Lives to Inspire: Hilda of Whitby

Hilda lived in times of tribal warfare. She was brought up in the court of King Edwin of Northumbria after her father was murdered and baptised when Edwin and his whole court converted to Christianity. She left Northumbria when Edwin died in battle but was later persuaded to return as a nun in the Iona tradition by Aidan of Lindisfarne.

She became the founding Abbess of Whitby, which was a ‘double abbey’ of men and women. In the Celtic world, these were usually led by an Abbess. Because of its prestige, Whitby was chosen as the venue of a Synod held to settle contentious differences between the Roman and Celtic churches. Hilda spoke passionately for reconciliation, but the Roman rules championed by Saint Wilfrid were adopted. Although disappointed, she graciously led her community through the consequent changes.

The Venerable Bede described Hilda as a woman of great energy, devotion and grace, who was a skilled administrator and teacher. She fostered trades and used the arts in worship. She recognised the gifts of Caedmon, an illiterate cowherder, who is now known as the first named English poet.

Books about Saint Hilda

Hilda of Whitby

Name: Hilda

614: Born in Northumbria

627: Baptised with King Edwin’s court
633: Moves to Kent
647: Returns north and is the founding Abbess of Whitby Abbey.
664: Synod of Whitby
680: Dies in Whitby.
731: The Venerable Bede writes about Hilda in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People.

Quote from Saint

Keep the peace of the gospel with one another and indeed with the entire world.”

The last words of St Hilda

Today’s Scripture

2 Corinthians 1: New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, 
who consoles us in all our affliction,
so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. 
For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us,
so also our consolation is abundant through Christ.

Thought for the Day

Have you had to implement a change or do something that you did not agree with?
How did God help you through this time?


Now we must honour heaven –
Kingdom’s Ward, the Maker’s might and His mind’s will.
The works of the wondrous Father, for each of which wonders, the eternal Lord brought into being.
He first created for earth’s children heaven as a roof, the holy Creator
Then, mankind’s ward, the eternal Lord, afterwards appointed Middle Earth as our firm footing.
Almighty Lord.