Berthgyth (fl. 8th c.)

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Berthgyth (fl. 8th c.)

English nun and letter writer. Born in England in the 8th century; died in Thuringia (modern Germany); daughter of Cynehild (a scholar and teacher); never married; no children.

During the 8th century, Berthgyth was born and raised in England. When her mother Cynehild , a highly educated woman who shared her learning with her daughter, traveled to Thuringia (in modern-day Germany) to teach and help convert the native population to Christianity at the request of St. Boniface, she brought young Berthgyth with her while leaving her other children in England. Berthgyth remained in Thuringia for the rest of her life, deeply involved in St. Boniface's missionary work even after Boniface's death in 754 and her mother's death some years later. Berthgyth's life has been preserved through three letters she wrote to her brother Balthard, in England. The letters, written in highly refined Latin and containing some original Latin verse, express her feelings of isolation and sorrow after Cynehild's death and ask Balthard to visit. They were well preserved, probably due to the author's connection with the revered St. Boniface and their own literary value.

Laura York , Anza, California

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