Medard of Noyon
© Baring-Gould, S. The Lives of the Saints. London: John C. Nimmo. 1898. Volume 6, page 80. [Via Cornell Library]
Medard of Noyon is the Patron Saint of brewers and good harvests.
He is sometimes depicted with a giant eagle hovering over his head to shelter him from rain, while others around him got wet (reputedly this occurred while he was a child.) This led to his association with control over the weather.
One farm labourer’s legend is that whatever the weather is on St Medard’s Day, it will be for the next 40 days. This was believed in both England and France
He was born approximately 456 AD in Salency, Picardy, France, at the very end of the Roman Empire. His mother in fact was Roman.
His parents were both nobility. His father’s name was Nectardus; his mother’s name was Protagia. His brother was Saint Gildardus, Bishop of Rouen, France.
Medard became a priest when he was 33; bishop of Vermand, France in 1530; then in 531 he became bishop of Noyon, then of Tournai as well in 532. He died 8 June 545 at Noyon, France.
He is also known by his actual Latin name, “Medardus.”
Farm workers would be grateful for any help they could get in an era when rain at the wrong time could ruin vital food for the coming winter.