Cornwall's patron Saints


Compared to most UK counties Cornwall has had more than its fair share of saints.

For about a hundred years in the 5th and 6th centuries Celtic missionaries arrived in numbers from Wales and Ireland, settled on the shores of Cornwall, and began converting small local groups of people from other forms of religion such as druidism and animism to Christianity. Most of these missionaries established a cell or church near sites that were already in use for religion. These were places like holy wells, springs, standing stones, and existing shrines.

Although many of these men were never officially designated saints by the church in later years, their names do continue to live on as saints within old churches and amongst local people. There are over 200 local churches who have a saints name designated to them.

Many have also left their names to the present day in town names like St Austell or St German.

Over time the legend and realities of these saints have became confused in the telling of their stories. Some of Cornwall’s saints include the following:

  • St Brychan
    Is Said to have arrived from Wales with 3 wives, 12 sons and 12 daughters (including Endillion, Issey, Kew, Mabyn, Minver and Teath, who all became saints themselves)
  • St Budoc
    Apparently arrived in Cornwall floating in a barrel.
  • St Cleer
    St. Cleer was an Englishman who came to Cornwall in the 8 th or 9 th century. He preached and built a church on the edge of Bodmin moor - today's village of St. Cleer. The village also has a holy well and two ancient Celtic crosses.
  • Saint Endelienta
    Saint Endelienta was a daughter of King Brychan, who settled in Saint Endellion and taught the Christian faith.Two nearby wells are named after her.
  • St Fingar
    Arrived from Ireland with his brothers St Breaca, St Euny and St Erc. His sister, Ia, arrived separately floating on an ivy leaf.

Booking holiday cottages in Cornwall is probably the easiest way to ensure that you can explore Cornwall’s towns and villages with their associated saints.

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