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Saint Fillan lived from about 695 to about 770. He was an Irish missionary who is venerated in several different parts of Scotland. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Fillan of Munster was the son of Feriach, possibly a king of Dalirada, and Princess Kentigerna, daughter of Cellach Cualann, King of Leinster. He is said to have become a monk at the abbey of Saint Fintan Munnu in Ireland, before travelling to Scotland in 717 with his mother, who is remembered as St Kentigerna.
A degree of uncertainty surrounds the lives of many early saints, and Fillan is no exception. He is believed to have established a church on Loch Duich on the west coast, before settling near between Crianlarich and Tyndrum at a site later occupied by St Fillan's Priory, close to the River Fillan in the glen known as Strathfillan. It is said that while he was ploughing a field here his ox was killed by a wolf: which Fillan miraculously persuaded to take the place of the ox and pull the plough. Nearby is the "Holy Pool", believed to have been blessed by St Fillan and effective in curing the mentally ill as a result.
St Fillan is also closely associated with the village of Killin, where he is believed to have established a mill. He is remembered in an exhibition in the Breadalbane Folklore Centre. He is possibly less closely associated with the village of St Fillans, at the west end of Loch Earn. Until 1817 this was called Port of Lochearn or Meikleport, but renamed by the landowner because of his belief that St Fillan had converted the local Picts to Christianity.
Later in life St Fillan is said to have lived as a hermit in a cave at Pittenweem, which today serves as a shrine to him. He also established churches (or had early churches established by others dedicated to him) in Galloway and on Islay. He died in Strathfillan and was buried there, though his relics are said to have been used to inspire the Scots before the Battle of Bannockburn. To give thanks for his victory, Robert the Bruce later established St Fillan's Priory in Strathfillan, of which just some ruins remain.