On our way to Glastonbury awhile back,
we happened upon the little town of Much Wenlock in Shropshire, England
which borders on Wales.
The above building is the 16th century Guildhall
where we visited a small Farmer's Market.
And stopped at a little tea room for lunch
and a spot of tea and crumpets.
The town of about 2,600 people
is the home of the Wenlock Priory,
a 12th century monastery ruin.
The monastery was founded in 680
by the son of a king who made his daughter, Milburgh,
abbess in 687.
Milburgh was thought to have the power of miracles and healing,
restoring sight to the blind.
She died February 23, 727
and some of the earliest writings of her priory were recorded in the
Life of St. Milburga by Goscelin of St. Bertin.
Her bones were thought be be found in 1101
near the foundations of an altar.
The Feast Day of St. Milburgh is February 23rd
(as is often the case, the feast day becomes the day of their death)
and as saint, Milburgh became patron grain protectress of Shropshire.
She was given the role which was earlier assigned to a pagan goddess.
Around 1080, Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury
and one of William the Conqueror's main counsellors,
refounded it in the Cluniac Order.
It thrived until the Dissolution (or Suppression of the Monasteries) by King Henry VIII in the 1530's.
A local well, known as St. Milburga's Well, near the Guildhall building,
is still thought to have healing powers for restoring sight.
Some women have been known to sprinkle water on themselves
at certain times of the year in the hopes of finding love.
Thanks for traveling a little piece of England with me today.
Next stop: Glastonbury!
(Photos copyright: Kirsten Steen)