Saint Chad

Saint Chad of Litchfield

Saint Chad of Litchfield

Last Monday was the feast day of Saint Chad, Bishop of Litchfield. He was born in Northumbria (where Whitby is located) and he plus three brothers became priests. He was educated by the great Saint Aiden of Lindesfarne.His brother Cedd founded a monastery at a remote spot at Lastingham as described by the Venerable Bede (see below). After Cedd’s death Chad was Abbot here before becoming Bishop.

For a long time I have found the Celtic saints of the North of Britain very attractive. The more I learn the more I like them. Today Sister Pam, no small authority on these men and women, drove me out to Lastingham across the high moors. What an amazing place, austere and mysterious and covered with free range sheep.


During his episcopate among the West Saxons, God’s servant Cedd often visited his own province of Northumbria to preach. Ethelhwald son of King of Oswald knowing Cedd to be a wise, holly and honorable man asked him to accept a grant of land to found a monastery. Cedd chose a site among some high remote hills, which seemed more suitable for the dens of robbers and haunts of wild beasts than for human habitation. His purpose in this was to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah… in the haunts where dragons once dwelt shall be a pasture, with reeds and rushes, and he wished the fruits of good works to spring up where formerly lived only wild beasts or men who lived like beasts.

When Cedd had been bishop of the province and administered the affairs of the monastery for many years through his chosen representatives, he happened to visit the monastery during a time of plague (in 664), and there he fell sick and died. He was first buried in the open, but in the course of time a stone church was built and his body was reinterred on the right side of the altar.

The bishop bequeathed the abbacy of the monastery to his brother Chad.

The Venerable Bede