ST. GILES THE ABBOT


St. Giles was born in the early 7th century and died c.710. His Latin name was Aegidius. Little fact is known of his origin and early life but legend has it that he was born an Athenian and became a hermit near the mouth of the Rhone, not far from Nimes. 

Legend also relates that whilst the King Wamba was out hunting in a forest he chased a hind who went into a thicket into which the king shot an arrow. Upon investigating the King found Giles wounded by the arrow whilst protecting the hind.

Giles founded a monastery at a place near Arles, which was later named Saint-Gilles (Provence). Towards the end of his life Giles went to Rome and offered the monastery to the pope who gave Giles two doors of cypress wood which Giles threw into the sea, but which were washed up on a beach near his monastery.
 
    
Saint-Gilles Monastery, Arles (Provence) 

St. Giles became a popular saint in Western Europe due partly to the Crusaders who passed through Saint Gilles (Provence) on their way to the Holy Land.
As a result of his encounter with King Wamba and becoming wounded and a cripple, St. Giles became the patron saint of cripples, lepers and nursing mothers.   
In Great Britain alone over 150 churches and 25 hospitals are dedicated to his name, the most famous being, (as well as Farnborough) at Edinburgh and Cripplegate London.
 

St Giles Fairs.

There have been at least two famous fairs in England connected to St. Giles day: One was in Winchester and the other at Oxford. Their original purpose was for buying and selling local produce.

We do not know exactly when the Church at Farnborough was dedicated to St. Giles, but in 1292 Thom Earl of Lancaster of the family of Grandison, was granted by the King a licence to hold a market in Farnborough every week upon a Tuesday and a yearly fair on the Feast of St. Giles.
 

                  St Giles Fair, Oxford
The St. Giles Fair has been held in Farnborough on the first Saturday in September, usually in Church Fields, for many generations. At one time with a Gymkhana by local riding schools. In recent years this event has been renamed ‘The Farnborough Fair’ organised by the Round Table.


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