St. Endellion, Virgin, Nun, Recluse
6th century. Near Port Isaac, on the north coast of Cornwall, is the little village of Endellion, where the Roscarrock family made their home for four hundred years, and where Nicholas, to whom we owe so much information about the saints of Cornwall was born. He lived through the latter part of the sixteenth century and into the early years of the seventeenth, at a time when the veneration of the saints was being suppressed, and their shrines were being demolished. He had a great regard for the saint of his native village, and it is from his description that we are able to identify the original shrine of St. Endellion.
St. Endelienta was one of the numerous children of Brychan, who settled at Trenkeny, where she lived a very austere life, sustained by the
milk of one cow only. This animal was killed by the lord of Tregony because it trespassed on his land. Her godfather, a great man, had the lord killed for this offence, but Endellion miraculously brought him back to life.
When she perceived that the day of her death was drawing near, she asked her friend that her body should be laid on a bier and be buried where
certain young stots, bullocks and calves, should of their own accord draw her. The beasts drew the bier to the top of a hill, where there was a piece of waste mirey ground, and there she was buried and a church raised over the grave dedicated to her memory.
The late Sir John Betjeman poet laureate wrote
Inside the church gives the impression that it goes on praying night and day, whether there are people in it or not. A modern carved angel in memory of Sir John Betjeman may be seen in the sanctuary above a slate tablet.
Nicholas Roscarrock tells us that there was another church bearing her name on Lundy Island, which is opposite Hartland, where her brother St. Nectan is buried. He also mentions two wells called after her and says that the one more distant from Endellion Church is the one she used.
The tomb, which is now in the south aisle, is evidence of the affection and reverence with which she was held in the middle ages, for it is fifteenth century workmanship, in Catacluse stone, with fine niches and moulding. It originally stood under the easternmost arch of the nave on the south side, and as the tomb is empty, the bones of the saint are probably buried under the floor in that place. In the fourteenth century the church was served by a college of priests. The parish revel was held on the Saturday after the Ascension but Nicholas Roscarrock gives her feast day as April 29th (Baring-GouldFisher, Bowen).
Troparion of St Endelienta
O holy Endelienta,
when thy cow, thine only source of sustenance,
was cruelly killed,
thy heart was filled with forgiveness for the slaughterer.
Pray to Christ our God
that we may ever forgive our enemies and ourselves find mercy.