Posted by: anna | November 29, 2010

St Ælfric

Today (16 November) we commemorate St. Ælfric (Aelfric, Alfrick) of Abingdon, 28th archbishop of Canterbury (1005). Not to be confused with Ælfric of Eynsham, the Old English grammarian, or at least no longer confused, so I will have to post about that Ælfric, who is very dear to me and I think not a saint, another time. In any case both should be added to my list of Oxford & Oxfordshire saints. According to my Old English lessons, Ælfric should be pronounced either al (in Albert or Alfred, rather than all) – fritch or perhaps I’ll/isle-fritch. In what other language might one choose to use an illustration containing a silent s for phonetic pronunciation?? Baring Gould, for good reason, more or less ignores him, noting only that he was abbot of Abingdon and became Archbishop of Canterbury. This is his entry from Miss Gladys Bevan’s Portraits of the Archbishops of Canterbury (1908):
‘Ælfric entered the Monastery at Abingdon, became Bishop of Ramsbury in 990, and in 995 was translated to Canterbury. He died in 1005. Of the other events of his life, little can be related with certainty. In his will, which has been preserved, he made bequests of books and lands to S. Albans, which lends colour to the view that he was at one time Abbot of S. Albans. He left to the King his best ship, and armour for sixty men, a ship to the people of Wiltshire, and another to the people of Kent, and a cross to Bishop Ælfheah, who succeeded him. ‘
wikipedia article
ODNB article (subscription required)
Holy St Ælfric, pray to God for us.

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