The Journal Of Antiquities

Ancient Sites In Great Britain & Southern Ireland

St Kennara’s Cross, Kirkinner, Galloway

NX4241 5119. Just off the main street (A746 Whithorn road) in Kirkinner 3 miles south of Wigtown stands the parish church of St Kennera (Cinnera). The 19th century church stands on the site of a 13th-14th century foundation and perhaps an even earlier monastic cell where lived the 4th century hermitess, St Kennera. Inside the church stands a 4 foot high cross-slab dating from the 10th century AD. Carved on the stone there is a Celtic style disc-headed cross. The stone slab had apparently stood at the western side of the church for some time before being brought into the church for safety.

In the 4th century St Kennara left Scotland to become a missionary in the Rhineland. She was educated along with St Ursula and St Regulus (Rule) – later becoming a follower of St Ursula. According to the well-told legend Ursula was murdered with 11,000 holy hand-maidens at Cologne (c383 AD) by the Huns and Kennara was one of these martyred maidens. The legend goes on to say that the saint was strangled with a towel or napkin and her body buried in a stable that belonged to the pagan king of the Huns – his horse then refused to enter the stable  while her holy body lie there. St Kennara’s feast-day is usually held on 29th October.