, a celebrated saint of the eighth century, and usually styled the
, a celebrated saint of the eighth century, and usually styled the Apostle of Germany, was an Englishman, named Wilfrid, and born at C red ton or Kirton in Devonshire, about the year 680. He was educated from the age of thirteen in the monastery of Escancester or Exeter, and about three years after removed to Nutcell, in the diocese of Winchester, a monastery which was afterwards destroyed by the Danes, and was never rebuilt. Here he was instructed in the sacred and secular learning of the times; and at the age of thirty, was ordained priest, and became a zealous preacher. The same zeal prompted him to undertake the functions of a missionary among the pagans and with that view he went with two monks into Friezeland, about the year 716; but a war which broke out between Charles Martel, mayor of the French palace, and Radbod, king of Friezeland, rendering it impracticable to preach the gospel at that time, he returned to England with his companions. Still, however, zealously intent on the conversion of the pagans, he refused being elected abbot of Nutcell, on a vacancy which happened on his return; and having received recommendatory letters from the bishop of Winchester, went to Rome, and presented himself to the pope Gregory II. who encouraged his design, and gave him a commission for the conversion of the infidels, in the year 719. With this he went into Bavaria and Thuringia, and had considerable success: and Radbod, king of Friezeland, being now dead, he had an opportunity of visiting that country, where he co-Operated with Willibrod, another famous missionary, who would have appointed him his successor, which Wilfrid rt fused, because the pope had particularly enjoined him to preach in the eastern parts of Germany. Through Hesse, or a considerable part of it, even to the confines of Saxony, he extended his pious labours, and had considerable success, although he suffered many hardships, and was often exposed to danger from the rage of the infidels.