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Early British Saints and Kings


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Mauro
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Disclaimer: I do not wish this topic to become an issue for criticizing or poking fun at religion but just to gather popular traditions about kings and saints from the early days of post-Roman Britain up to the Conquest. I'll add someting as often as possible and I hope many of you will contribute since this is an absolutely fascinating topic and part of the rich heritage of the British Isles.
I'll start off with the story of three siblings, all of whom became saints: St Aebbe (also known as Ermenburga), St Aethlred and St Aethelbert. St Aebbe was the eldest child of Prince Eormenred of Kent and she married King Merewahl of Magonset. Together they had four children: three daughters, all of whom became nuns of saintly reputation, and a boy who died young.
In 664 AD one of her cousins, Egbert, succeeded to the Kentish throne, despite the  royal claims of Aebbe's two younger brothers, Aethlred and Aethelbert. Encouraged by a ruthless nobleman named Thunor he had the two boys murdered and buried in secret under the great hall of his palace. However his plan was short lived: a miracolous light shone day and night over the spot where the two princes had been buried. King Egbert took this as a sign from God and, full of remorse, confessed his crime in public. He had the two bodies buried behing the high altar in the church of Wakering with royal honours. Here miracles soon started to happen and were taken as a sign of the two murdered princes' innocence and sanctity. The bodies were later translated to the Ramsey cathedral so that more people could worship the two saints.
After Egbert admitted his responsability he was forced by Germanic laws to pay weregild or "price of blood" to the victims' closest living relative, who happened to be Aebbe. Aebbe asked for as much land as her tame doe could run in one course and this was accepted: the spot chosen was the Island of Thanet. There, in presence of a great crowd of noblemen, clergymen and peasants, Aebbe let loose her doe. Thunor laughed at the idea of turning so much good land over to a "witch" and set in pursue of the doe with the intent of killing her. He had scarcely put spurs to his horse when the earth opened up and swallowed him with his steed: the place has been know as Thunner's Leap ever since.
Everybody fell to his knees at this sign of Divine wrath.
In the end the doe circled forty eight ploughs of land: this was duly turned over to Aebbe.
Upon King Merewahl's death Aebbe took the veil and retired to her lands on the Island of Thanet with other women of saintly reputation: they founded a monastery dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and the two murdered princes in 673 AD which later became known as Minster-on-Thanet.

__________________

"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"

-Kalevala, Rune XIII-


Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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Great poat Mauro, I'll get

Great poat Mauro, I'll get digging on a few ideas.

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Daniel Parkinson
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Thanks Mauro Ian what's a

Thanks Mauro

Ian what's a poat? that pesky a is close to the s on the keyboard.

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Ian Topham
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I have been thinking about

I have been thinking about gathering information concerning Edward the Martyr, a young king murdered on 18 March 978, possibly on the orders of his step mother so that his step brother could take the throne.  He was killed at Corfe castle and several miracles have been attributed to his corpse, including restoring the sight of a blind woman who lived in the hut where his body was hidden or stored.  He was buried without royal honors at wareham but later interred at Shaftesbury Abbey where other miracles were supposedly witnessed.  I'll post more after I have done some research.

Mauro
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Constantine and St Petroc

Thanks everybody, you are too kind. (blush)
Another quite interesting story featuring royalty and saints from the early British kingdoms comes from Cornwall.
This particular Constantine (or Custennin) is said to be "Sir Constantine", King Arthur's cousin and, according to some sources, the sole survivor of the battle of Camlann where Mordred was slain and Arthur fatally wounded. He turned out to be a completely different man from his heroic relative, being a bad and violent king: one of the many crimes which disgusted his contemporaries was dressing up as a bishop to kill two of his nephews who had seeked asylum in a church.
Later in life Constantine suffered a devastating loss when his beloved wife died (much like Edward I) and one day, while hunting deer he ended chasing a doe which took refuge in St Petroc's cell. He was immediately ovecome by the great saint's power and threw himself to his feet in tears, begging him to be baptized immediately. This was duly done and Constantine gave Petroc his precious ivory hunting horn as a token of gratitude.
Constantine now set about making amend for his many early sins. As he grew old he turned over the kingdom of Dumnonia to his son Bledric and took up religious life himself.
He founded many churches and abbeys during this period, the most famous being Bodmin. As he felt the day of his death closing on he moved across the Bristol Channel to meet St Dewi (David) at Mynyw and then moved to a hermitage near Cardiff where he died fully pacified with God.
St Petroc, the old patron saint of Cornwall, is another extremely interesting character. Being the eldest child of King Glywys Cernyw of Glywysing upon his father's death was offered the crown. He turned this down, having chosen a religious life, and moved to Ireland to study in the famous monasteries theres. Petroc returned a few years later and founded a monastery named Llanwethinoc. After a few years he went on a pilgrimage to Rome. He returned and settled in what is now Newton St Petrock (Devon).
One day, during a storm, he predicted to local people that the rain would stop soon. Instead it rained for three days. Petroc took this as a sign from God, punishing him for his presumption. So he went for yet another pilgrimage: first Rome, then Jerusalem, finally settling in India as a hermit for seven years. He returned to Britain with a faithful wolf companion he met in India and who had been at his side ever since. In Cornwall he joined forces with St Wethnoc and St Samson to defeat an enormous serpent which had belonged to the late King teudar of Penwith. After this deed he moved back to Llanwethinoc for a while, then decided to settle in the woods near Nanceventon and it was here that he met and baptized King Constantine.
He later helped the king to found Bodmin and finally settled down and died at Llanwethinoc.
His body was later translated to Bodmin where his Norman casket can still be seen today.

In Distortion We Trust

__________________

"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"

-Kalevala, Rune XIII-


Mauro
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Ian, here is all you'll ever

Ian, here is all you'll ever want to know about St Edward the Martyr: www.orthodox.net/western-saints/edward.html
Edward is reverred as a saint and martyr by the Orthodox Church and his relics are in an Orthodox church in Surrey.

In Distortion We Trust

__________________

"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"

-Kalevala, Rune XIII-


Seannachaidh (not verified)
Good Book

The Edinburgh University Press is publishing a New History of Scotland and Volume 1, From Caledonia to Pictland by James E Fraser sheds a lot of light on the practice of historicising, and the stories behind the stories.  For instance, he credits Columba with helping a Pictish noble called Tarain who went into exile, though none can be found of that name in that time, but the author, Adomnan, knew a Pictish Prince Tarain who did all the things in the story.  It's all very interesting and helping redraw our confused historical timeline properly here.

I concentrated on just one such legend, instead of trying to spread myself across the whole genre as most published authors do, and got a great satisfaction from peeling back the layer upon layer of history behind the legend. There's enough to publish it as a little book for charity, which I will do after drawing some illustrations and getting photos, and backing up all my source material as authentic.

Definately a fascinating subject, keep posting!  Please!

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Ian Topham
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Mauro wrote: Ian, here is
Mauro wrote:

Ian, here is all you'll ever want to know about St Edward the Martyr: www.orthodox.net/western-saints/edward.html
Edward is reverred as a saint and martyr by the Orthodox Church and his relics are in an Orthodox church in Surrey.

Thanks Mauro, no excuse for me not to put an article about him together now lol:)

Mauro
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Thanks, I'll post something

Thanks, I'll post something as soon as possible, I am little busy at the moment.

In Distortion We Trust

__________________

"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"

-Kalevala, Rune XIII-


Mauro
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St Non and St Dewi

St Non was the daughter of the famous Cynyr Ceinfarfog, Lord of Caer Goch, who in later Arthurian myth became Sir Ector, the valiant and faithful knight chosen by Merlin to be Arthur's foster father. Non became a nun at Ty Gwyn (Dyfed) and here she was seduced by Prince Sandde of Ceredigion. The pregnant girl run away from the nunnery in shame and wandered what is now Wales, giving birth at Caerfai, near St Davids during a violent storm. The pains of labor were such that she left impressions of her fingers on the boulder she was on. Her son, born while a mighty lightning struck, was named Dewi (anglicized as David) and went on to become one of Britain best known saints. His holy power was such that he started working wonders while still in the womb: once Non entered a church to attend mass and as the priest, populary believed to be St Gildas, started preaching he was immediately struck dumb. That was because Dewi was soon to excel all preachers and religious scholars.
Dewi was raised by his mother near Aberaeron and was baptised by St Eilfyw, a maternal cousin. Having displayed an incredible piety since the most tender age he was ordained priest as soon as he came of age, after having studied under St Colman of Dromore.
After being ordained Dewi immediately set out to further his education: he studied under St Illtud and then set out to study under St Paulinus of Wales, a monk of incredible learning but also a very reluctant teacher. Dewi convinced Paulinus to be his teacher by curing him of his illness (he was going blind) and became a star pupil.
After leaving Paulinus he set about evangelising South Wales, founding many monasteries and churches as he went about. He also visited King Propius of Ergyng and cured him of his blindness. During this period of time he became friend with Bishop Gwestlan, who also became his protector.
Dewi decided to settle with a number of his monks in Rosina Vallis (Rhoson Uchaf) near St Davids. The local chieftain, an Irish warlord named Bwya, was far from enthusiastic about this invasion of monks and together with his wife plotted to drive them away, sending a maidservant to bath naked in the local river to tempt Dewi and his monks but they far from impressed. Divine retribution immediately struck Bwya and his wife and continued until they asked forgiveness to the holy man.
Dewi was now a spiritual teacher of wide renown and became known as Davidus Aquaticus as he encouraged his pupils to continously bathe in icy cold water to defeat temptation.
Since his pupils were now taking good care of evangelization he decided to fulfill his lifelong dream: a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Accompanied by SS Teilo and Padam, he was ordained Bishop by the Byzantine patriarch and returned to Wales in 545, acclaimed as an hero.
St Paulinus, his old teacher, convinced him to take part in the Synod of Llandewi Brefi, convened to stamp out the Pelagian heresy.
Here Dewi spoke so eloquently that a hill raised beneath his feet. The other bishops were so moved by this speech that they decided to help him out to turn his old monastery near Mynyw (St Davids) into a suitable seat for such a holy man.
Dewi was also called to Glastonbury to dedicate the new church but he declined after a prophetic dream and "sponsored" the expansion of the "Old Church" to the east instead.
Dewi died at Mynyw on the 1st March 589: he was over a hundred years old and already venerated as a saint. His relics are still buried in his cathedral.

In Distortion We Trust

__________________

"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"

-Kalevala, Rune XIII-


Mauro
User offline. Last seen 2 years 35 weeks ago. Offline
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St Cennydd

St Cennydd is one of the figures from early British history whose life is most shrouded in incredible happenings.
He was the offspring of an incestous relationship between Prince Deroch II of Domnonée and one of his daughters.
He was born a cripple with the calf of one leg attached to his thigh and the moment he entered this world his father immediately ordered him to be thrown in the river.
A priest threw himself threw himself at the prince's feet asking him to be allowed to baptise the newborn child and grant him entry in Heaven.
Cennydd was placed in a wicker basket and launched into the Lliw. The stream carried him to the Llwwchwr and then to the sea. A flock of seagull immediately descended uopn the basket and carried it to a rock at Ynys Weryn then stripped feathers from their breasts to make a bed for him and kept a costant vigil over him.
Not before long an angel descended from the Heavens and placed a brazen bell in the infant's mouth. This miracously provided the nourishment needed to young Cennydd until he was old enough to walk. The garments in which he had been wrapped also grew with him, "just like the bark of a tree".
A local peasant found Cennydd asleep, took pity of him and took him home with him. The protective gulls swarmed over the poor peasant's house, devastating his belongings and driving away his sheep. The man immediately carried Cennydd back where he found him and at once the gulls drove his sheep home and proceeded to quickly undone all the damages they had wrought!
By this time Cennydd was fed daily by a hind and later switched to herbs and roots. But he didn't become a mere savage: an angel came to him daily to instruct him and when he reached age eighteen he told him that he must now move to a spot called Llangennydd. The lad immediately departed but his crippled leg forced him to make 24 stops on the way: at each of these spots a spring erupted to quench his thirst. After arriving at the chosen spot he built a simple hut and procured himself a servant.
One day nine robbers came to visit him in his hut and, out of respect (for even outlaws aknowledged his spiritual/magical powers), left their weapons out of the hut. Cennydd's servant stole a spear and when he later denied under oath of taking it he was cursed by the Saint, went mad and lived like an animal in the wild, his body hair growing to enormous proportions. After seven years Cennydd decided to forgive him and the dishonest servant regained his sanity and went back to serve him faithfully for the rest of his life.
Cennydd's only earthly belonging was the aforementioned brazen bell, curiously but appropriately shaped like a woman's breast and this bell, much like his master, was capable of wonders. For example he used this item to curse King Morgan of Glywysing's host when the liege refused to split the booty obtained from a raid wih him, causing the men to go mad and start killing each other; King Morgan was forced to pay compensation to the Saint in the form of land.
In 545 Cennydd was visited by SS Dewi, Teilo and Padarn on their way back from Jerusalem and, impressed by his piety and wisdom, invited him to the Council of Llandewi Brefi which was to be held in a little while (they were making haste to be there in time). Cennydd protested that, being a cripple, he could not travel so far and at once Dewi cured his leg. Cennydd, far from being grateful, protested that he wanted to remain as God made him and prayed to be returned to his original condition. This was duly granted.
Cennydd's fame soon spread following this event and before long he had a small community of followers.
Later in life he decided to return to Brittany and decided to settle at Languidic. here he was attacked, for reasons unknown, by five men who evidently didn't know his powers.
They were all turned to stone as soon as they drew their swords, a perfect stone circle now called "The Soldiers of St. Cornelius"
Cennydd died here near the end of the VI century.

In Distortion We Trust

__________________

"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"

-Kalevala, Rune XIII-




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