Hild of Whitby was born the second daughter of Hereric, nephew of Edwin King of Deira (south Northumbria) and his wife, Breguswip. She was born in exile. Her father and uncle Edwin had been exiled in 604 after Aethelfrith of Bernicia (north Northumbria) had united north and south Northumbria under his rule. The family were pagans. Hild is also known as Hilda of Whitby.
Hild’s father was poisoned and died.
King Aethelfrith of Northumbria died. Edwin returned to Northumbria and claimed the crown.
King Edwin married Aethelburh of Kent, daughter of Aethelberht, King of Kent
. Aethelburh was a Roman Christian and took her chaplain, Paulinus, with her to Northumbria.
Cwichelm, King of Wessex
sent an assassin to kill King Edwin. The plot was discovered and Edwin was safe. Edwin was persuaded that the Christian god had saved him.
Battle of Win-and-Lose Hill
King Edwin of Northumbria defeated a combined force of Mercians and Wessex men.
King Edwin and his court, including Hild, were baptised into the Christian faith.
Battle of Hatfield Chase
Penda of Mercia
defeated the Northumbrians and Edwin and his son, Osfrith were killed. Hild, her mother, sister and Queen Aethelburh fled to Kent.
Aethelburh founded a Benedictine nunnery at Lyminge. Hild may have became a nun at this point.
Hild’s sister, Hereswith married a member of the East Anglian royal family, Aethilric.
Hild travelled to East Anglia to see her sister.
Hild returned to Northumbria and established a convent. It is believed that she answered a call from Aidan, a monk from Ireland who followed Celtic Christianity.
Hild was made Abbess of Hartelpool Abbey.
Battle of Winwaed
Oswiu of Northumbria killed Penda of Mercia and took control of Mercia. Prior to the battle he had stated that if he was successful he would allocate more land for the establishment of Abbeys and churches.
Oswiu of Northumbria gave his daughter, Aelflaed, to Hild to raise as a nun.
Oswiu of Northumbria gave Hild a large area of land. She founded the Abbey of Whitby on the land. Monks and nuns lived in separate areas of the Abbey.
Hild had made Whitby Abbey a notable religious centre and seat of learning.
Synod of Whitby
King Oswiu of Northumbria called this conference of ecclesiastics to decide whether to continue to follow Celtic Christianity or to follow Roman Christianity. Both branches of Christianity calculated Easter in different ways which was considered confusing for Christians. After listening to both sides Oswiu decided to follow Roman tradition.
Following Oswiu’s decision at the Synod of Whitby, Hild changed the operation of her Abbey to fit the rules of Roman Christianity.
Hild began to suffer from recurrent fevers and weakness.
Hild founded a new convent at Hackness.
680 (17th November)
Hild died at Whitby. Oswiu’s daughter, Aelflaed succeeded her as abbess of Whitby.
Published May 28, 2020 @ 11:58 am – Updated –
Harvard Reference for this page:
Heather Y Wheeler. (2020). Hild of Whitby 614 – 680. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/hild-of-whitby-614-680. Last accessed [date]