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Hidden by Red Saunders: An Impressions Gallery touring exhibition 9 March – 29 September 2013 Hild of Streonshalh (Hilda of Whitby) 614-680. (Hilda of Whitby) 614-680. Overview.

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hilda of whitby 614 680

Hidden by Red Saunders: An Impressions Gallery touring exhibition 9 March – 29 September 2013 Hildof Streonshalh (Hilda of Whitby) 614-680

(Hilda of Whitby) 614-680


Hild of Streonshalh, later renamed as Hilda of Whitby, was an inspiration to women’s education. A religious, kind and noble figure, Hild shows that you do not need to be revolutionary to make an impact on a controversial subject.

the ecclesiastical history of the english
The Ecclesiastical History of the English

Much of the knowledge we have of Hild of Streonshalh comes from The Venerable Bede’s book The Ecclesiastical History of the English in which he evaluated the conversion from Anglo-Saxon paganism. It is here where we can learn how Hild’s wisdom attracted many kings to ask for her advice.

her life
Her life

Born in 614, Hild was the second child of Hereric and Breguswith.

Her father died while she was still young so Hild and her sister grew up with their uncle Edwin, King of Northumberland.

In 627; King Edwin was baptised along with his court, including his niece Hild, in the presence of the Minister of York, Paulinus at a small wooden church.

When her sisters husband died, Hild planned to travel to France to be with her. However, she decided instead to remain in Northumbria at St. Aidan’s where she lived as a nun.

religious influence
Religious Influence

It was this convent where Hild and others learnt the traditions of Celtic monasticism. Within just one year, Hild was appointed as second abbess of Hartlepool Abbey, where today no trace remains except for the monastic cemetery.

The north bank of the River Wear was the location of Hild’s original convent


In 657 Hild had been nominated as founding abbess of the new

Streonshalh monastery

streoneshalh monastery
Streoneshalh monastery.

Little is known of the Streonshalh monastery except;

It was of Celtic style

It had small accommodations housing around two to three people.

It was one of the first traditional double monasteries available for both men and women

Men and women lived separately but worshipped together with all property and goods held in common.

her character
Her character

Can you guess what the below symbols say about Hilda’s personality?




Good teacher


“all who knew her called her mother because of her outstanding devotion and grace.”


Hild died in 680 aged 66,

following years of

devotion to the church.

Legend has it that the

moment she died the bells

rang and a nun named

Begu witnessed the soul

of Hild being taken to

heaven by angels.


Find more free resources on our website


People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3ER

0161 838 9190 learning@phm.org.uk www.phm.org.uk

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