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Mylor


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Martyr of unknown date, titular of Amesbury Abbey which claimed his relics, and probably of three churches in Cornwall, Mylor, Merther Mylo, and Linkinhorne. This very obscure saint's life has been obfuscated by hagiographers who have confused names, dates, and places almost irretrievably. It seems probable that he was a saint of Brittany rather than of Britain, whose Legend was worked over in the later Middle Ages (possibly by Bishop Grandisson). Cornwall was substituted for Cornouaille and Devon introduced. According to the Legend, which has several Celtic folkloric elements, he was a prince of seven years old when his father was killed by his uncle; the uncle Rivoldus wished to kill the child also but was dissuaded by a council of bishops, at whose intervention he agreed to maim him instead, cutting off his right hand and left foot. These were replaced by a silver hand and a bronze foot. Mylor was sent to a remote monastery to be educated, but by the time he was fourteen, his artificial limbs had begun to work as though they were natural; so Rivoldus induced Mylor's guardian Cerialtanus to kill him. This was done by decapitation. Rivoldus touched the severed head and died three days afterwards. The body was brought to Amesbury, placed on the altar, and was prevented by Mylor's power from being removed. This picturesque story was probably invented to explain the presence of Mylor's relics at Amesbury and the dedication. It seems likely that Mylor, like Branwalader, was a Breton saint whose relics were collected by King Athelstan and given to churches such as Milton and Amesbury in which he was specially interested. Amesbury later became one of England's most famous medieval Benedictine nunneries; but even William of Malmesbury could find out nothing about its patron saint. Feast: 1 October.

Life in N.L.A., ii. 183–5;G. H. Doble, The Saints of Cornwall, iii (1964), 20–52.

Subjects: Christianity.


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