Eadfrith of Leominster

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The (refounded) Priory Church building at Leominster

Eadfrith of Leominster also known as Eadridus was a seventh century Catholic saint[1] from Anglo-Saxon England.[2] Although very little is known of his early life, he is an important figure in the process of Christianisation of Anglo-Saxon England.

He came from Northumbria and worked as a missionary to the Hwicce Kingdom and in 660AD converted king Merewalh of the Hwicce, a contemporary (and possibly son)[3] of King Penda of Mercia.[4]

Around 660 AD he also founded an Abbey for women,[5][6] as a conventual priory of the monks of Reading Abbey.[7] This abbey was mentioned in the Domesday Book and was re-founded about 1139.[8] at which time it may have been associated with the Royal Family.[9]

He is known to history mainly through the hagiography of the Secgan Manuscript,[10] but also the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle[11] and the Catalogus sanctorum pausantium in Anglia.[12]

He died in 675AD[13] and was buried in Leominster. His feast day is on 26 October.[14]

References

  1. The Oxford Dictionary of Saints
  2. Patrick Sims-Williams, Religion and Literature in Western England, 600-800 (Cambridge University Press, 2005) p 101.
  3. Kentish royal legend.
  4. Patrick Sims-Williams, Religion and Literature in Western England, 600-800 (Cambridge University Press, 2005) p55.
  5. Gerarld Alymer, Hereford Cathedral (Continuum, 2000) p.4
  6. Sarah Foot, Veiled Women, vol. 1, and vol. 2 103-107(Ashgate, 2000)
  7. J. & C. Hillaby, Leominster Minster, Priory, and Borough c.660-1539 (Logaston Press, Almeley, Herefs. 2006), p53.
  8. Leominster at monasticmatrix.com.
  9. Gerarld Alymer, Hereford Cathedral (Continuum, 2000) p.4
  10. Stowe MS 944, British Library
  11. Anglo-Saxon Chronicle manuscript C (1046).
  12. British Library MS Harley 3776, fos. 118-127
  13. Eadfrid at Book of Saints, 1921.
  14. St. Eadfrid at Catholic.org