Historical background to The Golden Age

The “Golden Age” of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria can be said to cover the period from the beginning of the 7th to the early 9th century AD. During this time, the kingdom encompassed the region bounded by the Humber in the south to the Firth of Forth in the north.

In 547AD, the Anglian warlord Ida established his stronghold at Bamburgh. Ida and his successors created the Kingdom of Bernicia, which covered much of modern Northumberland. It was Ida’s grandson, Ethelfrid who united Bernicia with neighbouring Deira to form Northumbria.

Northumbria became the most powerful political and military force in England during the 7th and early 8th centuries, ruled by kings from the rival royal families of Bernicia and Deira. The early kings of Northumbria were pagans until, in 627AD, King Edwin, of the house of Deira, converted to Christianity following his marriage to Ethelberga, a Christian princess from Kent.

Ethelberga’s chaplain, Paulinus, is said to have baptised thousands of Edwin’s subjects in the waters of the River Glen near the royal palace of Ad Gefrin, which stood close by the Cheviot Hills.

Paulinus was one of the monks who had followed St. Augustine’s mission sent to Kent from Rome by Pope Gregory. Hence the first Christian influence in Northumbria came from the Roman tradition.

After Edwin’s death in battle, most of the Northumbrians seemed to have lapsed back briefly to paganism.

In 635AD, two years after Edwin’s death in battle, King Oswald of the Bernician dynasty defeated his pagan enemies and brought the Irish missionary Aidan to Northumbria from Iona, where Saint Columba had founded a monastery some years earlier.

Aidan established the first Christian monastery in Northumbria on Lindisfarne.

During the following two centuries, Lindisfarne gained a reputation as one of Europe’s major centres of art, learning and worship.

Great works of art were produced there, like the Lindisfarne Gospels.

The first History of the English Church and People was written by Bede, a Northumbrian monk of the twin-monastery at Wearmount/Jarrow. The story of life and work at the time of Bede is vividly illustrated at Bede's World in Jarrow.

Northumbria also produced a succession of famous holy men including Cuthbert, Cedd, Chad and Wilfrid, who were responsible for founding churches and spreading the Christian gospel throughout England and beyond.

Lindisfarne was the scene of the first recorded Viking raid on English soil, in 793AD, which signalled the decline of Northumbria’s "Golden Age".

By the beginning of the 9th century Northumbria had declined and the “Golden Age” came to an end with the rise of rival Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the midlands and the south, and the establishment of Viking rule in York.

SAINT CUTHBERT - The Natural World

On the night that St. Aidan died at Bamburgh in 651, Cuthbert was a young man watching sheep on the hills overlooking the River Tweed near Melrose.  He had a vision of Aidan's soul being carried to Heaven by angels and took this as a call to the service of God,  He entered the monastery of Mailros (Old Melrose), where Prior Boisil immediately recognised the boy was destined to be a great holy man. 

Cuthbert was one of the few monks at Mailros that survived the Great Plague of 664.  He became prior of Melrose, then prior of Lindisfarne. 

St CuthbertIn 685 King Aldfrid persuaded him to accept the position of Bishop of Lindisfarne.  It was intended that he be consecrated Bishop of Hexham, but Cutbert was unwilling to leave his beloved Lindisfarne.  The situation was resolved when Eate offered to accept the See of Hexham in a swap with Cuthbert.

Like Aidan before him, Cuthbert often withdrew to the island of Inner Farne, where he felt closer to God through the natural world around him.  He died on Inner Farne in 687 and was buried in the monastery church on Lindisfarne.

In 830AD, because of the increasing threat from the Vikings, Cuthbert's body was removed from Lindisfarne.  It was taken initially to Norham then later moved throughout Northumbria during the following century until a permanent safe resting place was found at Durham.  Cuthbert's body lies now in Durham Cathedral.

For additional information try www.britainexpress.com or www.newadvent.org

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SAINT AIDAN - Spirituality and Sense of Place

St AidenAidan was born in Ireland where he may have studied under St. Senan on Scattery Island, County Clare.  He later entered the monastery founded by St. Columba on Iona.

 

After his victory over his pagan enemies at the Battle of Heavenfield (634AD), King Oswald sent to Iona for a missionary to convert the Northumbrians.  The first missionary, Corman, soon returned to Iona complaining that the Northumbrians were too obstinate and barbaric to become Christians.  Aidan suggested that more patience was required and offered to come to Northumbria in Corman's place. 

 

In 635AD, Oswald granted Aidan the island of Lindisfarne as a site for the first Christian monastery in Northumbria.

Aidan travelled extensively throughout Northumbria, preaching the gospel.  He travelled on foot, to be closer to the ordinary folk, and was often accompanied by King Oswald who acted as his interpreter.  In the monastery school on Lindisfarne, Aidan took in sons of high-status Northumbrian families and taught them to be monks and missionaries.

Aidan lived a frugal life and often retreated to spend time in prayer and contemplation on the island of Inner Farne.  

He died in 651AD, in a rough shelter he had erected beside the church at Bamburgh.   A beam in the base of the tower of the present St. Aidan's Church in Bamburgh is said to be a relic from that shelter.

Images of Aidan portray him as a bishop holding a torch in his hand.  He is sometimes shown with a stag at his feet from a legend that tells of Aidan protecting a frightened stag from its hunters by using a prayer to make the creature invisible.

 

For more information try www.lindisfarne.org.uk or www.irelandseye.com

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SAINT EBBA - The Role of Women in the Early Church

St Ebba

 

Ebba was the sister of Oswald and Oswy. 

She founded the double convent for both monks and nuns at Coldingham, on the coast of Berwickshire. 

She remained as abbess at Coldingham, where she died in 683.

 

 

 

For additional information try www.beadnell.org or www.acny.org.uk

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SAINT OSWALD - Life in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria

St Oswald

Oswald was the eldest son of the pagan King Ethelfrid of the royal house of Bernicia.  It was Ethelfrid who created the Kingdom of Northumbria by uniting Bernicia with the neighbouring kingdom of Deira. 

After their father was killed in battle in 616AD, Oswald and his brother Oswy escaped to exile in the friendly kingdom of Dal Riada, on the west coast of Scotland.  There they were brought up as Christians by the Irish Celtic monks in the monastery founded on Iona by St. Columba. 

Oswald returned to Northumbria in 633 and drove out his pagan enemies.  He sent to Iona for a missionary to convert his subjects to Christianity and, in 635, he granted the island of Lindisfarne to Bishop Aidan to build the first monastery in Northumbria.

Oswald acted as interpreter for Bishop Aidan as he travelled around Northumbria.

One Easter Day, Oswald and Aidan were about to begin their Easter Feast at the royal capital of Bamburgh when Oswald was informed that there were many of the king's subjects starving outside.  Oswald ordered the food and silver-ware from his table to be distributed among the poor.  Aidan blessed Oswald's hand that had given so generously, predicting that it would never perish.  .

Oswald was eventually killed by his old enemy, King Penda of Mercia at the Battle of Maserfield in 642.  The site of the battle is thought to be near the modern town of Oswestry (Oswald's Tree). 

Oswald's enemies cut up his body and took the parts as trophies.  His brother Oswy now became King of Northumbria and set about recovering the parts of Oswald's body.  He rescued the hand that Aidan had blessed and it was kept in a silver casket in the chapel at Bamburgh.  Oswald's head was taken to Lindisfarne. 

For additional information try www.britannia.com or www.newadvent.org

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SAINT BEDE - Art, Crafts, Drama and Literature

 

St. Bede

At the age of 7 years, Bede became a novice monk at the monastery founded at Wearmouth by Benedict Biscop.  In 682, he moved to the newly-built sister monastery at Jarrow on the Tyne, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life.  It is said that he only left Jarrow three times.

Thanks to their wealthy founder, Benedict Biscop, the monasteries at Wearmouth and Jarrow held one of the most extensive libraries in Western Europe. 

Bede was ordained at the age of 19 and became a priest at 30. 

Bede became the greatest scholar in Anglo-Saxon Britain, writing numerous books on a variety of subjects.  His most famous work is his "Ecclesiastical History of the English People", completed in 731, in which he was one of the first to use the Anno Domini system of dating events.

Bede died in his cell at Jarrow in 735. 

In 1022 a monk of Durham, Alfred Westue removed Bede's body from Jarrow to Durham Cathedral, where his tomb can be seen today.

For addition information try www.catholic-forum.com or www.bedesworld.co.uk

 

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Feast Days of Saints of The Golden Age

Click on a Saint in the list below for more information.

FEAST DAY

 
12th January
15th January
8th February
12th February
18th February
2nd March
6th March
20th March
2nd April
6th May
25th May
4th June
7th July
5th August
17th August
20th August
23rd August
31st August
3rd September
4th September
10th October
12th October
12th October
26th October
26th October
17th November

 

 


BENEDICT BISCOP b 628 - d 689 - 12th January

Benedict Biscop was born as Biscop Baducing, the son of a noble Northumbrian family.

In 653, at the age of twenty five, he accompanied another Northumbrian nobleman, Wilfrid on pilgrimage to Rome.  He returned to Northumbria fired with enthusiasm for the beautiful churches and impressive religious ceremonies he saw there.

Biscop took monastic vows in 667 and adopted the Christian name Benedict.

Two years later he was appointed abbot of the monastery of SS. Peter and Paul at Canterbury.

In 674 Biscop was granted land by King Egfrid  to found a monastery at Wearmouth.  He brought the best masons, glaziers and other skilled craftsmen from Gaul (modern France) to build the monastery in the magnificent Romanesque style. 

Biscop returned to Rome on four more occasions, each time bringing back beautiful books, ornaments and relics for his monastery and the sister house he founded at Jarrow in 682.

Benedict was bed-ridden for the last three years of his life.  He died in 689 and was buried at Wearmouth.

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CEOLWULF - d 764 - 15th January

Ceolwulph was king of Northumbria from 729 to 737, when he was forced to abdicate and retired as a monk to Lindisfarne. 

Bede dedicated his “Ecclesiastical History” to Ceolwulph. 

Ceolwulph died circa 764 and his relics were taken with Cuthbert’s body to Norham in 830AD.

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ELFLEDA b 653 - d 714 - 8th February

Elfreda was the daughter of King Oswy and Queen Eanfled.    The name means “noble beauty”.

In 657, she was offered as an infant to become a nun in the convent of Hartlepool under Abbess Hilda.  This was to fulfil a vow made by her father before the Battle of Winwaed in 654. 

Elfleda succeeded Hilda as Abbess of Whitby. 

In 684 she met Cuthbert who predicted that her brother King Egfrid would die within the year. 

It is said that she was cured of paralysis by Cuthbert’s girdle. 

Elfleda died at Whitby in 714.

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ETHELWALD OF LINDISFARNE - d 740 - 12th February & 21st April

Ethelwald was a disciple and chief assistant to Cuthbert.  He became Prior, then Abbot of Melrose and in 721 succeeded Eadfrid as Bishop of Lindisfarne. 

Ethelwald was patron of the hermit Bilfrid, whom he commissioned to make a binding of gold and precious stones for Eadfrith’s Lindisfarne Gospels. 

Ethelwald’s relics accompanied Cuthbert’s to Durham.

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COLMAN - d 676 - 18th February

Colman was an Irish monk, born in Connaught.

He was Abbot of Lindisfarne at the time of the Synod of Whitby in 664, where he acted as the chief defender of the Celtic tradition.

After the Synod, Colman refused to abandon the Celtic tradition and left for Ireland with his fellow Irish monks and thirty native English monks from Lindisfarne, to found a new monastic community at Innishboffuin in Connaught.  The English soon split from the Irish to form their own community at “Mayo of the Saxons”, as they said the Irish monks left them to do all the work!

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CHAD b 623 - d 672 - 2nd March

With his three elder brothers, Chad was a pupil of Aidan in the monastery school on Lindisfarne. 

In 664 he succeeded his brother Cedd as Abbot of Lastingham.  He was temporarily appointed Bishop of York in place of Wilfrid in 666, but was removed when Wilfrid returned. 

In 669, as a reward for his humility in standing down in favour of Wilfrid, Chad was made Bishop of the Mercians, covering 17 counties.

Chad is known as Staffordshire’s Saint.  He made seat at Lichfield and he died and was buried there.  Statues show Chad carrying Lichfield Cathedral in his hand. 

Thirty three churches are dedicated to Chad, including the cathedrals of Lichfield and Birmingham. His relics are kept at Birmingham Cathedral.

The 8th century Lichfield Gospels dedicated to Chad are kept in Lichfield Cathedral Library.

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BILFRID - d 758 - 6th March

Bilfrid was a monk hermit of Lindisfarne.

He was an expert silversmith and was commissioned by Bishop Ethelwald to make a magnificent binding for the Lindisfarne Gospels.

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CUTHBERT  - d 687 - 20th March & 4th September

On the night that St. Aidan died at Bamburgh in 651, Cuthbert was a young man watching sheep on the hills overlooking the River Tweed near Melrose.  He had a vision of Aidan’s soul being carried to Heaven by angels and took this as a call to the service of God,  He entered the monastery of Mailros (Old Melrose), where Prior Boisil immediately recognised the boy was destined to be a great holy man. 

Cuthbert was one of the few monks at Mailros that survived the Great Plague of 664.  He became prior of Melrose, then prior of Lindisfarne. 

In 685 King Aldfrid persuaded him to accept the position of Bishop of Lindisfarne.  It was intended that he be consecrated Bishop of Hexham, but Cutbert was unwilling to leave his beloved Lindisfarne.  The situation was resolved when Eate offered to accept the See of Hexham in a swap with Cuthbert.

Like Aidan before him, Cuthbert often withdrew to the island of Inner Farne, where he felt closer to God through the natural world around him.  He died on Inner Farne in 687 and was buried in the monastery church on Lindisfarne.

In 830AD, because of the increasing threat from the Vikings, Cuthbert’s body was removed from Lindisfarne.  It was taken initially to Norham then later moved throughout Northumbria during the following century until a permanent safe resting place was found at Durham.  Cuthbert’s body lies now in Durham Cathedral.

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EBBA THE YOUNGER - d 874 - 2nd April

Ebba the Younger was Abbess of Coldingham in the mid-9th century. 

When Coldingham monastery was threatened by Viking raiders led by Hinguar and Hubba, it is said that she protected her virginity by cutting off her nose and upper lip.  This action was imitated by the other sisters but they all died when the Vikings destroyed the monastery by fire.

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EADBERT - d 768 - 20th August

Eadbert became King of Northumbria in 737, after the abdication of his cousin Ceolwulph.

Alcuin, a distinguished contemporary churchman and scholar, considered Eadbert’s reign to be Northumbria’s “golden age”. 

In 757 Eadbert, too, abdicated and was succeeded by his son Oswulf, who was murdered within a year.

Eadbert become a monk at York where he died in 768.

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BEDE - b 673 - d 735 - 26th May

At the age of 7 years, Bede became a novice monk at the monastery founded at Wearmouth by Benedict Biscop.  In 682, he moved to the newly-built sister monastery at Jarrow on the Tyne, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life.  It is said that he only left Jarrow three times.

Thanks to their wealthy founder, Benedict Biscop, the monasteries at Wearmouth and Jarrow held one of the most extensive libraries in Western Europe. 

Bede was ordained at the age of 19 and became a priest at 30. 

Bede became the greatest scholar in Anglo-Saxon Britain, writing numerous books on a variety of subjects.  His most famous work is his “Ecclesiastical History of the English People”, completed in 731, in which he was one of the first to use the Anno Domini system of dating events.

Bede died in his cell at Jarrow in 735. 

In 1022 a monk of Durham, Alfred Westue removed Bede’s body from Jarrow to Durham Cathedral, where his tomb can be seen today.

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EADFRID OF LINDISFARNE - d 721 - 4th June

Eadfrid was consecrated Bishop of Lindisfarne after Eadbert. 

He wrote and illuminated the famous Lindisfarne Gospels. 

Eadfrid’s relics were taken with St. Cuthbert’s body to Durham.

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BOISIL - d 664 - 23rd February & 7th July

Boisil was one of the Northumbrian boys educated by Aidan in the Lindisfarne monastery school. 

He became prior of Mailros (Old Melrose), a daughter-house of Lindisfarne.

Boisil taught the young Cuthbert.  When he came to Mailros in 651AD, Boisil immediately recognised he was destined to become a great holy man, exclaiming: “Behold a servant of God!”. 

Boisil succeeded Eata as Abbot of Mailros. 

When Boisil lay dying in the great plague of 664AD, Cuthbert sat by his bedside reading to him the Gospel of St. John.  Before his death, Boisil predicted that Cuthbert would become bishop of Lindisfarne. 

Boisil’s relics were deposited at Durham in 1030.

Boisil is remembered in the name of the Roxburghshire town of St. Boswells.

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JAMES THE DEACON  - 17th August

James was an Italian monk who came to Northumbria in 625 with Queen Ethelburga and her chaplain, Bishop Paulinus. 

After King Edwin’s death in 632, Ethelburga and Paulinus fled back to Kent, leaving James as perhaps the only Christian missionary continuing to live and work in Northumbria. 

Bede says that James lived near Catterick, that he was present at the Synod of Whitby in 664 and that he survived to a great age, teaching plainsong in the Roman manner.

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OSWIN - d 651 - 20th August

After the death of Oswald in 642AD, Northumbria separated temporarily into its two constituent kingdoms of Bernicia and Deira. 

Oswald’s brother Oswy became king in Bernicia and Oswin in Deira. 

In 651AD, Oswin was treacherously murdered at Gilling in North Yorkshire, on the orders of Oswy, who then became ruler of a re-united Northumbria. 

Oswin had been a close friend of Bishop Aidan.  Aidan died at Bamburgh only twelve days after Oswin’s murder, it is said of a broken heart. 

Oswin was buried in the monastery at Tynemouth and  Oswy founded a monastery at Gilling as reparation for his evil act.

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EBBA THE ELDER -d 683 - 25th August

Ebba was the sister of Oswald and Oswy. 

She founded the double convent for both monks and nuns at Coldingham, on the coast of Berwickshire. 

She remained as abbess at Coldingham, where she died in 683.

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AIDAN - d 651- 31st August

Aidan was born in Ireland where he may have studied under St. Senan on Scattery Island, County Clare.  He later entered the monastery founded by St. Columba on Iona. 

After his victory over his pagan enemies at the Battle of Heavenfield (634AD), King Oswald sent to Iona for a missionary to convert the Northumbrians.  The first missionary, Corman, soon returned to Iona complaining that the Northumbrians were too obstinate and barbaric to become Christians.  Aidan suggested that more patience was required and offered to come to Northumbria in Corman’s place. 

In 635AD, Oswald granted Aidan the island of Lindisfarne as a site for the first Christian monastery in Northumbria.

Aidan travelled extensively throughout Northumbria, preaching the gospel.  He travelled on foot, to be closer to the ordinary folk, and was often accompanied by King Oswald who acted as his interpreter.  In the monastery school on Lindisfarne, Aidan took in sons of high-status Northumbrian families and taught them to be monks and missionaries.

Aidan lived a frugal life and often retreated to spend time in prayer and contemplation on the island of Inner Farne.  

He died in 651AD, in a rough shelter he had erected beside the church at Bamburgh.   A beam in the base of the tower of the present St. Aidan’s Church in Bamburgh is said to be a relic from that shelter.

Images of Aidan portray him as a bishop holding a torch in his hand.  He is sometimes shown with a stag at his feet from a legend that tells of Aidan protecting a frightened stag from its hunters by using a prayer to make the creature invisible.

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GREGORY THE GREAT - b 540 - d 604 - 3rd September

Although Pope Gregory the Great is not a Northumbrian saint, he played a significant part in the story of the early Christian church in Northumbria. 

In 595AD, Pope Gregory sent Augustine on a mission to Christianise the kingdom of Kent, which established the Church of Roman in southern England. 

The marriage of King Edwin to the Christian Kentish princess Ethelburga led to Edwin being converted to Christianity in 627AD and the baptising of many Northumbrians by Saint Paulinus, one of Augustine’s followers. 

The church at Kirknewton is dedicated to St. Gregory the Great.

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CUTHBERT’S TRANSLATION  

In 875AD, the monastery on Lindisfarne was abandoned because of the constant threat of Viking raids. 

The monks and their successors travelled throughout Northumbria to find a place of safety for the body of St. Cuthbert and other holy relics. 

For a time, Cuthbert’s body rested at Norham, then at Whithorn, Ripon and Craike in Yorkshire. 

The Congregation of St. Cuthbert settled at Chester-le-Street for almost 100 years before moving finally to Durham in 995AD.  Here they erected a fine church, known as the “White Church”, over Cuthbert’s tomb. 

After the Normans conquered the North of England, a community of Benedictines was established at Durham.  They replaced the White Church with a magnificent new cathedral where, on 4th September 1104, the body of St. Cuthbert was “translated” to its final resting place.

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PAULINUS - b 584 - d 644 - 10th October

In 601, Paulinus was sent from Rome by Pope Gregory to join St. Augustine’s mission in Kent.  He was described as a “tall man with a slight stoop, who had black hair, a thin face and a narrow, aquiline nose, his presence being venerable and awe-inspiring”. 

Paulinus spent 24 years evangelising in Kent. 

In 625AD he was consecrated Bishop of York, then accompanied Elthelburga to Edwin’s court. 

King Edwin was baptised by Paulinus at York in 627AD. 

After Edwin’s death at Hatfield Chase in 633AD, Paulinus fled back to Kent with Ethelburga and her two children, leaving James the Deacon to keep Christianity alive in Northumbria.

Paulinus became Bishop of Rochester, where he died in 644AD.

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EDWIN - b 586 - d 633 - 12th October

Edwin was the son of Aelle, King of Deira.

The Kingdom of Northumbria was created by Ethelfrid who united Deira, which covered much of modern Yorkshire, with his own kingdom of Bernicia (the land to the north of the River Tees).   

When Ethelfrid was killed in 616, Edwin became King of Northumbria.    

In 625, Edwin married Ethelburga, a Christian princess from Kent.  At Easter in 627, Edwin was baptised as a Christian at York by Paulinus, who had accompanied Ethelburga from Kent as her chaplain.

Bede described Edwin’s reign as a time of peace and security when Northumbria rose to political and military prominence in Anglo-Saxon Brtitain.

Edwin was killed at the Battle of Hatfield Chase in 633 and he was succeeded by Oswald of the rival royal house of Bernicia.

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WILFRID - b 634 -d 709 - 12th October

Wilfrid was born in Ripon, the son of a Northumbria thane. 

At the age of 13 he joined King Oswy’s court and became a favourite of Queen Eanfled, who sent him to be educated at Lindisfarne.  He later studied at Canterbury where he became an adherent of the Roman practices. 

In 653/4, he went on pilgrimage to Rome with another young Northumbrian, Benedict Biscop.  After spending some time at Lyons, Wilfrid returned to England in about 658 and was appointed Abbot of Ripon, where he introduced the Roman liturgy.  Most of the Ripon monks returned to Mailros (Od Melrose) rather than accept the new ways.

Wilfrid rose to prominence because of his clever argument on behalf of the Roman Church in the debate with Colman of Lindisfarne at the Synod of Whitby in 664AD. 

After his success in arguing the Roman Cause, Wilfrid was made Bishop of York.  He travelled to France to be consecrated, but on his return in 666 he found that Chad had been appointed to the See of York in his place.  Wilfrid returned to Ripon but in 669 the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore, ruled Chad’s appointment irregular and restored Wilfrid to York.

Wilfrid alienated King Egfrid by supporting his virgin queen Etheldra.  Egfrid had him removed from York and imprisoned for nine months.

On his release, he went to evangelise in Sussex, where he built the monastery of Selsey.

In 678/9 Wilfrid led a mission to Friesland.

He was restored to Ripon in 686 by Egfrid’s successor, King Aldfrid, but Aldfird fell out with him in 691 and he was forced into exile again.  Wilfrid went to Mercia where he was made Bishop of vacant see of Lichfield.

Aldfrid died in 705 and Wilfrid returned to Northumbria and retired to the monastery at Ripon.  Wilfrid died in 709 while visiting the monastery he had founded at Oundle in Northamptonshire.  He was buried at Ripon.

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CEDD - d 664 - 7th January & 26th October

Cedd was the brother of Chad, Caelin and Cynibild.

He was ordained in 653 and was invited by Peada of Mercia to preach in his kingdom. 

In 654 Cedd was sent as a missionary to Essex when King Sigbert of the East Anglians converted to Christianity.  He was consecrated Bishop of East Saxons by Finan of Lindisfarne. 

Founded the monastery at Lastingham, near Whitby, where he died in the Great Plague of 664.  He was succeeded as Abbot of Lastingham by his brother Chad.

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EATA OF HEXHAM -d 686 - 26th October

Eata was one of the original twelve Northumbrian boys taken in by Aidan to be educated in the monastery school on Lindisfarne. 

In about 657 he founded the monastery at Ripon.  Eata was later made Abbot of Melrose and then Bishop of Lindisfarne.  

In 678, Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury divided the See of York into three bishoprics and made Eata Bishop of Bernicia. 

In 681, Bernicia was split into the sees of Lindisfarne and Hexham.  Theodore appointed Eata bishop of Lindisfarne and Cuthbert bishop of Hexham, but they agreed to exchange sees so that Cuthbert could remain on his beloved Lindisfarne.

Eata died of dysentery in 686 and was buried at Hexham.

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HILDA - b 614 - d 680 - 19th November

Hilda was born in 614, the second daughter of Hereric, nephew of King Edwin of Northumbria

After her father was murdered, Hilda was brought up at Edwin’s court.  Together with Edwin, she was baptised at York on Easter Day 627.

Hilda became a nun and gained a reputation for wisdom and learning.  She was ordained in 647AD, at the age of 33. 

In 648AD Hilda founded the double monastery (for both men and women) at Whitby, on land granted to her by King Oswy. 

The following year Aidan made her Abbess of Hartlepool. 

She returned as Abbess to Whitby in 657, where she presided over the famous Synod of 664 which decided whether Northumbria should remain within the Celtic Church or adopt the Roman practices.

Hilda suffered from fever for the last six years of her life and died at Whitby in 680.  A local legend says that when sea birds fly over the abbey they dip their wings in honour of St. Hilda.

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