Dark History

St Armel – a saint of Arthurian greatness

St Armel – a saint of Arthurian greatness
Staff Writer

St Armel


Spooky Saints


JACOB MILNESTEIN tells the story of a mysterious saint who slew a dragon and whose name may hint to a greater nobility that many may have once guessed.


St ArmelKilling a dragon is often a prerequisite of being a solider-saint; the parry of lance or sword against monstrous claws, the hulking weight of a fire-breathing monster crawling through the undergrowth and the unyielding belief that, through Christ, such evil may be overcome.

St Armel, a 6th century saint born on Welsh soil to of noble Breton lineage, is a lesser renowned missionary recorded briefly in an episode detailing his duel with a dragon in the Forest of Teil.

It is said that having been educated in Welsh monasteries, he went on to fight on the side of King Iuthahel of Brittany in AD 555 against marauders and invaders.

So impressed was Iuthahel with the noble fighter that he granted Armel lands in the forest where he was noted and revered for founding a monastery.

Having previously performed miracles of restoration at the court of King Childebert, the soldier-saint soon took orders and settled into holy life.

Yet no sooner had he done so than the monastery and the neighbouring towns found themselves under fire from a rogue dragon.

Not flinching from his duties, St Armel set out into the dark forest and faced off against the dragon, eventually strangling the beast with his vestments and drowning it in a river.

Such is where the fantastical element of St Armel story ends… except for one small detail.

Armel was also, prior to accepting holy orders, known as Arthmael, a name which is more commonly translated in modern English as Arthur.

“Armel was also, prior to accepting holy orders, known as Arthmael, a name which is more commonly translated in modern English as Arthur.”

When first the legend of Armel begins we find him all but fully etched in history, a noble man born of a renowned lineage upon familiar shores. We are told little of his education and childhood, save for his piety, and only truly come to know him when he arrives once more in Brittany.

The idea of noble Arthur being carried from the field of Camlann in AD 537, wounded and tormented with grief, only to return to the land not only of his ancestors but also of his estranged comrade, Sir Lancelot, is one rich with nostalgia.

Humbled by the healing of his wounds, taking up arms again 18 years following the battle that lost him both a wife and a kingdom, it is comforting to think of a world in which Arthur did not fall into slumber yet somehow persisted.

It is said that, at the end of his years, Armel was visited by an angel who escorted him, like the aged Hebrew patriarchs, to Heaven so that he may forever reside in the Kingdom of God.

Such a story, as fanciful as it might be, offers us a fitting place of final rest for a man who may once have been both king and servant.


JACOB MILNESTEIN writes stories. His most recent story, “lecteur de tarot” can be found here.


Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Dark History

More in Dark History

The-grave-of-William-Shakespeare

The curse of William Shakespeare’s skull

Pollyanna Jones16th May 2015
St-Nicholas-Church-in-Great-Yarmouth

Ghastly tale of Great Yarmouth’s greatest grave robber

Josie Palmer2nd May 2015
Knowlton-Henge

Christianity and Paganism clash at Dorset’s mysterious Knowlton Henge

Richard Phillips-Jones1st May 2015
Karl-Marx-Grave

England’s 10 Most Notable Graves

Nia Jones27th April 2015
Witchtrial

Jennet Device, the child witch who killed the Pendle Witches

Jon Kaneko-James18th April 2015
The Princes in the Tower, Theodor Hildebrandt. Germany (1804-1874)

What Happened to the Princes in The Tower?

Jay Hollis16th April 2015
Babes-in-the-Woods

The Children of the Wailing Woods

David Senior14th April 2015
Child-Possession

Child demonic possession in Medieval England

Jon Kaneko-James12th April 2015
Creepy-Kids-Feature-Pic

Welcome to Creepy Kids Week

Staff Writer12th April 2015
Severalls Asylum, Colchester, Essex

Britain’s 5 Most Sinister Abandoned Mental Asylums

Nia Jones3rd April 2015
Medieval Witches

How the Samlesbury Witches escaped the hangman’s noose

Barry McCann28th March 2015
Fornham All Saints

Don’t disturb our ancient dead at Fornham Henge

Staff Writer26th March 2015