Ivo, bishop, missionary, c.600
24 April

[modern icon of Ivo in St Ives Parish Church, 
photo by Philip Grosset]

On 24 April 1001, a ploughman in the Huntingdonshire village of Slepe unearthed a stone coffin. When it was opened it was found to contain human remains, together with the symbols of a priest. The monks of Ramsey Abbey, which then owned Slepe, proclaimed them to be the relics of Ivo, who they said was a bishop (or archbishop) from Persia who had been a missionary in England and had died around the year 600. The relics were translated to a shrine at Ramsey, and later a priory church was built in Slepe at the place where the relics had been discovered. In time, Slepe became known as St Ives, and the cult of St Ivo attracted many pilgrims to Ramsey and also to St Ives. The nursery rhyme ‘As I was going to St Ives‘ refers perhaps to the occasion of the great fair of St Ivo which was held in the town each year.

If celebrated as a Lesser Festival, Common of Bishops, EH page 483

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