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Lide


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Celtic hermit saint of the Isles of Scilly, who settled on and gave his name to the island now called St Helen's, where remains, both of his buildings and of his tomb, have been found. A small community lived on this island in the Middle Ages: like Tresco it became subject to Tavistock, whose calendar includes a feast of St Lide, adding that he was a bishop buried on the Isles of Scilly. In 1461 all pirates who raided the Isles of Scilly were excommunicated, and as the much-visited chapel of St Elidius was in great need of repair and new furnishings, an indulgence was granted to all who visited it at the feasts of Christmas, St John Baptist, and St Elidius. Leland mentioned ‘Saynct Lide's Isle, where in times past at her [sic] sepulchre was gret superstition’. St Lide's dates are most uncertain: the earliest pottery found in the ruins dates from the 11th century. It is tempting to identify him with the seer at Scilly visited by Olaf Tryggvason of Norway. Feast: 8 August.

A. B. Taylor, Orkeneyinge Saga (1938), pp. 149–50; Mrs. H. E. O'Neill, ‘Excavation of a Celtic hermitage on St Helens, Isle of Scilly 1956–8’, Archaeol. Jnl., cxxi (1964), 40–69.

Subjects: Christianity.


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