Posted by: anna | May 10, 2010

St Newlina

Today (27 April) we commemorate the Holy Martyr Newlyna of Cornwall, (5th C). From Miss Dunbar:

St. Noyala or NOIALA, July 6, V. M., called in Brittany NOALUEN (white Noyala), sometimes NOALEUN. She is the same as the Cornish ST. NEWLYN. Patron of Pontivy, in the diocese of Veunes in Brittany. The legend told at Pontivy is that St. Noyala came from England to France with her nurse, and that they crossed the sea on a leaf. The chapel of Le Beze, not far from Beignan, marks the spot where she was beheaded by order of the tyrant Nizon, unknown in secular history. After this event, Noyala journeyed to Pontivy, carrying her head in her hands. During Lent many worshippers from the surrounding country
repair to her shrine. AA.SS.


legend in French, my translation with some help and some hindrance from google translate: ‘Noyale was the daughter of a king of Cambria (north-west England) and lived in the sixth century AD. She wanted to devote her life to God, but her father intended that she should marry. It was useless to resist; she could not turn him from his intention. She then decided to flee the country to become a hermit. Like many saints of England and Ireland, she chose Brittany.

Around the age of twenty, she set out for Brittany with her faithful servant. Like many saints coming across the Channel to Brittany, they crossed the sea on a strange boat: a tree branch. Arriving at the mouth of the river Blavet, they journeyed in search of a hermitage.

Not far from Bignan, near the village of Bezo, a local tyrant named Nisan fell in love with Noyale and decided to make her his wife. He had not counted on her unwavering commitment to devote herself to God, and she firmly refused. Nizan, irate, beheaded her on the spot.

At that moment, a miracle took place: Noyale took her head between her hands and continued her quest for a place of rest. Accompanied by her faithful servant, she came to Hemborh where they heard a woman swearing. And she decided to continue to seek a quiet place.

In the village of Noyal, they witnessed an argument and then continued their journey. A few kilometers further on, they took a little rest. Three drops of blood fell from the severed head, and in doing so made three fountains to spring forth. St Noyale planted her stick in the ground, which immediately turned into a hawthorn, while her servant’s spindle turned into a beech tree.

Having prayed and slept, the two women resumed their journey to finally halt a few miles away. St Noyale decided that she would stay and rest here in this quiet valley. She lay down and then passed away in peace. And it is in the actual place of the last sleep of St Noyale that a chapel was erected, dedicated to this young girl from central England.

The story of St Newlina in Cornwall is very similar – perhaps, appropriately, transplanted! After all Cornish and Breton are very closely related languages.
Holy Ste Noyale, pray to God for us.

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