Born to the English nobility, the second son of Simon, Earl of Huntingdon, and Maud (Matilda), grand-niece of William the Conqueror. Grandson of Saint Waldef of Northumbria. Even as a child, Waltheof felt drawn to churches, and later to the religious life. Following his father‘s death, he, his mother and his brother moved to Scotland where Maud married King David I. Part of David’s court where he was educated and became a spiritual student of Saint Aelred of Rievaulx, master of the royal household. Deciding on a religious life, Waltheof left Scotland.
Augustinian canon at Nostelle Monastery, Yorkshire, England c.1130. Abbot of Kirkham, England in 1134. Chosen archbishop of York, England in 1140, but King Stephen opposed Waltheof’s connections with and sympathy toward Scotland, and prevented the appointment.
Cistercian monk at Wardon, Bedforshire, England; he tried to bring along some of his brothers, but failed. Abbot of Melrose Abbey in 1149. Acquainted with Saint Malachy O’More, and helped him in his travels. With his step-father, King David, he helped found monasteries at Cultram and Kinross. Named archbishop of Saint Andrews, Scotland in 1154, but felt inadequate; he convinced Saint Aelred of his desire to avoid the see, and Aelred publicly opposed the appointment.
Noted for his severe, self-imposed austerities, endless kindness to the poor, and a gentle hand with the brothers under his supervision. Received visions of Christ during the feasts of Christmas, Passiontide, and Easter; had visions of heaven and hell. Miracle worker who is reported to have multiplied food, and miraculously healed the sick, especially the blind.
- 3 August 1160 of natural causes
- buried at the Cistercian chapter house at Melrose Abbey
- body found incorrupt in 1207, but when moved again in 1240, it had decayed
- Book of Saints, by the Monks of Ramsgate
- Katherine Rabestein
- Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints
- “Saint Waltheof of Melrose“. Saints.SQPN.com. 3 August 2013. Web. 19 April 2014. <>