St Sitha and St Osyth were two separate ss, though there is evidence for
some conflation of the 2. Sitha was a C13 Italian servant saint (see Michael
Goodich, 'Ancilla dei' article in J.Kirshner and S.Wemple, Women of the
medieval World), with a cult in Northern England (see her appearance in
Bolton Book of Hours in York Minster Library), as a patroness of housewives,
and particularly useful in the finding of lost keys. St Osyth had a more
southerly cult. Distinctions and conflations are dealt with in Sebastian
Sutcliffe's article on Sitha in Nottingham medieval Studies, 37,(1993).
University of Huddersfield
[log in to unmask]
From: Whitehead John [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 19 January 2001 23:21
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Relics to be identified ....
Dear John and fellow list members,
I think most of the answers can be found in the poem
by Wilfrid Holme of Huntington(near York)which is
similar to this text - I have not had the chance to
check it - which is printed in A G Dickens' "Lollards
and Protestants in the Diocese of York", together with
notes of identification.
As to your specific questions:
I think the "red Cowe" is a reference to the legend of
the Dun Cow and the establishment of Durham Cathedral
in 995 - the cow is depicted on the exterior of the
Chapel of the Nine Altars.
Sainct Sithe is St Osyth, usually associated with
essex, but there is a niche bearing her name in the
church at Snaith in Yorkshire, which suggests a
northern devotion to her, and the references in the
verses point to a Yorkshire source. Sainct Tremans
fast is that of St Trinian - also cited in an East
Riding case by Dickens. 'St Anne of Buckstones wel'is
the well at Buxton in Derbyshire which went from
aRoman pagan votive shrine to being St Anne's Well,
was defaced at the Reformation, and promptly became a
place of resort as a spa watering place, being visited
by Mary Queen of Scots when living in Derbyshire in
the 1570s, and later gave rise to the development of
Buxton as an eighteenth century spa town and resort.
Question 3; This is just a suggestion- could this
reference be to chrism and its supply from St Peter's,
i.e. the Minster in York and from St John's Minster in
Beverley - my memnory tells me that Southwell, another
of the Archiepiscopal daughter churches, was the place
whence chrism was collected for Nottinghamshire
The interpretation in Dickens' notes as to the cult at
Pontefract is that it refers in Holme's text to rye
asthma, i.e. hay fever. Whether this originates with
any reference to 'St Thomas of Pontefract'having
suffered from this particular condition is unclear -
so far as I remember this point is not considered by
John Maddicott in his biography. Whether
coincidentally or not, ergotomine (which I assume to
be from the same source) is used in modern treatments
of migraine (did Thomas of Lancaster also suffer from
this, or is it atavistic therapy with the clothing
relic of someone who had died by decapitation? )
A theory ( I think of my own and not suggested in
Dickens ) is that "sainct Cornelis horne" may be the
Horn of Ulf, still preserved as a title deed in the
Minster at York - I believe that Saint Cornelius is
depicted in the east window of the Minster.
The 'Boorne'of St Wilfred should also be a horn.
--- John A W Lock <[log in to unmask]> wrote: >
I've been sitting on this bit of Tudor polemic for
> ages but it drifted into
> conversation yesterday
> so I thought I would get something done about it.
> And where better?
> john aw lock
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