Celtic and Old English Saints          13 July

* St. Mildred of Thanet
* St. Juthware of Devonshire
* St. Dofgan of Wales

St. Mildred of Thanet, Abbess of Minster, Translation of her Relics
Read her life, 20th February

Service to Saint Mildred

Icon of Saint Mildred

St. Juthware, Virgin of Devonshire, Sister of Saint Sidwell
(Judith) (life legendary)
Martyred, 7th century, Halstock (Holy Place) in northwest Dorset, England.

Commemorated July 1, July 13 in Devonshire, England

In art, she is shown as a Celtic-British maiden holding her severed head;
sometimes shown with St. Sidwell (St. Sativola of Laneast in
Cornwall?) as her sister; St Juthware's Well at Halstock sprang up where the
saint's severed head fell, along with a miraculous oak
tree. The Church of St. Mary's is built on the site, and has a chapel
dedicated to Juthware.

The Quiet Woman, Halstock

Until recently, Halstock had an inn called, 'The Quiet Woman,' with a sign
outside depicting a headless woman. Though the pub has sadly
gone, the gruesome tale it commemorated still haunts the village to this

In the seventh century a baby girl called Juthware (pronounced Uth-are), was
born in the village, but it was a difficult birth and her mother died
leaving her to be brought up by Benna, the girl's father.

Benna looked after his daughter as best as he could, but what the girl
needed was a mother, and in time he relinquished his loss by taking another
wife. This second wife was a Welsh woman called Goneril who was also a widow
and had by her former husband a son called Bana. All was well at first, but
as the years passed Goneril began to despise her step daughter, for not only
was she beautiful, but she was a devoted Christian, often fasting and doing
penance for her sins.

Many pilgrims and wayfarers travelled the roads and would often seek shelter
at Juthware's father's house. Benna was a good, but sick man
and remembering the kindness of his first wife was always keen to show
hospitality. And so while they ate Juthware would pass among them with
drinking horns of wine and ale and listen to their wonderful stories of Our
Lord's birth and life.

When Benna died Juthware followed her father's example of hospitality. This
angered Goneril who could not stand her stepdaughter's good qualities any
longer and so she contrived a plan to be rid of her.

Goneril's chance came one morning when Juthware came to her complaining of
chest pains. She told Juthware to rub some cheese onto her chest and stomach
first thing in the morning and last thing at night and the pains would go.

When Goneril saw Juthware doing this she went secretly into the wood and
there slaughtered a lamb and left it for the wolves. The next
morning she went to Bana and told him that Juthware had given birth to a
child in the wood and had fed it to the wolves. However, Bana
would not believe her, so she took him into the wood and showed him the
remains of the bloodied carcass. But still Bana would not believe
it, so she brought Juthware to the wood and ordered her to remove her vest.
Bana examined the garment and found the stains of motherhood.

In a fit of rage he drew his sword and cut Juthware's head clean off.
Goneril's face was triumphant, but as she revelled in her stepdaughter's
death, to her horror Juthware's severed head called to her body. It jerked
and slowly rising to its feet gathered the head and moved with measured
mechanical steps down the hill and along the lane to the church and there
placed her head on the altar before finally dying.

Soon after, Juthware became known as Saint Juthware and a shrine was
dedicated to her at the place of her martyrdom.

But the gruesome tale doesn't end there, for at one o'clock in the morning
on All Saints Day (1st November), Saint Juthware's ghost is said to return
to repeat the incident. She is said to be seen carrying her head in the lane
leading to Abbots Hill, alias Judith Hill.

The public house 'The Quiet Woman' is no longer run as a pub, but is now run
as a guest house for visitors by Gill and Paul Tebano visit
their website for more information "The Quiet Woman House."
Legend of the Quiet Woman

More on St. Juthware at:

St. Dofgan, Martyr of Wales

These Lives are archived at:


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