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May 23rd 1226

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St William of Perth

Saint William of Perth is one of the more obscure saints who is hardly known even in Perth itself. William was a baker by trade who demonstrated his religious principles in the most practical way possible by tithing, that is, giving away a tenth, of his loaves to the poor.

He adopted a young destitute boy named Cockermay Dovine and the two of them departed from the city on a pilgrimage to Canterbury. However, near Rochester, young Dovine, perhaps tiring of the life of poverty, or as local reports affirmed “instigated by the Devil,”  struck William with an axe and then proceeded to cut his throat. Later, his corpse was discovered by a mad woman who washed the mutilated body in a nearby stream. Her reason was miraculously restored and she brought William back to Rochester in triumph.

Such evidence of miraculous powers resulted in the remains being buried within Rochester Cathedral. This proved to be an excellent move and a stream of “miraculous cures”  took place at his tomb. So much money was offered at his shrine that it became possible to rebuild the cathedral choir and transept from the proceeds. He was canonised and became so successful as a saint that the people of Rochester claimed him as one of their own and he has been transformed in the Catholic Calendar from St William of Perth into St William of Rochester.

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