Informal learning – Canterbury and St Radigund

I can’t help myself really. I always want to know more about places I visit so collect a random jumble of knowledge as I potter about the world.
In Canterbury I came across St Radigund Street and wonder who it was. I know quite a bit about the Celtic saints but not much about other early ones so I was intrigued. Andy added that there were other streets in the south west named after this saint.

Radegond retires to the monastry
Radegond retires to the monastry

I did a little digging and discovered that Radegund was a Frankish princess from the 6th century. Though she married and became a queen she devoted herself to the church and escaped to a monastic life.  A very early example of a learned and powerful woman in the church some of her writings remain. I quite liked this poem which she wrote to her cousin:

If the monastery’s sacred cloister did not keep me back,
I’d come unheralded to the region where you bide.
Swift would I pass by ship through tempest-tossed waves
Racing gladly through the gales of wintry water.

For love of you would I press more strongly through shifting tides;
What sailors dread would never make my quake.
If the wave broke the keel in the perilous waters,
I would still seek you rowing on the surface of the sea.

If by unlucky chance, the planks refused to bear me,
I would come to you exhausted from swimming.
At sight of you, I would deny the journey’s perils
For that would sweetly take the sorrow from the wreck.
[McNamara & Halborg, p.68]

You can read much more about her on this site

I don’t really know what her association with Canterbury is but an abbey in Dover was named after her in 1191.

Trivial and informal as this learning is I’m glad to know who she was. It satisfies an itch, like finding a missing jigsaw piece. And then there came the faintest feeling that I’d heard this name before. An album from my dim and distant past?

Oh yes – here it is!

St Radigunds Spirogyra

Spirogryra –  originally from Bolton their first album was named after the street they lived in whilst at the University of Kent. It’s sort of acid folk and I remember it well now I’ve found it again! It’s available on Last fm and Spotify of course!


One thought on “Informal learning – Canterbury and St Radigund

  1. I had totally forgotten about Spyrogyra !!! I loved the name (and the band) but especially as they were named after an algae – the scientist in me loved that!

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