Botolph was brother to Adulf; they were of Saxon, or perfaps Celtic, blood. It is said that in their youth, the brothers left England to pursue a monastery education in Belgian Gaul. Adulf stayed on the continent, where he rose to the bishop's seat. But Botolph returned to the land of his birth with the desire to start a monastery. The land he found was called Ikanhoe and, although tradition places it in Boston (that is, "Botolph's stone") in Lincolnshire, evidence suggests that it was rather Iken in Suffolk. Having reached this "God-forsaken and devil-possessed" spot. Botolph consecrated the land through prayer.
Botolph established his abbey in 654. For the monks within its walls, he promoted the Benedictine rule. Yet Botolph also went out frequently to preach in the rural areas, risking attacks by marauding bandits. He died at Ikanhoe in 680 after a long illness. In 870, the invading Danes destroyed the abbey, but Botolp's relics were hidden, and then removed to various places. Over fifty churches in England have been named for Saint Botolph.
Botolph is a patron of farmers. He is one of the saints invoked for the protection of crops. His struggles in taking possession of the demon-infested fen of Ikanhoe make him an apt intercessor for the laborers who must work to draw a harvest from the ground. (Excerpt from Magnificat magazine March 2016, Vol 17, Number 13)
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