Calendar of Scottish Saints – Saint Ternan, Bishop


A.D. 431. This saint was born in the Mearns of noble parents. Saint Palladius, who evangelised that district, is said to have been directed to the child by an angel, in order that he might ad minister baptism. Ternan grew up to manhood, embraced the clerical state, and in due time became a bishop. He is said to have fixed his residence at Abernethy, where he died. He was buried at the place now known as Banchory-Ternan, Kincardineshire, where a fair is still held annually on his festival. More than a thousand years after his death the head of the saint was venerated there by one who has testified to the existence at the time of the skin upon the skull in the part where it had received the episcopal consecration. Up to the Reformation two other valuable relics of the saint were preserved in that same church. One was the copy of Saint Matthew’s Gospel, which belonged to Saint Ternan, encased in a cover adorned with gold and silver; the other was the saint’s bell. This latter is thought to have been identical with an ancient bell which was dug up near the present railway station at Banchory in the making of the line. It has unfortunately been lost sight of.

The churches of Slains, in Aberdeenshire, and Arbuthnott and Upper Banchory, in the Mearns, were dedicated to Saint Ternan. At Taransay, in Harris, and at Findon, in the Mearns, were chapels of the saint; the latter place possessed a holy well called by his name, and there was another at Slains.

MLA Citation

  • Father Michael Barrett, OSB. “Saint Ternan, Bishop”. The Calendar of Scottish Saints, 1919. CatholicSaints.Info. 30 May 2014. Web. 21 March 2019. <>