St Patrick in Banwell riddle

A FORMER Banwell resident became a patron saint after being kidnapped from the area and taken to Ireland, according to research by a historian.

A FORMER Banwell resident became a patron saint after being kidnapped from the area and taken to Ireland, according to research by a historian.

Harry Jelley, aged 79, has posted findings on the internet which appear to show that St Patrick made his home in the village before he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland.

He says: "The archaeology suggests Somerset was a plausible location for Patrick's family estate.

"There is unexplained earthwork in the form of a cross at Banwell, surrounded by a bank. I like to imagine the cross was constructed as a monument to Patrick by missionary Irish monks a few centuries after his lifetime, when the memory of his birthplace survived."


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Harry Jelley, of Somerton, who compiled the research, has also written a book on the subject entitled The Birthplace of St Patrick.

In an article on the internet, Mr Jelley claims that Patrick's mention of Bannavem Taberniae is a reference to Banwell.

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St Patrick wrote in Confessio, one of only two of his writings to survive: "I had as my father the deacon Calpornius, son of the late Potitus, a priest who belonged to the small of Bannavem Taberniae; he had a small estate nearby and it was there I was taken captive."

However, the historian's claims have been met with scepticism from well-known historians including Brian Austin and President of Banwell Archaelogy Society, Stan Renshaw.

Mr Renshaw said: "The cross shape referred to by Mr Jelley is in fact a rabbit warren probably dating back to medieval times when the Bishop of Bath and Wells used to have a retreat opposite Banwell castle.

"Ninety per cent of people do not accept this. There are lots of other places in the country where similar claims might be made."

Mr Austin said: "There are no written records going back that far.

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