(Called LITTLE SAINT HUGH OF LINCOLN.)
St. Hugh was the son of a poor woman of Lincoln named Beatrice; born about 1246; died in 1255. The Jews of Lincoln are said to have crucified him, his body, bearing the marks of crucifixion, being found some days after his death, at the bottom of a well belonging to a Jew named Copin. Copin was accused of having enticed the child into his house. A large number of Jews were gathered together, and they are said to have tortured the child, to have scourged and crowned him with thorns, and crucified him in mockery of Christ's death. The story goes on to say that the earth refusing to cover Hugh's body, it was cast into a well. Some time after the child had been missed, his playfellows told his mother how they had seen him follow the Jew. On going to Copin's house, she discovered the body. Copin was accused of murder, confessed the crime when threatened with death, and stated that it was a Jewish custom to crucify a boy once a year. Miracles were said to have been wrought at the child's tomb, and the canons of Lincoln translated the body from the church of the parish to which Hugh belonged, and buried it in great state in the cathedral. Copin was put to a cruel death and eighteen Jews were hanged at Lincoln, while about ninety were imprisoned in London. These were found guilty and condemned to death, but they were released on the payment of a large fine.
The martyrdom of St. Hugh became a very popular subject for the ballad poetry of the Middle Ages, and we find a reference to it in Chaucer's "Prioresses Tale". Whether there was any basis of truth in the accusation against the Jews there is now no means of ascertaining. There seems to be little doubt that such accusations were sometimes made for the purpose of extorting money. A discussion of the question will be found in the article on St. William of Norwich. The feast of "Little Hugh" was held on 27 July.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online