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DOI: 10.1111/b.9780470656327.2014.x


Iona, founded as a monastery off the west coast of Scotland by * Columba in 563, had already provided a home for two English Christians, Pilu and Genereus, before Columba's death in 597. Having in this way anticipated the first dated English * conversion s, the island monastery continued in the seventh century to provide a refuge for Northumbrian exiles. After 617 the fugitive sons of King * Æthelfrith , Eanfrith, * Oswald , and * Oswiu , stayed some time in Iona and were baptised there. When Oswald reclaimed the kingdom, his victory in 634 was achieved with the help of St Columba, and he turned to Iona for a bishop to convert his people. * Aidan was consecrated and sent out to preach to the English, establishing his see at * Lindisfarne . For thirty years Iona's influence was strong, particularly during the reigns of Oswald and Oswiu, who spoke Irish themselves and trusted the Irish clergy. Those who came from Iona were for the most part monks; and Bede says that they came ‘to those English provinces over which Oswald was king’ ( HE iii.3). They established monasteries on lands given by the rulers, they trained English children, and they taught monastic ways. How far the influence of Iona spread among the territories over which Oswald held lordship is unclear. There were Irish monks active in England from other parts of Ireland, and it was through one of these, Rónán, that the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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