Ethelwold the principal reformer of monastic orders in England, was born in Winchester about 925. From early youth he distinguished himself by his learning, and obtained the favor of king Athelstah. He was ordained priest simultaneously with Dunstan, and when the latter became abbot of Glastonbury, about 947, Ethelwold, entered his monastery and became a companion of his studies. He distinguished himself as a poet, grammarian, and theologian. He is also reported to have been familiar with the mechanical arts, and to have constructed two bells. When he declared his intention to go to France, in order to perfect himself in his studies, king Edred, who wished to retain him in England, refused to him permission to travel, and appointed him abbot of Abingdon. This monastery was then in ruins, and was rebuilt by Ethelwold. In 963 king Edgar appointed him bishop of Winchester, The great task of his life henceforth was the reorganization of the Anglo-Saxon monasteries, which were at that time administered by secular priests (clerici, canonic, presbyteri). The discipline in the monastery was anything but severe, and many of the priests were married. Ethelwold substituted for the secular priests regular monks, and displayed great activity in rebuilding the monasteries that had been destroyed by the Danes, and in repeopling those that had been abandoned. The monastery of Winchester, under his direction, became a celebrated school, from which proceeded several distinguished abbots and bishops. He died August 1, 984, at Winchester. The chief work of Ethelwold is an Anglo-Saxon translation of the Latin rule of St. Benedict. It has never been printed. He also wrote a mathematical treatise, still extant in manuscript. — Hoefer, Nouv. Biogr. Generale, 16:598; Wright, Biog. Brit. Lit. 435 sq. (A.J.S.)

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