Ireland, Iona, the Culdees, &c.) from the early centuries of church history and throughout the medieval ages down to the Reformation of the 16th century.
As early as 729 - some authorities fix the date a hundred and fifty years before - the Culdees possessed a monastery at Dunkeld, which was converted into a cathedral by David I.
As Hector Boece, " that pillar of falsehood," dubbed these presbyters " Culdees," " the pure Culdee," a blameless presbyterian, almost prehistoric, has been claimed as the ancestor of Scottish presbyterianism; and episcopacy has been regarded as a deplorable innovation.
The last Celtic " bishop of Alban " died at this time; and when the dynasty of Malcolm Canmore was established after an interval of turmoil, English ecclesiastics began to oust the Celtic Culdees from St Andrews.
CULDEES, an ancient monastic order with settlements in Ireland and Scotland.
The pure Culdees Were Albyn's earliest priests of God, Ere yet an island of her seas By foot of Saxon monk was trod."
In the course of the 9th century we find mention of nine places in Ireland (including Armagh, Clonmacnoise, Clones, Devenish and Sligo) where communities of these Culdees were established as a kind of annexe to the regular monastic institutions.
The gap, towards the end of the 8th century, came the Culdees from Ireland.
In the 12th century the Celtic Church was completely metamorphosed on the Roman pattern, and in the process the Culdees also lost any distinctiveness they may formerly have had, being brought, like the secular clergy, under canonical rule.
And David I.; gradually the whole position passed into the hands of Turgot and his successors in the bishopric. Canons Regular were instituted and some of the Culdees joined the new order.
The Culdees of Lochleven lived on St Serf's Inch, which had been given them by a Pictish prince, Brude, about 850.
In 1093 they surrendered their island to the bishop of St Andrews in return for perpetual food and clothing, but Robert, who was bishop in 1144, handed over all their vestments, books, 2 and other property, with the island, to the newly founded Canons Regular, in which probably the Culdees were incorporated.
In the same fashion the Culdees of Monymusk, originally perhaps a colony from St Andrews, became Canons Regular of the Augustinian order early in the 13th century, and those of Abernethy in 1273.
Similar absorptions no doubt account for the disappearance of the Culdees of York, a name borne by the canons of St Peter's about 925, and of Snowdon and Bardsey Island in north Wales mentioned by Giraldus Cambrensis (c. 1190) in his Speculum Ecclesiae and Itinerarium respectively.
These seem to be the only cases where the Culdees are found in England and Wales.
In Ireland the Culdees of Armagh endured until the dissolution in 1541, and enjoyed a fleeting resurrection in 1627, soon after which their ancient property passed to the vicars choral of the cathedral.
Reeves, The Culdees of the British Islands (Dublin, 1864); W.
Jamieson's Historical Account of the Ancient Culdees (1811).