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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Paddywhackerry

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Myths and Legends
Paddywhackerry or Patron ?

Britain in the 5th Century was the western outpost of the crumbling Roman Empire. At its height, the Roman Empire stretched from Scotland in the northern hemisphere to the deserts of Africa in the south. Rome, itself was destroyed in AD 410 by hordes of barbarian armies from South East Europe.

Despite the unrest in Europe, life continued as normal for Magonus Sucatus Patricius ( born Maewyn Succat ), living in a place called Bannavem Taberniae, which may have been in Wales, England or even Scotland, but was most likely near modern day Cumbria. Patricius resembled any other teenager: carefree, undisciplined and with little interest in school.

In particular, his lack of a detailed understanding of Latin would hinder and haunt Patrick as he struggled to express his religious beliefs.

The young Roman by his own admission was far from saintly. In his youth he shunned God and disobeyed the priests, which must have been an embarrassment to his grandfather, Potious, a priest himself.

His mother was called Conchessa, his father, Calpurnius was a civil servant and had a position as deacon in the church. In his semi-noble role, he would help the less fortunate of his community calling on the sick and poor with support and advice.

As young Patrick played at his parent’s villa, a flotilla of ships announced their arrival on the nearby shore with a deafening blast from bronze war trumpets.

St Patrick after capture
© BBC 2003
Irish Sea raiders pillaged the western cost of Britain with ease since the majority of Roman legions were called away to defend Italy from the Goth and Visigoth armies. The large boats beached on the shore. They used their prow as goalposts, as large nets spread across the beach form boat to boat, waited to collect their human prey as the helpless locals were driven towards the shore.

Amid scenes of burning homes and screaming women, the young Patrick was captured, bound and thrown into the pirates’ boats. Little did the pagan warriors know, that among their cargo of slaves and gold treasure, they held a missionary who would eventually tame and convert their compatriots to Christianity.


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