A recent visitor to the museum from Germany alerted us to a forgotten Malmesbury figure – Saint Lullus.
He was born in Wessex around 710AD and was a monk in the Benedictine monastery at Malmesbury. While on a pilgrimage to Rome in 837AD he met Saint Boniface and was persuaded by him to do missionary work in Germany. He joined the monastery at Fritzlar where he prospered; he became bishop of Mainz in 753AD and a year later archbishop and so arch-chancellor of the embryo German Empire, second only to Boniface. Under Lullus the church flourished and expanded and the conversion of that part of Germany called Hesse Thuringia to Christianity was completed.
Boniface is thought to have been born in Crediton, Devon about 675 and christened Winthrif. Boniface crowned Pippa III in 751; he was the father of Charlemagne the Great, who became the first Holy Roman Emperor.
So Lullus was at the heart of what gave rise to the German Empire and also to the Holy Roman Empire. Both institutions were to last for many centuries. Our boy from Malmesbury was a major player in the politics of that time.
He died on 16.10.786 and was buried in Bad Hersfeld where he is thought of as the founder of that city. His memory is still celebrated at the Lullusfest – the oldest folk festival in Germany
He was canonised on 7.4.852