A.D. 651. This saint was a native of Ireland, where, after some years of monastic life at Inniscattery in the Shannon, he was consecrated bishop. Later on he entered the monastery of Iona. He became the first bishop of Lindisfarne, and the helper of Saint Oswald in the conversion of Northumbria. His life was one of great poverty and detachment, and his example had a wonderful effect on his flock. He used to travel about his diocese on foot, accompanied by his clergy, spending the time occupied by the journey in prayer and holy reading. His alms were abundant, and his manner to all with whom he came in contact kind and fatherly. His miracles, even during life, were many and striking.
Saint Aidan was the founder of Old Melrose, which stood a short distance from the site of the more modern Cistercian Abbey whose ruins are familiar to travellers. He also assisted the Abbess, Saint Ebba, in the foundation of the celebrated monastery of Coldingham, which consisted of two distinct communities of men and women.
After ruling his see for seventeen years, he died at Bamborough in a tent which he had caused to be erected by the wall of the church. Saint Cuthbert, then a youthful shepherd, as he kept his flock on the hills, had a vision of the soul of Saint Aidan being borne by angels to Heaven. It was this vision which determined him to seek admission to Melrose. Many churches bear Saint Aidan’s name. Among them are those of Cambusnethan in Lanarkshire and Menmuir in Angus. At the latter place is the saint’s holy well, which was renowned for the cure of asthma and other complaints. Another holy well called after Saint Aidan is to be found at Fearn in Angus. The ancient church of Kenmore, Perthshire, was known as Inchadin. Keltney Burn in the same neighbourhood, is called in Gaelic “Saint Aidan’s Stream.”