Cill- names and saints in Argyll: a way towards understanding the early church in Dál Riata?

Butter, Rachel (2007) Cill- names and saints in Argyll: a way towards understanding the early church in Dál Riata? PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Place-names containing Gaelic cill are common throughout the Gaelic-speaking world. In the area of Argyll chosen by the present study, the second element of such names (cill + X) is nearly always the name of a saint. This thesis sets out to discover what these cill- names and their associated dedications to saints might contribute to the study of the early church in Dál Riata.

Detailed studies are made of three saints who seem to be culted in or near the chosen three areas of study. These areas are then studied in detail: Kintyre, an area with an impressive density of cill- names; Kilmartin and Loch Awe, an area in the heart of Dál Riata, but perhaps at a border between two different cenéla, with Dunadd at its core; Bute, an area whose relationship with the various groups within Dál Riata and with the neighbouring Britons is interesting and uncertain.

The data lying behind these studies is presented in a gazetteer of cill- sites and a table of saints. The former provides easy access to early forms of place-names, to archaeological data, history, analysis of the place-names and associated traditions. The latter was envisaged as a means of clarifying this difficult material. The many challenges which its construction revealed, however, became a major focus of enquiry: questions regarding where one saint stops and another begins, of layering the conflicting kinds of information into intelligent format, of being able to give any coherence to the development of the various cults over time.

It is concluded that this kind of evidence must be treated with caution. Its usefulness in our interrogation of the history of the church in Dál Riata was limited, though a very rigorous use of hagiographical material, in particular martyrologies, produced a number of insights.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Celtic and Gaelic
Supervisor's Name: Supervisor, not known
Date of Award: 2007
Depositing User: Angi Shields
Unique ID: glathesis:2007-4509
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2013 10:15
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2013 10:15

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