St Bega from Ireland having turned down a suitor and got into a boat and crossed the sea. She landed on the West coast and gave herself to a life of prayer at what is now St Bees. Various story’s are given about her
e. But again some dismiss this as all fabrication. This seems unreasonably negative. The devotion to her at the time of the coming of the Normans was such that these violently suppressive conquerors felt they were obliged to honour here sat least with a chapel in their new built Priory.
The invasion and settlement of the Vikings in Ireland seems the best setting to understand the flight of this maiden from unwanted attentions. Tough though it may have been a coracle could cross the Irish sea to effect a landing at the cliffs by the place now known as St Bees after her. Her life has attracted all sorts of legends. But the only reason for the building the little stone church at Bassenthwaite can only be that she lived and died there. This practice is well attested in Ireland.
The Life contains accounts of nine miracles brought about by the influence of St Bega. The register of St Bees Priory also records several miracles by the power of prayer to St Bega. In 1310 “God worked many miracles by the prayers and merits of St Bega…to the edification of all the people with many eye-witnesses”. In 1313 “A certain Irish boy received his sight in the chapel of St Bega through the merits and prayers of the said virgin, all the community seeing it”.