[MR] Saint Aldhelm

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Sun Nov 11 04:00:14 PST 2018

Noble Friends,

The life of Saint Aldhelm is topic I've been keeping on ice for a while, so
now seems a good time to comment upon this very obscure, but historically
important saint: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldhelm and
http://catholicsaints.info/saint-aldhelm-of-sherborne/ .

Saint Aldhelm (c. 639-709) was an Anglo-Saxon monk, abbot of Malmsbury and
Bishop of Sherborne. A brilliant scholar, he was versed in church law,
astronomy and astrology. He certainly was fluent in Latin, and may have
also known Greek. He was a popular preacher, who often salted his sermons
with jokes, music and other clowning to hold the audience's interest.
Though Wikipedia doesn't say so, Saint Aldhelm was the first known
librarian in the Anglo-Saxon language, though he is not a patron saint of
librarians (that portfolio goes to St. Catherine of Alexandria).

Aldhelm was said to meditate immersed in an icy spring which still flows
from under the present St. Aldhelm's Church in Doulting, where he died:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Aldhelm%27s_Church,_Doulting . If this did
happen it was more likely another spring now on private property in near
his abbey in Malmsbury (or maybe both). In any case, he is known to have
spent his last hours praying by the Doulting spring. The spring was
considered blessed by the Saint with healing powers. St. Aldhelm's Holy
Well became a popular local pilgrimage site, and still flows today. Lady
Sarah and I, plus her college roommate who was touring with us, visited the
church and St. Aldhelm's Holy Well in 2005:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Aldhelm%27s_Well . All of us were
librarians, so how could we resist? A secret pilgrim at heart, I extracted
a tiny pebble from the icy waters, and it remains one of my treasures.

Yours Aye,

Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge  🦆

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