St. Cedd (c.620 26 October 664AD)

One of four brothers: Chad (Ceadda), Cynibil and Caelin, Cedd was born in the kingdom of Northumbria and raised on the island of Lindisfarne by Saint Aidan who arrived from Iona. By 653AD Cedd had become ordained.

Lindisfarne monastery

In 653AD, Cedd was sent by King Oswiu with three other priests, to evangelise the Middle Angles of Mercia, based on the mid-Trent valley. Peada, son of Penda became a Christian in return for the hand of Oswiu's daughter, Alchflaed. This was a time of growing Northumbrian power, as King Oswiu of Bernicia (r. 642670AD) reunited and consolidated the Northumbrian kingdom after its earlier defeat by Penda.

Saint Cedd
St. Cedd, Bishop of the East Saxons

Cedd was recalled from the mission to Mercia by King Oswiu. At the request of King Sigeberht, he was then sent by King Oswiu to the East Saxon kingdom, to convert the East Angles. Accompanied by one other priest, Cedd sailed from Lindisfarne down the east coast landing in the Blackwater Estuary. Later he founded a monastery at Ythancester (now Bradwell-on-Sea) around 660-662AD bringing with him a Celtic mission. (The sole remaining monastic building is the chapel.)

Originally the East Saxon kingdom was converted by missionaries from Canterbury, Kent, where St. Augustine established a mission with Roman rites and worship in 597AD.

St Peter-on-the-Wall
St Peter-on-the-Wall, Bradwell

The chapel is built of bricks and stone from Othona or Othonae, an ancient Roman fort of the Saxon Shore. For 400 years, following the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1541, the chapel served as a cow-shed. Then in 1920 it was restored and reconsecrated. St Peter's is now a Grade I listed building.

In 1957 the isolated silhouette of St Peter's was dwarfed by the huge twin turbine buildings of Bradwell Magnox power station built on the edge of a former World War II airfield. electricity generation started in 1962 and cease operating in 2002.

Last edited November 2009. ©Terence Wilson MMIX