Bride has long been honoured in Scotland. However, the Reformation was not kind to her cult as the new national Kirk was determined to be the most perfectly reformed in Europe. In 1561 The First Book of Discipline stated, “The Papists have invented the feasts of Christmas, the Circumcision and Epiphany along with those of the Virgin Mary, the apostles and all other saints.” If Christmas was abolished as unscriptural the cult of saints and the practice of visiting holy wells and sacred places were not going to fare well at all. Evangelical Calvinism was further strengthened in the Highlands and Isles when in 1843 a sizeable number of ministers quite the Church of Scotland to form the Free Church of Scotland. This was a popular but deeply fundamentalist church founded after an argument over who should appoint ministers - congregations or local dignitaries. The latter were deeply unpopular because they had dispossessed crofters of their land in order to make money from grazing sheep. "So that they might lease their land to sheep-farmers from the Lowlands and England, they cleared the crofts of men, women and children. The Highlanders were betrayed. It is the story of people, and of how sheep were preferred to them, and how bayonet, truncheon and fire were used to drive them from their homes." The Highland Clearances, by John Prebble. All this took its deep toll on ancient customs and traditions. Scottish churches are not usually dedicated to saints, nevertheless some dedicated to St. Bride have survived to the present day. Important sites are listed below:
St. Bride’s, Kildrummy (OS NJ473175) unusual bow-fronted church built in 1805. The remains of the pre-Reformation church stand in the churchyard. Nearby is Lulach’s Stone (OS NJ467193) an impressive solitary standing stone some 3 metres tall.
Kilbride, Dunoon (OS NS165764). The present Episcopal Church was completed in 1850 and is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. There is a Holy Well dedicated to St. Bride in the church grounds.
Brydesbanck, (Bankglen) a hill on the B741 west of New Cumnock (OS NS601122) is thought to be Bride’s Mound.
Kirkbride, Dunure off the A719 south west of Ayr (OS NS264159). Ruins of the ancient church on high ground overlooking the Firth of Clyde. It is first mentioned in the 12th century and was still being used for worship in the early 17th century.
Kirkbride Chapel, Dunure, Ayrshire, photo Gordon McCrone
St. Bryde’s Kirk, Brydekirk (OS NY185710) New Kirk, remains of old church and well.
The Kirkbride farm and hill off the A76 to the north of Dumfries (OS NX879871).
Remains of St. Bride’s Church Mull of Galloway (OS NX119405).
St. Bride’s Hill (206 metres above sea level) to the north of Bigholms on the B7068 (OS NY310824).
The Roman Fort of Blatobulgium (Birrens) near Lockerbie in Dumfries (OS NY219751) was built about the year 80 ce. It stands at the northernmost edge of the Celtic Kingdom of Rheged. A stone altar bearing a relief of the Goddess Brigantia was found there. The Goddess is crowned, robed in Roman dress, and carries symbols of victory. The inscription on the altar reads, 'BRIGANTIAE S AMANDVS ARCITECTVS EX IMPERIO IMP F'" (To Brigantia, Sextus Amandus, former Imperial Architect, faithful to the emperor).
St. Bridget's, Dalgety (OS NT169837) This beautiful ruin is on the shore of the River Forth. Permission for its foundation was given in a Papal Bull written by Pope Alexander III in 1178. The church was consecrated in 1244 and in use until 1830.
St. Bride’s Ring, remains of a stone circle and hill fort off the B961 to the north of Monifieth (OS NO472353).
St. Bride's Catholic Church, Monifieth (1980) contains a beautiful window by Gail Donovan.
St. Bride’s, Onich (OS NN031614) Episcopal Church of Scotland built in 1874 with stained glass depicting St. Bride and a Bride Shrine.
St. Bride’s, Glen Road, Newtonmore (OS NN716989) Church of Scotland built in 1960, named after the pre-Reformation chapel that stood in Glen Banchor.
St. Bride’s, Douglas (OS NS836309). Beautiful ruin dating from 1330. The clock dating from 1565 is the oldest working clock in Scotland. The choir was re-roofed in the 19th century.
St. Bride’s, West Kype off the High Kype Road (OS NS698414) to the south of Strathaven
St. Bride’s Well by the old railway line to the west of Dunsyre (OS NT062478).
Kirkbride, to the south west of Traquair on the B709 (OS NT320334). First recorded in 1116, nothing remains of the pre-Reformation Church. The present church was built in 1778 and restored between 1998 and 2002. St. Bride’s Well was on the glebe nearby. In 1662 the minister went to Traquair to prepare witches for death and to watch their execution.
St. Bride’s Well, Bankfoot (OS NO053345) with a standing stone nearby. There used to be a St. Bride’s Church at Logiebride (OS NO046342) noted for its Candlemas Market.
Abernethy Chapel (OS NO194164). Founded by Nechtan, king of the Picts c460 ce and dedicated to St. Bride. The old church was demolished in 1802. The present chapel is 19th century. There is a local legend that Bride is buried at Abernethy.
St. Bride's, Old Blair is situated 8 miles north of Pitlochry (OS NN867665). It was the parish church until a new bridge was built over the river Tilt in 1823.
St. Bryde’s, South West of Kilbarchan (OS NS384608). Site of former chapel by St. Bride’s Burn and close by St. Bride’s Mill. Clach-na-Druidh (Stone of the Druids) is close by (OS NS374612).
St. Bryde's Mill and Burn, Kilbarchan