>There are thousands, if not tens of thousands of St. John Nepomuk statues on or near bridges throughout central and eastern Europe. He was the vicar-general to the Archbishop of Prague, and legend has it that he was martyred for refusing to divulge details of the Queen’s confession* to the King, Wenceslaus**, who had him thrown from the Charles Bridge into the River Vltava. He is the patron saint of rivers and protector from floods.
* There were of course more complicated reasons, involving the King’s support for the Avignon Papacy, and the growing Hussite reform movement in Bohemia.
**This is Wenceslaus IV. The “good” one mentioned in the Christmas carol is Wenceslaus I, IV’s great-great-great grandfather.