St. Bettelin of Croyland, Hermit
(Beccelin, Bertelin, Berthelm, Bertram, Bethlin, Bethelm)

9 September

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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 (Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Husenbeth).

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Page last updated: 21 December 2008
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