Meraud

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Meraud was a magician who flourished in Cornwall at some time during the twelfth century. He was the first to expound the belief that any person who has been cured, saved or raised to life by magic is no longer subject to the laws of God and His church but instead owes allegiance to the one, whether magician or fairy, who aided him.

This belief ran counter to the teachings of the medieval church and Meraud was therefore summoned before King Stephen at Winchester, where a council of bishops heard his arguments. He was judged guilty of heresy and suffered one of the many cruel punishments of a savage age - branding, whipping and being cast out of human society. After sentence had been carried out the unhappy Meraud attempted to walk, in his weakened state, to Newcastle, presumably to seek help at the court of John Uskglass; but he died on the journey [18].

Meraud's beliefs, and variants of them, are collectively known as the Meraudian heresy. They proved suprisingly resistant to suppression, though a twelfth-century abbot of Rievaulx devoted his life to refuting them: they survived in various forms throughout history and were even spontaneously suggested in modern times by Lord Castlereagh.

According to the opinion Gilbert Norrell expressed in a conversation with Sir Walter Pole the Meraudian heresy is without foundation [18]: however, the circumstances of the enchantment of Lady Pole suggest otherwise. It is clear that when she was raised from the dead Mr Norrell and the gentleman with the thistle-down hair, who both had a hand in it, were able to dispose of her future between them [8]. Thus Mr Norrell's remarks to Sir Walter were, at the least, disingenuous.

Meraud had a fairy-servant named Coleman Gray [54].



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The Punishment of Meraud, ca. 1196