celtic and Old English Saints 26 June 2017

St. Brannock of Braunton
St. Babolenus of Fosses
St. Corbican of Ireland

Three today, and as I have recently sleuthed the internet of course I have discovered many Parishes and churches named for many of these saints such that it is difficult to determine which saint is which. Let’s see how we go today.

St. Brannock, Abbot of Braunton
(Barnoc, Brannoc)

6th century. Saint Brannock appears to have migrated from southern Wales into Devon. Some say that he floated over from Ireland in a stone coffin. He founded a monastery at Braunton, near Barnstaple in Devonshire, where William Worcestre and Leland say he was buried. The traditions concerning him are confused. Some hagiographers identify him as the 6th-century Welsh missionary Saint Brynach (Bernach or Bernacus). Because there are two separate feasts at Exeter on April 7 and January 7 for the respective saints, it is unlikely that they are the same person (Benedictines, Farmer).

The parish of St. Brannock’s is a legacy of St. Brannock who first founded the church in the sixth century. The church was built in a wooded valley away from the main Celtic settlement, near to the trackways which came through gaps in the river Caen and went onwards to the saltpans of nearby Saunton or to cross the river Taw/Torridge estuary and on down towards Cornwall. Tradition has it that St Brannoc first built his church on a hill overlooking Braunton but it fell down, and in a dream he was told to look for the sow and her piglets and there to build his church. The story is still commemorated in one of the stained glass windows and one of the roof bosses of the present St Brannocks where if you look carefully you will see the sow and her litter.

Three churches have been built on the site and the present church dating from the 13th century contain elements of the church of 837 AD. The exact locality of Saint Brannoch’s tomb is now unknown, but some of his relics are in the church and it is a place of pilgrimage for Greek Orthodox from London. [St. Brannock, Abbot of Braunton ]