St Baldred of the Bass

The church, in common with those that once existed within the neighbouring medieval parishes of Auldhame and Tyninghame, is dedicated to St Baldred, a holy man of God about whom little of fact is known but whose undoubted piety made such a profound impression on the folk of this district that he continues to be revered to this day.

Some hold to a late medieval tradition, published in the Aberdeen Breviary of 1510, that he was a contemporary and friend of St Kentigern, Bishop of Glasgow, and that he lived the life of a hermit on the Bass Rock until his death in AD 608. Others follow Simeon of Durham, writing in the early twelfth century, who recorded that '...the man of the Lord and priest Baldred, who had led in Tyningham the life of an anchorite, trod the way of the Holy Fathers, departing on 6 March, AD 756.'

Whatever the truth of the matter, clearly Baldred was instrumental in nourishing a Christian tradition in this part of Lothian. Stories abound of his miraculous powers, stories which belong to the realm of myth rather than history. But the curious tale of how, upon his death, his body miraculously became three bodies, thereby allowing all three of his congregations, at Prestonkirk, Auldhame and Tyninghame, to have him as their own, testifies to the great respect and admiration they all had for this simple man of God.


(from the Aberdeen Breviary of AD 1510)

O God, who through the contemplative
life of the blessed Baldred, thy bishop
and confessor, hast conferred ineffable
grace on thy servants; grant, we beseech
thee, that by his merits and intercessions
we may be able to obtain in all things the
saving help of thy mercy. Through our Lord.


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Text © Chris Tabraham, formerly Principal Inspector of Ancient Monuments, Historic Scotland

Page last updated 28th May, 2012
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