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St Guthlac (c. 673—714) hermit

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(late 10th century),

founder of Croyland abbey. Danish in origin and related to Oscetel, archbishop of York (d. 971), he first appears in the A.S.C. as abbot of Bedford, a house apparently unconnected with the 10th-century monastic reform. He was expelled from Bedford and admitted to the confraternity of St Paul's. As ‘a cleric of London’ he refounded Croyland, the monastery of Guthlac, and became abbot there. He owned considerable estates, those given by him to Croyland including Beeby (Lincs.), Wellingborough, Elmington and Wothorpe (Northants.), Cottenham and Oakington (Cambs.). It is not certain that there was a community at Croyland before him. His cult seems to have been limited to Croyland Abbey. Thurketyl is of interest as an example of some kind of continuity between the old and reformed monasticism of the 10th century: he seems to have had no official connection with either Dunstan or Ethelwold, but may perhaps have been drawn into the orbit of Oswald's influence through a blood relationship and geographical proximity to Ramsey. Feast: 11 July.

A.S.C., s.a. 971; Orderic Vitalis, Ecclesiastical History (ed. M. Chibnall), ii (1969), xxvi–xxviii, 340–2; W. de Gray Birch, The Chronicle of Croyland Abbey (1883); D. Whitelock, ‘The Conversion of the Eastern Danelaw’, Saga-Book of the Viking Society, xii (1941); M.O., pp. 51–2.

Subjects: Christianity.

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