Wulfstan of Winchester (DNB00)

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WULFSTAN of Winchester (fl. 1000), versifier, was a monk of St. Swithun's, Winchester. He was a pupil of Bishop Ethelwold [q. v.], and became priest and precentor (Birch, New Minster, p. 25). Leland records that he had a fine voice (Scriptt. Brit. p. 164), and ascribes to him a versification of Lanferth's work on the life and miracles of St. Swithun (Collect. i. 151–156), from which he quotes largely. The work follows on Lanferth's in the Royal MS. 15 C. vii., the whole being written in an early eleventh-century hand. It is in all likelihood the Sherborne manuscript which Leland used. The work opens with a letter in hexameters addressed to Ælfheah [q. v.], then bishop of Winchester, wherein the writer describes Ælfheah's buildings at Winchester, and in particular the organ which he made. This letter is printed in Migne's ‘Patrologia,’ cxxxvii. col. 107, ‘Acta SS.’ Aug. i. 98, and Mabillon's ‘Acta SS.’ v. 628. There follows another verse-letter addressed to the monks of Winchester, printed in Mabillon, v. 634, with two books of the ‘Miracles of St. Swithun,’ each containing twenty-two chapters in hexameters. These two books have not been printed.

Wulfstan also wrote a life of St. Ethelwold, apparently written in verse, the style of which William of Malmesbury condemns as mediocre (Gesta Regum, i. 167; cf. Gesta Pontiff. p. 406). A prose life, without author's name, has been printed as Wulfstan's by Mabillon (‘Acta SS.’ v. 606), and by the Bollandists (‘Acta SS.’ Aug. vol. i.) and Migne (‘Patrologia,’ cxxxvii. col. 81), but it is so closely similar to that which is undoubtedly Ælfric's (printed in the Chronicon Abbendoniæ, ii. 255) that it is probably another version of that work. It is somewhat longer than Ælfric's, the style is as good as Ælfric's, and the mention of Wulfstan, the precentor, by name, is further against the idea of his authorship.

William of Malmesbury ascribes to Wulfstan a further work, ‘De tonorum harmonia’ (Gesta Regum, i. 167), which appears to be lost.

[Authorities cited.]

M. B.