Other Saintly Connections

The earliest direct record of Aberlady goes further back to the early 6th century, when Theneau – enhances our story. She was the daughter of King Loth of the Gododdin, who gave name to Lothian.

The story takes us back to the days of Arthurian legend.

Loth wished Thaneau to wed a British prince called Owain, son of Urien of Rheged. However, Thaneau was Christain while Owain was not. Marriage between royal families was a customary means of cementing relationships and enhancing the royal blood-line. On her refusal to marry Owain, Loth banished Theneau as a slave for his chief shepherd in the Lammermuirs.

But there Owain raped Theneau. Now carrying an illegitimate child, King Loth ordered that she be cast down the steep, south face of Traprain – on which he had his fortress-capital.

Surviving that ordeal, Loth decided to hand his daughter over to Manannan, the sea-god. He had her taken to Aberlady and cast adrift in a hide coracle. Thaneau drifted around the Isle of May and eventually beached at Culross, where she was taken into care by St Serf who raised and educated her son Kentigern, known affectionately by St Serf as Mungo, meaning mannikin. And, in due course, Mungo himself became a Celtic missionary, and moved west with his mother, to the Clyde, to found his establishment, which was Eglaid-cu, Glasgow.


Glasgow’s Coat of Arms, depicting the legend of St Kentigern

Mungo lived an ascetic and holy life until his death in 603. He was canonised and became the patron saint of Glasgow with a feast day on 13 January. His grave is still below St Mungo’s Cathedral. In time Princess Theneau name changed to suit the local dialects to Enoch – St Enoch. Nearer to home, a natural spring was dedicated to the Saint – Mungo’s Wells (Mungoswells).

Mungo, or Kentigern, was a contemporary of Merlin, a druid of the Britons.