Celtic-St. Kea, Bishop of Devon and Cornwall 5th November


Old Kea Church

Old Kea – St Kea The chapel at Old Kea stands on the historic site of Kea Church near the river Fal.  It is said that St Kea landed here on his first visit to Cornwall, making it one of the ancient sites of Celtic Christianity.  A medieval tower is still standing in the churchyard. 

St. Kea, Bishop of Devon and Cornwall
(Kay, Ke, Kenan, Quay)

About the Fifth century, a young Irish monk watched with anguish as his brother monks sailed away from the southern shore of Ireland to preach the word of God to the heathen in England. Such was his distress at being left behind that he fell in a swoon while praying upon a hollow granite boulder and, on wakening, found to his amazement that his kneeling Stone was floating. This continued to do, day and night through storm and tempest, until it finally drifted gently ashore on the bank of the river Fal at what is known as Churchtown Creek. There he founded a monastery. His name was Kea.


There was indeed a young monk named Kea, also known as Che, Lan-te-Ke, and Landegea, and he was one of the lesser known Cornish Saints. He was a son of noble parents and was admitted to the priesthood at an early age because of ability in the sciences, rising quickly to the dignity of Bishop. However, he gave up position , distributed his wealth to the poor, and took up the life of a hermit. While praying for guidance, he was told to seek a bell with which he should travel until such time as it rang of its own accord. Obeying this instruction he found a bell-founder Gildas, who made him a bell with which he travelled until he crossed an inlet from the sea and entered a forest. There the bell rang, and there he built a chapel and cells for himself and his companions. There he stayed for some years until , after the settlement of a dispute with a certain Theodoric, he received money sufficient for him to enlarge the establishment to a full monastery. After this he went to Brittany, where he eventually died at Cleder on the first Saturday in October, about 495. A Holy well dedicated to him is to be found there.

A Monastery is Known to have existed at Old Kea in Cornwall.

St Kea was probably one of several monks who came from Glastonbury to found centres of Christian worship in the West Country. Among his companions would of been Fili and Rumon. The names of Kea and Fili are also linked in other parts of the west of England, Kea may have been a descendant of Paternus (or Padarn) King of Cornwall, and there are references to links with King Arthur and some of his Knights. His Feast Day is the anniversary of his death, the Sunday after the first Saturday in October, and his help is sometimes invoked to cure toothache.

Troparion of St Kea
Tone 1
Thou wast unsparing in thy missionary labours
in Brittany and Cornwall, O Hierarch Kea.
As thou didst make the flame of the orthodox Faith burn brightly in the face of defiant paganism,
pray to God for us,
that we devote our lives to confronting the paganism of our times
for the glory of Christ’s Kingdom and the salvation of men’s souls