Osmund, St.

, a celebrated bishop of Salisbury, in the eleventh century, was born of a noble family in Normandy. He possessed great learning, joined to great prudence, and accompanied with talents for military affairs; and his life, says Butler, was that of a saint, in all the difficult states of a courtier, soldier, and magistrate. In his early years he succeeded his father in the earldom of Séez, but distributed the greatest part of his revenues to the church and poor, and followed William the Conqueror into England in 1066. This prince rewarded Osmund by making him earl of Dorset, then chancellor, and afterwards bishop of Salisbury. With a view of pleasing the king, he was weak enough to desert the cause of Anselm, | his archbishop; but, repenting almost immediately, he requested absolution from him, and obtained it. He built, or rather completed, the first cathedral of Salisbury, begun by his predecessor, and dedicated it in 1092; and it being destroyed by lightning, he rebuilt it in 1099, and furnished it with a library. To regulate the divine service, he compiled for his church the breviary, missal, and ritual, since called “The Use of Sarum,” which was afterwards adopted in most dioceses in England, until queen Mary’s time, when several of the clergy obtained particular licences to say the Roman breviary, but many of them were printed even in her reign. The first Salisbury missal is dated 1494, and was printed abroad. The last was printed at London in 1557. Osmund died Dec. 3, 1099. In 1457, his remains were removed to our lady’s chapel in the present cathedral, where they are covered with a marble slab, with only the inscription of the year 1099. His sumptuous shrine was destroyed in the reign of Henry VIII. 1


Butler’s Lives of the Saints. Collier’s Ch, History. Gough’s Topography art. Wiltshire. Godwin de Praesulibus.