[Clan Crest]

Clan MacLea - Livingstone

The Official Home of the Clan McLea (The ancient historical name of the Livingstones)

The Lion Rampant


Founding a Monastery

In the Sixth Century, under Brehon Law, the foundation of a monastery usually commenced by a grant of a royal Rath, or of a portion of land made by the head of the tribe to which it belonged to the saint, and in most instances the founder obtained this grant from the head of the tribe to which he himself belonged.   In those cases where the monastery was said to have consisted of 3000 monks, the tribe itself appears to have merged in the Church.

On the coast of Lismore, close to Bachuil, and closer still to the old house, is a Pictish Broch, now called Tirefour. This could well have been the Rath granted to Moluag.

“The church of this period must be viewed as consisting rather of different groups of monasteries, founded by the respective saints, either bishops or presbyters, of the second order, each group recognising the monastery over which the founder of the group personally presided, or which possessed his relies, as having jurisdiction over those which emanated from him and. followed his rule's.  It was thus not one great ecclesiastical corporation, but an aggregate of separate communities in federal union. Secondly, that the abbots of each monastery, whether bishops or presbyters, were not elected by the brethren forming the community, but succeeded one another by a kind of inheritance assimilated to that of the tribe.”WS Skene Vol 2 Church and Culture p66

According to Irish sources Comgall was in charge of 8,000 monks. As the founder of 100 monasteries Moluag would have had well in excess of the required 3,000 and would have ranked as a ri, answering to no man.


Last updated 20 April, 2013