A Yorkshire saint – St John of Bridlington

St John of Bridlington – British Library

The Augustinian Canons, “black canons” or Austin canons depending on your preference arrived in England during the Twelfth Century. They were all priests and rather than living in enclosed orders they sought to work within the community.

John was born at Twing just outside Bridlington in 1320. By the time he was twelve he had taken vows of chastity.

His education had begun locally but he went to Oxford from about 1336 to 1339. In 1340 he became a monk in Bridlington Priory. He gradually rose within the priory carrying out different roles: novice master, almsgiver, preacher and sub-prior. Then in 1346 he became a canon. Ten years later he was elected prior.

 He served as prior for 17 years before dying October 10, 1379.

Pope Boniface IX canonised him in 1401 – which is unusual I don’t think that there are that many Augustinian saints, unless we include Thomas Becket who was a secular canon rather than a regular canon. Ie John followed the monastic rule. Essentially he miraculously saved fishermen from drowning and on another about to get into trouble for giving the priory bread away as alms to the poor he opened his bag to reveal stones for road mending. His saint’s day should you need to turn bread into stones is October 10th.

He can be found dressed in his Augustinian black cloak in the Beaufort Book of Hours which includes a prayer to him. The Beaufort Book of Hours is in The British Library.

There is another Yorkshire saint – St John of Beverley who gets mentioned by Henry V at Agincourt.

English Heritage Abbeys of Yorkshire