St. Melor of Cornwall, Child-Martyr
When first Christianity penetrated Britain, a great number of Saints
existed, especially in Wales and Brittany. At this time there was a
duke, or prince, in Brittany, named Meliau, whose brother-in-law,
Rivold, revolted against him, and put him to death. Meliau left a son,
Melor, and the usurper only spared his life at the intercession of the
bishops and clergy. He, however, cut off his right hand and left foot,
and sent him to one of the local monasteries to be brought up.
The tradition goes on to relate that the boy was provided with a silver
hand and a brazen foot, and that one day, when he was aged fourteen, he
and the abbot were nutting together in a wood, when the abbot saw the
boy use his silver hand to clasp the boughs and pick the nuts, just as
though it were of flesh and blood. Also, that one day he threw a stone,
which sank into the earth, and from the spot gushed forth a fountain of
Rivold, fearing lest the boy should depose him, bribed his guardian,
Cerialtan, to murder him. This Cerialtan performed. He cut off the head
of Melor, and carried it to the duke; but angels with lights stood
around the body and guarded it.
On his way to the duke, Cerailtan was parched with thirst, and
exclaimed, "Wretched man that I am! I am dying for a drop of water."
Then the head of the murdered boy said, "Cerailtan, strike the ground
with thy rod, and a fountain will spring up." He did so, and quenched
his thirst at the miraculous well, and pursued his way. When Rivold saw
the head, he touched it, and instantly sickened, and died three days
after. The head was then taken back to the body, and was buried with it.
The relics were afterwards taken to Amesbury, in Wiltshire.
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Page last updated: 8 October 2008
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