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Saint Keyne

Saint Keyne
  • Century: 5th Century
  • Patronage: St Martin-by-Looe, Marital Counsel, Christian Marriages
  • Feast Day: October 8th

St. Keyne was a holy woman from the 5th Century from Cornwall, United Kingdom.  She was a pious Virgin, and was one of twenty-four children.  She may have lived at Keynsham in Somerset, but we know she founded St. Keyne in Cornwall, among other sites in the late 5th century.    

She refused several suitors’ offers of marriage and became a hermitess on the banks of the Severn River in Somersetshire, England.  She later blessed a “well” on the property, and said that “whichever of the two newly-weds first drinks of this well, will have the upperhand in that marriage”.  Legend has it in 490, she visited her nephew St. Cadoc, at St. Michael’s Mount, where a granite chair or throne supposedly is said to grant matrimonial advantage.  Many marriages faced a battle between one being pagan, and the other being Christian in her time.  

St. Keyne was the original patron of what is now St. Martin-by-Looe, and is linked with the River Kenwyn in Truro.  We also know that she founded several churches; Llangeinor in mid Glamorgan, Llangunnor and Llangain in Dyfed, at Rockfield, Runston, in Gwent, and St Ceinwen’s Church, Cerrigceinwen, where the churchyard encloses and Christianizes another holy well, in which she blessed.  She is also recorded as being a dragon-slayer, on par with St. George.  

She died a holy Virgin, on October 5th, in either 490 or 505.  She grew up to be very beautiful, and many young men sought her hand in marriage, but she rejected them all.  Her feast day is celebrated on October 8th.   The well at St. Keyne can still be seen today, and on it, the plaque reads, “The Legend of St. Keyne Well.  St. Keyne was a Princess who lived about 600 AD.  She laid on the the waters of this well a spell thus described by Carew in 1602 AD – The quality that man or wife whom chance or choice attains first of this sacred spring to drink thereby the mastery gains”.  Many drink from this well to this day.    

Practical Take Away

St. Keyne was a holy woman, and became a hermitess on the banks of the Severn River in Somersetshire, England.  She grew up to be a very beautiful woman and was approached by many men to get married.  She never accepted their proposals, and desired to serve the Church as a Hermitess.  She blessed a holy well on her property that obtained the “upper hand” to which ever of the two getting married, drank from first.  That well can still be seen today, and over the centuries, many young couples seeking marriage or newly weds, have sought the blessing from drinking from that well.  Many invoke St. Keyne for assistance in their marriages.