By Sarah Salih
The saints have been the superheroes and the celebs of medieval England, bridging the space among heaven and earth, the dwelling and the lifeless. an unlimited physique of literature developed in the course of the center a long time to make sure that each person, from kings to peasants, knew the tales of the lives, deaths and afterlives of the saints. in spite of the fact that, regardless of its acceptance and ubiquity, the style of the Saint's existence has until eventually lately been little studied. This assortment introduces the canon of heart English hagiography; areas it within the context of the cults of saints; analyses key issues inside hagiographic narrative, together with gender, strength, violence and historical past; and, ultimately, indicates how hagiographic issues survived the Reformation. total it deals either info for these coming to the style for the 1st time, and issues ahead to new developments in learn.
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Extra info for A Companion to Middle English Hagiography
William Nelson, EETS os 230 (London: Oxford University Press, 1955), p. 53, lines 1156–9. 18 Records of the Gild of St George, p. 72. 19 Records of the Gild of St George, pp. 18–19. 34 SAMANTHA RICHES Henry VIII in 1536: as a non-Biblical saint George was decidedly anomalous within this group, and the likelihood is that it was the political utility of his cult to the social and economic elite which led to the officially sanctioned retention of the cult until the mid sixteenth century. However, even an edict from the Bishop of London in 1552 outlawing the observance of St George’s Day was insufficient to end the Norwich Riding, which continued in various forms, despite the eventual absence of George himself, almost into the modern era.
Records of the Gild of St George, p. 40. There are no recorded songs of St George in England, although one is known in Normandy, reflecting a localised story of the saint linked to a holy well. See Jean Fournée, ‘Le Culte de Saint Georges en Normandie’, Annuaire des Cinq Départements de la Normandie (Association Normande et les Assises de Caumont, Congres de Louviers, 1986), pp. 105–27. 24 Whilst we have no record of a specific hagiographic text of St George linked to Norwich, we do know that Barclay’s Life of St George was dedicated to Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, and Nicholas West, who was consecrated as Bishop of Ely in 1515: this may indicate that this specific version of the legend would be known locally.
However, it is likely that processions, the re-enactment of parts of legends, and large-scale feasts may have been restricted to the cults of saints with a significant following, particularly in terms of the financial resources which they were able to command. George himself is a deeply problematic saint: whilst he is universally recognised as a Christian soldier and dragon-slayer, there is no solid evidence that he ever really existed. His earliest narratives portray him as a martyr who was tortured and executed for his refusal to abjure the Christian faith, and in some versions he is not even presented as a soldier, but simply as a holy man.
A Companion to Middle English Hagiography by Sarah Salih
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