Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Idaberga or Edburge, Virgin

Article

The family of Penda, king of Mercia, an obstinate enemy to the name of Christ, gave to the English Church several saints. One of these was Saint Edburge, daughter to that prince. Her three holy sisters, Cunneberga, wife to Alfred, king of the Northumbers, (though she preferred a cloister to his royal bed,) Kineswithe, and Chinesdre, consecrated their virginity to God, and embraced a religious state at Dormundescastre, called by Leland Kuneburceaster, and often Caister, a monastery in Northamptonshire, founded in the seventh century: Leland calls Saint Kunneberga the foundress and first abbess. Capgrave only says, that a monastery being built here, she retired into it, and became abbess. Mention is made of this house as already built, in the account of the foundation of Peterburgh, which was begun by Peada, son of Penda, about the year 655, and finished in 660 by his brother Wolphere, assisted by his other brother Ethelred, and his sisters Kunneberga and Kineswithe, under the care of Saxulph, the first abbot. Saint Edburge seems to have made her religious profession at Dormundescastre; at least she was buried, and her relics kept there with veneration, till, with those of her three sisters, they were translated to Peterburgh, two miles distant. Balger, a monk, conveyed them with part of the relics of Saint Oswald into Flanders, about the year 1040, and deposited them in the abbey of Berg Saint Winox, probably by the authority of Hardecanute, king of England, who was son of Emma, had lived some time in Flanders in his youth, and perhaps contracted an intimacy with Balger at Bruges. The relics of Saint Oswald, Saint Idaberge, and Saint Lewin were lost in a great fire at the abbey of Berg Saint Winox in 1558. Yet an inscription there informs us that some of their dust still remains in the tomb.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Idaberga or Edburge, Virgin”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 16 June 2013. Web. 11 July 2014. <>