, successively bishop of Wilton and archbishop of Canterbury, and one of the greatest luminaries of his dark era, was the son of an earl of Kent, and after receiving a few scanty instructions from an ignorant secular priest, assumed the habit of the Benedictine order of monks in the monastery at Abingdon, over which Athelwold then presided, having been appointed abbot in the year 955. Athelwold, being created bishop of Winchester in the year 693, settled several of the Abingdon monks in his cathedral. Among these was Ælfric; who, in return for the benefit which he had formerly derived from the instructions of Alhelwold, was now eager to show his gratitude, by forwarding the wishes of his benefactor to instruct the youth of his diocese. With this view he drew tip his “Latin-Saxon Vocabulary,” and some “Latin Colloquies.” The former of these works was published by Somner, under the title of a Glossary, Oxon. 1659 (See Somner). During his residence in this city, Ælfric translated, from the Latin into the Saxon language, most of the historical books of the Old Testament: the greatest part of which translations has reached our time, having been printed at Oxford in 1698. Here, likewise, at the request of Wulfsine, bishop of Sherborn, he drew up what has been called his “Canons,” but might more properly be styled, a charge to be delivered by the bishops to their clergy. They are preserved in the first volume of Spelman’s Councils, and were composed, between the years 980 and 987. Some time about this last year, Ælfric was removed to Cerne Abbey, to instruct the monks, and regulate the affairs of that monastery. Here it was that he translated, from the Latin fathers, the first volume of his “Homilies.” After remaining in this place about a year, he was made abbot of St. Alban’s in the year 988, and composed a liturgy for the service of his abbey, which continued to be used there till Leland’s time. In the year 989 he was created Lishop of Wilton, and during his continuance in that see, translated, about the latter end of the year 991, a second volume of “Homilies.” These are the volumes of which Mrs. Elstob issued proposals for a translation, in 1713, accompanied with the original, but did not live to publish the work. Here also Ælfric wrote his “Grammar,” a supplement to his Homilies, and, probably, a tract dedicated to | Sigeward or Sigeferth, containing two epistles oil the Old and New Testament, which his biographer concludes to have been written between the years 987 and 991. In 994, he was translated to Canterbury, where, after exerting himself for some years, with equal spirit and prudence, in defending his diocese against the incursions of the Danes, he died Nov. 16, 1005. He was buried at Abingdon, the place where he first embraced the profession of a monk, whence his remains were afterwards transferred to Canterbury, in the reign of Canute. 1


Ed. Rowe Moresi de Ælfrico Commentarius, a G. J. Thorkelin, 4to, Lond. 1789.—Month Rev. vol. II N. S. p. 387.