St. Osyth of Chich, Martyr -7th October


St. Osyth of Chich, Martyr
(Osith, Osgyth)

Illuminated capital depicting Saint Osith (c. 653). Identity of character confirmed by the text “La Vie seinte Osith, virge e martire” above the capital. Author unknown date January 1400

Died at Chich (Saint Osyth), Essex, England, c. 675-700. All that is known about her is that she was the wife of Sighere, king of the East Saxons, and that she founded the abbey of Chich, where she ended her days. In the 12th century currency was given to various legends. These tell us that Osyth was the daughter of a Mercian chief named Frithwald and his wife Wilburga, who was the daughter of King Penda. She was raised in a convent, perhaps at Aylesbury, and wanted to become a nun herself. Her parents, however, married her to Sighere, who may have been the apostate named by Saint Bede (f.d. May 25) , who was later reconciled to the Church by Bishop Jaruman. (King Sighere’s uncle was King Saint Sebbi (f.d. September 1) , of whose dignified death the Venerable Bede gives account.)

The marriage was never consummated because when Sighere became distracted by his passion for hunting, Osyth ran away and sought the protection of Bishops Acca of Dunwich and Bedwin of Elmham. Sighere, not wanting to force his reluctant bride, allowed them to give her the habit and himself donated land at Chich on a creek of the Colne for a monastery. It is related that she was captured and martyred by Danish pirates, who beheaded her.[more]