Potted biography of St Loye

Petrus christus, sant'eligio nella bottega di un orafo 01.jpgSt Loye was born in about 588 near Limoges, close to the middle of what is now France.

He trained and worked as a goldsmith, rising to master of the mint and then councillor to the King of the Franks. He took advantage of royal favour to obtain alms for the poor, ransom slaves, and give criminals decent burials. He founded several monasteries, and built and restored churches in Paris. In 642, he was (unwillingly) appointed Bishop of Noyon-Tournai with the unanimous approval of clergy and people.

He died on 1 December 660, and 1 December is now his feast day.

Among many other patronages, St Loye is the patron saint of horses and those who work with them, goldsmiths, other metalworkers, coin collectors, veterinarians, the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) corps in the British Army. He is particularly honoured in parts of northern France and Belgium.

So how did St Loye become connected with Exeter?

It probably relates to the dedication of the Chapel of St Loye (not actually within the current St Loyes ward boundaries). According to Historic England’s listing of the Chapel, it “was built by Henry Twill in 1377 and was dedicated to St Loye the patron saint of metal workers.” The dedication is unusual; it is the only one known in Devon or Cornwall. Maybe it was simply the whimsy of the local lord of the manor.