Bass Rock in Scotland and the strange case of the three bodies of St Baldred

Bass Rock is an island in the outer part of the Firth of Forth (Scottish Gaelic: Linne Foirthe)  in the east of Scotland. It stands just over three miles from North Berwick (Bearaig a Tuathsits) and is the core of an old volcano. Bass Rock stands at 351 ft (107 metres) at its highest point and is just over a mile long. It is also home to the world’s largest colony of gannets. On the island are a lighthouse and the ruins of a castle and the old chapel known as St Baldred's Chapel. The chapel is said to be on the place where St Baldred (Balthere of Tyninghame) had a small and humble cell. The island was a retreat for early Christian hermits and St Baldred, who it is thought was born in Ireland, is said to have lived there in 600 AD, although other sources give a later date with his death being given as 6th March 757.

It was at the site of the chapel that St Baldred died. Following his death a dispute arose between the East Lothian parishes of Auldhame, Tyninghame and Prestonkirk, as to which should have his body. Legend has it that on the advice of a holy man, they spent the night in prayer. In the morning three identical bodies were found, each in its winding sheet and prepared for burial. To this day all three churches maintain Saint Baldred was buried within their walls. So if you want to pay your respects it's as well to go to all three just to be on the safe side.


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