abbot of Icanho. He was born in East Anglia and started to build his monastery in 654 on land given by a king of East Anglia (Ethelhere, 654 or, more likely Ethelwold, 654–64). Hence it is much more probable that Icanho is Iken (Suffolk) than Boston (Lincs.), which is sometimes claimed as the site. Botulf had previously been chaplain to a nunnery where two of the king's sisters were inmates (possibly Chelles). Liobsynde, the first abbess of Wenlock (Salop), was from this convent; Wenlock was initially dependent on Icanho, clearly a very famous monastery in its time. One of its visitors, attracted by the teaching and observance of Botulf, was Ceolfrith, who went there c.670 before joining Benedict Biscop at Wearmouth.
Nothing more is known of Botulf's life. His church was destroyed in the Danish invasions. Ethelwold sent his disciple Ulfkitel to collect the relics of Botulf and his brother Adulf for his monastery at Thorney. The bones of Botulf could not be moved without those of Adulf as well. Eventually the head of Botulf was given to Ely, the rest was shared by Thorney, Bury St Edmunds, and, later, Westminster, while Adulf's body went intact to Thorney. Sixty-four ancient churches were dedicated to Botulf, sixteen of them in Norfolk, and three (all rebuilt by Wren) in the city of London. Feast: 17 June; translation, 1 December.
AA.SS. Iun. III (1701), 398–406;C. Plummer (ed.), Baedae Opera Historica, i (1956), 389;H. P. R. Finberg, The Early Charters of the West Midlands (1961), pp. 197–224;F. S. Stevenson, ‘St Botulf ’, Proc. of Suffolk Inst. of Archaeol. and Nat. Hist. (1922), pp. 29–52.