St Kessog

Saint Kessog, also known as Saint Kessoc or MacKessog, lived from about 460 to 10 March 520, though there is some doubt about these dates. We have seen sources that give his date of death as 10 March 560, which would mean his year of birth must also have been later. We’ve gone with the majority view in giving 460-520. Kessog was born into the royal family of Munster in Ireland and made his name as a missionary in Scotland. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.

Kessog was the son of the King of Cashel in Munster and started his religious life while still in Ireland. It is said that a swimming accident when he was a child led to the deaths of the sons of a number of visiting princes. Kessog brought them back to life and averted a war by spending a night in prayer. He was then educated at a monastery by St Patrick and St Machaloi before setting out for Scotland.

St Kessog was mainly active in west and central Scotland, having established a monastery on the island of Inchtavannach (Monk’s Isle) on the western side of Loch Lomond. He was also active across southern Perthshire. He was attacked and killed at Bandry, on the western shore of Loch Lomond overlooking Inchtavannach, and that the place was marked by St Kessog’s Cairn. The reasons for his murder are unclear.

Whilst there is a claim that Kessog was buried on the western shore of Loch Lomond, and the herbs that grew up around his grave led to the place becoming know as Luss (Gaelic for “place of herbs”), local tradition has it that ‘By the side of [this] burn, in the Holm Glen, is St. Kessog’s Well, near to which tradition says St. Kessog, patron saint of the Earl of Lennox, is buried‘.

St Kessog was widely venerated in the medieval period. Troops under Robert the Bruce used “Blessed Kessog” as a battle cry during the Wars of Independence, and he was considered to be the patron saint of Scotland until Saint Andrew took over the role.

St Kessog is remembered in the name of a number of churches, including St Kessog’s Church in Luss, in which there is an effigy of the saint. The Roman Catholic church in Strathblane and the old parish churches in Comrie, Callander and Auchterarder are also named after St Kessog, as, rather further afield, are the villages of North Kessock and South Kessock near Inverness. It follows that the Kessock Bridge, and before it the Kessock Ferry, are/were named after St Kessog, as is the Kessog oil field in the North Sea.

NHS BREAST SCREENING SERVICE – MOBILE UNIT

Over the coming weeks, all women aged 50-70 who are registered with a local GP practice will automatically be invited to attend for breast screening (mammogram).

Women will receive their appointment letter through the post inviting them to a mobile unit situated at the Oakwood Garden Centre Car Park, Laighpark Farm, Killearn, G63 9PT.

Women over the age of 70, who still wish to attend for regular mammograms, can make an appointment by contacting the centre on the details below:

Tel: 0141 800 8800

Email: GG-UHB.wosbs@nhs.net

Breast screening every 3 years is the best way to detect breast cancer early when treatment is most likely to be effective.

Saving the Balfron Oak

First published: May 2013

Clachan Oak, the ancient sessile oak at the entrance to Balfron. Known locally as the Hanging Tree, it originally stood on the central green of the hamlet known as The Clachan, which later grew to become the village of Balfron. It was recorded in 1867 as being in a “flourishing condition”, and at that time was thought to be 330 years old and to have been struck by lightning 40 years before. Its short, squat trunk is now completely hollow, and held together by three iron hoops. But the hoops were not originally intended as an early form of tree surgery – they had a much more sinister purpose. Until the end of the 18th century it was common practice to chain petty criminals to the tree where they were subjected to merciless public ridicule. An iron collar was attached around the neck and connected by a length of chain to the iron hoop encircling the tree. This was known locally as “the jougs”. The practice apparently ended after one unfortunate woman was left forgotten, presumably while the husband visited the local pub, and died after falling and being strangled by the iron collar.” Source: Heritage Trees of Scotland, by Donald Rodger

 

The tree has shown a marked decline in vigour over the past few years and live shoot growth is now very sparse. The treatment carried out on Wednesday 24th May 2013 involved the injection of compressed air to a depth of 1m, which lifts the soil and opens it up to allow better penetration of oxygen and moisture into the rootzone. At the same time, a seaweed compound is injected through the probe, which spreads throughout the soil and this expands when it wets, helping to maintain the soil porosity. The video shows the soil lifting as each blast of air is released, and you can see the operator adding the seaweed from the orange bucket. This treatment should help to encourage new feeding roots to develop and will hopefully create a marked improvement in the overall health and vigour. As a further treatment, it is planned to remove the grass over a large part of the rootzone and replace this with a woodchip mulch. This has the effect of reducing moisture and nutrient competition from the grass, and also encourages the development of beneficial fungi which help the tree to absorb nutrients. Hopefully, the combination of treatments will allow the tree to survive for a good few years yet.