Influence of the Pre-Reformation Church on Scottish Place-Names – Saint Leonard

portrait of Saint Leonard of Noblac from the painting 'Saint Laurent between Saint Stephen and Saint Leonard' attributed to Raffaellino del Garbo, early 16th century; basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence, Italy; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsThe relics of Saint Andrew were brought at an early date to Fife in Scotland. Many pilgrims flocked to his shrine, and a hospital was built for their reception some time, it is believed, in the twelfth century. This hospital, like so many others, was dedicated to Saint Leonard, but was suppressed by Prior Hepburn in 1512, when Saint Leonard’s College was founded. The saint continues to be remembered in the name of Saint Leonard’s parish.

According to Alban Butler, Leonard was a French nobleman at the Court of Clovis I, but quitted the Court and sought retirement at Mobilac, near Limoges, where he founded a monastery, called after him Saint Leonard de Noblat. He died about the middle of the sixth century. He was noted for his kindness to captives, and became, in after-times, their patron saint. His emblem in art is a chain, in allusion to this trait in his character. The Rev. R. Owen mentions that

“Bohemond, Prince of Antioch, son of Robert Guiscard, when he came to France in 1106, visited Limoges and offered silver fetters to Saint Leonard as a thankoffering for his escape from captivity.”

– from Influence of the Pre-Reformation Church on Scottish Place-Names, by James Murray Mackinlay, 1904