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St Samson (c. 485—565) bishop (possibly of Dol in Brittany)

St Brendan (484—577) Irish abbot


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(6th century),

monk and (?) bishop. Of Celtic, perhaps, Welsh, origin, he worked with Samson in Cornwall and the Channel Islands, and possibly in Brittany. The Exeter martyrology describes him as a son of a Cornish king, Kenen. He gave his name to St Brelade ( Jersey). In the early 10th century King Athelstan obtained his relics from Breton clerics in flight from the Northmen and gave them to his monastery of Milton (Dorset). It was not a whole body but either an arm (Milton charter) or his head (R.P.S). William Worcestre claimed that the body was at Branston (Devon), and Leland referred to a chapel of St Breward near Seaton.

If there is uncertainty about his life and relics, at least his cult was clear from the 10th century. His name is found in litanies; his feast was kept at Winchester and Exeter, but on a different day in Cornwall. Feast: usually 19 January, but Whytford says this was a translation; in Cornwall both 9 February and 6 June are found as his day. Confusion in Brittany with Brendan or Brannoc have sometimes caused other days to be considered his.

G. H. Doble, The Saints of Cornwall, iv (1965), 116–27;Baring-Gould and Fisher, i. 227–8.

Subjects: Christianity.

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