Calendar of Scottish Saints – Saint Asaph, Bishop

Article

A.D. (about) 590.

Saint Asaph was one of the most eminent of the disciples of Saint Mungo (Kentigern). When the latter was driven from Scotland he took refuge in Wales and there founded a monastery, which attracted a great number of disciples desirous of placing themselves under his guidance. It was to Asaph that Saint Mungo resigned the government when he himself was allowed to return to Glasgow. Owing to the sanctity and renown of the new abbot the monastery eventually bore his name. Saint Asaph was consecrated Bishop about A.D. 650, and his diocese has retained the name of Saint Asaph’s for thirteen centuries. Some writers have maintained that Saint Asaph accompanied his master to Scotland, but it seems more probable that Scottish devotion to him originated in his close connection with the “beloved” saint of Glasgow. Many traces of this devotion still survive. In the island of Skye is a ruined chapel dedicated to him called “Asheg.” In that island is also an excellent spring of clear water known as Tobar Asheg, or Saint Asaph’s Well. Kilassie, an old burial ground near Loch Rannoch, also takes its name from him.

The most interesting of these remains is a ruin in the island of Bearnarey, in the Sound of Harris. It is evidently a chapel of the saint and is called Cill Aisaim. Near it once stood an obelisk about eight feet high, bearing sculptured symbols, and in comparatively recent years this was surrounded by heaps of coloured pebbles, coins, bone pins, and bronze needles, which were probably pilgrims offerings. The obelisk was broken up some years ago and its materials used for building, but a Scottish antiquarian managed to gain possession of a fragment.

MLA Citation

  • Father Michael Barrett, OSB. “Saint Asaph, Bishop”. The Calendar of Scottish Saints, 1919. CatholicSaints.Info. 26 May 2014. Web. 17 November 2018. <>