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St Faith of Aquitaine: virgin and martyr

Feast Day 6 October

It is believed that Faith lived in the 3rd and 4th centuries at the time of the Roman Emperor Maximilian (286-305 AD) and died in Agen in the Garonne Valley in French Aquitaine.

At the age of around 12, this young Christian girl named Foy (from the Latin Fides) refused to make a sacrifice to pagan gods and was put to death by the occupying Roman authorities on the orders of the Governor Dacien, who had her roasted on a brazen bed and then beheaded.  Other versions of the story record a miraculous shower of rain extinguishing the fire and necessitating the subsequent beheading.  More Christians from Agen, among whom were Bishop Caprais, moved by her example, submitted in their turn to an agonising fate.


Her body, secretly buried, was transferred two centuries later to the basilica constructed on the actual place of her martyrdom.  Five centuries later, towards the end of the 8th century, a hermit called Dadon settled to a life of contemplation in that remote valley, and a community of monks joined him, following the Benedictine rules.  Following a grant of land from the Emperor Louis the Pious (son of Charlemagne), the community began to flourish.  At this time the worship and valuing of holy relics was growing and the possession of relics were coming to be seen as conferring great prestige.


Some accounts of St Faith’s story relate that a monk from the community of Conques attached himself to the Agen community, won their confidence and was entrusted with the task of guarding the relics, now contained in a golden and bejewelled reliquary statue .  Once alone, he took to the hills with Saint Faith, evaded his righteous pursuers and found sanctuary in Conques, on January 14th 866, where the saintís relics remain to this day.


The abbey at Conques was re-dedicated to St Faith and, discreetly glossing over its highly questionable acquisition, grew and prospered.  Crusaders and pilgrims going to the shrine of St James at Compostella invoked her intercession and heaped treasures and gold on the community.  The celebrated reliquary jewel-encrusted statue of the saint dates from this time and has long been revered as a memento of her life and death. 



The English Churches of Saint Faith

St Faith and St Laurence, Harborne, Birmingham
St Faith, Maidstone, Canterbury
St Faith’s Mission Church, Thanington, Canterbury
All Saints and St Faith, Childerditch, Chelmsford
St Faith, Preston Brook, Chester
St Faith, Farmcote, Gloucester
St Faith, Bacton. Hereford
St Faith, Dorstone, Hereford
St Faith, Welsh Newton Common, Hereford
St Faith, Dunswell, Hull
St Faith, Kelstern, Lincoln
St Faith, Lincoln
St Faith, Wilsthorpe, Lincoln
St Faith, Great Crosby, Liverpool
St Faith, Brentford, London
St Faith, Maidstone, Canterbury
St Faith, Gaywood, Norwich (joint Anglican/Methodist LEP)
St Mary and St Andrew, Horsham St Faith, Norwich
St Faith, Little Witchingham, Norfolk
St Faith, Newton Longville, Oxford
St Faith, Shellingford, Oxford
St Faith, Kilsby, Peterborough
St Faith, Alverstoke, Portsmouth
St Faith, Cowes, Portsmouth
St Faith, Havant, Portsmouth
St Faith, Lee-on-the-Solent, Portsmouth
St Faith and  St Barnabas, Portsea, Portsmouth
St Faith, North Dulwich, Southwark
St Faith, Wandsworth, Southwark
St Faith, Hexton, St Albans
St Faith, Hitchin, St Albans
St Faith, Kelshall, St Albans
St Nicholas and St Faith, Saltash, Truro
St Cross Hospital with St Faith, Winchester
St Faith, Berrow, Worcester
St Faith, Overbury, Worcester

Other British Dedications to Saint Faith

St Faith’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey
St Faith’s Chapel, St Paul's Cathedral Crypt
St Faith’s Chapel, Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire
St Faith’s Mission Church, Llanishen, Cardiff (the only known dedication in the Church in Wales)







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St Faith's Church, Lee-on-the-Solent
Parish Office 023 9255 6445 
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