BRAGHAN, or Brechan, was a king in Wales, and the builder of the town of Brecknock. This worthy old king and saint was the happy father of twenty-six children, or, as some say, twenty-tour. Of these, fourteen or fifteen were sainted for their holiness, and their portraits are preserved within a fold of the kingly robe of the saint, their father, in the window at St Neot's Church, bearing the inscription, "Sante Brechane, cum omnibus sanctis, ora pro nobis," and known as the young women's window.
Of the holy children settled in Cornwall, we learn that the following gave their names to Comish churches
1. John, giving name to the Church of St lve.
2. Endellient, ,, Endellion.
3. Menfre, ,, ,, St Minver.
4. Tethe, ,, ,, St Teath
5. Mabena, ,, ,, St Mabyn.
6. Merewenna, ,, Marham
7. Wenna, ,, ,, St Wenn.
8. KEYNE, ,, ST KEYNE.
9. Yse, ,, ,, St lssey.
10. Morwenna ,, Morwinstow.
11. Cleder, ,, -,, St Clether
12. Keri, ,, ,, Egloskerry.
13. Helie, ,, ,, Egloshayle.
14. Adwent, ,, ,, Advent.
15. Lanent, ,, ,, Lelant [a]
Of this remarkable family St Keyne stands out as the brightest star. Lovely beyond measure, she wandered over the country safe, even in lawless times, from insult, by "the strength of her purity."
We find this virtuous woman performing miracles wherever she went. The district now known by the name of Keynsham, in Somersetshire, was in those days infested with serpents. St Keyne, rivalling St Hilda of the Northern Isle, changed them all into coils of stone, and there they are in the quarries at the present time to attest the truth of the legend. Geologists, with more learning than poetry, term them Ammonites, deriving their name from the horn of Jupiter Ammon, as if the Egyptian Jupiter was likely to have charmed serpents in England. We are satisfied to leave the question for the consideration of our readers. After a life spent -in the conversion of sinners, the building of churches, and the performance of miracles, this good woman retired into Cornwall, and in one of its most picturesque valleys she sought and found that quiet which was conducive to a happy termination of a well-spent life. She desired, above all things, "peace on earth;" and she hoped to benefit the world, by giving to woman a chance of being equal to her lord and master. A beautiful well of water was near the home of the saint, and she planted, with her blessing, four trees around it--the withy, the oak, the elm, and the ash. When the hour of her death was drawing near, St Keyne caused herself to be borne on a litter to the shade which she had formed, and soothed by the influence of the murmur of the flowing fountain, she blessed the waters, and gave them their wondrous power, thus quaintly described by Carew--" Next, I will relate to you another of the Cornish natural wonders--viz., St Keyne's Well; but lest you make wonder, first at the sainte, before you notice the well, you must understand that this Was not Kayne the Manqueller, but one of a gentler spirit and milder sex--to wit, a woman. He who caused the spring to be pictured, added this rhyme for an explanation :--
'In name, in shape, in quality,
This well is very quaint;
The name to lot of Kayne befell,
No over-holy saint.
The shape, four trees of divers kind,
Withy, oak, elm, and ash,
Make with their roots an arched roof, Whose floor this spring does wash.
The quality, that man or wife,
Whose chance or choice attains,
First of this sacred stream to drink,
Thereby the mastery gains.' [b]
[a] Leland, cited by William of Worcester from the Cornish Calendar at St Michael's Mount. Michell's "Parochial History of Saint Neot's."
[b] Carew's Survey, Lord Dedunstanville's edition, p. 305. See "The Well
of St Keyne," by Robert Southey, in his "Ballads and Metrical Tales," vol. i.;
or of Southey's collected works, vol. vi.
St Keyne, or St Keona, is said to have visited St Michael's Mount, and imparted this peculiar virtue to a stone chair on the ewer.