Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Reginald of Coldingham

REGINALD of Coldingham or of Durham (fl. 1170), hagiologist, was probably either a native of Coldingham or was sent from his monastery of Durham as a monk to the cell at Coldingham. He was commissioned by Prior Thomas of Durham (1156–1162) and by Ailred of Rievaux [see Ethelred, (1109?–1166)] to visit the hermit Godric [q. v.] at Finchale, near Durham, with a view to writing the hermit's life. Godric reluctantly allowed Reginald to undertake the task. When Godric's end drew near, Reginald took care of the bed-ridden saint, and wrote down all that he said while it was still fresh in his memory. Godric blessed Reginald's completed work, and forbade any one to see the biography before his death in 1170. Under Reginald's care the life of Godric was twice rewritten with enlargements, the third and last recension being dedicated to Hugh de Pudsey [q. v.], bishop of Durham.

At the suggestion, and partly with the help, of Ailred of Rievaux, Reginald next compiled his life of St. Cuthbert, which is brought down to 1173. The work is preceded by a letter addressed to Ailred, who died in 1166, before the completion of the work. The lives of Godric and Cuthbert have both been edited for the Surtees Society. Two other works by Reginald are known: a life of Oswald, king and martyr, addressed to Henry, sub-prior of Durham (of which the greater part has been printed in Sym. Dunelm. ed. Arnold, Rolls Ser. vol. i. App. iii.); and a life of St. Ebba of Coldingham, which Capgrave abbreviated; the original is extant in Bodleian MS. Fairfax 6, ff. 164–73.

[Surtees Society, Vita Godrici, ed. Stevenson, and Libellus de Miraculis Cuthberti (for this edition the copy in Fairfax MS. 6 was not consulted); Simeon of Durham, ed. Arnold; Hardy's Cat. i. 306, &c.]

M. B.