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Æbbe [St Æbbe, Ebba] (d. 683?), abbess of Coldingham, was the daughter of Acha, queen of Northumbria, and uterine sister of kings Oswald and Oswiu. According to late and unverifiable traditions preserved mainly in a life ascribed to the twelfth-century hagiographer Reginald of Durham...

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Ælfflæd [St Ælfflæd, Elfleda] (654–714), abbess of Strensall–Whitby, was the daughter of Oswiu, king of Northumbria (d. 670), and his wife, Eanflæd. She was dedicated to religion when scarcely a year old, in fulfilment of a vow made by her father before his victory at the battle of the ...

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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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Æthelthryth [St Æthelthryth, Etheldreda, Audrey] (d. 679), queen in Northumbria, consort of King Ecgfrith, and abbess of Ely, was the daughter of Anna, king of the East Angles (d. 654?). Her immediate kindred was dominated by women in religion, later venerated as saints, including three sisters, ...

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Balthild [St Balthild, Balthilda] (d. c. 680), queen of the Franks, consort of Clovis II of Neustria, was a Saxon, almost certainly born in England, probably in the early or mid-630s. She became a Frankish queen and founded the convent of Chelles, to which she retired during the last years of her life. There she was revered as a saint soon after her death. Her life, written before 690–91 by someone at ...

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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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Brigit [St Brigit, Brigid] (439/452–524/526), patron saint of Kildare, is the only native Irish saint to enjoy a widespread cult in all the Celtic countries. About the events of her life little can be said, since the earliest sources come from more than a century after her supposed death, on 1 February in either 524 or 526, and were in any case interested in miracle stories rather than biographical detail. Her early cult is, however, among the most influential and the most interesting of any saint in ...

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Josephine Elizabeth Butler (1828–1906) by George Frederic Watts, 1894 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Butler [née Grey], Josephine Elizabeth (1828–1906), social reformer and women's activist, born on 13 April 1828 at Milfield Hill, Glendale, Northumberland, was the fourth daughter and seventh child of John Grey (1785–1868) and Hannah Eliza, née Annett (d. 1860). She was unusual among nineteenth-century feminists in having family ties to the whig aristocracy: ...

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Clitherow [née Middleton], Margaret [St Margaret Clitherow] (1552/3–1586), Roman Catholic martyr, was born in York, the youngest of the four children of Thomas Middleton (d. 1567), wax chandler and freeman of York, and his wife, Jane (c.1515–1585), daughter of ...

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Cuthburh [St Cuthburh, Cuthburga] (fl. c. 700–718), supposed abbess of Wimborne, was the daughter of Coenred (d. c.694), a minor king of Wessex, and sister of the powerful King Ine. She married King Aldfrith of Northumbria (d. 704/5), a godson of ...

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Dympna [St Dympna] (fl. late 6th–early 7th cent.), martyr, is the patron saint of the town of Geel in Belgium, where she is invoked against insanity. Dympna and her counsellor, the priest Gerebern, are both supposed to have been buried in Geel. Fragments of their presumed sarcophagi still exist in the church of ...

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Eadburh [St Eadburh, Eadburga] (d. 751), abbess of Thanet, succeeded St Mildrith, who died at some time after 733, the probable date of the latest charter in which she appears. Eadburh played an important role in promoting the cult of her predecessor, whom she had translated to a new church dedicated to Sts ...

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Eadburh [St Eadburh, Eadburga] (921x4–951x3), Benedictine nun, was a daughter of King Edward the Elder and his third wife, Eadgifu. She entered Nunnaminster, Winchester, which had been founded by her grandmother Queen Ealhswith, at the age of three and remained there until her death in her thirtieth year on 15 June. The main source for her is the Latin life, written by ...

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Eanflæd [St Eanflæd] (b. 626, d. after 685), queen in Northumbria, consort of King Oswiu, was the daughter of Eadwine (d. 633), king in Northumbria, and his wife, the Kentish princess Æthelburh (d. 647). Born on Easter eve (19 April) 626, she was baptized by ...