Saint Wite (Candida) of Dorset

Commemorated June 1/14

View towards Portland. Photo: VisitEngland/South West Coast Path/Steve Luck View towards Portland. Photo: VisitEngland/South West Coast Path/Steve Luck     

Dorset, which lies on the English Channel, is one of the most beautiful counties of southern England. It is mainly hilly, but low-lying in the east and has glorious countryside throughout. It is famous for around 100 miles of golden sandy beaches; the Jurassic coast with abundant fossils and other archeological finds, which became the first natural world heritage site in England; a rich agricultural heritage (notably, in spring the county is covered with stunning yellow squares of rapeseed fields); picture postcard villages; such natural wonders as Chesil Beach, Durdle Door, Golden Cap, Lulworth Cove, and Pulpit Rock. The city of Poole has the largest natural harbor in the country, and the Isle of Portland (a rocky limestone peninsula on Dorset’s southern tip) has been quarried for its fine building stone for centuries.

For hundreds of years Dorset landscapes have inspired a host of writers, artists, and scientists. Thomas Hardy (1840—1928), a renowned novelist and poet, is perhaps the best known son of Dorset. Rural Dorset is the setting to most of his novels—he called his fictional country “Wessex”, which is fair as in the Anglo-Saxon period Dorset was part of the kingdom of Wessex. In addition, Dorset holds many different festivals and is home to some of the finest local produce in the country. In “the age of saints” numerous churches, monasteries, missionary centers and hermitages were founded in Dorset, and many saints lived and served in this region. Now let us speak of one of them, who was a native of Dorset.

***

An icon of St. Wite of Dorset. An icon of St. Wite of Dorset. It is sad that so little is known about St. Wite (Candida, Gwen, Blanche; her name means “white”), one of the most beloved and visited saints, venerated by modern Orthodox living in the UK. By irony, she is in a very select company of local early saints whose shrines and relics have remained undisturbed in their resting-places from before the Norman Conquest and that even survived the bloody Reformation1. In other words, their veneration has continued for over a millennium without interruption. And today numerous miracles still occur by the prayers of St. Wite of Dorset both near her relics and her holy well. Let us recall who she was.

Unfortunately, we cannot say for certain when exactly this saint of God lived. According to a long-standing tradition, maintained for centuries in Dorset, St. Wite was a local righteous woman who lived in the ninth century in Charmouth, now a spot two miles away from the village of Whitchurch Canonicorum, where her relics have been kept. It is possible that she was an anchoress who served God in unceasing prayer and solitude, maintained fires as beacons on the cliffs to protect sailors, and was eventually martyred by the pagan Danes, who through the ninth century made regular raids on English monasteries2. Not only did these Vikings attack, plunder and burn down monasteries situated both near the sea coasts and inland, they would also lay waste to the surrounding countryside and put to death Christians and ascetics. St. Wite most probably fell victim to one such raid. Some scholars give the year 830 as the possible date of her martyrdom, though no early records of this saint survive.

However, some who speculate have put forward alternative versions about St. Wite’s origin and life. Some claim that she was not an Anglo-Saxon woman from Dorset, but the Welsh princess St. Gwen, who lived in the fifth century and became the mother of two Welsh saints. Others claim that she was the martyr St. Candida who was executed in Carthage in the fourth century; others—that her name is a corruption of the male name St. Albinus (Witta) of Buraburg, one of the companions of St. Boniface, the enlightener of Germany, whose relics were allegedly translated to England by King Athelstan in the 930s and enshrined in Dorset (it is known that Athelstan collected relics of many saints and arranged for them to be brought from the Continent to monasteries of south-western England). But it is obvious that the above versions are groundless and not based on any documents or traditions, and we think it would be much more reasonable to rely on the mainstream and local oral tradition of Dorset.

Tradition says that soon after her death St. Wite’s relics were translated to the chapel of the village of Whitchurch Canonicorum (the name means, “St. Wite’s church of the canons”—the first church on this spot was owned by the canons of Salisbury). This village sits at the south-west extremity of Dorset, between the towns of Bridport and Lyme Regis, in the valley of the River Char, in a very idyllic area, and its name in this form is first mentioned in 1262. The chapel (and, later, church) in the village was dedicated in her honor in Latin—St. Candida’s Church. In the late ninth century King Alfred the Great gave this church, which he may have founded, to his youngest son Aethelweard. Soon numerous pilgrims began to visit this shrine and many miracles were performed by the holy maiden, anchoress and martyr.

After the Norman Conquest, the church was given to the Abbey of St. Wandrille of Fontenelle in Normandy and in 1190 it was granted to the Bishop of Sarum (later called Salisbury). By the thirteenth century the parish of Whitchurch Canonicorum had become one of the largest in England, and the bishops of Salisbury demanded that its parish tithes be paid directly to them. The chronicler William of Worcester and John Gerard (the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries) both mentioned St. Wite’s relics, while Thomas More referred to the custom of offering her cakes and cheese on her feast-day, which was confined to her church—according to the Oxford Dictionary of Saints.

It is a real miracle that St. Wite’s relics were not destroyed and her shrine was not even touched during the Reformation and the Cromwellian atrocities, while nearly all the saints’ relics, shrines, icons, statues, carvings, stained glass and other images were barbarously destroyed, smashed or burned down. Perhaps her shrine looked so humble that it was mistaken for an ordinary tomb of little significance and spared.

St. Wite's shrine inside the Holy Cross and St. Candida's Church in Whitchurch Canonicorum, Dorset (photo kindly provided by the churchwarden of this church). St. Wite's shrine inside the Holy Cross and St. Candida's Church in Whitchurch Canonicorum, Dorset (photo kindly provided by the churchwarden of this church).     

Her precious relics rest to this day in the thirteenth-century stone shrine, set in the wall of the north transept of the Anglican parish church of the Holy Cross and St. Candida. Her tomb was rediscovered accidentally in 1900, when a crack appeared on this medieval structure. It was decided to repair the shrine which was believed to be empty. To the amazement of the vicar and congregation, a leaden coffin, on which was inscribed, “Hic requiescunt reliquie sancte Wite” (“Here lie the relics of St. Wite”), was found inside it and opened. The well-preserved bones of a small woman were discovered inside. Judging by her remains it was concluded that the woman lived in about the ninth century, was aged about forty, and led an ascetic life. As is the case with medieval reliquaries, the shrine still has three oval holes in its base (the actual shrine consists of two parts: the lower base with the openings, and the upper stone coffin which houses the leaden casket with the relics), where people can place their sick limbs in the hope of healing. Before the Reformation it was a popular custom to insert the hands or other parts of the body into these openings, or place handkerchiefs, bandages, notes or other personal articles belonging to the sick person on his behalf by someone else if the person in question was too weak to walk to the church, and then bring them back to him. Many believed that this helped. In addition, it was a custom in the Middle Ages to light a candle with the length equal to that of the cured body part after the healing. And nowadays this practice has been revived in some sense: hundreds of paper prayer requests, photographs, testimonies of healing and offerings of thanksgiving are left here by pilgrims from all over Britain and abroad. The faithful note a particular atmosphere of holiness and peace inside and around this church and find it a unique experience to stand at St. Wite’s shrine and pray to her just as thousands of medieval Christians did for centuries on the same site.

Parish Church of St. Candida and Holy Cross in Whitchurch Canonicorum, Dorset. Photo: Wikipedia. Parish Church of St. Candida and Holy Cross in Whitchurch Canonicorum, Dorset. Photo: Wikipedia.     

The Church of the Holy Cross and St. Candida stands in a very quiet, rural setting. Although it stands on a Saxon foundation, this unusually large church for a small settlement retains the features of the Norman (the arcade, the south aisle), the Early English and Perpendicular Gothic styles; its massive bell-tower, a local landmark, is seventy-five feet tall. The church has a chancel, a nave, two transepts, two aisles, the porch, and a vestry. The baptismal font in the shape of a chalice is Norman, and the rare carved pulpit is Jacobean. The tower walls have a number of ancient carved stone panels, one of which depicts a Viking longship and an axe—symbolizing St. Wite’s martyrdom at the hands of the marauding pirates. This magnificent church is nicknamed “the Cathedral of the Vale”—the “Vale” in this case is Marshwood Vale.

Orthodox, along with Catholics and Anglicans in England come and venerate St. Wite’s relics, and Whitchurch Canonicorum remains a popular pilgrimage destination for believers, not least Russian Orthodox.

St. Wite's well in Morcombelake, Dorset. Photo: Wikipedia. St. Wite's well in Morcombelake, Dorset. Photo: Wikipedia.     

There is St. Wite’s holy well in Morcombelake in the vicinity of Whitchurch Canonicorum, which is also visited by pilgrims. This little holy well of pure water is a mile south of St. Wite’s shrine. It was first mentioned in a 1630 document claiming that the saint herself used to live and pray near this holy source. It can be found on a hillside surrounded by flower gardens. The water gathers in a small basin, and a path leads right to it. The area is enclosed to protect it from animals. St. Wite’s well is famous for healing eye diseases and other complaints. Orthodox pilgrims come to it, sprinkle themselves with its pure water, wash their faces, drink it and collect it for home use. Interestingly, wild periwinkles that bloom around it in plenty are often referred to as “St. Candida’s eyes”.

It is very important that miracles through St. Wite’s intercessions still occur nowadays, and there are many testimonies to them.

There is a modern Orthodox service to St. Wite in English.

The Dorset Flag, or St. Wite's Cross. The Dorset Flag, or St. Wite's Cross.     

The flag of county Dorset, known as “St. Wite’s Cross”, is dedicated to this saint. It was adopted in 2008 and features a white and red cross against a gold background.

From the service to the Venerable Martyr Wite, Anchoress of Charmouth and Wonderworker of Dorset:

Troparion, in Tone II

Freely didst thou offer thy life unto Christ, O venerable martyr Wite; for, abandoning the world for His sake, thou didst withdraw to the wilds of Dorset, there to live the angelic life, quenching the fire of the passions with the dew of repentance. Wherefore, as thou didst suffer martyrdom for His sake, thy fame hath spread to all the ends of the earth, and thy holy relics pour forth healings in abundance upon those who ever honour thy memory with love.

Kontakion, in Tone I

Through the virtues and thy love for Christ, O Wite, thou didst transform thy womanhood into manliness, becoming a dwelling-place of God through ascetic struggles; and as a martyr thou art revealed as a fervent intercessor, illumining all with rays of the Spirit, O all-praised one. Wherefore, entreat Christ God, that He grant us the steadfast resolve to fend off all the assaults of the demons.

O ye Christian people, let us praise the martyr Wite, the anchoress of Charmouth, the glory of Dorset and adornment of all England, the boast of Christians and bane of the heathen. For the holiness of asceticism and martyrdom wherewith she was imbued overfloweth even now with the streams of her spring, filling lake and river, pouring down into the waters of the sea, girding England's shores with outpourings of protecting grace.

Holy Mother Wite of Dorset, pray to God for us!

Dmitry Lapa

6/14/2019

1 

Despite the Reformation, which in some sense had a more destructive effect on the shrines of Britain than the Russian Revolution on the shrines of Russia, some cities and villages of Britain are still proud to keep the fully or partly surviving relics of early saints. However, in most cases their relics had either been taken abroad before the Reformation and were returned in the modern era or had been hidden from Henry VIII’s commissioners by pious parishioners and saved. In some cases the relics are authentic, but in other places we cannot say for sure and can only believe tradition. We have compiled a list of the saints whose relics are still present (though sometimes concealed) in Britain and offer it below:

St. Alban (his shoulder bone was returned to St. Albans Cathedral, Herts, from Cologne in 2002); St. Alkelda (the coffin with her relics is buried under the floor of the parish church in Middleham, N. Yorkshire); St. Augustine of Canterbury (a particle of his relics rests at St. Augustine’s RC Church in Ramsgate, Kent); St. Bede of Jarrow (his tomb with relics has been preserved in the Galilee Chapel of Durham Cathedral since the eleventh century and not destroyed by the iconoclasts because his authority as a historian was great); St. Birinus of Wessex (a portion of his relics is believed to rest in Dorchester-on-Thames Abbey, Oxon, or in Winchester Cathedral, though concealed); St. Boniface of Germany (two relics of the saint and a piece of his tomb were brought to his birthplace in Crediton, Devon, from Fulda in Germany not long ago and placed in “St. Boniface’s National Shrine” at the local RC church; another particle of his relics is housed in All Saints’ Church in Brixworth, Northants); St. Chad of Lichfield (several of his bones are venerated in the RC Cathedral in Birmingham); St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne (his shrine was buried under the floor of Durham Cathedral at the Reformation and elevated again in the nineteenth century, his bones as well as some personal relics survive and miracles occur); St. David of Mynyw and St. Justinian of Ramsey (what is believed to be their relics rest in the restored shrine of St. Davids Cathedral, Wales); St. Eanswythe of Folkestone (her reliquary was uncovered during building work in 1885 in Folkestone’s church); St. Edmund of East Anglia (a particle of his relics is available for veneration in the RC church in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk; his major relics were returned to England from France in 1901 and are believed to rest in a reliquary in the Fitzalan Side-Chapel of Arundel Castle in West Sussex, though the owners are very skeptical about their identity); St. Edward the Martyr (his relics were uncovered by an amateur archaeologist, J. Wilson-Claridge, among the ruins of Shaftesbury Abbey in Dorset and are sometimes available for veneration at St. Edward’s Brotherhood in Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey); St. Etheldreda (her incorrupt hand is available for veneration in the RC church in Ely, Cambs, and a particle of her relics is in St. Etheldreda’s RC Church in Ely Place, London); St. Frideswide (her relics were mixed with the bones of a woman and buried under the floor of Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford after the Reformation; a couple of years ago somebody’s remains were found under the floor during repair work—some of them are believed to be St. Frideswide’s; their whereabouts are unknown: some say they were soon reburied either under the saint’s restored shrine or under her symbolic gravestone, and others say they were even interred in a local church graveyard); St. Hedda of Winchester (his relics are in Winchester Cathedral, albeit hidden after the Reformation and the exact location is unknown); St. Hibald of Lindsey (his supposed tomb with relics was discovered under the chancel floor in the church in Hibaldstow, Lincs, in 1866); St. John of Beverley (his relics were hidden during the Reformation under the floor of Beverley Minster in East Riding of Yorkshire; today his grave is marked there and miracles occur);St. Kentigern Mungo (his relics most likely lie in the tomb of the lower crypt of Glasgow Cathedral); St. Melangell (the ancient bones of a woman, most likely Melangell, were discovered in the former apse of the church in Pennant Melangell in Powys, Wales, during a 1958 restoration project and later placed in the reconstructed shrine; miracles occur all year round); St. Mildred of Thanet (in 1953 a portion of her relics, which for centuries had been kept in Deventer, Holland, was returned to England and enshrined in Minster-on-Thanet Convent in Kent); Sts. Probus and Grace (two skulls, male and female, believed to be those of this holy couple who lived in the fifth century, were discovered during the 1850 renovation of the church in Probus, Cornwall, and have been kept there in a reliquary ever since); St. Swithin of Winchester (his relics were hidden during the Reformation and are still in Winchester Cathedral under the floor, somewhere near his former shrine); St. Teilo of Llandeilo (his supposed head relic is kept in the chapel which bears his name in a specially constructed reliquary in Llandaff Cathedral in Wales); St. Tewdrig, King of Glywysing and Martyr (his coffin with relics was rediscovered in the seventeenth century by the Bishop of Llandaff at St. Tewdrig’s Church in Mathern, Monmouthshire); St. Theodore of Crowland (his skull can be venerated at Crowland Abbey, Lincs); St. Urith (it can be said with high degree of certainty that her relics still lie under the church floor in Chittlehampton, Devon, a long way below the slab that covers it); St. Winefride of Holywell (her finger-relic is kept in the RC Cathedral in Shrewsbury, Salop, and another particle of her relics belongs to Catholics at Holywell, Anglesey); St. Wite (her relics are inside the intact shrine in the church of Whitchurch Canonicorum, Dorset). In addition, there is the recently restored Catholic Oratory of St. Aloysius in Oxford, which preserves a large collection of particles of relics of various early and later saints, though a lot of relics were burned in the 1970s when the chapel was neglected. There are more holy places, where according to tradition saints’ relics may still be present, though there is no solid evidence so far. Among them are St. Bertram (Holy Cross Church in Ilam, Staffs); St. Eata (the crypt of Hexham Abbey, Northumb.); St. Melor the Breton (the church at Amesbury, Wilts); St. Oswald of Worcester and York (Worcester Cathedral); St. Wilfrid of York (either Canterbury Cathedral or Ripon Cathedral in N. Yorkshire); the head relics of Sts. Oswald of Northumbria and Hilda of Whitby (Durham Cathedral); some of the holy archbishops of Canterbury (buried on the territory of St. Augustine’s Abbey in Canterbury, where their grave markers survive). Finally, the supposed relics of St. Alfred the Great and St. Edburgh of Bicester have been under investigation lately. Who knows what discoveries await us in future.

2 The period of the ninth-century Danish invasion of England produced a host of martyrs for Christ. As a result of the Viking incursions, monastic life in England and other parts of Britain was virtually wiped out. The Danish pirates returned in the late tenth century, after the murder of St. Edward the Martyr, and continued their ravaging and carnage. The following martyrs laid down their lives for Christ over that period (the list is incomplete): St. Alkelda, a princess who chose to become a nun and anchoress in Yorkshire but was strangled by two Danish women during one of the first raids (+ c. 800; feast: March 28; the church in Middleham in North Yorkshire is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. Alkelda, whose supposed coffin with the relics were discovered under the church floor in 1878; local healing wells and another church, in Giggleswick, bear her name too); St. Ymar, a monk of the monastery in Reculver in Kent, who was slain by the Danes in 830 (feast: November 12; only the twin towers of the Reculver church survive—the rest was washed away by the sea); the Holy Abbot Beocca, Hieromonk Ethor and with them ninety monks of Chertsey Monastery in Surrey, now on the outskirts of London (+ c. 869; feast: April 10; a modern Orthodox service to the Martyrs of Chertsey exists); the Holy Abbot Theodore of the great Crowland Monastery in Lincolnshire and with him Ethelred, Askega, Swethin, Elfgete, Sabinus, Egdred, Ulric, Grimkeld, Agamund and other monks (+ c. 869; feast: April 9); the Holy Abbess Ebbe (Aebbe) the Younger together with her nuns at Coldingham Convent in what is now the Scottish Borders region of southern Scotland, which then belonged to the English kingdom of Northumbria (+ c. 870; feast: August 23; a contemporary Orthodox service to St. Ebbe exists); the Holy Abbot Hedda with eighty-four monks of Peterborough Monastery in Cambridgeshire, which was founded in 655 and the site of which is now occupied by the magnificent twelfth-century Peterborough Cathedral of Sts. Peter, Paul and Andrew (+ c. 869; feast: April 9; St. Hedda’s “shrine-stone”, which resembles a medieval reliquary but without a cavity in it, survives in Peterborough Cathedral); the holy hermits Tancred, Torthred and the anchoress Tova, three siblings, were martyred near Thorney Monastery in Cambridgeshire, in the Fens, which mostly consisted of the marshland with occasional small islands (+ c. 870; feast: September 30; Thorney Monastery was refounded by St. Ethelwold of Winchester in the tenth century); the Holy Bishop Herefrith of the province of Lindsey in what is now Lincolnshire, was most probably slain on the site of the town of Louth (+ c. 869; feast: February 27; his relics were translated to Thorney); St. Fremund, a Mercian English prince who chose to live as a hermit on an island in prayer but was murdered by the Danes, or, according to another story, after a successful victory over the Danes was killed by a jealous fellow-soldier (+ c. 866; feast: May 11; his relics were kept in Offchurch in Warwickshire, then in Prescote in Oxfordshire, and finally in the village of Cropredy in the same county, and a portion of them was later translated to Dunstable Priory in Bedfordshire, and numerous miracles were performed); St. Edmund, the King of East Anglia, was martyred by the Danes in 869 and venerated both as a martyr for Christ and a righteous king of holy life (feast: November 20; he is the first patron-saint of England); St. Ragener, a soldier-martyr and probably St. Edmund’s nephew, slain in Northampton in about 870 (feast: November 21; his relics were discovered in St. Peter’s Church in Northampton in the twelfth century and many miracles were recorded); the holy hermit Suneman in St. Benet Holme Monastery (in honor of St. Benedict) near Ludham on the River Bure in Norfolk, was slain in the ninth century (no feast is known; the monastery ruins still exist, and the Bishop of Norwich holds the combined though purely honorific post of the bishop and Abbot of St. Benet Holme and preaches a sermon here once a year in the open air); the Hieromartyr Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, was first captured by Vikings and then martyred by them in Greenwich near London in 1012 (feast: April 19); St. Eadnoth, a monk from Worcester who later served as Abbot of Ramsey in Cambridgeshire and Bishop of Dorchester and killed by the Danes in 1016 (feast: October 19);St. Werstan, a monk of Deerhurst who lived as a hermit amid the glorious Malvern Hills on the Worcestershire/Herefordshire border and was martyred in the 1050s (no feast-day is known, the famous Malvern Priory appeared on the site of his cell).

See also
Venerable Withburgh (Withburga) of Dereham Venerable Withburgh (Withburga) of Dereham
Dmitry Lapa
Venerable Withburgh (Withburga) of Dereham Venerable Withburgh (Withburga) of Dereham
Commemorated: March 17/30 (repose) and July 8/21 (translation of relics)
Dmitry Lapa
Although the Venerable Bede does not mention her, we know about St. Withburgh from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, early traditions and the Latin manuscript called Liber Eliensis, which is a chronicle compiled in the monastery in Ely at the beginning of the twelfth century and contains, among other things, brief Lives of several East Anglian female saints.
Venerable Frideswide, Patroness of Oxford Venerable Frideswide, Patroness of Oxford
Dmitry Lapa
Venerable Frideswide, Patroness of Oxford Venerable Frideswide, Patroness of Oxford
Commemorated October 19/November 1 (Repose) and February 12/25 (Translation of Relics)
Dmitry Lapa
For over 1000 years St. Frideswide has been venerated as the patron saint of Oxford in England and for over half of millennium, as the heavenly patroness of Oxford University and its students.
Venerable Etheldreda, Abbess of Ely Venerable Etheldreda, Abbess of Ely
Commemorated: June 23/July 6
Dmitry Lapa
St. Etheldreda (Aethelthryth, Audrey) is the most venerated English female saint.
Venerable Mothers Ermenburgh, Mildred, Edburgh, and their Minster-in-Thanet Monastery Venerable Mothers Ermenburgh, Mildred, Edburgh, and their Minster-in-Thanet Monastery
Dmitry Lapa
Venerable Mothers Ermenburgh, Mildred, Edburgh, and their Minster-in-Thanet Monastery Venerable Mothers Ermenburgh, Mildred, Edburgh, and their Minster-in-Thanet Monastery
Dmitry Lapa
So we see three examples of holy women who were abbesses of Minster successively. All these nuns and those living after them were witnesses in quite difficult and unstable times, full of dangers and challenges, but in spite of everything they unceasingly glorified Christ, loved their neighbors and practiced hospitality and prayer.
Venerable Milburgh, Abbess of Much Wenlock in England Venerable Milburgh, Abbess of Much Wenlock in England
Dmitry Lapa
Venerable Milburgh, Abbess of Much Wenlock in England Venerable Milburgh, Abbess of Much Wenlock in England
Commemorated: February 23/March 8
Dmitry Lapa
From time immemorial Milburgh has been one of the most popular and venerated female saints of the county of Shropshire in the west of England, along with St. Winefride.
Venerable Werburgh of Mercia, Patroness of Chester Venerable Werburgh of Mercia, Patroness of Chester
Dmitry Lapa
Venerable Werburgh of Mercia, Patroness of Chester Venerable Werburgh of Mercia, Patroness of Chester
Commemorated February 3/16
Dmitry Lapa
The seventh century played a key role in the history of Christianity in England, as all seven early English kingdoms were converted to the Orthodox faith in that century; the period can be called “the golden age of English Orthodoxy.”
Venerable Ita of Limerick, “Foster-mother of the Irish Saints” Venerable Ita of Limerick, “Foster-mother of the Irish Saints”
Dmitry Lapa
Venerable Ita of Limerick, “Foster-mother of the Irish Saints” Venerable Ita of Limerick, “Foster-mother of the Irish Saints”
Commemorated: January 15/28
Dmitry Lapa
Saint Ita is the second most popular Irish woman saint after St. Brigid. She is venerated in Ireland by Orthodox and Catholic believers to this day.
Venerable Hilda, Abbess of Whitby Venerable Hilda, Abbess of Whitby
Commemorated November 17/30 (repose) and August 25/September 7 (translation of relics); Dmitry Lapa
Venerable Hilda, Abbess of Whitby Venerable Hilda, Abbess of Whitby
Commemorated November 17/30 (repose) and August 25/September 7 (translation of relics)
Dmitry Lapa
The wisdom and prudence of this holy woman were held in such high esteem that even kings and bishops asked for her advice. Venerable Hilda took special care of the poor and the oppressed, for which she was revered and loved as “the mother of her country”.
Melangell With A Thousand Angels Melangell With A Thousand Angels
Commemorated May 27/June 9
Melangell With A Thousand Angels Melangell With A Thousand Angels
Commemorated May 27/June 9
Nun Nectaria (McLees)
Little known outside Wales and Great Britain, the secluded Welsh shrine of St. Melangel, deep in the Berwyn Mountains, is dedicated to a sixth-century Irishwoman, an anchorite who lived here for many years, alone and unknown. An early Christian treasure, it is the oldest existing Romanesque shrine in northern Europe.
Comments
Dmitry6/23/2019 10:17 am
Dear Eadmund Dunstall,
Thank you for this extra information and your interesting OE journal contributions. You are right – sections of church walls and other ruins survive in Reculver, but the twin towers are the only objects of note today. I also know that the two columns and the cross shaft were brought to Canterbury Cathedral. The church gradually turned into ruins due to a number of factors – the encroaching sea, the coastal erosion, high tides, storms, and the abandonment of the village by many residents. I simply didn’t see any point in mentioning these details in a footnote to the article dedicated to St Wite of Dorset, who has a very different story.
Malcolm Dunstall6/21/2019 1:40 pm
More of Reculver church exists than just the two towers, and it was not washed away by the sea! Reculver church was actually demolished by its Anglican incumbent in the late Victorian period, but its plan and quite a lot of the fabric of the Anglo-Saxon walls survives. Two Roman pillars re-used in its construction are visible in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral. See 'Anglo-Saxon Architecture' by H. M. and J. Taylor.
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