Hedda of Winchester

(d. 705)

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St Birinus (d. 649) bishop of Dorchester

Bede (c. 673—735) monk, historian, and theologian

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(d. 705).

He was educated at Whitby and was consecrated by Theodore in 676. He was the first bishop of the West Saxons to reside at Winchester instead of Dorchester-on-Thames, founded by Birinus. This change corresponded to the emergence of Southampton-based Saxons as more powerful than the settlers of the Thames Valley. His episcopate spanned the reigns of Centwine, Caedwalla (who expelled him but died at Rome 689), and Ina (d. 726), who explicitly acknowledged Hedda's help in framing his laws.

*Bede remarked on Hedda's prudence and innate wisdom. Little is known of his episcopate except his translation of the relics of Birinus to Winchester and the high esteem he enjoyed from contemporaries. This was reflected in the reports of cures at his tomb and the practice of taking dust from it, mixed with water, to heal sick men and animals. His relics are still in Winchester cathedral. He was culted in Wessex monasteries, but also at Crowland, where he was believed to have ordained Guthlac; in the 16th century his name was added to R.M. by Baronius. Feast: 7 July.

Bede, H.E., iii. 7; iv. 12; v. 18; G.P., p. 159; AA.SS. Iul. II (1721), 482–3 and Propylaeum, p. 275; E.B.K. before 1100, pp. 120, 134, 148, 162, 260.

Subjects: Christianity.

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