Previous Saint This month Next Saint
[Yesterday's last saint] [back to Calendar] [Today's next saint]

Died c. 610.

Irish born abbot, a disciple and nephew of the great Saint Columcille (Columba), Drostan was a Prince of the royal blood, a member of the royal Cosgrach family of Ireland. He was named the first Abbot of Deer in Arberdeenshire (Dalcongaile). The early monastery of rude wooden huts stood in the elbow of the river bank behind the present Parish Church on the village of Old Deer.

Deer has long been the common spelling but Deir prevails in the oldest writing. One tradition has the name coming from De a'r', a contraction of De adhra - the worship of Good. Dair or Daire in old Gaelic and Irish is an oak, and since the area was covered in oak forests in the 6th century, the name may simply mean Oakwood.

A much more romantic legend, and the one most people prefer to accept, has it deriving from Deira, Gaelic for "tears", telling how Columba observed a tear on the cheek of his nephew Drostan when he took his leave and declared This shall be known as the place of tears - that is Deir.

In his old age St. Drostan lived as a recluse in a forest. He reposed in 809 near Glenesk, Angus. His is considered an apostle to Scotland.

His sacred remains were deposited in a stone coffin at Aberdeen. There is a well is associated with him at Aberdour.

The Abbey of Deer

A once famous Scotch monastery. According to the Celtic legend St. Columcille, his disciple Drostan, and others, went from Hy (Iona) into Buchan and established an important missionary centre at Deer on the banks of the Ugie on lands given him by the mormaer or chief of the district whose son he had by his prayers freed of a dangerous illness. This happened probably in the last quarter of the sixth century. Columcille soon after continued his missionary journeys and left Drostan as abbot at Deer. Drostan died here about 606. The legend receives confirmation from the fact that the parish of Aberdour venerated St. Drostan as patron. In later years the Normans had little sympathy with the Celtic institutions, so we find the Earl of Buchan in 1219 founding the Cistercian abbey of New Deer about two miles westward of Columcille's foundation, granting to the new abbey a portion of the lands of Old Deer, the rest going to the maintenance of a parochial church.

More at

About Saint Drostan

The Book of Deer by Roy Ellsworth and Peter Beresford Ellis
(Library of Celtic Illuminated Manuscripts, Constable, 1994). PB; 79 ps

Information and photographs of the Book of Dear

Some pages from the Book of Deer

Troparion of St Drostan tone 2
Abbot of Deer and disciple of Saint Colum Cille,/ who didst kindle Christ's fire in the hearts of thy monks,/ pray for us, O Drostan, to Christ our God,/ that our souls may be saved.

Previous Saint This month Next Saint
[Yesterday's last saint] [back to Calendar] [Today's next saint]