Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bridgid (453-524)

  • St Brigid's Fire.

    Described by Giraldus Cambrensis in the 12th century, as having been tended by twenty "servants of the Lord", at the time of St Brigid; Brigid herself being the twentieth. When Brigid died the number stayed at nineteen. Each of the nineteen nuns took their turns at night and on the twentieth night the nineteenth nun puts the logs on the fire and St Brigid miraculously tends the fire, which never goes out. Although the fire had been burning for some 600 years, by the time of Giraldus, the ashes had never had to be cleaned out and had never increased. There is another legend associating Brigid with fire. When she was a child, her mother had gone out one day leaving the child asleep. The neighbours saw the house on fire but when they went to rescue the child there was no fire. there was one interruption in the 1200s when Henry of London, Norman arch-bishop of Dublin, ordered it to be extinguished as he considered the tending of the fire to be a pagan practice. It was soon re-lit, by the locals, but was finally extinguished at the Reformation.

Photo: copy right b culver

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