|Bishop of Hexham|
Engraving of the cross-slab and runic inscription
|Successor||unknown, probably none|
|Died||c. 821 x 822|
Tidfrith or Tidferth was an early 9th-century Northumbrian prelate. Said to have died on his way to Rome, he is the last known Anglo-Saxon bishop of Hexham. This bishopric, like the bishopric of Whithorn, probably ceased to exist, and was probably taken over by the authority of the bishopric of Lindisfarne. A runic inscription on a standing cross found in the cemetery of the church of Monkwearmouth is thought to bear his name.
The dates of his episcopate are unclear, but Richard of Hexham says that he died 54 years before the great Scandinavian invasion in 875, a claim which if specifically true would mean his episcopate was over by either 821 or 822.
It is uncertain when he was born or when he gained office. Surviving lists of Hexham bishops give Tidfrith's predecessors Heardred and Eanberht three years and thirteen years respectively.As Heardred's consecration as bishop can be synchronised with the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry for 797 —assuming both sources to be accurate on the point—Tidfrith became bishop circa 813. However, the date is also sometimes given as 806.
According to a tradition preserved in Richard of Hexham, Tidfrith died on his way to Rome.There is an engraved stone, discovered in the 19th century in the cemetery of Wearmouth, which has the name "Tidfrith" in runic characters; it may be in reference to the bishop, as Wearmouth was in the diocese. Historian James Raine suggested that his death may have occurred there, waiting to take a ship from the mouth of the river Wear.
It is unclear what became of the bishopric of Hexham after Tidfrith's episcopate, one suggestion being that it was absorbed by the bishopric of Lindisfarne.Another explanation is that given by William of Malmesbury in his Gesta Pontificum Anglorum , namely that
The army of the Danes, feared since the days of Alcuin, came to our land. They killed or put to flight the people from Hexham, set fire to the roofs of their dwellings and exposed their private rooms to the skies.
Modern historian, David Rollason, wrote that Hexham's disappearance was "unlikely to have had anything to do with Viking activity".Despite what William of Malmesbury wrote, Hexham's demise is "utterly obscure". Another Northumbrian diocese, that based at Whithorn, disappeared in the same era, meaning that the Northumbrian church went from having 5 bishoprics at its height (Lindisfarne, Hexham, Whithorn, Abercorn and York) to only two.
Hexham was however, along with Lindisfarne and Carlisle, sacked by Scandinavians in 875.In the later 9th-century the Lindisfarne diocese was able to relocate to Chester-le-Street, a site that lay within the old diocese of Hexham. The community of St Cuthbert were able to take possession of Hexham and its churches, and Hexham remained in the possession of the community of St Cuthbert until it was granted away by Bishop Walcher to Prior Aldwin in 1075.
The Kingdom of Northumbria was a medieval Anglian kingdom in what is now Northern England and south-east Scotland. The name derives from the Old English Norþan-hymbre meaning "the people or province north of the Humber", which reflects the approximate southern limit to the kingdom's territory, the Humber Estuary. Northumbria started to consolidate into one kingdom in the early seventh century, when the two earlier core territories of Deira and Bernicia entered into a dynastic union. At its height, the kingdom extended from the Humber, Peak District and the River Mersey on the south to the Firth of Forth on the north. Northumbria ceased to be an independent kingdom in the mid-tenth century, though a rump Earldom of Bamburgh survived around Bernicia in the north, later to be absorbed into the medieval kingdoms of Scotland and England.
Cuthbert is a saint of the early Northumbrian church in the Celtic tradition. He was a monk, bishop and hermit, associated with the monasteries of Melrose and Lindisfarne in what might loosely be termed the Kingdom of Northumbria, in North East England and the South East of Scotland. After his death he became one of the most important medieval saints of Northern England, with a cult centred on his tomb at Durham Cathedral. Cuthbert is regarded as the patron saint of Northumbria. His feast days are 20 March, also 31 August and 4 September.
Wilfrid was an English bishop and saint. Born a Northumbrian noble, he entered religious life as a teenager and studied at Lindisfarne, at Canterbury, in Gaul, and at Rome; he returned to Northumbria in about 660, and became the abbot of a newly founded monastery at Ripon. In 664 Wilfrid acted as spokesman for the Roman position at the Synod of Whitby, and became famous for his speech advocating that the Roman method for calculating the date of Easter should be adopted. His success prompted the king's son, Alhfrith, to appoint him Bishop of Northumbria. Wilfrid chose to be consecrated in Gaul because of the lack of what he considered to be validly consecrated bishops in England at that time. During Wilfrid's absence Alhfrith seems to have led an unsuccessful revolt against his father, Oswiu, leaving a question mark over Wilfrid's appointment as bishop. Before Wilfrid's return Oswiu had appointed Ceadda in his place, resulting in Wilfrid's retirement to Ripon for a few years following his arrival back in Northumbria.
Symeonof Durham was an English chronicler and a monk of Durham Priory.
Hexham Abbey is a Grade I listed place of Christian worship dedicated to St Andrew, in the town of Hexham, Northumberland, in northeast England. Originally built in AD 674, the Abbey was built up during the 12th century into its current form, with additions around the turn of the 20th century. Since the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1537, the Abbey has been the parish church of Hexham. In 2014 the Abbey regained ownership of its former monastic buildings, which had been used as Hexham magistrates' court, and subsequently developed them into a permanent exhibition and visitor centre, telling the story of the Abbey's history.
Aldfrith was king of Northumbria from 685 until his death. He is described by early writers such as Bede, Alcuin and Stephen of Ripon as a man of great learning. Some of his works and some letters written to him survive. His reign was relatively peaceful, marred only by disputes with Bishop Wilfrid, a major figure in the early Northumbrian church.
Eata, also known as Eata of Lindisfarne, was Bishop of Hexham from 678 until 681, and of then Bishop of Lindisfarne from before 681 until 685. He then was translated back to Hexham where he served until his death in 685 or 686. He was the first native of Northumbria to take the bishopric of Lindisfarne.
Aldhun of Durham, also known as Ealdhun, was the last Bishop of Lindisfarne and the first Bishop of Durham. He was of "noble descent".
Acca of Hexham was a Northumbrian saint and Bishop of Hexham from 709 until 732.
Saint Ceolwulf was King of Northumbria from 729 until 737, except for a short period in 731 or 732 when he was deposed, and quickly restored to power. Ceolwulf finally abdicated and entered the monastery at Lindisfarne. He was the "most glorious king" to whom Bede dedicated his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum.
Trumwine was the only ever Bishop of the Northumbrian see of the Picts, based at Abercorn.
Gilbert was a 13th-century Cistercian monk, abbot and bishop. His first appearance in the sources occurs under the year 1233, for which year the Chronicle of Melrose reported that "Sir Gilbert, the abbot of Glenluce, resigned his office, in the chapter of Melrose; and there he made his profession". It is not clear why Gilbert really did resign the position of Abbot of Glenluce, head of Glenluce Abbey in Galloway, in order to become a mere brother at Melrose Abbey; nor is it clear for how long Gilbert had been abbot, though his latest known predecessor is attested last on 27 May 1222. After going to there, Gilbert became the Master of the Novices at Melrose.
Pehthelm was the first historical bishop of the episcopal see of Candida Casa at Whithorn. He was consecrated in 730 or 731 and served until his demise. His name is also spelled as Pecthelm, Pechthelm, and sometimes as Wehthelm.
Beadwulf was the last Bishop of Candida Casa to be consecrated by the Northumbrian Archbishop of York. He appears in four years of the chronicles and nowhere else. Nothing else is known of him, and his sole historical significance is that he was a bishop of the short-lived Northumbrian See of Candida Casa at Whithorn.
Heathored of Whithorn is sometimes given as the Northumbrian Bishop of Whithorn, following the demise of Bishop Beadwulf. He is possibly the last known Anglo-Saxon Bishop of Whithorn. His name occurs for the last time around 833; no other bishop at Whithorn is known until the accession around three centuries later of Gille Aldan. It is sometimes thought that he may be the same man as Bishop Heathored of Lindisfarne.
Events from the 7th century in England.
The Libellus de exordio atque procursu istius, hoc est Dunhelmensis, ecclesie, in short Libellus de exordio, is a historical work of marked literary character composed and compiled in the early 12th-century and traditionally attributed to Symeon of Durham. It relates the history of bishopric and church of Durham and its predecessors at Lindisfarne and Chester-le-Street (Cunecacestre). It is sometimes also known as the Historia Dunelmensis ecclesiae.
Eadred Lulisc or Eadred of Carlisle is the abbot of Carlisle recorded by the Historia de Sancto Cuthberto. The Historia gives the abbot central place in the election of Guthred as king of Northumbria by the Viking army based in Yorkshire, and that subsequently Eadred purchased land from him, using it to endow the bishopric of St Cuthbert. The Historia also related that he and Eardwulf, Bishop of Lindisfarne, moved the body of St Cuthbert away from its previous base at Lindisfarne, tried to take it to Ireland, but failed and took it back to the east, first to Crayke and then to Chester-le-Street.
Billfrith is an obscure Northumbrian saint credited with providing the jewel and metalwork encrusting the former treasure binding of the Lindisfarne Gospels. His name is thought to mean "peace of the two-edge sword".
The Gesta Pontificum Anglorum, originally known as De Gestis Pontificum Anglorum and sometimes anglicized as The History or The Chronicle of the English Bishops, is an ecclesiastical history of England written by William of Malmesbury in the early 12th century. It covers the period from the arrival of St Augustine in AD 597 until the time it was written. Work on it was begun before Matilda's death in 1118 and the first version of the work was completed in about 1125. William drew upon extensive research, first-hand experience and a number of sources to produce the work. It is unusual for a medieval work of history, even compared to William's other works, in that its contents are so logically structured. The History of the English Bishops is one of the most important sources regarding the ecclesiastical history of England for the period after the death of Bede.
| Bishop of Hexham |
c. 813–c. 821 x 822