It is said that Kentigern was the son of a Votadini princess (named Thaney, Thanew, Tanoch or Enoch) from Traprain Law. He became a pupil in St Serf’s monastery in Fife.
As a monk and missionary Kentigern – or Mungo, meaning ‘dear one’ – travelled preaching the gospel. He founded a religious centre at Glasgow. Today Mungo is the patron saint of Glasgow, and he is famous for the miracles symbolised on the city’s coat of arms.
Here is the tree that never grew
Here is the bird that never flew
Here is the fish that never swam
Here is the bell that never rang
The tree was a hazel branch that Mungo mysteriously ignited when the fire at Serf’s monastery had gone out. The bird was Serf’s pet robin, which Mungo brought back to life. Mungo helped the Queen of Strathclyde find her lost ring inside a salmon. The holy bell was brought back from a visit to Rome. Mungo also gave Glasgow its motto: ‘Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of the word.’
Kentigern died around AD 612 and his saint’s day is 13 January. His tomb can be found in the crypt of Glasgow Cathedral.