Friday, 15 May 2009

Bishop Blaize

Bishop Blaize is believed to have been a bishop of Sebastea in Armenia who was martyred under the reign of Licinius in 298 AD. He received a message from God to go into the hills to escape persecution. Men hunting in the mountains discovered a cave surrounded by wild animals who were sick. Blaize walked among the animals, curing them of their illnesses. Recognizing Blaise as a bishop, they captured him to take him back for trial. On the way back, he talked a wolf into releasing a pig that belonged to a poor woman. When Blaize was sentenced to be starved to death, the woman, in gratitude, sneaked into the prison with food and candles. Finally Blaize was killed by the governor. He became the patron saint of clothworkers because it is alleged he was scourged with iron combs before being beheaded. He is also said to have saved a boy from choking and consequently is the relevant saint for throat ailments. The inn sign shows the Bishop holding a woolcomb, the symbol of his martyrdom.

This was the first public house to be built just outside the city walls and there has been a pub here in Commercial Road since 1327. The building looks like two terraced cottages with the higher leat running behind to Cricklepit Mill and, at one time, other fulling and gristing mills. Standing next to the drying racks for the woollen trade, the building was used in medieval times as a meeting place for the local mill owners. The lower leat used to run across the front of the building, and customers had to cross a small bridge to reach the entrance. The leat was covered over around the mid 1960s.

On Wednesday morning I was shown around the mill by a very helpful and knowledgeable young lady from Devon Wildlife Trust who mentioned, inter alia, the Bishop Blaize and it's connection with fulling. On the Internet I came across some information about the Bishop which also forms a nice link with the Trust. Blaize is the patron saint of wild animals because of his care for them. suggests that to follow in his footsteps one could take time as Saint Blaize did to find out how you can help wild animals. Find out what is being done to support and protect the wildlife in your area. There is wildlife everywhere, even in cities. Even a birdfeeder can help God's creatures survive. Aternatively, you could join your local Wildlife Trust.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your info re Bishop Blaize. There is a closed pub in Stockport where I live, near the market. We walked past it yesterday and as my daughter is soon to do a project on Stockport market I wanted to know who he was. I was disappointed that my first attempt only gave me info re pubs associated with Man Utd!!!!! So thank you for some sanity!

Scriptor Senex said...

Pleasure - glad it was helpful.