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Æthelburh [St Æthelburh, Ethelburga] (fl. 664), abbess of Barking, was the sister of Earconwald (d. 693), abbot of Chertsey and bishop of London. Nothing certain is known of her family background, though she may have originated among the Kentish aristocracy: Æthelburh shares her name with the Kentish princess who became ...

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Bega [St Bega] (supp. fl. late 7th cent.), abbess of Hartlepool, was a legendary Irish saint, supposedly active in northern England in the seventh century. Her life and miracles are described in an anonymous account, probably written at the priory of St Bees...

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Bugga (fl. late 7th–early 8th cent.), abbess, was the daughter of King Centwine of Wessex (r. 676–85). She is known chiefly from a poem written by Aldhelm to celebrate a church she had built dedicated to the Virgin Mary; her nunnery is the earliest recorded in the kingdom of the West Saxons. The poem gives some interesting information on the operation of the mixed community of monks and nuns over which ...

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Hild [St Hild, Hilda] (614–680), abbess of Strensall–Whitby, was the daughter of Hereric, a Deiran prince, and his wife, Breguswith. Hereric was a nephew of Eadwine of Northumbria and the family fortunes seem to have been determined by that relationship. Hereric's exile and murder were probably a consequence of the fall of ...

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Osgyth [St Osgyth, Osyth, Osith] (fl. late 7th cent.), abbess of Chich, is an extreme illustration of the problems of elucidating the lives of the first generation of princess-saints from late hagiographies. In two twelfth-century lives, themselves known only from later and fragmentary versions, two distinct bodies of tradition, one apparently derived from ...