Æbbe of Coldingham
ID:
 
1554
 
Alternate Name:
 
Ebba, Æbbe the Elder, Aebba, Abbe, Aebbe.
 
Birth Date:
 
616 or earlier
 
Death Date:
 
683 or later
 
Country:
 
England
 
Region:
 
Northumbria
 
Location of Work:
 
Coldingham; Northumbria.
 
Family:
 

Idling dynasty of Bernicia

 
Father:
 
Æthelfrith son of Æthelric of Bernicia
 
Mother:
 
Bebbe ?
 
Spouse:
 
Married but spouse unknown
 
Children:
 

Unknown

 
Other Family:
 

Uterine sister of King Oswiu of Bernicia/Northumbria (r. 642-670), presumably at least half-sister of King Oswald of Bernicia/Northumbria (r. 634-642), King Eanfrith of Bernicia (633-634); aunt of King Ecgfrith of Northumbria (r. 670-685) and King Aldfrith of Northumbria (r. 685-704), and King Alchfrith of Deira (r. 652-665) and King Ælfwine of Deira (r. 670-679) and Queen Osthryth of Mercia.

 
Education:
 

Unknown where she was trained. She trained Queen Æthelthryth as a nun. Æthelthryth later founded Ely Abbey in East Anglia.

 
Social Status:
 

Sister and aunt of kings.

 
Communities:
 

Founder of Coldingham.

 
Religious Titles:
 

Saint and Abbess.

 
Religious Roles:
 

Founder of Coldingham.

 
Ecclesiastical Relationships:
 

On good terms with Bishop Cuthbert of Lindisfarne and Bishop Wilfrid of York. She intervened on Bishop Wilfrid’s behalf with her nephew King Ecgfrith and Wilfrid entrusted her with Queen Æthelthryth when he gave the queen the veil.

 
Feast Day:
 
August 25
 
Misc Info:
 

Coldingham had a reputation of having a loose rule by the Irish monks and some have speculated that it was a retirement facility for royal and noble women. When Coldingham burned down it was blamed on its loose rule. It should be noted that some of their complaints sound familiar to their complaints about Bishop Wilfrid’s displays of wealth. This may suggest that Æbbe favored a more Roman style of monastery rather than the more ascetic Irish style.

 
Contributor:
 
Michelle Ziegler