« ForrigeFortsett »
The chapel was erected either to commemorate some event that had taken place on the spot, either in the life of a saint, or on the scene of a battle; or else it was erected in fulfilment of a vow made in a moment of danger; or, again, was due to a dream connected with the place; or to the finding there of an image ; or, lastly, a chapel was erected for the accommodation of a noble family which had its château there. The chapel was not a part of the organism of the tribe or afterwards of the parish. It was an outcrop.
These chapels are extremely numerous in Brittany. They are for the most part opened only once or perhaps twice in the year, when Mass is said in them, on the occasion of the “ Pardon "=Patronal Feast. Yet some of them are magnificent monuments of architecture, far surpassing the parish churches of the district in which they are situated.
It was due, probably, to the close and friendly relations maintained with the Franks, and association with them, that we hear of no strife engendered in Brittany over Celtic peculiarities in ecclesiastical matters. In the monasteries, indeed, the Celtic tonsure was employed till the year 890, and clergy, even bishops, were often married ; but the difference in the time of the celebration of Easter does not appear to have existed. Apparently, the British Church in Armorica quietly accepted the Roman computation. Had it been otherwise, we should certainly have heard of the fact. 46
One curious document has come to light that shows how strained were the relations between the Gallo-Roman bishops of the old cities at an early period and the clergy of the new colonies from Britain. Between 515 and 520 Licinius, Metropolitan of Tours, Eustochius, bishop of Angers, and Melanius, bishop of Rennes, issued a monitory letter addressed to a couple of British priests named Lovocat and Cathiern, requiring them to desist from certain practices that offended their ideas of what was seemly. “We have learned, by the report of the venerable priest Sparatus, that you do not desist from taking about certain tables into the cabins of your compatriots, upon which you celebrate the divine Sacrifice, in the presence of women called conhospitæ, and who, whilst you are administering the Eucharist, administer to the people the Blood of Christ. . . . And we have deemed it our duty to warn you, and supplicate you by the love of Christ, and in the name of the Unity of the Church, and of our common faith, to renounce this abuse of tables, which, we doubt not on your word, to have received priestly consecration; and these women,
46 See further, under S. Gwenael.
whom you call conhospitæ, a name which one cannot hear or pronounce without shuddering.” 47
There was probably a good deal of exaggeration in this charge. The three prelates had only the word of Sparatus to go upon, and he bore these British priests a grudge. They had, as yet, no churches, or the churches were few and far between, and they went their rounds, ministering to their fellow immigrants the Bread of Life, as they were in duty bound. They carried with them portable altars. This was customary among the Celts, and was adopted throughout the Latin Church in the eighth century. S. Leonore, on his voyage to Armorica, carried his altar-stone with him. S. Carannog cast his into the Severn sea, and it was washed up on the Cornish coast. The custom of having portable altars was introduced from Iona into the Northumbrian Church, and the earliest known example is that of about 687, in Durham Cathedral. 48
But early in the sixth century these portable altars were novelties, and were accordingly condemned by the three bishops above named.
As to the conhospita, they were doubtless the wives of Lovocat and Cathiern, for the Celtic clergy were usually married. Indeed, married bishops and priests appear in Brittany many centuries later. The first order of saints in Ireland, according to the often-quoted Catalogue of the Orders, “muliarum administrationem et consortia non respuebant"; 49 it was later, when the Irish Church became monastic, that the women were excluded. The three bishops misunderstood the position of these women. They supposed them to be the mulieres subintroducte who had given so much trouble from the Apostolic period.50 That these British priests allowed the women to administer the chalice to communicants is perhaps a libel, a bit of spiteful gossip retailed by Sparatus.
Owing to the troubles in the South of Ireland at the close of the fifth century, when the Ossorians were expelled their land by Aengus MacNadfraich and Cucraidh, who gave it over to be peopled by the Southern Déisi, there would seem to have been an exodus of these dispossessed Ossorians, and they appear to have settled, some in West Cornwall and others in the west of Brittany. But it was not from Ossory alone that a migration took place. The Hy Bairrche were driven out of their territory between the Slaney and the Barrow by the Hy Cinnselach about the middle of the fifth century, and internecine war was chronic in Leinster to the close of that century.
47 Cognovimus quod vos gestantes quasdam tabulas per diversorum civium vestrorum capanas circumferre non desinatis, et missas, ibidem adhibitis mulieribus in sacrificio divino quas conhospitas nominatis, facere præsumatis, sic ut erogantibus vobis Eucharistiam, illæ vobis positis calices teneant, et sanguinem Christi populo administrare præsumant.” Lovocat et Cathiern, par Duchesne, Revue de Bretagne et de Vendée, 1885, p. 6.
48 Smith, Dict. Christian Antiquities, i, 69; Darcel, “Les Autels portatifs," in Didron, Annales Archéologiques, xvi, 77-89.
49 Vitæ SS. Hib. Cod. Sal., col. 161.
50 Gildas refers to the custom,“ Religiosam forte matrem seu sorores domo pellentes et externas veluti secretiori ministerio familiares indecenter levigantes vel potius . . . humiliantes.” De Excid., ed. Williams, p. 164.
We find settlements of Irish saints, all from Leinster and Munster, along the coasts of Finistère and Léon, with churches under the invocation of Conlaeth of Kildare, Senan of Iniscathy, Setna, Fiacc of Sletty, Ronan, Ciaran of Saighir, Ciannan, Brendan of Clonfert ; and the cult of S. Brigid was widely diffused there.
But there is another curious phenomenon connected with the Irish settlements. A cluster of these is found in the department of Illeet-Vilaine. The mouth of the Rance and the Bay of Mont S. Michel were doubtless favourite places for landing. Up the Rance seven Irish bishops, with pious women accompanying them, plodded at the very beginning of the sixth century, planting churches all the way, and finally reached Rheims in 509, where they were received by S. Remigius.51 These came from the South of Ireland, and were quite independent of another settlement, unique in its way, made from Ulster.
S. Servan was founded by Serf, the Irish master of S. Kentigern of Glasgow ; S. Maccaldus, bishop of Man, is venerated as founder at S. Maugand, near Montfort. In the twelfth century the church is entered as that of S. Magaldus. 52
Maccald or Maughold had been a robber chief ; he was converted by S. Patrick, and in punishment for his crimes sent adrift in a coracle without oars, and with his feet chained.53 He drifted to the Isle of Man, and we may suspect that the Patrician bishops there, Coindrus and Romulus, recommended him to go abroad and practise penance and learn the monastic rule in Armorica, where his past history was unknown. Hard by the settlement of Maughold is that of another Irishman, S. Uniac, as now called, but the patron is S. Toinnau.54 It is not possible to identify him ; he can hardly be Toimen, bishop of Armagh, who belongs to a later period. He became bishop in 622 or 623. S. Brendan also had a monastery on Césambre, and a foundation at S. Broladre, and at S. Brelade in Jersey.
51 See under S. Achebran and S. Germanus MacGoll.
53 The punishment of sending adrift on the sea was not uncommonly exercised. The criminal was clothed in a vile garment, his feet bound with an iron fetter, and the fetter-key was cast into the water. He was placed in a navis unius pellis, a coracle whose wicker framework was covered with hide only one fold deep, and without food, oar or rudder, committed to the winds and waves. Muirchu Maccu-Mactheni, in Tripartite Life, p. 288. In the case of aggravated manslaughter, according to the Senchus Mór, this was the punishment. When Fiacha, son of Domnall, was killed by the men of Ross, his brother Dormchadh asked advice of S. Columcille as to what punishment he should deal out to the people of Ross. S. Columcille sent two of his clerics to the spot, and they ordered that sixty couples of the men and women of Ross should in this manner be sent adrift on the sea. O'Curry, MS. Materials of Ancient Irish History, Dublin, 1861, p. 333.
Professor Zimmer has pointed out some evidences of Irish influence in Brittany. “ In 884 the Breton monk Wrmonoc, in his monastery of Landevenec in Brittany, wrote a Life of S. Paul of Léon, who lived at the beginning of the sixth century. This Life is based on written sources, and the associates of S. Paul who had come with him from the south-west of Britain are quoted, with their full names. On one of them, Quonocus, there is the additional remark : Whom some, adding to his name after the fashion of the people over-sea, called Toquonocus '; and further on we read that the name Woednovius in the same way had a second form, Towoedocus. We meet with several other instances. ... During the sixth and seventh centuries the custom prevailed in Ireland, and especially in the monasteries, of forming familiar names from the full name form, which always consisted of two components, such as Beo-gne, Lug-beo, Find-barr, Aed-gen, and Aed-gal. It was done by taking one component of the full name and adding the diminutive ending -an, -iān (e.g. Beoan, Findan, Finnian, Aedan), or by prefixing mo-, to-, and often adding öc as well, like Maedoc (=MoAed-oc), Molua, Tolua, Mernoc, Ternoc. Thus a person of the name of Beogne was familiarly called Beoan (little Beo '), Mobeoc (* my little Beo '), or Dobeoc (you little Beo '); in the same way, Lugbeo, Luan, Molua, Moluan, Tolua, Moluoc all denote the same person ; similarly, Becan, Mobecoc, Tobecoc, Ernan, Mernoc, Ternoc, etc. How strong must the influence of the Irish element at the beginning of the sixth century have been in the monasteries of Brittany and of the south-west of Britain, if British monks imitated this truly Irish way of forming familiar names ! It is, then, not surprising that among the Breton saints of the sixth and seventh centuries we find a dozen or more who by tradition and name are Irish.” 55
Again : in the middle of the sixth century the bards of Ireland, to their consternation, discovered that one of their famous traditional tales, concerning a cattle raid of some historic importance, was lost. Fragments were to be found, but not the tale entire. After Ireland had been ransacked for it in vain, they met in council, in 580, and appointed a commission to proceed to Brittany and visit the Irish settlers there, and inquire whether any of them had carried off a complete copy of the great tale. The commission went to Armorica and returned, having succeeded in recovering the desired work. 56 Now, this surely shows that the Irish settlers had remained to stay, for unless they had done so they would hardly have carried off their romantic and historic literature with them.
54 De Corson, op. cit. s.v. S. Uniac. In the tenth century (913) the name is given as S. Toinanus ; in the fourteenth century, S. Thonnanus. He has his Holy Well in the parish,
55 The Celtic Church in Britain and Ireland, Lond., 1902, pp. 68-9.
Much difficulty exists in the identification of the saints in Brittany, owing to the various forms their names assume. Some, we are expressly told, had double names ; Brioc was also Briomaglus, Kenan was known as well as Colledoc, and Meven had a second name, Conaid.
But it is in the mouths of the people that great transformation has taken place. Gorlois becomes Ourlou, Conlaeth is now Coulitz, Judoc is Josse, and Brigid is rendered S. Berch’et. Guethenoc is transformed to Goueznou, and Gwen is translated into Candida in Lower and Blanche in Upper Brittany. Beudoc is softened to Bieuzy, and Fingar into S. Venner.
It is certainly a fact deserving of consideration that, whereas Armorica may have been, and probably was, colonised by refugees from all the south coast of Britain, nevertheless its ecclesiastical organisation should be due solely to the Welsh. There is no trace whatever of British saintly founders from other portions of Britain.
The Strathclyde family of Caw may be accounted Welsh, for it was settled in Anglesey or Môn by the generous hospitality of
56 O'Curry, MS. Materials of Ancient Irish History, Dublin, 1861, p. 8. The passage is in the Book of Leinster, and runs thus :-“ The Filés (poets) of Erinn were now called together by Senchan Torpeist (chief poet of Erinn and of S. Cieran of Clonmacnoise) to know if they remembered the Tain bo Chuailgne in full ; and they said that they knew of it but fragments only. Senchan then spoke to his pupils to know which of them would go into the countries of Letha to learn the Tain, which the Sai had taken eastwards after the Cuilmenn. Eminé, the grandson of Nininé o Muirgen, Sanchan's own son, set out to go to the East.”
The date would be about 580. Letha is the Letavia of the Lives of the Welsh Saints, or Llydaw, i.e. Armorica, though sometimes it is used for or confounded with Latium. Here it is certainly Armorica. The going East means that the traveller crossed either to Alba, or from Wexford or Waterford to Porth Mawr at S. David's and thence travelled to the next crossing to Brittany. The Cuilmenn, the great collection of history, is unhappily now lost. It is referred to in the Brehon Laws, and in an ancient Irish Law Glossary. Ibid., p. 9.