Posted by: anna | February 25, 2010

St. Ethelwold of Lindisfarne

Today (12 February) we commemorate St. Ethelwold, monk and bishop of Lindisfarne (740).

The Rev Dr Baring-Gould is unwontedly terse about St Ethelwold (or AEthelwold or Ethilwald) of Lindisfarne, not to be confused with Ethelwold of Farne: ‘There is nothing of much importance to relate concerning this saint, who was minister to S. Cuthbert in Farne, afterwards abbot of Mailros, and finally bishop of Lindisfarne. ‘

David Farmer is a little more forthcoming: ‘Ethilwald (1) (Æthelweald) (d. 740), monk, bishop of Lindisfarne. A Northumbrian who became a monk at Melrose, Ethilwald was a disciple of Cuthbert and became prior and later abbot of Melrose. On the death of Edfrith [Eadfrith], bishop of Lindisfarne, and scribe of the Lindisfarne Gospels, Ethelwald was chosen as his successor. His interest in Edfrith’s work is shown by his patronage of the hermit Billfrith, who made at his request a binding for it of gold and precious stones (now lost). His reputation for sanctity is shown by his relics being removed from Lindisfarne with those of St. Cuthbert, whose peregrinations they shared. A stone cross with his name on it also came from Lindisfarne eventually to Durham. A compilation by him called Ymnarius Edilwaldi may be a source of the Book of Cerne. Feast: 12 February ; translation (to Westminster by King Edgar) 21 April .’

How to cite this entry:
“Ethilwald (1)” The Oxford Dictionary of Saints. David Hugh Farmer. Oxford University Press 2003. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. University of Oxford. 25 February 2010

image – detail of British Library Cotton MS Nero D.IV, Lindisfarne Gospels, Gospel of St Matthew the Evangelist, initial page. Lindisfarne, late 7th or early 8th century.

So much for ‘nothing much of importance’! How did the manuscript connection pass B-G by? Well, perhaps it didn’t interest him, but it certainly interests me! I wonder if there is a (n Orthodox) pilgrim’s guide to Britain? Say, if I were going to Durham, I would like to know that the local saints – whether or not their relics are still there – are, e.g. Cuthbert, Bede, Ethelwold… I recently wanted a similar list for Winchester. I will investigate…


Holy St Ethelwold, pray to God for us.


  1. Indeed there is an Orthodox pilgrim’s guide to Britain! Britain’s Holiest Places by Nick Mayhew-Smith (Lifestyle Press, 2011). Highly recommended:

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