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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume I: January. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

January 16

St. Henry, Hermit

THE DANES were indebted in part for the light of faith, under God, to the bright example and zealous labours of English missionaries. Henry was born in that country, of honourable parentage, and from his infancy gave himself to the divine service with his whole heart. When he came to man’s estate, he was solicited by his friends to marry; but having a strong call from God to forsake the world, he sailed to the north of England. The little island of Cocket, which lies on the coast of Northumberland, near the mouth of the river of the same name, was inhabited by many holy anchorets in St. Bede’s time, as appears from his life of St. Cuthbert. 1 This island belonged to the monastery of Tinmouth, and, with the leave of the prior of that house, St. Henry undertook to lead in it an eremitical life. He fasted every day, and his refection, which he took at most only once in twenty-four hours after sunset, was only bread and water: and this bread he earned by tilling a little garden near his cell. He suffered many assaults both from devils and men; but by those very trials improved his soul in the perfect spirit of patience, meekness, humility, and charity. He died in his hermitage in 1127, on the 16th of January, and was buried by the monks of Tinmouth, in the church of the Blessed Virgin, near the body of St. Oswin, king and martyr. See his life in Capgrave and Bollandus.  1
Note 1. Bede, Vit. S. Cuthberti, c. 24. [back]