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St. Owin
(Died AD 672)

Owin was an East Anglian who entered the service of Princess Etheldreda in childhood and rose to be steward or master of her household. Upon her second marriage, in AD 660, he accompanied her to on the long trek north to her husband's Kingdom of Northumbria. Tradition relates that, as he pursued this toilsome journey from the Fens around Ely, he erected crosses by the roadside to guide any burdened souls who might thereafter seek the abbey there as a haven of rest. However, when, to preserve her virginity, Etheldreda returned there herself in haste, Owin did not care to remain in the outer world without her. Recognising his own unfitness for study and meditation, he carried his spade to St. Chad at Lastingham (Yorks) and begged, not for repose, but for labour. "You shall read in your cell," he said, "and I will dig for you." Owin followed his new master to Lichfield and became a valuable member of his monastic household there. Shortly before Chad's death, he was privy to an audition of heavenly voices proclaiming the forthcoming event. He died himself, two days after his patron, on 4th March AD 672. He was buried in Lichfield Cathedral, though there is no trace of the canons having made anything of his relics. The only church dedication to a saint of this name is in Gloucestershire, but almost certainly refers to an unrelated Welshman.

 

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