St Petroc

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Abbot. Cornwall's most famous saint and early hunt saboteur. Petroc is said to have been the son of a Welsh chieftain. He studied in Ireland before settling in Cornwall in the 4th century.

Petroc founded a monastery at what is now called Padstow (Petroc's Stow). About 30 years later he established another monastery at Little Petherick, where he built a mill and a chapel. In his last years, Petroc lived as a hermit on Bodmin Moor. He built a cell there for himself by the river and a monastery for twelve monks who followed him.

St Petroc died at Treravel while on a journey visiting his other monasteries. He was buried at Padstow which became the centre of his cult.

His relics were later moved to Bodmin where they remain to this day. In 1177 a disgruntled canon took them off to the abbey of St Mewan in Brittany. Thanks to the intervention of King Henry II they were returned to Bodmin amidst great celebrations. This event has been revived as part of the Bodmin Riding and Heritage Festival. The actual reliquary survived the Reformation and the destruction of the shrine.

Petroc was greatly revered for centuries throughout Cornwall and Brittany, (where he is known as St Perreux). The saint had a special affinity with wild animals. One of his emblems is a stag - in memory of one he rescued from hunters. According to legend he also once tamed a dragon.

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