Journey through June – Saint Urith of Chittlehampton – 21/26

Today I have drawn St Urith of Chittlehampton (possibly 8th century)

Her feast day is 8 July and she is commemorated by the Orthodox, Anglican and Roman Catholic Church.

Her life

Legend says Saint Urith was born at East Stowford in Swimbridge parish, in the English county of Devon. She was converted to Christianity by St Kea, lived as a hermit in nearby Chittlehampton, where she founded a church. At the urging of an allegedly jealous, and perhaps pagan, stepmother, some female haymakers beheaded the girl with a scythe, during a period of severe drought. When she fell to the ground, a spring of water burst from the spot and flowers, thought to be scarlet pimpernels,sprang forth wherever a drop of her blood was sprinkled.  These last elements of her legend are the same as those found in the Lives of Sidwell and Juthwara. Urith was buried near the site of her martyrdom and a church was later built above her grave. A more likely version of her death suggests she was killed by invading Saxons, although if the traditional 8th century date is correct, this may, in reality, have been an early Viking raid. Further details of her veneration and popularity in Devon here.


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