) was an Anglo-Saxon saint
, venerated throughout medieval England
, and mentioned in the Canterbury Tales
(the Nun's Priest's Tale
, lines 290–301, in which the cock Chaunteecleer tries to demonstrate the reality of prophetic dreams to his wife Pertelote). William of Malmesbury
, writing in the 12th century, recounted that "there was no place in England to which more pilgrims travelled than to Winchcombe
on Cynehelm's feast day".
In legend, St Cynehelm was a member of the royal family of Mercia
, a boy king and martyr
, murdered by an ambitious relative despite receiving a prophetic dream warning him of the danger. His body, after being concealed, was discovered by miraculous intervention, and transported by the Monks of Winchcombe to a major shrine
. There it remained for several hundred years. The two locales most closely linked to this legend are the Clent Hills
, south of Birmingham
, England, identified as the scene of his murder, and the small Gloucestershire
town of Winchcombe
, near Cheltenham
, where his body was interred. The small church of St Cynehelm, dating from the 15th century in a village called Kenelstowe, now stands with a handful of houses within the larger village of Romsley
in the Clent Hills. For many years, villagers celebrated St Cynehelm's Day (July 17) with a village fair and the ancient custom of "crabbing the parson" - bombarding the unfortunate cleric with a volley of crab apples.
The Legend of St......