OSWIN or OSWINI (d. 651), king of Deira and saint, was son of Osric (d. 634) [q. v.], the son of Ælfric, a brother of Ælla (d. 588) [q. v.] When his father died Oswini was very young, and was taken for refuge to Wessex. On the death of his cousin Oswald (605?–642) [q. v.] in 642, the people of Deira recalled him to be their king, but he seems to have ruled only as an under-king of the Mercian Penda [q. v.] Unlike his father, Oswini was a sincere Christian, and a great friend of St. Aidan; his goodness made the saint prophesy that he would soon be taken from this life, for 'the nation is not worthy of such a ruler' [see more fully under Aidan]. Oswini governed Deira in great prosperity for seven years, while Bernicia was under Oswy or Oswiu [q. v.] At last Oswiu made war on his rival. Oswini, feeling unable to meet his enemy, disbanded the army which he had assembled at Wilfares-dun, ten miles north-west of Caterick, and took refuge with an ealdorman called Hunvald. Hunvald, however, betrayed him to Oswy, who had him murdered at Ingetlingum,now Gilling, near Richmond, on 20 Aug. 651. Baeda describes Oswini as a man of graceful bearing, tall of stature, affable in discourse, and courteous in behaviour; he was very pious and devout, and was beloved by all men. Oswini was the last king of Deira, which, after his death, was permanently united with Bernicia to form the kingdom of Northumbria. A little later, on the persuasion of Oswini's kinswoman Eanfled, the wife of Oswy, the latter founded a monastery at Gilling. Trumhere, a cousin of hers and of Oswini, was made abbot, and prayers were offered for the murdered king and his murderer. Some remains of this monastery survive in the present church of Gilling. In the twelfth century, during the reign of Stephen, an anonymous monk of St. Albans, who was resident in the cell of his monastery at Tynemouth, wrote a life of Oswini. According to this account the king was buried at Tynemouth, where he was reverenced as a saint until the Danish troubles, when his memory was forgotten. In 1065 his burial-place was miraculously revealed, and his worship restored. His relics were translated in 1110. At the dissolution of the monastery there was still a shrine there containing the body and vestments of St. Oswini. The 'Life of Oswini,' which was clearly written in glorification of Tynemouth, reproduces Bæda's narrative, together with an account of his discovery, translation, and miracles. It is contained in Cotton MS. Julius A., and is printed in the Surtees Society's 'Miscellanea Biographical There was an Osred [q. v.], king of Northumbria, who died and was buried at Tynemouth in 792; it is possible that his name caused a confusion with Oswini. Cotton MS. Galba A.V. is a psalter which is said to have belonged to Oswini.
[Bædæ Hist. Eccl. iv. 14, 24; Matt. Paris, i. 531–3, ii. 138; Miscellanea Biographica (Surtees Soc.) vol. viii.; Dugdale's Monasticon, iii. 112; Freeman's William Rufus, ii. 17–18, 603–6; Green's Making of England, pp. 295–7; Dict. Christian Biography, iv. 165.]