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Saints and their CommunitiesMiracle Stories in Twelfth-Century England$
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Simon Yarrow

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199283637

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199283637.001.0001

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The Miracles of St Frideswide of Oxford

The Miracles of St Frideswide of Oxford

(p.169) 6 The Miracles of St Frideswide of Oxford
Saints and their Communities

Simon Yarrow (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

St Frideswide is among a number of saints who exercised the imaginations of their custodian communities in the two decades on either side of the year 1200. The hagiography of this period reflects an interest in contemporary holy men and Anglo-Saxon saints. The renewed interest in hagiography was largely a response to the celebrity enjoyed by Thomas Becket at Canterbury in the wake of his martyrdom and canonization. Some monasteries revisited their existing hagiographical records with a view to updating them for possible future canonization procedures. Others began for the first time to examine the careers of their holy predecessors and record their posthumous miracles. The cult of St Frideswide is among the first of these categories. When Prior Philip of St Frideswide's, Oxford, put together his collection of miracles performed soon after the saint's translation in 1180, he was adding to an already existing body of literature on the life of the saint. In addition to this legacy, strong evidence from different sources suggests that Philip and the canons at Oxford drew inspiration for their own cult promotion from the spectacular success of the cult of Thomas Becket. This chapter examines the social and institutional circumstances behind the canons' own production of hagiography, and how it fitted into the revival of cult promotion stimulated by events at Canterbury.

Keywords:   St Frideswide, canons, Canterbury, hagiography, Prior Philip

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