Tuesday, April 29, 2014

St Modwen, Red Hair and Childbirth

I've been reading a book about Thomas Cromwell by Robert Hutchinson. It mentions how superstitious idols were removed from churches and shrines by Cromwell and his reformers. This passage of text recording two images taken from the Midlands caught my eye;
The image of St Anne of Buxton and also the image of St Modwen of Burton, with her red hair and her staff which women labouring of child in those parts were very desirous to have with them to lean upon and walk with and had great confidence in the staff.
According to Wikipedia Modwen (also Modwenna) was an English nun and saint. The phrase with her red hair and her staff suggests to me that these were things commonly associated with her and not just arbitrary observations. It's an interesting image to contend with.

The name Modwen could be a variant of Maudlin or Magdalene. Modwenna has echoes of Madonna. The Madonna with Child no doubt.

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