¿Era San Fermín escocés? (I)

According to the Scottish historian, Thomas Dempster, San Fermín was a Scotsman. Thomas Dempster (3-8-1579/6-9-1625) made this affirmation in his opus “An Ecclesiastical History of Scotland –book 6, chapter 522 and in book 8, chapter 643”. Here he affirms that San Fermín was a native of that country and that he was brought up by a priest by the name of Honorato and that he was sent abroad to receive an education from the bishop of Toulouse, San Honesto. Consequently, according to Dempster, San Fermin is Scottish in origin. Perhaps we need to change his cape for a kilt…


In the chapter on San Honesto, Dempster states that this man was the confessor and private tutor of San Fermín and that he was an important figure in the Scottish church of the time. We do not know the reasons why the author Thomas Dempster should have become immersed with San Fermín, but there are some tenuous connections that might have attracted him to this particular saint. For example, we know that Dempster, after studying at Cambridge and in Paris, gave lectures in the College of Navarra, one of the most prestigious colleges of the University of Paris which was founded in 1305 by Juana I of Navarra. In addition, he also gave classes in Toulouse and in Nimes and lived some time in Spain.


Thomas Dempster wrote his history book in Bologna in the final years of his life and the work was published posthumously under the title “Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Scotorum . It first appeared in 1627 and it was re-edited by Dr. Irving in 1829. In his book Dempster affirms that other sources confirm his version of San Fermin such as texts from Edmundus Campianus and Gulielmus Camdenus. Both the British Encyclopedia and the Scottish Electronic Encyclopedia state that the veracity of the sources cited by Dempster in his book is arguable and they even suggest that the references may have been invented. Perhaps, then, San Fermín was not a Scotsman. However, it should also be kept in mind that this information does coincide with some real and proven facts and thus gives some veracity to the affirmation. Next Monday the end of the intriguing story will be related in the second part of this curious report.