written by a monk at Egmont in the twelfth century, is our chief authority on this subject. According to the first of these writers a certain English priest named Egbert, being divinely forbidden to undertake a personal mission among the heathen of North Germany, despatched Willibrord, Adalbert, and ten others in his stead.
According to all accounts Adalbert was of noble birth, and it is not improbable that he was the grandson of Oswald, king of Deira, who died in 642. For Marcellinus (who claims to have himself been one of the above-mentioned twelve), in his life of St. Swidbert, calls Adalbert's father ‘Edelbaldus filius Oswaldi regis,’ and we know from Bede that Oswald did leave a son Edilwald, Adilwald, or Oidilwald, who, for a short time, reigned over Deira till he played the traitor to Oswy, and lost his kingdom with the overthrow of Penda (655). Adalbert, if a son of this Edilwald, might well enough have been a contemporary of St. Willibrord (658–738). Following the same authority we find Adalbert's name occurring among a list of preachers despatched into various districts of West Germany by order of the council of Utrecht (702), with Egmont specially mentioned as the scene of his labours. But the whole question is involved in doubt, as this ‘Vita Swiberti,’ if not a complete forgery, is extremely incorrect, and has been subject to large interpolations. The Bollandist fathers refuse to give it any credit; but Le Cointe (iv. 204) allows that it may contain a substratum of truth, and follows it, though with some hesitation.
The abbey of Egmont, dedicated to the memory of this saint, was long a most important institution till it was utterly destroyed by the Spaniards at the siege of Alkmaar in 1573 (Motley, Rise of Dutch Republic, pt. iii. ch. 9). However, even so late as 1709, when the Bollandist fathers drew up their account of St. Adalbert, the villagers of Egmont and the neighbourhood still kept 25 June sacred to the memory of their patron saint. Other authorities (Mabillon, iii. 586) assign a somewhat different date (c. 740) to the subject of this article, and this has led to his life appearing twice in Dr. Smith's ‘Dictionary of Christian Biography’ (i. 32). Tanner mentions certain ‘Epistolæ’ of Adalbert's as still extant, and the ‘Epistola ad Herimannum’ [see Adalbert of Spalding] has also been, without authority, assigned to this author.
[Acta Sanct. 25 June, pp. 94–110; Mabillon's Acta Bened. iii. 586; Le Cointe's Annales Eccles. Franc. iv. 216–7, 392–5, 444; Mabill. Annales Benedic. i. and ii. p. 116; John de Beka's Chronicon in Vita Willibrordi; Johannis de Leydis Annales Egmundani, c. i–x.; Marcellini Vita Swiberti, c. vi. xiv.]
ADALBERT of Spalding (fl. 1160?) is said by Bale and Pits to have been a Cluniac monk belonging to the abbey of Spalding in Lincolnshire, and to have flourished about the year 1160. Our early biographers give him great praise for his knowledge of the Scriptures and the fathers. They also speak in high terms of his elegance of style and his modesty in always following the opinions of these authorities rather than his own. His favourite author, they add, was Gregory the Great, from whose treatise upon Job (Moralia) he compiled his own work entitled ‘De Statu Hominis,’ or ‘Speculum Status Hominis.’ An ‘Epistola ad Herimannum Presbyterum’ and certain ‘Homiliæ’ are also mentioned among his writings.
But, whatever may be the case with the ‘Homiliæ,’ it is very questionable whether the author of the ‘Speculum’ and the ‘Epistola ad Herimannum’ has any right to the surname ‘Spaldingensis,’ or, indeed, to be considered as an Englishman at all. For Boston Buriensis (cir. 1410), the first English writer who mentions the ‘Speculum,’ calls it the work of Adalbert the Deacon, and describes it as a book divided into 155 chapters, and composed of extracts from Gregory's ‘Moralia.’ More than one hundred years later Leland (Collect. iii. 32) found at Spalding a work entitled ‘Adelberti liber Diaconi ad Herimannum Presbyterum.’ Now there are many copies extant of a letter addressed by Adalbert the Deacon to a priest Herman, all acting as a kind of preface to a book of extracts from the ‘Moralia’ of St. Gregory. Moreover, this letter speaks of the compilation that follows as a ‘Speculum,’ the very title given by Boston and Pits to the similar collection of their Adalbert, to whom the latter assigns likewise an ‘Epistola ad Hermannum.’ When we consider the extent to which Bale and Pits have availed themselves of the labours of Boston and Leland, we can hardly avoid the inference that all four are alluding to one and the same work—a series of extracts from Gregory's ‘Moralia’ prefaced by a letter from Adalbert the Deacon to Herman the priest—but that the two first, learning from Leland that a copy of this book existed at Spalding, have imagined it to be the production of an Adalbertus Spaldingensis of their own creation. Again, the greater number of the manuscripts of this work (cf. Martene, Anecdot. i. 84, and Tanner) are to be found abroad—a fact which tells strongly against its author's being an Englishman, though we need hardly go so far as Tanner, who suggests that he was a monk of St.