Devon

St Boniface could be Devon patron saint

St Boniface
Image caption St Boniface could become the first patron saint of Devon

A monk credited with bringing Christianity to Germany could become the patron saint of Devon.

St Boniface, who lived in Crediton before travelling around Europe, was born in the 7th Century and killed by a mob aged around 80 in what is now the Netherlands.

The patron saint plan was put forward by a county councillor and is supported by the bishops of Exeter and Plymouth.

Devon County Council is due to discuss the motion later.

County councillor Nick Way, who represents Crediton, described St Boniface as a "significant historic figure", and said making him Devon's patron saint would be "important for the county's identity and tourism".

Image caption St Boniface is thought to have attended a monastery near the site of Exeter Cathedral

St Boniface chose his name - meaning good fate - but was born Wynfrith around AD675.

He entered the monastery in Exeter before becoming a missionary in northern Europe, named as Apostle to the Germans.

In some circles, St Boniface is even credited with inventing the Christmas tree, after allegedly chopping down an oak tree that German pagans were worshipping.

The myth says he then either planted a fir tree in its place or one spontaneously grew.

St Boniface Roman Catholic Church in Crediton has the national shrine to the saint and the parish church in Crediton has an aisle and some artefacts dedicated to him.

Nearby Cornwall and Dorset have St Piran and St Wite as their respective patron saints.

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