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St. Bertwald
(Died AD 731)

Abbot Glastonbury
Abbot of Reculver
Archbishop of Canterbury
Died: 9th January AD 731


Bertwald was of Royal lineage, but little is known of his early life. He is said by Bede to have been well versed in Holy Scripture and ecclesiastical & monastic science. He is known to have corresponded with Saints Boniface and Aldhelm, as well as Wilfred. In AD 667, King Cenwalh of Wessex appointed Bertwald as the first Anglo-Saxon Abbot of Glastonbury, on the advice of his friend, St. Benedict Biscop. He is known to have received a generous land grant, around Meare, from his Royal patron, four years later. About AD 676, he became Abbot of the Monastery at Reculver and, in AD 693, he travelled to France for his consecration, by Godwin, Archbishop of Lyons, as Archbishop of Canterbury.

He appears to have governed the Church with vigour and ability. New bishoprics were established in Wessex during his pontificate and Sussex, the last pagan kingdom, was converted. He presided at the Council of Easterfield in AD 702, at which Bishop Wilfrid of York was deposed and excommunicated; and three years later at another Council, when it was arranged that Wilfrid should receive the Bishopric of Hexham, in place of that of York.

Bertwald died in AD 731.

Edited from G.M. Bevan's "Portraits of the Archbishops of Canterbury" (1908).

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