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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/189

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At Llandeilo, under the Presilly Hills, in South Wales, is a holy well of St Teilo; and in the farmhouse hard by, Mr Melchior, the tenant, preserves the brainpan of the skull that was shown and used before the Reformation as that of the saint. He is the hereditary guardian of the relic. Unhappily for its genuineness, the open sutures prove that it must have been the head of a young person, and as Teilo died at an advanced age, it could not have belonged to him. Moreover, a part of the superciliary ridge remains, and this is of slight elevation, so that it seems almost certain to have been a portion of a young woman's head. Patients drank water till quite recently from the well out of the reputed skull, and many cures are recorded.

At Skaiholt, in Iceland, was preserved and venerated the supposed skull of St Thorlac, till on examination it proved to be a cocoanut that had been washed up in one of the fjords.

But if there remains but the most meagre trace of the worship of saintly relics in England, there remain tokens of what appears to have been at a remote period a veneration for the heads of ancestors or founders of houses.