More Celtic Saints

More Celtic Saints

St. Neot

St Neot's church is dedicated to the Celtic saint Neot, who was a dwarf not much taller than 15ins. He was so short that he had to throw his key into the lock to be able to open the church door.

He spent his devotions up to his neck in water in a holy well. His food was provided for him by an angel who appeared to him one day and told him that there were three fish in the well. As long as he only ate one each day their number would never decrease, but when the saint was ill a servant went to the well and caught and cooked two fish. When brought to St. Neot he was horrified and ordered that the dead fish be returned to the well. While he prayed the fish were taken back and when they entered the water they came back to life.

Another story says that when his oxen were stolen a pair of stag deer came forward and offered themselves to the plough.

St. Neot's church has some of the finest stained glass windows in the country and one in particular relates 12 events in the saint's life. This window pre-dates 1643 and somehow survived the English Civil War.

St. Levan

St. Levan was a 6th century saint who like St. Neot existed on one fish a day and who refused to fast on the Sabbath. One Sunday a local woman, Joanna, was in her garden when she saw the saint pass by on his way to the beach to go fishing. She rebuked him for breaking the Sabbath but he replied that fishing was no more a sin than gardening. She insisted he was wrong so eventually he called her a fool and added that any baby girls christened Joanna in the parish would grow up as a very stupid woman. Since then there have been no girls of that name in St. Levan's parish.

His favourite pastime was fishing, although he only ever caught one fish a day this particular day two bream kept taking the bait no matter how many times he threw them back. He decided to take both home and on his arrival was greeted by his sister Breage and a pair of hungry children. They cooked the fish and the children were so ravenous that they didn't wait for the fish to be filleted and choked to death on the bones.

The stone in the churchyard is said to have been his favourite resting-place on returning from fishing. After one such trip he took his rod, struck the stone which split in two and made a prophecy.

"When with panniers astride

A pack horse one can ride

Through St. Levan's stone

The world will be done."


St. Ia, whom St. Ives is named after, is rumoured to have arrived in Cornwall floating on a leaf. She had increased the size of it with help from her magic staff.

St. Mawe was the tenth son of an Irish king. While he was preaching, a noisy seal came out of the sea and interrupted his sermon. Very soon he got annoyed at the constant distraction and threw a large rock at the animal. Luckily he missed but the rock remains lodged on top of the Black Rocks in Falmouth Harbour.

St. Keverne lived on the Lizard peninsula and felt that he didn't get enough respect from the local people and so declared that 'no metal will run within the sound of St. Keverne's bells.' To this day tin has never been found in that area.