St Triduana, Hermit of Rescobie

October 8 is the Commemoration of St Triduana, Hermit of Rescobie

“St. Triduna, 4th century. A virgin who, according to tradition, assisted St. Regulus in his mission to Scotland during the fourth century. She is also listed as Trallen and Tredwall. Her shrine at Restalrig was long venerated until its destruction in 1560 during the Scottish Reformation.”
St Triulla
“ST. TRIDUANA devoted herself to God in a solitary life at Rescobie in Angus (now Forfarshire). While dwelling there, a prince of the country having conceived an unlawful passion for her is said to have pursued her with his unwelcome attentions. To rid herself of his importunities, as a legend relates, Triduana bravely plucked out her beautiful eyes, her chief attraction, and sent them to her admirer. Her heroism, it is said, procured for her the power of curing diseases of the eyes. Many instances are related of such miracles worked after her death.
St. Triduana died at Restalrig in Lothian, and her tomb became a favourite place of pilgrimage.
Before the Reformation it was the most important of the holy shrines near Edinburgh. On account of this prominence her church was the very first to fall a victim to the fanatical zeal of the Puritans. After being honoured for a thousand years her relics were desecrated by the destruction of her shrine.
The General Assembly, decreed on December 21, 1560, that “the Kirk of Restalrig, as a monument of idolatrie, be raysit and utterlie castin downe and destroyed.” An interesting discovery was made in 1907 in connection with this church, which had long been used as a Presbyterian place of worship after restoration. An octagonal building, standing near, was thought to have been a Chapter House in Catholic times; it was filled with earth and rubbish, after having served as a burial place, and a mound of earth surmounted it on the outside on which trees had rooted. The Earl of Moray, superior of the village, offered to restore the church to its original state, and, when examined by competent authorities, the supposed Chapter House was found to be a beautiful little Gothic chapel with groined roof supported by a central pillar, similar to the building which once covered St. Margaret’s well at Restalrig.
Triduanas well
Further explorations proved that the little octagonal building had evidently been raised over the miraculous well of St. Triduana, so much scoffed at by Reformation satirists. Steps led down to the water, thus covered in, and a chapel, which must have formed an upper story above the well, is thought to have been the “Triduana’s Aisle” alluded to in ancient documents. The building has now been thoroughly restored after its original form and is regarded as a valuable monument of antiquity. Thus do more enlightened ages condemn the foolish fanaticism of bygone days!

This saint was honoured in various parts of Scotland, and her name has undergone so many changes in the different districts as to be often unrecognisable. It occurs under the various forms of Traddles, Tredwell, Tradwell, Trallew, Trallen, etc.

Among these dedications are Kintradwell in Caithness and Tradlines in Forfarshire. Near the island of Papa Westray in the Orkneys is St. Tredwell s Loch, and on the east side of the loch is a small peninsula containing the ruins of a little building measuring 20 feet in length and 22 feet in breadth, known as St. Tredwell’s Chapel. At Rescobie a fair used to be held on her feast-day, but in the beginning of last century it was transferred to Forfar. It was known as “St. Trodlin’s Fair.” Relics of this saint were honoured in Aberdeen Cathedral in Catholic ages. Devotion to St. Triduana has been revived in the modern Catholic church at Restalrig.”
Triduanas chapel
“St Triduana’s Chapel, Restalrig, Edinburgh St Triduana’s Chapel, dating from the 15th century, stands at the south-west corner of ancient parish church of Restalrig. The chapel was dedicated to the obscure St Triduana, who acquired a reputation for curing eye complaints. The chapel, a low hexagonal building, was originally on two levels. The upper level, which contained the altar, was destroyed during the Reformation, and the lower vaulted area, which may have contained a well, was covered by an earthen mound until 1907. In 1907, under the direction of the Earl of Moray, the earthen mound was removed to reveal the lower chamber and evidence that it may have contained the well which once attracted blind pilgrims from all over the country to bathe in its special waters.”
See further:
John Foster “The Legend and Shrine of Saint Triduana” Br J Ophthalmol. Dec 1953; 37(12): 763–765 – text available on-line at:
A. S. Cowper “St Triduana in Caithness”:

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