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St. Aethelwold
(909- 984)

Born: 909 at Winchester (Hampshire)
Bishop of Winchester
Died: 1st August 984 at Winchester (Hampshire)


In AD 963, St. Aethelwold, Abbot of Abingdon, became Bishop of Winchester. He repaired throughout, if he did not completely rebuild, the cathedral and monastery; removing into the former the body of St. Swithun, together with those of other sainted bishops of less note. The new church was dedicated, in honour of the Apostles SS. Peter and Paul, on 20th October AD 980, by Archbishop Dunstan and eight other bishops, in presence of King Aethelred I and of nearly every "duke, noble and abbot" of England. Prodigious feasting succeeded the dedication and Wolstan, a contemporary monk, has supplied, in a poetic life of Aethelwold, a most curious description of the new buildings which, only with the excavations of recent years, have been fully understood. Aethelwold was himself a workman, like his contemporary, Dunstan, and, before his elevation to the see of Winchester, "the malignity of the adversary endeavoured to compass his destruction by allowing a great post to fall upon him whilst the holy man was working at construction." Notwithstanding his zeal for the rebuilding and decoration of his cathedral, Aethelwold is said, in a time of famine, to have sold, for the benefit of the poor, many of the precious ornaments belonging to it. He asserted that it was possible to replace such objects but that a life, once lost, could never be restored.


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