Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Saint Eormenhild, Ermenilda of Ely


Saint Eormenhild (or Ermenilda, Ermenildis, Ermengild) (d. about 700/703) is a seventh-century Anglo-Saxon saint. Later hagiography makes her the daughter of King Eorcenberht of Kent and St. Seaxburh of Ely, and wife to Wulfhere of Mercia, with whom she had a daughter, St. Wærburh, and a son, Coenred. Eormenhild became a nun after her husband died in 675, and eventually became abbess of Minster and Ely consecutively.
There are almost no contemporary records for her life. When discussing Wulfhere, Bede mentions neither her nor her daughter Wærburh. However, her name is mentioned for an abbess in a (copy of a) charter of King Wihtred of Kent, dated 699, along with three other abbesses present at the occasion when the charter was issued: "Irminburga, Aeaba et Nerienda".
Her feast day is 13 February.

Anonymous Old English Life of St. Mildrith (Caligula), ed. and tr. Oswald Cockayne, Leechdoms, Wortcunning, and Starcraft of Early England, vol. 3. London, 1866. 422-9 (Caligula), 428-32 (MS Lambeth Palace). Caligula text partially transcribed by Alaric Hall and Cockayne's volume available as PDF from Google Books.

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