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 Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln

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Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln

Birth
Lincoln, City of Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England
Death 27 Aug 1255 (aged 8–9)
Lincoln, City of Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England
Burial Lincoln, City of Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England
Memorial ID 16356805 View Source
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Folk Figure. Said to have been born in Lincoln either the illegitimate son of a woman named Beatrice, or a widow's son. He disappeared July 31, 1255 after he had been seen with a group of local children. Searches were conducted but no sign of the boy turned up until almost a month later when his body was discovered in a well serving the house of a Jew variously called Copin, Jopin, or Joscefin. In an atmosphere of anti- semitism, Canon de Lexington of Lincoln Cathedral spread the rumor that the Jews habitually ritually murdered Christian children; Hugh was therefore given a burial in the cathedral with the honors of a martyr despite a complete lack of evidence to support the claim. Ninety-three Jews were arrested and Canon de Lexington forced a so-called confession to his pet theory from Copin under torture. Copin and 18 of his fellow prisoners were executed. The others ransomed their freedom, paying hefty fines, in an age when it was a fairly common practice to level accusations at Jews in order to extort money from them. No effort appears to have been made to discover whether anyone else might have murdered the boy, or whether his was a death by misadventure, which is by far the most likely case. French, Scottish, and English ballads of the day all made reference to the story; Chaucer refers to it at the beginning of his "Prioress' Tale." Although revered as a martyr for generations to follow, and called 'Little Saint Hugh' he was never canonized and was never a part of the official Catholic calender of saints. He must not be confused with the twelfth-century bishop of Lincoln, St. Hugh, who was adamantly opposed to anti-Semitism. The shrine built above the boy's tomb did not survive the reformation at which time it was demolished. In 1955, the Anglican Church placed a plaque by the remains of the Little St. Hugh shrine: "Trumped up stories of 'ritual murders' of Christian boys by Jewish communities were common throughout Europe during the Middle Ages and even much later. These fictions cost many innocent Jews their lives. Lincoln had its own legend and the alleged victim was buried in the Cathedral in the year 1255. Such stories do not redound to the credit of Christendom, and so we pray: Lord, forgive what we have been, amend what we are, and direct what we shall be."

Bio by: Iola

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: julia&keld
  • Added: 28 Oct 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 16356805
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/16356805/little-saint-hugh_of_lincoln : accessed ), memorial page for Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln (1246–27 Aug 1255), Find a Grave Memorial ID 16356805, citing Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln, City of Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England ; Maintained by Find a Grave .