seen a number of men, all in white, come into the monastery, and being asked by her, “What they wanted, and what they did there?” they answered, “They had been sent thither to carry away with them the gold medal that had been brought thither from Kent. That same night, at the dawn of morning, leaving the darkness of this world, she departed to the light of heaven. Many of the brethren of that monastery that were in other houses, declared they had then plainly heard concerts of angels singing, and the noise as it were of a multitude entering the monastery. Whereupon going out immediately to see what it might be, they saw an extraordinary great light coming down from heaven, which conducted that holy soul, set loose from the bonds of the flesh, to the eternal joys of the celestial country. They add other miracles that were wrought the same night in the same monastery; but as we must proceed to other matters, we leave them to be related by those to whom such things belong. The body of this venerable virgin and bride of Christ was buried in the church of the blessed protomartyr, Stephen. It was thought fit, three days after, to take up the stone that covered the grave, and to raise it higher in the same place, which whilst they were doing, so great a fragrancy of perfume rose from below, that it seemed to all the brothers and sisters there present, as if a store of the richest balsams had been opened.
Her aunt also, Ethelberga above mentioned, preserved the glory so pleasing to God, of perpetual virginity, in great continency of body, but the extent of her virtue became more conspicuous after her death. Whilst she was abbess, she began to build in her monastery a church, in honour of all the apostles, wherein she desired her body might be buried; but when that work was advanced half way, she was prevented by death from finishing it, and buried in the very place of the church where she had desired. After her death, the brothers occupied themselves with other things, and this structure was intermitted for seven years, at the expiration whereof they resolved, by reason of the greatness of the work, wholly to lay aside the building of the church, but to remove the abbess’s bones from thence to some other church that was finished and consecrated; but, on opening her tomb, they found the body as free from decay as it had been from the corruption of carnal concupiscence, and having washed it again and put on it other clothes, they removed the same to the church of St. Stephen, Martyr, whose nativity (or commemoration-day) is celebrated with much magnificence on the 7th of July.
CHAP IX. —
HOW MIRACULOUS CURES HAVE BEEN FREQUENTLY DONE IN THE PLACE WHERE KING OSWALD WAS KILLED; AND HOW FIRST, A TRAVELLER’S HORSE WAS RESTORED, AND AFTERWARDS A YOUNG GIRL CURED OF A PALSY.
Oswald, the most Christian king of the Northumbrians, reigned nine years, including that year which is to be held accursed for the brutal impiety of the king of the Britons, and the apostacy of the English kings; for, as was said above, it is agreed by the unanimous consent of all, that the names of the apostates should be erased from the catalogue of the Christian kings, and no date ascribed to their reign. After which period, Oswald was killed in a great battle, by the same pagan nation and pagan king of the Mercians, by whom his predecessor Edwin had been slain, at a place called in the English tongue Maserfield, in the thirty-eighth year of his age, on the 5th day of the month of August.
How great his faith was towards God, and how remarkable his devotion, has been made evident by miracles since his death; for in the place where he was killed by the pagans, fighting for his country, infirm men and cattle are healed to this day. Whereupon many took up the very dust of the place where his body fell, and putting it into water, thereby did much good to their friends who were sick. This custom came so much into use, that the earth being carried away by degrees, there remained a hole as deep as the height of a man. Nor is it to be wondered that the sick should be healed in the place where he died; for, whilst he lived, he never ceased to provide for the poor and infirm, and to bestow alms on them and assist them. Many miracles are said to have been wrought in that place, or with the earth carried from thence; but we have thought it sufficient to mention two, which we heard from our ancestors.
Miracles performed where he fell.
It happened, not long after his death, that a man was travelling near that place, when his horse on a sudden began to tire, to stand stock still, hang down his head, and foam at the mouth, and, at