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TITLE
The Quigrich or Crozier of St Fillan
EXTERNAL ID
QZP40_2475_2_P377
DATE OF IMAGE
1890
PERIOD
1890s
SOURCE
Highland Libraries
ASSET ID
31693
KEYWORDS
saints
missionaries
crosier
The Quigrich or Crozier of St Fillan

This is said to be the 'quigrich', the name given to the head of the pastoral staff of St Fillan, enclosed in its outer casing of gilt silver. It was considered to have magical properties in the recovery of stolen goods, and water in which it had been immersed was said to cure illness in animals. The word 'quigrich' is thought to have meant 'stranger', similar to the old gaelic word 'coigreach'.

St Fillan, the son of St Kentigerna, came originally from Ireland to Christianize the Picts, arriving at Glendochart around 730 AD. He built a priory near Auchtertyre in Strathfillan. When St Fillan died, he entrusted his relics to the custody of laymen in Glendochart rather than the monks of the priory. The early Celtic peoples put great faith in the relics of their Saints. These men travelled with these relics, continuing the mission of St Fillan and using the relics to bring hope and faith to the peoples of the region. These men were called 'deòradh' (Gaelic for pilgrim or wanderer) which gave rise to the surname Dewar, variously spelled as Deoir or Jore. The relics included his staff (quigrich), his bell (bernane), his forearm, and others. Of the original men, only two (quigrich and bernane) had families through which the relics were passed on. Nothing is known of the others.

The quigrich played an important role at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 when it was brought to the field of battle at the request of Robert the Bruce to encourage the men. The quigrich stayed with the same family in Glendochart until in 1336, after falling on hard times, it was sold to the McSoberells or McDonnells of Glengarry. However, the Dewars' fortunes improved and, with some difficulty, they bought it back and in 1428 Finlay Jore was recognized as the Keeper of the Quigrich.

The keeper of this relic was given much respect by the local communities and was entitled to certain lands and to annual payments of grain. The task of the Dewar, in compensation for this payment, was to recover cattle which had been lost or stolen from Glendochart, searching anywhere in Scotland. Later in the 1400s the local gentry and the local church were disturbed that this Dewar had such privileges and was in charge of this relic, so they tried to obtain it from the family and force them to pay rent on the land. King James III declared in 1487 that Malise Doire, residing in Strathfillan, 'made no obedience nor answer to any person, spiritual or temporal, in anything concerning the said holy relic', and that settled the issue.

A later Malise Dewar had a son Malise and son Alexander. Malise, the elder brother, inherited the quigrich and was intending to pass it on to his son Donald. But Donald was a sickly lad and died young, so Malise passed the relic to his own brother, Alexander. Alexander's eldest son Archibald was born in 1756 in Killin. He married and had a family of six. In 1818, Archibald took his family, and the quigrich, to the new world, settling near what was to become Ottawa, Canada. Archibald died in 1831 and passed the quigrich to his eldest son, Alexander, who had been born near Comrie in 1790, came to Canada, married a Perthshire girl named Janet Kennedy and had a family of 12 children.

It eventually came to the notice of Dr Daniel Wilson that the quigrich had arrived in Canada. He was the secretary of the Society of Antiquities in Scotland and he tried, without success, to get the Dewars to return the relic to Scotland. Later he was appointed to a chair in the University of Toronto and that gave him ready access to the Dewar family who were then living less than 200 miles west of Toronto. In 1876, Alexander was almost 90 and he was concerned that his descendants may not show the same interest as he in preserving the quigrich. He finally acceded to Dr Wilson's requests and, on 30 Dec 1876, he and his heir, Archibald, signed the Deed of Conveyance which transferred the rights and ownership of the quigrich to the Society of Antiquaries for the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh "there to remain in all time to come, for the use, benefit, and enjoyment of the Scottish nation".

Small brass pins showing an engraving of St. Fillan's Crozier were passed to females in the lineage of Janet Dewar, daughter of Alexander Dewar in Canada. Oral history indicates that Alexander's sons passed their pins to the eldest male child, but Janet ensured that her pin and the Dewar name, conferred as a middle name, were passed, where possible, only to female heirs.


This plate is taken from 'The Quigrich or Crosier of St Fillan' and published in 'Archaeologia Scotica or Transactions of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland', vol V (1890)

Thanks to Glen Bodie and Susan Dewar Mayhew for the additional information.

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The Quigrich or Crozier of St Fillan

1890s

saints; missionaries; crosier

Highland Libraries

Fraser Mackintosh Collection (illustrations)

This is said to be the 'quigrich', the name given to the head of the pastoral staff of St Fillan, enclosed in its outer casing of gilt silver. It was considered to have magical properties in the recovery of stolen goods, and water in which it had been immersed was said to cure illness in animals. The word 'quigrich' is thought to have meant 'stranger', similar to the old gaelic word 'coigreach'.<br /> <br /> St Fillan, the son of St Kentigerna, came originally from Ireland to Christianize the Picts, arriving at Glendochart around 730 AD. He built a priory near Auchtertyre in Strathfillan. When St Fillan died, he entrusted his relics to the custody of laymen in Glendochart rather than the monks of the priory. The early Celtic peoples put great faith in the relics of their Saints. These men travelled with these relics, continuing the mission of St Fillan and using the relics to bring hope and faith to the peoples of the region. These men were called 'deòradh' (Gaelic for pilgrim or wanderer) which gave rise to the surname Dewar, variously spelled as Deoir or Jore. The relics included his staff (quigrich), his bell (bernane), his forearm, and others. Of the original men, only two (quigrich and bernane) had families through which the relics were passed on. Nothing is known of the others.<br /> <br /> The quigrich played an important role at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 when it was brought to the field of battle at the request of Robert the Bruce to encourage the men. The quigrich stayed with the same family in Glendochart until in 1336, after falling on hard times, it was sold to the McSoberells or McDonnells of Glengarry. However, the Dewars' fortunes improved and, with some difficulty, they bought it back and in 1428 Finlay Jore was recognized as the Keeper of the Quigrich.<br /> <br /> The keeper of this relic was given much respect by the local communities and was entitled to certain lands and to annual payments of grain. The task of the Dewar, in compensation for this payment, was to recover cattle which had been lost or stolen from Glendochart, searching anywhere in Scotland. Later in the 1400s the local gentry and the local church were disturbed that this Dewar had such privileges and was in charge of this relic, so they tried to obtain it from the family and force them to pay rent on the land. King James III declared in 1487 that Malise Doire, residing in Strathfillan, 'made no obedience nor answer to any person, spiritual or temporal, in anything concerning the said holy relic', and that settled the issue.<br /> <br /> A later Malise Dewar had a son Malise and son Alexander. Malise, the elder brother, inherited the quigrich and was intending to pass it on to his son Donald. But Donald was a sickly lad and died young, so Malise passed the relic to his own brother, Alexander. Alexander's eldest son Archibald was born in 1756 in Killin. He married and had a family of six. In 1818, Archibald took his family, and the quigrich, to the new world, settling near what was to become Ottawa, Canada. Archibald died in 1831 and passed the quigrich to his eldest son, Alexander, who had been born near Comrie in 1790, came to Canada, married a Perthshire girl named Janet Kennedy and had a family of 12 children.<br /> <br /> It eventually came to the notice of Dr Daniel Wilson that the quigrich had arrived in Canada. He was the secretary of the Society of Antiquities in Scotland and he tried, without success, to get the Dewars to return the relic to Scotland. Later he was appointed to a chair in the University of Toronto and that gave him ready access to the Dewar family who were then living less than 200 miles west of Toronto. In 1876, Alexander was almost 90 and he was concerned that his descendants may not show the same interest as he in preserving the quigrich. He finally acceded to Dr Wilson's requests and, on 30 Dec 1876, he and his heir, Archibald, signed the Deed of Conveyance which transferred the rights and ownership of the quigrich to the Society of Antiquaries for the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh "there to remain in all time to come, for the use, benefit, and enjoyment of the Scottish nation".<br /> <br /> Small brass pins showing an engraving of St. Fillan's Crozier were passed to females in the lineage of Janet Dewar, daughter of Alexander Dewar in Canada. Oral history indicates that Alexander's sons passed their pins to the eldest male child, but Janet ensured that her pin and the Dewar name, conferred as a middle name, were passed, where possible, only to female heirs.<br /> <br /> <br /> This plate is taken from 'The Quigrich or Crosier of St Fillan' and published in 'Archaeologia Scotica or Transactions of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland', vol V (1890)<br /> <br /> Thanks to Glen Bodie and Susan Dewar Mayhew for the additional information.