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St Hugh and Mary Magdalene: c.1190

Hugh, bishop of Lincoln, is a guest at the abbey of Fécamp in about 1190 when he is shown by the monks their precious arm of Mary Magdalene. In spite of their outraged protests, he tries to break a piece off. Finding it too hard, he attempts to bite off one of the saint's fingers - 'first with his front teeth and finally with his molars'.

The saint (he is canonized in 1220) manages eventually to break off two pieces which he gets safely back home - for which display of initiative he is much admired, at any rate in Lincoln. He himself uses the holy sacrament as a Surprising analogy to justify the use of his teeth.

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