Calendar of Scottish Saints – Saint Marnock or Marnan, Bishop, A.D. 625

Article

1 March. Like so many of the Celtic saints, the name of this one has been changed by the addition of particles expressive of reverence. The original form was Ernin; the Scottish name is a contraction of the Gaelic words Mo-Ernin-og (my little Ernin). He is considered by some writers to have been of Irish nationality, but this is by no means established. Saint Marnock laboured as a missionary in Moray, being specially noted for his zeal in preaching. He died at Aberchirder in Banffshire, and was buried in the church there. The place after wards received the additional name of Marnock from its connection with the saint. Saint Marnock’s shrine became a favourite place of pilgrimage, and miracles were wrought through his relics, which were religiously preserved there. The head of Saint Marnock was frequently borne in procession to obtain fair weather. It was the custom also to have lights placed round it every Sunday and to wash the relic with water, which was afterwards used, greatly to their benefit, by the sick. The Innes family, who chose the saint as their patron, had a particular devotion to that relic.

Traces of the cultus of Saint Marnock are to be found in many districts of Scotland. Besides the church in which his remains were honoured, a holy well at Aberchirder still bears his name. A fair on the second Tuesday in March, held there annually, was known as Marnock Fair. There was a Marnock Fair at Paisley also, which lasted for eight days. The church of the well-known parish of Kilmarnock, in Ayrshire, is another of his dedications. Near Kilfinan, in Argyllshire, and not far from the sea shore, may be seen the foundation and a fragment of the wall of a chapel with a graveyard round it; the field in which the chapel stands is called Ard-Marnoc. On an eminence not far off is a cell which tradition assigns to this saint as a place of retirement for solitary communion with God. Inchmarnock, an island near Bute, is another place connected with him; Dalmarnock at Little Dunkeld, is named after this saint. Other churches and parishes also show traces of the honour paid to him in Catholic ages.

MLA Citation

  • Father Michael Barrett, OSB. “Saint Marnock or Marnan, Bishop, A.D. 625”. The Calendar of Scottish Saints, 1919. CatholicSaints.Info. 2 February 2014. Web. 22 September 2018. <>