Saints of Cornwall
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Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of Pages: 320
Width: 16.2 cm
Height: 24.2 cm
Cornwall is unique among English counties, though similar to other Celtic lands, in its religious history. Its churches, chapels, and place-names commemorated not only the major saints of Christendom, but also many minor 'Celtic' ones, unique to single churches. This book breaks new ground by considering them all, comprehensively and in detail. The introduction explains how the cults came into existence, and how they shed light on early Christianity in the county. It follows their history up to the Reformation, and shows how popular devotion to the saints lingered even in the eighteenth century. The main part of the book provides a history of every known religious cult in Cornwall from the sixth century AD to the Reformation, with relevant information about its later history down to the present day. Every known site is identified (church, chapel, altar, image, holy well, or other outdoor feature), and every written source is discussed (saint's Life, liturgical commemoration, and calendar festival). This is the first time that a complete inventory of cults has been produced for an area as large as an English county. The work also includes many saints venerated in Brittany, Wales and England, and makes copious references to all three countries. It provides a major resource in the fields of medieval Church history, Reformation studies, folklore, and Celtic studies, as well as the history of Cornwall.
Meticulously researched and presented entries for each cult encompass all cults, whether or not associated with particular sites, and permit the reader to see in an impressively detailed way the history of references to a cult, from the earliest to modern times ... a considerable achievement as a source of reference for the history of Cornwall. * The Journal of Ecclesiastical History * The thoroughness and value of Orme's work can be seen by comparing his wonderfully full entries on St Neot and St Petroc with the comparable entries in D. H. Farmer's excellent Oxford Dictionary of the Saints. Orme not only offers us something like five or six times as much detail, but packs his entries with information which allows an almost complete mapping of the cults concerned ... this book is a model of its kind, illuminating a wide range of issues from the evolution of the parochial structure of the region to the eighteenth-century survival of healing wells, popular customs and local festivals. * History * Splendid, unpretentious, but deeply learned book ... he [Orme] has provided historians of Cornwall, and of medieval popular religion more generally, with a fascinating and indispensable research tool. * History * Rigourous textual-historical catalogue, using the best linguistic advice, and a model for one well-defined region that could now profitably be followed for any other part of Atlantic Britain and Ireland ... the entries read well, are concise and contain a mass of new or little-known material.The introduction could stand on its own as an unrivalled essay. All relevant libraries and concerned individuals should acquire The Saints fo Cornwall. * Charles Thomas, Times Literary Supplement * This book is a useful guide for those studying various facets of hagiography. It will be a helpful reference work that local historians, literary scholars, and a host of other interested students will consult for quite some time. * H-Net Book Review * The study tells us a very great deal about the invention of tradition at the parochial level and the universal desire of communities of whatever size, and of whatever historical period, to attach meaning to the salient features of their spiritual and physical environment * English Historical Review *