Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Patrick and Patterdale

There are various suggestions as to where St Patrick was born.  It was almost certainly somewhere near the west coast of Great Britain, probably in south-west Scotland or north-west England.  One suggestion is that he was born in Cumbria and in connection with this mention is sometimes made of a place called Patterdale, or 'Patrick's dale'.  There is a legend that Patrick landed at Duddon Sands and then walked 30 miles overland to the valley now known as Patterdale.  Some people even suggest that he was born there.

During a short holiday in the Lake District I came across a reference to this in the May 2010 issue of Cumbria Life.  There was an article about St Patrick's parish church and the writer said:
Legend has it that St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, made his way to the southern shore of Ullswater during the first half of the fifth century and set about converting local people to Christianity.  Not far from the church is St Patrick's Well where baptisms are said to have taken place and in time Patricksdale became Patterdale.  It's more likely, says church warden Richard Theobald, that St Patrick's was built by monks from a monastery dedicated to the saint.
There was a stone church on the site in the 14th century and it was rebuilt around 1620 but the present church was built in 1852-53.

There is also a tradition that Patrick was born at Ravenglass in Cumbria.  This is based on the similarity between Patrick's birthplace, Banna venta Berniae, and Glannaventa. the old Roman name for Ravenglass.  However I still think it is more likely that he was born in south-west Scotland.

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