St William of Rochester
Celebrated on May 23rd
This 12th century saint was a Scottish fisherman from Perth. As a young man he experienced a conversion and devoted himself to caring for orphans and the poor. One child in his care had been abandoned as a baby on a church doorstep.
In 1201 he set off on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but only reached Rochester in Kent, when he was set upon by thieves and murdered. His body was found by a madwoman. She covered him in honeysuckle and was apparently cured. William was buried in Rochester Cathedral where many other miracles soon began to occur.
In 1256, bishop Laurence obtained permission from the Pope to set up an official shrine. Offerings there contributed to the rebuilding work of the cathedral.
There were many bequests made at the shrine including gifts from King Edward I in 1300, and Queen Philippa in 1352.
St William’s Hospital, on the road to Maidstone, marks the place of his death.