Golden Legend – Life of Saint Hugh

[Saint Hugh of Lincoln]Here followeth the Life of Saint Hugh, Bishop and Confessor.

Saint Hugh, of holy remembrance, was sometime bishop of Lincoln. He was born of the utterest parts of Burgundy, not far from the Alps, otherwise called the mountains, and was of noble parentage and lineage, for he came of the knights. And this holy man when he was young and tender of age he was set to school, and when he was ten years old he was put into a monastery for to learn the rules of discipline, and there was made and professed a canon-regular, wherein he lived so devoutly that when he was fifteen years old he was deputed for to be prior of a certain cell and he ruled it in such wise that all thing that was under his governance prospered as well in spiritual things as in temporal things. After this he thought adaunt and put his flesh to more penance, and by the disposition of our Lord he entered into the order of Charterhouse, where he was received, and was there so virtuous in his living, that among the strangers he was so friendly and so well beloved that after a little while he was made procurator of the house. In that time Henry, king of England, did do build and founded a house of Charterhouse in England, wherefore he sent into Burgundy to the Charterhouse for to have one of them to have the governance and rule of it, and at the great instance and the prayer of the king unnethe could he get this said Saint Hugh, but at the last by the commandment of his overest, and request of the king, he was sent into the realm of England, and there made procurator of the same house, and there lived a holy and devout life as he did tofore. that he stood so in the king’s grace that the king named him to be bishop of Lincoln, and was elected by the chapter of the canons of Lincoln, which bishopric the king had holden long in his hands. And was called thereto by the said chapter, and the bishopric to him presented, which dignity he utterly refused and said plainly that in no wise that he would not receive any pontifical dignity without assent and also commandment of the prior of the Charterhouse, which was consented. And also, the whole election of the chapter of Lincoln to him declared, he took upon him the office and was sacred bishop of Lincoln. And the next night after, he heard a voice saying to him: Thou art gone out into the health of thy people. And after this he withstood mightily the power of wood people that entended to hurt the privilege of the church, and put his body in peril, like as he had despised it, for to bring the church from servitude, and recovered many droits and rights which had been taken away from the church. This holy man made many good statutes and ordinances in his diocese, and went and visited the churches and places of his cure and charge, and lived a holy life. And he would visit the houses of lepers and lazars, and was wont oft to enter into their houses, and by his commandment the women were departed from the men. And all the men that were foul and deformed in their visage, he would kiss of humility. And there was at that time in the church of Lincoln, an honourable man, a canon named William, which was chancellor of the church, a good man and well lettered, and he would prove and essay if there were any elation or pride in his courage, and said to this holy man: Saint Martin by kissing of a man that was a foul lazar healed him, and ye heal not the lepers ne lazars that ye kiss. Who anon answered to the chancellor: Saint Martin certainly healed a leprous man by kissing, and this kissing that I kiss the lepers healeth my soul. This was a humble and a meek answer. This holy man Saint Hugh in all his life was much diligent in burying of dead men, and of his humanity would gladly do the office about their sepulture, wherefore our Lord gave and rendered to him by retribution condign, honourable sepulture; for what time he departed out of this world, and the same day that his body was brought to the church of Lincoln, it happed that the king of England, the king of Scotland, with three archbishops, barons, and great multitude of people were gathered at Lincoln, and were present at his honourable sepulture, where God hath showed for him divers miracles. Then let us pray unto this holy man Saint Hugh of Lincoln to pray for us.