is Mill Mehal or St. Michael's Mill. If 
this be the true etymology then the name Listyavehet 
becomes less formidable than it looks. 

The final " t " is the only difficulty. If we may 
regard it as a false reading for "1," Listyavehet be- 
comes Lis-ty-amehel, the " court of the house of St. 
Michael," Lesmanaoc being the " Monk's Court," 
and the change of name easily accounted for by the 
transfer of the monks' possessions in Menegland (mon- 
astic land) to the house at St. Michael's Mount. 

The Itinerary of William of Worcester deserves 
attention. It is a curious assortment of undigested 
and ill-arranged odds and ends of information com- 
piled in the year 1478, that is to say about half a 
century after the expulsion of the Benedictines from the 
Mount and the introduction of the Bridgettines, only 
five years after the Mount was seized by John de 
Vere, Earl of Oxford, and surrendered by him to the 
King's troops after a siege of twenty-three weeks. 
The Itinerary is properly speaking a note-book. For 
the most part William confines himself to matters 
of topography, genealogy and hagiology. 

Once and again he condescends to men of low estate, 
as, for example, when he tells us that about the year 
1476 one Thomas Clerk, of Ware, left Ware on the 
Octave of St. John the Baptist and rode to the Mount 
within ten days and then returned to Ware at the 
end of another ten days, thereby covering, according 
to the route bill which is given, something over thirty- 
two miles a day for twenty consecutive days. William 
himself rode more leism-ely. Leaving Norwich on 
the 16th of August, 1478, travelling by way of Truro, 
he reached Marazion on the 16th of September. The 
next day he heard Mass at the Mount and in the 

164 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

afternoon of the same day he began the return 
journey to Penryn. The time spent by him in Corn- 
wall was just over a week. 

That he should have gathered as much material 
as he did is therefore a matter for surprise. Towards 
this harvest St. Micliael's Mount contributed its full 
share, which is scattered without any regard for 
convenience or context throughout the work. After 
describing the tributaries of the river Fal, and a 
propos of nothing whatever, he inserts a (supposed) 
indulgence of Pope Gregory, said to have been 
granted by him in 1070, although Hildebrand did 
not become Pope until three years later. The in- 
dulgence is addressed to the church of Mount St. 
Michael in Tumba in the County of Cornwall, and of 
it, all but the opening words are a verbatim copy of 
the spurious postscript to the Count of Mortain's 
charter, of which mention has been already made. 
It is followed by a notice added by the Community 
at the Mount stating that the document, having been 
recently discovered in the old registers, is placed on 
the church door and, being unknown to most men, 
they, the ministers and servants of God, require and 
beg all who have the guidance of souls to do all in 
their power to publish it in their churches so that 
their subjects may be moved to greater devotion 
and may, by pilgrimage, frequent that place and 
obtain the said gifts and indulgences. William next 
mentions the apparition of St. Michael in Mount 
Tumba, formerly called the '' Hore-rok in the Wodd,'* 
which happened at a time when woodland and meadow 
and plough land lay between the said Mount and the 
islands of Scilly, and there were 240 parish churches 
now submerged. 

St. MichaeVs Mount 165 

He observes that the first apparition of St. Michael 
in Mount Gorgon in the Kingdom of ApuHa took 
place in a.d. 391 ; the second, in Tumba in Cornwall, 
near the sea, about a.d. 710 ; the third, in the days 
of Pope Gregory at a time of a great pestilence ; the 
fourth being in ierarchiis nostrorum angelorum. The 
next paragraph appears to be the fragment of a 
description of Mont St. Michel and its foundation by 
St. Aubert, bishop of Avranches. 

Then follow various measurements. The length of 
the church of Mount St. Michael is stated to be 
30 " steppys," its breadth 12 steppys ; the length of 
the chapel newly built is 40 feet, i.e. 20 steppys ; 
its breadth about 10 steppys ; from the church to 
the foot of the Mount, to the sea-water, 14 times 
60 steppys ; the distance by sea between Marazion 
and the foot of the Mount is estimated at 1200 (feet), 
i.e. 700 steppys, in English 10 times 70 steppys. It 
is difficult to reconcile the last of these measurements 
with the former and to connect the " step " with a 
modern equivalent. The " step " was not a " pace," 
for speaking of the dimensions of Bodmin Church, 
William says in length it is 57 paces (passus) and in 
breadth 30 steppys. It was apparently two feet 
(pedes), but whether two modern feet of 12 inches we 
are unable to say. A little further on William tells 
us that the island of St. Michael's Mount is about a 
mile in diameter and is distant from the mainland 
the length of a bow-shot. It lies north of the island 
of Ushant in Brittany. 

After dealing ^vith the Bodmin martyrology, in- 
formation given by Robert Bracey at Fowey and the 
kalendar of Tavistock, he mentions the capture and 
surrender of the Mount by the Earl of Oxford five 

166 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

years before the time of his writing. A fuller notice 
occurs towards the end of his work where, after some 
further details respecting the Mount's geographical 
position, he gives us the kalendar of the church. The 
saints commemorated are, as has been already re- 
marked, with three exceptions all Celtic. Of one of 
them, Brokan (Brychan) and his twenty-four children, 
he supplies an account taken, as it would seem, from 
the Legenda. For in the enumeration the saint is 
described as Brokannus in partibus Walliarum 
regulus fide et morum, and in the account of the saint 
which follows the opening sentence is Fuit in ultinus 
(ultimis) Walliarum partibus vir dignitate regulus 
fide et morum honestate praeclarus, nomine Brokannus. 
A similar explanation may account for the fourth 
apparition of St. Michael being described by William 
as apparicio in ierarchiis nostrorum angelorum, a 
phrase which is meaningless as it stands, but assuming 
it to be a quotation from the Legenda may have been 
familiar and intelligible to William's readers. 

From the foregoing abstracts from the Itinerary 
two conclusions appear to be inevitable. In the first 
place, whether of design or by inadvertence, the 
name Mons Tumba which had been exclusively used 
of the Norman Mount came to be also applied to 
the Cornish Mount and, in the second place, the 
associations of the former came to be adopted by 
the latter. The postscript to the Count of Mortain's 
charter and the newly discovered indulgence men- 
tioned by William, the one an almost verbatim copy 
of the other, probably bear witness to a fact, namely, 
that an indulgence was actually granted by Pope 
Gregory, but that it was granted not to St. Michael's 
Mount but to Mont St. Michel. When once the in- 

St. MichaeVs Mount 167 

dulgence had been appropriated by the Cornish house 
it became necessary to account for the allusions con- 
tained in it. The ecclesia quae ministerio angelico 
creditur et comprobatur consecrari et sanctificari 
demanded some point d'appui, and this could only 
be obtained by increasing the number of apparitions 
vouchsafed by St. Michael. 

The three apparitions generally accepted by 
Western Christendom, viz. the appearance in the 
fifth century to Garganus, that in the sixth century 
to St. Gregory at Rome, and that in the eighth cen- 
tury (a.d. 706) to St. Aubert, bishop of Avranches 
(probably identical with the apparicio in ierarchiis 
nostrorum angelorum), were supplemented by an 
appearance (a.d. 710) in Tumba in Cornwall. It is 
impossible to say when this claim was formulated, 
whether before or after the expulsion of the Bene- 
dictines in the fifteenth century. The object was 
evidently to stimulate pilgrimages, concerning which, 
however, very little is recorded. Norden, writing in 
1584, states that the Mount " hath bene muche re- 
sorted unto by Pylgrims in devotion to St. Michaell 
whose chayre is fabled to be in the Mount, on the 
south syde, of verie Daungerous access." 

When William of Worcester visited the Mount the 
priory was in possession of Augustinian nuns known 
as Bridgettines. Of them WilHam says nothing. 

So long as it was Benedictine and under the control 
of the abbot of Mont St. Michel, successive Kings of 
England felt constrained, on the declaration of war 
with France, to take it into their own hands and to 
administer its preferment. From 1337 onwards the 
rolls contain numerous entries dealing with the 
patronage of alien priories. During his war with 

168 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

France Henry IV required the prior of St. Michael's 
Mount to hold the priory at farm for a yearly rent of 
£10. Henry V, having founded the abbey of Syon 
in Middlesex, transferred the priory to it, the provost 
and scholars of the college of St. Mary and St. Nicholas 
at Cambridge, to whom an earlier grant of it seems to 
have been made, surrendering all their rights in 1462. 

Thenceforth until 1536 it remained a Bridge ttine 
nunnery. After the suppression of the monasteries 
several grants were made of it for terms of years. 
Eventually Queen Elizabeth sold it to Robert, Earl 
of Salisbury, by whose son, the second earl, it was 
conveyed to Sir Francis Basset. By his son, John 
Basset, it was sold in 1659 to Colonel St. Aubyn. 
Since that time it has remained in the St. Aubyn 
family, its present owner and occupier being General 
John Townshend St. Aubyn, second Lord St. Levan. 

With its religious history alone are we here con- 
cerned. That the Mount was the home of a Celtic 
religious community in pre -Norman times hardly 
admits of doubt. As we have shown, there was some 
strong bond of attachment between it and the Mene- 
age, a bond which, though weakened and attenuated, 
was not completely sundered until the dissolution of 
the monasteries in the sixteenth century. The main 
proposition here advanced is that the Mount was at 
a remote period, probably as early as the days of 
St. Cadoc, the focus of Celtic religious activity for 
the greater part, if not for the whole, of the Lizard 


Extract from the '* Life of St. Samson *' 
(Ed. by Fawtier, pp. 143-5) 

QUAD AM autem die, cum per quendam pagum quern 
Tricurium vocant deambularet, audivit, ut verum 
esset, in sinistra parte de eo, homines baccantum ritu 
quoddam phanum per imaginariam ludum adorantes ; 
atque ille annuens fratribus ut starent et silerent dumque 
quiete, et ipse de curru ad terram descendens et ad pedes 
stans, intendensque in his qui idolum colebant, vidit ante 
eos in cujusdam vcrtice montis, simulacrum abominabile 
adsistere ; in quo monte et ego fui, signumque crucis 
quod sanctus Samson sua manu cum quodam ferro in 
lapide stante sculpsit adoravi et mea manu palpavi ; 
quod sanctus Samson, ut vidit, festine ad eos, duos apud 
se tantum fratres eligens, properavit atque ne idolum, 
unum Deum qui crea^dt omnia, relinquentes, colere 
deberent, suaviter commonuit, adstante ante eos eorum 
comite Guediano ; atque excusantibus illis malun non 
esse mathematicum eorum parentum in ludo servare, 
aliis furentibus, aliis deridentibus, non nullis autem 
quibus mens erat sanior ut abiret hortantibus, continuo 
adest virtus Dei publice ostensa. Nam puer quidam 
equos in cursu dirigens a quodam veloci equo ad terram 
cecidit coUumque ejus subtus se praecipitem plicans, 
exanimum paene corpus in jecturam tantum remansit. 

Flentibus autem circa ilium vicinis suis, sanctus 
Samson dixit " Videtis quod simulacrum vestrum non 
potest huic mortuo adjutorium dare ? Si autem pro- 
mittitis vos hoc idolum penitus destruere et non amplius 


170 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

adorare ego ilium, Deo in me operante, redivivum 
resuscitabo." Adquiescentibus autem illis, jussit eos 
paulo longius seeedere, atque illo orante super exanimem 
per binas ferme horas, ilium qui expiratus fuerat redi- 
vivum palam omnibus atque ineolumem redidit. Videnti- 
bus autem illis, unanimes omnes una cum supradicto 
comite, procidentes ad sancti Samsonis pedes, idolum 
penitus destruxerunt. 

The Reverend F. W. Paul, m.a., whose friendship it 
has been my privilege to share for half a century, has 
revised the translation on page 33, He has done so 
under protest. Incompetence, ignorance of monkish 
Latin and the corruptness of the text have been his pleas. 
The first no one will allow who knows him ; the second 
is by no means uncommon ; the third everyone will 
admit. L'Abbe Duine truly says of the Vita Samsonis 
that plusieurs constructions grammaticales sont absolu- 
ment barbares. Mr. Paul has suggested the following 
emendations of the passage before us. Although drastic 
they appear worthy of consideration, unless they can 
be shown to run clean contrary to the habits of thought, 
the terminology and the rules of composition observed 
by writers of the seventh century. For quoddam 
phanum he would read quendam phallum ; for mathe- 
maticum, matrimonium ; for injecturam, jecturd. We 
should then have in the latter part of the first sentence 
" he saw men worshipping a certain phallus after the 
custom of the Bacchantes by means of a lewd play," 
and for atque excusantibus illis malum non esse mathe- 
maticum eorum parentum in ludo servare^ " and when 
they said that there was no harm in their commemor- 
ating their parents' wedlock in a play." I have accepted 
jecturd for in jecturam and his translation of it. It is 
unfortunate that a critical edition of the Vita Samsonis 
has not yet been prepared. L'Abb^ Duine has indeed 
furnished some useful notes — only too few — on the 

Extract from ''Life of St. Samson'* 171 

syntax and the peculiar use of certain pronouns, pre- 
positions and adjectives.^ But, as Professor Loth truly 
observes, to produce such an edition a minute study 
of the syntax is required and also a glossary of all the 
words which in form or in meaning are peculiar — a 
glossary in which all the idioms should be exhibited. 
The task requires special qualifications and will not 
perhaps appeal strongly to those who have them. Sooner 
or later someone will doubtless be found to undertake it, 
someone, it is hoped, who is not only a scholar but who 
is familiar with the religious literature of the seventh and 
eighth centuries. 

^ Duine, Saints de Domnonie, pp. 5-12. 


Edward the Confessor's Charter 
(Oliver's Monasticon^ p. 31) 

Carta Edwardi regis Anglorum pro abhatid sancti 
Michaelis (Ex autographo apud S. Michaclem in Nor- 

IN nomine sanctae et individuae Trinitatis, ego 
Edwardus Dei gratia Anglorum rex, dare volens 
pretium redemptionis animae meae, vel parentum 
meorum, sub consensu et testimonio bonorum virorum, 
tradidi saneto Michacli archangelo in usum fratrum Deo 
servientium in eodem loeo sanctum Michaclem qui est 
juxta mare, cum omnibus appendenciis, villis scilicet, 
castellis, agris et caeteris attinentibus. Addidi etiam 
totam terram de Vennefire,^ cum oppidis, villis, agris, 
pratis, terris cultis et incultis, et cum horum redditibus. 
Adjunxi quoque datis portum addere qui vocatur Rumi- 
nella cum omnibus quae ad cum pertinent, hoc est 
molendinis et piscatoriis et cum omni territorio illius 
culto et inculto, et eorum redditibus. 

Si quis autem his donis conatus fuerit ponere calump- 
niam anathema f actus, iram Dei incurrat perpetuam. 
Utque nostrae donationis auctoritas verius firmiusque 
teneatur in posterum, manu mea firmando subterscripsi, 
quod et plures fecere testium. 

Signum regis Edwardi ij( Signum Roberti archiepiscopi 
Rothomagensis ^ Hereberti episcopi Lexoviensis. 
Roberti episcopi Constantiensis. Signum Radulphi ^ 
Signum Vinfrcdi ^ Nigelli vicecomitis. Anschitilli. 
Chosehet. Turstini. 

* ** Vennesire " in the cartulary at Avretnohes. 


Charter of Count Robert of Mortain 
{Monasticon, p. 31) 

Catta Rohertij Comitis, pro monachis S. MicJtaelis, 

IN nomine sanctae et individuae Trinitatis, Patris et 
Filii et Spiritus Sancti, amen. Ego Robertus Dei 
gratia Moritonii comes, igne divini amoris succensus, 
notifico omnibus sanctae ecclesiae matris nostrae filiis, 
habens in bcllo sancti Michaelis vexillum, quoniam pro 
animae meae salute atque meae conjugis, seu pro salute, 
prosperitate, incolumitate Gulielmi gloriosissimi regis, 
atque pro adipiscendo vitae aeternae premio, do et 
concedo Montem Sancti Michaelis de Cornubia Deo et 
monachis ecclesiae Sancti Michaelis de Periculo Maris 
servientibus, cum dimidia terrae hida, ita solutam et 
quietam ac liberam, ut ego tenebam, ab omnibus 
consuetudinibus querelis et placitis ; et constituo etiam 
ut ipsi monachi, concedente domino meo rege, ibidem 
mercatum die quintae feriae habeant. Postea autem, ut 
certissime comperi beati Michaelis meritis monacho- 
rumque suffragiis michi a Deo ex propria conjuge mea 
filio concesso, auxi donum ipsi beato militiae celestis 
Principi, dedi et dono in Amaneth tres acras terrae, 
Trevelaboth videlicet, Lismanoch, Trcquaners, Carmailoc, 
annuente piissimo domino meo Gulielmo rege cum 
Mathilde regina atque nobilibus illorum filiis Roberto 
comite, Gulielmo Rufo, Henrico adhuc puero, ita quietam 
ae liberam de omnibus placitis querelis atque forisfactis, 
ut de nulla re regiae justitiae monachi respondebunt nisi 
de solo homicidio. Hanc autem donationem feci ego 


174 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

Robertus comes Moritonii, quam concesserunt gloriosus 
rex Anglorum Willielmus atque regina et filii eorum, sub 
testimonio istorum. 

Signum Willielmi regis ^. Signum reginae Mathildis ^. 
Robert! comitis ^. Willielmi Rufi filii regis ^. Henrici 
pueri »J(. Roberti comitis Moritonii ^. Matildis Comi- 
tissae ^. Willielmi filii eorum >J(. Signum Willielmi filii 
Osberni )J(. Signum Rogeri de Monte - gomeri ^, 
Tossetini vicecomitis ^. Guarini >Jl. Turulfi >J(. 

Firmata abque roborata est hec carta, anno millessimo 
octuagesimo quinto ab incarnatione Domini indictione 
decima quarta, concurrente tertia, luna octava, apud 

Signum Liurici Essecestriae Episcopi ^. 

Ego quidem Liuricus Dei dono Essecestriae episcopus, 

jussione et exhortatione domini mci reverentissimi 

Gregorii (VI) papae regisque nostri et reginae omniumque 

optimatum totius regni Angliae exhortatus ut ecclesiam 

bcati Michaelis archangeli de Cornubia, utpote quae 

officio ct ministerio angelico creditur atque comprobatur 

consecrari ac sanctificari, quatcnus cam ab omni episcopali 

jure, potestatc, seu subjectionc libcrarcm atque exuerem, 

quod ct facere totius cleri nostri consensu et hortatu non 

distuli, libero igitur cam et exuo ab omni episcopali 

dominatione, subjectionc, inquietudine, et omnibus illis 

qui illam ecclesiam suis cum beneficiis et elemosinis 

expetierint, et visitaverint, tertiam partem penitentiarum 

condonamus. Et ut hoc inconcussum ct immobile et 

etiam inviolabile fine tenus permaneat, ex authoritatc 

Patris et Filii ct Spiritus Sancti omnibus nostris suc- 

cessoribus interdicimus ne aliquid contra hoc decretum 

usurpare praesumant. 

Signum cjusdem Liurici Essecestriae episcopi lit. 


Erection of the Priory of St. Michael in Cornwall 
(Monasticon, p. 414) 

Prioratus St. Michaelis in Cornubid constructio (Ex 
custumali Prioratus de Otterton, fol. 58). 

OMNIBUS Sancte Dei ecclesie filiis notificare dignum 
duximus quod ecclesia beati Michaelis de Cornubia 
a venerabili Bernardo, ecclesie prefati archangeli de 
Periculo Maris abbate, in anno quo hominem exuit rex 
Henricus constructa, et in anno regis Stephani a religioso 
viro Roberto Exoniensi presulc prestito abbate, qui 
presens aderat, id impetrante, Domino est consecrata. 
Idem vero abbas sagaci mente pertractans celestis 
militie principem locum eundem Deo ad serviendum et 
sibi ad inhabitandum delegissc, predicti pontificis con- 
silio et comitis Raneri et baronum provincie suffragio, 
ut divinitati honor perpetuus impenderetur, officinas 
religioni idoneas construere et fratres xiii in honorem 
Christi Jhesu et apostolorum ejus, ut, videlicet, pro 
modulo suo in fide que per dilectionem operatur et spe 
in cultura vinee Domini Sabbaoth desudantis denarium 
mereretur retributionis, aggregare curavit ; de redditibus 
ecclesie tam antiquitus datis quam a viris provincie in 
presentia sua ad hoc attributis victui eorum necessario 
sufficienter providens. 

Constituit autem ut vel per se vel per alium e fratribus 
ecclesiam de Monte in Normannia qui ex abbatis loci 
ejusdcm precepto prioris in Cornubia fungetur officio 
annis singulis inviserc non negligat, et argcnti marchas 
xvi finetenus reddat. Quod si constitutioni huic obviare, 
vel contra abbatem suum vel conventum in aliquo 


176 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

presumpserit contraire, de prioratu suo degradetur, et 
alius pro abbatis arbitrio et conventus abbatie consilio 
subrogetur. Si vero superbus fuerit et contumax et 
prelatis ecclesie de Monte in Normannia inobediens 
extiterit, omni participatione totius beneficii ecclesie 
totius dicte, omniumque ecclesiarum ipsi societate aliqua 
connexarum, excommimicationi se deleat. Frates quidem, 
qui in Cornubia sancte conversationis habitum sus- 
ceperint, monochatus jura in Monte Tumba profitentes, 
benedictionem monastici ordinis ab abbate suo ibidem 
suscepturos se noverint, nisi forte ei in Cornubiam 
venienti eos illuc benedicere placuerit. Hoc itaque tarn 
just a Dei dispensatione tamque virorum sapientum 
discretione patratum, quicunque sive princeps sive 
potestas aliquam infringere presumpserit, videlicet, 
monachorum numerum qui pro facultatum ampliatione, 
et ipse ampliandus est, imminuat, et jam dicti loci 
possessiones in usus alteros convertat, ipsum, in quantum 
nobis a Domino collata est potestas, anathematis inno- 
damus vinculo et hujus retributionem sceleris a justo 
judice suscipiat in futuro. Quicunque autem posses- 
siones easdem conservare et pro suarum modulo facul- 
tatum, quia valuit Zachee rerum suarum multa dis- 
tributio, valuerunt etiam vidue minuta duo, et regnum 
Dei tantum valet quantum homines, augmentare 
curaverunt, omnium se orationum totiusque beneficii 
ecclesie beatc Michaelis de Monte in Normannia participes 
esse sciant. 

He sunt possessiones quas ex dono comitis Roberti de 
Mortenio ecclcsia beati Michaelis de Cornubia tenet : 
Tremaine, ubi ad duas carucas terra sufficiens habetur : 
Trahorabohc, ubi ad tres ; Listyavehet, ubi ad tres ; 
Trcganeis, ubi ad duas ; Carmahclcch, ubi ad duas. 
Adjacet terra preter pascua ad omnia animalia neces- 
saria ; que simul caruce xii faciunt. 



Aethelred, Bp., 67 

Aethelred, King, 68 

Age of the Saints^ 38 

Agnes, St., Ill, 115 

Aldesto\jr (Padstow), 56 

Aldhelra, St., 56, 57, 80 

Alet, 78 n. 

Alfred, King, 56, 64, 82, 128 

Allen, St. (Alun), 90, 91, 92 

Almodis, Countess, 157 

Aluuarton (Alverton), 67 n. 

Amaneth, 82, 145, 154, 160, 173 

Amber traffic, 23, 26 

Ancestors, direct and collateral, 16 

Angers, 113 

Anglesey, 32, 80 

Anne, St., d'Auray, 48 

Annunciation, Feast of, 13 n. 

Anschitill, 145, 172 

Anthony, St., in R., 81, 105, 115 

Anwyl, Prof., 31 n. 

Apollo, 29 

Apparitions of St. Michael, 105, 

Aqua, De, Roger, 136 
Armorica, 44, 50, 51, 52, 82, 95 
Armorican parishes, 54 
Arscott, John, 143 n. 
Arthurian romances, 42. 
Ascension, Feast of, 13 u. 
Asser, 64, 81, 129 n. 
Athelgeard, Bp., 67 
Athelstan, King, 65, 66, 85, 88, 94, 

Athens, 95 
Attis, 6 

Aubert, St., 167 
Aubyn, St., Col., 168 
Augustine, St., of Canterbury, 58 
Augustinian Order, 58, 60, 60 n. , 

107, 108, 115, 116 
Australia, 9 
Avebury, Lord, 26 u. 

Arranches, 146, 167 
Axe, sacred, 23, 24 
Aztec communion, 5 

Bacchantes, 33 

Bacchus, St., 115 

Baltic, 26 

Bangor in Ireland, 71 

Bangor Iscoed, 53, 58 

Baring-Gould, S., 80 

Basset, Sir Francis, 168 

Bayeux, 115 

Bayon, Le, Abb^, 49 

Beaulieu, Convent of, 109 

Bede, 50, 53, 57 

Beltane, 6 

Benedictine Order, 58, 59, 114, 

116, 163, 167 
Berewyk, De, John, 119 
Bernard, Abbot, 157, 175 
Berner, 110 
Berrien, 95 

Bertrand, Alexandre, 29 
Bethel, 21 

Beunans Mcriasek, 46, 47 
Birch, Dr., 28 
Black Canons, 60 
Bleu Bridge, 39 

Blohiu (Bloyou), 41, 150, 152, 155 
Bodinnick, 126 

Bodmin, 42, 60, 125, 137, 165 
Bodmin Gospels, 67 
Bodmin prebend, 116 
Bodrugan family, 116 
Bo6h-er-goed, 48 
Bonevylle, Sir W., 137 
Borlase, Dr. W., 37, 131, 132 
Borlase, W. C, 22 n., 38, 85, 132 
Boson, John, 134, 142 n. 
Botreaux, Wm., 113 
Bracey, Robt., 126, 165 
Breage, St., 77, 85 


178 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

Breock, St., 73 

Breton immigrants, 43-45 

Breton nobles, 41 

Brian, Earl, 154 

Bridget, St., 60 

Bridget, St., Convent of, 137 

Bridgettines, 163, 168 

Brient, 41 

Brismar, 148, 150, 151, 154 

British saints, 52 

Brittany, 37-49, 82, 86 

Britton, surname, 45 

Briwer, Bp., 109, 112, 113 

Bronescombe, Bp., 88, 107, 109, 

112, 115, 116, 117 
Bronze Age, 20, 24 
Bronze bull, 24, 28 
Bronze celts, 22 
Bronze disc, 23 
Brychan, St. (Brokan), 166 
Budock, 39, 73 
Bulgaroo, 10 
Bull, sacred, 23, 24 
Burgald, Bp., 114 
Burhwold (BurthwoM), 67, 68, 75, 

76, 76n. 
Burneir, 71, 73 
Buryan, St., 21, 22 n., 47, 65, 66, 

85, 90, 91, 93, 94, 105, 108, 154 
Buttel-Reepen, Dr., 11 

Cadgwith, 159 

Cadoc, St., 30n., 142, 148 

Caer, 70 

Caerhayes, 144 

Calamansack (Coleraanshegg), 130 

Callestock, 65 n. 

Callington, 65 

Camborne, 44 

Cambridge, 168 

Canterbury, 64, 147 

Cardinan, 41, 92 

Cardynham, 126 

Careg Cowse, 142 

Carew, Richard, 7, 47 

Cargol, 72 

Carnarvon, 92 

Carnyorth, 125 u., 161 n. 

C-irthage, 28 

Carvallack (Carmailoc), 145, 158, 

160, 161, 173, 176 
Carzou (Carthew), 44 
Casaiterides, 28 

Ceen Cruaich, 33 

Celtic invasion, 25 

Celtic monastery, 63 

Celts, the, 18-36 

Ceolnoth, Abp., 64, 79 

Ceres, 94 

Chad, St., 62 

Chapel Cam Brea, 131, 132, 133, 

Chapel Uny, 124 
Cheus, St., 105, 110 n., 118 
Chichester, Bp. Robert, 158 
Chittlehampton, 91 
Choschet, 145, 172 
Christianisation of stones, 35 
Christmas, 12 
Chiin Quoit, 20 
Churcli and foreign rites, 16 
Chysauster, 63 n. 
Clay, R. M., 122, 132 
Clement, St., of Alexandria, 13 
Clerk, Thomas, 163 
Clether. St., 125 
Clonard, 53, 59 
Cnut, King, 67, 68, 69, 75, 76, 

76 n. 
Coelling, 64, 65 
Coincidence, 1-17 
Coliimba, St., 52 
Comoere, Bp., 63, 67 
Conan, Bp., 63, 65, 06 
Conarton, 84 

Constantino, St., 105, 118 
Corentin, St. (Cury), 53, 85 
Corlay (Cotes du Nord), 92 
Cornish dedications, 55 
Cornish drama, 39 
Cornish Orammar, 39 
Cornish language, 61 
Coruonaille, 52, 93 
Cornwall, Royal Institution of, 38, 

48 n. 
Cetesdu Nord, 51, 91 
Coulthard, Rev. H. R., 142 
Coutances, Robert, Bp. of, 145, 

Cranraer, Abp., 143 n. 
Crantock, St., 105, 108. 109 
Crediton, 64, 67, 68, 73, 74, 76, 

87, 88 
Cromwell, T., 44 
Cross, 85 
Crosses, Cornish, 36 


General Index 


Crousa Downs, 162 

Crows-au-'NVra, 134 

Cuby, St., 80, 115 

Cypris, 94 

Cyprus, 95 

Cyriacus Priory, St., 105, 113 

Daniel, Bp., 63 

Dante, 158 

David, St., 58 

Daviea Gilbert, 138 

Dechelette, M. Joseph, xii, xiii, 

24, 26 n., 29, 35 n. 
Deduction, 4 
Z>« Excidio, 62 
Denmark, 23 
Dennis, Little, 85 n. 
Dennis (Denys), St., 90, 91, 92 
Derbyshire Dedications, 55 
De Zil, 30 
Dinan, 92 

Diuan, De, Roland, 42 
Dinas, 91 
Dinoot, 58 
Diusul, 30 n., 142 
Dinuurrin (Dingerein), 64, 79, 80 
Diodorus Siculus, 23, 141 
Dionysius, 92 
Dis Pater, 29 
Dissolution of religious houses, 

Docco, 33, 119 
Dol, 59 

Dollebeare, Walter, 138 
Domesday Book, 59, 76, 77, 79, 

81, 83, 90, 105, 112, 147 
Donan, Bp., 66 
Druidical worsliip, 32 
Dmids, 31, 57 
Drycarn, 21 
Duchesne, Mgr., 97 
Dugdale, Sir W., 104,146 
Duine, L'Abbe, 97 n., 170 
Dumnonia, 51, 52, 56, 80 
Dumnonian exodus, 41, 51 

Eadulf, Bp., 64, 65, 73 

Ealdred, Bp., 67, 68 

Easter, 8 

Easter controversy, 56, 80 

Ebenezer, 21 

Edgar, King. 119, 162 

Edmund, Farl, 134 

Edward the Confessor, 69, 75, 76, 
77, 81, 82,85, 88,109,112,145, 

Edward the Elder, 73 

Edward, King, 114 

Egbert, King, 54, 64 

Eglos, 39 

Eglosberria (Eglosveryan), 93, 94 

Egloshayle, 78, 74, 91 

Egloskerry, 39 

Eglo8r63, 91 
! Eglostudic, 79 n., 90 

Egyptians, 80 

Eudellion, 105, 116, 117 

Epiphany, 13 

Eponyms, 94 

Erth, St., 86, 91, 121 

Ervan, St., 73 

Escop, 39 

Eucharist, 5 

Eval, St., 73, 79 

Evans, Sir A., 21 

Evolution, 3 

Evolution of Dio. B'pric. , 70-89 

Exeter, 64, 65, 69, 112 

Exeter, D. and C. of, 72, 77, 78, 

Eynesbury, 128 

Ezekiel, 27 n. 

Falmouth, 73 

Fauna, pre-glacial, 11 

Fawtier, M., 33 n., 96 n., 97 n,, 

Fentongollcn, 72 
Fetich, 35 

Finistere, 51, 91, 99 
Finnian, St., 53 
Fisherman's proverb, 2 
Fitz Ive family, 77 
FitzTurold, R., 41, 71, 115 
Forsnewth, 74 
Fowey, 165 

Freeman, Prof., 145, 148 
Fulcard, 72, 78 

Gades, 27 
Galatia, 25 
Galicia, 57 
Garganus, 167 
Gasquet, Card., 60 
Gennys, St., 120, 126 
Gerecrist (Kergrist), 41, 45 

180 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

German, St., 58, 59, 69, 139 
Germans, St., 65, 66, 68, 71, 74, 75, 

79, 81, 87, 88, 105, 107, 153 
Gerrans, 72, 73, 79, 80, 81, 87, 

105, 115, 116 
Geruutius (Geraiut, Gerennius), 

56, 79, 80 
Gildas, 50, 58, 62 
Glasney, 105, 117 
Glastonbury, 116, 127 
Gluvias, St., 73 
Godfrey, 72 
Godman, Roger, 135 
Godric the priest, 118 
Goran, St. (Guron), 105 
Gorgon, Mount, 165 
Gougaud, Dora, 26 n., 33 n., 39 
Grade, 82 

Grandisson, Bp., 107 
Gregory, Pope, 146, 148, 156, 164, 

165, 166 
Gregory, St., 167 
Guenoc, St., 84 
Guerir, St., 82, 128 
Gulval,63n., 75, 77, 86, 121 
Gunwalloe {see Winwaloe), 85 
Guron (Goran), 125 
Gwavas, Lake, 93 
Gwethnoc (Guethnoc), 98, 99 
Gwinear, 22 
Gwithian, 63 

Haddan, Mr., 38, 62, 76 n. 

Haddan and Stuhbs, 66, 67, 78 n. 

Hadton, Doni, 46 

Hals, 131 

Haraelin, 75 

Hamstoke, 75 

Hardicanute, 146 

Harold, Earl, 82, 160 

Hartland, Abbot Philip of, 136 

Hecataeus, 25, 26 

Helstou, 105, 117 

Hengestisdun, 66 

Henoc, 33 

Henry I, 112, 113, 119, 145, 156, 

173, 174 
Henry II, 112, 120 
Henry IV, 168 
Henry V, 168 
Heresy, 17 

Hermit of Chapel Carn Brc.i, 133 
Hermits. 122-140 

Hilary, St., 22, 30 n., 40, 139 
Hingeston-Randolph, F. C. , 38, 76n. 
Houl, 30 
Hyperboreans, 25 

la, St., 86, 90, 91 

Iberians, 23 

Ictis, 141 

Illogan, 86 

Iltut, 58, 92 

Induction, 4 

Ingunger, St., 124 

Inquisitio Oeldi, 93, 147 

Inquisitio Nonaruvi, 92, 108, 116 

Inspeximij 104 n. 

lona, 60 

Ireland, 61, 64 

Irish influence, 85 

Irish missionaries, 86 

Iron Age, 24 

Issey, St., 73 

Ives, St., 91, 95 

Jacobstow, 56 

Jenner, 11., 30 n., 37, 39, 63 n., 84, 

133, 162 
Jetwells, 124 
John, King, 112 
John the Baptist, St., 13 
Jordan, 21 
Jovin, 41 
Judhel, 41 
Julius Casar, 29 
Jumieges, Robert of, 160 
Just, St., in Peuwith, 22, 30 n., 17, 

48, 86, 121, 124, 131 
Just, St., in Roseland, 73, 80 

Kea, St., 121 

Kenstec, Bp., 63, 64, 79, 80, 87, 88 

Kerrier, 84, 159, 160 

Kestlemerris, 162 

Keverne, St., (Achebran), 82, 85, 

109, 110. 162 
Kew, St., 33, 98, 105, 119, 120 
Keyne, St., 125, 142 
Kieran, St., 85, 111 
Kildare, 60 
Kilter's insurrection, 85 n. 

Lafrowda, 86, 121 
Lagge, Richard, 136 
Lamiuster, 113 

General Index 


Lammana, 116 

Laniprobus (Liubrabois), 112 

Laii, 40, 53, 70, 121 

Lanadleth, 78 n. 

Landegy, 53, 121 

Laudevemiec, 71, 84 

Landewediiack, 82, 84 

Landithy, 53. 86, 121 

Laudivick, 82 

Landrake, 68, 75 

Land's End, 81, 132 

Landulph, 75 

Laugorock, 109 

Languih^noc, 98, 99, 105 

Langunnet, 121 

Langweath, 82 

Lanhadron, 121 

Lanherne (Lanherneu), 53, 71, 72, 

78, 121 
Lanhydrock, 53, 79 
Lanisley (Landicla), 53, 71, 75, 77, 

78, 86, 87, 121 
Lauliveiy, 135 

Lanow (Landoho, Tohou), 119, 120 
Lanpiran, 110 
Lanreath, 126 
Lanteglos-by-Fowey, 26, 39 
Lantenning, 82 
Lanudno, 86, 121 
Lanvcrrien, 95 
Lanyhorne, 121 
Lanyon Quoit, 20 
Lawhitton (Landunithan), 64, 65, 

71, 74, 79, 81 
Leland, 65, 109, 125, 161 
Lclaut (Lananta), 22, 91, 95, 121 
Leo III, Pope, 60 n. 
Leofric, Bp., 57, 69, 75, 76, 76 n., 

78, 107, 146, 148, 156, 174 
Leoghaire, 14 
Leon, 59, 95 
Lerins, 139 

Lesneage {set Lismanoch), 162 
Levan, St., 86, 125 
Levan, St., Lord, 168 
Lezant (Lansant), 74, 121 
Ligurians, 23 

Lisieux, Herbert, Bp. of, 145, 172 
Liskeard, 105, 117, 135 ; 

Lismanoch, 145, 160, 161, 162, 173 ■ 
Listyavehet, 161, 163, 176 
Lives of the Saints, 95-99 
Lizard, 81, 82, 85 

Llantwit, 58, 70 

Looe Island, 116 

Loring, Sir Nigel, 152 

Lostwithiel, 7 

Loth, J., 37, 39, 42, 51, 54, 82 n., 

91, 94, 96 n., 97 n., 119, 143, 

Lucy, St. , 68 
Ludgvan, 152, 157 
Lunaire, 52 
Lupus, St., 139 
Lyfing, Bp., 67, 68,76 
Lysons, Messrs., 113 

]\Iabe, 73 

Maclean, Sir J., 58, 60 n., 107 

Madron, 44, 45, 63, 86, 121, 125 

Magloire, 52 

Magpie, 1 

Mainen Escop, 39 

Maitland, F. W., 84 

Malmesbury, William of, 67 

Malo, St., 52, 97 

Manaccan, 82, 105, 110, 161 

Mancant (Maucant), 66 

Mancus, St., 126 

Manumissions, 67 

Map of Bishop's manors, 83 

Marazion, 132, 155, 165 

Marhamchurch, 136, 137 

Marnarch, St., 127 

Marny's prebend, 116 

Mars, 29 

Marseilles, 28, 140 

Martin of Ossory, St., Ill 

Martin in Meneage, St., 161 

Matilda, Queen, 145, 148, 155, 173, 

Matthews, J. H., 43 n. 
Mawgan, St., in M., 22 
Mawgan, St., in P., 78 
Mawnan (Minster), 10?, 116, 119 
May-day, 6 

Megalithic remains, 20 
Melyn, 126 

Meneage, 82, 85, 147, 161 
Men-er-Hroeck, 21 
Mercury, 29 
Meriasek, St., 46, 53 
Merther, 73 
Merthian, St., 113 
Merton Priory, 115 
Methleigh (Matela), 71, 72, 77, 8.^ 

182 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

Methodism, 102 

Mewau, St., 42, 52 

Michael of Lamraana, St., 105, 116 

Michael Penkevil, St., 105, 117, 

Michael in Periculo Maris, St., 

143, 145 
Michael's Mount, St., 30 n., 82, 85, 

105, 107, 130, 141-168, 172-176 
Midsummer fires, 13 
Mill Mehal, 163 
Minerva, 29 
Minoan symbolism, 35 
Minster (Talkarn), 105, 113 
Modret family, 116 
Monastery-bishoprics, 58-69 
Monasticon, 76 n,, 104, 172-176 
Mons Tumba, 143 
Montacutc Priory, 109, 113 
Montgomery, De, Roger, 146, 174 
Mont St. Michel, 143, 146, 158 
Moreske, 129 
Mortain, Count Robert of, 75, 82, 

84, 108, 109, 118, 145, 149, 157, 

160, 173, 174 
Mortain, Count William of, 109, 

113, 145, 148, 149, 174 
Mortain, Countess Matilda of, 145, 

Morwinstow, 66 
Moys, Cecilia, 136 ; Lucy, 137 
Mybbard, St., 126 
Mylor, 73 
Mystery and miracle plays, 46, 47 

Nan, 53 

Nancekuke (Lancichuc), 53, 74, 

Nancherrow, 125 n. 
Nansladron {see Lanhadron), 53, 

Nature worship, 22, 22 n. 
Neolithic period, 20 
Neot, St., 81, 82, 105, 118, 127, 

Neotstou, 66, 118 
Newlyn, 72 

Nigell the sheriff, 145, 172 
Nodens, 29 
Nominoe, 64 
Nonn, St., 113 
Norden, John, 138, 167 
Norria, E., 39 

Norwich, 163 

Norwich, Walter Bp. of, 126 

Noyal-Pontivy, 47 

Odo, 110 

Ogrin, 129 

Oliver, Dr., 104, 146 

Olympus, 29 

Oman, Prof., 32 n., 35 n. 

Ordinalia, 46 

Osborn, Fitz, Wm., 146, 174 

Otterton, 143, 161, 175 

Pace eggs, 8 

Padstow, 73 

Palaeolithic age, 19 

Pallas Athene, 94 

Pares, 40 

Parish Registers, 38 

Pascha, 7 

Paschal fire, 14 

Pask-bian, 6 

Passover, the Christian, 5-9 

Passover, the Jewish, 7 

Patrick, St., 33, 53,58, 59 

Patrick's fire, St., 14 

Paugan, Andrew, 131 

Paul (Pol Aurelian), St., 52, 58, 

86, 90, 91, 93, 97 
Paul, Rev. F. W., 170 
Pawton (Pollton), 64, 65, 71, 73, 

74, 79, 81, 87, 117 
Pedngwinion, 84 
Pelagian heresy, 139 
Pelyn (Pcnlyn), 135 
Pelynt (Plunent), 39, 113 
Penmargh, Thomas, 131 
Pennight (Peukneth), 135 
Penryn, 72, 77, 79, 80, 164 
Pentecost, 13 n. 
Penwerris (Camwcrris), 72 
Penwith, 43-45, 85, 86 
Penzance, 92 

Peran (Piran), St., 59, 85, 105, 110 
Perranuthnoe, 86 
Perranzabuloe, 47, 63, 65 n. 
Peter, Thurstan C, 47, 48 n., 

Petherick, Little, 78 
Petherwyn, South, 74, 75 
Petrock, St., 42, 59, 60 n., 68, 69, 

73, 78, 79, 84, 88, 98, 105-107, 

125. 153 

General Index 


Philip, St., of Restorrael, 134, 135 

Philleigh, 91 

Phoenicians, 27, 30 

Pilgrims, 167 

Pi ran, St. {see St. Peran) 

Plegmund, Abp., 64, 88 

Pleu, 39 

Plevin, 91, 95 

Pliny, 142 

Ploubezre, 143 

Plougasnou, 47 

Plouy^, 95 

Plumergat, 47 

Pluneret, 47 

Pluvathack, 39 

Pluvigner, 47 

Plympton, 116, 119, 120 

Polycarp, 8 

Porthallow, 162 

Poundstock, 126 

Powder, 72, 126 

Prah Sands, 19 

Pridden, 22 n. 

Probus, St., 59, 105, 112 

Pro pithecanthropi, 11 

Proteus animalcule, 2 

Pydar (Pider), 74, 81 

Pytheas, 26 

Queensland, 10 
Quia emptores, 77 
Quivel, Bp., 115 

Ralph, 145, 172 

Rame Head, 144 

Raner, Count, 158 

Redon cartulary, 92 

Redruth, 47, 91 

Reginald, Earl of C, 108 

Reid, Clement, 19, 141, 142 

Relics of St. Piran, HI 

Resemblance, 1-17 

Respeth (Respegh), 161 n. 

Restormel, 135 

Revue Celtiqice, 38 

Rhys, Sir John, 31 

Rialton, 73 n. 

Richard, hermit, 130 

Richard, King of the Romans, 108, 

109, 116 
Richard II, 76 n. 
Rillaton (Rieltone), 73 
Robert of Pelyn, St., 134, 135 

Roche Rock, 137, 138 

Rolland, Archdn., 77 

Roman milestone, 30 n. 

Rome, 95 

Romulus, 94 

Roseworthy, 86 u. [172 

Rouen, Robert, Abp. of, 145, 146, 

Round, J. H., 146, 149, 154 

Rowtor, 144 

Ruau Lanyhorne, 73 

Ruan Minor, 159 

Ruminella, 145, 159, 172 

Sainguilant, 90 

Sainguinas, 90 

Saints, Cornish, 90-103 

Saints, Lives of, 96-99 

Salisbury, Earl of, 168 

Salvation Army, 3 

Sampson, St., 33, 52, 58, 59, 93, 

97, 98, 119, 169 
Sancreed, 22 n. 
Saxon invasion, 50, 51 
Scandinavia, 23 

Scilly, 28, 39, 105, 113, 114, 133 
Selyf, 80, 86 
Sergius, St., 113, 115 
Shepherd's proverb, 2 
Sherborne, 64 
Sicily, 95 

Solenny, De, John, 116 
Southill, 136 
Stafford, Bp., 136 
Stephen's in B., St., 92 
Stephen's by L., St., 59, 74, 79, 

82, 105, 107, 108, 153 
Stephens, W. J. , 43 n. 
Stival, 47 

Stokes, Whitley, 37 
Stubbs, W., 38 
Subsidy Roll, 43 
Suetonius Paulinus, 32 
Sunday, 30 

Sun worship, 23, 26, 30, 95 
Swan, 23 
Swastika, 35 

Tacitus, 32 

Talkarn or Minster, 105 

Talland, 116 

Tammuz, 6, 9 

Tara, 14 

Tarshish, 27 

184 Celtic Christianity of Cornwall 

Tavistock abbey, 114, 165 
Taxatio of Pope Nicholas IV., 72, 

75, 77, 78,79, 81, 115 
Teath, St., 105, 117,137 
Tedinton, 84 
Teilo, St., 80 
Thegns, 84, 160 
Theodore, Abp. , 54 
Thirteen, the number, 1 
Timgeus, 142 
Tiniel, 68, 75 
Tinten, 71, 79 
Tol Pedn Penwith, 133 
Tolverne, 72 
Tombelaine, 143 n. 
Tonsure controversy, 56, 80 
Traboe (Trevelaboth), 145, 158, 

160, 161, 173, 176 
Treganeis {see Trequaners), 158, 

161, 176 [80 
Tregeare (Tregaher, Trocair), 72, 79, 
Tregebri, 110 

Tregeseal, 30 n. 
Tregevas {see Trequaners), 161 
Tregony, 105, 114, 115 
Tr^guier, 52, 59 
Trehaverock prebend, 116 
Treiwal, 149, 150, 151, 152 
Trejagu, De, Sir John, 117 
Trelew, 22 n. 
Trelonk, 72 

Treluswell (Treliuel), 71, 72 
Treniaruustel, 118 
Trematon Castle, 75 
Tremayne (Tremaine), 158, 161,176 
Trengwainton, 86 n. 
Trenuggo, 22 n. 
Trequaners, 145, 160, 161, 173 
Trescobeas, 39 
Trethewell, 79 

Trevenea^e (Trevanaek), 82 n., 162 
Trevennal, 72 
Trewell (Tregel), 71, 72 
Trigg, 33. 56, 64, 98 
Tripcony, John, 77 
Tristan and IseuU, 42, 129 
Truro, 105, 106 
Truro Diocesan Kalendar, 63 
155, 167 

Tucoyes, 118 

Tudy, St., 79 

Turold of Tavistock, 114 

Turstin, 145, 146, 172, 174 

Turulf, 146, 174 

Tutwal, St., 52, 59, 93, 97 

Tyre, 27 

Tyttesburry, Richard, 137 

Tywardreath, 105, 115 

Udno (Goueznou), 86 
Uny, St., 90, 91, 124 
Ushant, 165 

Valle, De, abbey of, 115 
Valletort, Reginald, 75 
Valor Ecdesiasticus, 75, 78 
Vannes, 47 
Veep, St., 113 
Vennefire, 145, 159, 172 
Venton — east, 125 
Vere, De, John, 163 
Veryan, St., 94 
Vinfred, 145, 159, 172 
Vyyyan, Sir Richard, 85 n. 

Wales, 64 

Ware, 163 

Warelwast, Bp. Robert, 72 

Warelwast, Bp. Wni., 60, 107, 

108, 119 
Warin, 146, 174 
Wessex, kingdom of, 52, 57, 62 
Wiliumar, 41, 118 
Wilfrid, St., 81 
William the Conqueror, 145, 173, 

William Rufus, 145, 156, 17.3, 174 
William of Worcester, 126, 142, 

143, 145, 163-167 
Willow, St. (Vylloc), 126 
Wini, Bp., 62 
Winniau, St., 119, 120 
Winningtou (Wineton, Winian- 

ton), 84, 159, 160 
Winnow, St. (Winnuc), 71, 78 
Winwaloe, St., 84, 86, 97 
Woodward, Dr. A. S, 12, 19n. 
Wulfnod Rumancant, 162 
Wulfsige, Bp., 67 


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