Saint Cedd (Missionary Bishop, Northumbria) c. 620s - 664

St Cedd Demographics:
  • Birth - Early 620s?
  • Birth place - kingdom of Northumbria
  • Death - October 26, 664 (plague)
  • Siblings - 3 brothers, Chad (originally Ceadda), Cynibil & Caelin.
  • Occupation - Missionary Bishop
Important Background Facts:
  • Most that is known about Saint Cedd comes from the writings of Saint Bede (Ecclesiastical History Of The English People).
Childhood & Education:
  • Born in the kingdom of Northumbria.
  • Likely he was the oldest of 4 brothers in the family.
  • Brought up on the island of Lindisfarne by Saint Aidan.
Adult Life:
  • He was a priest by the year 653.
  • Was acknowledged head of the family.
  • While he was alive, he seems to have taken the lead, while his brother Chad was the chosen successor.
Influence of Saint Aidan:
  • Saint Aidan came to Northumbria from Iona, bringing with him his practices known as the Celtic Rite.
  • Aidan was well-known for his austerity & disinterest in wealth & power.
  • Bede comments that Cedd & Chad learned from Saint Aidan's example & traditions.
  • It is believed that Cedd owed his training as a priest & scholar to Aidan & Lindisfarne.
Cedd's Evangelising of the Middle Angles / Mercia:
  • King Oswiu sent Cedd & 3 other priests on an evangelical mission to Mercia in 653 AD.
  • Peada (son of sub-king Penda) agreed to become a Christian in return for the hand in marriage of Oswiu's daughter, Alchflaed.
  • Cedd, with the other 3 priests (Adda, Betti & Diuma) accompanied Peada back to Middle Anglia, making many christian converts on the journey.
Cedd Becomes Bishop of East Saxon Kingdom:
  • King Oswiu then sent Cedd to the East Saxon kingdom at the request of King Sigeberht to help re-convert his subjects (having been originally converted by Canterbury missionaries).
  • King Sigeberht's baptism & decision to reconvert his kingdom to christianity was due to the efforts of King Oswiu.
  • Cedd then returned to Lindisfarne and reported to Finan who ordained him as bishop of the East Saxons.
  • Once Cedd was a bishop he became very commited to his beliefs & was unafraid to confront the powerful.
  • Cedd on one occasion confronted king Sigeberht about associating with an undesirable thegn (whom Cedd had excommunicated) & foretold that the king would die in that house (Sigeberht was later murdered by the pagan Swithelm).
  • Swithelm went on to became king after Sigeberht's death, and some time later Swithelm accepted baptism from Cedd at Ethelwald's home.
Cedd's Abbot Roots At Lastingham Monastery:
  • Cedd subsequently went on to found many churches, as well as monasteries at Tilaburg & Ithancester.
  • He also became abbot of the monastery of Lastingham in Northumbria, where he remained abbott until his death.
  • Cedd, however, still kept his position as a missionary bishop & diplomat, so he was not always present at the monastery, thus appointing others to deal with routine matters.
Cedd's Later Life:
  • Cedd was involved in the council negotiations between those trained in the Celtic Rite and those of the Roman Rite.
  • When the council ended, he returned to Essex and recommenced his work as a bishop.
  • Cedd, following the negotiations, did accept the Roman Rite of observance of Easter.
  • He then travelled back to the monastery at Lastingham, where he fell ill with the plague & died on October 26, 664.
  • His brother Chad succeeded Cedd as abbot at Lastingham monastery.
  • King Swithelm also died at about the same time as Cedd.
  • There followed a partial reversion to paganism which was also blamed on the effects of the plague.

Posted by ALCHEssMIST.
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