was a Brythonic virgin
, who probably lived in the 6th century
. Her relics
during the reign of Ethelred the Unready
. Nothing further is known with certainty about her life.
Her name is how she is known in Anglo-Saxon, apparently a corruption of the Brythonic Aud Wyry (meaning Aud the Virgin), the name by which she is known in Brittany. She was said to have been the sister of Paul Aurelian, Sidwell of Exeter and Wulvela but this is hotly debated.
of Saint Juthwara is known from John Capgrave
's Nova Legenda Angliae
, after John of Tynemouth
. According to this, she was a pious girl who was the victim of a jealous stepmother
. She prayed and fasted often, and frequently gave alms
. Upon the death of her father, she began to suffer a pain in her chest. Its source was ascribed to her sorrow and austerities. As a remedy, her stepmother recommended two soft cheeses
be applied to her breasts, telling her own son, Bana, that Juthwara was pregnant
. Bana felt her underclothes and found them moist, whereupon he immediately struck off her head. A spring of water appeared at the spot. Bana then carried her head back to the church. Bana repented of his deed and became a monk
, founding a monastery of Gerber (later known as Le Relecq) on a battlefield.
Juthwara's death took place at Halyngstoka
, generally accepted as Halstock
in Dorset, where local tradition points to a field still called by her name, modernised to 'Judith'. Baring-Gould
and Fisher suggested instead Lanteglos-by-Camelford
where the church is now named for Saint Julitta
, but may have originally borne Juthwara's name. The neighbouring parish
is dedicated to her sisters. This theory is now generally discounted.
Juthwara's feast day
is 18 November
. Her translation is generally held to be 13 July
, although one source gives 6 January
. Her body was translated to Sherborne Abbey
in the early 11th century
and her shrine
remained a place of pilgrimage
there until the Dissolution
Juthwara is depicted on a number of altar screens in Devon, in company with her sister Sidwell. Her traditional emblem is a round soft cheese and/or a sword. She is depicted as a cephalophore in a late medieval statue in Guizeny, in Brittany.
- Baring-Gould, Sabine & Fisher, John. (1907). The Lives of the British Saints. The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion.
- Farmer, David Hugh. (1978). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Orme, Nicholas. (1992). Nicholas Roscarrock's Lives of the Saints: Cornwall and Devon. Devon and Cornwall Record Society.