Monday, 1 March 2010


“It is doubtlessly true that religion has been the world's psychiatrist throughout the centuries.” - Karl Menninger

Today it is St Ceadda’s Feast Day, the saint more usually known as St Chad. St Chad (died on this day in 672) is the British patron saint of medicinal springs. He was one of four brothers who were all priests. He was a monk at the Abbey of Lastingham and succeeded his brother, St Cedd as Abbot. He was made bishop of York by king Oswy but the Archbishop Theodore of Tarsus challenged Chad’s consecration. Chad withdrew to Lastingham and Wilfrid became bishop. Chad was then made bishop of the Mercians with his seat in Lichfield. He was very humble, always travelling on foot, until Theodore ordered him onto a horse and put him onto it with his own hands. Chad was warned of his impending death by an angel.

The saint was buried in the Church of St Mary. At once, according to the Venerable Bede, he was adored as a saint and his relics were translated to the Cathedral Church of St Peter. Cures were claimed in both churches. Bede described his first shrine as “a wooden coffin in the shape of a little house with an aperture in the side through which the devout can take out some of the dust, which they put into water and give to sick cattle or men to drink, upon which they are presently eased of their infirmity and restored to health”.

On St Chad’s Day eggs should be becoming plentiful in the northern hemisphere:
    By David and Chad
    Every hen, duck or goose should lay, good and bad.

(St David’s day was yesterday)

The rock samphire, Crithmum maritimum, is today’s birthday flower.  The generic name is derived from the Greek krithe = “barley”, as the plants seeds resemble that cereal.  The specific name is in connection with the favourite habitat of the plant, along rocky coastlines, shingle and sandy shores.  Samphire may be a corruption for the old French name of the plant, herbe de St Pierre. The herb is in culinary use, eaten raw as a salad, boiled as a vegetable or pickled.  An old herbal remarks: “It is more agreeable as a pickle than useful as a medicine”.  The samphire symbolises the welcoming shore and is under the dominion of Jupiter.

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