Saturday, February 01, 2014

February 1 -- St Brigid of Kildare

Today is the feast of St Brigid of Kildare, the co-patron of Ireland and the first Irish nun.  Mrs Vidal has summary of her life here.  Wikipedia tells her story at some length here.

Chambers Book of Days in its usual chatty, gossipy, and occasionally accurate way has this verbal detour which St Brigid's name seems to have taken in England:

For some cause or other Bridget was a popular saint in England and Scotland, where she was better known by the corrupted or abbreviated name of St. Bride, and under this name a number of churches were dedicated to her. We need only mention St. Bride's Church in Fleet-street, London.

Adjoining to St. Bride's Churchyard, Fleet-street, is an ancient well dedicated to the saint, and commonly called Bride's Well. A palace erected near by took the name of Bridewell. This being given by Edward VI to the city of London as a workhouse for the poor and a house of correction, the name became associated in the popular mind with houses having the same purpose in view. Hence it has arisen that the pure and innocent Bridget—the first of Irish nuns—is now inextricably connected in our ordinary national parlance with a class of beings of the most opposite description.

Bride a "corruption or abbreviation".  Hmmm.  Perhaps instead a more accurate approximation to the original Irish of her name than Brigid?

(Aaaand it's my grandmother's birthday.  If she were alive she would be . . .  135 years old.  May she rest  in peace.)