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Andrew [St Andrew] (fl. 1st cent.), apostle and patron saint of Scotland, was a fisherman from Capernaum in Galilee.

In the synoptic gospels Andrew is merely mentioned as one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, but in the gospel of St John he appears as a follower of ...

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Balthere [St Balthere, Baldred, Balther] (d. 756), hermit, is often confused with an earlier saint of the same name. The later and better-known Balthere was described by his near contemporary Alcuin, in his poem on the bishops, kings, and saints of York. The so-called ...

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Bartholomew of Farne [St Bartholomew of Farne] (d. 1193), hermit, stands second in reputation only to Godric of Finchale among the hermits of northern England in the twelfth century. Just as Godric's fame depends on the life written by Reginald, a monk of ...

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Billfrith [St Billfrith] (d. 750x800?), anchorite, is mentioned in the Old English colophon which the scribe Aldred added to the Lindisfarne gospels (BL, Cotton MS Nero D.iv) at some time between 950 and about 970, when they were at Chester-le-Street. After naming ...

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Brigit [St Brigit, Brigid] (439/452–524/526), patron saint of Kildare, is the only native Irish saint to enjoy a widespread cult in all the Celtic countries. About the events of her life little can be said, since the earliest sources come from more than a century after her supposed death, on 1 February in either 524 or 526, and were in any case interested in miracle stories rather than biographical detail. Her early cult is, however, among the most influential and the most interesting of any saint in ...

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David [St David, Dewi] (d. 589/601), patron saint of Wales and founder of St David's, is known from written sources dating from no earlier than the eighth century and an inscription which may be of the seventh.

By the ninth century David's cult was sufficiently well established for him to be one of three Welsh saints included in the early ninth-century Irish martyrology of ...

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Deicolus [St Deicolus, Deicola] (d. c. 625), Benedictine monk and hermit, was allegedly a companion of St Columbanus of Luxeuil and Bobbio (d. 615), and a half-brother of Gall of St Gallen. His feast day is 18 January.

According to his life, written about 965, sickness prevented ...

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George [St George] (d. c. 303?), patron saint of England, is a figure whose historicity cannot be established with certainty. However, an inscription at Shaqqa in the Hauran, in the south-west of present-day Syria, which commemorates 'the holy and triumphant martyrs, George...

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Gilbert of Sempringham [St Gilbert of Sempringham] (1083–1189), monastic reformer, was the son, probably the eldest, of Jocelin, a Norman knightly tenant of Alfred of Lincoln, and an unnamed Anglo-Saxon mother, through whom his father presumably came into his estates, most of which were concentrated in ...

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Godric of Finchale [St Godric of Finchale] (c. 1070–1170), trader and hermit, was born at Walpole in Norfolk to a poor, Anglo-Saxon, farming couple. His father's name was Æilward, his mother's Aedwen (Eadwenna), and he was subsequently joined by a brother, William, and a sister, ...

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Guthlac [St Guthlac] (674–715), hermit, was one of the most famous and influential holy men in the first 120 years of English Christianity, his fame owed in no small degree to the well-structured and vivid life of him written c.740 by the learned East Anglian monk, ...

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C. L. Kingsford

revised by Marios Costambeys

Hereberht [St Hereberht, Herebert, Herbert] (d. 687), hermit, resided on the island in Derwent Water which still bears his name. He was a disciple and close friend of St Cuthbert, to whom he paid an annual visit for spiritual advice. The two friends both died on 20 March 687. In 1374 ...

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Hugh of Lincoln [St Hugh of Lincoln, Little St Hugh] (c. 1246–1255), supposed victim of crucifixion, was the son of Beatrice of Lincoln. He is known as Little St Hugh to distinguish him from St Hugh, bishop of Lincoln (1140?–1200). His death, in all probability accidental, and most likely on 27 August 1255, was the catalyst for the accusation of ritual murder aimed at the Jewish community of ...

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Kentigerna [St Kentigerna, Caintigern] (d. 734), anchorite, was an Irish noblewoman who ended her days as an anchorite on a Scottish island. She owes her fame to her reputation for holiness and to the holiness and status of her male kin: she was the daughter of ...

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Magnús Erlendsson, earl of Orkney [St Magnus] (1075/6–1116?), patron saint of Orkney, was the son of Erlend Thorfinnsson, earl of Orkney [see under Paul (d. 1098/)], and Thora, daughter of Sumerlidi Ospaksson of Iceland, whose union is the first evidence for close connections between ...

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Neot [St Neot] (d. in or before 878), monk and hermit, lived in Cornwall at some time probably in the mid-ninth century and was subsequently venerated as a saint. His name is preserved in modern St Neot, Cornwall, and St Neots, Huntingdonshire. No source contemporary with his lifetime records any detail concerning his life, and therefore every detail, including even the spelling of his name, is a matter of uncertainty. He is first mentioned in the life of ...

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Patrick [St Patrick, Pádraig] (fl. 5th cent.), patron saint of Ireland, was the son of a deacon named Calpornius. Patrick was a Romano-Briton by birth, but subsequently became honoured as apostle to the Irish and Ireland's patron saint.

Patrick is known primarily from two works of his which have survived, both of them written in ...

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Simon [Simeon] Stock [St Simon Stock] (supp. 1165–1265), hermit and monk, is said to have been born in Kent in 1165. Although he is celebrated as the sixth prior-general of the Carmelite order, there are no contemporary references to him, unless the mention by the mid-thirteenth-century Dominican ...

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Sualo [St Sualo, Solus] (d. 794), hermit, was one of the pilgrim Anglo-Saxon religious who travelled to the continent in the eighth century. Knowledge of him depends on a life written between 839 and 842 by Ermanric (d. 874), a monk of ...

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Wulfric of Haselbury [St Wulfric of Haselbury] (c. 1090–1154/5), priest and hermit, spent much of his life enclosed in a cell at Haselbury Plucknett (Somerset), where he lived a life of great austerity and received many visitors, including kings and queens.

Perhaps c...