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´╗┐Title: Bolougne-Sur-Mer - St. Patrick's Native Town
Author: Fleming, William, 1844-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Bolougne-Sur-Mer - St. Patrick's Native Town" ***

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[Frontispiece: Picture of Boulogne-sur-Mer]
The cross marks the ruins of the fortifications built around Caligula's
Tower by Henry VIII., King of England.






Nihil Obstat.

          _Archiepiscopus Westmonasteriensis_.



THE numerous bewildering and contradictory theories to be met with in
books, pamphlets, and reviews concerning St. Patrick's native country
are calculated to provoke a spirit of weary incredulity and impatience.
However, when presenting this book to the public, we may quote the late
Canon O'Hanlon's plea for adventurous writers who still endeavour to
solve the problem: "The question of St. Patrick's country," writes the
distinguished author of the "Lives of the Irish Saints," "has an
interest for all candid investigators far beyond the claim of rival
nations for the honour it should confer. It has been debated, indeed,
with considerable learning and earnestness both by Irish and foreign
writers; yet, as Ireland does not prefer any serious claim to the
distinction, of which she might well feel proud, so can Irishmen afford
to be impartial in prosecuting such an enquiry" (St. Patrick, March

From a patriotic point of view it might be urged that, although
innumerable books and pamphlets have been written on our subject, not
one too many has seen the light, inasmuch as each of them has served in
a greater or lesser degree to keep the memory of our great Apostle ever
fresh in our minds.

We are deeply indebted to the Rev. Professor Leilleux, who is
at present engaged in writing a "History of the Diocese of
Boulogne-sur-Mer," and to the Abbe Massot, chaplain to the Little
Sisters of the Poor in that town, for having clearly proved to us that
ancient Bononia was called "Bonauen," and Caligula's tower--Turris
Ordinis--was called "Nemtor" by the Gaulish Celts. These discoveries go
far to show that the Apostle of Ireland was a native of ancient Bononia,
now called Boulogne-sur-Mer.

Colgan, who published his "Trias Thaumaturga" in 1647, assures us in
his fifth Appendix, chapter i., that there was an old tradition in
Armorica that St. Patrick was a native of that province; and the same
author adds that several Irish writers adhered to that opinion. This
book, therefore, does not seek to formulate a new theory; its only
object is to gather together many of the records which tend to prove
that St. Patrick was born in Armorican Britain.

Our most grateful thanks are also due to the Very Rev. Canon Gildea,
D.D., M.R., who has kindly read through this book for the "Nil obstat";
and to the courteous Curator of the Library and Museum at Boulogne for
permitting us to make a sketch of Caligula's famous tower and
lighthouse, which was called Turris Ordinis or Turris Ardens by the
Romans, and Nemtor or Nemthur by the Armorican Britons.


     LONDON, E.C.

St. Patrick's Parentage
The Different Birthplaces assigned to St. Patrick
Bonaven Taberniae was well known to the Irish Scots
History of the Town Bonaven, or Bononia
St. Patrick made Captive by Niall of the Nine Hostages
St. Patrick after his Captivity returns to (Gaul) his Native Country
St. Fiacc's Nemthur was situated in the Suburbs of Boulogne
St. Fiacc describes St. Patrick's Flight from Ireland to Armorica
The Scholiast practically admits St. Patrick's Birth in Armorica
The "Trepartite Life" falls into the Same Error
All that the Second and Third "Lives" testify
The Fourth "Life"
The Sixth "Life of St. Patrick," by Jocelin
The Fifth "Life," by Probus, proves that St. Patrick was born in
St. Patrick's Flight to Marmoutier described by Probus
Britain in Gaul St. Patrick's Native Country
Britanniae in the Plural not appropriated to Great Britain
St. Patrick calls Coroticus, a British Prince, "Fellow Citizen"
The Site of the Villula where St. Patrick was born


ABOUT the middle of the fourth century a noble decurion named
Calphurnius espoused Conchessa, the niece of St. Martin of Tours.
Heaven blessed their union with several children, the youngest of whom
was a boy, who received at his baptism the name of Succath, which in
the Gaelic tongue signifies "valiant."

Jocelin is responsible for the statement that the parents of the future
Apostle of Ireland took, by mutual consent, the vow of celibacy after
St. Patrick's birth, and that Calphurnius, like St. Gregory of Nyssa,
St. Hilary, and St. Germanus, who were all married men, "closed his
days in the priesthood" (chap, ii., p. 2). "There were thousands of
priests and Bishops," as Dr. Dollinger observes, "who had sons before
their ordination" ("History of the Church," vol. ii., p. 23, note).

There are others, however, like Father Bullen Morris, who are of
opinion that St. Patrick's declaration in the "Confession" that his
father was "a deacon" is a mistake on the part of the copyist for
"decurion," and, as a proof of this contention, they point to the words
made use of by the Saint in his Epistle to Coroticus, which is
admittedly genuine: "I am of noble blood, for my father was a decurion.
I have bartered my nobility--for which I feel neither shame nor
sorrow--for the sake of others." It is difficult to reconcile this
statement with the assurance given in the "Confession" that his father
was a humble deacon. "It is inconceivable," as Father Bullen Morris
argues, "that the Saint, sprung from a noble family, should base his
claim to nobility on the fact that his father, Calphurnius, was a
deacon. On the other hand, the theory that Calphurnius was a Roman
officer fits in with both statements of the Saint" ("St. Patrick,
Apostle of Ireland," p. 285, Appendix).

The same author gives another reason for calling in question this part
of the text of the "Confession" in the "Book of Armagh." A scribe made
an addition to the genealogy of St. Patrick as recorded in the Book,
writing on the margin "Son of Odisseus"; and these words are actually
introduced into the text by Dr. Whitley Stokes, in his edition of the
"Confession," without either note or comment. It is easy to imagine,
therefore, that ancient Celtic writers, with their passion for
genealogies, should tamper with the ancestors of St. Patrick.
Nicholson, a distinguished Irish scholar, was, of opinion that the
addition "a deacon" was mere guesswork on the part of the copyist, and
wrote "incertus liber hic"--"the book is here unreliable" ("St.
Patrick, Apostle of Ireland," Appendix, pp. 286--288).

Moreover, if the word "a deacon" in the "Book of Armagh" is the true
reading, it must surely be a matter for surprise that St. Patrick, who
sternly enforced the law of celibacy in Ireland as part of the
discipline of the Catholic Church, should describe himself as the son
of a deacon without either comment or explanation, and more especially
when we remember that the Council of Elvira, A.D. 305, and the Council
of Aries, A.D. 314, had enforced the laws of celibacy--"The severe
discipline of the Councils of Elvira and Aries," writes Alzog,
"obtained the force of law and became general throughout the Western
Church" ("Universal Church History," vol. i., chap, iv., pp. 280, 281).
The practice of clerical celibacy, therefore, existed in the Western
Church probably before Calphurnius was born, and certainly before he
was old enough to get married.

Calphurnius was admittedly a decurion, or Roman officer. Now Pope
Innocent I., in his Letter to Exuperius, Bishop of Toulouse, in the
year 405, in answer to a number of questions submitted to him by the
Bishop, stated that there was an impediment to the ordination of men
who had served in the army on account of the loose morality prevalent
in the camp. As the Pope was simply laying down the rules of discipline
already existing in the Church, Calphurnius, being a Roman officer,
could not have been ordained without the removal of the impediment. All
this tends at least to prove that we should read "decurion" for
"deacon" in the "Confession."

According to the "Book of Sligo," St. Patrick was born on Wednesday
(373), baptized on Wednesday, and died on Wednesday, March 17th, A.D.


BARONIUS and Matthew of Westminster declare that St. Patrick was born
in Ireland, but scarcely any writer of the present day ventures to
express that view. O'Sullivan, Keating, Lanigan, and many French
writers contend that he was a native of Armoric Gaul, or Britain in
France. Welshmen are strongly of opinion that Ross Vale, Pembrokeshire,
was the honoured place; whilst Canon Sylvester Malone attributed the
glory to Burrium, Monmouthshire, a town situated, as Camden narrates,
near the spot where the River Brydhin empties itself into the Usk. The
Scholiast, Colgan, and Archbishop Healy seem to have no doubt as to the
Saint's birth at Dumbarton. Ware believes that a town that once stood
almost under the shadow of the crag possessed a stronger claim; Usher
and the Aberdeen Breviary are equally positive that Kilpatrick was the
town. Cardinal Moran, on the other hand, has convinced himself that St.
Patrick first saw the light of day at a place that once stood near the
present town of Hamilton, just where the river Avon discharges itself
into the Clyde. Some English writers have strongly advocated the claims
of a Roman town named Bannaventa that once stood near the present site
of Davantry, Northamptonshire. Professor Bury, in his "Life of St.
Patrick," had the doubtful honour of inventing a new birthplace for the
Saint; he tells us that St. Patrick was born at a Bannaventa, "which
was probably situated in the regions of the Lower Severn."


The belief that St. Patrick was born in Ross Vale, Pembrokeshire, is
founded principally on the supposed acceptance of that view by Camden,
and on an old tradition to the effect that St. Patrick, having
completed his missionary labours in Ireland, founded a monastery at
Menevia and died there.

As the authority of the learned Camden carries with it great weight, it
will here be not out of place to quote his own declaration, which is as
follows: "Beyond Ross Vale is a spacious promontory called by Ptolemy
Octopitarum, by the Britons Pebidiog and Kantev-Dewi, and by the
English St. David's land. . . . It was the retiring place and nursery
of several Saints, for Calphurnius, a British priest--_as some have
written, I know not hew truly_--begot there St. Patrick, the Apostle of
Ireland" ("Britannia," vol. ii., p. 32). The same author, in another
place, gives expression to his own views on the subject, to which,
indeed, he does not seem to have devoted very serious study. "St.
Patrick," he writes, "was a Briton born in Clydesdale, and related to
St. Martin, Bishop of Tours, and he was a disciple of St. Germanus"
("Britannia," vol. ii., p. 326).

The Ross Vale theory has, in truth, as little in its favour as the old,
but groundless, tradition that St. Patrick founded a monastery and
ended his days at Menevia. This is plainly contradicted by the Saint's
assertion that after he had landed as a missionary in Ireland he never
once left, and ended his days in the land of his adoption. "Though I
could have wished to leave them" (the Irish), writes the Saint in his
"Confession," "and had been desirous of going to Britain, as if to my
own country and parents, and not that alone, but even to Gaul to visit
my brethren, and see the face of the Lord's Saints. But I am bound in
the spirit, and He who witnesseth all will account me guilty if I do
it, and I fear to lose the labour which I have begun; and not I, but
the Lord Christ, who commanded me to come and remain with them for the
rest of my life, if the Lord prolongs it, and keeps me from all sin
before Him." This statement, which was made by St. Patrick just before
his death, when he wrote the "Confession," could never have been
volunteered if he had once left the country where the Lord had
commanded him to remain for the rest of his life.


The Scholiast and Colgan, who identify the Crag of Dumbarton with the
Nemthur of the Saint's nativity, are faced by the unanswerable
difficulty that though Nemthur may be the name of a tower, or may be
the name of the district in which the tower stood, it cannot be the
name of a town. The Saint in his "Confession" states that his father
hailed from the suburban district of a town called Bonaven Tabernise,
where he possessed a country seat, from which he (the Saint) was
carried off into captivity. Bonaven, therefore, is rightly regarded as
St. Patrick's native town. St. Fiacc simply states that St. Patrick was
born at Nemthur, but he does not assart that Nemthur was a town,
otherwise he would be at variance with his Patron, who plainly gives us
to understand that he was born at Bonaven Tabernise, The only way of
reconciling this apparent conflict of evidence is to assume that St.
Fiacc is giving the name either of the tower or the district in which
St. Patrick was born, while the Saint is giving the name of the town of
which he was a native, but not the name of the district which was
honoured by his birth.

Dr. Lanigan, however, objects "that no sensible writer, wishing to
inform his readers where the Saint was born, would say that he came
into the world in a tower" ("Eccl. Hist.," vol. i., p. 101).

Nemthur may indeed be a corruption of Neustria, as Dr. Lanigan
suggests; but it must not be forgotten that districts not unfrequently
derive their names from famous monuments that either stand or have
stood in their midst. We have an illustration of this in the very
locality where many believe that St. Patrick was born. The high level
on the north-eastern cliff's of Boulogne is called even at the present
time "Tour d'Ordre," deriving its name from Caligula's tower, which the
Romans called Turris Ordinis, and the Gaulish Celts called Nemtor,
which once stood on the lofty plateau, but is no longer in existence.

Ware's theory, in his own words, is this: "I must dissent from the
Scholiast that Nemthur and Alcuid were the same place; though it must
be granted that they stood near each other, as appears from a passage
of Jocelin: 'there was a promontory hanging over the town of Empthor, a
certain fortification, the ruins of which are yet visible,' and a
little later: 'this celebrated place, seated in the valley of the
Clyde, is, in the language of the country, called "Dunbreaton," that
is, the Fort of the Britons'" (Ware, vol. i., p. 6).

Relying also on Jocelin's statement that Tabernise signified a "Field
of Tents"--"Tabernaculorum Campus"--and on his unwarranted assertion
that the habitation of Calphurnius was "not far from the Irish Sea,"
Usher pointed out Kilpatrick, a town situated between Dumbarton and the
city of Glasgow, as St. Patrick's native town.

Jocelin's "Life of St. Patrick," as Canon O'Hanlon has said, is
"incomparably the worst" of the Latin lives of the Saint, and yet it is
on this untrustworthy foundation, and on the contradictions of the
Scholiast, that Usher and Ware rest their respective theories. Usher
discovered a Roman camp at Kilpatrick, and found that the town was "not
far from the Irish Sea," and it is upon this weak hypothesis that the
Kilpatrick theory rests.

The Aberdeen Breviary coincides with Usher, and the lesson referring to
St. Patrick is as follows: "St. Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland, was
born of Calphurnius, a man of illustrious Celtic descent, and of
Conchessa, a native of Gaul and a sister of St. Martin, Bishop of
Tours. He was conceived with many miraculous signs at Dumbarton Castle,
but was born and reared at Kilpatrick in Scotland, near the Castle."

But if the Aberdeen Breviary asserts that St. Patrick was born at
Kilpatrick, the Continental Breviaries, as Colgan freely admits, are
equally positive that he was a native of Armoric Gaul.

Cardinal Moran, in an article contributed to the _Dublin Review_ in the
spring of 1880, insisted rightly that the solution of the difficulty is
to be found in the word Bonaven. Bon, or Ban, he tells us, is a Celtic
word which signifies the mouth of a river, and Avon is the river
itself. From this, he argues that the Saint was born at a town which
once stood on the present site of Hamilton, which is situated at the
mouth of the Avon, just where that river discharges itself into the
Clyde. The same argument would apply with equal force to a town
situated at the mouth of the River Aven on the French coast, which
flows into the harbour of Concarneu in Brittany.

Anyone who accepts the authority of Probus, who asserts that Bonaven
Tabernise "was not far from the Western sea," or of the Scholiast, who
is the author of the Dumbarton theory, will see a grave objection to
accepting the Cardinal's solution of the problem: Hamilton is about
fifty miles distant from Dumbarton, and far away from the Atlantic

None of the authors mentioned make any attempt to reconcile the two
contradictory statements of the Scholiast: (1) that St. Patrick was
born at Dumbarton, and (2) that he was captured in Armorica. They have
failed to notice that, if the Saint was captured in Armorica, he could
not have been born at Dumbarton, because he assures us in his
"Confession" that he was captured at his father's home. Even according
to the admissions of the Scholiast, therefore, Bonaven Tabernise, St.
Patrick's home, was situated in Armorica. Usher, Ware, and Cardinal
Moran, while contending that the Apostle of Ireland was born in North
Britain, refuse to accept the Scholiast's statement that he was a
native of Dumbarton.


Ignoring altogether both the Scotch and Welsh theories as to the
birthplace of St. Patrick, Professor Bury, in his Life of the Saint,
holds that Ireland's Apostle was born in a village named Bannaventa;
not, however, Bannaventa now known as Daventry in Northamptonshire,
seeing that that town would be too far "from the Western sea," but
another Bannaventa somewhere on the sea coast, and "perhaps in the
region of the Severn" (chap, ii., p. 17, and Appendix, 323).

The whole of Professor Bury's new theory rests on a very faint
similarity between Bonaven or Bannaven--the name which the Saint gives
to the town of his birth--and Bannaventa; and on an entirely gratuitous
assumption that there must have been a town named Bannaventa "in the
regions of the lower Severn."

Professor Bury is recognised as a very able historian by the literary
world; his Appendix alone to the "Life of St. Patrick" affords ample
proof of his learning and genius. Nevertheless, he occasionally
indulges in some obiter dicta without historical proof, and at times
lays himself open to the charge of want of historical accuracy. For
instance, he ascribes the origin of the Papal power to a decree of the
Emperor Valintinian III., issued in A.D. 445 at the instance of Pope
Leo, which is supposed to have conferred "on the Bishop of Rome sovran
authority in the Western provinces which were under the imperial sway."
Before that period, he tells us, "the Roman See was recognised by
imperial decrees of Valintinian I. and Gratian as a Court to which the
clergy might appeal from the decisions of Provincial Councils in any
part of the Western portion of the Empire"; that "the answers to such
were called Decretals"; that there were no Decretals before those of
Damasus (366, 384); "that those who consulted the Roman Pontiff were
not bound in any way to accept his ruling"; and that when Pope Zosimus
endeavoured to enforce his Decretals "he was smitten on one cheek by
the Synods of Africa; he was smitten on the other by the Gallic Bishops
at the Council of Turin." "By tact and adroitness," Pope Leo induced
the Emperor Valintinian III. to issue an edict which established the
Papal power over the Western provinces of the Roman Empire. The
Professor explains how Ireland, on account of its geographical
position, was drawn into the Roman Confederation; and it is on that
account that he admits the genuineness of the decree of a Synod held by
St. Patrick, to the effect that in cases of ecclesiastical
difficulties, which the Irish Bishops could not solve themselves, the
Sovereign Pontiff should be asked to give a decision ("Life of St.
Patrick," pp. 59--66).

The Professor's perversion of ecclesiastical history is a blot on his
otherwise excellent "Life of St. Patrick." How can he reconcile these
statements with St. Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians, which
Eusebius admits to be genuine, or with Pope Stephen's exercise of
pontifical authority in the case of St. Cyprian and the question of
validity of baptism conferred by heretics; or with the celebrated
declaration of St. Irenaeus on the authority of the Church of Rome,
which is as follows: "It is a matter of necessity that every Church
should agree with this Church on account of its pre-eminent authority,
that is, the faithful of all nations"? ("Irenseus contra Hereses," vol.
L, lib. iii., cap. iii., sect. 2, translated by Rev. A. Roberts,
Edinburgh, 1868). Now St. Clement lived in Apostolic times, St. Cyprian
from 200 to 258, and St. Irenaeus flourished between A.D. 150 to 202,
while the Roman Emperors were persecuting the Church. Leaving the
well-defined path of history, the Professor indulges in speculations
which will seem to most people to be without warrant.

St. Patrick's home, he tells us, was in "a village named Bannaventa,
but we cannot with any certainty identify its locality. The only
Bannaventa that we know lays near Daventry; but this position does not
agree with an ancient indication that the village of Calphurnius was
close to the Western sea. As the two elements of the name Bannaventa
were probably not uncommon in British geographical nomenclature, it is
not rash to suppose that there were other small places so called
besides the only Bannaventa that happens to appear in Roman
geographical sources, and we may be inclined to look for the Bannaventa
of Calphurnius in South-Western Britain, perhaps in the regions of the
lower Severn. The village must have been in the neighbourhood of a town
in possession of a municipal council of decurions" (chap, ii., pp. 16,

The Professor quietly assumes without proof that Bonaven and Bannaventa
are one and the same; that "vicus" is used in its secondary meaning of
"a village," and not in its primary signification, "a district or
quarter of a town," in the "Confession"; and while admitting that there
was no other town in Britain named Bannaventa except Bannaventa in
Northampton, as far as can be gathered from "Roman sources of
information," and passing over the fact that Camden's "Britannia,"
which gives the history of every old town in the kingdom, and Horsley's
"Britannia Romana," which performs the same task, make no mention of
any other Bannaventa, whilst old maps and itineraries are equally
silent, the Professor seemingly rests satisfied with his own mere
conjecture, that there may have been another Bannaventa, which was
probably situated in the regions of the lower Severn. Surely a
speculation of this kind may well be called unwarranted.


Colgan, when he published his "Trias Thaumaturga" in 1647, admitted
that there was "A constant tradition amongst the inhabitants of that
country that St. Patrick was a native of Armorican Britain, which
tradition several Irishmen endorse," (In Britannia Armorica regione
Gallise natum esse vetus est traditio incolarum istius terrae cui
nonulli suffragantur Hiberni.) (Appendix 5, p. 2.)

Don Philip O'Sullivan, who published "Patriciana Decas" in 1621,
strongly upheld this view. Attempts, however, have more recently been
made to prove that St. Patrick was a native of Scotland, but there
undoubtedly existed a tradition in favour of the belief that St.
Patrick came from Gaul to Ireland, and this view is firmly held by
Keating and Lanigan, two of our ablest Irish historians.

St. Patrick narrates in his "Confession" that he was born in the
suburbs of a town called Bonaven, where there was a Roman encampment,
and that, when a youth in his fifteenth year, he was taken prisoner by
the Irish Scots, "the nation to whom he showed tender forgiveness." The
very year of his capture corresponds with the raid of Niall of the Nine
Hostages into Armorica. As the Irish Scots invaded that country just
when St. Patrick had attained his fifteenth year, and as the Saint
declared that he had been taken prisoner by men of the nation which he
had converted, it is more than probable that he was taken prisoner
during that raid.

As Bononia, or Boulogne-sur-Mer, was called Bonauen by the Gaulish
Celts, and as the "v" and "u" are convertible in Gaelic, the Bonauen of
the Gaulish Celts and the Bonaven of St. Patrick's "Confession" may
well be one and the same place. Indeed, there are arguments which seem
to place their identity beyond reasonable doubt.

St. Fiacc declares that the Apostle of Ireland was born at Nemthur.
Now, Nemtor was the name given by the Gaulish Celts to Caligula's tower
in the suburbs, and close to the City of Bononia, or Boulogne. St.
Fiacc, therefore, gives the name of the district--for the district
about Nemthur was named after the prominent landmark in its midst, and
St. Patrick the name of the town in the suburbs of which he was born.

According to the Celtic legend, Calphurnius was a Roman officer in
charge of the tower, and was slain on the occasion when his son Patrick
was made prisoner by the Irish Scots.

A close examination, however, of the "Confession" and of the old Latin
lives of the Saint, will, it seems to us, securely determine which of
the four theories--the Scotch, the Welsh, the English, or the French--
concerning St. Patrick's native country, carried with it the greatest
amount of probability.


THIS will appear evident from a close study of the "Confession": "Ego
Patritius, peccator, rustissimus et minimus omnium fidelium, et
contemptabilissimus apud plurimos, patrem habui Calphurnium diaconum,
filium quondam Potiti, presbyteri, qui fuit vico Bonaven Taberniae,
villulam enim prope habuit ubi ego in capturam dedi. Annorum tune eram
fere XVI."

"I, Patrick, a sinner, the most uncultured and humblest of all the
Faithful, and, in the eyes of many, the most contemptible, had for
father Calphurnius, a deacon, and the son of Potitus, a priest, who
hailed from the suburbs of Bonaven, where the encampment stood, for he
possessed a little country seat close by, from whence I was taken
captive when I had almost attained my sixteenth year."

The primary meaning of "vicus" is a district, or a quarter of a city,
and "villula" signifies "a little country seat" (Smith's "Latin and
English Dictionary"). The district of the city of Bonaven alluded to
was evidently suburban, because the house in which Calphurnius and his
family dwelt was a "little country seat," which was, nevertheless,
close to ("prope") the town.

The Saint must have had some special reason for writing the name of his
native town in Gaelic, while the rest of the "Confession" is written in
Latin. There was a very important town in Armorican Britain at the
time, which was called Bononia by the Romans, and Bonauen by the
Gaulish Celts (Hersart de la Villemarque Celtic Legend, pp. 3, 4). In
the days of Julius Caesar its harbour was called Portus Ictius
("Dictionnaire Archeologique et Historique du Pas de Calais").

O'Donovan, who translated the "Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the
Four Masters," assures us in a note, under the year 405, that Niall of
the Nine Hostages was assassinated by the banished Prince Eochaidh at
Muir N'Icht, which the translator identifies as Bononia, or Boulogne-
sur-Mer. Keating, on the other hand, narrates that King Niall received
his mortal wound on the banks of the Loire. It is easy to reconcile the
apparent difference between the two accounts, if we assume that the
wounded Monarch was carried in a dying state to join the fleet which
lay at anchor in the fine bay which then formed the outer harbour of
Boulogne, and that he had at least the consolation of dying on board
his own ship.

Muir N'Icht, or Portus Ictius, then possessed the finest harbour in
northern Gaul. From the days of Julius Caesar, Portus Ictius, or the
harbour of Boulogne, was the port from which the Roman troops sailed to
Britain, and the harbour to which they steered on their return. On top
of Caligula's tower there was a lighthouse for the guidance of vessels
at sea. The very fact that King Niall made use of this harbour when he
raided Armorica in the twenty-seventh year of his reign, makes it
likely that he sailed into the same harbour when first invading that
country in the ninth year of his reign. The sons of the soldiers who
took part in the second raid were still alive; and the memories of both
expeditions were still fresh in the minds of the brave Irish Scots when
St. Patrick wrote his "Confession."

The records of both expeditions were undoubtedly read at the annual
Feast of Tara, when the Kings, nobles and learned were accustomed to
meet annually and examine the National records (Keating, pp. 337--388).

The triumphant march of devastation made by the Irish Monarch in the
ninth year of his reign, when he led his troops "from the walls of
Antoninus to the shores of Kent"; the successful raid into Armorica
which commenced with the capture of the Roman encampment at Haute
Ville, Boulogne, and ended in the plundering of the surrounding
country, must have been the burden of many a warlike song whenever the
Irish minstrels chanted the glorious triumphs of King Niall's
invincible troops. It is, therefore, but natural to suppose every man,
woman, and child in Ireland had often heard the name of Bonaven, where
the soldiers of King Niall stormed the encampment, and where the
ever-conquering Monarch expired.

St. Patrick, who, according to the "Scholiast," the Fifth and
Tripartite Lives, and Heating's "History" (p. 312), was captured in
Armorica, and who, according to Hersart de la Villemarque and Dr.
Lanigan, was taken captive at Boulogne, was well aware that every
Irishman would know the town to which he was referring when he declared
in his "Confession" that his father, Calphurnius, and consequently he
himself, hailed from the suburban district of Bonaven Taberniae, or
Bononia, where the Roman encampment stood.


THE ancient records of Bononia, or Boulogne-sur-Mer, date back to about
half a century before Christ--to the time when Julius Caesar,
anticipating Napoleon the Great, stood on the north-eastern cliffs of
that town gazing through the Channel mist on the dim outline of that
Britain which he had resolved to subjugate.

At that period two headlands stretched out into the sea for a distance
of three miles--one on the northeastern side of the town, near to what
is now known as Fort la Cresche; and the other from Cape Alpreck, about
three miles lower down on the south-western coast. These headlands,
stretching out into the sea, so encircled a bay as to form it into an
outward haven.

The inner harbour of Boulogne was approached by a narrow channel
dividing the north-eastern from the south-western cliffs; and the
waters of the bay, flowing through it and uniting with the River Liane
in covering the present site of the lower town, rushed onwards as far
as the valley of Tintelleries and the vale of St. Martin.

Facing the site of the present town there was an island called Elna,
and on it was built the ancient town of Gessoriac, which was connected
with the mainland by a bridge. Realising the future importance of the
place both for naval and military purposes, Caesar commissioned Pedius,
a native of Bononia, in Italy, to lay out a town on the declivity of
the Grande Rue, leading to Haute Ville, as the upper town and the hill
leading to it are called at the present day. (Bertrand's "History of
Boulogne-sur-Mer," pp. 17, 18. "Walkernaer's Geography," vol. i., p.

The walls of the present fortifications of Haute Ville, built in the
thirteenth century, rest on the ancient foundations of the old Roman
encampment. This fact was proved at the time when a tunnelling was made
for the railway from Boulogne to Calais under Haute Ville
("Dictionnaire Historique et Archeologique du Pas de Calais," vol. i,
p. 22). The circuit of the present fortifications, about 700 yards
square, present to-day the appearance pf the old Roman encampment. "The
camp of a Roman legion," writes Gibbon, "presented all the appearance
of a fortified city. As soon as the place was marked out, the pioneers
carefully levelled the ground and removed every impediment that might
interrupt its perfect regularity. It forms an exact quadrangle, and we
might calculate that a square of 700 yards was sufficient for the
encampment of 20,000 Romans, though a similar number of our troops
would expose to an enemy a front of more than treble its extent. In the
midst of the camp the pretorium, or general's quarters, rose above the
others; the cavalry, the infantry, and the auxiliaries occupied their
respective stations; the streets were broad and straight, and a vacant
of 200 feet was left on all sides between the tents and the ramparts.
The rampart itself was usually twelve feet high, and defended by a
ditch twelve feet in depth, as well as in breadth. This important
labour was performed by the legionaries themselves, to whom the use of
the spade and the pick-axe was no less familiar than the sword and the
pilum" ("Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," vol. i., p. 27.) This
gives a faithful description of the Roman encampment (Castra Stativa)
at Boulogne, which is described by St. Patrick as Bonaven Tabernise, or
Bononia, where the Roman encampment was pitched. Bononia, according to
Bertrand's "History of Boulogne," was regarded by the Romans as their
"principal dockyard" in Northern Gaul; and Suetonius, in his "Lives of
the Twelve Caesars," describes it "as the port from which the Roman
legions successively departed for Britain" (p. 283, note).

Many err in supposing that Gessoriac and Bononia were one and the same
town, originally called Gessoriac, and later, that is to say during the
reign of Constantine the Great, known as Bononia. It is true, however,
that during that Emperor's reign Gessoriac also came to be called

It is well to observe that the Morini, or inhabitants of the coast in
the neighbourhood of Boulogne, were converted to Christianity by St.
Firmin about the close of the second century; and that St. Fusian built
a chapel on the banks of the River Liane, which flows through Boulogne,
in the year 275.

St. Patrick, in his "Confession," represents himself and the fellow-
citizens of his youth as Christians who had not observed the
Commandments of God, and who had not been obedient to their priests. At
that time the Northern Britons were pagans; St. Ninian, who flourished
about the year 400, was the first missioner who preached the Gospel to
the Dalraida and Southern Picts. They could not, therefore, have been
described in the year 388, when St. Patrick was made captive, as
Christians who had ceased to practise their religion. "I knew not the
real God," writes St. Patrick, "and I was brought captive to Ireland
with many thousand men, as we deserved, for we had forgotten God and
had not kept His Commandments, and were disobedient to our priests, who
admonished us for our salvation. And the Lord brought down upon us the
anger of His Spirit, and scattered us amongst many nations, even to the
ends of the earth, where now my humble self may be witnessed among
strangers" ("Confession").


GIBBON narrates that about the middle of the fourth century the "sea
coast of Gaul and Britain were exposed to the depredations of the
Saxons" (vol. i., P- 739); and Bertrand, in his "History of Boulogne,"
admits that the city was plundered by the Saxons in the year 371, but
that the invaders spared Caligula's tower and lighthouse on account of
its usefulness for their safe navigation. The silence of local history
concerning two raids made by the Irish Scots into Armorica in the years
388 and 402 is not surprising, seeing that French writers admit that
there is practically no history of Armorica or more than a century
after the Saxon raid in the year 371. Gibbon, however, in his history
of the "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," narrates that "the
hostile tribes of the North, who detested the pride and power of the
King of the World, suspended their domestic feuds, and the barbarians
of the land and sea, the Picts, the Scots, and the Saxons, spread
themselves with rapid and irresistible fury from the walls of Antoninus
to the shores of Kent" (vol. i., p. 744). Keating supplements this
information by describing the two raids made by the Irish Scots into
Armorica; the first of which took place in the year 388, and the second
in 402, or about that time. This Irish historian is considered by
Professor Stokes to be a most trustworthy authority. "Keating," writes
the Professor, "had access to the Munster Documents, which are now
lost. He gives a long account of the Irish invasions of England and
France exactly corresponding to the statements of the Roman historian,
Amianus Marcellinus, and to the 'Annals of the Four Masters'" ("Ireland
and the Celtic Church," p. 38, note).

Of the raids of King Niall into Armorica the first is the more
interesting, for it proves, first, that St. Patrick was born in the
year 373, and, next, that he was captured neither in North Britain, nor
Wales, but in Armorican Britain.

To escape from these conclusions, Doctor Lanigan, who held that St.
Patrick was born in the year 387, writes as follows: "I find in Keating
but one expedition of Niall to the coast of Gaul, during which he says,
in another place, that St. Patrick with two hundred of the noblest
youth were brought away. . . . This event occurred in the latter end of
Niall Naoigiallach's reign, and not as early as the ninth year of it.
. . . We have no authority," continues Lanigan, "for his having visited
Gaul at any time until the period already given, and which is clearly
marked in Irish history. Our Saint's captivity may be assigned to 403,
and to a time not long prior to King Niall's death. Thus the date of
his birth and captivity, considering the circumstances now mentioned,
help to confirm each other, and, combined with his age at consecration,
authorizes his birth in 387" ("Eccl. Hist, of Ireland," vol. i., pp.
137, 138).

Contrary to what Dr. Lanigan has just stated, a close study of
Keating's "History" will prove that King Niall made two raids into
Armorica, the first in the ninth and the second in the twenty-seventh
year of his reign, and the account of the two expeditions is clear and
unmistakable. "There is an old manuscript in vellum, exceedingly
curious, entitled 'The Life of St. Patrick,' which treats likewise of
the lives of Muchuda Albain and other Saints, from which I," writes
Keating, "shall transcribe a citation that relates to St. Patrick.

"Patrick was a Briton born and descended from religious parents," and
in the same place is the following remark: "The Irish Scots, under
Niall the King, wasted and destroyed many provinces in Britain in
opposition to the power of the Romans. They attempted to possess
themselves of the northern part of Britain, and, at length, having
driven out the old inhabitants, these Irish seized upon the country and
settled in it." The same author (of the manuscript) upon this occasion
remarks that from henceforth Great Britain was divided into three
kingdoms, that were distinguished by the names of Scotia, Anglia, and

This ancient writer likewise asserts that when Niall, the hero of the
Nine Hostages, undertook the expedition for settling the tribe of the
Dailraida in Scotland, the Irish fleet sailed to the place where St.
Patrick resided; "At this time the fleet out of Ireland plundered the
country in which St. Patrick then lived, and, according to the custom
of the Irish, many captives were carried away from thence, among whom
was St. Patrick, in the sixteenth year of his age, and his two sisters,
Lupida and Darerca; and St. Patrick was led captive into Ireland in the
_ninth_ year of the reign of Niall, King of Ireland, who was the mighty
monarch of the kingdom for seven-and-twenty years, and brought away
spoils out of England, Britain, and France."

"By this expression it is supposed," continues Keating, "that Niall of
the Nine Hostages waged war against Britain or Wales, and perhaps made
a conquest of the country; _and it is more than probable_ that, when
the Irish Prince had finished his design upon the kingdom of Wales, he
carried his arms in a fleet to France and invaded the country at the
time called Armorica, but now Little Brittany, and from thence he led
St. Patrick and his two sisters into captivity.

"And this I am rather induced to believe, because the mother of St.
Patrick was sister of St. Martin, the Bishop of Tours in France; and _I
have read in an ancient Irish manuscript, whose authority I cannot
dispute, that St. Patrick and his two sisters were brought captive into
Ireland from Armorica, or Brittany_, in the kingdom of France. It is
evident likewise that when Niall, the King of Ireland, had succeeded
with the Britons, he despatched a formidable fleet to plunder the coast
of France, and succeeded; and that he carried away numbers of captives
with him into captivity, one of which, it is reasonable to suppose, was
the young Patrick, who was afterwards distinguished by the name of the
Irish Saint.

"Niall, encouraged by the number of his captives and the success of his
arms in France, _resolved upon another expedition_, and accordingly
raised a grand army of his Irish subjects for that purpose, and sent a
commission to the General of the Dalraida in Scotland to follow him
with his choicest troops and assist him in the invasion. Niall having
prepared a sufficient number of transports and a full supply of
provisions, weighed anchor with his victorious Irish, and _steering his
course directly to France_, had the advantage of a prosperous wind, and
in a few days landed upon the coast. He immediately set himself to
spoil and ravage the country near the river Loire. Here it was that the
General of the Dalraida found him, and both armies being joined, they
committed dreadful hostilities, which obliged the inhabitants to fly
and leave the country to the mercy of the invaders.

"The commanding officer of the Dalraida in this expedition was Gabhran,
the son of Dombanguirt, who brought over with him Eochaidh, the son of
Ena Cinsalach, King of Leinster. This young Prince had been formerly
banished into Scotland by Niall, but resolving to be revenged when
opportunity offered, he desired to be admitted as a volunteer in the
service, and was by that means transported into France. The King of
Ireland being informed of his arrival, would on no account permit him
to visit him, nor suffer him in his presence. But Eochaidh soon found
an opportunity to execute his design; for one day, perceiving the King
sitting on the banks of the Loire, he hid himself secretly in an
opposite grove on the other side, and shot Niall through the body with
an arrow; the wound was mortal, and he died instantly" ("General
History of Ireland," pp. 311--313). According to O'Donovan's
translation of "Muir N'Icht," Niall lived long enough to reach his
fleet at Boulogne, where he expired.

Notwithstanding, then, Lanigan's positive assertion, it is quite
evident from Keating's history that King Niall twice invaded Armorica;
first, after he had devastated the Island of Britain in the ninth year
of his reign, when St. Patrick was captured, and again in the twenty-
seventh year of his reign, when he sailed directly from Ireland to Gaul
and expired at Boulogne.

The events may be briefly stated as follows: Niall succeeded Criomthan
in the year 376. In the ninth year of his reign, or A.D. 385, he
prepared an expedition against the Picts, who were harassing the Scots
settlers in North Britain. Having completed his task, he overran
England, and finished his raid by crossing over to Armorica, before
returning triumphant to Ireland with St. Patrick amongst his captives.

Now St. Patrick, who was born in the year 373, passed his thirteenth
and fourteenth years while King Niall was chastising the Picts in
Scotland and ravaging Britain; but he had reached his fifteenth year in
the year 388, when the Irish fleet sailed from Armorica to Ireland. The
words of the Saint in his Epistle to Coroticus: "Have I not tender
mercy towards the nation which formerly took me captive," place the
Saint's capture by the Irish Scots beyond doubt, whilst they confirm
Keating's declaration that King Niall captured St. Patrick in his first
raid to Armorica.

The capture of the Saint in Armorica is confirmed by the Scholiast, by
the Tripartite Life, and by Probus. St. Patrick, as we have already
seen, was captured while residing at his father's "villula" in the
suburban district of Bonaven Tabernise, or Bononia, where the Roman
encampment stood. This account harmonises with the "Celtic Legend,"
which narrates that at that period, "when Bononia was invaded by the
Irish pirates, a mutiny broke out among the soldiers in the encampment,
which rendered the city an easy prey to the invaders. Calphurnius, the
Roman officer defending Caligula's tower, was slain, and his son
Patrick was carried into captivity" ("La Legende Celtique per le
Vicomte Hersart de la Villemarque," p. 8).

According to the "Book of Sligo," as has been seen already, the Apostle
of Ireland first saw the light of day on Wednesday, April 5th; not on
Wednesday, April 5th, 372, as Usher imagined, for, as Ware points out,
April 5th did not fall on Wednesday, 372, but on Wednesday, 373. There
is overwhelming evidence to prove that St. Patrick died in the year
493, having attained the 120th year of his age. Usher, Ware, the
Tripartite Life, the "Vita Secunda," the "Vita Quarta," the "Leabhar
Braec," the "Annals of the Four Masters," the "Annals of Innisfail,"
the "Book of Howth," the "Annals of Tigernasch," the "Chronicon
Scotorum," the "Annals of Boyle," Marianus Scotus, Nennius, Geraldus
Cambrensis, Florence of Worcester, and Roger of Wendover all maintain
this. The year of the Saint's birth may, therefore, be accurately
obtained by subtracting 120 from 493, the date of his death. This
process will show that St. Patrick was born in 373, and captured in the
very year of King Niall's raid into Armorica, 388, when the Saint had
attained his fifteenth year.

The great age of the Saint at the time of his death, although
marvellous, is not incredible. In Chambers' "Book of Days," quoted by.
Father Bullen Morris, instances are given of 2,003 centenarians, 17 of
whom lived 150 years. Father Montalto, a Jesuit, who was born in 1689,
was present at the Church of the Gensu at Rome in the 125th year of his
age, when Pius VII. re-established the Society of Jesus. In 1881 the
photograph of Gabriel Salivar was sent to the Vatican as the oldest
inhabitant of the world. It was proved on convincing evidence that he
had reached 150 years. Thomas Parr, as is well known, attained the age
of 152 years and nine months before he bade adieu to the world.


"AND on a certain night I heard in sleep a voice saying to me: 'Thou
fasteth well; fasting thou shalt return to thy own native country'"
(patria). "And again, after a little, I heard a response, saying to me:
'Behold thy ship is ready'" (St. Patrick's "Confession").

St. Fiacc suggests, Probus asserts, and Professor Bury admits that St.
Patrick, after his captivity, fled to Gaul, and not to Great Britain.
Gaul, therefore, and not the Island of Britain, was St. Patrick's
native land.

If either Northern or Southern Britain were St. Patrick's native
country, it seems incredible that the-Saint should be required to
travel a distance of 200 Roman miles, from the North-East to the West
of Ireland, in order to embark for Britain, when Lough Larne is but 30
nautical miles from Scotland,, and not more than 15 miles from Mount
Slemish, and while Belfast and Strangford Loughs were within easy
distance of the place of his captivity, and more suitable for
embarkation than any seaport in the West of Ireland if North Britain
were his destination.

A voyage from the west coast of Ireland to the Clyde would take the
Saint a very unnecessary journey of 200 miles by land to the port of
embarkation, and from thence an equally unnecessary voyage by sea, from
the west around the northern coast of Ireland, past North Antrim--the
county from which he started,--in order to reach Dumbarton, Kilpatrick,
or Hamilton on the Clyde.

There are some indications which suggest that St. Patrick, when
returning to his native country, sailed from Killala Bay. Although
Killala is only 130 miles distant from Mount Slemish, as the crow
flies, the Saint would have had to travel around Slieve Gallion, and
make a circuit around the mountains of Tyrone, which stood directly
across the path of a direct route. Lough Erne, in the County of
Fermanagh, and Lough Gill, in the County of Sligo, and the inland flow
of Killala Bay would add to the obstacles to be encountered, sufficient
when all taken together to account for the 53 miles difference between
130, as the crow flies, and 183 English or 200 Roman miles which had to
be travelled before he joined his ship.

Moreover, the woods of Foclut were situated within five miles of
Killala, and St. Patrick in his "Confession" speaks in familiar terms
of the inhabitants who dwell in the neighbourhood of the woods, whose
voices sounded familiar to his ears when far away in Gaul.

This, indeed, would suggest that the Saint had made acquaintance with
them during his flight, for he distinctly states when alluding to the
place of his embarkation: "I had never been there, nor did I know any
one that lived there" ("Confession"). His acquaintance with the
inhabitants of Foclut must have been made after he had journeyed there,
and previous to his embarkation.

Readers of the "Confession" will remember how touchingly he described
the cordial manner in which he was welcomed by his relatives, who, to
use the Saint's own words, "received me as a son, and besought me that
then at least, after I had undergone so many tribulations, I should
never depart from them again. Then in the middle of the night, a man
who seemed to come from Ireland, whose name was Victoricus, the bearer
of innumerable letters, one of which he handed to me; and I read the
beginning of the letter, entitled 'The Voice of the Irish.' As I was
reading the beginning of the letter, I thought that I heard in my mind
the voices who dwelt near the woods of Foclut, which is near the
Western sea, and they cried out: 'We entreat thee, O holy youth, to
come and walk still with us.' My heart was deeply touched; I could read
no more; and I awoke" ("Confession").

Being then in his thirtieth year when he had this vision, St. Patrick
could not be called a youth. He was a youth, however, at the time when
he escaped from his first captivity, and became acquainted with the
inhabitants of Foclut, who appealed to him in the vision as the youth
they had formerly known. They, consequently, besought him to come and
abide with them as he had done formerly, for this is the obvious
meaning of the words "We entreat thee, O holy youth, to come and walk
still with us."

It is probable, therefore, that St. Patrick sailed back from Killala
Bay, the nearest port to the woods of Foclut. It may readily be
surmised that if the saintly youth, so full of holy zeal, had to remain
for a few weeks, or even a few days, whilst the ship was completing its
cargo, he would have time to make friendly acquaintance with the
inhabitants near the woods, who doubtless received the friendless
stranger with kind hospitality.

This gives a simple solution of the difficulty proposed by Professor
Bury, who, relying on St. Patrick's friendly acquaintance with the
inhabitants of Foclut, states that Croagh Patrick, which is not far
from Foclut, and not Mount Slemish, was the scene of the Saint's

If the ship's cargo consisted chiefly of Irish wolfhounds, so greatly
appreciated in Gaul, as Professor Bury suggests (p. 30), it would take
more than "a day or two" to collect a sufficient number for
exportation. There is nothing stated in the "Confession" to limit the
time that St. Patrick had to wait before the ship, sailed away from

Moreover, in the solitude of Mount Slemish, absorbed in prayer and in
guarding his flock, the saintly shepherd had no opportunity of making
any acquaintance whilst in slavery. "After I had come to Ireland I was
daily attending sheep, and I frequently prayed during the day, and the
love of God and His faith and fear increased in me more and more, and
the spirit was stirred; so that in a single day I have said as many as
a hundred prayers, and in the night nearly the same, so that I remained
in the woods and on the mountain. Even before the dawn I was roused to
prayer in snow, in ice and rain, and I felt no injury from it, nor was
there any want of energy in me, as I see now, because the spirit was
then fervent in me." These certainly are not the words of a youth who
was in the habit of journeying from Croagh Patrick to Foclut to make
the acquaintance of the inhabitants. It is, on the contrary, easy to
imagine what a powerful effect a Saint, so stirred by the Spirit of God
as his words express, would have on all with whom he came in contact
after he had been freed from his duties as a shepherd. St. Patrick's
history of himself suggests at least that his acquaintance with others,
except those of his master's household, must have been made after his
escape from captivity.

Professor Bury, however, is the latest convert to the opinion that St.
Patrick fled to Gaul, and not to the Island of Britain, after his
escape from captivity in Ireland. The Professor narrates that
considerable regions in Gaul were a desolate wilderness, according to
contemporary rhetorical and poetical evidence, from A.D. 408 to 416,
and, therefore, it might be argued, Gaul suits the narrative of St.
Patrick in his "Confession." He and his companions reached land three
days (_post triduum_) after they left the coast of Ireland, so that our
choice lies between Britain and Gaul. The data do not suit Britain. We
cannot imagine what inland part of Britain they could have wished to
reach which would necessitate a journey of twenty-eight days _per
desertum_. Suppose the crew disembarked on the south coast of Britain,
and that the southern regions had been recently ravaged by the Saxons,
yet a journey of a few days would have brought them to Londinium, or
any other place they could have desired to reach from a south port.
Moreover, if they had landed in Britain, Patrick, when he once escaped
from their company, could have reached his home in a few days, whereas
he did not return for a few years. His own words exclude Britain.
Having mentioned his final escape from the traders, he proceeds:
"iterum post paucos annos in Britanniis eram cum parentibus meis." I
believe that "post paucos annos" has been interpreted by some in this
sense: "a few years after my capture." But this is an unnatural
explanation. The words naturally refer to what immediately precedes,
namely, his escape. The only thing that can be alleged in favour of
Britain is the intimation in the dream that he would "quickly come to
his native land" (_cito iturus ad patriam tuam_). "This, of course,"
continues the Professor, "represented his expectations at the time of
his escape. But the very fact that he fails to say that the promise was
literally fulfilled, and glides over the intervening years in silence,
strongly suggests that his expectation was not realised" (Appendix C,
pp. 339--340).

Professor Bury, being a Protestant, treats the Divine admonition given
to the Saint as a dream; not as the voice of God speaking to His
servant, but as an ardent desire on the Saint's part which met with
disappointment. Catholics, on the contrary, fully believe that God's
promise was fulfilled, and that St. Patrick did actually return to his
own native country, which the Professor very satisfactorily proves was
Gaul and not Britain. The Armorican theory of St. Patrick's birthplace
affords a very natural and easy explanation of the difficulty which the
Saint's return to Gaul from captivity must present to all who try to
prove that he was a native of Great Britain.


Natus est Patritius Nemturri
Ut refertur in narrationibus,
Juvenis (fuit) sex annorem decem
Quando ductus est sub vinculis.


Succat ejus notnen in Tribubus dictum,
Quis ejus Pater sit notum,
Filius (fuit) Calpurnii, filii Otidi,
Nepos deaconi Odissi.


Fuit sex annis in servitate,
Excis hominum (Gentilium) non vescebat,
Fuit ei nomen adoptivum Cothriagh
Quatuor Tribubus quia inserviit.


Dixit Victor(ei) servo
Milchonis, Iret trans fluctus.
Posuit suos pedes supra saxum,
Manet exinde ejus vestigia.



Profectus est trans Alpes omnes,
Trans Maria, fuit faelix expedition
Et remansit apud Germanum
In australi parte australis Lethaniae.

The following beautiful free translation of these verses is taken, with
kind permission, from Monsignor Edward Watson, M.A.'s, translation of
St. Fiacc's ode:


"At Nemthur, as our minstrels own,
Heaven's radiance first on Patrick smiled,
But fifteen summers scarce had thrown
A halo round the holy child,
When captured by an Irish band
He took their Isle for fatherland.
Succat by Christian birth his name,
Heir to a noble father's fame.
Calphurnius' son, of Potit's race,
And deacon Odis' kin and grace,
Six years of bondage he must bear
With faithful fast from heathen fare.
And Cothriagh now his name and due,
Who holding high allegiance true,
Yet served four little lords of earth
(God's servant he of forefold worth)
Till Victor bade him Milchu's slave
To fly across the freeman's wave.
He fled, but first upon the rocky shore
His footprint set a seal for evermore.


Then far away beyond the seas,
In happy flight o'er many a land,
O'er many a mountain on he flees
To face Lethania's southern strand,
Nor rested long upon the road
Until he gained Germain's abode."

St. Fiacc states that the Apostle of Ireland was born at Nemthur--
Nemthur, as all commentators agree, is not the name of a town, but of a
tower. "Neam-thur Hebernica vox est quse coelestem, sive altam turrim
denotat." "Neamthur is an Irish word which denotes a heavenly, or a
high tower" (Rerum Hibernicarum Scriptores Veteres, Tom i., p. 96--

Assuming that St. Patrick was born in the suburbs, and close to the
town of Bononia, or Banaven, as it has already been proved from his
"Confession," St. Fiacc's declaration that his Patron was born at
Nemthur admits of a very lucid explanation. Nemthur was situated in the
suburbs and close to the town of Bonaven. St. Fiacc gives the name of
the district, but St. Patrick gives the name of the town near which he
was born.

Singularly enough Caligula's famous tower on the sea coast of Boulogne
was called Turris Ordinis by the Romans, but Nemtor by the Gauls, as
Hersart de la Villemarque clearly proves in his "Celtic Legend" (p.
213), and the tower itself has given its name to the locality where it
once stood, which is called even at the present time Tour d'Ordre--the
French translation of "Turris Ordinis."

The history of this tower, on account of its close connection with the
history of St. Patrick, cannot fail to be interesting. Caligula, or
Caius Caesar, who died A.D. 41, meditated a descent upon Britain, and
with that object marshalled his troops at Bononia. Fearful, however, of
the dangers and fatigues of a long campaign in that inhospitable
island, and full of childish vanity, he determined at length, as
Suetonius humorously observes, "to make war in earnest; he drew up his
army on the shore of the ocean, with his ballistse and other engines of
war, and, while no one could imagine what he intended to do, on a
sudden commanded them to gather up sea shells and fill their helmets
and the folds of their dresses with them, calling them 'the spoils of
the ocean due to the Capitol and the Palatium.' As a monument of his
success, he raised a lofty tower, upon which, as at Pharos, he ordered
lights to be burnt in the night time for the guidance of ships at sea"
("Lives of the Twelve Caesars," Caligula, p. 283).

"It seems generally agreed," writes Forester, the translator of
Suetonius' Lives, "that the point of the coast which was signalised by
this ridiculous bravado of Caligula, somewhat redeemed by the erection
of a high house, was Itium, afterwards called Gessoriacum and Bononia
(Boulogne), a town belonging to the Gaulish tribe of the Morini" (note,
p. 283).

For many centuries this tower called Turris Ordens, Turris Ardens, or
Turris Ordinis by the Romans, and Neamthur by the Gauls, spread its
light over land and sea on the north-eastern cliffs of Boulogne.

A description of the tower is given in the "Memoirs of the Academy of
Inscription," quoted by Bertrand in his "History of Boulogne," as
follows: "The form of this monument, one of the most striking erected
by the Romans, was octagon. It was entirely abolished about a hundred
years ago, but, fortunately, a drawing of it, made when the lighthouse
was still perfect, is still in existence, and has been exhibited to the
Academy by the learned Father Lequien, a Dominican monk, native of
Boulogne. Each of its sides, according to Bucherius, measured 24 to 25
feet, so that its circumference was about 200, and its diameter 66
feet. It contained twelve entablatures, or species of galleries, on the
outside, including that on the ground floor. Each gallery projected a
foot and a half further than the one above it, and consequently their
size diminished with each succeeding gallery. On the top fires were
lighted to serve as a beacon to vessels at sea. A solid foundation was
formed, not only under the lighthouse, but for some distance beyond the
external walls. It was constructed of stones and bricks in the
following manner: first were seen three layers of stones, found on the
coast, of iron grey colour, then two layers of yellow stone of a softer
nature, and upon these two rows of hard red bricks, two inches thick,
and a foot and a half long, and a little more than a foot broad"
("Bertrand's History of Boulogne," pp. 13, 14).

"Caligula's tower was built on the north-eastern cliffs, about half a
mile from the sea, but within the suburbs of Boulogne. The constant
encroachment of the tide had reduced that distance to 400 feet in 1544,
when Boulogne was captured, and fortifications built around the tower
by the English troops. Still, however, the merciless waves rushed
onward to the coast, undermining the cliffs more and more, until at
length, on July 29th, 1644, Caligula's tower fell headlong with a crash
into the sea.

"Passengers from Folkestone to Boulogne gaze with reverence or
curiosity on the Calvary on the northeastern cliffs, which fishermen
salute with uncovered heads when sailing out to reap the harvest of the
sea. Close to the Calvary there is a mass of ruins overhanging the
cliff, which is all that remains of the fortifications built round
Caligula's tower by the English conquerors. The tower itself once stood
over the site occupied by the Hotel du Pavillion et des Bains de Mer,
opposite the place for sea bathing" ("Bertrand's History of Boulogne,"
pp. 15, 16).

"The Celtic Legend," published by Hersart de la Villemarque in 1864,
clearly shows how the history of Bononia and of its celebrated tower is
connected with his--St. Patrick's--life. One of the legends is entitled
"St. Patrick," and commences as follows: "On the shore of the channel
separating England from France, near the famous place from which Caesar
embarked for the Isles of Britain, a fortified enclosure was erected
overlooking and protecting the coast and territory which formed part of
the possession of the Morini Gauls. This important strategic point was
called in Latin, Tabernia, or the 'Field of Tents' (Le Champs du
Pavilion), because the Roman army had pitched their tents there. About
a mile distant, a group of buildings formed a fairly-sized village,
which at first was called by the Gauls Gessoriac, _then Bonauen
Armorik_, and afterwards named Bononia Oceasensis by the Roman Gauls,
and finally Boulogne-sur-Mer by the French.

"A light-house, or Nemtor, as it was called in the Celtic language,
kept watch during the night over the camp, village, and sea, preserving
the Gaulish frontier from piratical incursions.

"At the foot of the light-house stood the residence of a Roman officer
named Calphurnius, who had the supervision of the fire in the tower,
amongst the more costly and ornamented houses than the others, where
the free-and-easy life and customs of the Romans found a last refuge.
He lived there attended by domestic and military servants. He had
fought under the Imperial flag and attained the rank of a Decurion (p.
354). . . .

"Forgetfulness of God, disobedience to His laws, which are also the
best laws of human society, led to the ruin both of the colony of
Bononia and of St. Patrick's family. One day a mutiny, from which the
servants of Calphurnius could not have kept aloof, broke out amongst
the soldiers in the camp, just at the time when pirates, who had come
from different parts of the Irish coast and formed themselves into a
fleet so as to plunder the towns on the sea coast of Gaul with greater
security, took advantage of the dissensions amongst the inhabitants of
Boulogne and besieged the town. Fine furniture, carpets, and valuable
garments, vessels of gold and silver, arms and instruments of every
kind, everything that they could seize in the houses, in the town, in
the camp, in the rural dwellings close by, in the stables, in the ox
stalls, in the sheep pens: horses, cows, pigs, cattle and sheep were
carried off and placed on board the ships. Those who attempted any
resistance were put to death, whilst others, undergoing the fate of
domestic animals, were sold into slavery. Amongst the defenders of the
colony who perished were Calphurnius, his wife, and many of his
household. St. Patrick was numbered amongst the captives. The corsairs,
having set sail, landed him in Ireland, where they sold him to a small
chieftain in Ulster named Milcho" ("La Legende Celtique," par le
Vicomte Hersart de la Villemarque, Membre de 1'Institut Paris, 1864,
Librarie Academique. Dedier et Cie., Librarie Editeurs, 35 Quai des

There is a constant tradition that St. Patrick was a native of
Boulogne, and that tradition is expressed in the Celtic Legend just
quoted. Even the present "Guide Book" of that town (Merridew's, 1905)
volunteers the following information, which, although erroneous as to
dates, is interesting as referring to St. Patrick's connection with the
city: "About the year 249 St. Patrick arrived in Morinia, and for some
time resided at Boulogne" (p. 10). Feather Malbrancq, in his "History
of the Morini," quotes the "Chronicon Morinense," "The Life of St.
Arnulphus," and "The Catalogue of the Bishops of that See" to prove St.
Patrick's connection with the town. Although it is certain that St.
Patrick never presided over that See, the fact of his being numbered
amongst the Bishops admits of an easy explanation if he was a native of
that town.


ST. FIACC poetically describes St. Patrick's flight to his-own native
country in the fifth stanza of his hymn:

"Then far away beyond the seas,
In happy flight o'er many a land,
O'er many a mountain on he flees
To fair Lethania's Southern strand,
Nor rested long upon the road
Until he gained Germain's abode."

It is evident from this that St. Patrick fled direct to Lethania after
his escape from captivity in Ireland, having received the angel's
promise that he should return to his native land. O'Conor testifies
that the Irish called not only Armorica, Lethania, but all Western Gaul
as far as the Diocese of Auxerre. ("Lethaniam appellabant Hiberni non
modo Armoricam sed et occidentalem Galliam usque ad diocesim
Antisiodorensem") ("Rerum Hibernicarum Scriptores Veteres Tom," L, p.
91, note).


THE Scholiast, who annotated St. Fiacc's "Metrical Life of St.
Patrick," flourished in the eleventh century, according to Professor
Bury. The scholia of the Scholiast, however, should be received with
great caution, as Lanigan points out: "The scholia of the Scholiast,"
he remarks, "are not the composition of one person. For instance, in
scholion 5, the Letha mentioned in the hymn is properly explained by
Armorica, or the maritime tract on the North-West of Gaul; while in
scholion n it is interpreted of Latium, in Italy. In scholion 9 we read
that on a certain occasion St. Patrick said, 'Dar mo dhe broth,' which
is explained, 'God is able to do this if He choose'; and yet
immediately after it is added that 'Dar mo dhe broth' was a sort of
asseveration familiar to St. Patrick, signifying 'By my God, Judge, or
judgment.' On the whole, it is evident that the scholia, as we have
them at present, are a compilation of observations, some more, some
less ancient, extracted from various writers" ("Eccl. Hist, of
Ireland," vol. L, c. iii., p. 81).

The scholion (i) on St. Fiacc's opening words: "Natus est Patritius
Nemturri"--"St. Patrick was born at Nemthur"--is as follows: "Nemthur
is a city in the Northern parts of Britain, viz. Alcluid (nempe
Alcluida)." By comparing this scholion with the scholion given later on
(c. iii.), it will be seen that the same pen has not written both
scholia. The scholion referred to is this: "The cause of St. Patrick's
captivity was this: His father, Calphurnius, and his mother, Conchessa,
and his five sisters, Lupita, Tigris, Liemania, and Darerca, Cinnena
was the name of the fifth, and his brother deacon, Senanus, all
together travelled from Britain Alcluid southwards over the Sea of
Ictium to Armorican Lethania, or Britannia Lethania, both on business
and because a certain relative of theirs dwelt there, and the mother of
the above-named children, namely Conchessa, was of the Franks, and a
near relative of St. Martin. At that time, however, seven sons of
Fachmad, King of the Britons, broke loose from Britain and plundered
Armorican Britain in the territory of Letha, where St. Patrick happened
to be living with his family. They slew Calphurnius there, and carried
off St. Patrick and his sister Lupita captives to Ireland. They sold
Lupita 'in Connallia Murthemnensi' [a territory in Ulster], and Patrick
in the northern parts of the territory of the Dal-aradia."

The contradictory nature of the accounts given by the Scholiast as to
St. Patrick's supposed birth in Alcluid, or Dumbarton, and his capture
in Armorica will be seen by comparing them with the statement made by
the Saint himself in his "Confession": "I, Patrick, a sinner and the
most uncultured and humblest of all the faithful, had a father named
Calphurnius, a deacon, the son of Potitus, a priest, who hailed from
the suburban district of Bonaven Taberniae, for he possessed a little
country seat close by from whence I was led captive." This statement of
the Saint disproves the assertion of the Scholiast that Calphurnius and
his family were on a friendly visit to Armorica when all the calamities
befell them, for the Saint distinctly states that his father hailed
from Bonaven Taberniae, and that he himself was actually residing at
his father's little country seat in the suburbs of that town at the
time when he was forced into captivity.

It is evident, therefore, from the Scholiast that Bonaven Tabernise was
situated in Armorican Britain; and from St. Patrick's "Confession,"
that the town from which he was led captive was his own native town.
The Apostle of Ireland could not, therefore, as the Scholiast suggests,
have been born at Alcluid, or Dumbarton. It is curious to observe how
unconsciously the Scholiast connects Calphurnius and his family with
Boulogne. Calphurnius and his family are made to sail from Dumbarton,
over the Sea of Itius or Ictius, to Armorica. Hersart de la Villemarque
has already identified Bonaven under its various names as Bononia or
Boulogne. It was called Itius or Ictius by Caesar, Bononia by the
Romans, and Bonauen Armorik by the Gaulish Celts. The Scholiast,
therefore, when he directs the course of Calphurnius and his family
across the Sea of Ictius, seems to be steering their ship directly to

Nemthur cannot possibly be the name of the town near which St. Patrick
was born, simply because the Saint gives the name of Bonaven, or
Bononia, as the city of his birth. St. Fiacc does not name Nemthur as a
town; he simply tells us that St. Patrick was born at Nemthur, which,
as has been proved, was both the name of the Caligula's tower and of
the district in which that tower stood in the suburbs of Bonaven. The
Scholiast is the first to call Nemthur a town, and evidently puts it
down as the ancient name of Alcluid, or Dumbarton. This is the obvious
meaning of the scholion: "Nemthur est civitas in septentrional!
Britanni nempe Alcluida." Nemthur is a city in northern Britain, namely
Alcluid. The "nempe Alcluida" looks very much like an interpolation,
and if an interpolation, the statement of the Scholiast that Nemthur is
a city in northern Britain, without the addition "nempe Alcluida,"
might easily refer to Northern Britain in Gaul where, however, Nemthur
was not the name of a city, but the name both of a tower and of the
district of the city where St. Patrick was born.

Neither the Scholiast, nor those who have adopted his views as to the
Saint's birth at Dumbarton, have ever answered Lanigan's challenge, who
boldly states that the name Nemthur is not to be found in Nennius's
"List of British Towns," which Usher himself had illustrated, nor in
any of the old "Itineraries," or in Ricardus Corinensis, or in Camden,
or Horsley &c. (vol. i, b. 3, p. 91).

The learned Cardinal Moran, in the March of the _Dublin Review_, 1880,
endeavoured to take up the gauntlet and answer Lanigan's challenge by
quoting one of Taliessin's poems from the "Black Book of Carmarthen,"
which represents a Welsh hero sailing away with an army to Scotland and
recovering his lost inheritance in a battle fought and won at Nevthur
in Clydesdale.

Besides the fact that no small stretch of imagination is required to
believe that Nevthur and Nemthur are one and the same, nearly all the
poems attributed to Taliessin are regarded as spurious by learned
critics, as Chamber's "Encyclopaedia," under the heading Welsh
Literature, evidently points out.

"Mr. Nash, the author of 'Taliessin and the Bards and Druids of Wales,'
enables us to form an independent judgment on this point, for he
translates some fifty of the poems, and we find that, instead of their
exhibiting an antique Welsh character, they abound in allusions to
mediaeval theology, and frequently employ mediaeval Latin terms. It is
certainly unfortunate for the reputation of the 'Chief of Bards' that
the specimens of his poems, which are considered genuine, possess
exceedingly small merit. The life of this famous but over-rated genius
is, of course, enveloped in legend." Lanigan's challenge, therefore,
still remains unanswered, and a town mamed Nemthur is not to be found
in any ancient history, geography, or map. The error, therefore, of the
Scholiast consisted in stating that Alcluid and Nemthur were identical,
but his statement that St. Patrick was captured in Armorica is
historically true.


THE following account is given in the "Trepartite Life" concerning St.
Patrick's native town, and the country from which he was taken

"Patrick, then, was of the Britons of Alcluid by origin. Calphurn was
his father's name. He was a noble priest. Potit was his grandfather's
name, whose title was a deacon. Conceis was his mother's name. She was
of the Franks, and a sister to St. Martin. In Nemthur, moreover, was
the man Patrick born. . . .

"The cause of Patrick's coming to Erin was as follows: 'The seven sons
of Fachmad, namely--the seven sons of the King of Britain--were on a
naval expedition, and they went to plunder Armoric Letha; and a number
of Britons of Strath-Cluaidh were on a visit with their kinsmen--the
Britons of Armoric Letha--and Calphurn, son of Potit, Patrick's father,
and her mother Conceis, daughter of Ocbas of the Gauls, that is of the
Franks, were killed in the slaughter in Armorica. Patrick and his two
sisters, viz. Lupait and Tigris, were taken prisoners, moreover, in
that slaughter. The seven sons of Fachmad went afterwards to sea,
having with them Patrick and his two sisters in captivity. The way they
went was around Erin, northwards, until they landed in the north, and
they sold Patrick to Miluic, son of Baun, that is, the King of

"They sold his two sisters in Conaille Muirthemne. And they did not
know this. Four persons, truly, that purchased him. One of them was
Miluic. It was from this that he received the name Cothriage, for the
reasons that he served four masters. He had, indeed, four names" (W. M.
Hennessey's Translation of the "Trepartite Life").

The author of the "Trepartite Life" repeats the contradictory
statements of the Scholiast, namely, that St. Patrick was born at
Dumbarton and captured in Armorica, and it stands refuted by St.
Patrick himsel in his "Confession," who declares that his father hailed
from Bonaven, where the Roman encampment stood, and that he himself was
captured whilst residing at his father's villula, or country seat,
close by the town. Just as we are bound to credit St. Patrick's
"Confession;" the statements of the Scholiast, and of the author of the
"Trepartite Life," that he was simply on a visit to his relatives in
Armorica when captured, must be discredited.

Ignoring the fact that the author of the "Tripartite Life" and Probus
tell the same tale, the Archbishop of Tuam, in his excellent "Life of
St. Patrick," states "that the Scholiast on St. Fiacc whilst expressly
declaring that Nemthur, St. Patrick's birthplace, was in North Britain,
namely, Ail Cluade, adds that young Patrick, with his parents, brother
and sisters, went from the Britons of Ail Cluade over the Ictian Sea,
southwards, to visit his relatives in Armorica, and that it was from
Latevian Armorica that Patrick was carried off captive to Ireland. The
Scholiast here confounds the Armoric Britons of the Clyde with the
Armoric Britons of Gaul, or Letavia, who had no existence then at so
early a date. No doubt they were kindred Britons, but the name
Britannia and Britons were not at that time given to Armorica of Gaul"
(Appendix i., p. 585).

Nothing is here said by His Grace about Probus or the "Tripartite
Life," who agree with the Scholiast that the Saint was captured in
Armorica. When treating of Britannia in Gaul, it will be proved from
the "Sacred Histories of Sulpicius Severus" that Armorica was called
Britannia when the Council of Ariminium was held in the year 359. It is
evident, however, that the author of the "Tripartite Life" was firmly
convinced that St. Patrick was captured in Armorica, from the
description he gives of the flight of his captors: "The seven sons of
Fachmad went afterwards on the sea, having with them Patrick and his
two sisters in captivity. The way they went was northward around Erin,
until they landed in the north, and they sold Patrick to Miluic."

From this narrative it is evident that the captives were carried by the
fleet northwards around Erin until they arrived in the neighbourhood of
Lough Larne, Antrim, where St. Patrick was sold as a slave. The captors
afterwards sailed southwards and sold St. Patrick's sisters at Louth.
They must, therefore, as Father Bullen Morris surmises, have sailed
around the western coast of Erin after sailing away from Armorica. It
is clear, as the same writer does not fail to observe, that such a
course cannot fit in with the Dumbarton theory: "A voyage northwards
from the mouth of the Clyde would take the Irish fleet to the North
Pole" ("Ireland and St. Patrick," p. 26).

The Scholiast and the author of the "Tripartite Life" are of opinion
that St. Patrick was made captive by the seven sons of Fachmad, King of
Britain, who are represented as making a raid into Armorica. Jocelin
declares that the capture was made by pirates. The Second, Third, and
Fourth "Lives" are unanimous in stating that the Saint was captured by
the Irish Scots. St. Patrick's own words in the Epistle to Coroticus,
"Have I not tender mercy on that nation which formerly took me
captive?" leave no doubt as to his capture by the Irish Scots. Colgan
endeavours to harmonise both accounts by suggesting that the sons of
Fachmad were British exiles in Ireland, who fought under the standard
of King Niall when he invaded Armorica, and that they may have been the
actual captors of the Saint.


As the Second and Third "Lives of St. Patrick" are practically and
almost verbally identical up to the end of Section XL, the same
translation up to that point will suffice for both.

"Patrick was born at Nemthur. He had a sister named Lupita, whose
relics are preserved at Armagh. Patrick was born in the Field of Tents.
It was called Campus Tabernaculorum because the Roman army, at some
time or other, pitched their tents there during the cold winter season.

"IV.--The boy, however, was reared at Nemthur. . . .

"XI.--This was the cause of his exile and arrival in Ireland: An army
of Irish Scots embarked, as usual, in their ships, and forming a large
fleet sailed over to Britain, and brought back from thence many
captives and carried them to Ireland, the captives numbering altogether
one hundred of both sexes. Patrick was, as he himself testifies, in his
sixteenth year at that time."

The following addition is given in the Third "Life": "Patrick, who was
also called Suchet, was sprung from the British nation, and his country
and the place where he was born was situated not far from the sea. His
father's name was 'Calburnius,' the son of a venerable man named
Potitus; but his mother, Conches by name, was the daughter of
Dechusius. Both parents of this holy man were devoted to religion."

Controversially speaking, neither of these two "Lives" are of any
value. Nemthur is not identified with Dumbarton, and it is not clearly
stated whether the Irish fleet raided the island of Britain or
Armorican Britain, or whether St. Patrick was descended from the Island
or Armorican Britons. A recent writer lays much stress on the fact that
the British word Tabern is used to denote a tent field in the Second,
Third, and Fourth "Lives," but the argument does not carry with it much
weight, for according to Camden the British and Gaulish Celts spoke the
same language, so that it is just as favourable to Armorica as to the
island of Britain (" Britannia," vol. i., p. 11).


"SOME say that St. Patrick was of Jewish origin. After Our Lord had
died on the Cross for the sins of the human race, a Roman army,
avenging His Passion, laid Judea waste, and the captive Jews were
dispersed amongst all the nations of the earth. Some of their number
settled down among the Armorican Britons, and it is stated that it was
from them that St. Patrick traced his origin." This may be gathered
from the book of Epistles composed by himself, "on account of our sins,
and because we had neither observed the precepts of the Lord nor obeyed
His Commandments, we are dispersed to the uttermost ends of the earth."

"But, however, it is more credible and more certain that he speaks of
that dispersion into which the Britons were driven by the Romans, in
order that they might become possessed of the land near the Tuscan Sea
which is called Armorica. After that dispersion, therefore, his parents
went straight to Strath Clyde. There St. Patrick was conceived and
born, his father being 'Kalburnius,' and his mother Conchessa, as he
testifies in the book of his Epistles: 'I am Patrick, the son of
Kalburnius, and Conchessa is my mother.' St. Patrick was, therefore,
born in a town called Nemthur, which signifies a heavenly tower. This
town was situated in Campo Tabernise, which is called the Field of
Tents because, at one time, the Roman army pitched their tents there.
In the British tongue Campus Tabern is the same as Campus

"XV.--But the first cause of his coming to Ireland, and the sequence of
events which hurried him there, are not to be passed over in silence.
By the divine providence of God, it so happened that in his tender
years he should be led to that nation, so that in his youth he should
learn the language of the people, whose apostle he was afterwards
destined to become. At that period Irish fleets were accustomed to sail
over to Britain for the sake of plunder, and to bring back to Ireland
whomsoever they made prisoners. It chanced, therefore, that the
venerated youth, with his sister, named Lupita, should be taken
captives amongst others. Some have written that the Saint at the time
was but seven years of age. It seems to me, however, more credible what
he himself states: 'When I fell into captivity I was sixteen years of
age.' He was taken to Ireland and sold in the northern regions to four
brothers, whom he served with a simple and devout heart. On that
account he was called Cothraigh. But he had four names, for he received
the name of Suchet at baptism; he was called Magonius by Germanus,
Bishop; lastly, when he was elevated to the Episcopal dignity, he
received his fourth name, Patrick."

It is suggestive how the Armorican tradition seems to manifest itself,
either directly or indirectly, in nearly all the "Lives" of the Saint
which are considered the best; in St. Fiacc's, in the annotations of
the Scholiast, in the "Tripartite Life," in the Fourth "Life," and in
the Fifth by Probus. In the Fourth "Life" it is stated that both
parents of the Saint were Armorican Britons, and that St. Patrick,
except for the accident of his place of birth, was an Armorican Briton.
The author of the Fourth "Life," moreover, calls Calphurnius and
Conchessa Armorican Britons, which serves to demonstrate that Armorica,
even in the early years of St. Patrick, fell under the name of
Britannia, and that its inhabitants were called Britons.

In this "Life" is to be found the mistake of the Scholiast, and of the
other "Lives" who have adopted his suggestion, that Nemthur was the
name of a town, and not of a tower or district, as may be gathered from
the history of the tower itself.

The Second, Third, and Fourth "Lives" of the Saint, however, "are
filled with fables," according to Canon O'Hanlon. "Their acts seem to
have been either borrowed from one another, or are copies of versions
taken from the same source" ("Lives of the Irish Saints," March 17th).


"THERE was a man named Calphurnius, the son of Potitus, a presbyter, by
nation a Briton, living in the village Taburnia (that is the Field of
Tents), near the town of Empthor, and his habitation was nigh unto the
Irish Sea. This man married a French damsel named Concuessa, niece of
the blessed Martin, Archbishop of Tours, and the damsel was elegant in
her form and in her manners, for, having been brought from France with
her elder sister into the northern parts of Britain, they were sold at
the command of her father. Calphurnius being pleased with her manners,
charmed with her attentions, and attracted by her beauty, very much
loved her, and from the state of serving maid in his household, raised
her to be his companion in wedlock. And her sister, having been
delivered unto another man, lived in the aforementioned town of

"And Calphurnius and his wife were just before God, walking without
offence in the justifications of the Lord, and they were eminent in
their birth, and in their faith, and in their hope, and in their
religion. And though in their outward habit and abiding they seemed to
serve under the yoke of Babylon, yet did they in their acts and in
their conversation show themselves citizens of Jerusalem. Therefore out
of the earth of their flesh, being freed from the tares of sin and from
the noxious weeds of vice by the ploughshare of evangelic and apostolic
learning, and being fruitful in the growth of all virtues, did they, as
the best and richest fruit, bring forth a son, whom, when he had at the
font put off the old man, they caused to be named Patritius, as being
the future father and patron of many nations; of whom, even at his
baptism, the God that is Three in One was pleased by the sign of a
threefold miracle to declare how pure a vessel of election should he
prove, and how devoted a worshipper of the Holy Trinity. But after a
little while, this happy birth being completed, they vowed themselves
by mutual consent unto chastity, and with a holy end rested in the
Lord. But Calphurnius-first served God a long time in the deaconship,
and at length closed his days in the priesthood. . . ."

Chapter XII.--"As, according to the testimony of Holy Writ, the
furnace tries the gold, so did the hour of trial draw near to Patrick
that he might the more provedly receive the crown of life. For when the
illustrious boy had perlustrated three lustres, already attaining his
sixteenth year, he was, with many of his-fellow-countrymen, seized by
the pirates who were ravaging the borders, and was made captive and
carried into Ireland, and was there sold as a slave to a certain pagan
prince named Milcho, who reigned in the Northern parts of the island,
even at the same age when Joseph is recorded to have been sold in
Egypt. . . ."

Chapter XVII.--"And St. Patrick, guided by his angelic guide, came to
the sea, and he there found a ship that was to carry him to Britain,
and a crew of heathens, who were in the ship, freely received him, and
hoisting their sails with a favourable wind, after three days they made
land. And, being come out of the ship, they found a region deserted and
inhabited by none, and they began to travel over the whole country for
the space of twenty-eight days; and for want of food in that fearful
and wild solitude were they perishing of hunger" (Jocelin's "Life of
St. Patrick," translated by E. L. Swift).

Jocelin's "Life of St. Patrick" deserves the harsh sentence pronounced
upon it by Canon O'Hanlon: "It is incomparably the worst" of all the
Latin "Lives" of the Saint. Jocelin represents Conchessa, St. Patrick's
saintly mother, as a niece of St. Martin of Tours, and, almost in the
same breath, suggests that either St. Martin's brother, or his brother-
in-law, sold Conchessa and her elder sister to Calphurnius, a Briton of
Clydesdale, as slaves. Although Conchessa was sold as a slave "at the
command of her father," she is said to have succeeded in captivating
and marrying her master Calphurnius.

Whilst Ware and Usher sneer at Jocelin's statement that Calphurnius and
Conchessa took the vow of celibacy and devoted themselves to a
religious life immediately after St. Patrick's birth, they eagerly
adopt Jocelin's statement that the Apostle of Ireland was born at
"Empthor," and that the home of The Sixth "Life," Calphurnius was "not
far from the Irish Sea," although this untrustworthy author stands
alone among the ancient writers in making this assertion.

Although Jocelin is responsible for the statement that St. Patrick fled
to the island of Britain after his escape from captivity in Ireland,
the subsequent three days' voyage by sea and twenty-eight days' journey
by land before reaching his home are fatal to Jocelin's contention, as
Professor Bury clearly demonstrates.

Ware's Empthor was near Dumbarton; Colgan's, Dumbarton itself; Usher
and the "Aberdeen Breviary" identify it as Kilpatrick; Cardinal Moran
rests sure that it is Hamilton, at the mouth of the Avon in Scotland;
but St. Patrick's ship, chartered by Heaven to carry him to his "own
native land," could, if any of the places named were St. Patrick's
native town, have borne him directly almost to his destination, and
saved part at least of the three days' journey by sea and the whole of
the twenty-eight days' journey by wilderness before joining his


THE Fifth "Life," written by Probus, an Irish monk, who died at Meyence
in the year 859, is regarded as the best of the old Latin "Lives" of
St. Patrick; it is considered to be an amended edition of the "Book of
Armagh," written by Muirchu Macc-Mactheni, so truly that the blank left
by the missing folio in that famous book can be filled in by copying
the "History of Probus." (Canon O'Hanlon's "Lives of the Irish Saints,"
March 17th.)

The "Life of St. Patrick," by Probus, commences as follows:--

"Cap. I.--St. Patrick, who was also called Suchet, was a Briton by
nationality. . . . He was born in Britain [in Britanniis], being the
son of Calphurnius, a deacon, who was the son of Potitus, a priest, and
his mother was named Conchessa, in a district within the region of
Bannaue Tiburniae, not far from the Western Sea, which district, as we
have discovered beyond doubt, was situated in the province of Nentria,
where the giants are said to have formerly dwelt."

"XII.--When he was in his own country with his father Calphurnius and
his mother Conchessa, in their own seaside city [city Arimuric] there
was a great outbreak of hostilities in these parts. The sons of King
Rithmit, coming from Britain, laid Arimuric and the surrounding country
waste. They massacred Calphurnius and his wife Conchessa; but their
children, Patrick and his brother Ruchti, together with their sister
Mila, they took captives to Ireland. They sold Patrick to Prince
Milcho, but his brother Ruchti and his sister Mila to another Prince."

Colgan, in his annotations, substitutes Neutria for Nentria (4), and
Armorica for Arimuric, Caesar testifies that all the towus on the sea
coast of Armorica were called Armoricse (Britannia, vol i. p. 13). "In
his own city Armuric" has therefore been rendered "in his own seaside

When Probus wrote his history there was no province in existence called
either Nentria or Neutria; but there was a province called Neustria,
which embraced Armorica or the northern sea coast of Gaul, where St.
Patrick was residing in his own native country (in patria) with his
parents, when he was made captive. It follows, likewise, that St.
Patrick's native town, "Bannaue Tiburnise," according to Probus, was
the seaside city in Armorica referred to. The Bannaue Tiburniae of
Probus and the Bonaven Taberniae of St. Patrick are evidently one and
the same as Bononia, where the Romans were encamped, which, as it has
already been proved, was called Bonauen Armorik by the Gaulish Celts.

If any other proof were needed, the description of the province given
by Probus as the country formerly inhabited by giants can leave no
doubt on the subject.

Sammes, in his "Antiquities of Ancient Britain," published in 1676,
narrates that the Scythians, or Cymri, were called the offspring of
Magog by Josephus. Pouring out in mighty hordes from Scythia, they
sacked Rome and plundered the Temple of Apollo in Greece. Some of them
settled down in Sarmatia, Germany, and Northern Gaul, generally
adopting the name of the lands in which they settled. Strabo is quoted
as saying "that the very youths (of the Cymri) were half a foot taller
than the tallest men," and Manlius for declaring "that the Cymri were a
race so exceedingly tall that other nations seemed nothing in their
eyes." The same authority narrates that "when one of the Cymri stood in
the ranks he seemed of the same proportion as the others, but when he
stepped out a few paces, and came near to the Romans, they all began to
be amazed at the sight." On that account the Roman soldiers, as Caesar
admits, were filled with consternation at the giants they were called
upon to encounter when he marched against their leader, Ariovistus. The
Cymri were also remarkable for their exceeding swiftness. Csesar
witnessed that they "could lay their hands on the manes of horses and
keep pace with them in the race." Tully testifies that it was "their
joy and delight to die on the battlefield, and that nothing so
tormented them as to die idly in their beds." "No wonder," says Sammes,
"that they conquered many nations; distressed the Romans themselves,
and were a constant thorn in the side of the Gauls" ("Antiquities of
Ancient Britain," cap. 2).

Dr. Smith, in his "History of France," narrates that the Cymri
"acquired permanent possession of an extensive territory north of the
Loire, including the peninsula of Armorica" (p. 13). Bononia, or
Boulogne, St. Patrick's native town, was, therefore, situated in Belgic
Gaul during the days of Julius Caesar; but, later on, when the
descendants of the Cymri, the Belgic Gauls, were almost annihilated in
their fierce contests with the Romans, the same province came to be
called Armorica. Sulpicius Severus, as we shall see presently, named
the same country Britannia at the time of the Council of Ariminium in
the year 359--just fourteen years before St. Patrick was born.

In the year 597 Armorica, or Britannia, became absorbed in the province
of Neustria, when the kingdom of the Franks was sub-divided into three
separate kingdoms, as Dr. Smith relates: "Sigebert became King of
Austrasia (in the Prankish tongue, Oster-rike), or the kingdom of the
Eastern Franks; Chilperic was recognised as King Neustria (Ne-oster-
rike), the land of the Western Franks. The limits of the two kingdoms
are somewhat uncertain; but the river Meuse and the Forest of Ardennes
may be taken generally as the line of demarcation. Austrasia extended
from the Meuse to the Rhine; Neustria extended from the Meuse to the
ocean. Gouthran ruled over the division of Gaul which now acquired the
name of Burgundy" ("History of France," p. 42).

Neustria, extending from the Meuse to the ocean, necessarily embraced
the whole province of Britannia, or Armorica. That province still
retained the name of Neustria when Probus, in the tenth century, wrote
the "History of St. Patrick."

The change of the name Armorica to Britannia, and from Britannia to
Neustria, together with the fact that the name Britannia, or Brittany,
as applied to that particular province in Gaul was forgotten for
centuries before any of the old Latin "Lives" of St. Patrick, except
the first, were written, must have induced some old biographers of the
Saint to interpret the name Britain, mentioned in the "Lives" and in
the "Confession," as referring only to the Island of Britain,

With the exception of Probus, who had travelled abroad, the old
biographers of St. Patrick, on account of their very limited sources of
information, had very little knowledge of the histories of foreign
countries, and it is not surprising to find them erroneously supposing
that St. Patrick was born in Great Britain, because he mentioned in his
"Confession" that he was born in Britain, and had relatives among the

St. Patrick, according to Probus, was one of the Gaulish Britons, being
born at Bonaven, or Boulogne-sur-Mer. Although the Saint, according to
Canon O'Hanlon, was a little man, he was descended from a race of
giants--the bold Cymri, or Celts. That fact established a relationship
of race between the Saint and the nation which he converted.

Camden and Keating narrate that King Milesius and his bold Scots, who
successfully invaded Ireland, were descended from the Cymri; and it is
remarkable that a fierce battle was fought between the Irish Scots and
the Tautha de Danans at Mount Slemish, not far from Tralee, in Kerry,
which is identical in name with Mount Slemish, in Antrim--the scene of
the Saint's captivity ("Britannia," vol. ii., p. 123; "History of
Ireland," vol. i., p. 123).

Eochaid O'Flin, a poet quoted by Keating, has left a record of this
historical battle:

"The stout Gadalians first the courage try
At Sliabh-mis, and rout the enemy:
Where heroes pierced with many a deadly wound,
Choked in their blood, lay gasping on the ground:
Heroes whose brave exploits may justly claim
Triumphant laurels and immortal fame."

Scota, the relict of King Milesius and mother of Heber and Heremon,
Kings of Ireland, was slain while fighting in this battle, and buried
in the valley at the foot of Mount Sleabh-mis, which after her
interment was called Glean Scoithin, or the Valley of Scota. From her
the Irish Scots derived their name. The same old bard has sung a
lamentation over her grave:--

"Beneath, the vale its bosom doth display,
With meadows green, with flowers profusely gay,
Where Scota lies, unfortunately slain,
And with her royal tomb gives honour to the plain.
Mixed with the first the fair virago fought,
Sustained the toil of arms and danger sought:
From her the fruitful valley hath the name
O Glean Scoith, and we may trust to fame."


IN the XIVth section of the "Vita Quinta" Probus narrates St. Patrick's
arrival in Brotgalum, then his journey to Trajectus, from whence he
hastened to Marmoutier to join St. Martin, Bishop of Tours, with whom
he remained for four years. Colgan, in his annotations (14), identifies
Brotgalum as Burdigalum, or Bordeaux. So, too, does Professor Bury, who
tells us that Brodgal was the Irish for Bordeaux, and that "Bordeaux
was a regular port for travellers from Ireland to South Gaul" ("Life of
St. Patrick," Appendix, p. 341).

Trajectus, according to the old maps, was situated on the river
Dordogne, about sixty miles from Tours. From Trajectus St. Patrick had
to walk a distance of about two hundred miles through a desert before
reaching Tours.

"A glance at the map of ancient Gaul," writes Father Bullen Morris,
"will show that in St. Patrick's time a great part of the country
between Trajectus and Tours well deserved the name of a desert. The
network of rivers, tributaries of the Loire, and now known as La
Vienne, La Claire, La Gartempe, &c., must have exposed the country to
periodical inundations in those days. So from Tours in the north to
Limonum, Alerea, and Legora in the south, east and west, we find some
5,000 square miles, which, as far as the ancient map is concerned, give
no signs of possession by man. Travellers entangled amidst these rivers
and morasses must have advanced very slowly, and thus it appears that
both places and time fit in with St. Patrick's narrative. Nature has
changed her face along the line of St. Patrick's journey, and there is
little now to remind us of its primeval desolation, save that the
rivers still preserve some of their old habits, and now and then
combine with the inundations of the giant Loire in setting man at

"Time, however, with its alternative gifts and ravages, has left
untouched the traditions regarding St. Patrick's journey. There is
something more than antiquarian interest in the feelings of the
Christian traveller who visits the spot on the banks of the Loire,
where immemorial tradition and an ancient monument mark the place at
which the Saint crossed the river on his way to Marmoutier. At about
twenty miles from Tours the railway between that city and Angers stops
at the station of St. Patrice; the commune is also named after the
Saint, and, as we shall see, there is historical evidence that it has
been thus designated for at least nine hundred years."

"The first witness whose evidence we shall take on the subject of the
Saint's arrival at St. Patrice is one which many believe to have
survived since his time, but on this point the reader must form his own
opinion. Above the station, on the side of the hill which rises from
the banks of the Loire, we find the famous tree which bears 'the
flowers of St. Patrice.' For ages past it has been an object of
religious veneration with the people of Touraine, and now in our time
it is particularly interesting to find that this devotion was shared by
that eminent servant of God, Leon Dupont, the Thaumaturgus of Tours.
Monsignor C. Chevalier, President of the Archaeological Society, has
published a very full account of the tree and of the traditions
connected with it, the subtance of which we subjoin, together with the
result of personal investigations made on the spot in August, 1881. At
this season the tree was covered with foliage so luxuriant, from the
ground upwards, that it was impossible to distinguish the stem, and in
every respect it presented the appearance of a tree in its prime,
without a sign of decay. It belongs to the botanical class Prunus
Spinosa, or blackthorn, and it was covered with berries at the time of
our visit. These, however, were the evidence of a second efflorescence
in the spring. The celebrity of the tree arises from the fact that
every year at Christmas time it is seen covered with flowers, and the
tradition at St. Patrice, handed down from father to son, affirms that
for fifteen hundred years this phenomenon has been repeated at the same
sacred season. It matters not how intense the cold of any particular
winter; while the ground beneath and the country around lie covered in
their white shroud, the "flowers of St. Patrice" unfold their blossoms
and bid defiance to the fierce north winds which sweep the valley of
the Loire."

The next witness is the old parish church, dedicated to St. Patrick,
which stands about thirty yards from the tree. Its old charters and
records show that it dates back from the beginning of the tenth
century. One old charter, bearing the date of 1035, contains a deed of
gift of some lands adjoining the church of St. Patrick. The church
stood on the Roman road between Anjou and Tours. "Thus," concludes
Father Bullen Morris, "ancient records and immemorial traditions
complete our story, and set St. Patrick on the high road to St. Martin
at Marmoutier" ("Ireland and St. Patrick," pp. 35--40).


UNLESS it can be proved that there was a province called Britain in
Gaul, and another Britain quite distinct from the Island of Britain, it
would be useless to argue that St. Patrick was a native of Gaul. The
Saint represents himself as a native of Britain; and even Probus, who
is credited with believing that St. Patrick was a native of Armoric
Gaul, distinctly states that the Saint was born in Britain (natus in
Britanniis). It is, however, not difficult to prove that there was a
province in Gaul called Britain (Britannia) even before the birth of
St. Patrick.

Strabo, in his "Description of Europe," narrates in the Fourth Book
that about 220 years before Christ, Publius Cornelius Scipio, the
father of Scipio Africanus, consulted the Roman deputies at Marseilles
about the cities of Gaul named Britannia, Narbonne, and Corbillo.
Sanson identifies Britannia with the present town of Abbeville on the
Somme. Dionysius, the author of "Perigesis," who wrote in the early
part of the first century, mentions the Britanni as settled on the
south of the Rhine, near the coast of Flanders.

Pliny, in his "Natural History," when recounting the various tribes on
the coast of Gaul, mentions the Morini and Oramfaci as inhabiting the
district of Boulogne, and places the Britanni between the last-named
tribe and Amiens. (Pliny, lib. i., cap. xxxi.; Carte's "General History
of England," vol i., p. 5).

"The Britanni on the Continent extended themselves farther along the
coast than when first known to the Romans, and the branch of that tribe
mentioned by Dionysius as settled on the coast of Flanders, and the
Britons of Picardy mentioned by Pliny, were of the same nation and
contiguous to each other. Dionysius further adds that they spread
themselves farther south, even to the mouth of the Loire, and to the
extremity of Armorica, which several writers say was called Britain
long before it came into general use (Carte, p. 6).

"Sulpicius Severus, in his "Sacred Histories," gives an account of the
Bishops summoned by the Emperor Constantius in the year 359 to the
Council of Ariminium n Italy. Four hundred Bishops from Italy, Africa,
Spain, and Gaul answered the summons, and the Emperor gave an order
that all the Bishops were to be boarded and lodged, whilst the Council
lasted, at the expense of the treasury. Whereupon Sulpicius, writing
with pride of the action taken by the Bishops of the three provinces,
Gallia, Aquitania, and Britannia, makes use of the following words:
"Sed id nostris, id est. Aquitanis, Gallis, et Britannis, idecens
visum; repudiatis fiscalibus propries sumptibus vivere maluerunt. Tres
autem ex Britannia inopia proprii, publico usi sunt, cum oblatum a
ceteris collationem respuissent; sanctius putantes, fescum gravare,
quam singulos" (Lib. ji,, p. 401).

"The proposal seemed shameful to us, Aquitanians, Gauls, and Britons,
who, rejecting the offer of help from the treasury, preferred to live
at our own expense. Three, however, of the Bishops from Britannia,
possessing no means of their own, refused to accept the maintenance
offered by their brethren, deeming it a holier thing to burden the
treasury than to accept aid from individuals" (Lib. ii., p. 401).

If any doubt exists as to the Britannia referred to, it is solved in
the same book, p. 431. Sulpicius Severusi an Aquitanian by birth,
speaks of the trial, condemnation and punishment of the Priscillian
heretics by the secular Court at Treves in the year 389. Prisciallanus
and his followers, Felicissimus, Armenianus, and a woman named
Euchrosia were condemned to death and beheaded, but Instantias and
Liberianus were banished to the Island of Sylena, "quas ultra
Britanniarn sita est" (which is situated beyond Britain). Although it
is not precisely known where the Island of Sylena was situated, except
that it was somewhere beyond Britain, the Britain referred to surely
must be Britain in Gaul, for it is incredible that the Gauls should
possess a penal settlement in the North of Scotland, where Sylena must
have been situated, if the words "beyond Britain" refer to the Island
of Britain.

It is evident that if Sulpicius, who was born in 360--thirteen years
before St. Patrick--could speak of Armorica as Britannia, and the
Armorican Bishops as Britons, when he wrote his "Sacred Histories," it
cannot be a matter of surprise that St. Patrick, if born in Armorica at
a later period, should speak of himself as a Briton, and say that he
had relatives among the Britons.

Armorica was called Britannia by Sulpicius Severus, but Sidonius
Apollinarus, who flourished some time after, called the same country
Armorica. It was not, however, unusual, as Carte points out, for the
same people and the same country to be called by different names; for
example, the Armorici and the Morini were one and the same people,
whose names had the same signification--dwellers on the sea coast.
(Carte, p. 16; Whitaker's "Genuine History of the Briton," pp. 216--

As the historians just quoted are not concerned with the history of St.
Patrick, but are simply tracing the origin and history of the Britons,
their testimony is impartial.

Even Camden admits that Dionysius places the Britons on the maritime
coast of Gaul, and renders his verses into English:--

"Near the great pillars of the farthest land,
The old Iberians, haughty souls, command
Along the continent, where northern seas
Roll their vast tides, and in cold billows rise:
Where British nations in long tracts appear
And fair-haired Germans ever famed in war."

The early existence of the Britons in Armorica did not depend on the
settlement of the veteran Britons, who, having served under Constantino
the Great, were rewarded by a gift of the vacant lands in Armorica, as
William of Malmesbury narrates in his "History of the Kings"; or on the
still larger settlement of Britons who fought for the usurper Maximus,
which Ninius mentions, in the mysterious reference which embraced the
whole country "from the Great St. Bernard in Piedmont to Cantavic in
Picardy, and from Picardy to the western coast of France." The latter
settlement took place between the years 383 and 388. The British
refugees, who fled in terror from the Picts, Scots, and Saxons, may
indeed have added to the numbers of Britons in Gaul from time
immemorial, but they certainly were not the first to give the name
Britannia to that country.


IT has been often urged, without any solid reason, that the plural
Britannise used for Britain in the "Confession" can only refer to Great
Britain, because that country was sub-divided by the Romans into five
distinct provinces. The reason given cannot be convincing, because
Catullus, who died in the year 54, used the plural for Britain before
the Roman sub-divisions were made, when he wrote, "Nunc timent Galliae,
timent Britanniae"--Caesar, "the Gauls and the Britons fear." The
plural was used by St. Patrick when writing the "Confession" nearly one
hundred years after the Romans with their divisions had left the
country. It was used by Probus, who undoubtedly referred to Armoric
Britain when writing about St. Patrick's native country, for he tells
us in the plural that the Saint was born in Britain (natus in
Britanniis). The plural was, therefore, used both for Britain in Gaul
and for the Island of Britain.

The word Britannia occurs three times in the "Confession." In the "Book
of Armagh" the name appears always in the plural, whilst in the
Bollandist's copy of the "Confession" the name is printed once in the
singular and twice in the plural. St. Jerome uses the singular always
when referring to Britannia; and St. Bede, in his "History," uses the
plural and singular indiscriminately. Whenever Britannia is mentioned,
the context alone can guide us in distinguishing which Britain is
meant. ("Ireland and St. Patrick," by the Rev. Bullen Morris, pp. 24,

St. Patrick also mentions Gaul in the plural ("Gallias"), for although
the whole country was subdivided into three separate nationalities--the
Gauls, the Aquitanians, and the Britons--as Sulpicius Severus had
already mentioned, the three provinces were called Gallise, or the
Gauls, by the Romans. Galliae in the plural, therefore, either meant
the whole country or any one of its sub-divisions, and the context
alone could determine which province was meant.

Having these facts in mind, it is easy to interpret the words of St.
Patrick: "Though I should have wished to leave them, and had been ready
and very desirous of going to Britain [Britanniis], as if to my own
country and parents; and not that alone, but to go even to Gaul
(Gallias) to visit my brethren, and to see the face of the Lord's
Saints, and God knows how ardently I wished it but I was bound in the
Spirit, and He Who witnesseth will account me guilty if I do so--and I
fear to lose the results of the labour which I have begun. And not I,
but the Lord Jesus Christ, Who commanded me to come and remain with
them for the rest of my life--if the Lord so will it, and keeps me from
every evil way, that I should not sin before Him" ("Confession").

St. Patrick's relatives resided in the Gaulish province of Britain, and
the disciples of St. Martin--"the Lord's Saints"--lived at Marmoutier
in the province of Gaul. St. Patrick's natural desire was first to
visit his relatives in Armorican Britain, and next to renew his
friendship with the followers of St. Martin at Marmoutier, but God had
decreed that he should spend all the rest of his days in the land of
his adoption.

Gaul was not only the name of the whole country, which embraced three
provinces--Gallia, Aquitania, and Britannia--it was also the name of
one of the provinces. As Gaul in its widest sense was a different
country from the Island of Britain, so the province of Gaul was quite
distinct from the province of Armoric Britain. The Gauls, Aquitanians,
and Britons, all possessing, as Csesar testifies, separate governments
and different nationalities, regarded one another as distinct races.
Thus Sulpicius Severus represents a Gaul as addressing some Aquitanians
as follows: "When I think of myself as a Gaul about to address
Aquitanians, I fear lest my uncultured speech should offend your too
refined ears"--"Sed dum cogito me hominem Gallum inter Aquitanos verba
facturum, vereor ne offendat nimium urbanas aures sermo rusticior"
(Dialogue 20).


IT is objected again that St. Patrick called the followers of
Coroticus, who were Britons, his fellow citizens, and that, therefore,
the Saint and the island Britons are of the same nationality.

The objection is founded on St. Patrick's "Epistle to Coroticus," in
which the following words occur: "I have vowed to my God to teach this
people, although I should be despised by them, to whom I have written
with my own hand to be given to the soldiers to be forwarded to
Coroticus. I do not say to my fellow citizens, nor to the fellow
citizens of the pious Romans, but to the fellow citizens of the devil,
through their evil deeds and hostile practices."

As the Romans had abandoned Britain long before the letter to Coroticus
was written, it is somewhat difficult to understand the precise meaning
of the words just quoted: "I do not say to my fellow citizens, or to
the fellow citizens of the pious Romans," unless some of the soldiers
of Coroticus were, like St. Patrick, Roman freemen. The word "citizen"
in the Roman sense was as wide as the extent of the Roman Empire.

Although the soldiers of Coroticus are also called "fellow citizens of
the pious Romans," no one would surely dream of saying that the
soldiers of Coroticus and the pious Roman were actually of the same
nationality. St. Patrick could, therefore, call the soldiers of
Coroticus in the same sense his "fellow citizens," without implying
that he was of the same race. If, however, the soldiers of Coroticus
were Roman freemen, they would be fellow citizens of St. Patrick and
fellow citizens of the Romans, although of different nationalities. The
indignant protest made by the Saint in the same letter, that "free-born
Christian men are sold and enslaved amongst the wicked, abandoned, and
apostate Picts," greatly favours our interpretation of "fellow

It must, however, be acknowledged that there is a considerable amount
of obscurity about the meaning of the words, which are so confidently
interpreted as signifying that the Apostle of Ireland was a native of
Great Britain. But the words as they stand cannot be fairly assumed to
prove that St. Patrick was a "fellow countryman" of the soldiers of
Coroticus, unless they prove with equal force that the Romans were of
the same nationality as the soldiers of Coroticus. The quotation proves
too much and, therefore, it proves nothing.


HAVING given the different theories concerning the native country of
St. Patrick, and having faithfully quoted all that the Seven old Latin
"Lives" of the Saint have narrated on this subject, and given our
reasons for accepting the Armoric theory as the most reasonable
solution of the problem, it will be advisable to give a brief summary
of the arguments brought forward to prove that St. Patrick was an
Armorican Britain, born at Boulogne-sur-Mer.

Boulogne-sur-Mer, or ancient Bononia, was called by the same name,
"Bonaven," as the town in which St. Patrick implies that he was born.
Boulogne possessed a Roman encampment, and it was, therefore, Bonaven
Taberniae, mentioned in the "Confession."

Caligula's tower, on the north-eastern cliffs, in the town and within
the suburbs, was called "Turris Ordinis" by the Romans, but "Nemtor" by
the Gaulish Celts, as Hersart de la Villemarque states in his "Celtic

It is certain that Niall of the Nine Hostages made use of the Port of
Boulogne when he invaded Armorica in the twenty-seventh year of his
reign, and that he died at that port after his assassination.

It is probable that Niall sailed to Boulogne when invading Armorica on
the first occasion, for he was carrying his arms into the same country,
of which Boulogne was the principal port, and the only one used by the
Romans when invading England.

The return of Niall from his first expedition into-Armorica with
captives, including St. Patrick, on board in the year 388, corresponds
precisely with the fifteenth year of St. Patrick, who was born in the
year 373. This fact is not only testified by Keating, but by Hersart de
la Villemarque in his "Celtic Legend," who narrates that Calphurnius,
St. Patrick's father, was a Roman officer in charge of Nemtor, near
which his family resided in a Roman villa, and that Calphurnius was
slain, and St. Patrick made captive by a hostile fleet that came from

As Nemtor was not only the name of the tower, but the district of the
tower, and situated within the suburbs of Bonaven, St. Fiacc's account
of his patron's birthplace, which simply gives the name of the
district, and St. Patrick's statement that his home was in the suburban
district of Bonaven, harmonise together.

The Scholiast and the author of the Trepartite "Life," by admitting
that the Saint was captured in Armorica, annul their assertion that he
was born in Scotland, because St. Patrick distinctly states that his
family hailed from Bonaven Tabernise, or Boulogne, and that he was
captured while residing at his father's villula. The Scholiast and
Tripartite "Life" consequently admit that Bonaven Taberniae was
situated in Armorica.

The impression that Bononia, or Boulogne, was St. Patrick's native town
is confirmed by Probus; he narrates all the misfortune that overtook
Calphurnius and his family whilst they were quietly living in their own
native country (in patria), and in their own seaside city in Armorica.

Armorica was then included in the Province of Neustria, one of the sub-
divided kingdoms of the Franks, and it was on that account that Probus
states that St. Patrick was born in Neustria.

Ware, Usher, and Cardinal Moran, who cling to the Scotch theory of St.
Patrick's birth, all contradict the Scholiast, who asserts that St.
Patrick was born in Dumbarton; whilst those who hold fast to the
Dumbarton theory make frantic efforts to convert the Crag into a
heavenly tower.

St. Patrick, after the vision, in which he was told that he should
return to his own native country, sailed to Gaul and not to the Island
of Britain.

It had been proved on the authority of Sulpicius Severus, who was born
in the year 360, that Armorica was called Britannia, and the Armoricans
were called Britons when the Council of Ariminium was held in the year
359--fourteen years before the birth of St. Patrick. The Saint, when
writing his "Confession" in 493, when the province had even a stronger
claim to the name, could emphatically say, if he was born in Armorica,
that he was a Briton and had relatives amongst the Britons.


FRENCH archeologists point out the "Hotel du Pavillion et des Bains de
Mer," facing the sea-bathing place at Boulogne, as occupying the site
from which Caligula's tower, Nemthur, once lifted its head into the
heavens and shed its light over land and sea. On the frowning cliff
which casts its shadow over the hotel there is a mass of hard brick
ruins--the last remnants of the fortifications built round Nemtor when
Boulogne was captured by the British troops in 1544.

Calphurnius's villula was evidently situated somewhere on the plateau,
called Tour d'Ordre, between the tower and the town, for St. Patrick,
in his "Confession," assured us that his father's home was near to
("prope") Bonaven, a statement which he would not make if the villula
stood on the sea-coast beyond the tower. It is, therefore, certain that
the site of the villula still exists somewhere not far inland from the
ruins alluded to.


Although Nemtor was undermined by the sea and fell into the waves in
1649, a picture of the tower as it once stood in all its glory is still
to be seen in the museum of Boulogne, and the curator very kindly
permitted the writer of this little history to get the drawing copied,
so that the sons of St. Patrick might be permitted to view Nemtor,
which Calphurnius lost his life in defending, and which gave a name to
the district in which St. Patrick was born.

If this brief history of St. Patrick's native town has succeeded in
identifying ancient Bononia, now Boulogne-sur-Mer, as St. Patrick's
birthplace, then the whole plateau of Tour d'Ordre, on the north-
eastern cliffs of Boulogne, where the villula of Calphurnius once
stood, will become sacred in the eyes of the spiritual sons of St.
Patrick throughout the wide world.



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