Posted by: anna | March 13, 2010

St Herefrith of Louth

Today (28 February) we commemorate the pleasingly alliterative but otherwise mostly mysterious Holy Hieromartyr Herefrith, bishop of Lindsey (869). He is also known as Herefrith (or Herefrid) of Louth and of Lincoln, and is not to be confused with Herefrith, abbot of Lindisfarne, who appears in the story of St Cuthbert. I have had to fall back on David Farmer for this one:

‘Herefrith of Louth (Herefrid of Louth) (d. c.873), bishop and possibly martyr. With those of other saints his relics were translated by Ethelwold to Thorney; the record of this event describes him as bishop of Lincoln. Lincoln probably here means Lindsey (the county of Lincolnshire). Herefrith may well have been the last bishop of Lindsey before the Danes wintered at Torksey in 872–3, after which the episcopal succession ceased. Herefrith, like Edmund, could have been killed by the Danes.

‘At Louth there was a church of St. Herefrith mentioned in several records of the 13th–15th centuries. An ivory comb ‘that was saynt Herefridis’ belonged to its parish church of St. James in 1486. It seems likely but not certain that this church was originally dedicated to Herefrith, but when the cult of James had increased and that of Herefrith been largely forgotten, especially as his relics were at Thorney, the dedication was changed. Feast at Thorney, Deeping, and Bury St. Edmunds on 27 February ; translation, 21 August . ‘

Bibliography
A. E. B. Owen, ‘Herefrith of Louth, saint and bishop; a problem of identities’, Lincs. History and Archaeology, xv (1980), 15–19; R.P.S.; E.B.K. before 1100, pp.p. 241; E.B.K. after 1100, pp.p. 131.

“Herefrith of Louth” The Oxford Dictionary of Saints. David Hugh Farmer. Oxford University Press 2003. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. University of Oxford. 12 March 2010

Here’s a bit of Anglo-Saxon history to contextualize Herefrith, complete with lots of Wigberts and Eggfroths a la 1066 and all that.

Holy St Herefrith, pray to God for us.
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