Historical information can become a little thin as you delve further and further back in time. Sometimes we only know, or believe, that someone existed because of evidence of them at a single place or in a single area. Saint Angus is one of those people. It is believed that he had Irish origins: some have associated him with Aonghais Mac Cridhe Mochta Lughmhaigh, mentioned in the "Martyrology of Donegal", a calendar of Irish saints. If so, then his feast day is 11 August. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Saint Angus is closely associated with the scattered village of Balquhidder. The parish church is home to a very old gravestone, which originally lay beside the altar of the old church, whose remains stand nearby. The stone is carved with the figure of a priest holding a chalice. The stone is known as the "Clach Aonghais", or Angus Stone, and the chalice is known as the Cup of Salvation.
A brass plaque beneath the stone notes that: "This stone, of unknown antiquity represents St Angus, who was the first Apostle of the Gospel of Christ in the district of Balquhidder about the VIIth or VIIIth Century and his name still clings through the ages to places in the Glen such as Beannach Aonghais etc. He is represented as holding the Cup of Salvation in his hands. The stone originally lay beside the altar of the ancient Parish Church and was set up here in the year 1917 during the great war."
Beannach Aonghais translates as "blessing of Angus" and is said to be the place where Angus knelt and blessed Balquhidder Glen when he first arrived there. Near the old manse is a small hill called Tom Aonghais where St Angus is said to have preached. In later centuries the saint's name (and perhaps his feast day) lived on in the annual "Angus Fair" which was held at King’s House, where the modern A84 passes the end of Balquhidder Glen, on the Wednesday after the second Tuesday in August. This means the fair could take place on 11 August, which might support the identification of St Angus with Aonghais Mac Cridhe Mochta Lughmhaigh.
If the place name and physical evidence is reasonably convincing, the historical evidence is far more hazy. As we've said, the plaque under the stone suggests St Angus was active in the area in the 600s or 700s. On the other hand, some sources suggest he was a follower of St Columba, who died in 597; while other sources say he was sent to the area by St Blane of Dunblane who died in about 590. To fit him into our "year of birth" index we've assumed a birth year of 560, but the truth is that our guess is no better than anyone else's.