S is for Saint Mungo
Saint Mungo is the founder and patron saint of Glasgow. His early clerical life was spent as an evangelist in the ancient kingdom of Strathclyde under King Rhiderch Hael. He built his church beside the Molindinar Burn, not far from the site of Saint Mungo’s cathedral.
Mungo is said to have performed 4 miracles during his time in Glasgow and every child in Glasgow is taught this verse to remember them by:
Here is the bird that never flew
Here is the tree that never grew
Here is the bell that never rang
Here is the fish that never swam.
When a boy, Mungo reanimated the tame pet robin of Saint Serf. It had been killed by some of Mungo’s classmates who hoped he would be blamed for the death.
Again while with Saint Serf, Mungo let a fire he was in charge of tending to, go out when he fell asleep. He took some branches from a tree and used them to restart the fire.
The bell was brought to Glasgow from Rome and used during ceremonies to mourn the dead.
The most interesting of all the miracles is that connected to the fish. Queen Languoreth’s husband, King Riderch, suspected her of being unfaithful. Unknown to his wife, the King had thrown her ring into the Clyde. He then demanded that she show him her ring saying that if she didn’t, he would know she had given it to her lover. The poor Queen was sentenced to death and appealed to Mungo for help whereupon he sent a messenger to the river with the instructions that he should catch a fish and return it to him. Mungo cut open the fish and there inside was the Queen’s missing ring.
Legend has it that Mungo was buried where Glasgow Cathedral (Saint Mungo’s) now stands and his remains are still there in the crypt.
His call to “Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of the Word” has been secularised – is that a word? – into our city’s motto: Let Glasgow Flourish.