St Cuthman, the wheelbarrow saint – Life now online in English

I have today completed my translation of the medieval “Life” of St Cuthman.  Unlike most anglosaxon saints, Cuthman was a peasant.  He founded the church of Steyning in Sussex.  He is noted for carrying his mother about with him in a wheelbarrow!

Here is the translation, together with the text that I translated and some introductory material:

The files may also be found at here.

As usual, these files are public domain.  Do whatever you like with them, whether personal, educational or commercial.

A 14th century manuscript, the Luttrell Psalter, preserves a depiction of a cart almost identical to St Cuthman’s wheelbarrow:

Luttrell psalter (BL add ms 42130), f.186r – medieval invalid carriage like St Cuthman’s wheelbarrow

It does not look very comfortable to me!

It has taken almost a year to complete the translation of this short piece, with a six month break for work in the middle.  I have worked on it fairly carefully, as a vehicle to add syntactical information to my Latin tool, QuickLatin.  No doubt it still contains errors, but it is the first complete English translation known to me.


5 thoughts on “St Cuthman, the wheelbarrow saint – Life now online in English

  1. Excellent work! Thank you for making available this piece of hagiographa about a 8th century Anglo-Saxon Christian from a 11th century monk’s perspective (and perhaps imagination). What is your opinion on how careful such composers were of hagiographa were in this time period to relate historical detail more than made-up fanciful narrative for public consumption and making money and prestige for the monastery?

  2. I find this image–and imagining it is St Cuthman carting his own debilitated mother–very moving. Thank you for posting it.

  3. The story of Cuthman’s mother is very moving indeed. Particularly the detail of the mother entreating him to leave her behind, and him staying with her until the end: some parents will do that out of love (“Don’t worry about me, I can manage”), and some children will see through them and disobey.
    Last July Pope Francis encouraged people to be specially mindful of the elderly in this weird time of isolation, and to use their ingenuity and take advantage of new technologies to accompany them, virtually if physically was not an option. St Cuthman with his sambucus rope would have been the perfect paradigm here.

  4. Yes it would, wouldn’t it? I wonder if Pope Francis has heard of St Cuthman. St Cuthman is a quirky saint. His legend is keeping his cult alive in protestant England, I think.

    Apologies for the silence on the blog. I had the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine a week ago, and I’m still getting side-effects.

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