1The text is edited by Joseph Klinkenberg, Bonner Jahrbücher 89 (1890) 118-124; and in the Acta Sanctorum vol. 9, October 21 (1869) 154–157.

2Pamela Sheingorn and Marcelle Thiébaux.The Passion of Saint Ursula [Regnante domino], translated with notes and Introduction. 2nd printing (Toronto: Peregrina Publishing Co., 1991).

3The inscription is cited in Nancy Gauthier, p. 109: “Communication: Origine et premiers développements de la légende de Sainte Ursule à Cologne,” Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions (1973) 108–119. Gauthier thinks that the church was rebuilt and the inscription carved in the sixth century (p. 118), but gives a range of views on the dating (4th–10th centuries) of the controversial inscription. The italics in the translation are ours.

4See F. Schübel, Die südenglische Legende von den elftausend Jungfrauen (Berlin, 1938) 21-29; and M. Coens, “Les vierges martyres de Cologne d’après un ouvrage récent,” Analecta Bollandiana 47 (1929) 89-110.

5The Sermo in Natali SS. Virginum XI Millium is in the Acta Sanctorum, vol. 9, October 21 (1869) 154–157. We have based our translation on both the Acta Sanctorum and the edition by Joseph Klinkenberg, Bonner Jahrbücher 89 (1890) 118-124.

6Song 5:10.

7Song 1:3–4.

8Mt 13:8, and cf. Mk 4:8, Luke 8:5-15.

9Mt 26:53 “Do you think I cannot call upon my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”

10On the procession following the Lamb, see note 11, below.

11The tradition of Christ as “the Saint called Truth” recurs in The Vision of Piers Ploughman in the fourteenth century.

12Mt 19:21: “Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’”

13Mt 19:28: “Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’”

14Ps 95:1: “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation!”

15Rv 14:3-4: “And they sang a new song before the throne... No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are they who... kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes.” The procession of virgins that follows the Lamb provides the climax of the fourteenth century Middle English Pearl.

16On the philosopher’s hunt for truth, see Marcelle Thiébaux, The Stag of Love: The Chase in Medieval Literature (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1974) 50-51. The image of the philosopher’s hunt was treated in Plato, Euthydemus 290b, c and d, and in Cicero’s De natura deorum, I.183.

17The allusion to the Israelites and Moses is lacking in one manuscript.

18The Martyrs of Agaunum, 3rd century, September 22: a Roman legion of Egyptian Christian soldiers, serving in Gaul, refused to participate in heathen sacrifices, mutinied at Agaunum and were killed.

19The reference is to the “Roman Peace,” the state of order and security obtaining within the Augustan Empire.



22At the instigation of Galerian, Diocletian began persecutions against Christians in the East in 303.

23Deonotus is the name given to Ursula’s father in Passio I, written between 969 and 976. This would be some fifty-odd years after the Sermo in Natali.

24Batavia refers to the Netherlands. Compare Batavia, quam Rhenus bicornis circumfluendo to Virgil, Æneid viii.727.

25The Venerable Bede records this fact in his History of the English Church and People for the year 156 A.D.: “While the holy Eleutherius ruled the Roman Church, Lucius, a British king, sent him a letter, asking to be made a Christian. This pious request was quickly granted, and the Britons held the Faith which they received in all its purity and fullness until the time of the Emperor Diocletian” (History of the English Church and People I, Chapter 4, trans. Leo Sherley-Price (Baltimore: Penguin, 1965).

26St. Marcellinus (296–304 A.D.).

27Gildas, De excidio Britanniæ, Book 9, describes these troubles.

28Since no St. Winnosa or St. Pinnosa can be found, F. Schübel has proposed, in a meticulously argued section of his study of The South English Legendary, that the name results from a feminised form of the Breton St. Winnoc (d. November 6, 717), a founding abbot of Wormholt in Flanders, and a former Breton nobleman. The two spellings of Winnosa/Pinnosa in the Sermo can, therefore, be explained by a confusion between the rune wyn “∏” and “p.”

St. Winnoc had spent a period of his early life as a solitary at what is now Bergue-Saint-Winnoc (where his relics lie) near Sithiu abbey in Saint Omer (F. Schübel, Die südenglische Legende von den elftausend Jungfrauen, Beiträge zur Sprach- Stil- und Literatur­forschung 7 [Berlin: Nicholaische Verlagsbuch­hand­lung, 1938] 35-53).

St. Winnoc is briefly represented in the Old English Martyrology, G. Herzfeld, ed., Early English Text Society, OS 116 [1900] for November 6.