Though the modern bishopric was not carved out of the York diocese until 1836, Ripon's early ecclesiastical history is inextricably associated with Wilfrid. About 650, Celtic monks from Melrose and Iona founded a monastery here, but in 661 Wilfrid, by then in Roman orders, became abbot and introduced the Benedictine rule. Consecrated bishop of York while in Gaul and finding on his return that Chad had already been appointed to York, he initially used Ripon as his seat. Later, after exile, Wilfrid spent his last days in Ripon. Growth of industrial population, especially round Leeds, in the 19th cent. led to the creation of the modern diocese. The Saxon crypt is all that remains of the stone church, built c.678 by Wilfrid.
Subjects: British History.