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[The Hermit St. Clair]
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Statue of St. Clair
   St. Clair
   Grady, Bowen
   trip report

The Hermit St. Clair, St. Clair-sur-Epte, France, visited June 26 2002

Statue of St. Clair Pictures by P., Annie, Mallory, and Gretchen from other visits.
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2002 20:10:27 EDT

By Susan M. Grady
Virginia Commissioner
Clan Sinclair Association, U.S.A.

high street This information was based on a visit to St. Clair-sur-Epte, France made by Susan M. Grady and Dr. A. Dane Bowen, Jr. on June 26, 2002. The mayor of St. Clair-sur-Epte gave them information written in French that was used in the preparation of this report. I also was given information by Mr. Philippe Sinclair.

The Hermit St. Clair was born in Rochester, Kent County, England around 845 A.D. His parents were wealthy. His father wanted him to marry a noble lady.

He refused to do so. He became a Christian and a hermit. God spoke to the Hermit St. Clair and told him to leave England and go to northern France. God wanted the hermit to serve Him in France. The Hermit St. Clair therefore fled to France. He moved from place to place. He was gifted at healing people's eye diseases and alleviating their mental distress.

holy well with acolyte Finally, he and his disciple, St. Cyrin, settled in St. Clair-sur-Epte, fifteen miles southwest of Gisors (Gisors is forty miles southeast of Rouen), France. He lived next to a well whose water was able to cure eye diseases. (The well is in a park in St. Clair-sur-Epte.)

The English lady sent two knights to France to find the hermit and kill him since the hermit had refused to marry her. On November 4, 884 A.D. these knights rode into St. Cliar-sur-Epte and asked the hermit, "Do you know a man named St. Clair?" The hermit replied, "No."

beheading stone As the knights were leaving the village, the hermit called them back. The hermit said, "I am the person you seek." The hermit felt that he had committed a sin against God by lying to the knights. One of the knights beheaded the hermit with his sword.

beheading stone The place where this act took place is in a walled enclosure with a gate. The enclosure is across from the well.

Church main door After he was beheaded, the Hermit St. Clair dipped his head in the water of the holy well, carried his head in his hands and walked to the center of St. Clair-sur-Epte where there was a small church. He entered the church and lay down to the left of the altar, where his tomb is today. The church is on the "Place Rollon", the main square of St. Clair-sur-Epte. The construction of the present church began in the 9th Century A.D.

Bones Formerly, the saint's bones were in a box suspended by chains from the ceiling of the church. Now, just to the left of the altar in the front of the church, the hermit's bones are in a clear glass case covered by a white lace cloth.

The hermit's head is not there. The knights had to take his head back to England and show it to the noble lady in order to prove they had killed the hermit. Once she had seen the head, she would have given them a reward for killing the hermit. The ship in which the knights were traveling sank crossing the English Channel and the head was lost.

Treaty window In the window above the glass case is a stained glass window, installed after World War I, commemorating the signing of the Treaty of St. Clair-sur-Epte between Rollo the Viking and King Charles the Simple of France in 911 A.D.

procession leaving the church The saint's feast day is July 16. On that day the case containing his bones is taken out of the church and paraded around the town.

Mairie To the left of the church on the Place Rollon is the mayor's office "La Mairie." You have to go up a flight of stone stairs to reach it. There is a French flag on top of the building. The people who work in the mayor's office will open the church for you and will open the enclosure that surrounds the place where the Hermit St. Clair was beheaded.

Last changed: $Date: 2002/08/25 19:30:02 $ [Clan Sinclair]