Calendar of Scottish Saints – Saint Drostan, Abbot, 6th century

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11 July. This saint was of Scottish birth, being descended from King Aidan of Dalriada, the friend of Saint Columba. He was sent over to that saint, then in Ireland, to be educated and trained for the religious state. He eventually became a monk at a monastery known as Dalquongal, of which in course of time he became abbot. After some time he passed over to Scotland where he lived as a hermit near Glenesk, in Angus. He afterwards entered the monastery of Iona, and while dwelling under the rule of Saint Columba accompanied that saint to the district of Buchan, Aberdeenshire, and was made by him abbot of the monastery of Deer, which Saint Columba founded on land given to him by the ruler of the district, whose son had been restored to health during a severe illness by the saint’s prayers. The name Deer is said to have originated in the tears (deara) shed by Drostan when he parted from his beloved master.

Saint Drostan preached the gospel in the district of Inverness-shire known as Glen-Urquhart which in Catholic ages bore the name of “Saint Drostan’s Urquhart.” Here a plot of ground, said to have been cultivated by the saint when he lived there as its apostle, is still known as “Saint Drostan’s Croft.” In Saint Ninian’s Chapel, in the glen, was preserved the saint’s cross, and the custodian of the relic had the use of the “Dewar’s (or keeper’s) Croft” as a reward for his services.

Saint Drostan died in his monastery of Deer and was buried at Aberdour where miracles were wrought at his tomb. Many churches in the North of Scotland bore his name; in Caithness were Halkirk and Cannisbay; in Angus, Edzell and Lochee; in Inverness-shire, Alvie and Urquhart; in Banffshire, Aberlour and Rothiemay; in Aberdeenshire, Deer and Aberdour. At Westfield in Caithness is Saint Drostan’s Burial Ground; at Lochlee is “Droustie’s Meadow” and “Droustie’s Well.” Other wells bore his name in various districts. One was at Aberlour, and there were five between Edzell and Aberdour.

Saint Drostan’s Fairs were held each year at Rothiemay, Aberlour (for three days) and Old Deer. The last named, which formerly lasted for eight days, is still kept up. This is one of the few instances in which the old fair day of Catholic times has survived. In too many cases these remnants of Catholic ages disappeared during the last century. Pope Leo XIII restored the feast of this saint in 1898. It was formerly celebrated in Scotland in December.

MLA Citation

  • Father Michael Barrett, OSB. “Saint Drostan, Abbot, 6th century”. The Calendar of Scottish Saints, 1919. CatholicSaints.Info. 11 July 2013. Web. 18 August 2017. <>