WS 4.ii The Cult of St Swithun

(Michael Lapidge)

St Swithun was an obscure ninth-century bishop of Winchester about whom little was, and is, known. But following the translation of his relics from a conspicuous tomb into the Old Minster, Winchester, on 15 July 971, the massive rebuilding of the cathedral, and a vigorous publicity campaign by Bishop Aethelwold (963-84), St Swithun became one of the most popular and important English saints, whose cult was widespread not only in England but also in Ireland, Scandinavia, and France. The present volume includes new and full editions of all the relevant texts – hagiographical, liturgical, and historical – in Latin, Old English, and Middle English, many of which have never been published before: these illuminate the origins and development of St Swithun’s cult. No dossier of an important English saint has been published on this scale until now: the wealth of this volume sheds new light not only on St Swithun himself, but also on the times during which his cult was at the peak of its popularity.

‘This lavish and beautifully produced volume assembles, edits, translates and meticulously classifies the texts relating to the cult of Swithun … a monument to the erudition, both wide and deep, of its author … the product of 30 years’ work.’
Dr Catherine Cubitt, The Church Times (14 May 2004)

‘a breathtaking achievement … the product of scholarship of the very highest order … self evidently so comprehensive, informative, authoritative, and instructive … also accessible and worthwhile. It will be a most distinguished addition to the Winchester Studies Series.’
Prof. Simon Keynes: pre-publication report (2001)

Nous n’avons qu’un regret … que ce volume [WS 4.ii], superbement édité dans les Winchester Studies, n’ait été publié dans nos Acta Sanctorum …
Fr. Robert Godding SJ, Analecta Bollandiana (2004)

WS 4.ii The Cult of St Swithun