(d. 664) bishop of the East Saxons

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(d. 664),

bishop of the East Saxons. Almost all we know of him comes from Bede. Cedd and his three brothers, Chad, Cynebill, and Caelin, were Anglian boys educated at Lindisfarne by Aidan and Finan: all became priests and two of them bishops. When Peada, king of Mercia, became a Christian in 653, he invited Cedd and three other priests to evangelize his people. Soon after, Sigebert, king of the East Saxons, became a Christian through the influence of Oswiu of Northumbria, then his overlord, who sent Cedd to evangelize Essex. His mission was so successful that Finan of Lindisfarne consecrated him bishop. Cedd worked especially in the neighbourhood of Bradwell-on-Sea and Tilbury, where he founded monasteries. On one of his visits to Northumbria in 658 he was given land for the foundation of a monastery at Lastingham (N. Yorkshire) by Oethelwald, Oswiu's son, and fasted forty days before consecrating it. At the Synod of Whitby in 663/4 Cedd acted as interpreter; after it he accepted its decisions for his own diocese. Soon after, he died of the plague at Lastingham, where he was buried, first outside the walls and later in the sanctuary of the church of St Mary.

Lastingham was less successful in spreading his cult than Lichfield was in glorifying his brother Chad; but by the 11th century Cedd's relics were venerated at Lichfield with Chad's. Cedd is the best-known example of a Lindisfarne monk of Irish training who worked at a great distance from his monastery; but it is interesting to note the strongly Roman character of his building at Bradwell, which closely resembles early Christian churches in Kent. The day of his death, according to Florence of Worcester, was 26 October, which is his usual feast; the alternative day, 7 January, presumably commemorates a translation.

Bede, H.E., iii. 22–6;H. M. and J. Taylor, Anglo-Saxon Architecture (1965).

Subjects: Christianity.

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