Saint Conval was the son of an Irish chieftain. He travelled to Strathclyde to become a follower of St Mungo (also known as St Kentigern), and records suggest he died of natural causes in 630. Looking at the story of St Mungo's own perambulations, it seems likely that Conval arrived in what later became Glasgow in around 590. Medieval sources suggest he became Archdeacon of Glasgow, and it is thought he also spent time among the Scots of Dalriada, who would have shared his Irish background. It seems reasonable to suggest a birth date of around 570 for Conval. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Having worked among the Scots and visited St Columba, it seems that Conval moved on to undertake missionary work among the Picts. St Conval is particularly associated with the area around Inchinnan in East Renfrewshire, and it was said that his relics were held there during medieval times. Inchinnan was also the location of an early Christian stone cross, erected in St Conval's memory. Today only its base remains.
Another tangible link with St Conval can be found in an overgrown enclosure in Renfrew, which is home to "St Conval's Chariot". The story goes that as a young man, Conval was standing on the shore of the Irish Sea in his homeland as he prayed for God's guidance on what to do with his life. The stone on which he was standing broke off and carried him across the Irish Sea, up the Firth of Clyde, and into the mouth of the River Clyde, as far as Inchinnan where he came ashore, and where a chapel was later built to commemorate the event.
St Conval today gives his name to a primary school in Pollokshaws, a church in Linwood, a cemetery in Paisley, a well in Eastwood and a Masonic lodge in Giffnock. There is also a chapel dedicated to him in St Conan's Kirk in Argyll. It is unclear whether the hills of Little Conval and Meikle Conval, to the west of Dufftown in Moray, are also associated with him.