Wulfstan of Worcester, St.
WULFSTAN OF WORCESTER, ST.
Benedictine monk, bishop of Worcester; b. Little Itchington, near Warwick, England, c. 1008; d. Jan. 18, 1095. He was educated in the Benedictine Abbeys of evesham and peterborough and became a monk of the cathedral monastery of Worcester, where he was schoolmaster, and then prior, and was finally elected bishop in 1062 with the approval of the witenagemot. Since the See of worcester was claimed by the Province of York before its affiliation as a suffragan of Canterbury in 1070 (it had even been occupied directly by archbishops of York on occasion), Wulfstan was consecrated at York—after some reluctance to accept the office at all. As bishop he rapidly became famous for his continued monastic asceticism and for his personal sanctity. Even though he had earlier been sympathetic to Harold of Wessex, he was among those who made their submission to King william i, the Conqueror, at Berkhamstead in 1066. He therefore retained his see and even became one of the most trusted of William's advisers and administrators. He assisted in the compilation of the domesday book, supported William against the rebellious barons in 1075, and remained loyal even to King william ii rufus. In ecclesiastical politics he was frequently at odds with both Archbishop lanfranc and the archbishop of York, thomas of bayeux, without, however, suffering any loss in prestige or in reputation for holiness. As a pastor his greatest achievement was to stop the merchants of Bristol from their customary capture and sale of English slaves. Wulfstan is buried in the cathedral at Worcester, which he rebuilt. Pope Innocent III canonized him in 1203. He became one of the patron saints of his See of Worcester; more recently he became a patron saint of Worcester, MA, USA. His biography was written by Hemming and florence of worcester (ed. H. Whaton, Anglia sacra,1691) and william of malmesbury (ed. R. R. Darlington, Camden Soc. 40, 1928; tr. J. H. F. Peile, Oxford 1934).
Feast: Jan. 19.
Bibliography: f. m. stenton, Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford 1947). f. barlow, The English Church 1000–1066: A Constitutional History (Hamden, CT 1963). d. knowles, The Monastic Order in England, 943–1216 (Cambridge, Eng. 1962) 74–78, 159–163.