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Aldhelm (c. 639—709) abbot of Malmesbury, bishop of Sherborne, and scholar


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Patron of Gerrans (Cornwall).

There is considerable uncertainty about his identification. The Exeter Martyrology (c.1100) refers to the son of a King Gerent being cured by the Irish saint Berriona, while a St Gerontius occurs in an Exeter litany attributed to bishop Leofric. A famous letter of Aldhelm was addressed to a Geraint, king of Dumnonia, concerning the paschal question. There is also a Welsh saint of this name honoured at Magor (Gwent) and mentioned in the Book of Llan Dav. The difficulty is to determine whether all, or some of these, should be identified. A modern Bollandist believes that Gerent was a ‘local saint of the usual type…whom later hagiographical writers have arbitrarily made a king’. There certainly was at least one king of this name, but there seems no compelling reason to identify him with the patron of Gerrans, of whom moreover there is no known feast-day.

G. H. Doble, The Saints of Cornwall, iii (1964), 74–88.

Subjects: Christianity.

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