The Story of Saint Kenelm

Prince, King & Martyr


There are, in England, at least eight Anglican churches dedicated to Saint Kenelm and two Roman Catholic churches dedicated to Our Lady and Saint Kenelm. In the past there have been others.

But, so far as I know, apart from a translation of a medieval manuscript in an academic treatise, there has been no recent, full length account of the story of Saint Kenelm. Also, so far as I know, there never has been an account which has aimed to place the original, medieval legend directly in its historical context and to tell the story so that it conflicts as little as possible with 'real' history. My version of the story aims to rectify this omission - to merge legend and history without changing either. And, if there is a little invention - well, the inventions are appropriate to the situation and serve merely to help the flow of narrative.

There are many problems. Medieval writers were concerned with religious and political history, and the family life of Kenelm and his parents was ignored. The various versions of the legend are not entirely consistent one with another and they are mostly written in medieval Latin or Middle English, both of which leave scope for misinterpretation. Moreover, even modern histories differ in regard to the facts. I hope I have steered a reasonable course through the inconsistencies and those who are interested should read the postscript and see how I justify the story.

A postscript examines the legend in detail and attempts to distinguish probable truth from uncertain legend as well as providing some additional information about the legend today. There is an extensive bibliography.

The second edition includes a select anthology of poetry and other material directly relevant to the legend as well as a modern translation from the original Latin of the many miracles attributed to Saint Kenelm.

Book Cover

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The first edition of The Story of St Kenelm was published by the Romsley and Hunnington History Society in 1998.
ISBN 1 897934 16 5

A second, illustrated edition with substantial additional material was published by Exposure Publishing, Liskeard in 2007.
ISBN 978-1846859151