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Oswald
Oswald
325

convent was safe under the protection of Æthelwine. At some time during his archi-episcopate Oswald collected the bones of saints buried in the monastery of Ripon, which then lay in ruins, and among them the bones of St. Wilfrid the founder. He put the relics in a shrine, and, Eadmer says, carried them to Worcester (Vita Anon. p. 462; Eadmer, ap. Hist. of York, ii. 32; see under Odo). Towards the end of his life, when he was broken with age, he heard with deep grief that the principal tower of the church at Ramsey had cracked throughout its whole height. He went to Ramsey from York, and encouraged the monks to set about rebuilding the church. The work being finished in 991, Oswald re-dedicated the church in November, in the presence of the great men of five shires, of the Bishop of Dorchester, and others. The ceremony was magnificent, and was followed by a banquet, at which there was no stint of wine and mead (Historia Ramesiensis, pp. 85-95; Vita Anon. pp. 463-6). Oswald then went to Worcester, and during the winter suffered much from ill-health. In February 992 he seemed better, and each day during Lent, as his custom was, he washed the feet of twelve poor men while Psalms cxx.-cxxxiv. were sung. After he had done so on 29 Feb. he died while singing the doxology. He was buried in his church at Worcester, and his remains were placed in a shrine by Aldulf or Ealdulf [q. v.], who succeeded him at York and Worcester. He was a man of great holiness, diligent, liberal, and kindly. He valued learning, and promoted it among the monasteries under his care. Though he was zealous in monastic reformation he was not violent, and evidently preferred to give up a reform rather than carry it through by force. Miracles were wrought at his tomb, and his name was placed in the calendar. He is said to have written a book of letters to Archbishop Odo, a treatise addressed to Abbo of Fleury, and beginning 'Praescientia Dei monachus,' a treatise 'Ad Sanctos,' written while he was at Fleury, and beginning 'Oswaldus supplex monachus,' and synodal constitutions (Bale, cent. ii. 141; Tanner, Bibl. Brit. p. 560). None of these are now known to exist; the first probably never did exist (Wright). The portiphory of St. Oswald is preserved in the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and his stole was at Beverley Minster in the twelfth century; it was of purple, and was adorned with gold and precious stones (Historians of York, ii. 341).

[The chief authority is the Life by an anonymous and contemporary author, a monk of Ramsey, existing in manuscript only in Cotton. MS. Nero, E. 1, and printed in Hist. of York, i. 399–475 (Rolls Ser.); in ii. 1–5 is the Life by Eadmer, written for the monks of Worcester, which is of some use, specially as regards arrangement, and is followed by a book of miracles. The Life by Senatus, which follows, is of no value, and this may also be said of the two short lives at the end of the same volume; the second of them was first printed in Capgrave's Legenda. Hist. Rames., pp. 21–49, 85–102 (Rolls Ser.), is of value for Oswald's doings at Ramsey; Will. of Malmesbury's Gesta Pontiff. pp. 247–50 (Rolls Ser.); Flor. Wig. i. 141, 142, 149 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Kemble's Codex Dipl. Nos. 486, 487, 494–497, 506–11, 529–31, 538–42, 549–61, and seq.; Wilkins's Concilia, i. 218, 222, 239; Raine's Fasti Ebor. pp. 118–28; Wright's Biogr. Lit. i. 462.]

W. H.


OSWALD or OSWOLD (fl. 1010), scholar, was the son of a brother of St. Oswald [q. v.], archbishop of York, and was educated at his uncle's monastery in Ramsey, Huntingdonshire. The story is told that in an idle hour he and three other boys rang the abbey bells for fun, and one was broken. The boys confessed in the chapter-house, and Oswald condoned his nephew's offence, to the annoyance of the monks. Oswald sent his nephew to complete his education at Fleury on the Loire, and there he became a man of learning, and a friend of the abbot Constantine, one of the first scholars of the day. Before he returned to England a poem concerning his accomplishments in Latin elegiacs, written by Constantine and Archbishop Oswald, heralded his fame. After visiting the abbey of St. Bertin, St. Vedast, Corbey, St. Denis, near Paris, and Lagny, he returned to Ramsey, and, refusing to be made a bishop, led a quiet life of study as a monk there. After 1048 he had an interview with Edward the Confessor, and obtained from him a grant of a hundred and a half at Wimbotsham, Norfolk (Chron. Rames. p. 160). A poem by him was preserved at Ramsey, when the chronicler of Ramsey wrote. In Leland's time there were manuscripts by him at Glaston and Ramsey. Leland mentions 'Liber sacrarum precationum,' which Bale calls a book of necromancy; 'De componendis epistolis,' and 'De edendis carminibus.' Oswald was probably author of the anonymous Vita S. Oswaldi in the Cotton MS. Nero E. I. 1. printed in 'Historians of the Church of York,' ed. Raine, i. 399. Oudin (Comm. Script, ii. 523) ascribes it to him, quoting a statement of Usher to that effect; it was written between 995 and 1005, by one intimately associated with St. Oswald at Ramsey, well acquainted with the Christian poets and with the historians of Fleury, who writes like a foreigner, and shows considerable knowledge