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Daughter of Hereric and Beorhtswith and sister of St. Hilda of Whitby. She was the wife of Aethelhere, King of East Anglia, to whom she bore two sons, Aldwulf and Alfwold. By the "Liber Eliensis" she is stated to have been the wife of King Anna, the leder brother of King Aethelhere, but this is certainly a mistake. Her husband having been killed in the battle of Winwaed (655), St. Hereswitha became a nun at the Abbey of Chelles, then in the Diocese of Paris, where she remained until the end of her life. Her feast is variously assigned — by Stanton to 3 September, by the second edition of the English Martyrology to 20 September, by the first edition and by Ferrari to 23 September. Bucelinus, however, assigns it to 1 December, and the Bollandists propose to discuss her cultus on that date.
Acta SS., 20 Sept., VI, 106; BEDE, Historia Ecclesiastica, IV, xxiii, in Mon. Hist. Brit., 234; ECKENSTEIN, Woman under Monasticism (Cambridge, 1896), 82, 96-7; FLORENCE OF WORCESTER, Genaelogia and Ad Chron. Append. in Mon. Hist. Brit., 628, 636; HOLE in Dict. Christ. Biog., s. v.; Liber Eliensus, ed. STEWART (London, 1848); STANTON, Menology of England and Wales (London, 1887), 435.
LESLIE A. ST. L. TOKE