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


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(6th century),

monk and hermit. He was born in Britain of a noble family; his father died when he was only fifteen, and his mother entrusted him to Samson to be educated. Later Ethbin became a monk in Brittany under Winwaloe. When the monastery was destroyed by the Franks, Ethbin went to Ireland and lived for twenty years as a hermit in a woodland called Nectensis (unidentified). Here he died, but there was no Irish cult, although his name appears in the Roman and other late Martyrologies. The relics are claimed by Montreuil and Pont-Mort (Eure) in France. In his Legend there are several persons and places which are suspiciously unidentifiable: P. Grosjean suggested that the wood (silva) called Nectensis could be a corruption of Silvanectensis (i.e. of Senlis, dep. Oise), but this could not be in Ireland. What seems certain is that Ethbin's name is Anglo-Saxon, not Celtic. Feast: 19 October.

N.L.A., i. 368–70; Baring-Gould and Fisher, ii. 466–7; Propylaeum, p. 463.

Subjects: Christianity.

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