GREAT BRITAIN OF MY HEART
IRELAND OF MY HEART
Glanstobury Abbey, 7th century
Holy Icon of Virgin Mary of Glastonbury
with Saints Indract & Dominica
Saint Indract, St Dominica & their Companions,
Martyrs in Shapwick, England, from Ireland (+718)
The Irish Saints at Glastonbury c.700
On this day in the Old English Calendar commemorated SS Indractus, Dominica and their Companions. We have to rely on William of Malmsbury for information about these Martyrs, who were venerated at Glastonbury Abbey. Indractus was an Irish chieftain, who had been to Rome on pilgrimage with his wife, Dominica, and nine others, and on their return journey they decided to visit the “Second Rome”, as Glastonbury was called, because of its holy associations.
There is a tradition that both S. Patrick and S. Bridget spent some time at Glastonbury, and there is a district called Beckery, where Bridget is supposed to have founded a Convent at the foot of Weary-all Hill. It was at Mass in the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene there, according to the History of John of Glastonbury, that King Arthur had the vision of the Cross and Our Lady with the Holy Child, which is commemorated in the Arms of the Abbey. Another Irish Saint claimed as a visitor to Glastonbury is Benignus, locally known as S. Bennings, who was servant and successor to S. Patrick. He settled at Meare three miles to the west, where he died, and his body was translated to the Abbey in 901, some four hundred years later.
These Irish connections may well have been an added attraction to Indractus and his fellow pilgrims, who settled in the district of Shapwick. The local people were heathen and thought the party were wealthy merchants, whereas their scrips only contained parsley and other seeds to be taken back to Ireland, and their pilgrim staves were tipped with brass and not gold. When they had killed them, the natives threw their bodies into a deep pit, but a column of light appeared by night revealing the grave of the Christian martyrs. Their bodies were taken up and buried in the Abbey in the eighth century during the restoration under King Ina.
Glastonbury Abbey, England