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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/515

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503
The Sanctuary of Mourie.

against this date in the 10th-11th century Feilire, or Festival-book of Aengus.

The Scotch accounts vary considerably from those of the Irish documents. All the Scotch calendars and writers, with one exception, date the saint's festival on the 27th August. The Breviary of Aberdeen records his martyrdom at the hands of the pagan Norwegians on the eastern shores of Ross; that at the place where he suffered a chapel was erected, afterwards the church of Ferintosh; that his body was removed to Applecross, and that the lands of Applecross six miles round the church were sacred, as certain desecrating Danes found to their cost. The Breviary also tells how the saint succoured his worshippers when attacked by the "Islanders", who burnt his church at Contan with a hundred men and women in it, and of his power to enforce the holiness of his day. "It happened that one year some people . . . neglected to observe the saint's festival, being busily occupied in reaping, for which their houses took fire and were consumed."[1]

Dr. Reeves suggests that the double date of April 21st and August 27th may have arisen from a connection or confusion that seems to have existed between St. Maelrubha and a St. Ruffus of the Scotch and Irish calendars, the Ruphin of the beautiful quatrain in the Feilire of Aengus:

"that pure martyr,
Ruphin the gentle and sweet:
To the king of the limitless clouds
He went through a field of spears."

This confusion may account for the Scotch attribution of martyrdom to St. Maelrubha, and for the mention of Isle Maree as "the iland of St. Ruffus", in the seventeenth century record.

Dr. Reeves says that on Isle Maree "there formerly existed an oratory of the saint".[2] There appears also to be

  1. Breviarii Aberdonensis, Part. Estiv. Propr. Sanct., foil. 89bb-91aa (Reprint).
  2. Dr. Reeves, p. 286.