Celtic and Old English Saints 20 July 2017

 20 July 2017

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St. Arild’s Church Photos by John Wilkes of Cam near Dursley, Gloucestershire Other photos

St. Arilda of Gloucester

Date unknown. Saint Arilda, Gloucestershire virgin, died in defence of her chastity. The church at Oldbury-on-the-Hill is dedicated to her (Benedictines).

Benedictine Monks of St. Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate. (1947). The Book of Saints: A Dictionary of Servants of God Canonized by the Catholic Church Extracted from the Roman and Other Martyrologies.
NY: Macmillan.

2. St Arilda of Oldbury on Severn, Gloucestershire

by Jane Bradshaw

If books of saints mention St Arilda at all they say she is the patron saint of Oldbury on the Hill, Gloucestershire. This is quite true but she is also the patron saint of Oldbury on Severn, shortly to revert to Gloucestershire after twenty-one years in Avon. These are the only two churches dedicated to this saint but there are three other extant memorials to her.

The first is on the reredos of the Lady Chapel of Gloucester Cathedral, the pre-Dissolution Benedictine Abbey of St Peter. This reredos is now, alas, only a framework of empty niches which originally held the statues of three major and thirty-six minor saints [1]. The central niche of the three minor ones on the extreme south edge once held a statue of St Arilda, and the mason’s aide-memoire can still be seen scratched into the stone (see illustration, right). She has also been identified, less certainly in a light in the east window of the Lady Chapel. The glass in this window is made up of fragments of the pre-Dissolution stained glass windows. Rushforth [2] identifies St Arilda as sharing a light with St Lawrence, to whom Didmarton church, the neighbouring church to Oldbury on the Hill, is dedicated.

The second memorial to her is a hymn and a collect for her feast which are written ‘in a late thirteenth century hand’ [3] on the flyleaf of a book which belonged to Thomas Bredon, abbot of Gloucester from 1224 to 1228. This book passed to the library of Hereford Cathedral after the Dissolution, where it is now in the Chained Library. St Arilda appears in the English Benedictine liturgical Kalendars as ‘virgin and martyr’ with a feastday on 20 July [4]. The hymn and collect have been transcribed and translated for use at Oldbury on Severn. Here is the (rather free) translation:

O Mother Church, today proclaim

The honour of St Arild’s name.

And grant that we may have a share

In that great sound of praise and prayer.  [  ]

Source: St Arilda of Oldbury on Severn, Gloucestershire by Jane Bradshaw


St. Etheldwitha of Winchester

  • Ealsitha
  • Ealhswith
  • Etheldwitha
  • Ethelwitha 2

Died 903. Etheldwitha, an Anglo-Saxon princess, was wife to King Alfred. After his death she retired to the convent she had founded at Winchester (Benedictines).

  • Benedictine Monks of St. Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate. (1947). The Book of Saints: A Dictionary of Servants of God Canonized by the Catholic Church Extracted from the Roman and Other Martyrologies.
    NY: Macmillan.
  • “Saint Elswith“. CatholicSaints.Info. 19 July 2016. Web. 19 July 2017. <http://catholicsaints.info/saint-elswith/&gt;

St. Modmund of Gloucester

Null, Nix

Other than in the Monastery of Gloucester.

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