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

May 30

St. Walstan, Confessor

        From Capgrave, fol. 285, and his old manuscript life. See Bloomfield, Hist. of Norfolk, t. 1, p. 641.

A.D. 1016.

ST. WALSTAN was formerly much honoured at Cossey and Bawburgh, commonly called Baber, two villages four miles from Norwich. He was born at Baber, and of a rich and honourable family. The name of his father was Benedict, that of his mother Blida. By their example and good instructions he, from his infancy, conceived an ardent desire to devote himself to God with the greatest perfection possible. In this view, at twelve years of age he renounced his patrimony, left his father’s house, and entered a poor servant at Taverham, a village adjoining to Cossey. He was so charitable that he gave his own victuals to the poor, and sometimes even his shoes, going himself barefoot. He applied himself to the meanest and most painful country labour in a perfect spirit of penance and humility; fasted much, and sanctified his soul and all his actions by assiduous, fervent prayer, and the constant union of his heart with God. He made a vow of celibacy, but never embraced a monastic state. God honoured his humility before men by many miracles. He died in the midst of a meadow where he was at work, on the 30th of May in 1016. His body was interred at Baber: it was carried thither through Cossey or Costessye, where a well still bears his name, as does another which was more famous at Baber, a little below the church. These places were much resorted to by pilgrims, especially to implore the intercession of this saint for the cure of fevers, palsies, lameness, and blindness. His body was enshrined in the north chapel of that church, which chapel was on that account pulled down in the reign of Henry VIII. though the church is still standing. All the mowers and husbandmen in these parts constantly visited it once a year, and innumerable other pilgrims resorted to it, not only from all parts of England, but also from beyond the seas. The church is sacred to the memory of the Blessed Virgin, and of St. Walstan.