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Location: Glasgow Guide / Glasgow Information / Famous Glaswegians / Saint Kentigern   

Famous Glaswegians (and those who became famous in Glasgow)<<

Kentigern, SAINT[Born: c. 518, Culross, Fife - Died: January 13, Glasgow 603]

Famous Glaswegian: St Kentigern & MyrddinGrandson of the British prince Lothus. Hermit. Monk. Missionary to Scotland, beginning at Cathures. Bishop of the Strathclyde Britons in the area of modern Glasgow in 540. He taught and led there for 13 years, living in great austerity. Exiled in 553 during an anti-Christian uprising by local pagans, he fled to Menevia, Wales, where he stayed with Saint David of Wales. He founded a monastery at Llanelwy, and served as its first abbot. He returned to Scotland in 573, evangelizing the areas of Galloway and Cumberland. He returned to Glasgow in 581 and led his people there for his remaining 22 years. Apostle to northwest England and southwest Scotland.

Glasgow's Coat of Arms includes a bird, a fish, a bell and a tree, the symbols of Kentigern.

  • The Bird commemorates the pet robin owned by Saint Serf, which was accidentally killed by monks who blamed it on Saint Kentigern. Saint Kentigern took the bird in his hands and prayed over it, restoring it to life.
  • The Fish was one caught by Saint Kentigern in the Clyde River. When it was slit open, a ring belonging to the Queen of Cadzow was miraculously found inside it. The Queen was suspected of intrigue by her husband, and that she had left with his ring. She has asked Saint Kentigern for help, and he found and restored the ring in this way to clear her name.
  • The Bell may have been given to Saint Kentigern by the Pope. The original bell, which was tolled at funerals, no longer exists and was replaced by the magistrates of Glasgow in 1641. The bell of 1641 is preserved in the People's Palace.
  • The Tree is symbol of an incident in Saint Kentigern's childhood. Left in charge of the holy fire in Saint Serf's monastery, he fell asleep and the fire went out. However he broke off some frozen branches from a hazel tree and miraculously re-kindled the fire.



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