For #StPatricksDay: Confirmation St. Patrick was born near Glasgow

Dunbarton Rock known as Alt Clut where 3 out of the five lives of St.Patrick locate he birth

For years scholars have argued over the lcoation of St.Patrick’s birthplace. But almost by accident I stumbled on convincing evidence that Old Kilpatrick, the location given in three out of the five lives of the Saint always was the correct place.

So how did people come to reject something as well substantiated as this?

The full article is available on line so I will only provide a summary here. However, for the sceptic what is intriguing is why evidence for the obvious location at Old Kilpatrick has been rejected and described as myth and why there been such a concerted campaign to locate it anywhere but Glasgow.

Summary of the Case for Old Kilpatrick

Three out of the five lives of St.Patrick locate his birthplace near Alt Clud or Dumbarton Rock. Using this information we can identify the other name associated with his birthplace “Nemthur”  as the Roman Fort of Nemeton or Old Kilpatrick at the western end of the Antonine wall. 

This is further supported by the similarity of the modern name Dumbarton the next place in the Latin text called “SUBDOBIADON” or “SUB-DOBIADON”. Together with evidence that there was an early Christian community & late Roman occupation in and around Old Kilpatrick and Glasgow this proposal confirms Old Kilpatrick as the Birthplace of St.Patrick.

As such the Roman names of the principal forts (from East to West) along the Antonine wall can be identified using a note to Nennius which says the wall had seven forts. The Ravenna Cosmology lists six up to MEDIO NEMETON. But if this is considered as two names “MEDIO” & “NEMETON” it gives seven making NEMETON, the last fort which is a perfect fit to Old Kilpatrick & Nemthur the place of St.Patrick’s birth.

From this we can identify the principle forts along the Antonine wall (running East to West) as: Carriden (VELUNIA), Mumrills (VOLITANIO), Castlecary (PEXA), Barhill (BEGESSE), the two next principle forts (COLANIA & MEDIO) are less certain but can be tentatively identified as Balmuildy (MEDIO) and Kirkintilloch (COLANIA) leaving the final Fort of Old Kilpatrick as NEMETON.

In other words, the ancient texts were right about St.Patrick’s birth, there are seven principle forts to fit the seven names listed in the Ravenna Cosmology. This is hardly speculative reason. It is just common sense. So, why has it taken so long for this obvious links to be made?

When I came to the subject I was interested in the Roman wall and largely unaware of any political implications. I was doing an archaeological course and my main interest was in the Roman Antonine wall that runs across Scotland. Although we had vague maps and names, no one had yet matched the names to the forts along the Antonine wall.

Then when doing an essay early Scottish Christianity as part of the archaeological course at Glasgow I reread an old text referring to the Birth of St.Patrick at Alt Clud or Dumbarton Rock on the Clyde estuary shown above. I recognised the similarity of “NEMETON” a station on the Roman wall to “NEMTHUR” the place also given for St.Patrick’s birth.

Investigating I found that yes, the forts along the wall could be identified from the description of seven main forts and the list of names given. That was the easy part! Because it was only after I started writing it up that I began to realise that the Birthplace of St.Patrick was actually a very contentious subject.

But why?

To me, having studied the Antonine Wall (which goes within a few miles of my house), it was obvious there was plenty of Roman material and I found plenty of evidence showing continued Roman activity in the Glasgow area right through the Roman period. It was also obvious that there would be native councils & councillors. So when Latin texts used the Latin “decurion” to describe St.Patrick’s father it was obvious to me this would as easily fit a native council as a Roman one.

So why has it taken so long? My guess is that the following may be in part responsible:

Fig 22: Hand-colored version of Theodor de Bry’s “The true picture of one Pict,” was originally published as an illustration in Thomas Hariot’s 1588 book “A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia.”

Fig 22: Hand-colored version of Theodor de Bry’s “The true picture of one Pict,” was originally published as an illustration in Thomas Hariot’s 1588 book “A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia.”

Anti Scottish bias
At the time when people started being interested in ancient history, the Scots, based on Roman accounts of the Picts and English and Lowland Prejudice against the highland Jacobites, were seen as uncouth, barbarians incapable of having any kind of civilisation. To this Antiquarian view be known as racism – typical for that time – but inexcusable today.

Boiling Frogs
There is a myth that a frog will stay in a pan of water if the water is slowly heated so that it can be boiled alive. This is untrue, but it is a metaphor. Likewise, when Scotland was originally rejected, even though there is lots of evidence for 2nd century occupation, there may well have been very little evidence that Scotland was occupied in the late Roman empire at the time of St.Patrick. But today there are so many late Roman coins that the reverse is true: there is plenty of evidence that Scotland had good links with Rome and likely many Romanised people. But this evidence in the form of stray coin finds has happened slowly. No one coin find would have been enough to change the “consensus”, yet when taken as a whole it becomes compelling. And it is just that I happened to be the first to seriously consider this proposition.

A unionist plot?
One of the first great writers on the Romans in Scotland was Major-General William Roy who after the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 surveyed Scotland and with many of the Roman remains including the Antonine wall. However it was a time when there were real fears of another Jacobite uprising. And one can only imagine how the  mainly Catholic Jacobites might have used the suggestion that Scotland was the birthplace of an Irish Catholic Saint. Was there a fear that St.Patrick could become a rallying symbol for Jacobites? Was this why a Scottish birthplace was rejected even repressed? Was this whole idea that Scotland was not the birthplace actually an attempt to hide the truth. One which apparently later academics were willing to continue?

DunBreton
Another big problem is the name of Dunbarton. This is the original name but the town is now called Dumbarton and the county Dunbartonshire. However whilst this is the earliest recorded name (before I linked it to Sub-dobiadon) this name was clearly changed on some old maps around the time of the Jacobite rebellion from something close to the present version to something like “DunBriton”. It seems to have been deliberately changed to make it mean “the fort of the Britons”. Yet again, this is very suspicious and suggests that the name change was part of a “Britonisation” of Scotland by Unionists trying to highlight Britishness and suppress a separate Scottish identity.

Personal Note:

And just to be clear. In the referendum I voted no. And the main reason I voted no, is because Scottish politicians just will not look at the facts and as a result they live in a fairytale world of Celts, “DunBreton” & Global Warming inspired BirdMincers. And all three of them appear to have been Unionist or Westminster inspired plots against Scotland and Scottish identity. The Celts & Dunbreton were a myth unionist hoped to use to create a fictional “celtic” & British identity for a single Scottish-free identity of Britons. And Birdmincers were a Westminster inspired scam to get Scotland to put up the bulk of EU obligated wind power – something our stupid gullible politicians were more than keen to help them do.

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2 Responses to For #StPatricksDay: Confirmation St. Patrick was born near Glasgow

  1. waterside4 says:

    Very interesting hypothesis.
    We spent yesterday afternoon in beautiful Beauly.
    Which will go down in history as the starting place for Salmonds follies stretching all the way to Denny.
    Interestingly we visited the ruined Abbey, desecrated by the religious Taliban of Cromwells day.
    A sad juxtaposition for an Irish Catholic of Scottish culture and so called enlightenment.
    So I will gladly aquiese to your theory on this St Patrick’s day, so long as you do not beat the Irish on Saturday

    Feile maith agut.

    • Scottish-Sceptic says:

      The funny bit was when I was writing the paper on the Roman names along the wall – and suddenly realised that the logic also went the other way – if the names matched, then this was very good proof that this was the birthplace.

      I went to Old Kilpatrick a few years ago to see whether I could find anything that could possibly relate to St.Patrick. The only thing I found was “St.Patrick’s well”, a well that used to exist, but has now been turned into a flower bed behind a bus stop.

      If i’m right, and there’s no certainty in history but this is more certain than most, then I was looking at one of the most iconic locations for the Irish. Sat behind a bus stop.

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