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St Otto of the Hedgerows

(I) A saintly botanist

One of the first pieces of research from the Department for Rural Typologies concerns the hedgerows in and around Angarth. There have been hedgerows in the United Kingdom for thousands of years, and particular good examples can be found in many rural locations. The patron saint of hedgerows is St Otto (c.1200-1254) after whom the Cornish town of St Otto is named.

St Otto's associations with Angarth are many. Miners from the town worked at the Pibble Mine in the 19th century before its closure and there was for many years a small Methodist chapel just outside Angarth. St Otto himself is a somewhat more shadowy figure. Church records suggest he spent many years living in hedgerows, and was able to carry the word of the Gospels very effectively in this manner.

More recently, he is said to have inspired the construction of the Great Hedge of India. While the main purpose of this was a custom barrier, it also had a number of niches for minature shrines which missionaries hoped would spread the Christian faith within the Raj.