Miracles in the Canonization of Saint Osmond

Saint Osmund was the nephew of William the Conqueror, being the son of Henry Count of Seez, by Isabella, daughter of Robert, Duke of Normandy. Herman, his predecessor as Bishop, held the two sees of Ramsbury and Sherborne, which were united at Old Sarum in 1075. Osmund succeeded Herman in 1078. The Cathedral at Old Sarum may have been begun by Herman, but the greater part of it at any rate was built by Osmund, who not only built the Cathedral, but provided for its service by forming a Cathedral Chapter of Secular Canons. He modelled his Chapter upon that of Bayeux in Normandy and endowed it with lands, of which part had belonged to the Old Episcopal sees of Ramsbury and Sherborne, and part was his own property as Earl of Dorset, having been bestowed upon him with that title by William the Conqueror. For a time Osmund was Chancellor to the King, and he was employed in the compilation of Domesday Book. He also, according to tradition, arranged the offices or services known as the “Use of Sarum,” which “use,” in the later form that was probably the work of Bishop Richard Poore, was afterwards adopted by the greater part of England.

The memory of Saint Osmund seems to have been highly venerated from a very early period. His chasuble, and a broken pastoral staff which had belonged to him, are mentioned among the treasures of the Cathedral in 1222, and so early as 1228 Bishop Richard Poore and his Chapter presented a petition for his Canonization to Pope Gregory IX, who thereupon issued a commission of enquiry into the merits of his life and miracles.

The process of Canonization in the mediaeval Church was as follows. Upon the receipt of a petition for Canonization the Pope ordered an enquiry to be made, and issued such a commission as is mentioned above. When the report of the Commissioners had been received, a formal process was drawn up, and three Cardinals (usually Bishop, Priest and Deacon, and of three different nations) examined the evidence and reported upon it to the Consistory. The Pope in Council then considered the alleged miracles one by one, and decided whether the life of the candidate had attained a sufficiently high standard of holiness to merit Canonization, If this examination was favourable to the petition the whole matter was submitted to the Archbishops and Bishops then at Rome; and if all were agreed, in another Consistory the place and time of publication of the Bull of Canonization were announced.

No result was arrived at by the proceedings in 1228, and subsequent efforts made a century and a half later, in the time of Bishop Ralph Erghura, met with no better success, partly, no doubt, owing to the differences which existed between the Bishop and the Chapter and partly to the Papal schism.

Bishop Halam (1408—1417) presented a fresh petition, and although the consideration of it was arrested by the death of the Cardinal to whom it was referred by Pope Gregory XII, the matter was not allowed to drop, and in 1416 John Chandler, the Dean (who succeeded Cardinal Halam as Bishop of Salisbury in 1417), summoned a Chapter to meet on the 4th of May for the express purpose of making arrangements to press forward the claim for the desired Canonization.

On the appointed day, after the “Missa de Sancto Spiritu” had been sung by the Dean at the High Altar, the Dean and Canons, with the chaplains of Chantries and other ministers of the Church, “etaliiquam plures in multitudine copiosa,” proceeded to the Chapter House, where Richard Ullerston, S.T.P., who had at one time held the office of Chancellor of the University of Oxford, preached a sermon setting forth the merits of Bishop Osmund and his claims to Canonization. This sermon, written upon paper by Ullerston’s own hand, as is particularly mentioned, is inserted in the Chapter Register, and is thought to be of sufficient interest to be printed in an Appendix. There cannot be many instances of a sermon nearly five hundred years old existing in the original manuscript of the preacher.

Ways and means were discussed, and, after several meetings and adjournments, an Act of Chapter was made on the 22nd of July, by which the Canons agreed to pay annually for seven years a tenth part of the income of their prebends, according to the ancient valuation, towards the expenses of the Canonization, and also to appropriate to the like purpose the entrance fees of Canons who took up residence during the same period.

According to the original scheme of Saint Osmund every Canon was obliged to reside constantly, except when in attendance upon the King, the Archbishop, or the Bishop, with leave of absence, if necessary, for four months in the year when engaged upon the business of the Cathedral or of his own prebend. Difficulties arose owing to the great expense of residence, and it was not every Canon who was able to build himself a house of residence in the Close, so the strict rule came to be relaxed, and the time of compulsory residence was shortened; but in order that the absence of the Canons should not entail any neglect of the services of the Church, each Canon kept a competent deputy or Vicar to discharge his duties when he was absent. It was open to every Canon to reside if he chose, and the Communa, or Common fund, was divisible among those that did so, who, it was considered, “bore the burden and heat of the day.” Thus the nonresident had his prebend, and the resident his prebend and his share of the Communa as well. Since, however, few were able to bear the expenses involved by full residence, we find sometimes notices of canonical houses being left unoccupied, no one being willing to accept them. By degrees the Communa became increased by oblations, obits, and gifts, and the position changed, so that in the place of a tendency to avoid residence there arose a general desire among the Canons to reside. This led to the invention of various devices to hinder the taking up of residence, because the admission of a new resident reduced the share of the Communa received by those who already participated in it. A rule was consequently made that every Canon who took up residence should give upon his entrance a series of costly entertainments to the Bishop, the Dean, and his fellow Canons. These entertainments were afterwards compounded for by money payments, which varied at different times, until by an arrangement made in January, 14ft, it was settled that one of the chief dignitaries upon coming into residence should pay one hundred pounds and one hundred shillings, and a Canonicus simplex one hundred marks and one hundred shillings. The hundred pounds and the hundred marks were divided among the other residents, the hundred shillings, in each case, went to the Vicars and the Choristers. Of course it was intended that those who had taken up residence should really reside and perform the services of the Church; but the same tendencies which had formerly led the original body of Canons to shirk residence began before long to exhibit themselves in the smaller body of residentiaries, the number was gradually reduced, and the period of residence shortened. Residence is now regulated by Act of Parliament, and in the place of the full body of Canons intended by Saint Osmund to be continually resident and present in choir, we have four Canons, who are only bound to reside one at a time for a period of three months each.

To return to the proceedings in 1416. Two receivers were appointed, and it was agreed that the Canons’ contributions should be paid on the Purification and Michaelmas Day, and should be put into a chest with two keys, of which each receiver kept one.

There is no record of the payments, but it is to be presumed that they were regularly made, as we find that action was taken within a few years from the date of the Act of Chapter; a petition was presented, and in 1424 three Cardinals, under a commission from the Pope, began their examination of the evidence. The principal part of this book consists of two collections of documents, both of which are preserved in the muniment room of Salisbury Cathedral. Part I. contains the record of the examination of evidence above mentioned, and copies of many documents, the whole being formally certified by a Notary Public and dated in December, 1424. This is a parchment book of seventy-six folios, on the cover of which is written “Registrum in causa canonizacionis beati viri Osmundi olim Saresbiriensis Episcopi in Anglia.” The pages measure 14.5 inches by 10.25 inches, of which the writing occupies about 9.25 inches by 5.5 inches; broad margins are thus left upon which are written contemporary notes giving a summary of the different documents, and a few others by later hands, including those of Richard Drake, Chancellor of the Cathedral (1663— 1681), and Bishop Seth Ward (1667—1689).

After a preliminary notarial statement, the petition of Bishop Chandler and the Dean and Chapter is set out in full. The petitioners recount the claims of Bishop Osmund to canonization, particularly calling attention to the foundation of the Chapter, to the endowment by him of the dignitaries and canons, to his gifts of books and ornaments for the Cathedral, to the rules which he made for the government of the church, and to the many miracles which were wrought through his merits. The petition then recites the former application to Pope Gregory IX, and the issue by him of a commission to the Bishops of Bath and Coventry and the Abbat of Stanley to inquire into the miracles, and how the record of the evidence which they took was preserved in the archives of the Cathedral. It is then shown how it was owing to the supineness of those entrusted with the conduct of the business and the vicissitudes of the times that no further progress was made until the time of Pope Gregory XII, who, upon the petition of Bishop Halam (as mentioned above), issued in March 1411 a commission of enquiry to Franciscus Huguccionus Urbinas, Archbishop of Bordeaux, presb. Cardinal SS. Quatuor Coronatorum, who died in 1413 before completing his task. Finally, the then present Bishop of Salisbury and the Dean and Chapter, in order that “Thesaurus tempore absconditus Christifidelibus ostendatur et tamquam lucerna lucens adaliorum exemplar et instructionem Christifidelibus pateat,” presented a further petition to Pope Martin V, which was supported by letters from the King, Henry V, to His Holiness and the College of Cardinals. In consequence of this petition a fresh commission was issued to the Bishop of Trieste, then Papal Nuncio in England, and the Bishops of Winchester and Hereford, and thereupon the Bishop and the Dean and Chapter beseech the Holy Father to complete the Canonization, and to enroll the name of Osmund in the catalogue of saints.

There then follows a long record of formal proceedings, including the appointments of Johannes de Scribanis as proctor for the Bishop and the Dean and Chapter, and of the Abbat of Bindon and the Prior of Breamore as delegates or deputies for the Commissioners.

The whole history of the matter is again set out, and the delegates of the Commissioners make their report.

They report that they have personally examined the documentary evidence preserved in the archives of the Cathedral, the record in Higden’s Policronicon, and the statement and petition presented to Pope Gregory XII, and have had authentic copies made of them, and have taken the evidence of witnesses as to the miracles, and they send the whole to their principals the Commissioners.

This inquiry by the Abbat and Prior occupied from the 18th of January 1423 to the 12th of May following.

The copies of the documents examined then follow, among the most curious of which are the certified copies of the evidence of the witnesses to the miracles, taken from the records preserved in the archives of the Cathedral.

The evidence of the first witness relates the cure of a case of rupture, or hernia; that of a case of necrosis of the lower jaw; and the recovery of a paralytic man who was wont to lie at the gate of Salisbury Castle (Old Sarum).

The second witness corroborates the first as to the cures of the rupture and the diseased jaw-bone, and gives further particulars of the cure of the paralytic. He also says that he knows of more than a hundred cures of toothache.

The third witness confirms the account of the cure of the diseased jaw-bone, and deposes to the cure of another case of rupture, and confirms the evidence as to the cures of tooth-ache. He also says that whilst praying at Bishop Osmund’s tomb he has noticed a most delicious odour to issue from between two stones. (The “odour of sanctity” was more than a figurative expression. The dead body of a holy person was believed actually to emit a sweet-smelling odour.)

The fourth witness confirms some of the above-mentioned miracles, and adds that in the case of the diseased jaw-bone the dead bone fell away while the sufferer was rubbing his jaw upon the tomb.

The fifth witness, who was Sub-dean, gives further particulars of the cure of the paralytic man. He tells a curious story of how he had been absent for some time, and upon his return found the paralytic man, to whom he had been accustomed to give alms as he went in and out of the gate, walking in the Cathedral. The Canons of the Church who were present wished to sing the Te Deum in honour of the cure, but had not dared to do so on account of the general interdict which then lay upon England. In their doubt they asked the advice of the Sub-dean, who, after satisfying himself as to the performance of the miracle, caused the Te Deum to be sung “sub silencio.”

The sixth witness, a priest, repeats the story of the cure of the paralytic, with the addition that it had been revealed in a vision to the sick man, that he would be made whole if he was carried to the tomb of Bishop Osmund. He also says that the witnesses were examined by the Chapter at the time, and that he himself deposited the evidence in the treasury of the Cathedral; and he gives a glimpse of the troubles of John’s reign by adding that the documents, with many others, were lost “tempore hostilitatis.”

The seventh witness was he who had formerly given shelter to the paralytic man; he gives further particulars of his sufferings and cure, and confirms the story of the vision.

The eighth witness was a woman who had lost the power of suckling her child, and recovered it after praying for relief “pro mentis et amore Osmundi episcopi.” She also confirms the story of the miraculous cure of the paralytic man, and of the vision that appeared to him, and adds that the Succentor made a sermon upon the occasion.

The ninth witness was the husband of the last, and confirms her testimony.

The tenth witness, a widow named Margaret, tells of the recovery of a woman named Julia, who was mad, and rent her clothes, and spat upon the Cross. The mad woman was brought to the tomb of Bishop Osmund, and remained there for four or five nights, and so was cured. She was still living, and paid a yearly visit to the tomb. The witness also says that she saw another case of a mad woman who was cured in the same way; and being asked when it happened, she says that it was during the time of the interdict, as neither were the bells rung nor the Te Deum chanted. She also speaks of a girl who was mad being restored to her senses at the tomb; and says that she herself was in like manner cured of pains in the legs; and that once she saw the lights about the tomb extinguished and relighted by themselves, when there was no one there who could have relighted them, nor was there any other light near.

The eleventh witness confirms what the tenth said as to the cure of the mad people.

The twelfth witness deposes, that one day when he was sitting irreverently upon the tomb of Osmund the Bishop, he was suddenly seized with a severe headache, so that it seemed as if his eyes would start out of his head. Upon going thence home to dinner he was in such pain that he could not eat. His companion asked him why he ate nothing; he replied, “I have a very great pain in my head.” “When,” said the other, “did that pain seize you?” “To-day, when I was sitting upon the tomb of Osmund the Bishop;” and his companion said, “Miserable man ! go quickly and pray the saint that he forgive you your lack of reverence.” And forthwith he went, and, whilst he was praying devoutly and with tears, he was cured. This witness also tells of an ancient sacristan named William who had often seen Bishop Osmund, in the night time, go to the altar to cense it.

The next five witnesses speak of Alice the daughter of Richard Bremmore being cured of madness when she was brought to the Bishop’s tomb.

The next six witnesses recount the circumstances connected with the restoration to life of a child who was apparently drowned. It seems as if the recovery of the child was certainly assisted by the sensible action of two women, who wrapped him in blankets and kept him near a fire. Here there is a curious mention of the making of a candle of the same length as the child, which was offered at the tomb of the Bishop when his assistance was invoked.

The five following witnesses depose to the recovery of two boys, who were mad; and the twenty-ninth, and last, gives an account of the restoration of sight to a woman who had already fruitlessly visited many other shrines.

The evidence of all these twenty-nine witnesses was taken, as mentioned before, from the certified records which had been preserved among the archives of the Cathedral.

Then follows a copy of a letter from Dean William de Wanda (1220—1236) and the Chapter, thanking Pope Gregory IX for his attention to their petition. No bishop’s name is mentioned in this letter, so it was probably written between May, 1228, when Bishop Richard Poore was translated to Durham, and May, 1229, when his successor at Salisbury, Robert Bingham, was consecrated.

Osmund’s foundation Charter is then set out at full length, with all the signatures, and an elaborate description of the Royal Seal; which is followed by an account of the foundation and endowment of the Cathedral Chapter, and the composition of the consuetudinary ” quo fere tota Anglia utitur et Wallia et eciam “Hibernia.” It is also stated that Osmund wrote a life of Saint Aldhelm, the first Bishop of Sherborne, and that “libros scribere “ligare et illuminare non fastidiuit.”

Then follows, at full length, the “Institucio Osmundi,” which is explanatory of the Consuetudinary and defines the positions and duties of the Dean, Precentor, Chancellor, and Treasurer, the Archdeacons, the Subdean and Succentor, and the other Canons.

The next document is a schedule of the ornaments given by Osmund to the Cathedral, which is followed by the passage from Higden’s Policronicon, referring to Osmund and his many memorable works. In the Introduction to the Osmund Register (Rolls series), Vol. I. p. xiv., Canon Rich Jones quotes a part of this passage as being from Brompton’s Chronicle and written within a hundred years of Osmund’s death, and consequently quoted by Higden from Brompton. There were, however, two John Bromptons Abbats of Jervaulx, and the late Mr. Henry Bradshaw was of opinion that the writer of Brompton’s Chronicle, from which Canon Rich Jones quoted, was the later Brompton, who lived in the 15th century, and that he quoted Higden. In that case the authority for the passage dates from the middle of the 14th century, and not from the 12th, as Canon Rich Jones supposed.

We then have the “proposicio,” or statement, made by the Archbishop of Bordeaux to Pope Gregory XII in 1411; in it are recounted the virtues and merits of Bishop Osmund, as before, and the desire of the Bishop (Halam) and the Dean and Chapter for the issue of a Commission of enquiry.

After this come the depositions of witnesses to miracles taken upon their personal examination, the former evidence of the same nature having been supplied from the archives of the Cathedral.

The first witness, John Golde, the Chaplain of the free chapel within the Royal Castle of Salisbury, and formerly a Vicar in the Cathedral, speaks first of the ancient traditions of Osmund’s foundation and endowment of the Cathedral Chapter, and of his compilation of “The Use of Salisbury.” He then mentions a cure of gout which was within his own knowledge, and the restoration of a maniac to his senses. In this last case the sufferer placed his head and his hands “in quodam foramine eiusdem tumbe.” On the bench between the south aisle and the nave of the Cathedral there is a tomb which is called that of Lord Stourton, who died in Queen Elizabeth’s time. The tomb is obviously some centuries older than that, and it has been suggested that it may form part of the original tomb of Saint Osmund. There are three ” foramina,” or apertures, in the side quite large enough to admit a man’s head and shoulders, and apertures of this kind were made in shrines and tombs of saints for the purpose of exhibiting relics. John Golde then deposes to two cases of recovery from drowning, and a cure of headache through the merits of Bishop Osmund, and finally to the general reverence paid to his memory, and how the people flocked to his tomb for the cure of blindness, lameness, and other infirmities, and to the widespread desire for his formal canonization.

The second witness merely confirms John Golde’s testimony.

The third speaks of the resuscitation of a drowned child, a recovery from fever, and the restoration of sight lost by an accident.

The fourth witness is a woman, who tells how, two years before, upon the anniversary of Bishop Osmund, her daughter Agnes, fourteen years old, fell from a high place upon a spit, hot from the fire, which had been carelessly left point upwards. The spit entered the lower part of the girl’s stomach and came out between her shoulders. The mother pulled it out, and she and her husband and neighbours fell on their knees and prayed to God, the Virgin, and Bishop Osmund, for the restoration of the life of the girl, whom they thought to be dead, vowing a solemn visit to the tomb of the Bishop. In a short time the girl revived in ten days she was well, the solemn visit to the tomb was duly made, and a short time afterwards the girl became a nun in the Convent of Amesbury, where she was still living in good health The mother’s account is confirmed by her husband John Bromley two of the neighbours, Matilda Stubbys and Nicholas Bray, and the girl herself.

The ninth witness, Lawrence Fyton “generosus,” relates how, when he was living with Richard Wyche, a Canon of Salisbury, the Canon’s servant, John Hoggys, fell so seriously ill that he was thought to be dead. The Canon and his Chaplain, Symon Longe, in their grief, called upon God, the Virgin, and Osmund the Bishop, and placed money upon the body of the sick man, vowing to give it as an offering to the blessed Osmund. Immediately upon this vow being made John Hoggys rose up, and the next day paid a solemn visit to the tomb.

The tenth witness, Thomas Adekyn, after confirming the testimony of the former witness, tells of the cure of what seems to have been a case of cramp, and is confirmed by the eleventh and twelfth witnesses.

The thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth witnesses speak of an accident which happened when the villagers were playing at quoits at Larkestock (Laverstock). There is another account of this miracle in one of the Chapter Act Books (Harding fo. 25). Richard Wodewell threw a quoit which struck a girl named Cristina Cerlee upon the head. Richard Wodewell’s own evidence implies that he with others remained praying by the body of the injured girl, and vowing a solemn visit to Bishop Osmund’s tomb; the other account says that he fled to the Cathedral for safety and protection, “saying that he had killed a girl.” The girl, however, recovered and lived for six years afterwards, the solemn visit to the Bishop’s tomb was paid, and Cristina Cerlee there made an offering of the quoit.

The sixteenth witness tells of the same miracle, and of how Ralph Selby, a Canon of Salisbury, recovered from illness upon praying to God and Osmund the Bishop.

The seventeenth witness corroborates some of the former witnesses, and tells how he was cured of a defect of sight.

The eighteenth witness gives an account of the cure of a man who had been stabbed, and is corroborated by the nineteenth, who was present when the wounded man and he who had stabbed him paid a visit to the tomb, and deposited there the dagger with which the wound was given.

John Dygon, LL.B., the twentieth witness, tells how when George Louthorp, Canon and Treasurer of the Cathedral, was so ill as to have lost the power of speech, he, the deponent, paid a secret visit to Bishop Osmund’s tomb to pray for him, and how the sick man thereupon recovered. Dygon proceeds to tell a story which only rested on tradition. While Osmund the Bishop was still living, a certain man who lived near Salisbury had been on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and on his return was waiting for a ship at Jaffa, or Joppa, when there appeared to him in his sleep a most beautiful woman, who said to him, “Whence art thou, and of what nation?” he replied, “I am an Englishman and live near the city of Salisbury.” She then asked him “Dost thou know that good man Osmund the Bishop of Salisbury?” and he answered “I know him well.” Then the woman again said “Take this letter, sealed by my hands, and carry it to thine own land, and give it to the same good Bishop Osmund, with these words, ‘Thy mistress salutes thee and has sent thee this letter from Jaffa.’” And she gave him a sign of good faith, touching him with her hand upon his bare breast, insomuch that the mark of each of her fingers remained during the whole of his life upon his breast. And when he awoke he saw the letter in his hand and the marks upon his breast, and forthwith found himself in his own country, and near to the City of Salisbury, and that through the merits and prayers of the said good man Osmund the Bishop. And forthwith he went to Osmund the Bishop, and gave him the letter, and showed him the marks of the fingers impressed upon his breast.

The twenty-first witness, Peter Benham, the Succentor, corroborates the previous witness, as does the twenty-second, John Hamme, who adds that the pilgrim belonged to the village of Bemerton, and upon his awaking found himself by the Hospital of Saint John, near the City of Salisbury.

The twenty-third witness agrees with those preceding him.

The twenty-fourth, twenty-fifth, and twenty sixth witnesses gives an account of the recovery of a child that was apparently drowned.

The twenty-seventh witness, John Combe, of Quidhampton, tells how, ten years before, his neighbours were playing at ball with great clubs (was this an early form of Cricket?) in the village of Bemerton, when they quarrelled over the game. The witness interposed and tried to make peace, when one of the players struck him with his club, breaking his head and right shoulder, so that he lay sick and unable to hear or to see, or to move his head or his arm, for three months and more. At length there appeared to him, as he lay in pain, a man clothed in a white garment and shining so brightly as to illumine the whole house, who told him to make a model of his head and shoulders in wax, and to mark them with wounds similar to his own, and to go to Osmund the Bishop and make an offering of the wax model, and pray to him, and he should be made whole. And as soon as he awoke he felt relieved, and recovered his sight and hearing; and the same week he arose from his bed and went to the tomb of Bishop Osmund, and there offered prayer and thanks for the recovery of his health. And the fame and report of this had been, and was still, rife in the village of Quidhampton and the neighbourhood. This story and miracle are corroborated by the twenty-eighth witness.

The twenty-ninth, Thomas Prydews, of Amesbury, relates how his little boy of six years old fell upon a knife, which he had in his hand, and was wounded in the breast, so that he was thought to be dead; but upon prayers for his recovery being offered to God and Bishop Osmund, with a vow of a solemn visit to the tomb in Salisbury Cathedral, the boy opened his eyes and moved his lips, and upon his mother putting a few drops of drink into his mouth, he revived and within a short time recovered. Alice Prydews, the boy’s mother, corroborates her husband’s testimony.

The thirty-first witness relates the recovery of a boy from drowning, and is corroborated by the two following.

The thirty-fourth witness, William Hendyng, of Laverstock, was cutting a thorn tree at Farnham, bending it towards the ground, when it suddenly sprang up, and a sharp thorn pierced the pupil of his right eye, and he lost the sight of both eyes. And immediately, thinking upon the good Bishop Osmund, he prayed to God and the blessed Virgin and the said Osmund upon his knees, in the place where he was hurt, for the recovery of his sight. And within four days the sight of both eyes was fully restored. This witness is corroborated by Walter Masseday, of Laverstock, who had already given evidence in the case of the girl who was hurt by a quoit.

The thirty-sixth witness says that his wife was cured of toothache through prayer offered at the tomb of Bishop Osmund.

The thirty-seventh witness tells how his servant, who had since become his wife, was cured of a sudden sharp pain in her leg (very likely a ruptured muscle) by a visit to the tomb, where an offering was made of a candle of the same size as the body of the woman.

Gervase Brode, a friar, the thirty-eighth witness, relates the cure of a madman, whose hands were bound with fetters. As in a former case, he placed his hands in one of the “foramina” of the tomb, when the fetters fell off and he was cured.

The next miracle relates to a change in the colour of the dye in a dyer’s vat.

The fortieth and forty-first witnesses both say that they were cured of long-standing illness through the intervention of Bishop Osmund.

The forty-second tells how Thomas Rylee was sick almost to death, when he suddenly opened his eyes and called thrice upon Bishop Osmund; and being asked why he so cried out, he replied that Osmund the Bishop had thrust the end of his staff down his throat and so cleared it and healed him.

The forty-third witness, John at Bargh, “armiger,” relates how he and several of his neighbours were riding home from Salisbury, when Walter Romse was thrown from his horse and dragged by the stirrup. The witness and the others called for help upon God and Osmund the Bishop, and immediately Walter Romse’s foot was released from the stirrup, and he was so saved from death. And the witness adds that he was told in a dream to come and offer his evidence.

The forty-fourth witness was cured of a long-standing attack of gravel through prayer to Bishop Osmund.

The forty-fifth, Juliana, the wife of John Gardener, of Downton, had a little boy who was holding a sharp stick in his mouth, when he fell, and the stick pierced his palate almost to his brain, so that he seemed to be dead; but upon prayers being offered to God and Bishop Osmund he revived. She also tells how one of her neighbours was miraculously cured of a sudden effusion of blood, and is corroborated by her husband, the forty-sixth and last witness.

Thus thirty-three miracles were deposed to by forty-six witnesses, making, in all, with the written records of the earlier miracles, fifty-two miracles attested by seventy-five witnesses.

I have thought it worth while to refer at length to these miracles to show how Saint Osmund was regarded and venerated as a saint many years before he was actually canonized. Much stress was laid upon this thirty years later when the final and successful effort to obtain his Canonization was made. Formal notarial certificates follow, and citations of persons wishing to oppose the Canonization, and the final petition of Johannes de Scribanis, the proctor for the Bishop and the Dean and Chapter, that the whole process may be submitted to His Holiness the Pope, to the end that he may complete the Canonization. There is then, at the end of all, a notarial certificate or verification of the whole of the foregoing documents, the date being December, 1424.

This text from is the “Introduction” of the book The Canonization of Saint Osmond from the manuscript records in the muniment room of Salisbury Cathedral, by Arthur Russell Malden, M.A., Chapter Clerk, Salisbury, England; it was printed in 1901. The chapters, correspondence and appendices which are summarized and referred to in this introduction make up the bulk of the material in the book, but are entirely in Latin and beyond the scope of this web site. Interested parties may find a scan of the original text at http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924029423773