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St. Oswald of Worcester
(Died AD 992)

Bishop of Worcester
Archbishop of York
Died: 29th February AD 992


St. Oswald was the son of noble Danish parents. St. Oda the Severe, Archbishop of Canterbury, was his uncle and he was also related to Oskytel, his predecessor in the see of York. He was sent by Archbishop Oda to Winchester, where the lives of the secular canons by no means satisfied him; and he accordingly transferred himself to the famous Benedictine Monastery of Fleury, where he took the vows, and was afterwards ordained. On the death of Oda, in AD 958, he returned to England and was warmly received by Archbishop Oskytel of York, who had not long become the head of the Northern Province. Oswald set out with Oskytel for Rome; but did not proceed beyond Fleury, where he remained until Oskytel summoned him again to England to assist in the re-introduction of the Benedictine rule and the suppression of the secular canons. He joined cordially in the endeavours of Dunstan to this effect and was raised, by his influence, to the see of Worcester in AD 961. Ten years later, he became Archbishop of York; but retained Worcester in commendam until his death.

Oswald was the reformer and remodeller of many religious houses in his diocese of Worcester and was powerful enough to rearrange the great monasteries of Ely and St. Albans. In the north, he does not appear to have made, or perhaps to have been able to make, much change. He died and was buried at Worcester where his shrine was held in great honour until the Reformation. St. Oswald and St. Wulfstan are regarded as the patrons of the Cathedral. The most important life of St. Oswald is by an unknown monk of Ramsey - a monastery founded at his insistence by Aethelwin, Ealdorman of East Anglia, called by the chroniclers " Amicus Dei." It is the foundation on which all subsequent biographers of the archbishop have built.

Edited from Richard John King's "Handbook to the Cathedrals of England: Northern Division" (1903).

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