Tractatus de Purgatorio Sancti Patricii

Tractatus de Purgatorio Sancti Patricii (Treatise on Saint Patrick's Purgatory) is a Latin text written about 1180–1184 by a monk who identified himself as H. of Saltrey. The author is traditionally known as Henry, and was a Cistercian in Huntingdonshire.

A 1506 illustration of Owein with the Prior at St Patrick's Purgatory

Date and provenance

The Tractatus tells of the journey of an Irish knight, Owein (a version of the Irish name Eógan), to St Patrick's Purgatory in Loch Derg, where he journeys through Purgatory and the Earthly Paradise.[1] Owein's journey is dated by Henry of Saltrey to the reign of King Stephen of England between 1135 and 1154. Henry states that his source was Gilbert, a monk in Lincoln who visited Ireland in 1148 to found a monastery at Baltinglass. Since Gilbert spoke no Irish, he was introduced to the knight Owein, who became his interpreter during his two-year stay in Ireland.