Baring-Gould’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Canute Lavard, Martyr

Saint Canute LavardArticle

(A.D. 1133)

[Schleswig and Scandinavian Breviaries. Life in Knytlinga Saga, Saxo Grammaticus, Schleswig Breviary, &c.]

Canute Lavard was second son of Eric the Good, King of Denmark. His elder brother, Nicolas, became King of Denmark, though he was illegitimate, as Canute was very young. Nicolas had a son named Magnus, who was also brought up with Canute. Canute purchased the duchy of Schleswig, and occupied himself with clearing the seas and islands of Denmark of the pirates who infested them. On one occasion, a pirate whom he had captured, and con- demned with others to be hung, cried out that he was of royal blood, and was related to Canute. “Then,” said the duke, “you shall hang at the topmast head above the others.”

Henry, King of the Sclaves, being dead, Canute succeeded him. The popularity of this prince, owing to his gentleness, virtue, and piety, stirred up the envy of Magnus, who feared lest he should put in a claim to the throne of Denmark, to which indeed he had a right prior to Magnus and his father. In order to make sure of the succession, Magnus decoyed his unsuspicious kinsman into a wood, surrounded him with armed men, and killed him.

MLA Citation

  • Sabine Baring-Gould. “Saint Canute Lavard, Martyr”. Lives of the Saints, 1897. CatholicSaints.Info. 13 August 2018. Web. 15 January 2021. <>