Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Friday, 20 November 2020

St Edmund and his cult at St Edmundsbury - and in Ireland

Today has been the Feast of St Edmund King and Martyr. I have posted about him and his cult, together with illustrations, at some length  in previous years and thought that providing a link to those posts might be of interest to readers.

They can be seen at St Edmund from 2010, The Bury St Edmunds Cross from 2012 and  St Edmund and his abbey from 2014.


St Edmund crowned by Angels
From a Bury St Edmunds manuscript of circa 1130
Pierpoint Morgan Library New York

Image: Wikipedia

In more recent years I came across a feature of his cult that I had hitherto been unaware of - that is devotion to him in medieval Ireland. If St Edward the Confessor was an exemplar and patron for the English crown then it appears St Edmund was adopted as a patron by the Anglo-Norman and Anglo-Irish of the medieval Lordship of Ireland. This explains the coat of arms assigned to it of azure three crowns or - either two and one or in pile - and used down to the constitional changes wrought by the 1541 Parliament.

The centre of his cult in Ireland appears to have been at Athassel Priory in Tipperary which possessed what was claimed to be a miracle working statue of the saint. This cult has recently attracted scholarly attention from Dr Francis King, and he has an illustrated article about his research and its publication on his blog at Publication of Athassel Priory and the Cult of St Edmund in Medieval Ireland

Athassel Abbey

Athassel Priory

Image: wmf.org

Something that I gleaned from this, which I had not realised before, is that the name Eamonn is the Irish version of Edmund.

St Edmund from the Wilton Diptych.
The classic depiction of St Edmund as a royal saint for a royal patron, King Richard II

Image: Pinterest 

St Edmund, Pray for us

No comments: