The Golden Legend
The Life of Saint Aldhelm
Here followeth the life of Saint Aldhelm.

Saint Aldhelm the confessor was born in England. His father highs Kenton; he was brother unto Ina, king of this land, and when king Ina was dead, Kenton was made king after him, and then this holy child Aldhelm was set to school in the house of Malmesbury, where afterward he was made abbot. And then he did there great cost in building and did do make there a full royal abbey. And when the pope heard of his great holiness, he sent for him to come to Rome, and when he was there the pope welcomed him and was much glad of his good living, and there he abode long time with the pope, and gat full great privileges and liberties to the house of Malmesbury, in such wise that no bishop in England should visit ne have to do there, ne the king to let them of their free election, but chose their abbot among the convent themselves. And when he had gotten all this of the pope he was full glad and joyful, and lived there holily a long time. And on a day he said mass in the church of Saint John Lateran, and when mass was done, there was no man that would take his chasuble from him at the end of the mass, and then he saw the sunbeam shine through the glass window, and hung his chasuble thereon, whereof all the people marvelled greatly of that miracle, and the same chasuble is yet at Malmesbury, the colour thereof is purple. And within short time after, he came again into England, and brought with him many privileges under the pope's seal, which after, king Ina confirmed all that the pope had granted to the house of Malmesbury. This was about the year of our Lord seven hundred and six. And that time there fell a great variance among the bishops of this land for the holding of Easter day, but Saint Aldhelm made a book that all men should know for ever when Easter day should fall, the which book is yet at Malmesbury. And that abbey he did do make in the worship of our blessed Lady. And Brightwold that was archbishop of Canterbury heard of Aldhelm's holy living, and he sent for him to be his chancellor, and they lived together full holily long time, and each was full glad and joyful of the other.

And on a day as they stood at the seaside by Dover Castle, they saw a ship laden with merchandise not far from them, and Saint Aldhelm called to them to wit if they had any ornaments longing to holy church within their ship to sell. But the merchants had disdain of him, and thought he was not of power to buy such things as they had to sell, and departed from the holy man. But anon fell on them so great a tempest that they were in peril for to perish, and then one of them said: We suffer this trouble because we had disdain of the words of yonder holy man, and therefore let us all meekly desire him to pray for us to our Lord Jesu Christ. They did so, and anon the tempest ceased, and then they came to this holy man and brought to him a full fair Bible, the which is yet at Malmesbury unto this day. And four years before his death he was made bishop of Dorset by the archbishop of Canterbury and by other bishops, but within short time after he died, and lieth buried at Malmesbury thereas he was abbot. And after that Saint Egewin came to offer at his tomb, fettered with chains of iron fast locked, and from thence he went so to Rome to the pope, alway wearing those fetters which was to him great pain, God reward him his meed. And Saint Aldhelm, ere he died, cursed all them that did any wrong in breaking of the privileges of the said abbey of Malmesbury, and them that help the house to maintain God's service shall have God's blessing and his. And when he had lain long in the earth he was translated, and laid in a full rich shrine, whereas our Lord showeth daily for his holy servant many fair miracles. Then let us pray Saint Aldhelm to pray for us unto our Lord God, that we may in this wretched vale of this world so bewail our sins and amend our living that we may come to everlasting life in heaven. Amen.

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