In celebration of St. Martin’s Day: The Hidden Treasures of St. Martin’s, Bilborough

Here’s a piece I wrote for my department’s blog which may be of interest.


Happy San Martino!

November 11 marks the Feast Day of St Martin of Tours, a really rather fascinating  saint known for his charity (he famously divided his cloak to clothe a naked beggar) and humility, and a saint especially popular on the European Continent. St Martin is certainly a very busy patron saint, looking after – in no particular order – horsemen and horses, tailors and beggars, the poor and injured, barrel makers and drunks, but also curing alcoholics and cuckolded husbands.

In Italy, San Martino marks the day when the first tastes can be had of the new wine, chestnuts are roasted and, certainly in Venice, San Martino cakes are scoffed. In my little home parish in Germany, St. Martin’s would be celebrated as a festival of lights. At dusk, St Martin would ride through the streets, meet the beggar at the door of the church, divide his cloak…

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