St. Fergus of Glamis
Died after 721; feast formerly on November 18. An Irish bishop, possibly of Downpatrick, and surnamed “the Pict,” he went to Scotland as a missionary and preached in Caithness, Buchan (where there is a town called Saint Fergus), and Forfarshire. In Strogeth he founded three churches; in Caithness, two (presumably Wick and Halkirk). He may also have established churches at Inverugy, Banff, and Dyce.
He finally settled at Strathearn, Perthshire, where he exerted a powerful influence in the area between Aberdeen and Wick. Saint Fergus is buried at Glamis, a central location of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” and where a cave and well bear his name. During the reign of James IV (1488-1513), the abbot of Scone removed the head of Fergus and built a splendid marble tomb for his body relic at Glamis. Aberdeen had an arm relic.
He may be the same as Fergustus, bishop of the Scots, who signed the Acts of the synod in Rome in 721, which condemned irregular marriages of various kinds, sorcerers, and clerics who grew their hair long.
In the Aberdeen breviary he is called Fergustian. The feast of Saint Fergus, who was highly venerated by the Scottish kings, is kept in the dioceses of Dunkeld and Aberdeen. Although the Reformers attempted to suppress his cultus, Montague states that it is still growing, especially in the area around Paisley in Renfrewshire. A new church has been dedicated to his memory and the nearby town of Ferguslie is named after him (Attwater2, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Montague).
No one knows for certain when Fergus was born or where. The name is of Pictish origin and he is recorded as Fergus, a Pictish Bishop, so it is generally considered he was from the north east of what is now called Scotland. In the Aberdeen breviary he is called Fergustian and “he occupied himself in converting the barbarous people”.
He is also thought to have trained in Ireland or the south of Scotland, possibly both!
Many places in the north east of Scotland bear testimony to people having thought so well of him that they named places and churches in his honour. None more so than St. Fergus Kirk, Glamis. [ more]
Attwater, D. (1958). A Dictionary of Saints. New York: P. J. Kenedy & Sons.
Benedictine Monks of St. Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate. (1947). The Book of Saints: A Dictionary of Servants of God Canonized by the Catholic Church Extracted from the Roman and Other Martyrologies. NY: Macmillan.
Delaney, J. J. (1983). Pocket Dictionary of Saints. NY: Doubleday Image.
Farmer, D. H. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Montague, H. P. (1981). The Saints and Martyrs of Ireland. Guildford: Billing & Sons.
First Life: Celtic and Old English Saints – 27 November . 2016. Celtic and Old English Saints – 27 November . [ONLINE] Available at: http://celticsaints.org/2016/1127a.html. [Accessed 28 November 2016]
Second life: Glamis Inverarity Kinnettles Kirk, Angus, Scotland – St. Fergus, Pictish Bishop of the Scots, Patron Saint of Glamis Kirk.. 2016. Glamis Inverarity Kinnettles Kirk, Angus, Scotland – St. Fergus, Pictish Bishop of the Scots, Patron Saint of Glamis Kirk.. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.stferguskirkglamis.co.uk/saintsstfergus.html. [Accessed 28 November 2016].