Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 18.djvu/25

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pilgrimage (Asser). By Æthelwulf's will, Æthelred, his fourth, or third surviving, son, should have succeeded to the throne of Wessex on the death of Æthelbald, and Æthelberht should have remained king of Kent. This arrangement was, however, set aside, and on the death of Æthelbald in 860, Æthelberht succeeded to the West-Saxon kingship, and the kingdom of Kent was again united to the rest of southern England [see under Egbert]. In Æthelberht's days the Danes landed in Hampshire, and sacked Winchester, but were defeated by the forces of Hampshire and Wiltshire. Probably in the winter of 864–5 another band of pirates from Gaul took up quarters in Thanet, and the Kentishmen offered them money for peace, but while the peace lasted, though before the money was paid, they suddenly left their quarters and ravaged the eastern part of Kent. Æthelberht died in 866, after reigning five years over Wessex, and, according to Asser, ten years over Kent, and was buried by his brother Æthelbald at Sherborne. He is said to have been a peaceful, amiable, and noble king (Asser).

[Anglo-Saxon Chron., Asser, both in Mon. Hist. Brit.; Kemble's Codex Dipl. (Engl. Hist. Soc.).]

W. H.

ETHELBURGA or ÆTHELBURH, Saint (d. 676?), abbess of Barking, sister of Erkenwald [q. v.] or Earconwald, bishop of London, was placed by her brother to rule a monastery he built at Barking in Essex, and showed herself worthy of his confidence. The foundation was for men as well as women, the two sexes living in separate parts of the buildings. During the pestilence that followed the synod of Whitby in 664, Æthelburh's house appears to have suffered severely. Bæda tells some stories of this time of trouble at Barking, which he took from a written source; his narrative power gives them their only value. He goes on to describe a vision that was seen at the death of the abbess, a miracle that was worked when her body was brought into the church, and her appearance to one of the sisters. She is said to have died in 676 (Florence). The church of St. Ethelburga in Bishopsgate, London, is said to be dedicated to her, but this appears to be doubtful. Capgrave says that she, as well as her brother, was born at Stallington in Lindsey, that she was the daughter of a king named Offa, that she converted him and fled from his house to avoid marriage, and that when her brother made her abbess of Barking he sent for Hildelith to instruct her in monastic practices. Her day is 11 Oct.

[Bædæ Hist. Eccl. iv. 7–10; Acta SS. Bolland. Oct. v. 648 sq.; Capgrave's Nova Legenda, 139; Dugdale's Monasticon, i. 436.]

W. H.

ETHELDREDA, Saint (630?–679), queen of Northumbria and abbess of Ely, was one of the four sainted daughters, apparently the third, of Anna, king of East Anglia, ‘vir optimus, atque optimæ genitor sobolis’ (Bæda, Hist. Eccl. iii. 18). Her own name, the female form of Ætheldryht—‘noble troop’—appears in such variations as Æthelthryth, Ætheldrythe, Ætheldritha, Ædilthryda, Etheldryth, Edelburch (Gaimar), and Audry. The names of her sisters were Sexburga [q. v.], wife of Erconbert, king of Kent, who succeeded her as abbess of Ely; Ethelburga (‘filia naturalis’), abbess of Farmoutier; and Withburga [q. v.], a recluse of East Dereham, Norfolk. According to Thomas of Ely, Etheldreda was born at Exning, near Newmarket, on the borders of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire (Wharton, Anglia Sacra, i. 597). She desired to devote herself to a life of religion, and it was with great reluctance that two years before her father Anna's death, which took place in 654, she became at a very early age the wife of Tonbert, the prince of the Southern Gyrvii, or fen countrymen, who occupied South Cambridgeshire. From her husband she received as her jointure or ‘morning gift’ the whole of the Isle of Ely. According to Bæda, the marriage with Tonbert, as well as her subsequent union with Egfrid, was only nominal (Bæda, Hist. Eccl. iv. 19). Tonbert died in 655. After five years of widowhood, spent at her home at Ely in religious seclusion, Etheldreda was in 660 sought by Oswy, king of Northumbria, as wife for his eldest son Egfrid, then a boy of fourteen. It was an alliance which on political grounds the East-Anglian princess was not free to refuse, and the youthful widow was unwillingly compelled to leave her religious seclusion for the Northumbrian court. The morning gift she received from Egfrid was land at Hexham, which she afterwards gave to Wilfrid for the erection of the minster of St. Andrew (Rich. of Hexham, § 3). Ten years after their marriage Egfrid succeeded his father as king of Northumbria. With a natural desire for the wifely companionship of his queen, he called in the aid of Wilfrid, who was very high in Etheldreda's regard, to induce her to fulfil her duty in the state of life to which God had called her. In Wilfrid's eyes this wilful rejection of all wifely duties appeared a token of superior sanctity. The promise of land and money, if he succeeded in his embassage, was quite ineffectual to move him. Etheldreda had chosen the better part, from which he dared not