St. Hilda of Whitby
Born in 614, St. Hilda of Whitby had a reputation for learning and
practical wisdom. Orphaned at 13, she became a member of her great uncle's
household, and when he, King Edwin of Northumbria, was baptized at Easter,
627, Hilda also was baptized. About 20 years later, she resolved to become
a nun and set out to join her sister at the monastery of Chelles in Paris.
Unwillingly to see Hilda leave Britain, St. Aidan gave her land on which
to start her own monastery and later appointed her abbess of Hartlepool.
King Oswiu of Northumbria gave Hilda the charge of raising his daughter
and gave Hilda the land on which she founded a double-monastery at Whitby,
near the mouth of the River Esh. She hosted the synod that in 664 that saw
the adoption of Roman practices in Northumbria. While abbess of Whitby,
she built up the library and school; she encouraged
Cædmon to become a
monk. Chronically ill the last six years of her life, Hilda died in 680.
Glastonbury and Gloucester claim to have her relics.
Karen Rae Keck
Return to St Pachomius Library.