From Sacred Waters and Pagan Goddesses to Holy Wells: the Cult of Saints and the Virgin Mary in Medieval Britain
Robin Melrose (Author)
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DescriptionIn the Middle Ages Britain was a land teeming with saints and monasteries, which disappeared virtually overnight in the late 1530s when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries and destroyed all the shrines to the saints and the Virgin Mary. In this book, I want to bring back to life all these forgotten saints, many of them dating to the Anglo-Saxon period in England, or to the long vanished Celtic kingdoms of Wales and Scotland. Before Christianity came to Britain in the 4th century, Britons often made offerings to goddesses in watery places like rivers, lakes or marshes, and many shrines of saints or the Virgin were associated with holy wells. Many people, including kings and queens, made pilgrimages to saints' shrines and drank water from the holy well, sometimes hoping for cures from crippling afflictions. And even when the shrines were destroyed, many holy wells survived, to welcome today's pilgrims.
10 October 2016
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