WIL'FRID, or WILFRITH, SAINT (634 709). An English churchman. He was the son of a Northumbrian thane. At fourteen he was sent to the Court of King- Oswin, and from there to the Monastery of Lindisfarne. At the age of nineteen he went on a pilgrimage to Rome. After an absence of five years he returned to England and warmly advocated the Roman custom of cele brating the Easter Festival on the 14th day of the moon, which had never been followed in the British Isles. From Alchfrith, King of Deira, he received a grant of land for a monastery at Ripon. and there. probably in 603. be was ordained a priest. The Synod of Whitby, which met in 604 to discuss the disputed question re garding Easter Time was attended by the most distinguished members of both parties, and among others by Column, Bishop of Lindisfarne, and Wilfrid. The council and audience were carried away by Wilfrid's argument, and the King de cided in favor of the Roman party. Wilfrid was afterwards named Bishop of York, hut he did not enter into possession of his see until 669. He then surrounded himself with great pomp, built churches, one of which, at Hexham. was said to
be the finest north of the Alps, hut soon found himself at strife with the royal power. A quar rel with the King of Northumbria, named Eegf rid, resulted in Wilfrid's deposition. He started on a journey to Rome to make a personal appeal to the Pope and on the way landed on the coast of Frisia. the inhabitants of which were still pagan. There, however, he was hospitably re• ceived by the ruler, and he baptized many of the people. Wilfrid was afterwards recalled to his see; hut he was still active as the leader of the Roman party, ultimately he was prived of his bisho1•ie. He again went to Rome, where he arrived in 701, returned to England in 705, and received the see of blezharW. Ile died at Oundle, in Northampton. The best contempo rary authority is Eddi's Vita Wilfridi, published in Iti.storiun.s of York, vol. 1., `"Lolls Series." Con sult also: Bright, tiar/.// Eng/i.sh, Church His tory (3d ed., oxford, 1897) ; Hunt, The English Church from Its Foundation to the Norman Con quest (London, 1899).