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Kentigern, St

KENTIGERN, ST, or MUNGO (" dear friend," a name given to him, according to Jocelyn, by St Servanus), a Briton of Strathclyde, called by the Goidels In Glaschu, " the Grey Hound," was, according to the legends preserved in the lives which remain, of royal' descent. His mother when with child was thrown down from a hill called Dunpelder (Traprain Law, Haddingtonshire), but survived the fall and escaped by sea to Culross on the farther side of the Firth of Forth, where Kentigern was born. It is possible that she may have been a nun, as a convent had been founded in earlier times on Traprain Law. The life then describes the training of the boy by Servanus, but the date of the latter renders this impossible. Returning to Strathclyde Kentigern lived for some time at Glasgow, near a cemetery ascribed to St Ninian, and was eventually made bishop of that region by the king and clergy. This story is partially attested by Welsh documents, in which Kentigern appears as the bishop of Garthmwl, apparently the ruler of the region about Glasgow. Subsequently he was opposed by a pagan king called Morken, whose relatives after his death succeeded in forcing the saint to retire from Strathclyde. He thereupon took refuge with St David at Menevia (St David's), and eventually founded a monastery at Llanelwy (St Asaph's), for which purpose he received grants from Maelgwn, prince of Gwynedd. After the battle of Ardderyd in 573 in which King Rhydderch, leader of the Christian party in Strathclyde, was victorious, Kentigern was recalled. He fixed his see first at Hoddam in Dumfriesshire, but afterwards returned to Glasgow. He is credited with missionary work in Galloway and north of the Firth of Forth, but most of the dedications to him which survive are north of the Mounth in the upper valley of the Dee. The meeting of Kentigern and Columba probably took place soon after 584, when the latter began to preach in the neighbourhood of the Tay.

AUTHORITIES. Lives of St Kentigern; Fragment used by John of Fordun, and complete " Life " by Jocelyn of Furness in Forbes's Historians of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1874), vol. v. ; Four Ancient Books of Wales (Edinburgh, ed. W. F. Skene, 1868), ii. 457; Myvynan Archaeology (London, 1801), ii. 34; D. R. Thomas, History of Diocese ofSt Asaph (London, 1874), p. 5 ; Index of Llyfr Coch Asaph, Archaeologia Cambrensis, 3rd series, 1868, vol. xiv. p. 151 ; W. F. Skene, Celtic Scotland (Edinburgh, 1877), ii. 179 ff.; John Rhys, Celtic Britain (London, 1904), pp. 145, 146, 174, 199, 250.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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