Gegaderung > General Discussion

OTD 24th November: Feast Day of Eanflæd


Continuing my series of posts from the Companions' Facebook page, and this week we have an exciting tie, with 301 engagements each! So I will post each article separately in the interests of fair play :)

Here is the first, commemorating Yorkshire’s very own Eanflæd  (no, not our current gesith, but the daughter of Edwin).

24th November is the Feast Day of Eanflæd, daughter of King Edwin of Northumbria, and later Abbess of Whitby.

Eanflæd, some of you may recall, was the daughter born to Edwin the day of his attempted assassination by Eumer, a man sent by Cwichelm of Wessex. Edwin was saved but he lost two of his men, Lilla and Forþhere. In gratitude for his safe deliverance from the poisoned blade Edwin promised his daughter should be dedicated to the Church. She was duly baptised by Paulinus the following year along with her father, Hild, and ten others of her family at York.
Following Edwin’s death at the Battle of Hatfield Chase in 632 AD, she and her brothers were taken south to Kent with her mother, to her uncle Eadbald’s court where she grew up.

She was later married to Oswiu, King of Bernicia; he was the brother of Oswald who eventually took the throne of Northumbria after Edwin’s death. The marriage was probably designed to increase support for Oswiu against the rising power of Penda in Mercia, and to provide any children with a storing claim to the combined thrones of Bernicia and Mercia. However, in 651 AD Oswiu was implicated in the death of Oswine, King of Deira and kinsman of Eanflæd, which resulted in her receiving the wergild for his death in the form of the foundation of an abbey at Gilling.

She and Oswiu had at least four children together: Ecgwin (sub-King of Deira 664-670 AD, then King of Northumbria 670-685 AD); Ælfwin (sub-King of Deira 670-679 AD); Osþryþ (married Æþelred of Mercia and was murdered by the nobles in 697 AD); and Ælfflæd (raised by Hild and became Abbess of Whitby). 

Oswiu died in 670 AD, and at some point Eanflæd retired to a religious life at Whitby Abbey under Hild, where her daughter Ælfflæd was living. Edwin’s relics were translated to Whitby during this time and became the centre of a royal cult.

Eanflæd was a friend of Wilfrid, the rather controversial Bishop. When he was a young man she had helped him enter the monastery at Lindisfarne and later supported him in his trip to Rome by commending him to her cousin Eorcenberht who was then King of Kent.

When Hild died in 680 AD Eanflæd and Ælfflæd jointly ruled Whitby until Eanflæd’s own death no later than 704 AD.


[0] Message Index

Go to full version