Baldred (Balthere) of Tyninghame, Hermit

March 6 is the Commemoration of Baldred (Balthere) of Tyninghame, Hermit
Baldred
“Balthere of Tyninghame (later Baldred) was a Northumbrian hermit and abbot, resident in East Lothian during the 8th century… Baldred is commonly referred to as “the Apostle of the Lothians” and Simeon of Durham says that “the boundaries of his pastorate embraced the whole land which belongs to the monastery of Saint Balther, which is called Tyninghame – from Lammermuir to Inveresk, or, as it was called, Eskmouthe.” His cult was certainly centred on the four churches of Auldhame, Whitekirk, Tyninghame and Prestonkirk, between East Linton and North Berwick in East Lothian.
Baldred is believed to have founded a monastery at Tyninghame. However, at times, he preferred to retire from the spiritual government of the Lothian Britons and he selected the Bass Rock as the spot to build himself a small hermitage and associated chapel, although he also sometimes resided in ‘St Baldred’s Cave’ on Seacliff Beach.
Baldred is commonly referred to as “the Apostle of the Lothians” and Simeon of Durham says that “the boundaries of his pastorate embraced the whole land which belongs to the monastery of Saint Balther, which is called Tyninghame – from Lammermuir to Inveresk, or, as it was called, Eskmouthe.” His cult was certainly centred on the four churches of Auldhame, Whitekirk, Tyninghame and Prestonkirk, between East Linton and North Berwick in East Lothian.
Baldred is believed to have founded a monastery at Tyninghame. However, at times, he preferred to retire from the spiritual government of the Lothian Britons and he selected the Bass Rock as the spot to build himself a small hermitage and associated chapel, although he also sometimes resided in ‘St Baldred’s Cave’ on Seacliff Beach.
Baldred's Cave
About halfway up the Bass Rock are the ruins of an old chapel or, strictly speaking, the parish church of The Bass, said to mark the spot where Saint Baldred occupied his humble cell. The approximate date of the erection (or re-erection) of the chapel may be found in a Papal Bull dated 6 May 1493, mentioning this building as being then novita erecta. A further reconsecration (indicating more building work) took place in 1542 when the chapel was dedicated it to Saint Baldred.
Following Baldred’s death on the site of this chapel, there was a dispute between the parishes of Auldhame, Tyninghame and Prestonkirk, as to which should have his body. The story goes that by the advice of a holy man, they spent the night in prayer. In the morning three bodies were found, in all respects alike, each in its winding sheet, prepared for burial.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baldred_of_Tyninghame

“St Baldred seems to have become a monk at the monastery on the tidal island of Lindisfarne in Northumberland, though by some accounts he was born in Ireland. At some point in the first half of the 700s he established a monastery at Tyninghame which owned large estates covering much of the coastal plain of East Lothian. St Baldred himself undertook frequent retreats to a hermitage and chapel he had built for himself on Bass Rock. It is said that St Baldred died on Bass Rock and there was subsequently a dispute between the parishes of Auldhame, Tyninghame and Prestonkirk, about where he should be buried. The story goes that after a night of prayer, three identical bodies were found, each wrapped in its winding sheet ready for burial. The story was probably a later invention intended to explain why all three churches established shrines to Saint Baldred.
Echoes of St Baldred occur throughout the area of East Lothian in which he lived and worked. St Baldred’s monastery at Tyninghame was destroyed by the Danes in 941 and the following century the version of the remains of St Baldred buried at Tyninghame were moved to Durham. However, in the 1100s St Baldred’s Church was built on the location of the monastery and this still stands today in the grounds of Tyninghame House.
Baldreds church
From the 1300s miracles began to be reported by people drinking at St Baldred’s Well, at Whitekirk. This quickly became a major centre for pilgrimage.
Baldreds well
In 1413 someone took the trouble to count 15,563 pilgrims visiting St Baldred’s Well, to the considerable benefit of the church established here and the local economy. In 1430 King James I oversaw the building of a pilgrims’ hostel in the village to cater for the throng. In 1435 the future Pope Pius II walked barefoot through snow from Dunbar to Whitekirk to give thanks to St Baldred for his survival from a shipwreck in the Firth of Forth. The rheumatism from which he suffered for the rest of his life would serve as a reminder of his visit.
Baldred cave 2
A Papal Bull of 1493 records the Pope’s consent to build a chapel on the site of St Baldred’s own chapel on Bass Rock. This is overlooked by the beautiful beach at Seacliff. Reminders here of St Baldred include St Baldred’s Boat, a rock formation in the bay, and St Baldred’s Cave, where he is said to have lived from time to time.”
http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usbiography/b/stbaldred.html

See also: https://citydesert.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/saint-balthere-of-tyninghame/

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