Saint Kentigern - The Rutherford Patron Saint

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Saint Kentigern or Saint Mungo - The Rutherford Patron Saint

The Rutherfords Were the Chaplains of the Altar of Saint Kentigern at Jedburgh Abbey

Saint Kentigern affectionately known as Saint Mungo

Jedburgh Abbey

In Jedburgh Abbey sometime prior to the year 1498, Lord James Rutherfurd II of that ilk and his wife, Lady Margaret Rutherfurd nee Erskine, were made patrons of the altar of Saint Kentigern [Saint Mungo]. Jedburgh Abbey is the Rutherfurd family church and the spiritual center of the Clan Rutherford. In those days, of course, all western European Christians and all Rutherfords were Catholic. As Catholics, the veneration of family saints was a common practice and the Rutherford family saint was and is Saint Kentigern.

In the ancient annals Kentigern is called Conthigerni meaning "hound-lord" which in later Welsh could give Cyn-deyrn, hence the modern Kentigern has come presumably through an intermediate Gaelic form Ceanntigearn "chief lord". St. Kentigern is also known by the name St. Mungo which means darling or dear one. Two of those who accompanied Kentigern were St Nidan and St Finan. An old Welsh pedigree suggests that Nidan was Kentigern's cousin. It is obvious that these two also accompanied Kentigern on his journey to the Pictish tribes of the province of Mar and their legacy is seen in the foundations bearing their names. In short, these saints along with St. Cuthbert and Saint Aidan, were responsible for bringing the Christian faith to the Rutherford area of the borders. Even in today's predominantly protestant Scotland these saints' names are commonly known. Kentigern is not only the patron Saint of the Rutherford family and of the city of Glasgow, Scotland but also of the all important salmon industry. Kentigern is represented by a ring, a salmon, a bird, a fish, a robin, a bell or a tree. By the way, Glasgow is the See for the town and surrounding parishes of Jedburgh, Maxton and Rutherford itself.

Record is made of this chaplainry:

"After the death of the original granter, Walter Henrison, the patronage of the said chaplainry and altar [Saint Kentigern] was to devolve upon Lord James Rutherfurd II of that Ilk and his heirs, and presentation to be made within twenty days, failing which the provost, bailies and community of Jedworth [Jedburgh] were to present within eight days. The chaplain [Lord James Rutherfurd] was to preform daily service at the altar in praise of the omnipotent God and His Mother the Virgin Mary, and for the salvation of the souls of James II, King of Scots, James III, King of Scots and Margaret, Queen of Scots his spouse and for the salvation of the souls of the donor [Lord James Rutherfurd II], of his father [Lord James Rutherfurd I], of his mother [Lady Christian Lauder] and all his predecessors and successors [the Rutherfords] and of all the departed faithful [Christians everywhere]."

"A Perfect Inventor of all the Donations since the days of King James I to the reigne of King James VI inclusive as also thereafter" - M.S. Volume in Stirling's and Glasgow Library

Jedburgh Abbey - The Ancestral Church of the Rutherford Family

Our Rutherford home church of Jedburgh Abbey is an Augustinian abbey established as a priory by David I, King of Scots in 1118, and colonized by Canons Regular of St. Augustine from the Abbey of St-Quentin, at Beauvais, France. Jedburgh became one of the greatest Scottish monasteries, deriving importance from its proximity to the castle which is now entirely destroyed. Jedburgh Castle was the favorite residence of many Scottish kings. Lands, churches, houses, and valuable fisheries were bestowed on the abbey by David I, Malcolm IV, William the Lion, and other royal and noble benefactors. Alexander III chose to be married in the abbey church to Yolande de Dreux in 1285, by which year the monastic buildings, including the great church, were probably complete. Through Lady Margaret Rutherfurd nee Erskine the Rutherfords are descendants of all these royal personages. The Rutherford cadet of Hundalee had lands which adjoined the Abbey of Jedburgh's holdings. Hundalee House and Hunthill are still standing. In addition, the Rutherford cadet of Castlewood held lands next to Jedburgh Castle through the 16th century.

An opulent abbey so near the English border suffered much in the constant wars between England and Scotland. About 1300 the monastery became uninhabitable, owing to repeated attacks made on it, and the monastic community was dispersed. Later, during the period that the Rutherfords gained chaplainry of the altar of Saint Kentigern, it recovered its prosperity for a time, but in the century and a half preceding the Reformation it was devastated, plundered, and occasionally set on fire, at least four times by the invading English. In 1559, John Horne being abbot, the abbey was suppressed, and its possessions confiscated by the Crown. The altar of Saint Kentigern disappeared. A Protestant church was afterwards constructed within the nave. The oldest part of the Abbey is the early Norman choir, of which the two western bays remain and the long nave which is 129 feet long.

Prior to Lord James Rutherfurd's chaplainry of the altar of Saint Kentigern at Jedburgh Abbey, the Rutherfords were being buried in its choir. It is assumed that the choir was also the location of the altar of Saint Kentigern. One of the most decorated stones in the Abbey is a stone which formed a piece of a lentel in the choir area. It depicts a tree and birds from the stories of Saint Kentigern and tellingly was removed by a Kerr [The Marquess of Lothian] under the pretense of gaining a clearer drawing from it and was re-installed at the other end of the Abbey [north transept]. In other words, the Marquess of Lothian took our ancestral Saint's imagery from the Rutherford burial area and had it put in the Kerr burial area at the opposite end of the church.

The proofs for the burial rights of the Rutherfords in Jedburgh Abbey date back to the period of Cardinal David Beaton and before. On July 13th, 1464 the abbot of Jedburgh granted a right of burial in the abbey to Robert Rutherford of Chatto [Hunthill] and his wife Margaret. The whole of the choir was afterwards divided among the Rutherfords as their burial place, and allotments were assigned to the Rutherfords of Edgerston, Hunthill, Hundalee, Fairnington, Hall and Bankhead.

The grant reads as follows:

"Be it kend till almen be thir presents letteris, Ws, Andrew, throw the grace of God, Abbot of ye Abbay of Jedbworth, with consentand assent of our halle convent till haff grantyt, and be thir present lettiris grantis til our weylthar laris within the quher of our Abbay of Jedworth, in the mydlis of the sam nixt the utmost grese [steps] quhar ye lectern standis, quhen that God wesys tham to pass off this warlde, and to la thar throioch quhen it plessis tham in ye sayd place. For ye quhylklaris in ye saidquherwe grant ws fulley contentand payit. In witness of ye quhylk thingis we haff set the common sell of our Abbay till thir present letteris at the sayd Abbay of Jedworth, this xiii day of ye moneth of July in the zher of God a thousand four hundreth sixty and four zheris, befoir thir witness, Dene Phelip Waleyss superior of our Closter, dene Walter Mol, Dene Walter Pyle, Dene John Cant, Denne Alexander Geddes, Dene Henry of Glasgow, Dene Wylliam of Jedworth and Dene James of Dryburgh, cannonis of our sayd Abbay, and divers vthers"

The seal was attached at a later date by Cardinal David Beaton. Cardinal Beaton did not hold the office until December of 1538, this grant was obviously post-dated.

This is a cruxial generation in the history of the Rutherford clan. Through this generation passes the descendency of Robert the Bruces' line. It is also one of several places where the Rutherford line crosses with the Edgerston Rutherfurds. It is from this generation that the Hunthill/Hundalee spelling formalizes as "Rutherford" and the Edgerston spelling as "Rutherfurd". The whole of the choir was afterwards divided among the Rutherfords as their burial place, and allotments were assigned for the Rutherfurds of Edgerston and the Rutherfords of Hunthill, Hundalee, Fairnington, Hall and Bankhead. The last family member of note to be buried in the Abbey was Sir John Rutherfurd of Edgerston, 7x's great grandson of Lord James Rutherfurd II. Rutherford grave markers are still standing in the cemetery and the choir with its Rutherford tombs is a major focus of abbey visitors.

Also removed from the church and confiscated by the Crown in 1559 were the altars for:

The Holyrood - the Holy Cross
Saint Mary the Blessed of Jedburgh
Saint Ninian - chaplained by our cousins the Douglases,
Saint Katherine of the Wheel and
Saint James

To a period of violence and confusion came a new Rutherford and a new faith. The Reverend Samuel Rutherford was born in about 1600 near Nisbet, Roxburghshire, Scotland - a short way down the road from Jedburgh. He was a student at the reformed Jedburgh Abbey school and was later sent to study in Edinburgh in 1617. In 1627 he earned a M.A. from Edinburgh College, where he was appointed Professor of Humanities. "This Presbyterian leader came from a Hunthill branch [Rutherfords] and noted that his secretary said 'he was a gentleman by extraction' and used the Hunthill arms. He was born at Nisbet in Crailing where his father was a farmer or miller." In fact, it's recorded that on 10/29/1642 that the Lord Rutherford of Hunthill delivered up the very keys to the Abbey and it's choir so that "free entry might be made to the people to convene in the service of God."

The charter was made for right of burial lairs to the Rutherfords of Hunthill but the Kerrs and Edgerstons had other ideas.

“In the same year the Laird of Hunthill gave in to the presbytery ane bill compleaning he was wronged in hia seat in the kirk and desyring he micht not be wronged. This is referred to Mr Jamieson the minister who is now at the armie. The question having not been so speedily or so satisfactorily settled as the complainer would have wished he seems to have taken the somewhat bold step of bringing it to an end by a lock out as would appear from the Presbytery Records of date 29th October 1642 where it is stated that the Laird of Hunthill delivered the key of the door between the kirk and the queir [choir] that free entry might be made to the people to convene in the service of God.”

Jedburgh Abbey : historical and descriptive: also, The abbeys of Teviotdale, as showing the development of Gothic architecture"

pub. Edinburgh: David Douglas - 1877

By James Watson – page 83 

"Only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the best part, and it will not be taken away from her."

Luke 10:42

The Hospital of Saint Mary Magdalene at Rutherford on the Tweed

In the town of Rutherford itself was a small hospital which was maintained by the Rutherford family from the times of the earliest Norman and Flemish presence in the Tweed River Valley. The hospital at Rutherford was dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene, patron saint of the Knights Templar and was founded by King David I of Scotland (1124-1153). Being a small town, there was no church at Rutherford, only a chapel within the hospital. The chapel churchyard also had a cemetery.

Originally, a hospital was a place where strangers or visitors were received not just a place to care for the sick. The mission of Saint Mary Magdalene's Hospital was twofold; to take in travelers and to care for the poor and sick of the area. Both would have been necessary considering the hospital’s closeness to the great road [Dere Street] into Scotland and to Melrose Abbey which served as a retirement home for Cistercian and Templar priests back from the Crusades. In Scotland, 77 hospitals were founded before the Reformation; Glasgow had two, Aberdeen four, Edinburgh five. St. Mary Magdalene's at Rutherford was founded by King David I (1124-1153); Holy Trinity at Soltre by King Malcolm IV (1153-1163); the one at Rothean by John Bisset about 1226; Hollywood in Galloway by Robert Bruce's brother Edward (died 1318); St. Mary Magdalene's at Linlithgow by James I (1424-1437).

On the outskirts of a town in medieval times, travelers would have noticed a well-known landmark, such as the Hospital at Rutherford, a group of cottages with an adjoining chapel, clustering round a green enclosure. At a glance they would recognize it as the 'lazar house' for those with leprosy, and would prepare to throw alms to the crippled and disfigured representatives of the community.

Queen Matilda, wife of Henry I (1100–1135) and sister of David I of Scotland exemplified compassionate concern for those with the disease. When her brother, David, King of Scotland, was serving as a youth at the English Court, the Queen called him into her chambers one evening. He found the place 'full of lepers, and the queen standing in the midst with her robe laid aside and a towel girt round her. Having filled a basin with water, she proceeded to wash the feet of the lepers and to wipe them with the towel, and then taking them in both her hands, she kissed them with devotion.' King David remonstrated with her about this with the words: 'What dost thou, my lady? Certes if the king were to know this, never would he deign to kiss with his lips that mouth of thine polluted with the soil of leprous feet.' She apparently answered with a smile: 'Who does not know that the feet of an Eternal King are to be preferred to the lips of a mortal king? See, then, dearest brother, wherefore I have called thee, that thou mayest learn by my example to do so also.' Later, after he had become King David I of Scotland, he not only encouraged the founding of the four Borders Abbeys at Melrose, Jedburgh, Dryburgh and Kelso but the hospital at Rutherford, as well.

During the English occupation of Roxburgh Castle, the Hospital at Rutherford was granted to Sir Simon de Sandford by Edward Balliol, King of Scotland this being confirmed to him by King Edward III on 26 July 1335. He was dead by 31 Oct. 1337, when the custody of the same hospital was granted to William de Embledon. On Nov. 6th, 1348 William de Sandford obtained a grant of the Wardenship of the Chapel of Whale in Scotland, in possession of William de Embleton; the latter had succeeded Simon de Sandford in his custody of the hospital of Rutherford near Roxburgh in 1335 which points to a close family relationship between Simon and William Sandford.

In 1377 King Robert III returned the hospital of St Mary Magdalene at Rutherford to the Rutherford family, under the condition that the canons should have service regularly performed in the hospital chapel.

The ancestral village of Rutherford and its hospital were "spoiled" by Henry VIII in July of 1544. Two months later, on September 9th,1544 the town was destroyed. The rest of the village was burned, razed and cast down between September 9th and September 13th, 1544. On September 16th the Rutherford Houses at Hundalee, Hunthill, Edgerston and Jedburgh were burned to the ground by the English.


January 6 - The Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ “Three Kings Day”

January 8 – Saint Thorfinn a Norwegian bishop who died on January 8, 1285 at TerDoest abbey near Rudderevoorde where miracles have been reported at his tomb and where he is venerated by the Cistercians around Brugge and Ruddervoorde.

January 12 - St. Aelred of Rievaulx, master of the household of King David I and founder of the Cistercian Abbey at Rievaulx. When Aelred resigned the stewardship of Scotland, King David awarded the vacant position to Walter FitzAlan, who assumed the title "First High Steward.", direct ancestor of the Bruce, Stewart and Rutherford families.

January 13 - Saint Kentigern, also called Saint Mungo; Bishop of Glasgow; 601. Patron Saint of the Rutherford family.

January 18 - St. Bernard of Clairvaux, founder of the Benedictine order called the Cistercians founder of Clairvaux and 50 other abbeys. St. Bernard sent the Cistercians of Clairvaux to Rievaulx in Yorkshire and on to King David of Scotland who built for them a monastery on the Tweed River at Melrose near Rutherford, Scotland.

January 20 – Saint Sebastian, martyr, patron of the guild of long bowmen

February 1 - Saint Brigid of Kildare; 525. "The Prophetess of Christ and the Mary of the Gaels."

February 2 - The Presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple, also called Candlemas and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

March 17 - Saint Patrick, Missionary Bishop; 465.

March 19 - Saint Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Step-father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

March 20 - Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, Bishop of Lindisfarne; 687

March 25 - The Annunciation of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Blessed Virgin Mary

April 7 – 1st Day of the True Blood of Christ, Brugge, Flanders and Scotland – now venerated on the Monday following the first Sunday in May

April 17 – Saint Stephen Harding, Cistercian abbot

April 18 - Idesbald of Dunes, Cistercian abbot of Furnes near Ruddervoorde, Flanders

April 23 - Saint George the martyr, Cappadocia; c 285, patron of the guild of crossbowmen

April 25 - Saint Mark the Evangelist

May 1 - Saints Philip and James the Apostles, also Saint Walburga near Furnes in Flanders

May 16 - Saint Brendan the Voyager, Abbot; Clonfert; 577.

May 24 – Saint David, King of Scotland - refounded Melrose Abbey, direct ancestor of the Bruce, Stewart and Rutherford families.

June 6 - Saint Norbert, patron of archers and hunters

June 9 - Saint Columba of Iona, also called Columcille. Abbot of Iona; 597. Collateral ancestor of the Bruce, Stewart and Rutherford families.

June 13 - Saint Anthony, patron of the guild of hand gunmen

June 24 - The Nativity of Saint John the Baptizer, one of the patrons of the Knights Templar

June 29 - Saint Peter and Saint Paul, the Apostles

July 22 - Saint Mary Magdalene, patron of the Hospital at Rutherford, Scotland

July 25 – Saint James the Apostle "the Greater", object of the pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela, one of the patrons of the Knights Templar

July 26 – Saint Anne, mother of Mary, grandmother of Jesus

July 29 - Saints Mary and Martha of Bethany – sisters of Saint Lazarus

August 3 - Saint Waltheof abbot of Melrose Abbey, his mother Matilda [Maud] married King David I. He was part of David's court at Roxburgh Castle next to Rutherford where he was educated and became a spiritual student of Saint Aelred, master of the royal household.

August 6 - The Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ

August 11 - Saint Clare of Assisi, Virgin Abbess; 1253.

August 15 - The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

August 29 - The Beheading of Saint John the Baptizer v August 31 - Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne

September 1 – Saint Giles, in Latin called St. Egidius - patron saint of beggars, blacksmiths and cripples. Major connection between Flanders and Scotland. St. Giles is the patron saint of Ruddervoorde, Belgium the ancestral home of the Rutherford family. His relics are found in nearby Brugge [Bruges] ancestral home of the Bruce family. Saint Giles saved the life of a deer who King Flavius was hunting. King Flavius built a monastery close by and persuaded Saint Giles to become its first abbot. Among Saint Giles’ many disciples and friends was Emperor Charlemagne, direct ancestor of the Bruce, Stewart and Rutherford families.

September 8 - The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

September 14 - Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross – Holyrood – King/Saint David in the year 1128, was living at the Castle of Edinburgh. On September 14th, after attending mass on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross he went hunting in the Drumsheugh Forest. Near the north side of Salisbury Crag a stag turned on the King, threw him from his horse, and wounded him in the thigh. In self defense the King attempted to grasp the stag's horns, taking hold instead of a crucifix which suddenly appeared between the antlers of the animal. The crucifix remained in the King's grasp when the stag ran away. That night David heard a voice in a dream instructing him to "make a house for Canons devoted to the Cross". King David erected the monastery of the Holyrood meaning "Holy Cross" which is the Scottish Royal Church in Edinburgh….. See September 20th

September 16 - Saint Ninian, Bishop of Cumberland and Southern Picts, founder and Abbot of Candida Casa; 432, near Wigton, Scotland - patron saint of the Douglas family.

September 20 - Saint Eustace. martyr, while out hunting Saint Eustace saw a crucifix within the antlers of a stag and was converted to Christianity. Members of his family joined him in his new faith and when they refused to sacrifice to pagan gods they were arrested and executed – patron saint of archers and hunters.

September 26 - Saint Cosmos and Damian. - martyrs, twins who both studied medicine, unlike other physicians they did not charge any fee for their services. During a time of Christian persecution they were arrested and executed, patron saints of physicians

September 29 – Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Rafael - Saint Michael patron of the guild of swordsmen

September 30 - Saint Jerome, Priest and hermit; Bethlehem; 420 - translated the Bible into the Vulgate Latin

October 1- The Intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary

October 4 - Saint Francis of Assisi, Friar; 1226, “saint of the saints”

November 1 - All Saints Day

November 2 – All Souls Day

November 3 – Saint Hubert, patron saint of archers

November 11 - Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop; 397, patron saint of soldiers

November 15 – Saint Machute born in Wales - called the "apostle of Brittany"

November 16 – Saint Margaret, mother of Saint David, direct ancestor of the Bruce, Stewart and Rutherford families.

November 17 - Saint Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln - denounced the mass persecution of Jews in England in 1190-91, repeatedly facing down armed mobs, making them release their victims.

November 25 – Saint Catherine of the Wheel, martyr

November 30 - Saint Andrew, Apostle, Patron Saint of Scotland

December 4 – Saint Barbara, patron of the guild of cannoneers

December 6 - Saint Nicholas of Myra, Bishop; c 342.

December 13 – Saint Lucy, martyr

December 17 - Saint Lazarus, “whom Jesus raised from the dead” bishop and missionary of Marseilles, France.

December 21 - Saint Thomas the Apostle

December 25 - The Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

December 26 - Saint Stephen the first martyr

December 27 - Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist

December 28 - The Holy Innocents