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Local History Articles

St Hilda

Hilda was born in AD614, a royal princess and great niece of King Edwin of Northumbria.  In AD 627 Hilda was baptised at York by St Paulinus.  It was usual for royal princesses to be married for dynastic reasons, however, Hilda was, in AD 647, able to become a nun.  Within two years, AD 649, she had been made abbess of a convent at Hartlepool.

Exactly when Hilda moved to Whitby is not clear, but at Whitby she created a double monastery for men and women.

 When she was abbess at Whitby, Hilda had among her charges a number of remarkable individuals.  Both John, who later became St John of Beverley and the "herdsman" poet, Caedmon, were part of her monastic institution.

It was at the Synod of Whitby in AD 664 when Hilda was abbess, that the thorny issue of the celebration of Easter was settled.  Clergy from all parts of Europe came to discuss whether to follow the Roman or Celtic tradition of celebration.  Though Hilda supported the Celtic tradition, it was the Roman tradition that was selected by King Oswy of Northumbria and thus England became attached to the Roman Catholic church.

Hilda died at Whitby in AD 680

Published: 22 2016

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