By Eddius Stephanus
Translated by Bertram Colgrave
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:1985
Online Publication Date:January 2010
The Life of Wilfrid offers us a graphic portrait of one of the most forceful characters in the history of the English Church: a man courageous and energetic yet at the same time litigious, ostentatious and overbearing, his life punctuated by restless travels and the most violent quarrels. Of noble birth, Wilfrid (c.634–709) gained his first experience of monastic life as a boy at Lindisfarne. Thereafter we find him at various times, crossing Gaul, staying in Lyons, visiting Rome, back in England at York, Ripon or Hexham, preaching to heathens in Sussex or Frisia, quarrelling with kings and bishops, imprisoned in Northumbria, again in Rome seeking papal support for his claims, founding monasteries in the Midlands and at last, in his old age, reconciled to those with whom he had earlier quarrelled so bitterly. Partisan but highly detailed, the Life was probably written within a decade of the saint's death. It is a remarkable account of a powerful personality who aroused affection and dislike in almost equal proportions.