Saints and Beati associated with Gloucestershire
A Proposed Supplementary Calendar of Saints and Beati for the use of Roman Catholics in Gloucestershire
Before the creation of the See of Gloucester in 1541 by King Henry VIII and its recognition by the Papacy in 1554 Gloucestershire was divided between the Diocese of Worcester (known for a time as the Diocese of Worcester with Westbury (-on-Trym)) and the Diocese of Hereford together with some parishes north of Gloucester known as the jurisdiction of St Oswald which belonged to the archdiocese of York. All the medieval parishes in the Forest Deanery (nearly everything west of the River Severn/River Leadon except Lassington but including Bromsberrow) – today what is now the Roman Catholic Parishes of Coleford, Cinderford and part of Newent – were in the Diocese of Hereford.
St Chad of Mercia
Chad was bishop of Mercia from 669 before the creation of the dioceses of Worcester and Hereford. When he died in 672, having been Bishop of Mercia for only two and a half years, his body was enshrined at Lichfield Cathedral where it remained until the Reformation. Amazingly the relics were largely preserved and were transferred to the Metropolitan Cathedral of St Chad in Birmingham in 1841. He was a very influential figure in the development of Christianity in Mercia.
Feast 2nd March and Feast of the Re-translation is kept on the third Sunday of June (‘The Bones Walk’).
St Egwin of Evesham
Bishop of Worcester 693-711, Founder of Evesham Abbey. Connections with Malmesbury – conducted Aldhelm’s funeral in 709. Developed cult and shrine of Our Lady at Evesham.
Feast 30th December (translation feasts on 10th September and 11th January)
St Dunstan of Canterbury
St Dunstan became successively Bishop of Worcester (957-959), Bishop of London and Archbishop of Canterbury.
Feast 19th May (ordination feast at Canterbury 21 October)
St Oswald of Worcester
St Oswald was a Benedictine monk and Bishop of Worcester from 961 and also Archbishop of York from 972. He founded the monastery of Westbury-on-Trym in 962 together with Deerhurst,Winchcombe, Pershore, Evesham, Worcester. He died in 992 at Worcester. St Wulfstan translated his shrine in about 1086.
Feast 28th January (translation 15th April)
St Wulfstan of Worcester (Wulstan)
Born in 1008. Wulfstan became a Benedictine. Educated at Evesham and Peterborough. 1062 became Bishop of Worcester. He died in 1095. Cult began at once. Relics translated 1198.
Feast 19th January (translation 7th June)
St Thomas of Hereford – Thomas Cantelupe
Born at Hambleton, Bucks in 1218. Chancellor of Oxford University, Chancellor of England, Bishop of Hereford in 1275, died at Orvieto on 25th August 1282.
400 claimed miracles, Hereford most important centre in west of England, canonised 1320, relics translated in 1287 and 1349.
Feast 2nd October (translation feasts 3rd April, 25th October)
St Alphege became a monk at Deerhurst in about 970, and eventually Abbot of Bath. He later became Bishop of Winchester and then Archbishop of Canterbury and was martyred by the Danes at Greenwich in 1012. King Canute translated his relics to Canterbury Cathedral.
Feast 19th April (translation 8th June, ordination 16th November)
St Kenelm of Winchcombe
Mercian Prince possibly died – martyred – in 812 or 821. Buried at Winchcombe. When Oswald revived Winchcombe in the second half of 10th century Kenelm was regarded as a martyr and figured in liturgical books, sacramentary, Legend developed.
Major medieval shrine at Winchcombe and seven medieval churches dedicated to him.
Feast Day 17th July
St Kyneburgh of Gloucester or Cyniburg
Descended from Saxon Royal Family lived at Morton, Thornbury. Parents arranged marriage to a neighbouring Prince. She wanted to remain a virgin and fled to Gloucester. Became maid to a baker. The baker was inspired by her and adopted her as his daughter. Wife jealous, killed girl and threw her down a well near South Gate of City. Miracles wrought there and an investigation revealed body. Amongst Canterbury reliquaries – A bone of St Kyneburga, virgin
1174 Robert, Bishop of Hereford built a chapel on site of well. Almshouses named after St Kyneburgh for six poor people. Now Kimbrose Way.
Feast 25th June
St Arild of Thornbury
Virgin. Place of her death at Kington-by-Thornbury. ‘one Muncius a tiraunt, who cut off hir heade becawse she would not consent to lye with hym’. Relics translated to Gloucester Cathedral. Evidence for a statue in the reredos of Gloucester Cathedral Lady Chapel, medieval stained glass etc. Churches at Oldbury-on-Severn and Oldbury-on-the-Hill dedicated to her. Hymn to St Arilde on fly-leaf of a book which belonged to a former Abbot of Gloucester, 1224-28, now in Hereford Library. Keen local ecumenical devotion today in Thornbury area. Annual piligrimage to well etc.
Feast 20th July
St Oswald of Northumbria
There was a major shrine at Gloucester – St Oswald’s Priory founded 909– in Gloucester where there was an arm if not more of this seventh century Northumbrian King and Martyr. Robert of Gloucester claimed that he died in a battle near Marshfield but this is generally have thought to have taken place near Oswestry.
His feast was on 5th August (or 8th or 9th). There was a translation feast at Gloucester and Evesham on 8th October.
St Aldate of Gloucester
A fifth century Briton who lived in the West of England. It is alleged that he inspired his countrymen to defend their land against the warring Anglo-Saxons, but he was killed at the Battle Deorham (Dyrham), Gloucestershire. He is recorded in ancient martyrologies – Sarum and other martyrologies, as Bishop of Cluvium, possibly Gloucester (Glevum) – all rather spurious. Feast occurs in a Gloucester calendar (14th century addition). A church is dedicated to him in Gloucester.
Feast 4th February
St Tecla or St Twrog
On Chapel Rock, off the southern tip of the Beachley Peninsula, and only accessible at low tide, are the remains of the medieval chapel of St Twrog – one wall with an arched opening survives. It is said that when the Welsh Bishops crossed the Severn to meet Augustine, they called at St Tecla’s Island to consult its eponymous virgin and hermit. If Tecla was murdered in AD 47 as some suggest, they would have been 550 years too late! It is also said that there may have been a holy well on the island.
St Briavel is believed to have been a Celtic hermit who lived in the Forest of Dean and gave his name to this place.
Feast 17th June
Saints associated with the Cloth Industry
St Blaise of Sebastea
St Blaise is the Patron Saint of Wool-combers and there was a great devotion to him in the Cotswolds during medieval times. The Chapel of St Blaise at Lechlade bears witness to this cult as does the existence of an ancient chapel of St Blaise at Henbury. His relics were kept at Canterbury.
His feast is on 3rd February
St Catharine of Alexandria is the Patron Saint of Spinners. There is a wall painting at Hailes and St Catharine is the Patron Saint of the City of Bath.
Her feast is on 25th November
St Adeline of Mortain is the Patron Saint of Weavers. St Adeline’s Church, Little Sodbury, is the only church in England dedicated to her.
Her feast is on 20th October
The Roman Catholic Recusant Martyrs
For further details: www.robinswoodparishes.org.uk/index.php/gloucester-martyrs
Blessed Thomas Alfield was born in 1552 in Gloucester, and educated at Eton and King’s College, Cambridge. In 1581, following a short period of study at the English Seminary in Douai, he was ordained priest for the English Mission. He witnessed St Edmund Campion’s execution in 1581, and suffered martyrdom himself at Tyburn on 6th July 1585. Part of his ministry was spent in his native county.
Anniversary of Death 6th July
Venerable Thomas Webley, a dyer of Gloucester, was associated with Blessed Thomas Alfield. They were martyred together on 6th July 1585 at Tyburn.
Anniversary of Death 6th July
Blessed John Pibush was arrested in Moreton-in-Marsh. He was tried and imprisoned at Gloucester and later escaped from Gloucester on 19th February 1594. He was (re) arrested on the next day at Matson. Martyred at Southwark on 18th February 1601.
Anniversary of Death 18th February
St Edmund Campion (1540-1581) was a close friend of Richard Cheyney, Bishop of Gloucester, and he wrote to him -‘so often was I with you at Gloucester so often in your private chambers, so many hours have I spent in your study and library’. Campion was also associated with the Alfield and Webley Families of Gloucestershire. When he was arrested at Lyford Grange, Berkshire, he was in company with William Webley, a yeoman, probably from Brockworth and Thomas Alfield reported the martyrdom of Campion at Tyburn on 1st December 1581.
Edmund Campion was beatified on 29th December 1886 by Pope Leo XIII and canonized as one of the Forty Martyrs of England in 1970 by Pope Paul VI.
Anniversary of Death 1st December
The following Martyrs were beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22nd November 1987:
Blessed William Lampley was probably born in Gloucester and worked in the city as a glover. He was condemned for ‘persuading to popery’ and hanged at Gloucester in 1588.
Blessed Richard Sargeant was born in Gloucestershire, possibly at Stone, near Berkeley. He studied at Oxford and Rheims where he was ordained in 1583. That same year he returned to the English mission. He was condemned for the priesthood and hanged at Tyburn on 20th April 1586.
Anniversary of Death 20th April
Blessed Henry Webley was born in Gloucester in about 1558. He was arrested in Chichester harbour in 1586 and condemned for assisting a priest, probably William Dean. He was hanged with Dean at Mile End Green, London on 28th August 1588.
Anniversary of Death 28th August
Blessed John Sandys worked in Gloucestershire as tutor to the children of Admiral Sir William Winter at Lydney. He became a Catholic and returned to the Lydney area as a priest where he worked for two years. He was arrested there, tried at Gloucester and barbarically martyred at Gloucester on 11th August 1586
Anniversary of Death 11th August
Blessed Stephen Rowsham was an Anglican Priest in Oxford. He became a Catholic and later worked as a priest on the English mission. Having been arrested and banished he returned and worked in east Glos. He was arrested after a year, in 1587, at the home of Mrs Strange of Chesterton in Cirencester. He had links with Mr Thomson of Burford. He was sentenced, imprisoned and martyred at Gloucester in March 1587.
The Franciscan Martyrs
The Community of Poor Clares at Woodchester has significant relics of the Franciscan martyrs, many of whom visited their community when the sisters were living as Third Order Franciscans in Brussels. Five of these relics were in 1994 enshrined in an integral bronze casket beneath a modern beech wood Altar, designed by David John of Stroud. These relics include those of Saint John Wall, Blessed Thomas Bullaker, Blessed Henry Heath, Blessed Arthur Bel and Blessed John Woodcock. These relics came to England at the time of the French Revolution and to Woodchester from their motherhouse at Taunton.
Blessed Dominic Barberi was influential in the early days of the missions at Northfields, Woodchester, Nympsfield and Fairford. (1846-1849)
Blessed Charles of Mount Argos was at Broadway for some time. (1866-1867)
Venerable John Henry Newman made many visits to friends in Gloucestershire before and after his conversion.
St Birinus of Dorchester
Possibly a Lombard by birth he was sent by Pope Honorius I to continue to convert the English. After a wandering mission he failed to penetrate into the Midlands but settled at Dorchester. He was the first Bishop of Dorchester, which lay in the West Saxon Kingdom, and he baptised King Cynegils. He converted the upper reaches of the River Thames and built various chapels. He dedicated a church at Winchester where the see later moved after Dorchester was merged into Mercia in the 9th century. He died in 650. There is some evidence ofmodern devotion to him in Lechlade.
Feast 3rd December and Translation on 4th September
St Dubricius or Dyfrig or Devereux
Dyfrig died in about 550. He was a monk and bishop who worked mainly in the Gwent-Hereford area and places associated with him include Hentland, Whitchurch, Madley, and Moccas, in the Wye Valley. He is justifiably regarded as the principal saint and prime missionary of Archenfield which was formed out of the small British Kingdom of Ergyng, which passed to the Anglo-Saxons in about 750, and may have included the Forest of Dean.
His relics were translated to Llandaff in 1120.
Feast 14th November
Feast of the Holy Relics of Tewkesbury
‘In 1235 through the efforts of Abbot Robert, the abbey was given a curious assortment of relics by Isabel of Gloucester. These included a stone from Calvary, a bone of St Wulstan, the blood and hair of St Thomas the Martyr, and most remarkable of all, the stake or base into which the Cross of Christ had been fixed (…de stipite in quo crux Christi fixa fuit). Thereafter a Feast of the Holy Relics was celebrated each year on 2 July. The Feast grew rapidly in popularity and in the revenue it generated. Several miracles were reported to have taken place as a result of pilgrimages made to the relics in 1232 and 1250.’ (‘Tewkesbury Abbey – History, Art, Architecture’ Page 45 and VCH II Page 62)
Feast day 2nd July
Feast of Dedication of Tewkesbury Abbey
‘At the second dedication of the church, 18th June 1239, Walter Cantilupe, bishop of Worcester, granted an indulgence to those who visited it during the feast of dedication and its octave and on the feast of the Relics’
Feast day 18th June
The Abbey Seal
‘A seal of the fifteenth century represents three heavily canopied niches; in the centre the Assumption of the Virgin, standing with hands uplifted in prayer, within an oval vesica of clouds, upheld by an angel above it; on the left St Peter with nimbus, book and keys; on the right St Paul with nimbus, sword and book, each saint slightly turned to the Virgin; over the central canopy a smaller niche containing the shield of arms, a cross engrailed supported by two lions couchant guardant addorsed. The legend is – ‘Sigillvm . Commvne . ec … ie … ncte . Marie . de . Tevkesbvry’