Saturday, March 8, 2014

Hild ~ Nicola Griffith

St.Hilda is a favorite of mine, as is the 7th century. The Venerable Bede said about her "Her life on earth fell into two equal parts: for she spent thirty-three years most nobly on secular occupations, and dedicated the ensuing thirty-three even more nobly to our Lord in the monastic life." 

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle gives her death in 680.." and the same year died Hilda, Abbess of Whitby and her baptism in 627 at the age of 13 "This year, at Easter, Paulinus baptized Edwin king of the Northumbrians, with his people".

Historically that is all we know about her and Nicola Griffith has written a beautiful novel to fill in the gaps. Hilda or Hild does not enter the church until she was 33 years old. Her sister Hereswith became a nun after her marriage and it is possible that Hild also married. Born into a royal family, being a Peacemaker surely would have been a necessity for her.

Griffith posits,in great depth,a fictional life for Hild to explain what may have happened to her. We do not know the truth and this version has a lot of merit. I very much enjoyed this long but beautifully written tale of a favorite time and person.


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