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'Sanctity and Lordship in Twelfth-Century England: Saint Albans, Durham, and the Cult of Saint Oswine, King and Martyr'

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date1999
JournalViator : Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Volume30
Number of pages40
Pages105-144
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article draws attention to a hitherto neglected but extensive and important body of hagiographical material: the saints' lives, invention-narratives, and miracle stories which the abbey of Saint Albans produced in support of the cult of Saint Oswine, king and martyr. Many cults underwent promotion, but few can have experienced a more dramatic reversal of fortune. Arising in the late seventh century, this essentially local cult was suddenly equipped with every kind of hagiographical and liturgical text as Oswine's cult became crucial to Saint Albans's defense of its title to Oswine's church at Tynemouth, in the face of Durham's opposing claim and Durham's rival saint, Cuthbert. The findings suggest that saints' cults in general may have been more important for the legitimacy they lent to claims to property and power than for their moneyraising potential.