St. Ninian of Whithom


  • Jonathon M. Wooding


Bede, the Northumbrian historian, writing at Jarrow around 731, tells
us of St. Ninian:
'a most reverend and holy man of British race who had been regularly
instructed in the mysteries of the Christian faith in Rome. Ninian's own
epsicopal see, named after St. Martin and famous for its stately church,
is now held by the English and it is here that his body and those of many
saints lie at rest. The place belongs to the province of Bemicia and is
commonly known as Candida Casa, the White House, which is because
he built the church of stone, which is unusual among the Britons.'2

A list of the Anglo-Saxon bishops at this church in the 8th century
survives and doubtless Bede obtained his details of Ninian from the first of
these bishops, Pecthelm (whom Bede cites elsewhere as a source for his
history). They are sparse details and, did they not come from an historian of
the reputation of Bede, they would probably earn for Ninian a place in
obscurity - along with many other early saints.