As Fish notes, most saints came from somewhere else, having floated in on a leaf, or migrated with some group of pilgrims or some such. Little is known about many of the saints, who are sometimes only associated with a particular church or sacred well.
Also note that Wikipedia has an article “List of Cornish saints“, which is not broken down by gender, but undoubtedly some of the listed saints are female. There is probably a way to pull the information out of WikiData using a Sparkl query, assuming they are labeled correctly, but I don’t have time to figure it out. The list also exists in French, but oddly enough, not in Cornish. Perhaps one of Dysk’s sisters will be on it.
- Staff at St Anne’s (stub), Whitstone (multiple maintneance tags), Advent, and Morwenstowand
- Staff of St Austell library (the article for St Austell tells us the library building is a notable landmark, but not even a paragraph about it, much less a sentence with the address and hours – here’s your source for that…the official website)
- Staff of the Cornish Studies Library, Redruth, “Cornwall’s largest library of Cornish printed and published archival material.” …(and what a lot of tags on that one, surely their move is finished by now) Do those people know about 1lib1ref?????
- The Life of St Breage (lost manuscript, 5th-6th c)
- Breton Life of St Non (which places the saint in Brittony rather than Cornwall)
- St Samson of Dol, a male saint, does not talk about his sainted mother
- Ordinalia, no info on female saints
Secondary literature on saints
- Nicholas Orme on the saints of Cornwall (eBook $151.99, no snippet view, however this does occasionally yield info on search) (Amazon preview however has a huge amount of material reproduced, including bibliography – click on image of cover)
- Oliver Padel on Cornish place names: Popular Dictionary of Cornish Place-Names, 1988. [google books, no snippet]
- Nicholas Roscorrock (red link) and his work on church dedications in Cornwall in the sixteenth century (Nicholas Roscarrock’s Lives of the saints : Cornwall and Devon / edited by Nicholas Orme, 1992 based on ms at Cambridge University Library Manuscript Add. 3041) (limited view at Hathitrust).
- Historians and folklorist such as the Reverend Gilbert Doble… “St Gerent – a Cornish saint, by the Rev. Canon Gilbert H. Doble, M.A.” 1938. PDF) (another copy: St_Gerent-A_Cornish_Saint)(ahhh, look at them all).
- Historian and folklorist Robert Hunt, “Popular Romances of the West of England collected and edited by Robert Hunt” [1903, 3rd edition] , text. (volume one is giants, mermaids, etc, volume two is saints, holy wells, legends of Arthur etc.) On Gutenberg; on Internet Archive.)
Saints by location
This is how Fish originally categorizes the saints, having backed off of a straight list form.
Far west of Cornwall
- St Ia of St Ives – stained glass windows in the church, statue is displayed above the altar in the Lady Chapel, displayed in church banner (?).
- St Neulina of St Newlyn East
- St Austell and Truro – more populated, less info
Far east near Devon
- St Anne’s at Whitstone – more dedicated to saint, less populated areas
- St Keyne’s Well near Looe
- Virgin martyrs- links with other Celtic countries, namely Ireland, Wales and Brittany.
Wikipedia articles are linked, where they exist.
- Adwenna, Adwen – daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog – place name “Advent”, just outside the hamlet of Tresinney near Camelford, on the edge of Bodmin Moor. Possibly same as Dwywnen or Lan (or La) Dwynwen; January 25
- Agnes, virgin and martyr, fourth-century Roman martyr, killed when she refused to marry the governor’s son, local legend says she fled Rome for Cornwall, performed miracles such as turning the Devil into a stone.
- Anne – holy mother (of St Samson of Dol), originally from Wales, moved on to Brittany, St Anne at Whitstone in north Cornwall, the first dedication of this church to her was in 1883; previously the dedication had been to St Nicholas, holy well on church grounds carved face on back of well “an early Celtic water shrine to the pagan water spirit, Annas”. Saint Anna verch Gwerthefyr gan Oxenhall, princess.
- Anta, Lelant church (to the east of St Ives), also the patron of Carbis Bay church in the next village to Lelant
- Breage (or Breaca ) – Irish origin, traveled with St Germoe, who was said to be her foster son, possibly the sister of St Levan, although this might have been St Manacca; disciple of Saint Patrick and Saint Brigid, June 4
- Brevita at Lanlivery; Brivet (Bryvyth), Briuete de Lannyvery, Breutte, Breute, Brevita, Briueta (Latin); first Sunday after the first Tuesday in May
- Bride, virgin (from “Perpetual Calendar of Cornish Saints”)
- Brychan Brycheiniog, just for reference was a king who had a dozen or so daughters who became saints, high-ranking Welsh noblewomen, and whose churches tend to be close together
- Buryan (St. Buriana, Beriana, Berion)(Buriana, Beriona, Burian), parish of St. Buryan near Land’s End, cured King Gerent’s son of paralysis. Feast day May 27 [source] “the nearest Sunday to May 13th” p.121
- Columb, virgin and martyr, daughter of pagan king who converted and refused to marry a pagan, “a holy well was formed at the spot where her blood landed on the ground.The place where she was martyred is named as Ruthwas, the present-day hamlet of Ruthvoes (Cornish: ‘red bank’).”
- Columba – virgin martyr, one of the virgins who suffered with St Ursula, or possibly mixed with Columb.
- Creed, virgin (from “Perpetual Calendar of Cornish Saints”)
- Crewenna, companion of Breage, patron saint of Crowan church, whose parish adjoins that of Breage and St Breaca “Her anniversary or Feast is still celebrated in the Anglican and Methodist churches on the nearest Sunday to Candlemas Eve (1st February)” Feb 1
- Crowan (patroness of Crowan, Cornwall) Crevan, Crewen, Crozon (pronounced Craon) on Brittony’s west coast.
- Derva, virgin (from “Perpetual Calendar of Cornish Saints”)
- Dominica, virgin (from “Perpetual Calendar of Cornish Saints”)
- Electa, virgin (from “Perpetual Calendar of Cornish Saints”)
- Endelienta, Endelient – miraculous legends – local, daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog…St Endellion feast day April 29
- Felec, see Piala
- Gulval, virgin (from “Perpetual Calendar of Cornish Saints”)
Ia (or St Hya) – mention in Life of St Gwinear, Irish origin, disciple of St. Patrick, sister of St Erth St. Ercus, and St Euny, male saints, tomb is (was) in St Ives church, holy well, Venton Ia, near Porthmeor beach; February 3 [source] See also Caitlin Green’s comparison with St. Ia of Persia: “St Ia of St Ives: a Byzantine saint in early medieval Cornwall?“
- Issey, virgin, also Filius [source]
- Kew, virgin , Kigwe, Kywa, patroness of St. Kew or Lanon, St. Kyul, Guic, Ciwke. Feb. 8 [source]
- Keyne – references to lost Lives, aunt of St Cadog, thought to be a daughter of Brychan, but appears in Welsh lists, Latin Life of St Keyne translated by Doble in 1930; besides “Llangain (‘church of Cain/Keyne’), and the parish of St Keyne itself, St Keyne is also associated with Keynsham in Somerset (where she is said to have turned snakes into stone)” “St Keyne is said to have blessed the waters of the well on her deathbed, then gave them their powers hoping ‘to benefit the world, by giving to woman a chance of being equal to her lord and master’; October 8
- Keyn, virgin (from “Perpetual Calendar of Cornish Saints”)
- Ladock, virgin, Ladoca, Patroness of Ladock Jan. 1
- Ludgvan, Ludewin – see Adwen
- Mabena, Mabon – daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog, church at St Mabyn; November 18
- Maker, virgin (from “Perpetual Calendar of Cornish Saints”)
- Materiana (also Mertherian), patron of the church in Tintagel and its mother church at Minster, possibly “the Welsh princess Madrun, daughter of King Vortimer of Gwent, who fled to Cornwall after the death of her father”; October 19.
- Matherian, virgin (Matheriana, Marchai, Patroness of Minster? April 9?) [source p.733]
- Marwenna, St Marwenne or St Merewenne – daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog, sister of Morwenna, of Marhamchurch, possibly Merwenn, a tenth-century English abbess who lived in Romsey, Hampshire; August 12
- Menfre or Menefreda, Menefrida, Minver, virgin – daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog, church of St Minver; Tredresick, Cornwall; hermitage, chapel and holy well were at Tredizzick, devil attacked her and she threw a comb at him, father Saint Brychan, feast day July 24, later July 13, some say Nov. 24 [source, p. 734]
- Morwenna – daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog, sister of Marwenna – miraculous legends – local – place name “Marwenschurch”, parish of Morwenstow, well of St Morwenna is distant and inaccessible, one of the children of Brechanus in St Nectaines life, possibly Breton saint Moren (of Lamorran) but probably not
- Non, Nennyd, Naunter- Welsh origin – holy mother (of St David) – place name “Altarnun”, moved on to Brittany, mystery play Buhez Santez Nonn (Life of St Non) Paris 1837, performed on feast day [text on Internet Archive, free ebook]; March 3
- Neulina (of St Newlyn East) – of Cornish origin, possibly Breton saint Noualen, (Noyale?) commemorated at Pontivy in Brittany.
- Newlyn,virgin (from “Perpetual Calendar of Cornish Saints”)
- Phillak, virgin (from “Perpetual Calendar of Cornish Saints”)
- Piala, Phiala – virgin martyr – Irish origin – sister of St Gwinear (Fingar) – church at Phillack, near Hayle, where there is also a holy well bearing her name, church also dedicated to a St Felec, possibly St. Felicity, landed in Cornwall, killed by the local chieftain, Dec. 14 [source]
- Senara, patron of Zennor. Feast day?
- Sidwell, virgin (from “Perpetual Calendar of Cornish Saints”)
- Sitha, virgin; Sytha, Syth, chapel of St. Sitha at Bradford, possibly St. Osith Oct. 7
- Stythyan, virgin (from “Perpetual Calendar of Cornish Saints”)
- Tedda, Tetha, Eatha- daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog, church in St Teath near St Adwen at Advent. Originally May 1, then Whit Tuesday, the day after Pentecost Monday. Fairs on the last Tuesday in February and first Tuesday in July [source]
- Wenna, Sancte Wenne – daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog, dedicated to her: church at St Wenn, in mid Cornwall, and the church in Morval, near Looe on the south coast, also a chapel in St Kew parish. Possibly St Gwen or Guen, who appears in the Welsh genealogies as a daughter of Brychan, [see also two St. Wennas]; (c.472 – 18 October 544) was the daughter of Lord Cynyr Ceinfarfog of Caer Goch, the wife of King Salom of Cerniw (Cornwall) and the mother of Saint Cybi. She founded the churches of Sant Wenn and Saint Morval in Cerniw. She died in Cerniw.
- Wendron, virgin (from “Perpetual Calendar of Cornish Saints”)
List from “Perpetual Calendar of Cornish Saints”
Perpetual Calendar of Cornish Saints, with selections of poetry and prose relating to Cornwall, Sarah L. Enys, Published by A.W. Jordan, 1923
Virgins (Cornish ‘Gwerhes’): Ladock, Sitha, Bride, Crowan, Ia, Kew, Maker, Derva, Matherian, Newlyn, Dominica, Buryan, Breag, Morwenna, Stythyan, Electa, Sidwell, Keyn, Wendron, Gulval, Issey, Minver, Creed, Phillak.
Virgin and martyr (Cornish: ‘Gwerhes ha Merther’): Agnes and Columb
Saints by date
Jan. 1 – Ladock [source p.733]
January 25 – Dwywnen (see Adwen) (also the conversion of St. Paul), nearest Sunday to January 25 – Ludgvan (see Adwen)
Feb 1 – St. Crewenna
February 3 – St. Ia, celebration is on the nearest Monday, parade to Venton Ia, to bless the silver hurling ball (?) (children have an ongoing game at the festival, the ball is carried to the holy well at the beginning for blessing)
Feb. 8 – St. Kew
March 3 – St. Non of Wales (Nonna, Nonnita) [source]
April 29 – Endelienta [source]
May (early) – St Brevita at Lanlivery, local feast week begins with blessing and dressing the holy well; first Sunday after the first Tuesday in May (1870 and 1887) [source]
May 27 – St. Buryan [source]
July 24 – Saint Menefrida, Tredresick, Cornwall; father Saint Brychan [source] ?sources differ
August 12 – the feast day of St Marwenna, the Marhamchurch Revel is on the closest Monday
Oct. 7 – St. Sitha [source, p. 752]
October 8 – St. Keyne, Cain, Cenau, Cenedion, Ceinwen, keane, Keyna, Kayane, from between Looe and Lskeard, a dragon slayer, ritual for upper hand in marriage [source]
October 19 – St. Materiana, Madrun, Madryn, Merthiana, Merhteriana, Marcellinana, daugher of King Vortimer, church of St. Maeriana, Boscastle, the church at Tintagel has her image in stained glass and statue [source]
November 18 – St. Mabyn, Mabena, Mabon daugher of Brychan [source]
Dec. 14 – Piala (Phiala) [source]
Green, Caitlin, “St Ia of St Ives: a Byzantine saint in early medieval Cornwall?” The two St. Ias – St. Ia of Cornwall and St. Ia of Persia , archeology, and trade relations between Britian and the Byzantine Empire.
Baring-Gould, S. and Fisher, J. The Lives of the British Saints, at least 4 volumes, see
- https://archive.org/details/cu31924092451990/page/n6 Vol. 1;
- https://archive.org/details/livesbritishsai02fishgoog/page/n9 Vol. 2;
- https://archive.org/details/cu31924092447808/page/n4 Vol. 3
- https://archive.org/details/cu31924092447816/page/n4 Vol.4;
- The Book of Cornwall, saints, crosses, and wells https://archive.org/details/bookofcornwall00bari/page/n9/mode/2up
A Book of Cornwall, by S. Baring-Gould, 1906. https://archive.org/details/bookofcornwall00bari/page/n10
Borlase, W., Antiquities, Historical and Monumental, of the County of Cornwall (London: Bowyer and Nichols, 1769), reprinted 1973. [limited view Hathitrust],; Antiquities, Historical and Monumental, of the County of Cornwall: Consisting of Several Essays on the First Inhabitants, Druid-superstition, Customs, and Remains of the Most Remote Antiquity in Britain, and the British Isles, Exemplified and Proved by Monuments Now Extant in Cornwall and the Scilly Islands, with a Vocabulary of the Cornu-British Language, 1769. [Free eBook ]
The Age of the Saints: A Monograph of Early Christianity in Cornwall, with the Legends of the Cornish Saints : and an Introduction Illustrative of the Ethnology of the District, William Copeland Borlase, 1895. [Free eBook] [Hathitrust, 1893-full view; 1895, full view]
Gilbert Doble, series of booklets about saints
- Saint Gerent (Gerendus, Gerens), Cornish Saints Series, No. 41, 1938.
descripton of the series [cached page] [archive of cached page] at Library Thing: “The Welsh language Wicipedia includes a warning when using Noble’s (sic) work, that he did not believe that women could lead communities or travel regularly, and that the monks who wrote about them were mistaken. This he tried to rectify by turning some female saints into men, and splitting or merging saints that worked close to each other. For example, he suggested that Non was two saints, one the mother of St David and the other a man who travelled and established communities.”
Cornwall, with maps, diagrams and illustrations, by Baring-Gould, 1910. [Internet Archive]
Cornish saints & sinners by Harris, J. Henry, 1906 [Internet Archive]
Partial list of books by Gilbert Doble :
Series: “The Saints of Cornwall”
“Saint Mewan and Saint Austol” https://archive.org/details/doble-saint-mewan-and-saint-austoll-2nd-ed-1939/page/n1/mode/2up 2nd edition 1939. (from https://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/2021/11/10/g-h-dobles-cornish-saints-series-the-original-booklets/ ) (contains an intro to the whole series)