Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborne

25 May -- Commemoration
If celebrated as a Lesser Festival, Common of Bishops, page 483

Born in the year 639, Aldhelm became a monk at Malmesbury, and later was elected its abbot. When the growing Wessex diocese was divided in 705, he became the first Bishop of Sherborne, founding the abbey church. Aldhelm was a great scholar, teacher and singer who, 'by his preaching completed the conquest of Wessex', according to Bede. Tradition has it that he would attract listeners by his singing and then preach the gospel to them. It seems he may have also been responsible for introducing the Rule of St Benedict to the area. He built churches all over Dorset, and the headland -- commonly called St Alban's Head -- is in reality Saint Aldhelm's Head, where there is an ancient chapel. His old English verse, sung to harp accompaniment, was praised by King Alfred. Aldhelm died on this day in the year 709 at Doulting in Somerset, on his way to Malmesbury.