Who Was Saint Martin?
Martin was a fourth-century bishop in Tours, Gaul (modern-day France). Prior to this, he had served in the Roman cavalry in Gaul from the age of fifteen. After that, he became a monk and a hermit before being ordained Bishop of Tours in 371 AD.
The most famous story associated with Martin is set during the period in which he served as a Roman soldier. One day, as he was approaching the city of Amiens, he met a beggar in rags. His immediate response was to cut his military cloak in half and give one half to the poor man to keep him warm. That night Martin had a dream in which Jesus appeared to him wearing the half-cloak he had given to the man. By serving the beggar Martin had been serving Jesus.
This is the story depicted in most of the images of St Martin in our church building. (The most notable exception being the heraldic symbol of St Martin's escarbuncle, with its eight radiating spokes.)