Celtic and Old English Saints 14 December
* Ss. Fingar & Phiala of Cornwall
* St. Hybald of Bardney
* All Saints of Lincolnshire
St. Fingar (Gwinnear, Guigner), Phiala, and Companions, Martyrs
5th century; Fingar may have a second feast on March 23, or this could
be a different saint. Irish legend recalls that Saint Fingar, son of the
king of Connaught, was converted by Saint Patrick; however, he may have
been a Welshman or simply a missionary in Wales. His feast is
commemorated at Vannes in Brittany, where he spent some time as a
pilgrim. His sister Phiala also left their native Ireland and crossed
over to Cornwall with Fingar, but they were put to death at Hayle near
Penzance by a pagan chief. Theirattendants shared their crown. Saint
Fingar is the patron of Gwinear in Cornwall.
(Benedictines, D'Arcy, Montague, Moran).
The Church at Gwinear, Cornwall
The site of the original Celtic church is claimed to be at Trungle and
would have been a simple wooden oratory in a round enclosure. That the
present church site has Celtic foundation is strongly suggested by the
finding in 1954 of the top of a granite churchyard cross built into the
wall of the vicarage. the Christ-figure is depicted wearing a tunic
showing it to be early Byzantine design, perhaps 9th century. It is now
kept in the church window by the font. The ancient cross which once
stood at Roseworthy is considered to be perhaps the most beautiful cross
in Cornwall, and was removed in the 18th century for safety to Lanherne
Nunnery, Mawgan in Pydar. The large cross which is now in the churchyard
, near the main porch on the north, was removed in 1858 from a point
about half-a-mile east of the church.
Troparion of Ss Fingar and Phiala tone 4
Heeding Patrick's preaching you accepted Christ as God and Saviour,/
earning the wrath of your pagan father, O blessed Fingar and Phiala./
Preferring the treasures of asceticism and rejecting a kingly heritage,
together with seven bishops and a godly host,/ you were found worthy of
the crown of martyrdom./ Therefore we pray you to intercede with Christ
our God for us/ that we may live only for Him and be found worthy of His
St. Hybald (Hibald, Higbald) of Bardney, Abbot
7th century. In connection with Egbert's vision of the death of Saint
Cedd (f.d. October 26), Saint Bede (f.d. May 25) mentions that Abbot
Hybald of Bardney was a very holy and abstemious man. There are four
churches dedicated to him in Lincolnshire. He was buried in Hibaldstow
and gave it his name. His feast can be found in the 11th-century
martyrology of Exeter (Farmer).
Another Life from the Lincolnshire Paterikon (December)
St. Hybald of Bardney. d. 690
(Also known as Hybald, Hibald, Higbald)
Travelling some twenty miles north from Lincoln along the Roman road of
Ermine Street (the current A15) one finds a finger post pointing the way to
Hibaldstow. Turning to the right along a narrow road one enters the
Lincolnshire Carrs which is the local name given to an area given to
flooding. People further south would call it a fen. Soon one comes across a
small settlement. It was always so: the Romans smelted iron and the Saxons
grew their crops in this place, life was generally peaceful and generally
uneventful. It was here, though, that St. Hybald, the enormously tall Abbot
of Bardney, chose to be buried. His reasons are unclear. It is possible that
he followed the example of his Spiritual Father, St. Chad, and used
Hibaldstow as a missionary outpost (St. Chad's was at Cadney) and perhaps a
place from which to retreat from his intensely busy monastery and it may be
that he died whilst visiting his own Spiritual Children there.
The saint, as St. Bede tells us, was a very holy and abstemious man much
given to talking about the lives of the early fathers, and of his own
Spiritual Father, with his friend and Spiritual Brother St. Egbert. That he
was Abbot of such an important place as Bardney shows that he must have been
a man of great learning and high social standing. When Hibaldstow received
his relics it became a remote but not unimportant place of pilgrimage and
the faithful who came were healed and had their prayers answered. Stow means
"holy place" and soon that is how it became.
The "Reformers" successfully destroyed his shrine and the pilgrimages but
not his body. This continued to lie under the church in Hibaldstow until it
was rediscovered in 1866 when the then dilapidated church was rebuilt. The
restorers found a large stone Saxon sarcophagus and in it the precious
relics of the saint - a tall robust man, lying on the south side of the
choir. Here he remains to this day regularly visited by Orthodox pilgrims of
several dioceses who ask him for his prayers and venerate his relics.
Holy Father Hybald pray to God for us!
Troparion of St Hybald of Bardney. Tone 4.
Thou didst love Christ all thy life, O blessed one, / and longing to work
for Him as a hermit / thou didst struggle by the pools and carrs of Lindsey
with good works, prayer and labour. / With penitent heart and great love for
Christ / thou worked with missionary zeal for the Lord. / Wherefore we cry
to thee: / beseech the Lord that our labours may be blessed and that our
souls may be saved.
Blessed one you loved Christ all your life, / and longing to work for Him as
a hermit / you struggled by the pools and carrs of Lindsey with good works,
prayer and labour. / With a penitent heart and great love for Christ / you
worked with missionary zeal for the Lord. / Wherefore we cry to you: /
beseech the Lord that our labours may be blessed and that our souls may be
All Saints of Lincolnshire
For all that Lincolnshire seems to be a pretty out of the way place, as far
as Orthodox Christianity is concerned, it was once a hub of activity and
holiness. There are at least 101 Orthodox Saints closely associated with
Lincolnshire. One could add many others who passed through (several of them
giving their names to places on the way; for example St. Helen who found the
Holy Cross and her son St. Constantine who passed this way having become
Emperor in York. This is who they are:
St. Oswald (d. 642), St. Ostrythe, St. Ailred (Ethelred) (d. 716), St.
Werburgh, Abbess (About 785), St. Chad (d. 672), St. Botolph (d 680), St.
St. Simon the Zealot, St. Guthlac 673- 714, St. Pega (St. Pea) 719, St.
Bertram (8th century), St. Cissa (8th century). St. Etheldritha (Alfreda)
(835) Sts. Theodore (Abbot), Askega (Prior), Swethin (Subprior), Elfgete
(deacon), Sabinus (Subdeacon), Grimkell, Agamund (Centenarians), Herbert,
(Chanter) Egred, Ulric (Servers), St. Egelred and seventy companions 870.
St. Thurketyl (887-975) St. Helen and St. Constantine, St. Hibald (d. 690),
St. Paulinus (d. 644), St. Herefrid (d. 747), St. Aethelheard, St. Elwin
(Aethelwine), St. Aldwyn (5c),St. Edilhun and St. Egbert, St. Erkenwald
(693), St. Werburgh 700, St. Werburg of Mercia 785.
Holy Father and Mothers of Lincolnshire Pray to God for us!
TROPARION to All the Saints of Lincolnshire Tone 8
As the bountiful harvest of your sowing of salvation, the county of
Lincolnshire offers to you, Lord, all the saints who have shone in these
lands. By their prayers, keep the church and our land in abiding peace//
through the Theotokos, O most merciful one.
Benedictine Monks of St. Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate.
(1947). The Book of Saints. NY: Macmillan.
D'Arcy, M. R. (1974). The Saints of Ireland. Saint Paul, Minnesota:
Irish American Cultural Institute. [This is probably the most
useful book to choose to own on the Irish saints. The author
provides a great deal of historical context in which to place the
lives of the saints.]
Farmer, D. H. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Montague, H. P. (1981). The Saints and Martyrs of Ireland.
Guildford: Billing & Sons.
Moran, P. (1879). Irish Saints in Great Britian.
These Lives are archived at: