Saint Patrick was a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Known as the "Apostle of Ireland", he is the primary patron saint of Ireland, the other patron saints being Brigit of Kildare and Columba, he is venerated in the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran Churches, the Old Catholic Church, in the Eastern Orthodox Church as equal-to-the-apostles and Enlightener of Ireland. The dates of Patrick's life cannot be fixed with certainty, but there is broad agreement that he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the fifth century; as the most recent biography on Patrick shows, a late fourth-century date for the saint is not impossible. Early medieval tradition credits him with being the first bishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland, they regard him as the founder of Christianity in Ireland, converting a society practising a form of Celtic polytheism, he has been so regarded since, despite evidence of some earlier Christian presence in Ireland.
According to the autobiographical Confessio of Patrick, when he was about 16, he was captured by Irish pirates from his home in Britain and taken as a slave to Ireland, looking after animals. After becoming a cleric, he returned to western Ireland. In life, he served as a bishop, but little is known about the places where he worked. By the seventh century, he had come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick's Day is observed on the supposed date of his death, it is celebrated outside Ireland as a religious and cultural holiday. In the dioceses of Ireland, it is a holy day of obligation. Two Latin works survive which are accepted as having been written by St. Patrick; these are the Declaration and the Letter to the soldiers of Coroticus, from which come the only accepted details of his life. The Declaration is the more biographical of the two. In it, Patrick gives a short account of his mission. Most available details of his life are from subsequent hagiographies and annals, which have considerable value but lack the empiricism scholars depend on today.
The only name that Patrick uses for himself in his own writings is Pātricius, which gives Old Irish Pátraic and Modern Irish Pádraig. Hagiography records other names. Tírechán's seventh-century Collectanea gives: "Magonus, famous. "Magonus" appears in the ninth century Historia Brittonum as Maun, descending from British *Magunos, meaning "servant-lad". "Succetus", which appears in Muirchú moccu Machtheni's seventh century Life as Sochet, is identified by Mac Neill as "a word of British origin meaning swineherd". Cothirthiacus appears as Cothraige in the 8th century biographical poem known as Fiacc's Hymn and a variety of other spellings elsewhere, is taken to represent a Primitive Irish *Qatrikias, although this is disputed. Harvey argues that Cothraige "has the form of a classic Old Irish tribal name", noting that Ail Coithrigi is a name for the Rock of Cashel, the place-names Cothrugu and Catrige are attested in Counties Antrim and Carlow; the dates of Patrick's life are uncertain. His own writings provide no evidence for any dating more precise than the 5th century generally.
His Biblical quotations are a mixture of the Old Latin version and the Vulgate, completed in the early 5th century, suggesting he was writing "at the point of transition from Old Latin to Vulgate", although it is possible the Vulgate readings may have been added replacing earlier readings. The Letter to Coroticus implies that the Franks were still pagans at the time of writing: their conversion to Christianity is dated to the period 496–508; the Irish annals for the fifth century date Patrick's arrival in Ireland at 432, but they were compiled in the mid 6th century at the earliest. The date 432 was chosen to minimise the contribution of Palladius, known to have been sent to Ireland in 431, maximise that of Patrick. A variety of dates are given for his death. In 457 "the elder Patrick" is said to have died: this may refer to the death of Palladius, who according to the Book of Armagh was called Patrick. In 461/2 the annals say that "Here some record the repose of Patrick". While some modern historians accept the earlier date of c. 460 for Patrick's death, scholars of early Irish history tend to prefer a date, c.
493. Supporting the date, the annals record that in 553 "the relics of Patrick were placed sixty years after his death in a shrine by Colum Cille"; the death of Patrick's disciple Mochta is dated in the annals to 535 or 537, the early hagiographies "all bring Patrick into contact with persons whose obits occur at the end of the fifth century or the beginning of the sixth". However, E. A. Thompson argues that none of the dates given for Patrick's death in the Annals are reliable. A recent biography argues. Irish academic T. F. O'Rahilly proposed the "Two Patricks" theory, which suggests that many of the traditions attached to Saint Patrick act
Cuthbert is a saint of the early Northumbrian church in the Celtic tradition. He was a monk and hermit, associated with the monasteries of Melrose and Lindisfarne in what might loosely be termed the Kingdom of Northumbria, in North East England and the South East of Scotland. After his death he became one of the most important medieval saints of Northern England, with a cult centred on his tomb at Durham Cathedral. Cuthbert is regarded as the patron saint of Northumbria, his feast days are 20 March 31 August and 4 September. Cuthbert grew up in or around Lauderdale, near Old Melrose Abbey, a daughter-house of Lindisfarne, today in Scotland, he had decided to become a monk after seeing a vision on the night in 651 that St Aidan, the founder of Lindisfarne, but he seems to have seen some military service first. He was made guest-master at the new monastery at Ripon, soon after 655, but had to return with Eata of Hexham to Melrose when Wilfrid was given the monastery instead. About 662 he was made prior at Melrose, around 665 went as prior to Lindisfarne.
In 684 he was made bishop of Lindisfarne, but by late 686 he resigned and returned to his hermitage as he felt he was about to die, although he was only in his early 50s. Cuthbert was born in Dunbar, now in East Lothian, in the mid-630s, some ten years after the conversion of King Edwin of Northumbria to Christianity in 627, followed by that of the rest of his people; the politics of the kingdom were violent, there were episodes of pagan rule, while spreading understanding of Christianity through the kingdom was a task that lasted throughout Cuthbert's lifetime. Edwin had been baptised by Paulinus of York, an Italian who had come with the Gregorian mission from Rome, but his successor Oswald invited Irish monks from Iona to found the monastery at Lindisfarne where Cuthbert was to spend much of his life; this was around 635, about the time. The tension between the Roman and Irish traditions exacerbated by Cuthbert's near-contemporary Wilfrid, an intransigent and quarrelsome supporter of Roman ways, was to be a major feature of Cuthbert's lifetime.
Cuthbert himself, though educated in the Celtic tradition, followed his mentor Eata in accepting the Roman forms without difficulty, after the Synod of Whitby in 664. The earliest biographies concentrate on the many miracles that accompanied his early life, but he was evidently indefatigable as a travelling priest spreading the Christian message to remote villages, well able to impress royalty and nobility. Unlike Wilfrid, his style of life was austere, when he could, he lived the life of a hermit, though still receiving many visitors. In Cuthbert's time the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria included, in modern terms, part of northern England as well as parts of south-eastern Scotland on an intermittent and fluid basis as far north as the Firth of Forth. Cuthbert may have been from the neighbourhood of Dunbar at the mouth of the Firth of Forth in modern-day Scotland, though The Lives of the Fathers and Other Principal Saints, by Alban Butler records that he was fostered as a child near Melrose.
Fostering is a sign of noble birth, as are references to his riding a horse when young. One night while still a boy, employed as a shepherd, he had a vision of the soul of Aidan being carried to heaven by angels, found out that Aidan had died that night. Edwin Burton finds it a suggestion of lowly parentage that as a boy he used to tend sheep on the mountain-sides near that monastery, he appears to have undergone military service, but at some point he joined the new monastery at Melrose, under the prior Boisil. Upon Boisil's death in 661, Cuthbert succeeded him as prior. Cuthbert was a second cousin of King Aldfrith of Northumbria, which may explain his proposal that Aldfrith should be crowned as monarch. Cuthbert's fame for piety and obedience grew; when Alchfrith, king of Deira, founded a new monastery at Ripon, Cuthbert became its praepositus hospitum or guest master under Eata. When Wilfrid was made abbot of the monastery and Cuthbert returned to Melrose. Illness struck the monastery in 664 and while Cuthbert recovered, the prior died and Cuthbert was made prior in his place.
He spent much time among the people, ministering to their spiritual needs, carrying out missionary journeys and performing miracles. After the Synod of Whitby, Cuthbert seems to have accepted the Roman customs, his old abbot Eata called on him to introduce them at Lindisfarne as prior there, his asceticism was complemented by his charm and generosity to the poor, his reputation for gifts of healing and insight led many people to consult him, gaining him the name of "Wonder Worker of Britain". He continued his missionary work, travelling the breadth of the country from Berwick to Galloway to carry out pastoral work and founding an oratory at Dull, complete with a large stone cross, a little cell for himself, he is said to have founded St Cuthbert's Church in Edinburgh. Cuthbert retired in 676, moved by a desire for the contemplative life. With his abbot's leave, he moved to a spot which Archbishop Eyre identifies with St Cuthbert's Island near Lindisfarne, but which Raine thinks was near Holburn, at a place now known as St Cuthbert's Cave.
Shortly afterwards, Cuthbert moved to Inner Farne island, two miles from Bamburgh, off the coast of Northumberland, where he gave himself up to a life of great austerity. At first he received visitors, but he confined himself to his cell and opened his wi
Wilfrid was an English bishop and saint. Born a Northumbrian noble, he entered religious life as a teenager and studied at Lindisfarne, at Canterbury, in Gaul, at Rome. In 664 Wilfrid acted as spokesman for the Roman position at the Synod of Whitby, became famous for his speech advocating that the Roman method for calculating the date of Easter should be adopted, his success prompted Alhfrith, to appoint him Bishop of Northumbria. Wilfrid chose to be consecrated in Gaul because of the lack of what he considered to be validly consecrated bishops in England at that time. During Wilfrid's absence Alhfrith seems to have led an unsuccessful revolt against his father, leaving a question mark over Wilfrid's appointment as bishop. Before Wilfrid's return Oswiu had appointed Ceadda in his place, resulting in Wilfrid's retirement to Ripon for a few years following his arrival back in Northumbria. After becoming Archbishop of Canterbury in 668, Theodore of Tarsus resolved the situation by deposing Ceadda and restoring Wilfrid as the Bishop of Northumbria.
For the next nine years Wilfrid discharged his episcopal duties, founded monasteries, built churches, improved the liturgy. However his diocese was large, Theodore wished to reform the English Church, a process which included breaking up some of the larger dioceses into smaller ones; when Wilfrid quarrelled with Ecgfrith, the Northumbrian king, Theodore took the opportunity to implement his reforms despite Wilfrid's objections. After Ecgfrith expelled him from York, Wilfrid travelled to Rome to appeal to the papacy. Pope Agatho ruled in Wilfrid's favour, but Ecgfrith refused to honour the papal decree and instead imprisoned Wilfrid on his return to Northumbria before exiling him. Wilfrid spent the next few years in Selsey, where he founded an episcopal see and converted the pagan inhabitants of the Kingdom of Sussex to Christianity. Theodore and Wilfrid settled their differences, Theodore urged the new Northumbrian king, Aldfrith, to allow Wilfrid's return. Aldfrith agreed to do so. Wilfrid went to Mercia, where he acted as bishop for the Mercian king.
Wilfrid appealed to the papacy about his expulsion in 700, the pope ordered that an English council should be held to decide the issue. This council, held at Austerfield in 702, attempted to confiscate all of Wilfrid's possessions, so Wilfrid travelled to Rome to appeal against the decision, his opponents in Northumbria excommunicated him, but the papacy upheld Wilfrid's side, he regained possession of Ripon and Hexham, his Northumbrian monasteries. Wilfrid died in 709 or 710. After his death, he was venerated as a saint. Historians and now have been divided over Wilfrid, his followers commissioned Stephen of Ripon to write a Vita Sancti Wilfrithi shortly after his death, the medieval historian Bede wrote extensively about him. Wilfrid lived ostentatiously, travelled with a large retinue, he ruled a large number of monasteries, claimed to be the first Englishman to introduce the Rule of Saint Benedict into English monasteries. Some modern historians see him as a champion of Roman customs against the customs of the British and Irish churches, others as an advocate for monasticism.
During Wilfrid's lifetime Britain and Ireland consisted of a number of small kingdoms. Traditionally the English people were thought to have been divided into seven kingdoms, but modern historiography has shown that this is a simplification of a much more confused situation. A late 7th-century source, the Tribal Hidage, lists the peoples south of the Humber river. Smaller groups who at that time had their own royalty but were absorbed into larger kingdoms include the peoples of Magonsæte, Hwicce, the East Saxons, the South Saxons, the Isle of Wight, the Middle Angles. Other smaller groups had their own rulers, but their size means that they do not appear in the histories. There were native Britons in the west, in modern-day Wales and Cornwall, who formed kingdoms including those of Dumnonia and Gwynedd. Between the Humber and Forth the English had formed into two main kingdoms and Bernicia united as the Kingdom of Northumbria. A number of Celtic kingdoms existed in this region, including Craven, Elmet and Gododdin.
A native British kingdom called the Kingdom of Strathclyde, survived as an independent power into the 10th century in the area which became modern-day Dunbartonshire and Clydesdale. To the north-west of Strathclyde lay the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata, to the north-east a small number of Pictish kingdoms. Further north still lay the great Pictish kingdom of Fortriu, which after the Battle of Dun Nechtain in 685 came to be the strongest power in the northern half of Britain; the Irish had always had contacts with the rest of the British Isles, during the early 6th century they immigrated from the island of Ireland to form the kingdom of Dál Riata, although how much conquest took place is a matter of dispute with historians. It appears that the Irish settled in parts of Wales, after the period of Irish settlement, Irish missionaries were active in Britain. Christianity had only arrived in some of these kingdoms; some had been converted by the Gregorian mission, a group of Roman missionaries who arrived in Kent in 597 and who influenced southern Britain.
Others had been converted by the Hiberno-Scottish mission, chiefly Irish missionaries wo
Tidfrith of Hexham
Tidfrith or Tidferth was an early 9th-century Northumbrian prelate. Said to have died on his way to Rome, he is the last known Anglo-Saxon bishop of Hexham; this bishopric, like the bishopric of Whithorn ceased to exist, was taken over by the authority of the bishopric of Lindisfarne. A runic inscription on a standing cross found in the cemetery of the church of Monkwearmouth is thought to bear his name; the dates of his episcopate are unclear, but Richard of Hexham says that he died 54 years before the great Scandinavian invasion in 875, a claim which if true would mean his episcopate was over by either 821 or 822. It is uncertain when he gained office. Surviving lists of Hexham bishops give Tidfrith's predecessors Heardred and Eanberht three years and thirteen years respectively; as Heardred's consecration as bishop can be synchronised with the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry for 797—assuming both sources to be accurate on the point—Tidfrith became bishop circa 813. However, the date is sometimes given as 806.
According to a tradition preserved in Richard of Hexham, Tidfrith died on his way to Rome. There is an engraved stone, discovered in the 19th century in the cemetery of Wearmouth, which has the name "Tidfrith" in runic characters. Historian James Raine suggested that his death may have occurred there, waiting to take a ship from the mouth of the river Wear, it is unclear what became of the bishopric of Hexham after Tidfrith's episcopate, one suggestion being that it was absorbed by the bishopric of Lindisfarne. Another explanation is that given by William of Malmesbury in his Gesta Pontificum Anglorum, namely that The army of the Danes, feared since the days of Alcuin, came to our land, they killed or put to flight the people from Hexham, set fire to the roofs of their dwellings and exposed their private rooms to the skies. Modern historian, David Rollason, wrote that Hexham's disappearance was "unlikely to have had anything to do with Viking activity". Despite what William of Malmesbury wrote, Hexham's demise is "utterly obscure".
Another Northumbrian diocese, that based at Whithorn, disappeared in the same era, meaning that the Northumbrian church went from having 5 bishoprics at its height to only two. Hexham was however, along with Lindisfarne and Carlisle, sacked by Scandinavians in 875. In the 9th-century the Lindisfarne diocese was able to relocate to Chester-le-Street, a site that lay within the old diocese of Hexham; the community of St Cuthbert were able to take possession of Hexham and its churches, Hexham remained in the possession of the community of St Cuthbert until it was granted away by Bishop Walcher to Prior Aldwin in 1075. Aird, William M. St Cuthbert and the Normans: The Church of Durham, 1071–1153, Studies in the History of Medieval Religion, Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, ISBN 0-85115-615-0, ISSN 0955-2480 Fryde, E. B.. Handbook of British Chronology, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks, No. 2, London: Offices of the Royal Historical Society, ISBN 0-86193-106-8 Oram, Richard D. The Lordship of Galloway, Edinburgh: John Donald, ISBN 0-85976-541-5 Preest, David, ed. William of Malmesbury: The Deeds of the Bishops of England, Oxford: The Boydell Press, ISBN 0-85115-884-6 Raine, James, ed.
The Priory of Hexham, Publications of the Surtees Society. Its Chroniclers and Annals, Durham: Andrews and Co. for the Surtees Society Rollason, Northumbria, 500–1100: Creation and Destruction of a Kingdom, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-04102-3 Tidfrith 2 at Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England
Christianity is an Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Depending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, prayer, confirmation, burial rites, marriage rites and the religious education of children. Most denominations hold regular group worship services. Christianity developed during the 1st century CE as a Jewish Christian sect of Second Temple Judaism, it soon attracted Gentile God-fearers, which lead to a departure from Jewish customs, the establishment of Christianity as an independent religion. During the first centuries of its existence Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, to Ethiopia and some parts of Asia. Constantine the Great decriminalized it via the Edict of Milan; the First Council of Nicaea established a uniform set of beliefs across the Roman Empire.
By 380, the Roman Empire designated Christianity as the state religion. The period of the first seven ecumenical councils is sometimes referred to as the Great Church, the united full communion of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, before their schisms. Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon over differences in Christology; the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church separated in the East–West Schism over the authority of the Pope. In 1521, Protestants split from the Catholic Church in the Protestant Reformation over Papal primacy, the nature of salvation, other ecclesiological and theological disputes. Following the Age of Discovery, Christianity was spread into the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, the rest of the world via missionary work and colonization. There are 2.3 billion Christians in the world, or 31.4% of the global population. Today, the four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodoxy.
Christianity and Christian ethics have played a prominent role in the development of Western civilization around Europe during late antiquity and the Middle Ages. In the New Testament, the names by which the disciples were known among themselves were "brethren", "the faithful", "elect", "saints" and "believers". Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as'The Way' coming from Isaiah 40:3, "prepare the way of the Lord." According to Acts 11:26, the term "Christian" was first used in reference to Jesus's disciples in the city of Antioch, meaning "followers of Christ," by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch. The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD. While Christians worldwide share basic convcitions, there are differences of interpretations and opinions of the Bible and sacred traditions on which Christianity is based. Concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds, they began as baptismal formulae and were expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith.
The Apostles' Creed is the most accepted statement of the articles of Christian faith. It is used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical churches of Western Christian tradition, including the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, Lutheranism and Western Rite Orthodoxy, it is used by Presbyterians and Congregationalists. This particular creed was developed between the 9th centuries, its central doctrines are those of God the Creator. Each of the doctrines found in this creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period; the creed was used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome. Its main points include: Belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Holy Spirit The death, descent into hell and ascension of Christ The holiness of the Church and the communion of saints Christ's second coming, the Day of Judgement and salvation of the faithful; the Nicene Creed was formulated in response to Arianism, at the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in 325 and 381 and ratified as the universal creed of Christendom by the First Council of Ephesus in 431.
The Chalcedonian Definition, or Creed of Chalcedon, developed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, though rejected by the Oriental Orthodox churches, taught Christ "to be acknowledged in two natures, unchangeably, inseparably": one divine and one human, that both natures, while perfect in themselves, are also united into one person. The Athanasian Creed, received in the Western Church as having the same status as the Nicene and Chalcedonian, says: "We worship one God in Trinity, Trinity in Unity. Many evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith while agreeing with some or all of the substance of the creeds. Most Baptists do not use creeds "in that they have not sought to establish binding
Nectan of Hartland
Saint Nectan, sometimes styled Saint Nectan of Hartland, was a 5th-century holy man who lived in Stoke, Hartland, in the English county of Devon, where the prominent Church of Saint Nectan, Hartland is dedicated to him. A 12th-century manuscript found in Gotha is the fullest remaining account of the Life of Nectan; this account holds that Nectan was born in Ireland but moved to Wales when he was young in 423 AD, the eldest of the 24 children of King Brychan of Brycheiniog. Nectan heard of the great hermit of the Egyptian desert, St. Anthony, was inspired to imitate his way of life. Seeking greater solitude, St. Nectan and his companions left Wales, intending to settle wherever their boat happened to land. Nectan and his companions wound up on the northern coast of Devon at Hartland, where they lived for several years in a dense forest; the saint’s family would visit him there on the last day of the year. He relocated to a remote valley with a spring. At Hartland, Nectan lived in the solitude of a remote valley where he helped a swineherd recover his lost pigs and in turn was given a gift of two cows.
Nectan's cows were stolen and after finding them he attempted to convert the robbers to the Christian faith. In return he was attacked by robbers; the same authority says that he picked his head up and walked back to his well before collapsing and dying. Seeing this, the man who killed St Nectan went out of his mind. From that time, miracles began to take place at St Nectan’s tomb. Tradition says that wherever Nectan's blood fell, foxgloves grew, he is associated with St Nectan's Glen and Waterfall at Trethevy, near Tintagel, in Cornwall, where it is claimed he spent some time as a hermit. Nectan is believed to have sited his hermitage above the waterfall. According to legend, he rang a silver bell in times of stormy weather to warn shipping of the perils of the rocks at the mouth of the Rocky Valley. Nectan is said to have appeared in 937, on the eve of the Battle of Brunanburh. A young man from Hartland felt himself afflicted with the plague called upon God and St Nectan to help him. Nectan appeared to the young man just after midnight and touched the afflicted area of his body, healing him.
When King Athelstan heard of this, asked for more information about St Nectan. The young man urged the king to have faith in St Nectan with faith, he would be victorious. After the battle, Athelstan donated property to the saint's church. After Nectan's death, a considerable cult grew up around his shrine and this continued to be popular throughout the Middle Ages, supported both by Saxon kings and Norman lords. Lyfing, Bishop of Crediton, approved the translation of his body as an accomplished fact, providing bells, lead for the roof, a sculptured reliquary for the church. Furthermore, Nectan's staff was decorated with gold and jewels. Manors were given to the church to endow it against pirates; the church and shrine were restored and in the possession of the Augustinian secular canons from the adjoining Hartland Abbey from the 12th century until such monastic orders were disestablished during the Reformation. A number of other churches in Devon are dedicated to St Nectan, but only two ancient ones: Welcombe, just south of Hartland, originally Ashton.
There is a medieval chapel of Saint Nectan near St Winnow in Cornwall as well as a church dedicated to St. Nectan in the village of Ashcombe in Devon, his feast day is 17 June, the supposed day of his death, kept in Launceston and Wells. Other dates include 14 February and 4 December. Nectan is the patron saint of Devon. Church of Saint Nectan at Hartland Hartland, Devon Welcombe Parish Church Anita Loughrey. "The Legend of St Nectan". Historic UK. Retrieved 24 August 2014. "Nectan" The Oxford Dictionary of Saints. David Hugh Farmer. Oxford University Press 2003. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Http://www.oxfordreference.com F. Wormald,'The seal of St. Nectan', Jnl. of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, ii, 70-1 Baring-Gould, S. and J. Fisher, The lives of the British saints. IV, pp. 1–2. London: For the honourable Society of cymmrodorion, by C. J. Clark, 1907. Https://archive.org/stream/cu31924092447816#page/n7/
Dictionary of National Biography
The Dictionary of National Biography is a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history, published since 1885. The updated Oxford Dictionary of National Biography was published on 23 September 2004 in 60 volumes and online, with 50,113 biographical articles covering 54,922 lives. Hoping to emulate national biographical collections published elsewhere in Europe, such as the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, in 1882 the publisher George Smith, of Smith, Elder & Co. planned a universal dictionary that would include biographical entries on individuals from world history. He approached Leslie Stephen editor of the Cornhill Magazine, owned by Smith, to become the editor. Stephen persuaded Smith that the work should focus only on subjects from the United Kingdom and its present and former colonies. An early working title was the Biographia Britannica, the name of an earlier eighteenth-century reference work; the first volume of the Dictionary of National Biography appeared on 1 January 1885.
In May 1891 Leslie Stephen resigned and Sidney Lee, Stephen's assistant editor from the beginning of the project, succeeded him as editor. A dedicated team of sub-editors and researchers worked under Stephen and Lee, combining a variety of talents from veteran journalists to young scholars who cut their academic teeth on dictionary articles at a time when postgraduate historical research in British universities was still in its infancy. While much of the dictionary was written in-house, the DNB relied on external contributors, who included several respected writers and scholars of the late nineteenth century. By 1900, more than 700 individuals had contributed to the work. Successive volumes appeared quarterly with complete punctuality until midsummer 1900, when the series closed with volume 63; the year of publication, the editor and the range of names in each volume is given below. Since the scope included only deceased figures, the DNB was soon extended by the issue of three supplementary volumes, covering subjects who had died between 1885 and 1900 or, overlooked in the original alphabetical sequence.
The supplements brought the whole work up to the death of Queen Victoria on 22 January 1901. Corrections were added. After issuing a volume of errata in 1904, the dictionary was reissued with minor revisions in 22 volumes in 1908 and 1909. In the words of the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, the dictionary had "proved of inestimable service in elucidating the private annals of the British", providing not only concise lives of the notable deceased, but additionally lists of sources which were invaluable to researchers in a period when few libraries or collections of manuscripts had published catalogues or indices, the production of indices to periodical literatures was just beginning. Throughout the twentieth century, further volumes were published for those who had died on a decade-by-decade basis, beginning in 1912 with a supplement edited by Lee covering those who died between 1901 and 1911; the dictionary was transferred from its original publishers, Elder & Co. to Oxford University Press in 1917.
Until 1996, Oxford University Press continued to add further supplements featuring articles on subjects who had died during the twentieth century. The supplements published between 1912 and 1996 added about 6,000 lives of people who died in the twentieth century to the 29,120 in the 63 volumes of the original DNB. In 1993 a volume containing missing biographies was published; this had an additional 1,000 lives, selected from over 100,000 suggestions. This did not seek to replace any articles on existing DNB subjects though the original work had been written from a Victorian perspective and had become out of date due to changes in historical assessments and discoveries of new information during the twentieth century; the dictionary was becoming less and less useful as a reference work. In 1966, the University of London published a volume of corrections, cumulated from the Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research. There were various versions of the Concise Dictionary of National Biography, which covered everyone in the main work but with much shorter articles.
The last edition, in three volumes, covered everyone who died before 1986. In the early 1990s Oxford University Press committed itself to overhauling the DNB. Work on what was known until 2001 as the New Dictionary of National Biography, or New DNB, began in 1992 under the editorship of Colin Matthew, professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford. Matthew decided that no subjects from the old dictionary would be excluded, however insignificant the subjects appeared to a late twentieth-century eye. Suggestions for new subjects were solicited through questionnaires placed in libraries and universities and, as the 1990s advanced and assessed by the editor, the 12 external consultant editors and several hundred associate editors and in-house staff. Digitization of the DNB was performed by the Alliance Photosetting Company in India; the new dictionary would cover British history, "broadly defined", up to 31 December 2000. The research project was conceived as a collaborative one, with in-house staff co-ordinating the work of