Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Eddi

EDDI, ÆDDE, or EDDIUS (fl. 669), biographer, who assumed the name of Stephanus probably on taking orders, was brought into Northumbria by Bishop Wilfrith or Wilfrid when he returned from Canterbury in 669. His special work was to teach the Roman method of chanting in the Northumbrian churches; he acted as choirmaster of the diocese, and accordingly describes himself as ‘cantor’ (Eddius, c. xiv.). He was probably present at the synod of Onestrefeld, or Austerfield, in 702, in which Wilfrid was condemned, and accompanied him on his journey to Rome, whither he went to appeal against its decree. It has also been shown that there can be little doubt that he was an inmate of the monastery of Ripon in 709, when Wilfrid spent his last days there (Raine). At the request of Bishop Acca [q. v.], Abbot Tatberht, and the congregation of Ripon, he wrote a ‘Life of Wilfrid,’ a work in which he says his remembrance of the bishop was of great help to him. Although not written with any literary skill, and full of partisanship, it is a work of the highest interest and value, and was probably used by Bæda. The date of the last event it records is 710, and as it is reasonable to conclude that Eddi was at least twenty-five when he came into Northumbria, he must then have been fully sixty-six. The ‘Vita Wilfridi Episcopi auctore Eddio Stephano’ was used by William of Malmesbury (Gesta Pontificum); it is not included in the ‘Acta Sanctorum’ of the Bollandists, and was first printed by Mabillon in his ‘Acta SS. Ordinis S. Benedicti,’ vol. iv. pt. i. p. 631, from a transcript from the Cottonian MS., and later, with the help of a manuscript in the library of Salisbury Cathedral, by Gale in his ‘Scriptores XV,’ i. 38, and by Giles in ‘Vitæ Quorundam Sanctorum,’ Caxton Soc. The latest edition is in the ‘Historians of the Church of York,’ i. 1, Rolls Ser., with full introduction by James Raine.

[Vita Wilfridi auct. Eddio Stephano, Præf., c. xiv., see Introd. p. xxxi sq. (Rolls Ser.); Bædæ Hist. Eccl. iv. 2 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); William of Malmesbury's Gesta Pontificum, p. 210 (Rolls Ser.); Raine's Fasti Eboracenses, p. 62.]

W. H.