A Garner of Saints – Saint Frideswide

detail from the painting 'The Legend of Saint Frideswide' by Edward Burne-Jones, 1859Article

The daughter of Didan, prince of Oxford. From her childhood she learned the truth of the maxim that whatsoever is not God is nothing. Early in her career she was attracted by the charms of a monastic life, and after her mother’s death she took the vow of virginity, and in 750 founded a nunnery at Oxford in honour of Saint Mary and All Saints. The devil assailed her virtue with innumerable temptations, but his fury only rendered her victories more glorious. Algar, prince of Mercia, being attracted by her beauty sent to demand her in marriage. Unable to overcome her resolution to remain a virgin, he determined to take her by force. He laid a snare to carry her ofl’, but being warned, Frideswide escaped from her convent, which was broken up by her departure. She fled first to Abingdon, and concealed herself in a pig-sty. The pursuit being hot after her, she fled to Binsey, where she founded a convent and became famous for her merciful deeds. Not long afterwards she retumed to Oxford, which was besieged by the prince of Mercia. However, he was struck blind as he was entering the town, in the hour of success, and only recovered by repenting and at the prayer of Frideswide. From this time the saint shunned society more than ever and retired to a little oratory at Thornbury which she had built for herself, and where she miraculously caused a fountain to flow. Frideswide died before the end of the eighth century and was buried in the church which afterwards took its name from her. 19th October.

Attributes

  • crown and sceptre (of curious pattern with heavy foliage), sometimes an ox by her side

MLA Citation

  • Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint Frideswide”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 19 April 2017. Web. 25 September 2017. <>