Saint Nicholas of Flüe; Died 21 March 1487

Saint Nicholas of Flüe

Nicholas was born in 1417 in Unterwalden, Switzerland.

Nicholas joined the army at age 21 and took part in many battles, including the Battle of Ragaz in 1446. Nicholas was a distinguished soldier and retired at age 37. It’s reported that he fought with a sword in one hand and a rosary in the other.

Nicholas received a mystical vision which he interpreted as his worldly life eating his spiritual life. After the vision Nicholas consulted with his wife and he left her, with her blessing and their 10 children to live as a hermit in Ranft.

Legend has it, Nicholas lived for 19 years with no food, only the Eucharist.

Nicholas continued to have visions and he was sought out for his wisdom and piety. In 1470 Pope Paul II granted the first indulgence to Nicholas’ sanctuary at Rantf.

Nicholas’s counsel prevented a civil war between the hostile factions in Switzerland. Letters thanking him for his counsel still survive in Switzerland.

Nicholas died on 21 March 1487 surrounded by his wife and children.

Nicholas was beatified in 1669 by Pope Clement IX. Nicholas was canonized St. Nicholas of Flüe in 1947 by Pope Pius XII.

Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of Switzerland and the Pontifical Swiss Guards. (Saint Nicholas of Flüe is not Santa Claus, although he is sometimes invoked as St. Klaus)


My Lord and my God, take from me everything that distances me from you.
My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to you.
My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to you.

~personal prayer of St. Nicholas of Flue

Killing the legend of buried Viking swords

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Swords found in early medieval graves don’t necessarily mark the final resting place of a warrior, new research suggests.

The international research, combining literary and archaeological data, borrows from ancient texts to challenges the long-held notion that swords found in excavated ancient gravesites bear the mark of a warrior.

Flinders University expert Dr Erin Sebo says the research team has found enough evidence to overturn one of the common assumptions in early medieval archaeology.

The study considered every description of, or reference to, a warrior burial in Old English or Old Norse literature, and found that none feature a sword, suggesting that it is highly unlikely that the presence of a sword indicates a warrior burial.

“If the presence of a sword in a grave doesn’t define a person’s status as a warrior, then perhaps we have to think in a completely different way about what a sword represented in the early medieval mortuary context,” says Dr Sebo, a lecturer in medieval literature at the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Flinders University.

The study, ‘A Double-edged Sword: Swords, Bodies, and Personhood in Early Medieval Archaeology and Literature‘ (2019) by Duncan Sayer, Erin Sebo and Kyle Hughes (Trinity College Dublin), is published in Journal of European Archaeology (ISSN 1461-9571).

Read the full Press Release on Flinders University

Medieval remains found on site of new United Utilities water pipeline near Bridekirk

Pipeline-ruins

Archaeologists investigating medieval ruins along the route of the new 100km pipeline near Cockermouth found an ancient skeleton and new clues to the area’s Roman past.

The discoveries were made in a field south of Bridekirk ahead of building work taking place and have just been revealed by United Utilities.

They came out of the blue for the archaeologists.

Buried under some backfill at the corner of the medieval building we found the remains of a skeleton laid out.

They were only expecting to find the remains of a medieval grange, or farm, discovered during earlier works on the site.

But as their painstakingly dug out the foundations, they found a perfectly-preserved skeleton laid carefully among the rubble in the floor, along with the footprint of another unknown structure.

They also found coins, pottery sherds, evidence of an oven or kiln, and pieces of specialised Roman heating tiles, which were used in the construction of under-floor heating systems in prestigious Roman buildings, known as hypocausts.

Phil Mann of CFA Archaeology said: “Literally as we took the grass off we exposed the foundations of the medieval building, but what we didn’t expect to find underneath were the foundations for a very unusual large Roman structure containing the remains of a kiln or oven with evidence of burning still present.

Read the full story on News&Star

Dr Sean Cunningham talks Prince Arthur at the National Archives

Prince Arthur cover

We featured Dr Sean Cunningham’s book Prince Arthur: The Tudor King Who Never Was a couple years ago on this site. Now you have chance to hear him talk about Prince Arthur and Henry VIII. Dr Cunningham will speak on Wednesday, 20 March at the National Archives. Prince Arthur: The Tudor King Who Never Was…

Australia is Going Medieval

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The Guardian Australia is running a video series highlighting different subcultures and communities bringing people together across the country. Going Medieval enters the chivalrous world of medieval reenactment in the Sydney suburb of St Ives, where passionate men and women dress up to fight, craft, eat, drink and make merry as characters from European history.

This medieval astrolabe is officially world’s oldest known such instrument

A mariner’s astrolabe recovered from the wreck of one of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama’s ships is now officially the oldest known such artifact, according to a new paper in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. The device is even going into the Guinness Book of World Records, along with the ship’s bell, now that the age of…

Long-lost Dark Ages abbey may have been found in Scotland

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Excavations led by DigVentures have unearthed traces of a huge circular ditch at a site in Coldingham where the abbey, founded by Aebbe, an Anglo-Saxon princess born in 615AD who became a Christian convert, is believed to have stood. The ditch is believed likely to be the ‘vallum’, a boundary surrounding the abbess’ religious establishment….

800 Medieval manuscripts now available online

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Over the last two years the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France worked together to catalog and digitize 800 medieval manuscripts. The project called, The Polonsky Foundation England and France Project: Manuscripts from the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, 700-1200 was created to make the manuscripts freely available online for…

Game of Thrones Season 8 Trailer

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Crusader skull stolen from Dublin church recovered

Crusader Skull

Last week we posted about an 800 year old Crusader body that was beheaded and the head stolen from an Irish church. Now we have some good news, the head has been recovered! ~The Archivist The skull of an 800-year-old skeleton known as the Crusader, which was stolen from the crypt of an Irish church,…

Uninhabited Irish Island Complete with Ancient Ruins Is Up for Sale

The West Coast of Ireland has some of the finest scenery in the British Isles and indeed Western Europe. Its many islands such as Achill are renowned for their wild beauty. If you have ever dreamed of owning one, you are in luck! A property website in Ireland has just listed a remote and historic…

The Queen appoints new members to the Order of the Garter

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The Most Noble Order of the Garter was founded by Henry III in 1348. Henry, his son Edward, The Black Prince and 24 other Knights were the founding members. Since inception, the order only allows 24 living members besides the King (or Queen) and the Prince of Wales Normally new Knights are appointed on St…

800-yr-old Crusader Body Beheaded in an Irish Church Vault

Local media in Dublin, Ireland are reporting a shocking story of a church dating back to the early Middle Ages which suffered an attack by vandals. Some mummies in its crypt have been desecrated including the famous 800-year-old cadaver known as the Crusader Mummy, which has been decapitated and the head has been stolen. Understandably,…

Game of Thrones Season 8 Posters

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John Morton Adversary of Richard III, Power Behind the Tudors by Stuart Bradley

John Morton

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the highest position in the English church, the ‘First Bishop’ of England. Throughout the Middle Ages there are iconic names associated with the position; Augustine, Hurbert Walter, Simon Sudbury, Stephen Langdon, Thomas Becket and John Morton. You don’t recall John Morton? He presided over the church during one of England’s…