Baring-Gould’s Lives of the Saints – Saint James, Deacon


(about a.d. 640.)

[“Memorial of British Piety,” 1761, on this day. Not mentioned, however, in any other Martyrology, and probably arbitrarily introduced into that one.]

Saint James was the brave Italian deacon who remained at York after Saint Paulinus had deserted the scene of his labours. He kept together a little band of Christians at York through the stormy days of invasion by Penda and the Mercians. King Edwin had been slain in the battle of Hatfield, October nth, 633; his eldest son fell with him; the younger, taken prisoner by Penda, who swore to preserve his life, was infamously murdered. Northumbria was ravaged with fire and sword, and its recent Christianity completely obliterated, except for the little remnant which clustered round the gallant deacon at York.

Paulinus had fled, taking the widow of King Edwin, the gentle Ethelburga, to her brother, the King of Kent.

James lived to see Northumbria submitting to Oswald, who brought Aidan from Iona to reconvert the country to Christ.

MLA Citation

  • Sabine Baring-Gould. “Saint James, Deacon”. Lives of the Saints, 1872. CatholicSaints.Info. 18 October 2013. Web. {today’s date}. <>