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Notes on the History of the Old Culdees

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--- Quote from: djinnee on November 18, 2013, 04:28:54 PM ---Theories on origin of the 'Culdees'

Early Beginnings

Protestant and Presbyterian writers

Culdees had preserved Celtic Christianity, free from supposed Roman corruptions, in one remote corner of western Europe
This view was enshrined in Thomas Campbell’s Reullura:
"Peace to their shades. The pure Culdee were Albyn’s earliest priests of God, Ere yet an island of her seas by foot of Saxon monk was trod."

Hector Boece - (sometimes spelt Boethius, or Boyce) (1465(dundee)-1536(Aberdeen)) was a Scottish philosopher and first Principal of King's College in Aberdeen, a predecessor of the University of Aberdeen.

Latin history of Scotland (1516), makes them the direct successors in the 9th to the 12th century of the organised Irish and Iona monasticism of the 6th to the 8th century.  William Reeves (1815–1892), bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore.

Another theory suggests the possibility that the Rule of Chrodegang, archbishop of Metz (d. 766), was brought by Irish monks to their native land from the monasteries of north-eastern Gaul, and that Irish anchorites originally unfettered by the rules of the cloister bound themselves by it.

In the 9th century we find nine places in Ireland (including Armagh, Clonmacnoise, Clones, Devenish and Sligo) where communities of these Culdees were established as a kind of annex to the regular monastic institutions.

They seem especially to have had the care of the poor and the sick, and were interested in the musical part of worship.

The Iona monks had been expelled by the Pictish king Nechtan son of Derile in 717.

James A. Wylie (1808–1890). The Culdees (Keledei) of Scotland are related to the Celtic Christian spirituality of the monks of Iona.
Over the course of several hundred years, the Culdee leaders of the church in Scotland were edged out of positions of authority and temporal support by outside church officials.  These officials appear to have been brought into the country for the sole purpose of dispossessing the existing local officials in order to snuff out the independence of the Celtic Christian tradition. Numerous historical references for the persecution of the Kelede by the Roman church at large to support this view.

The opposition of both Queen Margaret and King David I who were staunch supporters of the practices of the continental church and who would have no reason to fear a sect professing the continental practices.

Óengus the Culdee (b.d.Clonenagh)
lived in the last quarter of the 8th century, best known as the author of the Félire Óengusso "the Martyrology of Óengus".
Becoming a hermit, he lived for a time at Disert-beagh, where, on the banks of the Nore, he is said to have communed with the angels.
From his love of prayer and solitude he was named the "Culdee"; in other words, the Ceile Dé, or "Servant of God."
Not satisfied with his hermitage, which was only a mile from Clonenagh, and, therefore, liable to be disturbed by students or wayfarers, Óengus removed to a more solitary abode eight miles distant.
This sequestered place, two miles southeast of the present town of Maryborough, was called after him "the Desert of Óengus", or "Dysert-Enos".
Here he erected a little oratory on a gentle eminence among the Dysert Hills, now represented by a ruined and deserted Protestant church.
His earliest biographer (9th century)[citation needed] relates the wonderful austerities practiced by St. Óengus in his "desert", and though he sought to be far from the haunts of men, his fame attracted a stream of visitors.
The result was that the good saint abandoned his oratory at Dysert-Enos, and, after some wanderings, came to the monastery of Tallaght, near Dublin, then governed by St. Maelruain.

He entered as a lay brother, concealing his identity, but St. Maelruain soon discovered him and collaborated with him on the Martyrology of Tallaght.   

This was a work of Northumbrian provenance, probably from Lindisfarne, which first passed through Iona and Bangor, where Irish scribes began to make some additions. The manuscript (now lost) finally arrived in Tallaght, where it received the majority of its Irish additions.
It was written by someone of Óengus's learning and literary skill at Tallaght and there are strong indications that this was Óengus himself:
First of all the sources named by Óengus in the epilogue to the Félire (see above) would make more sense if these were the materials used for the Martyrology of Tallaght; second, a number of saints whom the same epilogue claims to have included are found in the Martyrology of Tallaght, but not in the actual Félire.

High Middle Ages

Those who accept the orthodox Roman viewpoint generally believe that the features of their life in Scotland, which would be the most important epoch in the history of the order, seem to resemble closely those of the secular canons of England and the continent.

From the outset they were more or less isolated, and, having no fixed forms or common head, tended to decay.
In the 12th century the Celtic Church was completely metamorphosed on the Roman pattern, and in the process the Culdees also lost any distinctiveness they may formerly have had, being brought, like the secular clergy, under canonical rule.
The pictures that we have of Culdee life in the 12th century vary considerably.
The chief houses in Scotland were at St Andrews, Scone, Dunkeld, Lochleven, Monymusk in Aberdeenshire, Abernethy and Brechin.
Each was an independent establishment controlled entirely by its own abbot and apparently divided into two sections, one priestly, the other lay and even married.
At St. Andrews about the year 1100 there were thirteen Culdees holding office by hereditary tenure and paying more regard to their own prosperity and aggrandizement than to the services of the church or the needs of the populace.

The Best book I have read regarding the history of the Culdees is
JOHN JAMIESON, D.D., F.R.S., F.A.S.E. (1759-1838(edenburgh))A HISTORY OF THE CULDEES HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF THE ANCIENT CULDEES OF IONA And of their Settlements in Scotland England, and Ireland.

Message me if you are interested in reading the Jaimeson book as I have outlined it.  The above information written regarding the Culdees is from this book.

I just found another book in my collection called "The Mabinogi an Clem - The Story of the Children of Clem ", published by the Authors, Frederic Headly Barker Climo and Percy J. Climo, which gives a personal family pedigree and is a great historical reference for the history of Cornwall Britain, its Celtic roots as well as for the migration of the people of Cornwall to other parts of the world.
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*This was originally posted on the link provided below, but deserves it's own topic thread here: http://culdiantrust.org/culdianforums/index.php?topic=11.msg1530#msg1530

Thanks for reposting this.  On reading the forum rules, I thought I needed to edit my other post rather than add another thread.  I have an ecopy of the Jamieson book and my outline of the key points in the book is a 26 page document.

I scanned a page in The Mabinogi an Clem of the "Old Gorsed Prayer".

Thanks for all the work!

You only need to edit your old posts to add on if no one else has responded yet. This is considered double posting, or consecutive posting. Other people have responded, so you could have posted in the old thread, but this is a new topic anyway concerning the Culdees in particular.

The Jamieson book is past copyright, so it may be posted here in full... but may be a little long for a post. If you'd like to post it as an attachment (and your outline as well), attach PDF or Word files on an email you send me, and I'll be able to post those attachments to the forum for people to download and read at their leisure.


Attached to this post are both John Jamieson's book, A Historical Account of the Ancient Culdees of Iona, and djinnee's notes on this history.

djinnee has kindly provided me with both, to share with everyone here. The file "culdee history" is Jamieson's book, while the file "culdee theory" is djinnee's write up.

Thanks djinnee!


--- Quote from: Manu ---So Kailedy means servant of God?
--- End quote ---

Partially… although, it would be more accurate to translate it to ‘Vassal of God’.

Further meanings may be read about below:




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