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Modwenna


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(7th century(?),

virgin, lived as a hermit at Andressey near Burton-on-Trent. Her shrine was at Burton. Some writers identify her with the Irish Monenna; in its final form her Legend is perhaps a conflation of three different saints. C.S.P. summarizes it, saying that she was ‘born in Ireland, died in Scotland and was buried in England: first at Andressey on a small island where she had been an anchorite for seven years, but now at Burton, where she is famous for miracles’. One tradition made a king of Mercia give her lands at Trensall (Staffs.) for a nunnery, where she trained Edith of Polesworth before that house was ready for her. The Scottish saint of the same or similar name seems distinct. There was confusion over the relics, which seems clear from the detail in the Legend that the Irish, the English, and the Scots all wanted her body. An Anglo-Norman text of her Life has little historical value, as do the Latin Lives of the 12th century. Feast: 5(6) July; translation, 9 November.

R. Bartlett (ed.), Geoffrey of Burton: Life and Miracles of St Modwenna (2002).A. T. Baker and A. Bell, St Modwenna (1947).

Subjects: Christianity.


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