St. Bettelin of Croyland, Hermit
(Beccelin, Bertelin, Berthelm, Bertram, Bethlin, Bethelm)
8th century. Saint Bettelin, a disciple of Saint Guthlac, was a hermit
who practised the most austere penances and lived a life of continual
prayer in the forest near Stafford, England. He received counsel from
his master on his deathbed and was present at his burial. After the
death of Guthlac, Bettelin and his companions continued to live at
Croyland under Kenulphus,
its first abbot.
There are unreliable legends about Bettelin, including a later one that
he had to overcome temptation to cut Guthlac's throat while shaving him.
They also say that Bettelin was the son of a local ruler who fell in
love with a princess during a visit to Ireland. On their return to
England, she died a terrible death. He left her in the forest when she
was overcome by labour pains, while he had gone in search of a midwife.
During his absence she was torn to pieces by ravenous wolves.
Thereafter, Bettelin became a hermit. Another legends relates that Saint
Bettelin left his hermitage to drive off invaders with the help of an
angel, before returning to his cell to die.
Some of his relics may have been translated to Stafford before the
plunder and burning of Croyland by the Danes. He is the patron of
Stafford, in which his relics were kept with great veneration
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Page last updated: 21 December 2008
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