Celebrating St Enoch
Most Glaswegians will know the name “St Enoch” but very few will know the true story of who she was: the mother of Glasgow’s patron saint, St Mungo. Saint Enoch has been described as “Scotland’s first recorded rape victim, battered woman and unmarried mother” – a very modern saint for the #MeToo generation, who rose above the hardships she faced.
This year the St Enoch Centre, which is built on or near her grave, unveiled a plaque cataloguing all the different names she is known as:
The differences in spelling are because most history in the medieval period was recounted orally, so different accents and translations will have different spellings.
Born Princess Theneva, her father Loth, King of Gododdin (modern day East Lothian) threw her out for being pregnant with Mungo after an illicit encounter with her cousin, King Owain of North Rheged (now part of Galloway). Her furious father had her tied to a chariot and launched off Traprain Law. Amazingly she and the unborn baby survived and her father, now believing she was a witch, set her adrift in a coracle without oars up the River Forth.
Rescued by the leader of the monastery at Culross, St Serf, her child affectionately became known as Mungo, meaning “dear one”.
St Enoch is celebrated on her feast day of 18 July, which in Glasgow meant that this popular holiday became the Glasgow Fair – traditional shut down of all factories and offices for a 2 week period.
A spokesman for Thenue Housing, who celebrate their 40th anniversary this year said: “We are very proud of our historic connection to St Enoch and to the city we serve as a housing provider. Few housing associations, if any, can boast the strong historical connection to Glasgow that we do as borne out by our name and we applaud the way the life and work of St Enoch is being kept alive.”
You can view a modern day interpretation of St Enoch and baby by Australian street artist Sam Bates (aka Smug) on the corner of High Street and George Street: