Hartlepool Abbey known as Heretu Abbey, Hereteu Abbey, Heorthu Abbey or Herutey Abbey, was a Northumbrian monastery founded in 640 CE by Hieu, the first of the saintly recluses of Northumbria, Aidan of Lindisfarne, on the Headland Estate of Hartlepool now called the Heugh or Old Hartlepool, in County Durham, England. Built in the early Saxon style, it was a walled enclosure of simple wooden huts surrounding a church. Hartlepool was a double monastery, it was a joint-house of both monks and nuns, presided over from 640-649 by Hieu, the first female abbess to be put in charge of such an institution. Hilda ruled men and women, Bede speaks of male students in the monasteries of the Abbess Hilda, there are male names on the head stones, male interments in the cemetery. Most of the priests were from the Celtic church who had travelled to Northumbria from Ireland or the Isle of Iona. Others had arrived as part of the Pope's mission to Britain. Hieu was run a new abbey at Hereteu. After Hieu left for Tadcaster in 649, Hilda was appointed second abbess of the abbey by Bishop Aidan.
When she arrived, there were some serious problems with the monks living there. Hilda organised it so that everyone had to pray and rest according to a clear timetable. In 655, King Oswiu of Northumbria sent his one-year-old daughter Ælfflæd to stay with Hilda, "to be consecrated to God in perpetual virginity", an important gesture. Hilda stayed at Hartlepool Abbey until 657 or 658 when at Aidans behest she became founding abbess of Whitby Abbey called Streoneshalh, taking with her Ælfflæd and ten nuns. Hilda was now technically abbess of both monasteries; the monastery disappears from history, it is possible that it either ceased to operate or that it moved to and became the nucleus of Hilda's new foundation. A village was founded around the monastery in the 7th century, marking the earliest beginnings of the modern town of Hartlepool. However, after Hilda left Hartlepool Abbey it, the village surrounding it, is not mentioned again in any known sources until the 12th century, appears to have declined in importance until it was either sacked and destroyed by Danish Vikings around 800, or simply abandoned.
No trace of the monastery remains today, though the monastic cemetery has been found near the site of present-day St Hilda’s Church. It is the most extensively explored of all the Northumbrian monasteries of the 7th and 8th centuries; the first excavation began in 1833 when workmen building houses on the headland found human burials and Anglo-Saxon artefacts. Multiple female skeletons were found lying in two rows at a depth of 3.5 feet. Unusually for Christian burials, the bodies were aligned north to south, their heads were upon flat stones as pillows with larger stones inscribed with Anglo-Saxon runes and crosses above. One of the namestones found during this excavation can be found on display in St Hilda's Church. In consultation with the British Archaeological Association, several were identified; these included Heresuid and Bregesuid the sister and the mother of St Hilda, the abbess of Hackness, Hildilid and Torchtgyd abbess and nuns of Barking Abbey. Significant finds are still being unearthed to this day.
Hartlepool Abbey was featured in the March 2000 episode #57 of archaeological television programme Time Team, called "Nuns in Northumbria", where bones and a book clasp were found
Æthelburh of Faremoutiers
Saint Æthelburg, known as Ethelburga, was an Anglo-Saxon princess and saint. Æthelburg was one of the daughters of King Anna of East Anglia although she was illegitimate. Her sisters were Saint Withburga, Saint Saethrid, abbess of Faremoutiers Abbey in Brie, Saint Seaxburh and Æthelthryth who were abbesses of Ely. Æthelburg and Saethrid were sent to the nunnery of Faremoutiers in France for their education. While there Æthelburg became a nun and succeeded Saethrid as abbess; as abbess, Æthelburg began work on a church in honour of the twelve apostles, left unfinished at her death in 664. At her request she was buried in the church. After seven years a decision was made to move her bones to the nearby church of Saint Stephen and her body was found to be uncorrupted, her feast day is 7 July. Wuffing dynasty family tree Æthelburg 4 at Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England
John Capgrave was an English historian and scholastic theologian. He is remembered chiefly for the "Nova Legenda Angliae", the first comprehensive collection of the lives of English saints. Capgrave was born in Bishop's Lynn, now King's Lynn, Norfolk – "My cuntre is Northfolke, of the town of Lynne", his parents are unknown but he may have been the nephew of a namesake who obtained a doctorate of theology at Oxford in 1390 and was an Augustinian friar. Capgrave the younger joined the order at Lynn in about 1410 and was ordained in 1416 or 1417, he studied theology at the order's school in London. By 1421, he was a lector, qualified to teach at all but one of the order's levels of schooling, he was sent by the prior-general to do further studies in Cambridge, where he delivered his examinatory sermon in Latin in 1422. He wrote an English version of this as his treatise on the twelve orders that follow the rule of St Augustine, his progress from ordination to the degree of master of theology is said to have been the fastest on record.
Capgrave's earliest work was a Life of St Norbert in English some time before 1422. There followed a succession of exegeses, many of them now lost, his lost commentaries, entitled In regum, are known to have been dedicated to Humphrey of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Gloucester and to John Low, prior-provincial of the Augustinians in 1427–33 and a bishop. Capgrave was present when the foundation stone of King's College, Cambridge was laid on 2 April 1441 by Henry VI. Several hagiographies and royal biographies followed, including one in English of St Katharine. By 1446 he was prior of the Augustinian friary at Bishop's Lynn. Capgrave paid a visit to Rome in 1449–50 for the holy year of Jubilee and left an account that provides a glimpse into the histories, legends and publicly held attitudes in the church at that time; some works were dedicated to William Grey, king's proctor in Rome in 1450 and bishop of Ely. Only twelve of Capgrave's 45 known works survive, including the seven in English; the most important for posterity was his Abbreviacion of Cronicles, which provides a framework for world history within an Augustinian framework, drawing on the St Albans chronicles by Thomas Walsingham and others.
According to the Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature, the book "brings together what Capgrave felt were the most important events in world and British history. He moralized historical incidents, revealed a bias for Christians and Englishmen in his depiction of events."Capgrave died on 12 August 1464 at Bishop's Lynn. Herbermann, Charles, ed.. "John Capgrave". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Cousin, John William. "Capgrave, John". A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons – via Wikisource. Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Capgrave, John". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press. Winstead, Karen A. John Capgrave's Fifteenth Century, The Middle Ages Series, University of Pennsylvania Press, ISBN 0812203836 Petrina, Cultural Politics in Fifteenth-Century England: The Case of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History, 124, Brill Academic Publishers, ISBN 9004137130
Whitby Abbey was a 7th-century Christian monastery that became a Benedictine abbey. The abbey church was situated overlooking the North Sea on the East Cliff above Whitby in North Yorkshire, England, a centre of the medieval Northumbrian kingdom; the abbey and its possessions were confiscated by the crown under Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries between 1536 and 1545. Since that time, the ruins of the abbey have continued to be used by sailors as a landmark at the headland. Since the 20th century, the substantial ruins of the church have been declared a Grade I Listed building and are in the care of English Heritage; the first monastery was founded in 657 AD by the Anglo-Saxon era King of Northumbria, Oswy as Streoneshalh. He appointed Lady Hilda, abbess of Hartlepool Abbey and grand-niece of Edwin, the first Christian king of Northumbria, as founding abbess; the name Streoneshalh is thought to signify Fort Bay or Tower Bay, in reference to a supposed Roman settlement that existed on the site.
This contention has never been proven and alternative theories have been proposed, such as the name meaning Streona's settlement. Some believe that the name referred to Eadric Streona, but this is unlikely for chronological reasons. Streona died in 1017 so the naming of Streoneshalh would have preceded his birth by several hundred years; the double monastery of Celtic monks and nuns was home to the great Northumbrian poet Cædmon. In 664 the Synod of Whitby took place at the monastery to resolve the question of whether the Northumbrian church would adopt and follow Celtic Christian traditions or adopt Roman practice, including the manner of calculating the date of Easter and form of the monastic tonsure; the decision, with the support of King Oswy, was for adopting Roman practices and the date of Easter was set. Streoneshalch monastery was laid waste by Danes in successive raids between 867 and 870 under Ingwar and Ubba and remained desolate for more than 200 years. A locality named'Prestebi' was recorded in the Domesday Survey, which may be a sign that religious life was revived in some form after the Danish raids.
In Old Norse, this name means a habitation of priests. The old monastery given to Reinfrid comprised about 40 ruined monasteria vel oratoria, similar to Irish monastic ruins with numerous chapels and cells. Reinfrid, a soldier of William the Conqueror, became a monk and traveled to Streoneshalh, known as Prestebi or Hwitebi, he approached William de Percy for a grant of land, who gave him the ruined monastery of St. Peter with two carucates of land, to found a new monastery. Serlo de Percy, the founder's brother, joined Reinfrid at the new monastery, which followed the Benedictine rule; the Benedictine abbey was thriving for a centre of learning. This second monastery was destroyed by Henry VIII in 1540 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Though the abbey church was stripped and fell into ruin, it has remained a prominent landmark on the headland for sailors; the ruins are now maintained by English Heritage. In December 1914, Whitby Abbey was shelled by the German battlecruisers Von der Tann and Derfflinger, which crew "were aiming for the Coastguard Station on the end of the headland."
Scarborough and Hartlepool were attacked. The Abbey buildings sustained considerable damage during the ten-minute attack. Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula featured the creature, described as resembling a large dog, which came ashore at the headland climbed the 199 steps which lead up to the Whitby Abbey ruins; the original gift of William de Percy included not only the monastery of St. Peter at Streoneshalch, but the town and port of Whitby, with its parish church of St. Mary and six dependent chapels at Fyling, Sneaton, Ugglebarnby and Aislaby; the first prior, ruled for many years before being killed in an accident. He was buried at St Peter at Hackness, he was succeeded as prior by Serlo de Percy. Hilda of Whitby Bosa of York Edwin of Deira, King of Deira and Bernicia, a Saint Oswiu of Northumbria, a King of Bernicia Eahlfrith, widow of King Oswiu and Abbess of Whitby Ælfflæd of Whitby, daughter of Oswiu and Eanflæd an Abbess of Whitby Joscelin of Louvain Sir William de Percy, 1st Baron Percy, Norman baron and Crusader Sir Richard de Percy, 5th Baron Percy, signatory to Magna Carta English Heritage official site Whitby History Media related to Whitby Abbey at Wikimedia Commons Whitby Abbey - English Heritage official site G. Roger Hudleston.
"Abbey of Whitby". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company
Saint Boniface, born Winfrid in the Devon town of Crediton, was a leading figure in the Anglo-Saxon mission to the Germanic parts of the Frankish Empire during the 8th century. He organized Christianity in many parts of Germania and was made archbishop of Mainz by Pope Gregory III, he was martyred in Frisia in 754, along with 52 others, his remains were returned to Fulda, where they rest in a sarcophagus which became a site of pilgrimage. Boniface's life and death as well as his work became known, there being a wealth of material available—a number of vitae the near-contemporary Vita Bonifatii auctore Willibaldi, legal documents some sermons, above all his correspondence, he became the patron saint of Germania, known as the "Apostle of the Germans". Norman F. Cantor notes the three roles Boniface played that made him "one of the outstanding creators of the first Europe, as the apostle of Germania, the reformer of the Frankish church, the chief fomentor of the alliance between the papacy and the Carolingian family."
Through his efforts to reorganize and regulate the church of the Franks, he helped shape Western Christianity, many of the dioceses he proposed remain today. After his martyrdom, he was hailed as a saint in Fulda and other areas in Germania and in England, he is still venerated today by German Catholics. Boniface is celebrated as a missionary; the earliest Bonifacian vita, Willibald's, does not mention his place of birth but says that at an early age he attended a monastery ruled by Abbot Wulfhard in escancastre, or Examchester, which seems to denote Exeter, may have been one of many monasteriola built by local landowners and churchmen. This monastery is believed to have occupied the site of the Church of St Mary Major in the City of Exeter, demolished in 1971, next to, built Exeter Cathedral. Tradition places his birth at Crediton, but the earliest mention of Crediton in connection to Boniface is from the early fourteenth century, in John Grandisson's Legenda Sanctorum: The Proper Lessons for Saints' Days according to the use of Exeter.
In one of his letters Boniface mentions he was "born and reared... the synod of London", but he may have been speaking metaphorically. According to the vitae, Winfrid was of a prosperous family. Against his father's wishes he devoted himself at an early age to the monastic life, he received further theological training in the Benedictine monastery and minster of Nhutscelle, not far from Winchester, which under the direction of abbot Winbert had grown into an industrious centre of learning in the tradition of Aldhelm. Winfrid at the age of 30 became a priest. While little is known about Nursling outside of Boniface's vitae, it seems clear that the library there was significant. In order to supply Boniface with the materials he needed, it would have contained works by Donatus, Priscian and many others. Around 716, when his abbot Wynberth of Nursling died, he was invited to assume his position—it is possible that they were related, the practice of hereditary right among the early Anglo-Saxons would affirm this.
Winfrid, declined the position and in 716 set out on a missionary expedition to Frisia. Boniface first left for the continent in 716, he traveled to Utrecht, where Willibrord, the "Apostle of the Frisians," had been working since the 690s. He spent a year with Willibrord, preaching in the countryside, but their efforts were frustrated by the war being carried on between Charles Martel and Radbod, King of the Frisians. Willibrord fled to the abbey. Boniface returned to the continent the next year and went straight to Rome, where Pope Gregory II renamed him "Boniface", after the fourth-century martyr Boniface of Tarsus, appointed him missionary bishop for Germania—he became a bishop without a diocese for an area that lacked any church organization, he would never return to England, though he remained in correspondence with his countrymen and kinfolk throughout his life. According to the vitae Boniface felled the Donar Oak, Latinized by Willibald as "Jupiter's oak," near the present-day town of Fritzlar in northern Hesse.
According to his early biographer Willibald, Boniface started to chop the oak down, when a great wind, as if by miracle, blew the ancient oak over. When the god did not strike him down, the people were converted to Christianity, he built a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter from its wood at the site—the chapel was the beginning of the monastery in Fritzlar. This account from the vita is stylized to portray Boniface as a singular character who alone acts to root out paganism. Lutz von Padberg and others point out that what the vitae leave out is that the action was most well-prepared and publicized in advance for maximum effect, that Boniface had little reason to fear for his personal safety since the Frankish fortified settlement of Büraburg was nearby. According to Willibald, Boniface had a church with an attached monastery built in Fritzlar, on the site of the built chapel, according to tradition; the support of the Frankish mayors of the palace, the early Pippinid and Carolingian rulers, was essential for Boniface's work.
Boniface had been under
Saint Alban is venerated as the first-recorded British Christian martyr, for which reason he is considered to be the British protomartyr. Along with fellow Saints Julius and Aaron, Alban is one of three named martyrs recorded at an early date from Roman Britain, he is traditionally believed to have been beheaded in the Roman city of Verulamium sometime during the 3rd or 4th century, his cult has been celebrated there since ancient times. According to the most elaborate version of the tale found in Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Alban lived in Verulamium, sometime during the 3rd or 4th century, but some authors, on the basis that Gildas says he crosses the Thames before his martyrdom, place his residence and martyrdom in London, he lived in Roman Britain, but little is known about his religious affiliations, socioeconomic status or citizenship. Sometime in the 3rd or 4th century, Christians began to suffer "cruel persecution." Alban met a Christian priest fleeing from "persecutors" and sheltered him in his house for a number of days.
The priest prayed and "kept watch" day and night, Alban was so impressed with the priest's faith and piety that he found himself emulating the priest and soon converted to Christianity. It came to the ears of an unnamed "impious prince" that Alban was sheltering the priest; the prince gave orders for Roman soldiers to make a strict search of Alban's house. As they came to seize the priest, Alban put on the priest's cloak and clothing and presented himself to the soldiers in place of his guest. Alban was brought before the judge, who just happened to be standing at the altar, offering sacrifices to "devils"; when the judge heard that Alban had offered himself up in place of the priest, he became enraged that Alban would shelter a person who "despised and blasphemed the gods," and as Alban had given himself up in the Christian's place, Alban was sentenced to endure all the punishments that were to be inflicted upon the priest unless he would comply with the pagan rites of their religion. Alban refused, declared, "I worship and adore the true and living God who created all things.".
The enraged judge ordered Alban scourged, thinking that a whipping would shake the constancy of his heart, but Alban bore these torments patiently and joyfully. When the judge realized that the tortures would not shake his faith, he ordered for Alban to be beheaded. Alban was led to execution, he presently came to a fast-flowing river that could not be crossed. There was a bridge, but a mob of curious townspeople who wished to watch the execution had so clogged the bridge that the execution party could not cross. Filled with an ardent desire to arrive at martyrdom, Alban raised his eyes to heaven, the river dried up, allowing Alban and his captors to cross over on dry land; the astonished executioner cast down his sword and fell at Alban's feet, moved by divine inspiration and praying that he might either suffer with Alban or be executed for him. The other executioners hesitated to pick up his sword, meanwhile and they went about 500 paces to a sloping hill covered with all kinds of wild flowers, overlooking a beautiful plain.
When Alban reached the summit of the hill, he prayed God would give him water. A spring sprang up at his feet, it was there that his head was struck off, as well as that of the first Roman soldier, miraculously converted and refused to execute him. However after delivering the fatal stroke, the eyes of the second executioner popped out of his head and dropped to the ground along with Alban's head so that this second executioner could not rejoice over Alban's death. In legends, Alban's head rolled downhill after his execution, a well sprang up where it stopped. Upon hearing of the miracles, the astonished judge ordered further persecutions to cease, he began to honour the saint's death. St Albans Cathedral now stands near the believed site of his execution, a well is at the bottom of the hill, Holywell Hill; the earliest mention of Alban's martyrdom is believed to be in Victricius's De Laude Sanctorum, c. 396. Victricius had just returned from settling an unnamed dispute among the bishops of Britain.
He does not mention Alban by name, but includes an unnamed martyr, who, "in the hands of the executioners told rivers to draw back, lest he should be delayed in his haste." The account resembles Alban's martyrdom, many historians have concluded that this may be a reference to Alban, making it the earliest surviving reference to a British saint. There can be no certainty, that the martyr referred to is Saint Alban; the foundational text concerning Alban is the Passio Albani, or the Passion of Alban, which relates the tale of Alban's martyrdom, Germanus of Auxerre's subsequent visit to the site of Alban's execution. This Passio survives in six manuscripts, with three different recensions, referred to as T, P, E, the oldest of which dates to the eighth century; the T manuscript is located in Turin, the P manuscript is found in Paris and the E manuscripts are at The British Library and Gray's Inn, both in London, Autun and Einsiedeln. The Passio is likely the source text of the more well-known accounts found in Gildas and Bede.
Another early tex
Wihtburh was an East Anglia saint and abbess, a daughter of Anna of East Anglia, located in present-day England. She founded a monastery at Dereham in Norfolk. A traditional story says that the Virgin Mary sent a pair of female deer to provide milk for her workers during the monastery's construction. Withburga's body is supposed to have been uncorrupted when discovered half a century after her death: it was stolen on the orders of the abbot of Ely. A spring appeared at the site of the saint's empty tomb at Dereham. Tradition describes Wihtburh as the youngest of the daughters of Anna of East Anglia, but she is not mentioned by Bede, he was well-informed about and described her elder sisters Seaxburh of Ely, Æthelthryth and Æthelburh of Faremoutiers and Sæthryth, her older half-sister. After her father's death, Wihtburh built a convent in Norfolk. A traditional story relates that while she was building the convent, she had nothing but dry bread to give to the workmen, she was told to send her maids to a local well each morning.
There they found. This allowed the workers to be fed; the local overseer did not like her miracles. He decided to prevent them from coming to be milked, he was punished for his cruelty when he broke his neck. This story is commemorated in the large town sign in the centre of East Dereham. Wihtburh was buried in the cemetery of Ely abbey; when her body was dug up 55 years it was found not to have decayed. This was considered a miracle and her remains were reinterred in the church which she had built in Dereham; the church became a place of pilgrimage, with people visiting Wihtburh's tomb. In 974 Brithnoth, the abbot of Ely, elected to steal her body so that he could profit from the pilgrims' visits. Brithnoth and some armed men organised a feast; when the Dereham men were properly drunk, the Ely mob set off for home. Dereham men soon found out that this crime had set off after the Ely criminals; the two sides had a pitched fight. As the men approached Ely, the thieves had the advantage of knowing their way through the swamps and marshes.
They were successful at reinterring Wihtburh in Ely. When the Dereham men returned home, they discovered that a spring had arisen in Wihtburh's violated tomb; the water in this spring was considered to be compensation for the loss of their saint. The spring has never run dry; the water in Withburga's tomb can be visited to this day. Blanton, Virginia. "King Anna's Daughters: Genealogical Narrative and Cult Formation in the'Liber Eliensis'". Historical Reflections / Réflexions Historiques. 30: 127–149. JSTOR 41299300. Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society. "Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society, vol. 3". Retrieved 2010-05-31. Yorke, Barbara. Kings and Kingdoms of Early Anglo-Saxon England. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-16639-X. Wihtburg 1 at Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England