Addenda to The Birth of Nations: SCOTLAND


Ninian and Kentigern: The Tales of Two North-British Saints

The earliest mention of St Ninian is by Bede, who completed his Ecclesiastical History in 731, at which time the place where Ninian (Nynia) is said to have built his church, ‘At the White House’ (Ad Candidam Casam), i.e. Whithorn, in Galloway, had recently become the seat of a Northumbrian diocese. Bede writes:

For the southern Picts, who dwell on this side of those mountains [the Mounth], had, it is said, long before [the arrival in Britain of St Columba, which Bede dates 565] forsaken the errors of idolatry, and received the true faith by the preaching of Bishop Nynia, a most reverend and holy man of the nation of the Britons, who had been regularly instructed at Rome in the faith and mysteries of the truth; whose episcopal see, named after St Martin the bishop [of Tours, d.397], and famous for a church dedicated to him, wherein he [Nynia] and many other saints rest in the body, is now in the possession of the English nation. The place belongs to the province of the Bernicians, and is commonly called At the White House, because he there built a church of stone, which was not usual among the Britons.
Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum III, 4

A Latin poem written later in the 8th century, evidently at Whithorn, by an anonymous cleric, the Miracula Nynie Episcopi (Miracles of Bishop Ninian), expands the scant hearsay reported by Bede.[*] Having travelled to Rome and eventually become a bishop, Ninian returns “to his lovely native land”. He promptly carries out his mission amongst “the Pictish swarms”:

They were shamefully worshipping graven images in the shadow of death when he turned them to Christ, with his goodness showing them the way; all vied with each other to be bathed in the waters of holiness, where they cleansed away the stain of their sin in the everlasting spring.[*] For thus he sowed the seeds of life with holy lips, and now far and near throughout the nations he increased their profitable talents. He founded many monasteries with new chapels, which now flourish with an excellent swarm of monks, and in which servants of Christ truly keep the monastic rules. Thus he instructed the furthest kingdoms of the earth with his teaching …
… leaving the nations of the Picts and the monasteries, he came to his sons the Britons, in the company of the Lord, a good shepherd tending his sheepfolds with mind and hand, and eager to protect from the enemy the flocks entrusted to his care. And in our own territory there shone forth the famous bishop of a name well-known to all living there, who was the first to lay the white foundations of the shining house and the revered roof of the lofty temple where the father for all time sparkling with the brilliance of his mind shone forth, a perfect splendour like a star. From the goodness of Martin this shrine takes its holiness and splendour, the shrine which the father, the exalted one and worthy priest of Christ, sanctified and dedicated to the Lord with the name of Martin, with its foundation of burnt-brick walls and lofty roof. This is the house of the Lord, which many vie with each other to visit. Sheer above blaze out the glories of the miraculous temple, for many who have been afflicted with a disease of long-standing hurry there. They undertake the ready duties for the cure that brings healing, and they grow strong in all their limbs by the power of the saint.
Miracula Nynie Episcopi Chs.3–4

There then follows a series of miracle-stories, in the first of which Ninian is driven away from Whithorn by a certain King Tudwal: “as cruel as he was ungodly”.  As a consequence, the king is struck blind. He seeks, and is granted, the saint’s forgiveness, and his sight is restored:

… at the instigation of God the darkness was driven off and dispersed. The king, seeing this, paid his due of praise and gratitude, and acknowledged the Lord who, through his saint, performed marvels.
Miracula Nynie Episcopi Ch.5

In the fullness of time, Ninian dies. The details of a few miracles performed at his tomb are then related.

Such were the miracles which illuminated the saint’s body after death, blazing forth upon the world from the tomb, that no one could do justice to the subject in verse. Of these miracles I thought it better to make it my task to describe those given above briefly rather than to leave them entirely unrecorded.
Miracula Nynie Episcopi Ch.14

The Northumbrian diocese of Whithorn disappears from the record in the early-9th century.[*] Whithorn reappears as the seat of a bishop in 1128.[*] The bishops of the revived see were suffragans of the archbishop of York. Around-about 1160, Ailred of Rievaulx wrote a Vita (Life) of Ninian – it was Ailred who converted the name Nynia into Ninian. In the Preface, Ailred quotes Bede, but says that he had discovered much more about Ninian in “a book of his Life and Miracles, written in a barbarous style”.  The story told by Ailred is in essence the same as appears in the Miracula (there are extra miracles in Ailred’s work), but it is completely rewritten and embellished. On his way back to Britain from Rome, Ninian, who, in Ailred’s account, was the son of a Christian British king (“for the whole island lay subjected to diverse kings”) makes an excursion to Tours, where St Martin is bishop:

… blessed Ninian besought of the saint masons, stating that he proposed to himself that, as in faith, so in the ways of building churches and in constituting ecclesiastical offices, he desired to imitate the holy Roman Church. The most blessed man assented to his wishes; and so, satiated with mutual conversations as with heavenly feasts, after embraces, kisses, and tears, shed by both, they parted, holy Martin remaining in his own See, and Ninian hastening forth under the guidance of Christ to the work whereunto the Holy Ghost had called him…
… he selected for himself a site in the place which is now termed Witerna, which, situated on the shore of the ocean, and extending far into the sea on the east, west, and south sides, is closed in by the sea itself, while only on the north is a way open to those who would enter. There, therefore, by the command of the man of God, the masons whom he had brought with him built a church, and they say that before that none in Britannia had been constructed of stone. And having first learnt that the most holy Martin, whom he held always in wondrous affection, had passed from earth to heaven [St Martin died in 397], he was careful to dedicate the church itself in his honour.
Vita Sancti Niniani Chs.2–3

In the Miracula, Ninian’s mission to the Picts preceded the building of the White House. Having linked the construction of the White House directly to St Martin of Tours, Ailred is obliged to switch the order. In fact, he places the King Tudwal yarn and another miracle-story between the church’s construction and Ninian’s Pictish exploits.[*]

It is generally considered highly unlikely that Ninian was a contemporary of St Martin, let alone that he actually met him – the 8th century sources make no such claims. The Miracula does, though, mention King Tudwal. In Welsh genealogies there appears a Tudwal who is said to be the great-grandson of Macsen Wledig, alias Magnus Maximus (d.388), and who could possibly have ruled in Galloway somewhere in the vicinity 440–460 (give or take).[*] But Bede makes no mention of King Tudwal, nor, indeed, of any miracle attributed to Ninian (which he probably would have done if he knew of them). St Columba’s biographer, Adomnán (d.704), refers to a Tudwal – he is the father of Rhydderch, Columba’s contemporary, who ruled the Strathclyde Britons from his stronghold at Dumbarton – and it doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest that the name was chosen for Ninian’s supposed persecutor, by 8th century English clerics at Whithorn promoting Ninian’s cult, simply because a Tudwal was known to have preceded Columba’s contemporary. According to Adomnán, Columba had studied with a Bishop Uinniau in Ireland. The Annals of Ulster place the death of a Bishop Uinniau in 579. Uinniau is a British name, which is rendered into Irish as Finnian. It has been suggested that a mistake by an English scribe converted Uinniau into Ninniau, whence Nynia and Ninian.[*]

There is archaeological evidence that there were Christians at Whithorn during the 5th century (in the shape of an inscribed stone known as the Latinus Stone), and that it was an important secular place (perhaps even a royal site) in the 5th and 6th centuries, but it has recently become apparent that there was no monastic community there until the 7th century.[*] Also, no remains of a building that can plausibly be identified as the White House have, as yet, been found.

Another North-British saint who is, simultaneously, both well known and almost totally obscure is Kentigern. The only pre-12th century source to mention him is the, apparently mid-10th century, A-text of the Annales Cambriae, which indicates that the “death of Kentigern [Conthigirnus]” occurred in 612.

A Vita of St Kentigern was written at the behest of Herbert, bishop of Glasgow from 1147 to 1164. In a Prologue, its anonymous author says he has:

… devoutly composed a sort of a work from the material found in the little book of his virtues, and from the oral communication of the faithful made to myself.

This work (known as the Herbertian Life of St Kentigern) has, however, not survived in its entirety – only the story of Kentigern’s conception and birth remain. It is a fantastical yarn, in which Thaney, the daughter of “a certain King Leudonus, a man half Pagan, from whom the province over which he ruled obtained the name of Leudonia [Lothian] in Northern Britannia”, desires to emulate Jesus’ mother – to give birth to a son, although a virgin: “for the honour and salvation of my nation in these northern parts.”  As a reward for “her vanity, and the forwardness of her vain-glory”, Thaney conceives Kentigern when she is raped by “Ewen, the son of Erwegende, sprung from a most noble stock of the Britons”, whilst he is in the guise of a woman. The author explains that this “most graceful young man” is known in popular stories as “Ewen, son of King Ulien”.  Whilst it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Leudonus was a ruler of Gododdin (which lay south of the Forth), the chances are that he is a fictional eponym. Ulien and Ewen, i.e. King Urien of Rheged and his son Owain, are evidently real people who flourished in the late-6th century, and are celebrated in poetry attributed to, their contemporary, the bard Taliesin.

Cutting the Herbertian Life’s long implausible tale very short, Thaney gives birth to Kentigern at Culross (on the north bank of the Forth). The final episode tells how the birth is reported to St Servanus (i.e. St Serf, another obscure saint) by shepherds who happen to have stumbled across the event. Servanus is said to be a contemporary and follower of “the venerable Palladius”, whose mission to Ireland is dated 431 by the Annals of Ulster. A 13th century Vita of St Servanus, however, makes him a contemporary of Adomnán, who died in 704.

Just a few years after the Herbertian Life was written, during the tenure at Glasgow of Bishop Jocelin (1175–99), another Vita of St Kentigern was produced. Its author was the noted hagiographer Jocelin of Furness. Jocelin the hagiographer addresses Jocelin the bishop in a Prologue. He criticizes the style and content of the Vita then in use at Glasgow Cathedral (the Herbertian Life?) and says:

But I have found another little volume, written in the Scottic style,[*] filled from end to end with solecisms, but containing at greater length the life and acts of the holy bishop… I determined out of either book to put together in the way of restoration the matter collected, and, so far as I might, and by thy command, season what had been composed in a barbarous way with Roman salt. I deem it absurd that so precious a treasure should be swathed in vile wrappings, and therefore I have endeavoured to clothe it, if not in gold tissue and silk, at least in clean linen.

Jocelin’s work survives in its entirety. In his account, Kentigern’s mother is not named. Her father is not named either, but he is said to be: “a certain king, most Pagan in his creed, who ruled in the northern parts of Britannia.”  The biggest difference between Jocelin and the Herbertian Life is that the whole rape scenario is missing. Kentigern’s mother is simply “found with child” – she has no memory of how, when and by whom she became pregnant. Jocelin raises the possibility that she had conceived whilst drugged or bewitched, and condemns “the stupid and foolish people” of the Glasgow diocese who talked of a virgin birth. Although Jocelin’s story continues to differ in detail from the Herbertian version of events, Kentigern still ends up being born at Culross.[*]

Jocelin tells how St Servanus Christened the boy Kentigern (and Christened his mother Taneu at the same time), and also gave Kentigern the pet-name by which he is probably better known: Munghu, i.e. Mungo.[*] Having completed his education with Servanus, at Culross, Kentigern embarks on his career. At “Cathures, which is now called Glasgu [Glasgow]”, he finds: “a certain cemetery, which had been long before consecrated by St Ninian.”  Anyway:

… the king and clergy of the Cambrian region, with other Christians, albeit they were few in number, came together, and after taking into consideration what was to be done to restore the good estate of the Church, which was well nigh destroyed, they with one consent approached St Kentigern, and elected him, in spite of his many remonstrances and strong resistance, to be the shepherd and bishop of their souls. He objected to their election of him, that he was not fit on account of his youth … [Kentigern’s objections are dismissed] … and having called one bishop from Ireland, after the manner of the Britons and Scots of that period, they caused him to be consecrated bishop… He established his cathedral seat in a town called Glesgu, which is, interpreted, The Dear Family, and is now called Glasgu, where he united to himself a famous and God-beloved family of servants of God, who practised continence, and who lived after the fashion of the primitive church under the apostles, without private property, in holy discipline and Divine service.[*]
Vita Sancti Kentigerni Ch.11

Eventually, however, “a certain tyrant, by name Morken, had ascended the throne of the Cambrian kingdom”.  Morken was antagonistic towards Kentigern. Jocelin describes a confrontation between bishop and king, in which Kentigern miraculously sequesters Morken’s grain stores. Kentigern makes an attempt at reconciliation, but Morken kicks him to the floor. Subsequently, Morken’s feet swell-up and he dies.  “After some time had passed”, Morken’s relatives began plotting to kill Kentigern, but he discovered their intent and set off for:

… Menevia [now St Davids, south-west Wales], where at that time the holy Bishop Dewi [St David], like the morning star when it with its rosy countenance heraldeth the day, was shining forth in his episcopal work.
Vita Sancti Kentigerni Ch.23

Kentigern’s journey took him to Karleolum, i.e. Carlisle, where he heard that “many among the mountains were given to idolatry, or ignorant of the Divine law”.  Having converted these Lake District folk to Christianity, Kentigern travelled onwards:

… the saint directed his steps by the sea-shore, and through all his journey scattering the seed of the Divine word, gathered in a plentiful and fertile harvest unto the Lord. At length, safe and sound, he reached Saint Dewi, and found in him greater works than had been reported by fame. But the holy Bishop Dewi rejoiced with great joy at the arrival of such and so great a stranger.
Vita Sancti Kentigerni Ch.23

After spending some time with St David, Kentigern, with the blessing of the local ruler, King Cathwallain, set about building his own monastery. However, “there came a heathen prince, Melconde Galganu by name”, who, having ordered the building-work to be torn down, is promptly struck blind. Kentigern cures and baptizes him, and he becomes the saint’s devoted follower. Melconde Galganu is identified as Maelgwn (Old Welsh: Mailcun), king of Gwynedd, north-west Wales, whose father was called Cadwallon. Maelgwn is one of the five British kings singled out for criticism by Gildas, who Latinizes his name as Maglocunus: “exceeding many in power and at the same time in malice”.[*]  The Annales Cambriae indicate a date of 547 for Maelgwn’s death.

Using funds donated by Melconde Galganu, Kentigern completes his monastery and makes it the seat of his diocese. At this stage in the story St David dies – an event which the Annales Cambriae indicate should be dated to 601, though the Irish Annals of Tigernach indicate it was in 589.[*]  Kentigern is said to have made seven visits to Rome. On one visit, Gregory the Great, pope 590–604, recognizing that Kentigern was “a man of God, and full of the grace of the blessed Spirit”, confirmed his election and consecration as bishop.

Meanwhile, back in “the Cambrian region”:

… his [Kentigern’s] enemies were not long permitted to triumph over his absence. For the Lord visited them with heavy hand and hard arm, and with fury poured out, holding over them a rod that watched for evil and not for good, smiting them with the blow of an enemy, and with cruel chastisement, even to destruction. For the night obscured some of them, and a gloom of blindness followed; others were attacked by paralysis, which enfeebled all their strength, and rendered them actually effete so far as concerned their bodily strength; others an incurable madness, proceeding as far as death, seized; others a contagious leprosy devoured or struck down, tainting them, and making them, as they breathed in their half-alive bodies, like unto the dead in a state of putrefaction. Very many of them became epileptic, and exhibited a dreadful spectacle to those who beheld them. Some one way, some another, were consumed by every kind of incurable disease, and gave up the ghost… Even his countrymen had quickly abandoned the way of the Lord, which the good shepherd and true teacher had shown unto them, and, like dogs returned to their vomit, had fallen into the rites of idolatry. But not with impunity; for from them the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that are therein, withdrew their obedience, use, and wonted aid, so that, according to the Scripture, the very world itself seemed to fight against these foolish ones; and the elements seemed not able to bear with equanimity the absence of so great a man exiled from that land … But when the time of having mercy had arrived, that the Lord might remove the rod of His fierce anger, and that they should turn unto Him, and He should heal them. He raised up over the Cambrian kingdom a king, Rederech by name, who having been baptized in Ireland in the most Christian manner by the disciples of Saint Patrick, sought the Lord with all his heart, and strove to restore Christianity…
… King Rederech, seeing that the Christian religion was almost entirely destroyed in his kingdom, set himself zealously to restore it. And after long considering the matter in his own mind, and taking advice with other Christians who were in his confidence, he discovered no more healthful plan by which he could bring it to a successful result, than to send messengers to Saint Kentigern to recall him to his first see.
Vita Sancti Kentigerni Chs.29–30

King Rederech is, St Columba’s friend, Rhydderch, who ruled the Strathclyde Britons, Jocelin’s “Cambrian kingdom”, from his stronghold at Dumbarton.[*] At any rate, having installed his protégé, St Asaph, as his replacement in Wales, Kentigern set-off for the North:

… a great part of the brethren, to the number of six hundred and sixty-five, in no ways being able or willing to live without him so long as he survived, went away with him. Three hundred only abode with Saint Asaph… When King Rederech and his people had heard that Kentigern had arrived from Wallia into Cambria, from exile into his own country, with great joy and peace both king and people went out to meet him. On account of his arrival there sound in the mouths of all thanksgiving and the voice of praise and joy; while from the lips of the holy bishop there issued “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good-will.”
… After that the inhabitants of Cambria had turned to the Lord and were baptized, all the elements, which in vindication of the Divine justice had seemed leagued for its ruin, put on a new face towards them for the salvation of body and soul…
Now King Rederech, seeing that the hand of God was good to him, and was operating according to his desires, was filled with great joy. And he made no delay in exhibiting openly the inward fervour which animated his soul, For, stripping himself of his royal robes, on bended knees and hands joined, with the consent and advice of his lords, he gave his homage to Saint Kentigern, and handed over to him the dominion and princedom over all his kingdom, and willed that he [Kentigern] should be king, and himself [Rederech] the ruler of his country under him as his father, as he knew that formerly the great Emperor Constantine had done to Saint Silvester. —
— Hence the custom grew up for a long course of years, so long as the Cambrian kingdom lasted in its own proper rank, that the prince was always subject to the bishop.
Vita Sancti Kentigerni Chs.31–33

Kentigern is said to have carried out missionary work beyond his own diocese – in Galloway and in Alba (meaning the country north of the Forth/Clyde line) – and, since he was now too old to go himself, to have sent disciples to the Orkneys, Norway and Iceland.

All this being duly done, he returned to his own church of Glasgu, where, as elsewhere, yea, where, as everywhere, he was known to shine in many and great miracles.
Vita Sancti Kentigerni Ch.34

So famous did Kentigern become, says Jocelin, that St Columba travelled to Glasgow to meet with him:

… he desired to approach him, to visit him, to behold him, to come into his close intimacy, and to consult the sanctuary of his holy breast regarding the things which lay near his own heart… When these two godlike men met, they mutually embraced and kissed each other, and having first satiated themselves with the spiritual banquet of Divine words, they after that refreshed themselves with bodily food…
… during several days, these saints, passing the time together, mutually conversed on the things of God and what concerned the salvation of souls; then saying farewell, with mutual love, they returned to their homes, never to meet again.
Vita Sancti Kentigerni Chs.39–40

Columba died in 597. About a hundred years later, Adomnán (d.704), the ninth Abbot of Iona, wrote his Vita of St Columba, which contains no reference to Kentigern – nor, indeed, does the Vita of St David, written around 1095 by one Rhigyfarch.

… blessed Kentigern, full of years, when he was one hundred and eighty-five years old, matured in merit, famous for signs, wonders and prophecies, left this world and went to the Father … From the very day of his burial to the present time his sacred bones are known to put forth power from their own place … At his tomb sight is restored to the blind, hearing to the deaf, the power of walking to the lame, strength of limb to the paralytic, a sound mind to the insane, speech to the dumb, cleanness of skin to the lepers.
Vita Sancti Kentigerni Ch.44

Jocelin asserts that King Rederech, i.e. Rhydderch, died in the same year as Kentigern – the year of Rhydderch’s death is not otherwise recorded. As previously mentioned, the Annales Cambriae indicate Kentigern died in 612. Five centuries later (between 1114 and 1118), at the time when Strathclyde was being fully integrated into the kingdom of the Scots (Alba), Glasgow was made a bishop’s seat. Archaeological evidence, or rather the lack of evidence, suggests that Glasgow was a backwater before then.[*] Kentigern’s remains are reputed to lie in the crypt of the present Glasgow Cathedral. The first cathedral on the site, which is supposedly where Kentigern’s church stood, was consecrated in 1136. Construction of a new, larger, building was initiated by the hagiographer Jocelin’s client, Bishop Jocelin, but, though it was consecrated in 1197, archaeology suggests it was still incomplete when work began on the even larger edifice that survives today.


Columba Versus the Aquatic Beast

Adomnán writes:

At another time also, when the blessed man [Columba] was sojourning for some days in the province of the Picts, he was obliged to cross the river Ness; and when he had come to the bank, he sees some of the inhabitants burying an unfortunate fellow whom, as those who were burying him related, a little while before some aquatic beast seized and savagely bit while he was swimming, and whose hapless body some men, coming up though too late in a boat, rescued by means of hooks which they threw out. The blessed man, however, hearing these things, orders one of his companions to swim out and bring him from over the water a coble that was beached on the other bank. And hearing and obeying the command of the holy and illustrious man, Lugne Mocumin, without delay takes off his clothes, except his tunic, and casts himself into the water. But the beast, which was lying in the river bed, and whose appetite was rather whetted for more prey than sated with what it already had, perceiving the surface of the water disturbed by the swimmer, suddenly comes up and moves towards the man as he swam in mid stream, and with a great roar rushes on him with open mouth, while all who were there, barbarians as well as Brethren, were greatly terror-struck. The blessed man seeing it, after making the Salutary Sign of the Cross in the empty air with his holy hand upraised, and invoking the Name of God, commanded the ferocious beast, saying: “Go thou no further, nor touch the man; go back at once.”  Then, on hearing this word of the Saint, the beast was terrified, and fled away again more quickly than if it had been dragged off by ropes, though it had approached Lugne as he swam so closely that between man and beast there was no more than the length of one punt pole. Then the Brethren greatly marvelling, seeing the beast had gone back, and that their comrade Lugne had returned to them in the boat, untouched and unharmed, glorified God in the blessed man. And even the barbarous heathens who were there present, constrained by the greatness of the miracle which they themselves had seen, magnified the God of the Christians.
Vita Sancti Columbae II, 27
In a paper titled ‘The Career of Saint Kentigern of Glasgow: Vitae, Lectiones and Glimpses of Fact’ (The Innes Review Vol. 37.1, 1986) Alan Macquarrie writes: “… the interpretation of the name of Glasgow (as if it is being introduced for the first time) as Welsh clas + cu, ‘dear community’ [‘dear family’ in the above translation], point to a British cultural background … In fact, the name of Glasgow is much more likely to be Welsh glas + cau, ‘green hollow’, which could well indicate the deep hollow through which the Molendinar flows between the cathedral to the west and the Necropolis Hill to the east, now covered over by Wishart Street. The now popular etymology for Glasgow, ‘dear green place’, seems to result from an unhappy compromise between clascu and glascau, but cannot be the meaning of either; and glas + cu, ‘dear green . . .’, makes nonsense.”
Thomas Owen Clancy ‘The Real St Ninian’, The Innes Review Vol. 52.1 (2001).
See ‘Bradford bioarchaeologist helps reveal the origins of Whithorn Priory’, dated 9th July 2020, freely available online.
It seems likely that Bede’s informant was Pehthelm, the first English (i.e. Anglo-Saxon) bishop to be based at Whithorn, whom he cites (HE V, 13) as a source for other material.
The Picts converted by Ninian, referred to as the ‘southern Picts’ by Bede in the Ecclesiastical History, are called the Naturae in the single extant manuscript of the Miracula (Codex Bambergensis BII.10 – 11th century). Naturae is, however, apparently a scribal error, and it is believed that Niduari, as evidenced by Bede in his, earlier (c.720), prose ‘Life’ of St Cuthbert (Ch.11), is the truer form: “he [St Cuthbert] came by boat to the land of the Picts who are called Niduari”.
Ailred, like Bede, uses the term ‘southern Picts’ for the groups converted by Ninian.
See Ruin.
The earliest Welsh collection of royal genealogies is found in Harleian MS 3859. The manuscript itself dates from c.1100, but the genealogies were probably collected in the later-10th century. Variations and additions are found in the collection of genealogies from Jesus College MS 20 (14th century).
Tudwal, great-grandson of Macsen Wledig, appears in Harleian §4 – a fourteen-generation long (inclusive) pedigree of one Idwal, an otherwise unknown figure, that starts with Macsen Wledig – and JC §19 – a nineteen-generation long (inclusive) pedigree of Rhodri Mawr, king of Gwynedd (844–878), that starts with Macsen Wledig. JC §19 incorporates the whole of Harleian §4 (plus an extra generation), except for Idwal himself. Instead of Idwal, his sister features as the great-grandmother of Rhodri Mawr’s father, Merfyn Frych. There is some evidence that Merfyn Frych hailed from the Isle of Man (see Altered States). Further, six generations before Merfyn Frych appears Merfyn Mawr (Idwal’s great-grandfather). Merfyn Mawr is generally equated with the Merfyn (Muirmin) whom the Annals of Ulster seem to indicate was killed on the Isle of Man in 682. Consequently, it is widely supposed that Idwal was king of the Isle of Man. Galloway is separated from the Isle of Man by only around 18 miles of water. By the time of Idwal’s reign, Galloway would have been in Northumbrian hands, but it is possible that Idwal’s ancestor, Tudwal, had, eleven generations (in JC §19) earlier, ruled in Galloway. However, assuming there is substance in the notion that the place-name Dunragit (some 24 miles north-west of Whithorn) means Fort of Rheged, Whithorn would presumably have been in Rheged, and the ruling dynasty of Rheged are said to be descended from Coel Hen, not Macsen Wledig.
By “in the Scottic style [stilo Scottico]” Jocelin seems to mean ‘in the Scottic style of Latin’, rather than ‘in Gaelic’.
Jocelin explains (Ch.4) the names: “Kynentyern, which by interpretation is, The Capital Lord… he [St Serf] was accustomed to call him in the language of his country, Munghu, which in Latin means Karissimus Amicus [Dearest Friend]”.  However, in Medieval Scotland: Kingship and Nation (2004), Chapter 3, Alan Macquarrie writes: “The name Kentigern has a curious history. The earliest surviving form is Conthigirnus [Annales Cambriae], from the aristocratic British name Con tigern, ‘lord of hounds’. In later British it becomes Kyndyern, which was corrupted in Gaelic to Ceanntighearn. A twelfth-century writer [Jocelin] was told by Gaelic speakers that Kentigern meant ‘chief lord’. But the association of Kentigern with dogs was not forgotten, for he was accorded the pet-name Mo(n)chú, ‘my little dog’. It is by this name, Mungo, that he is still remembered in Glasgow.”
See Crimes Beyond Description.
See St David.
In a paper entitled ‘Church Archaeology in Glasgow and the Kingdom of Strathclyde’ (The Innes Review Vol. 49.2, 1998), Stephen T. Driscoll writes: “It seems clear … that prior to the twelfth century Glasgow was a place of little consequence. The absence of early medieval sculpture, or any other evidence dating to the ninth to eleventh centuries, suggests that when the diocese was established in the early twelfth century Glasgow possessed a modest church, probably timber-built, serving a small rural population and dedicated to a popular British saint.”
Jocelin accuses the pre-existing Glasgow Vita of being: “stained throughout by an uncultivated diction, discoloured and obscured by an inelegant style; and what beyond all these things any wise man would still more abhor, in the very commencement of the narrative something contrary to sound doctrine and to the Catholic faith very evidently appeareth.”  In The Saints’ Lives of Jocelin of Furness: Hagiography, Patronage and Ecclesiastical Politics (2010), Chapter 3 (pp.88–9), Helen Birkett comments: “Apart from the fact of its existence, there is little to suggest that Jocelin had access to the Herbertian Life… Although the Herbertian Life is often assumed to be the vita said to be in use at Glasgow Cathedral … [it] seems to lack this source’s characteristic feature: the inclusion of something contrary to Catholic doctrine at the beginning of the text.”  Dr Birkett describes the Herbertian story of Kentigern’s conception as “unflattering”, but certainly not “heretical”.
The extent of the kingdom ruled by Rhydderch is not certainly known – the name ‘Strathclyde’ did not actually come into use until the late-9th century. It is generally supposed, however, to have encompassed the Clyde Valley and Ayrshire. The “Cambrian kingdom” envisaged by Jocelin, though, seems to include all of what is now southern Scotland (i.e. south of the Forth/Clyde line) excepting Galloway, which he believed was occupied by Picts.
“Baldwulf was consecrated bishop of Whithorn [Hwiterne]” reports the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Manuscripts D and E) s.a. 791. This bishop was alive and well in 803 (Symeon of Durham, in his tract on the Church of Durham: II, 5). Between 833 and 836 the name of his successor, Heathored, was added to a list of the bishops of Whithorn (British Library MS Cotton Vespasian B vi/1). Then the record ends.
In a document* dated to December 1128, Pope Honorius II instructs the bishop-elect of Whithorn to go to Thurston, archbishop of York, to be consecrated.
* No. 30 in The Historians of the Church of York and Its Archbishops Vol. 3 (1894); No. 63 in Early Scottish Charters (1905). The document is dated to 1125 in both these publications, but it is now generally dated to 1128.