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Walaric

(d. 620)


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(d. 620),

abbot. Details of his early life are uncertain: he was born in Auvergne of a peasant family; he learnt to read early in life; dissatisfied with his usual occupation of tending sheep, he became a monk at Autumo. Later he moved to the monastery of Germanus near Auxerre and thence to Luxeuil under Columbanus. Here he settled down and so distinguished himself at horticulture that the preservation of his vegetables and fruit against insects which destroyed most of the other crops was regarded as miraculous.

When King Theodoric expelled Columbanus with his Irish and Breton monks, Walaric with a monk called Waldolanus preached for a time very successfully in Neustria, but again he left this way of life and settled as a hermit near the mouth of the Somme. Here disciples gathered round him, so he became virtual founder of the monastery of Leuconaus, built by his successor Blitmund and later called Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme. He is also reputed to have evangelized the Pas-de-Calais area.

When Walaric died, cures were claimed at his tomb and a cult developed. This eventually spread to England through the Norman Conquest. William the Conqueror had his relics exposed for public veneration; he was invoked to provide a favourable wind for the expedition of 1066 which sailed from Saint-Valéry. Chester abbey kept his feasts on 1 April (with Croyland) and 12 December (translation). This latter might possibly commemorate the transfer of his relics by King Richard I to the Norman town of Saint-Valéry-en-Caux. His original abbey, however, later recovered them. A 12th-century chapel at Alnmouth was dedicated to Walaric, who also left his name in at least one village, Hinton Waldrist (Oxon.) which was held by Thomas de S. Walaric (Saint-Valéry) in the 12th century. Feast: 1 April; translation, 12 December.

AA.SS. Apr. I (1675), 14–30 and Propylaeum, pp. 120–1; 11th-century Life attributed wrongly to Raginbertus, ed. B. Krusch in M.G.H., Scriptores rerum merov., iv (1902), 157–75; C. Brunel, ‘Les actes faux de l'abbaye de Saint-Valéry’, Le Moyen Cge (1909), pp. 94–116, 179–96; B.L.S., iv. 3–4.

Subjects: Christianity.


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