Barrett/Scottish Saints/St. Berchan

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Dom Michael Barrett

August 4 – St. Berchan, Bishop.

This Irish saint spent a good part of his life in Scotland. Few particulars of his career now remain to us, but he laboured near Stirling as a missionary. Some traces of devotion to him are still existing. The name of Kilbarchan, in the county of Renfrew, proves the connection of the saint with that neighbourhood. St. Barchan's Fair was held there annually. In the same county is to be found an ancient Celtic cross erected in honour of St. Berchan. Another fair was at Tain; this is evident from an ancient charter of that burgh, in which it is stated that St. Barquhan's Fair is "held on the 3rd day after the Feast of St. Peter ad Vincula, commonly called Lambmes." St. Peter ad Vincula, or, as it is usually called, St. Peter's Chains, is a feast which falls on August 1st, hence St. Berchan's Fair, in celebration of his feast, was held on the 4th. Lambmes or Lammas was the ancient name of this feast of St. Peter and was derived from the Saxon hlaf (loaf). It had its origin in the offering at Mass of a loaf made from the first-fruits of the harvest.

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