Forgotten Saints

St Colmac’ a cross, Isle of Bute, Scotland.

It is much easier to find this cross on the map than in real life. 

In February I read of this cross in an old guide book to the island. It intrigued me, even though I was a regular visitor to the area, was even born on the island. I had never seen it. 

In March while doing a cycle tour I eventually found it. Finding the field was no problem, it was next to the main road. Climbing the fence and getting over the hedge wasn’t as easy as it used to be. When I couldn’t located it, the farmer pointed me to it. He wondered why anybody would bother with it. He explained why the lambs are a bit later this year. The ewes were tupped later so the lambs would hopefully be born when the grass had started to grow.

Getting back to the cross. There are many St  Colmac, even the experts wouldn’t hazard a guess as to which one this cross commemorates. A few doubt he actually existed. But it has been there since at least the seventh century. Until the late eighteenth century there was a small chapel and graveyard by it. These were lost due to agricultural improvements. Interestingly it was known to be used for worship late into the sixteenth century.

Most likely it is a preaching cross, a focal point for worship. Periodically, a missionary would arrive in the locality and preach and tend to the local people.  He would also imagine bring news of the world beyond.

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