Saints of The English Year – St. Constantine

March 9th

Tradition has it that St Constantine was a Cornish chieftain, of uncertain date, who later became a monk, but the name is so common in early Britain that it is impossible to disentangle one figure from another. One legend told of him (and of others)is that he wa out stag-hunting when the chase drove the quarry into the vicinity of a holy hermit, who took the animal under his protection. When Constantine moved to strike the hermit in anger, Constantine became frozen to the spot and was unable to move a muscle until the holy man’s prayer released him. Constantine was naturally so impressed that he converted to Christianity.

A chapel dedicated to him existed at St Merran, and his feast day was celebrated with a game of hurling. A holy well nearby had the useful attribute of allowing anyone to bring rain if they drew water from it and poured it on the stone.

[©Steve Roud: The English Year. Penguin 2006]

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