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Distance to Santiago de Compostella

Santiago de Compostella is in Spain, in Galicia and a long way from here. It is said that the remains of St James the Greater are there, and catholic pilgrims make long journeys to visit his grave.

St James was one of the disciples of Jesus. He was the sun of Zebedee ( I am sorry but I can’t help thinking of the Magic Roundabout… I know it’s not appropriate) He was also the brother of John.  He and his brother were the ones mending their nets when they got the call from Jesus.

Evidently poor James met his end in Jerusalem when he was decapitated by the sword of Herod Agrippa. I think this is true, but now things get a bit fanciful, to my mind. It is  claimed that his body was then transported up to heaven by angels and was placed in a rudderless boat which was unattended which ended up in Iria Flavia in Spain. The remains were then enclosed in a massive rock.  Some time later they were recovered from the rock and found their way to Santiago de Compostella.

At some time between 818 and 842 these remains were discovered and thus pilgrims started to make their way to the site to pay homage. In 1884 Pope Leo X111 declared the remains to be authentic. However in 1908 the Catholic encyclopedia said ‘there exists several difficulties or bases for doubts of this tradition’

There are several routes to Santiago de Compostella one of which passes from the north of this region down to the south and several large churches are found along the way. The routes are known as the ways of St James.

Vau Saint-Jacques

One comes down from Tours to Chatellerault, then to Poitiers and from there to Saintes; another comes in from Parthenay to Poitiers and south from there. Along the way a route passes through such places as Melle, Aulnay, St Jean d’Angely, Saintes and Pons.

Parthenay in the north of Deux Sevres has a road called Rue de la Vau Saint Jacques (which is Saint James) which leads over the river Thouet and into the town where pilgrims would spend the night.

Bridge over Thouet river