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Withburga (Witburh), St.


Anglo-Saxon abbess, mid-7th century. The youngest daughter of Anna, king of the East Angles, she was a sister of (SS.) etheldreda and ethelburga. Her father was killed in battle c. 650, and she chose to become a nun. Her monastic career is obscure, and there are no contemporary records of her life. Tradition placed her at East Dereham, and it is thought she was abbess there, although another tradition says she was a solitary. The lands of the abbey of East Dereham passed to the monks of ely in the 11th century, and Withburga's body was translated to Ely in 974 by the first reformed abbot, Brithnoth.

Feast: March 17; July 8 (translation); April 18 (Cambridge).

Bibliography: Acta Sanctorum (Paris 1863) 2:603607. a.m. zimmermann, Kalendarium Benedictinum: Die Heiligen und Seligen des Benediktinerorderns und Seligen des Benediktinerorderns und seiner Zweige (Metten 193338) 1:339340. f. m. stenton, "The East Anglian Kings," The Anglo-Saxons, ed. p. clemoes (London 1959) 4352.

[e. john]

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