HILDA, ST, strictly HILD (614-680), was the daughter of Hererrc, a nephew of Edwin, king of Northumbria. She was converted to Christianity before 633 by the preaching of Paulinus. According to Bede she took the veil in 614, when Oswio was king of Northumbria and Aidan bishop of Lindisfarne, and spent a year in East Anglia, where her sister Hereswith had married AEthelhere, who was to succeed his brother Anna, the reigning king. In 648 or 649 Hilda was recalled to Northumbria by Aidan, and lived for a year in a small monastic community north of the Wear. She then succeeded Heiu, the foundress, as abbess of Hartlepool, where she remained several years. From Hartlepool Hilda moved to Whitby, where in 657 she founded the famous double monastery which in the time of the first abbess included among its members five future bishops, Bosa, JElta., Oftfor, John and Wilfrid II. as well as the poet Caedmon. Hilda exercised great influence in Northumbria, and ecclesiastics from all over Christian England and from Strathclyde and Dalriada visited her monastery. In 655 after the battle of Winwa^d Oswio entrusted his daughter AElfled to Hilda, with whom she went to Whitby. At the synod of Whitby in 664 Hilda sided with Colman and Cedd against Wilfrid. In spite of the defeat of the Celtic party she remained hostile to Wilfrid until 679 at any rate. Hilda died in 680 after a painful illness lasting for seven years.
See Bede, Hist. eccl. (ed. C. Plummer, Oxford, 1869), iii. 24, 25, iv. 23; Eddius, Vita Wilfridi (Raine, Historians of Church of York, Rolls Series, vol. i., 1879), c. liv.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)