The Info List - Eanflæd

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Eanflæd (19 April 626 – after 685, also known as Enfleda) was a Deiran princess, queen of Northumbria[1] and later, the abbess of an influential Christian
monastery in Whitby, England. She was the daughter of King Edwin of Northumbria
and Æthelburg, who in turn was the daughter of King Æthelberht of Kent. In or shortly after 642 Eanflæd became the second wife of King Oswiu
of Northumbria.[1][2] After Oswiu's death in 670, she retired to Whitby
Abbey, which had been founded by Hilda of Whitby. Eanflæd became the abbess around 680 and remained there until her death. The monastery had strong association with members of the Northumbrian royal family and played an important role in the establishment of Roman Christianity in England.


1 Birth, baptism, exile 2 Return, marriage 3 Children, patron of Wilfred, supporter of Rome 4 Widow, abbess, saint 5 Notes 6 References 7 External links

Birth, baptism, exile[edit] Eanflæd's mother had been raised as a Christian, but her father was raised as an Anglo-Saxon pagan and he remained uncommitted to the new religion when she was born on the evening before Easter
in 626 at a royal residence by the River Derwent. Bede
recounts that earlier on the day that Eanflæd was born, an assassin sent by Cwichelm of Wessex made an attempt on Edwin's life. Afterward, Edwin, prompted by Æthelburg's bishop, Paulinus, agreed to Eanflæd's baptism and promised to become a Christian
if he was granted a victory over Cwichhelm. Eanflæd was baptised, Bede
says, on the feast of Pentecost (8 June 626) with eleven others of the royal household.[3] Edwin campaigned successfully against Cwichelm and adopted the new faith in 627.[4] His reign ended in 633 with his defeat and death at the battle of Hatfield Chase. Fleeing the unsettled times which followed Edwin's death, Æthelburg, together with Bishop Paulinus, returned to Kent, where Eanflæd grew up under the protection of her uncle, King Eadbald of Kent.[5] Return, marriage[edit] In 642 Oswiu, King of Bernicia, head of the rival Northumbrian royal family, sent a priest named Utta to Kent, which then was ruled by Eanflæd's cousin, Eorcenberht, to ask for her hand in marriage.[6] Oswiu
already had been married, to a British princess, named Rieinmellt, but recently had become King on the death of his brother, Oswald, at the battle of Maserfield. King Penda of Mercia, the victor of Maserfield, dominated central Britain and Oswiu
was in need of support. Marriage with Eanflæd would provide Kentish, and perhaps Frankish, support, and any children Oswiu
and Eanflæd might have would have strong claims to all of Northumbria.[7] The date of the marriage is not recorded.[8] If Oswiu's goal in marrying Eanflæd was the peaceful acceptance of his rule in Deira, the plan was unsuccessful. By 644 Oswine, Eanflæd's paternal second cousin, was ruling in Deira.[9] In 651 Oswine was killed by one of Oswiu's generals. To expiate the killing of his wife's kinsman, Oswiu
founded Gilling Abbey at Gilling where prayers were said for both kings.[10] Children, patron of Wilfred, supporter of Rome[edit] With varying degrees of certainty, Eanflæd's children with Oswiu
are identified as Ecgfrith, Ælfwine, Osthryth, and Ælfflæd. Oswiu's complicated series of marriages and liaisons makes identifying the mother of each of his children difficult. Kirby states that Aldfrith, Ealhfrith, and Ealhflæd were not born to Eanflæd.[11] Eanflæd was the early patroness of Wilfrid, who played a large part in Northumbrian politics during the reigns of Ecgfrith, Aldfrith, and Osred, and elsewhere in seventh century Britain. When Wilfrid
wished to travel on pilgrimage to Rome, the Queen recommended him to her cousin, the Kentish king Eorcenberht.[12] Widow, abbess, saint[edit] Perhaps several years after Oswiu's death, Eanflæd retired to the monastery at Whitby. This monastery was closely associated with her royal family and many members were buried there. Divisions within the Northumbrian church led to the Synod of Whitby
held at this monastery in 664, during which Oswiu
had agreed to settle a calendar controversy about Easter
by adopting the Roman dating method. Whitby
Abby was a double monastery, housing the nuns and monks in separate quarters although they shared the church and religious rites. Following the death of her kinswoman and the founding abbess of the monastery, Hild, in 680 Eanflæd became abbess jointly with her daughter Ælfflæd. She died in the reign of her stepson, Aldfrith (685–704). During this time, the remains of King Edwin were reburied at Whitby.[13] Some late sources give the feast day of Eanflæd as 24 November. Along with Edwin, Oswiu, Hilda, and later, Ælfflæd, she was buried at Whitby. William of Malmesbury
William of Malmesbury
believed that her remains later had been removed to Glastonbury Abbey
Glastonbury Abbey
where a monument to her was said to exist in the twelfth century.[1] Notes[edit]

^ a b c d Thacker, Eanflæd ^ Craig, Oswiu ^ Thacker; Bede, Ecclesiastical History, Book II, Chapter 9. Thacker notes that according to a Welsh tradition recorded in the Historia Brittonum, chapter 64:

Eanfeld, his daughter, received baptism, on the twelfth day after Pentecost, with all her followers, both men and women. ... If any one wishes to know who baptized them, it was Rhun son of Urien.

Higham, Northumbria, p. 81, suggests Sancton
as the location of the royal residence in question. ^ Bede, Ecclesiastical History, Book II, Chapter 13. ^ Bede, Ecclesiastical History, Book II, Chapter 20. Bede
states that Æthelburg did not trust her brother, or Edwin's sainted successor Oswald, with the lives of Edwin's male descendants whom she sent to the court of King Dagobert I
Dagobert I
in Francia. ^ Bede, Ecclesiastical History, Book III, Chapter 15. ^ Higham, Convert Kings, p. 225; Holdsworth "Oswiu"; Thacker. ^ Thacker states "in or shortly after 642"; Holdsworth, "Oswiu", prefers 643. ^ Kirby, pp. 91–92; Yorke, 'Kings, pp. 78–79. ^ Bede, Ecclesiastical History, Book III, Chapter 14; Holdsworth, "Oswiu"; Thacker; Higham, Convert Kings, pp. 226–230. ^ Higham, Northumbria, p. 80; Kirby, pp. 90 & 143; Thacker. ^ Eddius, Life of Wilfred, cc. 2–3. ^ Holdsworth, "Edwin"; Lapidge, "Eanflæd"; Thacker. Thacker gives her death date as "after 685", Lapidge, circa 704.


Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Translated by Leo Sherley-Price, revised R. E. Latham, ed. D. H. Farmer. London: Penguin, 1990. ISBN 0-14-044565-X Craig, D. J. (2004). "Oswiu" ((subscription or UK public library membership required)). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/20930. Retrieved 20 May 2012.  Eddius, "Life of Wilfrid" in D. H. Farmer (ed.) & J. H. Webb (trans.), The Age of Bede. London: Penguin, 1998. IBN 0-140-44727-X Higham, N. J., The Convert Kings: Power and religious affiliation in early Anglo-Saxon England. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997. ISBN 0-7190-4828-1 Higham, N. J., The Kingdom of Northumbria
AD 350-1100. Stroud: Sutton, 1993. ISBN 0-86299-730-5 Holdsworth, Philip, "Edwin, King of Northumbria" in M. Lapidge, et al., (eds), The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England. Oxford: Blackwell, 1999. ISBN 0-631-22492-0 Holdsworth, Philip, "Oswiu" in M. Lapidge, et al., (eds), The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England. Oxford: Blackwell, 1999. ISBN 0-631-22492-0 Kirby, D. P., The Earliest Anglo-Saxon Kings, Routledge, 1991 ISBN 0-415-09086-5 Lapidge, Michael, "Eanflæd" in Michael Lapidge et al., The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England. Blackwell, 1999. ISBN 0-631-22492-0 Lapidge, Michael, "Paulinus" in Michael Lapidge et al., The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England. Blackwell, 1999. ISBN 0-631-22492-0 Thacker, Alan (2004). " Eanflæd (St Eanflæd) (b. 626, d. after 685)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2007-08-20. 

External links[edit]

Eanflæd 1 at Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England Britannia.com profile

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Saints of Anglo-Saxon England

British / Welsh

Alban of St Albans Aldatus of Oxford Amphibalus
of St Albans Arilda of Oldbury Barloc
of Norbury Brannoc of Braunton Branwalator of Milton Credan of Bodmin Congar of Congresbury Dachuna of Bodmin Decuman
of Watchet Elfin of Warrington Ivo of Ramsey Judoc
of Winchester Juthwara of Sherbourne Melorius of Amesbury Nectan of Hartland Neot
of St Neots Patrick of Glastonbury Rumon
of Tavistock Samson of Dol Sativola
of Exeter Urith
of Chittlehampton

East Anglian

Æthelberht of East Anglia Æthelburh of Faremoutiers Æthelflæd of Ramsey Æthelthryth
of Ely Æthelwine of Lindsey Athwulf of Thorney Blitha of Martham Botwulf of Thorney Cissa of Crowland Cuthbald of Peterborough Eadmund of East Anglia Eadnoth of Ramsey Guthlac of Crowland Herefrith of Thorney Hiurmine of Blythburgh Huna of Thorney Pega
of Peakirk Regenhere of Northampton Seaxburh of Ely Tancred of Thorney Torthred of Thorney Tova of Thorney Walstan
of Bawburgh Wihtburh
of Ely Wulfric of Holme

East Saxon

Æthelburh of Barking Hildelith
of Barking Osgyth Sæbbi of London

Frisian, Frankish and Old Saxon

Balthild of Romsey Bertha of Kent Felix of Dommoc Grimbald of St Bertin Monegunda of Watton Odwulf of Evesham Wulfram of Grantham

Irish and Scottish

Aidan of Lindisfarne Boisil
of Melrose Echa of Crayke Ultan the Scribe Indract of Glastonbury Maildub of Malmesbury


Æbbe of Thanet (Domne Eafe) Æthelberht of Kent Æthelburh of Kent Æthelred of Kent Albinus of Canterbury Berhtwald of Canterbury Deusdedit of Canterbury Edburga of Minster-in-Thanet Eanswith
of Folkestone Eormengyth of Thanet Mildrith
of Thanet Nothhelm of Canterbury Sigeburh of Thanet


Ælfnoth of Stowe Ælfthryth of Crowland Æthelberht of Bedford Æthelmod of Leominster Æthelred of Mercia Æthelwynn of Sodbury Aldwyn of Coln Beonna of Breedon Beorhthelm of Stafford Coenwulf of Mercia Cotta of Breedon Credan of Evesham Cyneburh of Castor Cyneburh of Gloucester Cynehelm of Winchcombe Cyneswith of Peterborough Eadburh of Bicester Eadburh of Pershore Eadburh of Southwell Eadgyth of Aylesbury Eadweard of Maugersbury Ealdgyth of Stortford Earconwald
of London Egwin of Evesham Freomund of Mercia Frithuric
of Breedon Frithuswith
of Oxford Frithuwold of Chertsey Hæmma of Leominster Merefin Mildburh
of Wenlock Mildgyth Mildrith
of Thanet Milred of Worcester Oda of Canterbury Oswald of Worcester Osburh of Coventry Rumwold of Buckingham Tibba of Ryhall Werburgh
of Chester Wærstan Wigstan
of Repton Wulfhild of Barking


Acca of Hexham Æbbe "the Elder" of Coldingham Æbbe "the Younger" of Coldingham Ælfflæd of Whitby Ælfwald of Northumbria Æthelburh of Hackness Æthelgyth of Coldingham Æthelsige of Ripon Æthelwold of Farne Æthelwold of Lindisfarne Alchhild of Middleham Alchmund of Hexham Alkmund of Derby Balthere of Tyningham Beda of Jarrow Bega of Copeland Benedict Biscop Bercthun
of Beverley Billfrith of Lindisfarne Bosa of York Botwine of Ripon Ceadda of Lichfield Cedd
of Lichfield Ceolfrith
of Monkwearmouth Ceolwulf of Northumbria Cuthbert
of Durham Dryhthelm of Melrose Eadberht of Lindisfarne Eadfrith of Leominster Eadfrith of Lindisfarne Eadwine of Northumbria Ealdberht of Ripon Eanmund Eardwulf of Northumbria Eata of Hexham Ecgberht of Ripon Eoda Eosterwine of Monkwearmouth Hilda of Whitby Hyglac Iwig of Wilton John of Beverley Osana of Howden Osthryth of Bardney Oswald of Northumbria Oswine of Northumbria Sicgred of Ripon Sigfrith of Monkwearmouth Tatberht
of Ripon Wihtberht
of Ripon Wilfrith of Hexham Wilfrith II Wilgils
of Ripon


Anselm of Canterbury Augustine of Canterbury Firmin of North Crawley Birinus
of Dorchester Blaise Florentius of Peterborough Hadrian of Canterbury Honorius of Canterbury Justus
of Canterbury Laurence of Canterbury Mellitus
of Canterbury Paulinus of York Theodore of Canterbury

South Saxon

of Lyminster Cuthmann of Steyning Leofwynn
of Bishopstone

West Saxon

Æbbe of Abingdon Ælfgar of Selwood Ælfgifu of Exeter Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury Ælfheah of Canterbury Ælfheah of Winchester Æthelflæd of Romsey Æthelgar of Canterbury Æthelnoth of Canterbury Æthelwine of Athelney Æthelwold of Winchester Aldhelm
of Sherborne Benignus of Glastonbury Beocca of Chertsey Beorhthelm of Shaftesbury Beornstan of Winchester Beornwald
of Bampton Centwine of Wessex Cuthburh
of Wimborn Cwenburh
of Wimborne Dunstan
of Canterbury Eadburh of Winchester Eadgar of England Eadgyth of Polesworth Eadgyth of Wilton Eadweard the Confessor Eadweard the Martyr Eadwold of Cerne Earmund of Stoke Fleming Edor
of Chertsey Evorhilda Frithestan of Winchester Hædde of Winchester Humbert of Stokenham Hwita of Whitchurch Canonicorum Mærwynn
of Romsey Margaret of Dunfermline Swithhun of Winchester Wulfsige of Sherborne Wulfthryth of Wilton

Unclear origin

Rumbold of Mechelen

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