Source: Textual EditionByrhtferth.VitOswaldi

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Source Information
Author Byhrtferth of Ramsey
Source Title The Life of Saint Oswald
Date of composition c. 997 x c.1002
Language Latin


Editor Article or Book Title Journal or Pub.Loc. Date pp.
Go to 
The Historians of the Church of York Raine, James Vita Oswaldi archiepiscopi Eboracensis London 1879 399-475


Editor Article or Book Title Journal or Pub.Loc. Date pp.
Lapidge, M. Byrhtferth of Ramsey; the Lives of Oswald and Ecgwine Oxford forthcoming  

Event/Transaction List

Factoid Type Source Reference Short Description
1 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  i.2 Eadwig 4 loved another woman (Anonymous 657) while married to his own wife [Anonymous 658]. He eloped with her, ignoring the sacred decrees of Christian law. Oda 1 took to horseback with his companions [Anonymi 1660], seized Anonymous 657, took her out of the kingdom and warned the king that he should constrain himself from wicked deeds.
2 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  i.4 Anonymous 659 came to England with the ship-army of Ubba 5 and Ivar 1.
3 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  i.4 Oda 1 took care to attend frequently the church of Christ with other faithful Christians, although he was reproached by his father (Anonymous 659), who did not wholly seek to serve Christ.
4 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  i.4 Oda 1 attached himself to Æthelhelm 16, with whom he enjoyed the blessing of fatherly love. He remained with him for many months, where he studied a number of books with Anonymous 660.
5 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  i.4 As Æthelhelm 16 wished to go to Rome, he and Oda 1 joyously undertook their journey. When they eventually made it to Rome, they finished their prayers and holy almsgivings, and returned home giving thanks to the Lord.
6 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  i.4 After having crossed the sea, Oda 1 and Æthelhelm 16 quickly made it for an inn, but as they dismounted from their horses, Æthelhelm 16 fell ill with a sudden heart attack. Oda 1 started to pray on Æthelhelm 16's behalf and asked that a flask full of wine be brought to him. He blessed it with the sign of the cross and handed it to the man, who drank it and regained his original health.
7 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  i.5 Entering Æthelstan 18's presence, Oda 1 and Æthelhelm 16 were honourably received y him. The king recognised Oda 1 to be a true servant of God. He listened to the events of the journey.
8 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  i.5 Æthelstan 18 entered into consultation with his advisers (Anonymi 1663) and elected Oda 1 to govern the bishopric which is in the province of Wessex, in the town of Wilton.
9 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  i.5 With the consent of Anonymi 1664, Edmund 14 appointed Oda 1 as archbishop of Canterbury.
10 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  i.5 Oda 1 saw a drop of blood flow out of the flesh of Christ's body and was struck with fear. He called the altar-minister who was nearby (Anonymous 662) and revealed to him the miracle. On the same day Oda 1 ordered all poor people, pilgrims, orphans and widows to assemble and he solemnly ordered food to be given to them to mark the glory of so great a miracle.
11 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  i.6 While Oda 1 sought to renovate the church which had been consecrated by Augustine 1, no heavy rain fell on the city's ramparts.
12 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  i.6 Augustine 1 consecrated Christ Church
13 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  i.7 While standing on Oda 1's tomb, Ælfsige 30 insulted Oda 1's memory and struck the tomb with his staff.
14 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  i.7 Oda 1 appeared, fully dressed in his episcopal robes, to a certain priest (Anonymous 663) and asked him to go to Ælfsige 30 and ask him why he had scorned Oda 1's tomb. Oda 1 appeared to Anonymous 663 three times before the latter finally went to Ælfsige 30.
15 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  ii.2 Oswald 8 dwelled with Anonymi 1665, noticing their superfluous excesses.
16 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  ii.2-4 Oswald 8 asked Oda 1 whether he could go abroad to serve God in a place that Oda 1 would choose. The latter agreed
17 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  ii.4 Following Oda 1's order, Oswald 8 set off to cross the sea and go to Fluery with his companions (Anonymi 1667).
18 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.1 Oda 1 took his monastic habit at Fleury
19 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.3 Oda 1 sent messengers (Anonymi 1668 10) to Fleury for Oswald 8, asking Wulfald 1 and all the monks (Anonymi 1668) that they might return Oswald 8 before Oda 1 departed from this life.
20 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.4 Oswald 8 and his companions (Anonymi 1670) left Fleury and crossed the sea to go back to England. When they reached Dover, they heard that Oda 1 had died.
21 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.4 Oswald 8 went to Oscytel 5, who kept him for several days, introducing him to all his friends, and particularly to Dunstan 1.
22 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.5 Dunstan 1 asked Edgar 11 that the bishopric of Worcester be given to Oswald 8. The latter was elected and consecrated by the bishops.
23 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.5 Oswald 8 went around all the estates entrusted to him and generously provided alms for the poor.
24 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.7 Germann 4 was a young man from Winchester
25 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.7 Oswald 8 sent for Germann 4 at Fleury.
26 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.7 Oswald 8 entrusted his disciples (Anonymi 1674) to Germann 4 to be instructed in monastic custom.
27 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.8 A number of religious clerics (Anonymi 1675) went to Oswald 8. They wished to be subject to the holy discipline. After a few months they exceeded the number of twelve (without counting the oblates). Oswald 8 housed them at Westbury, within his diocese.
28 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.9 Oswald 8 took counsel with Anonymi 1676 concerning his successor. They said that he should hasten to the presence of Edgar 11, and should implement whatever the king should decree.
29 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.9-12 Oswald 8 and all the important leading men (Anonymi 1677) went to meet Edgar 11. When they had solemnly enacted the Easter services, Edgar 11 discharged everyone.
30 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.10 Edgar 11 built many monasteries.
31 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.12 Oswald 8 entered confidently into Edgar 11's audience and asked him for a place where he could assemble his disciples (Anonymi 1675). Edgar 11 gave him a choice of three monasteries: St Albans, Ely and Benfleet. Oswald 8 went to inspect all the three of them.
32 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.13 Edgar 11 ordered the body of Anonymous 664 to be carried honourably to its burial-place. Oswald 8 chanted psalms with one of his monks (Anonymous 665) and concluded the service with great spiritual devotion.
33 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.13 Æthelwine 2 went up to Oswald 8, seeking the favour of his blessing. When the blessing had been given, they spoke peaceably with each other.
34 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.14 Æthelwold 1 took in marriage Ælfthryth 8 and brought her back with him to his kingdom.
35 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.14 Edgar 11 married Ælfthryth 8 and had two sons by her, of whom one was Edward 12 and the other Æthelred 32.
36 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.14 Ælfwald 42 was buried at Ramsey.
37 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.14 The body of Æthelwig 2 was transported to the monastery at Ramsey.
38 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.15-16 Oswald 8 asked Æthelwine 2 whether he had some suitable place where he could establish Anonymi 1675, who were at Westbury. Æthelwine 2 declared that he had a place (at Ramsey) where there were three men (Anonymi 1681), who were willing to take on the monastic habit.
39 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.16 Following Oswald 8's order, Eadnoth 11 built a modest oratory, a dormitory and a refectory.
40 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.16-17, iv.1 Taking Anonymi 1675 with him, Oswald 8 set out in great joy to go to Ramsey.
41 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.2, 8 Oswald 8 sought to acquire stone masons, made cement throughout the winter and on 18 March began to lay the foundations of the church. He built the church in the shape of a cross. He promoted this enterprise with the assistance of Æthelwine 2, on whose estates the monastery lay.
42 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.3 Edgar 11 enjoined upon Dunstan 1 that he and Æthelwold 1, as well as Oswald 8, should know that all monastic sites should be established with monks and nuns. They straightway implemented this injunction.
43 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.4 Oswald 8 established a monastery in the city of Worcester, which he administered himself with episcopal authority. In charge of the monks he placed Wynnsige 15, to whom he assigned certain monks (Anonymi 1682) from Ramsey.
44 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.4 Oswald 8 established a monastery at Winchcombe, over which he placed Germann 4, whom he consecrated as abbot.
45 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.4 Edgar 11 sent gifts to Anonymous 667 through the agency of Æscwig 4 and Wulfmær 5. They brought back to him even more wonderful gifts, which served to establish a treaty of peace.
46 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.5 Edgar 11 first bestowed on Oswald 8 the episcopacy of the Mercian people and subsequently that of the Northumbrians.
47 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.5 Edgar 11 commanded Oswald 8 to go to Rome. The latter went to Rome and had with him every kind of distinction and many thousands of pounds. He bestowed alms on monasteries, on villages on burhs, on the countryside and on towns. When he came back, he was worthily received by Edgar 11 and conveyed him the blessing of the Apostolic See and his own.
48 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.6-7 All the nobility of the realm was assembled to bless, anoint and consecrate Edgar 11. The king was led to the church, where all the people awaited him. After the consecration Dunstan 1 and Oswald 8 were raised up with Edgar 11 on his lofty throne.
49 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.8 When he fell sick, Foldberht 2 sent for Germann 4, who in turn sent for Ælfheah 3. When they arrived Foldberht 2 made his confession and they anointed him. When he died, his body was placed in the middle of the house and the sign of the holy cross made over it. Prayers were being said continuously by the monks (Anonymi 1688).
50 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.8 After Foldberht 2 had died, Anonymi 1688 noticed little by little that his heart began to beat and the man got up swiftly in a rage. Anonymi 1688 turned to flight. One of them went to Germann 4 and told him what had happened. He had Ælfheah 3 summoned. An argument broke out between them as to which of them should go in first. Germann 4 got in first followed by Ælfheah 3. Foldberht 2 ordered them both to approach and asked to be placed in a bed. Then he told them that he had seen Lord Jesus Christ and that he had been guided by St Benedict.
51 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.9 Anonymous 668 and Anonymous 669 said to each other that in no way would one of them ever abandon the other. Not long afterwards Anonymous 668 fell sick and died. After the third day Anonymous 669 fell sick too, had a vision of Anonymous 668, who called him to the celestial homeland, and departed from the world.
52 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.10 After seeing St Benedict in a vision, Anonymous 671 died.
53 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.11 After he had accomplished everything in royal fashion, Edgar 11 died.
54 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.11-13 Anonymi 1689 as well as Germann 4 were expelled from their monasteries. Ælfhere 10, availing himself of enormous sums of money, cast out both monks and abbots.
55 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.13-14 Being present at a meeting of the witan, Æthelwine 2 said that he could not tolerate monks being expelled from the realm. When the multitude wished to contradict him, Ælfwald 42 got up to speak in support the monks' case. After him, Byrhtnoth 1 also spoke in favour of the monks.
56 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.14 Ælfwald 42 ordered Leofsige 4 to be killed.
57 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.14 Ælfwald 42 went to the city of Winchester; leaving his shoes at his lodging, he set out to meet Æthelwold 1. The latter, hearing of his arrival, ordered all his clergy (Anonymi 1690) to go out and meet him. They set off carrying gospelbooks, holy water, the cross, incense, a thurible and candles. When prayers had been offered, Æthelwold 1 ordered Ælfwald 42 to put his shoes on. They passed the rest of the day rejoicing.
58 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.15 Oswald 8, with the assistance of Ælfnoth 18, consecrated the monastery at Ramsey.
59 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.15 Oswald 8 and Æthelwine 2 went to Ramsey every year, since they both loved that place and its inhabitants with particular devotion. They were always received with great honour. They would kiss each monk in turn, not sitting down but standing and bowing with their heads humbly.
60 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.16 The entire congregation went barefoot to the church of St Mary. They had to cross a stretch of water by boat to return home. As the boot was filled too full, it drifted out into the middle of the swamp and was about to sink. Oswald 8, realising what was happening, raised his right hand and promised that Christ's help would come quickly from on high. The boat was thus taken safely back to shore.
61 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.16 Oswald 8 stayed at Ramsey for several months. He was received as a father.
62 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.16 When boats were being tossed about on the sea, Cuthbert 1, stationed on the shore, fell to prayer at once. The wind changed direction and turned the boats towards the shore.
63 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.18 Anonymi 1691 plotted to kill Edward 12. One day he arrived at the house where Æthelred 32 was staying with Ælfthryth 8. When Edward 12 arrived, they surrounded him on all sides, while he remained sitting on his horse, fearless. They laid hold of him, he fell from his horse and died.
64 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.19 Ælfhere 10 ordered the body of Edward 12 to be exhumed. They discovered and saw him to be as free from decay and corruption as he had originally been. His body was washed and clothed in new garments, in a chest or coffin. They buried him with full honours, where masses and holy offerings were made for the redemption of his soul.
65 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iv.21 Many miracles took place at Edward 12's tomb.
66 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.2 Oswald 8 went to Ramsey
67 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.2 Huna 2 died falling off the walls of the church. A messenger (Anonymous 673) was sent to Ramsey to announce the death to Oswald 8.
68 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.2 While he was praying at night, Oswald 8 had a vision of Huna 2 who thanked him for his prayers.
69 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.3 Oswald 8 gave a crust of bread to everyone and put down a piece of bread next to where he was sitting. Meanwhile, an unfortunate mouse came forward. It nibbled at the crumbs of consecrated bread and died.
70 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.4 Æthelred 32 was consecrated to the summit of the realm by Dunstan 1 and by Oswald 8.
71 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.3 Stremwold 1 died in a battle against the Danes, who came to England after the coronation of Æthelred 32.
72 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.5 A battle was fought in the east of this great country. Byrhtnoth 1 held the military command. Many fell on both sides, including Byrhtnoth 1.
73 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.6 The devil set upon Dunstan 1 and wrestled with him in various ways. He called upon the Lord's assistance. Hearing this, the evil adversary of the human race took to flight
74 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.6 The book of Dunstan 1's life explains his entire life.
75 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.7 Augustine 1 founded a monastery near to the walls of the city of Canterbury.
76 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.7 It was Dunstan 1's custom to go to St Augustine's monastery and there to remain a long while in prayer. One night he proceeded on foot to the church of St Mary. Standing at the door of this church, which was closed, he heard the sound of singing coming from the souls of the bodies buried in that church. Dunstan 1 wept for the music and beauty of the chant.
77 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.8 Abbo 1 composed two acrostics for Dunstan 1 and sent them to him.
78 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.9 Oswald 8 went to the monastery of Ripon, which had been founded by Wilfrid 2.
79 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.9 Wilfrid 2 founded the monastery at Ripon.
80 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.9 Oswald 8 made a magnificent reliquary in which he placed the relics of Wilfrid 2. The precious remains of several abbots were placed alongside Wilfrid 2: Tiatberht 1, Botwine 2, Alberht 1, Sigered 1, Vilden 1.
81 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.9 He laid new foundations for the monastery of Ripon.
82 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.11 Oswald 8 summoned Anonymi 1693 and Anonymi 1694. Certain of them went with Oswald 8; others went with Æscwig 3. When the service of the holy sacrament was ended, everyone returned to the banquet which Æthelwine 2 had prepared. Later in the day they recited the office of Vespers. Then, they went back once more to their seats in the hall. A most splendid regal banquet had been prepared for them. Mead, wine and other honied drink was abundantly provided for everyone.
83 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.12 Æthelwine 2 summoned all the reeves (Anonymi 1695) and the thegns (Anonymi 1696) for some serious discussion. He asked Oswald 8 if he would deign to come for the commencement of his prayer. Then, Æthelwine 2 asked Oswald 8that the monastery at Ramsey be free of all burdens. Oswald 8 accepted and they both decided to report these things to the king. They arranged that all reeves (Anonymi 1695) and thegns (Anonymi 1696) should solemnly undertake a treaty of peace and fellowship with the monks of Ramsey. At the urging of Eadnoth 7 and Eadnoth 8 a treaty was ratified and put into effect in the presence of Æthelwine 2.
84 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.13 When all his prayers were completed and mass had been celebrated, Oswald 8 blessed Anonymi 1694 and set off to return home.
85 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.14 Æthelwine 2 went by boat to Ramsey with some companions.
86 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.14 Germann 4 stayed at Ramsey on a long sojourn, having been asked by Æthelwine 2 not to abandon him all the days of his life.
87 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.15 Anonymous 675 saw in a vision the western tower of the church collapse. He woke up terrified. Falling back asleep, he saw the other tower collapse. They interpreted the collapse of the two towers as meaning the death of Oswald 8 and Æthelwine 2.
88 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.16-17 After having washed the feet of twelve paupers, as was his custom through the entire period of Lent, and after having spent a day of considerable happiness, Oswald 8 arose at daybreak, began to wash again the feet of the poor. When Oswald 8 bent his knees, his spirit left his body.
89 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.18 Anonymi 1698 washed the body of Oswald 8 and dressed it in the new clothes which he had kept for several years for the funeral ceremony. Everybody came to mourn his death. As his body was being carried some women (Anonymi 1700) had a vision of a gleam of light about a shield's breadth, above which they also saw a dove flying.
90 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.18, 22 Oswald 8's body was fittingly committed to burial. Above his tomb Anonymi 1698 erected a monument of marvellous workmanship.
91 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.20-1 A messenger (Anonymous 677) was sent to Ramsey by the monks of Worcester (Anonymi 1698) to announce Oswald 8's death. Anonymi 1694 burst into tears and started to pray for him.
92 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.21 After making his confession and receiving communion, he died while engaged in prayer. Ælfheah 44 and Germann 4 administered the last rites.
93 Event Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  v.21-2 Æthelwine 2 was buried at Ramsey. An inexpressible multitude went to meet him. The monks (Anonymi 1694) spent the entire night in vigils.
94 Transaction Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  iii.8 great benefices in drink and food as well as clothing
95 Transaction Byrhtferth.VitOswaldi  ii.1 numerous gifts