St. Wulfhilda of Barking, Abbess

9 September

Previous Saint This month Next Saint
[Today's previous saint] [back to Calendar] [Tomorrow's first saint]

Died c. 980-1000; other feasts include that of her translation on September 2, c. 1030 (with the relics of Saints Hildelith and Ethelburga), as well as on March 7 and September 23 at Barking.

Saint Wulfhilda was raised in the abbey of Wilton. When she was a novice, King Saint Edgar sought her hand in marriage, but she had a vocation that was irrevocable. Her aunt, Abbess Wenfleda of Wherwell, invited the young novice to become her successor, but it was just a ploy to lure her from Wilton. When she arrived at Wherwell, she found the king waiting for her and her aunt willing to allow him to seduce her. Wulfhilda escaped through the drains despite the chaperons inside and the guards outside the convent. The king pursued her back to Wilton and caught her in the cloister, but she escaped his grasp and took refuge in the sanctuary among the altars and relics. Thereafter Edgar renounced his claim on her and took her cousin Saint Wilfrida as his mistress instead.

Wulfhilda went on to found and serve as the first abbess of the convent of Horton in Dorsetshire. Later she was appointed abbess of the convent of Barking, which had been restored by King Edgar and endowed with several churches in Wessex towns. During this period she was credited with several miracles, including the multiplication of drinks when King Edgar, Saint Ethelwold, and a naval officer from Sandwich visited the abbey.

After Edgar's death, his widowed queen, Elfrida (Aelfthryth), conspired with some of Wulfhilda's nuns, to drive her out of Barking. She retired to Horton for the next 20 years until she was recalled to Barking by King Ethelred. For the last seven years of her life, Wulfhilda served as abbess of both Horton and Barking. Goscelin wrote her "vita" within 60 years of her death. (Benedictines, Farmer).

Previous Saint This month Next Saint
[Today's previous saint] [back to Calendar] [Tomorrow's first saint]

Lives kindly supplied by:
For All the Saints:

These Lives are archived at:

content © 2008, Ambrose Mooney
layout © 2008, Kathleen Hanrahan and Mo! Langdon
Page last updated: 21 December 2008
Please send us comments, corrections, etc. - Kathleen or Mo!.
This page's URL: <>