Friday, October 31, 2008

Counter Strike Anti Cheat at Get Gosu

Here is a snippet scooped out of a Get Gosu chat channel.

brockj is explaining some of Gosu's anti-cheat policy. It looks like a community driven solution. That means not such a dependence on "anti-cheat clients" that don't work or are tedious to use. IMO this is the way to go. I'll post the full policy as soon as I can.




You have been connected

Overlord: oops, i went to another page and missed your question (s)
brockj: hi
Overlord: what was your question?
Equalization: how does the anti-cheat work, is it like cal where it takes random ss ?
brockj: no
brockj: random ss is stupid ^^
Equalization: tru lol
brockj: it really slows down your system
brockj: so we are doing a bunch of things for anti-cheat
Equalization: cool
brockj: 1 vac2 and z-block (naturally)
Equalization: cuz the last time i played tournament , it had a horrible anti-cheat
Equalization: it depended on people recording demos
brockj: z-block is great b/c it is built by the community and updated by the community.
brockj: we don't depend on client demos either, because they can't be verified (they can be doctored by the client)
Equalization: true
Equalization: yea
brockj: so only demo we would look at is the master demo (hltv) that is kept server side
brockj: i think this will be a common faq question, so i will add this to the faq after we talk ^^]
Equalization: lol sorry for the long reply i was playing source
Equalization: ol
Equalization: nice
brockj: basically we are making a policy that means the community will self police
brockj: this is 1. highlighted by our use of z-block
Equalization: nice
brockj: 2. at get gosu you form your team and then join a tournament
brockj: so you know who you are playing with
Equalization: yea
Equalization: well gotta find a new team
Equalization: lol
brockj: yeah
brockj: so, our policy basically is to make it so that you will want to encourage your teammates not to cheat
brockj: 1 sec, let me add it to the faq
brockj: so you can read it

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Swithun the Bishop, who is destined to become Swithun the Saint

This is quite a departure from my usual Video game tournament, eSports, and Counter Strike Source related posts, but I want to post it nonetheless. I think it’s important that I post it because it contains a good, and possibly the only, English translation of Aelfric’s comprehensive account of the life of Saint Swithun, which is found in Aelfric’s Lives of Three English Saints.

“When thou comest to Winchester thou shalt know my name.”

Nothing remains to us of the Old Minster, or anything of its more elaborate successor, which was built in the middle of the tenth century by the Benedictine monks of the Priory of St. Swithun’s, and dedicated not only to Saints Peter and Paul but also to the venerable Swithun. Swithun was the Bishop of Winchester from the years 852 to 862 and one of England’s most adored saints. He was loved and revered in his life for his sweetness of character and for his efficient and energetic conduct of business, and not because he was a mystic or a man who could enact miracles. In fact there is record of only a single miracle performed by Swithun in his lifetime. It is not a very impressive miracle either. “St Swithun, moved by pity for an old dame, who dropped her basket of eggs as she went to market, restored the eggs to her round and whole again. All the same, it is a very practical miracle, a very English miracle.” This paper will examine the life of the influential Saint Swithun, who has captured the attention of so many for over one thousand years. He is so reverenced that it is said, “[t]he name of Saint Swithun is one that has never perished from the lips of his countrymen.” This essay will also elucidate upon the history of Winchester Cathedral and the relics of the Saint that where therein contained. Hopefully it will put to rest the debate concerning the origins of the Purbeck marble fragments that were found in more recent times. Perhaps by settling that argument we will be able to discover the exact history of Swithun’s elusive tomb-shrine.

The history of Swithun himself is not well known and is open to much “expansion and historical illustration.” We do know that by Swithun’s virtuous lifestyle he caused those he came in contact with to live virtuously and to give tithes adequately to the Church.

And if any church fell down or was in decay Saint Swithun would anon amend it at his own cost. Or if any church were not hallowed he would go thither on foot and hallow it. For he loved no pride nor to ride on gay horse, nor to be praised nor flattered of the people.

Here we begin to see a picture of Swithun the Bishop, who is destined to become Swithun the Saint, for he was of the utmost piety and humbleness. Even when it came to his own death Swithun asked that he be buried outside in the graveyard so that none should worship him after he had departed. “For he loved no pomp by his life nor none would he have after his death.” But, before becoming a saint after his death Swithun acted as the bishop of Winchester Cathedral, as an architect, who was noted for building bridges an churches, as a statesman, and as an important individual to his country. One of the duties that Swithun performed as chaplain to King Egbert, who ruled from 802-839, was to raise his son Aethewulf, the Prince of Wessex. Aethewulf would become King in 839 and install Swithun as the Bishop of Wessex in 852. As a child the prince grew extremely “attached to Swithun with an affection which lasted his life-time.” Later in his life Aethelwulf refers to Swithun as “altorem meum,” or “the guide of my youth.” With Swithun’s supervision the character of the prince was perfectly shaped in every manner, including his refined taste, his savvy handling of business affairs, his fairness as a ruler and his morality which he derived from the Scriptures. Under Aethelwulf’s rule Wessex became the most powerful kingdom in England. Swithun, who was one of two of Wessex’s Bishops, was called the “chancellor” because he “was zealous for the instruction and edification of the people, and for improving their domestic condition.” This is the Swithun of accepted history, but it is the Swithun of legend that makes him such an immensely powerful figure.

The following is a discussion of two primary resources that help to generate the Saint Swithun of legend. The first is a set of six fragmented pages of facsimiles written in Anglo-Saxon and translated by John Earle in his book the Legends of Saint Swithun. The original author of these pages is unknown, but Earle dates the work to about 985 CE. The first remaining page begins mid sentence: “and closed over afterwards; until his miracles displayed his influence with God.” This seems to be the end of an account of the first unsuccessful attempt to translate Swithun’s body into the church. The result of this first attempt was that Swithun, unhappy that his wishes to be left outside the church were not being honored, opened up the heavens to rain down upon the monks attempting to dig him up. It then continued to rain for forty days. The second attempt to translate Swithun’s body did not occur until about one hundred years later when Swithun appeared in various individuals’ dreams in his attempt to be moved inside the church. The facsimiles account this process undertaken by the Saint to get the people’s attention. First “came the venerable Swithun to a decrepit-old smith, in dream appearing, worshipfully appareled.” The smith, however, is not prepared to announce his dream because he wishes not to be viewed “as an untruthful news-teller.” The smith is even told this of the monks, that as soon as they open my burial-place, that they may there find so valuable a hoard, that their dear gold will be nought worth in comparison with the foresaid treasures.

The smith eventually follows Swithun’s instructions and visits Swithun’s grave where he becomes so awe-struck that he becomes a monk himself, thereby leaving Swithun in the same place that he started. Met with that dead end, Swithun next appears in the dreams of a hunchback and an invalid who are told they will be healed if they visit Swithun’s grave. They follow Swithun’s instructions and are miraculously “healed by Saint Swithun which thereby leads to the monks discovery of Swithun’s powers.” After being successfully translated into the church there begins the accounts of hundreds of miracles enacted by Swithun; “so many within twelve months, that no man could reckon them.” The facsimile goes on to record numerous specific acts of healing that were performed by Swithun. Even after Swithun is translated and is busy healing the masses he still finds time to appear in dreams and make declarations such as “I am he who now newly came! As if he had thus said; I was manifested now recently.” Swithun goes on to say that “[w]hen thou comest to Winchester thou shalt know my name.” The people are no longer afraid of being called liars and so “the man…awoke out of sleep and said to his wife all the vision which he had seen.” It is said that Swithun healed so many that the church was overflowing with crutches and the stools of cripples. These “tokens” left by the pilgrims “declare that Christ Almighty is God; Who His saint demonstrated through such benefits.” Clearly then, it is no wonder that Swithun was such a popular Saint, the accounts of the miracles he performed are numerous and wonderful.

The following is an additional and more comprehensive account of the life of Swithun. This account is written by Aelfric and is found in Lives of Three English Saints, Edited by G. I. Needham. Needham, unlike Earle, does not include a translation of this hagiography. Therefore, I took it upon myself to translate the text from Anglo-Saxon into English. First one must consider that the formulaic and hagiographic life of the saint here described would find its antidote in Geoffrey Chaucer’s charged, imaginative world of the Canterbury Tales, completed in 1392, some 400 years plus after the burial of St. Swithun. Chaucer, too, describes the tradition of the worshipping of saints and relics in retelling of the Canterbury-bound pilgrims’ purpose for visiting the shrine. But, the shift from adherence to church doctrine and personal belief in the matter of hagiography prior to the first millennium now finds in Chaucer a searching and highly skeptical mind no longer content with dogma. The following is a tale that can only be described as dogmatic:

III. St. Swithun, Bishop


In the days of Edward’s reign, he who ruled by the same God who had protected England in days gone by, it was then that God made himself manifest to St. Swithun by means of miracles to show evidence of His great glory.


His deeds clearly were not inspired from other than God himself, nor were they found in books the bishops left in this world before (Swithun) went to Christ. That was their negligence in that they did not write down his works in his lifetime so that mankind after him might learn of him; but God has nevertheless revealed clearly and with miracles and by means of marvelous tokens.


This St. Swithun was bishop of Winchester, however throughout Hampshire God’s servants prospered, and there were eight bishops as well as Athelwold. At this time, his life was not known, just as we are declaring, additionally that he was buried and his bishopric could be revealed in the West.


Three years later the saint’s remains were brought into the church, and stonework was begun. At the same time there appeared to a faithful stone mason in a dream the venerable Swithun, and he uttered these words: Can you see the priest named Eadzigle who was in Ealdann’s ministry who was expelled with the other priests from their duties because of the bishop Athelwold’s decree?”


The smith answered the worthy Swithun thus: “Dear Sir, some time ago I know has he passed: but he departed and I do not know to where he went.” And the holy one said to the old smith: Certainly he has been settled in the corner, and I predict in the name of the Savior that you look for his resting place, and report to (Athelwold) my true abode, and also say to him that Swithun is a bishop of Athewold and say also that he should open my grave and then bring (me) into that church; and he will then grant that I will be made manifest in this time.”


And the smith answered, “Lo master, Eadzige never believed my word.” Then said the bishop, “Bring him to my grave so that he can deal with the truth that I send to them all. Give him this truth so that he cannot refuse it, then he shall not leave it for naught. Say to each of them that after deciding on the truth of my deeds and the manner of emulating the Lord, and resolutely also attach yourselves to this life. Say this to every man who comes here to open my grave, that they may find these things more precious than gold and they will treasure them highly.


The venerable Swithun carried the smith from that place and the smith was unable to say anything about that time, he was unable to refuse to be the messenger of the story. The venerable saint spoke again of these things and died after he spread the commands by means of great works. The smith next caused to bring the entire community to his grave, and proceeded without hesitation to honor God with the following words: “Alas! Your three-person God, who arranges all things, grant me, a sinner, that I may speak three times.


He stood easily on the sand, and then he rested. He who often had sat in that same void stood fast with his feet so that no man might dissuade him from his task. Then the humble smith sought out and met in the market place Eadize and told him what Swithun had bade him and told Eadize all about Swithun.


The smith said that he would like to proclaim (the wonderful words) of his master and nevertheless he would not commit nor tell, in fear of concealing any of his master’s words, any untruth; he, the messenger, further said to Eadlize what Swithun had declared to him. He told of the detested bishops and other clerks of the monastery who Athewold had expelled for what they had done, since they had not heeded what the saints had commanded of them, although the saints were not satisfied with this world. Athelwold waited there two years in that monastery and there continued to honor God and live his life.


Blessed is the Almighty! Who created mankind and heaven and earth and who has mercy on sinners and who unceasingly loves us, he, whom in whom we put our trust, for He is the Lord.
Afterwards there was a poor fellow who was dreadfully humpbacked and whose back was very broad; he understood that he should obtain at the grave of Swithun the healing for his disability. He rejoiced a great deal in the morning and crept toward Winchester on his crutches to seek out the saint. Once there, he fell on bent knee and bowed his head. He was healed there by means of the holy bishop who not visible even though he was standing on his back (i.e., the man was on the top of the crypt). Even the monks did not know about the wondrous power of (Swithun) and believed that some other saint had healed the man; but the poor fellow said that it was Swithun who had healed him, for he knew this for himself.


Then came those who were afflicted with various diseases, so that they had great difficulty seeing and were unable to speak, and who had been laid low their entire life. One man wanted his friend to go to the Old Minster to visit St. Swithun’s grave; and so he did. He kept watch that night at the grave and prayed to Almighty God that his illness would be cured by this Holy St. Swithun. This man wanted to continue his vigil, but daylight came. He wanted to continue to sleep by the venerable’s grave, until he was completely cured, and then the afflicted man, who had been completely overcome with sleep, did awake. He was healed by means of the Holy Swithun, and he searched for his shoes before he departed with the other healed men. The holy one at his grave healed them all, eight afflicted me, and afterwards they realized this was so because of the miracles of their God.


King Edgar, after this sign, wanted to exhume the body and addressed Athelwold, the worthy bishop, to advise him of his own intention. Bishop Athelwold, along with his abbots and monks, began to sing sacred songs, and carried the bier into the church of St. Peter, and there he rested amid veneration and miracles yet to be performed. Many sick were healed by means of his power, within four days of the move (into the church); and within five months and a few sunrises there were few who were not healed, at least three who were sick, perhaps five or six, ever seven or eight, ten or twelve, sixteen or eighteen. Within ten days two other sick men were healed and these two other men soon told of the miracle.


The graveyard was soon filled with afflicted men who were seeking the healing power of the monastery; and each of them who had thus been miraculously cured could not find five in that entire company who had not likewise been cured. In those days there were three wives on the Isle of Wight, two of whom who had been blind for nine years and the third had never seen the light of day. They got around with difficulty and with the assistance of a guide, a dumb boy, and they came to the Saint, and one night they awoke after their vigil and healed, they who had been blind, along with their dub guide. Then the boy said to the sacristan that he had never even uttered a word (of prayer) that night and then began to pray and offer his songs of adoration.


Also in that time there was a servant woman who had been whipped for some offense, and who had violently been taken into custody, and she was to be publicly flogged on the morning; she kept vigil that night and cried out with weeping to the holy Swithun to be spared from the whipping by means of God’s intervention. As morning came and she had completed her third round of songs of praise her fetters fell from her; and she proceed to cry out at the grave to the saint. The master came to unbind her hands as Swithun had interceded on her behalf. And one lay disabled by paralysis for many years. And he said that he would travel to Winchester on horseback and beg to be cured. With him were his friend and servant, and he was healed along the way, but nevertheless he continued on to the holy saint, and the two others who were with him traveling on foot also saw that he had been cured and they all earnestly thanked the saint.


Twenty-five men, mostly with lamentation, came to the holy place to be healed; some were blind, some were invalids, some were near death, and some were dumb, and each wanted to be healed by the saint and that is why they went to his resting place. And there was an Englishman who was very rich who was suddenly blinded; and he went to Rome; there he sought the healing power of the Holy Apostle. He remained in Rome for four years, but was not cured, and he finally heard about the miracles performed by Swithin. He returned to his native land and came to the place of the holy saint and was, in turn, healed.


And some there were who were totally blind for seven years, and who used a guide to lead them everywhere. One day, as often happened, this one man became angry and abandoned his blink friend; and he took himself away and the other one did not know what had happened and prayed to God with a full heart and with earnestness said: “Behold, you almighty Trinity of men and angels who took on my affliction: I am not able to see and my guide has left me. Have mercy on me Trinity through your glorious Swithun and forgive me my sins. As he was saying these things and praying to the saint, he continued thus: “Lo! You meek bishop who has caused many to come to you by means of the living God-beloved, I pray you that you intercede to the mighty God: and I believe that He will eventually heal me. He was healed and lifted his face from the ground and without any guide was able to continue; and then gave praise to his God very fervently.


Athelwold, the worthy and holy bishop, who was in that the day the Bishop of Winchester, bade all his monks to assemble in the cathedral so that they could at the anniversary of the point of (Swithun’s) death offer songs to the saint who had healed the sick. They offered their songs of praise for three nights and all loathed to fall asleep for they wanted to sing their songs of praise in each other’s company. (In a vision) Swithun, wonderfully adorned, came to some of the monks and said: “Go to the ministry of Ealdan and say to those monks to stop their grumbling and slothful ways as these are displeasing—and they should seek the Trinity’s wonders and the Holy one by means of songs which the bishop command them to do; and say to them also if they do not do this, then each of them will cease to see any further miracles; and teach each of them songs of praise with which to give praise for Him who has healed so many, they then realized that on one ever saw such wonders anywhere.


They awoke from this delightful slumber in the morning, which they had not enjoyed for a long time, as a reminder of Swithun’s thrall over them. They were then very ready to go to the bishop Athelwold to tell him of their dream vision. Athelwold sent a message to the household of the king’s monks and told them that they should sing songs of praise; and that they should fast for seven days and pray. They did thus unceasingly and then departed, and their songs went with them. And then there was one who had stolen; but he was not guilty, and after the man was sentenced, his eyes and ears were afflicted. He was blind for seven months and he was unable to hear, and he went to seek out the holy Swithun’s bones, rayed to the saint on bent knee and asked for his help—for he wished to have his sight restored; and he said he was unjustly punished. Then God’s miracle worked on the man through Swithun so that he saw clearly and his eyes were healed, and the evil was thrust out of his eyes, and his one eyeball was made clear, and the other hung healed at his cheek. He was forgiven his transgression. It is proper that we pray for God’s healing by going to God Himself, for he is over all other kings. And we should surely pray to the God who helps us by means of his mercy.


Once there was a foolish man; and this foolish man was given to playing games and such that he said that he was Swithun: “I would have you know that I am Swithun and I command that you carry your light to me and kneel on bent knee so that I can forgive what you have requested. This man blasphemed so long with such words that he fell into a soulnessness, and he soon had to be taken to his bed and there he lay despairing of his life. He begged that the next day he would be carried to the holy Swithun so that he could confess of his deceit and presumption; and he was healed because of his desire. I say to you all that when men unwisely and foolishly play at such things, then should they beseech the dead and confess them of the advent of salvation so that they will be reborn. Some men drink and anger God with their festivities, and such festivities are not good for their health, but holy prayer will rectify this.


Once one-hundred and twelve men came to the saint with many varying diseases; and each was miraculously cured within three weeks and they returned their thanks to the Almighty and to the worthy Swithun. Once a knight fell violently from his horse and with that broke his arm and one of his legs and he was soon in such a state that he was in fear of dying. He was his master’s very favorite, and the lord bade every other of his knights to pray to the Almighty who had helped them over time by way of Swithun. They implored Swithun with one accord, “Lo, you holy Swithun, we beg by the Holy One who has forgiven me and all of us knights and I am he who has come to the living God every day of my life to do his bidding.” The knight was healed through Swithun’s intercession and the lord rejoiced and gave praise to his God. Some say that an old man’s afflicted servant lived on the Isle of Wight who prayed some nine years and he was unable to get out of his bed. He was swiftly brought to the holy shrine. The invalid said, “How may I earn they grace and be able to leave this bed without assistance?” And the holy one answered, “Yu come to this place to be with us, that you may receive healing.” He was so very glad to hear this that wanted to go to him; so, that this might happen, he was carried out and transported to a most magnificent field beautifully flowering; in that field there was a church made of shining gold and jewels, and the holy Swithun stood there clothed in shining vestments at the altar ready to glorify God.


Swithun had said to all mankind: “I say to you, brothers, you shall not from this day forth curse, nor tell tales, nor perpetrate murder, nor shall you fawn upon others, no do any evil deeds of savagery, but with my help, you must give all you wealth to the poor, and thereby will you receive the mercy and healing of God. The holy one said these things to none other than to those who would heed these deeds. The holy Swithun knew this to be true and considered further and continued, “Brothers, I say to you, do no harm to anyone, even though he do harm to you; but imitate the Holy Trinity [and even pray for the cursed Jews] and pray that you do not end in faithless death. Just as Paul the Apostle said to all Christian men “Give to the hungry, give them food, quench their thirst by giving them drink.” The bedridden said these things often to the bishops, “Lo! Men often say such things, but few men have understood what it is they have spoken.” Then Swithun said, I am he to whom you come—honestly, it is so, for I was until recently unknown.” Then continued the bishops to the supplicant, “How are you called?” and the saint said to them, “When thou comest to Winchester, you will know my name.”


The man who had been bedridden awoke from his sleep and said to his wife that all that had happened to him (in his dream). The wife said to him that it was Swithun who had taught him about the saints’ lives and that he had seen his fair image in the church. They (the other saints) had said to them, “It was not yet appropriate that the man [Swithun] was borne into the church and that you prayed to the saint and that the people were healed by means of the saint’s merit. So, they did finally carry the man into the church within the Isle of Wight and he was healed by Swithun’s merit and this healing allowed him to once again use his feet, and he was taken to the church. Afterward, he was carried to Chester [Winchester] and there decayed and Athelwold that honorable bishop was made whole through St. Swithun and Landferth, the foreigner, took all this down in Latin.


We should never regulate our conduct by dreams, for then we would not be of God. For such dreams may, as we read in books, be no less than the deception of the devil and not of God. But if one follows God’s precepts and crosses oneself before praying, then no harm will attend him. If the dreams are delightful, then they emanate from God, and it they are hurtful then they are from the devil; and God himself forbade that we do not follow His visions, lest we be deluded by the devil. And once there was a man in Winchester who was angry with his own man for some negligence and set him up in a fetter bond. He continued to be bound such for a long time and he finally stole away with his staff which allowed him to hop in order to seek out Saint Swithun will loud lamentation. The one who had bolted shouted out about his bondage and his saint healed him. There was once another man, whose head was bound by heavy guilt, and he came to the saint and his heavily bound head burst from its bondage when he prayed.


Nothing we have written, no account for with words, all of the miracles that the holy Saint Swithun through God’s assistance benefited these folks, these imprisoned men, these diseased men, men with fetter who themselves mightily yearned for their God with good works that Swithun performed, some by means of miracles. The Old Church was completely encircled with crutches of the cripples hanging from one wall to the other, hanging there after they had been healed, and on could not gainsay that they had been healed. Such were the signs that Christ, indeed, is Almighty God, that his saints were contained within these walls, and the Jews, deluded by the devil, refused to believe in the living Christ, are the anti-Christ to be slain by God; only then will they submit, these wretched ones, at the world’s end; then will they bend to Christ.


We have now briefly given witness to Swithun, and we say to all that the time was propitious and delightful in England, when king Eadgar reigned in the Christian land and peace reigned the earth and his reign was without strife, and his own people were of the land, and all other kings who had been on the island, Cumera and Scotland, came to Eadgar—well eight previous kings—and all these acknowledged Edgar’s wisdom.

In addition to this, so many miracles were wrought by our Saint Swithun, such as have already been recounted, and long have we preferred, that these miracles occurred frequently. In that day there were very many wonderful bishops—Dunstan the worthy was on the bishop’s throne—and Athelwold the worth, and others also; indeed, Dunstan and Athewold were men of God, and paid homage to His will, and they were steadfast in their allegiance; and truly God worked his will through them. The Wonder and the Benevolence of the Creator is such that His glorious might shall be extolled with miracles, so that they shall reign forever. Amen.

As a result of the great miracles that Swithun was performing he was translated from the graveyard to the Old Minster which was expanded into a shrine-church in his honor. This occurred during the tenure of Bishop Ethelwold (963-84) and his successor, Aelfheah (984-1006). A vast structure was built around and over the body of Swithun. Not long after, in 1093, Swithun was translated into the modern day Winchester cathedral, which was built under the influence of the newly arrived Normans. “Architecturally, the Cathedral nave is one of the most glorious examples of Gothic building in England.” This nave was constructed over the same site as the old one, by means of having built the eastern end and transepts of the church first, then demolishing the Minster and finally building the new nave last. The reliquary of St Swithun was translated from the old church into the new one on St Swithun’s day, 15 July 1093, under the supervision of Bishop Walkelin. By this means of architectural maneuvering the original grave of Swithun remained inside the confines of the church.

During Swithun’s first few hundred years-enshrined in Winchester Cathedral a rich heritage and tradition developed only partly as a result of the mass pilgrimage that Swithun attracted.

Winchester was the capital of England—the seat of government, the home of the kings, and their resting-place when they came to die. Twenty kings were buried in Winchester, and thirty-five made it their capital. Until the time of the Reformation, Winchester was not only the richest see in England, but also provided the English kings, century after century, with their ablest administrators.

Besides the political significance of Winchester Cathedral it was also so important because of its possession of Swithun’s relics. Swithun was probably venerated second to only St. Thomas at Canterbury. Pilgrims, many who were on their way to visit Canterbury, were made to enter the cathedral by a “door in the north transept, now walled-up but clearly visible from the exterior, and so to make their processional way to the tomb.”

During Winchester’s glory years it naturally grew and developed architecturally. Work on the retrochoir came under the direction of de Lucy, Bishop of Winchester from 1188 to 1204. Two references to this work appear in the Winchester Annals and this work was supposedly begun in 1200 and completed before 1220. This, construction, was not however to make room for more pilgrims to Saint Swithun’s relics. We know this because the relics of Swithun were in a feretory platform behind the high altar and were venerated by pilgrims not standing around it, but under it, having crawled through the “holy hole.” The actual purpose of the retrochoir was to create a space between Swithun’s feretory and the newly constructed Lady Chapel, which in fact also made Swithun’s relics more accessible. In the center of the retrochoir now resides “the sepulchral effigy of a knight…between the chantries of Cardinal Beaufort and of William Wayneflete, on the spot where the shrine of St. Swithun once stood." It is believed that Swithun’s bones were moved from the altar, where they had resided in the feretory donated by King Edgar, this feretory was said to be “marvelously and skillfully made of silver, gold and precious stones,” to the center of the retrochoir in the year 1476 as a result of several building projects.

[F]ollowing the death in 1447 of Cardinal Beaufort, bishop of Winchester, when three mutually dependent projects were initiated: the construction of the Great Screen, the creation of a new shrine-base and reliquary in the middle of the retrochoir, and the erection of Beaufort’s own chantry chapel. The moving of the shrine to the retrochoir appears to have been a consequence of the construction of the Great Screen.

This process of development is “partially documented in the cathedral’s Register of the Common Seal,” and it is noted that the feretory was “melted down in 1451, yielding 47 lb. 7¼ oz. of silver.” Scholars continually write that there is not much evidence that this new tomb-shrine existed, as it was utterly destroyed by Cromwell’s commissioners, but there is a lot of evidence nonetheless. For example “the remains of an iron pulley have survived, attached to a tie-beam of the 15th century roof above the vaulting.” It is believed that this pulley system would have served to raise and lower a wooden cover for the shrine. Additional evidence can be found by examining the floor in the retrochoir where a border of Hopton Wood stone lies in the center. It is even said that the stone is worn away in the area into a trough, the result of so many kneeling worshippers having prostrated themselves about the shrine. About the site of the shrine is this Latin inscription:

All of St. Swithun that could die lay here enshrined. Hither came the faithful, not of one age or clime, to honour him with prayers and gifts. A later age laid rude hands upon his relics but could not touch his fame. All that is of God is safe in God

A reasonable estimate can be made as to the route that pilgrims took when visiting the shrine in the retrochoir. “Their entry was certainly on the north side of the Cathedral, for the south transept and the choir were places trodden only by the brethren of the Priory. We know that the north transept was occupied by booths for the sale of candles and relics, and we can see today in the west face of the north transept a blocked-up doorway which would have been the most suitable point of entry for pilgrims in the Cathedral.” The traveler would enter, buy a candle, pass up the steps into the presbytery aisle and slowly make their way to the retrochoir “where stood the object of his search and the end of his long and often painful journey.” The shrine would be a beautiful and awe-inspiring site and was constantly surrounded by the sick of body, heart, and mind. There are very few documentary references to the shrine during its short tenure in the retrochoir (1476-1538). The Winchester Annals say that in 1241 the shrine was damaged by a flabellum falling from the tower and that the relics were shown later that year as a reassurance that the relics had not been damaged. But, it is far from clear which tower could have been near enough for anything to fall on to the shrine.

While Swithun’s shrine was highly venerated the site of Swithun’s original grave still received a lot of attention, as it had been the source of all those earlier miracles. “[S]oon after Old Minster had been demolished; an area which Martin Biddle and Birthe Kjolbye-Biddle have called a ‘memorial court’ was formed around the grave.” The major element of this “court” was a chapel that enclosed a monument to Swithun. “The latest monument has been shown to date, on archaeological evidence, from the mid-13th century; and a fragment of the monument has now been identified (Fig. 4.2).” The actual origin of this piece of marble has been highly debated over the past eighty years. Originally it was believe to have been part of the base that held Swithun’s feretory on the high altar. If the dating on the piece is correct then it clearly did not belong to the tomb-shrine, which did not come into existence for two hundred more years. Inspired by this piece of Purbeck marble a drawing was fabricated showing how Swithun’s feretory base may have looked (Fig. 4.1). However, John Crook then noticed that this reconstruction was impossible because the fragment begins to curve in to form a full circle, and not just a semi-circle (Fig. 4.2). The presence of these circles, found on many tomb-shrines as a means to get closer to the saint’s relics, was wholly unnecessary on the feretory of Saint Swithun. This is because pilgrims could not approach the altar and had to instead get as close to the shrine as possible by using the “Holy Hole”. So, having these circles on the feretory would make little sense, as they would never garner any use. Instead, it makes more sense that the marble fragment did in fact originate from the chapel of Saint Swithun found above his original grave.

When Swithun was in fact translated from the feretory to his tomb-shrine in 1476 it was partly because of the undergoing construction of the Great Screen. The Screen was constructed for multiple reasons, for stability, to further glorify the high altar, and thirdly, to keep out of “sight of the monks the turmoil and squalor, the presence of persons of both sexes, the crying or playing of children, the wretchedness and disease, the chances of fever and infection, which eddied round the famous Shrine of the wonder-working Saint St. Swithun.” The Screen itself contains a large statue of Saint Swithun who is prominently positioned to the left of Mary and below St. Peter (Fig. 5.1). This is not an original sculpture as those were destroyed. This one was modeled from the head of another Bishop from the original series. Swithun is sculpted holding a pastoral staff and a bridge which “he caused to be built about the year 855 at the point where the Roman Road crossed the River Itchen, at the foot of the High Street of Winchester.”

Although Swithun was always noted for building bridges and connecting with the people his legacy was greatly stunted at the time of the Reformation. Under the rule of Henry VIII, Cromwell ordered his commissioners to destroy the shrine and “St. Swithun’s shrine, which for centuries had been the glory of Winchester, was utterly destroyed.” The following letter was sent by Commissioner Thomas Wriothesley to Cromwell reporting what happened on September 21-2, 1538:

About three o’clock this Saturday morning we made an end of the shrine here at Winchester. There was no gold, nor ring, nor true stone in it, but all great counterfeits; but the silver alone will amount to 2,000 marks.

It is most likely that the monks of Swithun’s Priory saved Swithun’s relics and what jewels and gold they could before Cromwell’s men arrived. Sadly the Priory was abolished the following year by an act of parliament. “The splendour that had taken nearly five centuries in the making was extinguished. The glory had departed.”(Birt 17) Nothing remained in the church to extol Swithun’s glory until 1962 when a new shrine was donated to commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of his death (Fig. 3.2) What Saint Swithun leaves us with is the legacy of a man who was so virtuous and helpful to his fellow man while on earth that he was blessed with the gift of being able to help others once he had already entered into heaven.

1. John Earle, Legends of Saint Swithun, (London: Longman, Green,
Longman, and Roberts, 1861), p. 11.

2. Raymond Birt, The Glories of Winchester Cathedral, (London:
Winchester Publications Limited), p. 2.

3. Earle, p. iii.

4. Earle, p. iii.

5. Birt, p. 2.

6. Birt, p. 2.

7. Earle, p. 21.

8. Earle, p. 26.

9. Earle, p. 27.

10. Earle, p. 3.

11. Earle, p. 3.

12. Earle, p. 3.

13. Earle, p. 7.

14. Earle, p. 9.

15. Earle, p. 11.

16. Earle, p. 11.

17. Earle, p. 13.

18. The translation was made possible by using the following resources:

Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, General Prologue (1387-92), p.17. ll. 17-19 in F. N. Robinson, ed. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1957.


John R. Clark, ed. A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary. Cambridge: At the University Press, 1970.

Of course the original text was used as well:

Aelfric, Lives of Three English Saints, ed. G. I. Needham. New York: Appleton-Century Crofts, 1966. (Pp. 60-81, ll. 1-388.)

My father, Gary Brock, Ph.D. (Univ. of Washington, 1975), provided additional guidance in the process. Please note that there are multiple ways of spelling names such as Athelwold and Eadgar.

19. Birthe Kjolbye-Biddle, “Old Minster, St Swithun’s Day 1093,”
Winchester Cathedral: Nine Hundred Years, Ed. John Crook, _West Sussex: Phillimore & Co. LTD, 1993), p. 16.

20. Birt, p. 10.

21. Kjolbye-Biddle, p. 13.

22. Birt, p. 1.

23. Norman Sykes, The Pictorial History of Winchester Cathedral,
(Publication information is unknown), p. 18.

24. Birt, p. 8.

25. Peter Draper, “The Retrochoir of Winchester Cathedral,”
Architectural History: Journal of Architectural Historians of Great Britian, Volume 21 (1978), p. 8.

26. Birt, p. 9.

27. John Vaughn, Winchester Cathedral: Its Monuments and Memorials, (London: Selwyn & Blount, 1919), 1.

28. John Crook ed., The Wainscot Book, (Southhampton: Hobbs, 1984), p. 63.

29. Crook, p. 64.

30. Crook, p. 64.

31. Crook, p. 66.

32. Birt, p. 9.

33. Birt, p. 9.

34. Birt. P. 10.

35. Draper, p. 11.

36. Crook, p. 57.

37. Crook, p. 59.

38. George W. Kitchin, The Great Screen of Winchester Cathedral,
(London: Simpkin and Co., Limited, Stationer’s Hall Court, 1899), p. 12.

39. Kitchin, p. 36.

40. Vaughn, p. 4.

41. Crook, p. 66.