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Saint Chad and his Episcopate of Lindsey


The Bishops of Lincoln are the lineal successors of the Bishops of Dorchester, the Bishops of Dorchester were the successors of the Bishops of the sees of Lindsey and of Leicester (or Middle Anglia), the Bishops of the sees of Lindsey and of Middle Anglia were also Bishops of Mercia in the days of Chad and his two immediate successors.

From the beginning of the work of conversion of the Middle Angles and the Mercians by the Scotic mission from Lindisfarne under Diuma (Bede's Ecclesiastical History 111, 21), who was consecrated Bishop in 658, there is no record of their work having touched Lindsey before the appointment of Chad in 669. Chad was familiar with the work, for his brother Cedd or Kedd was one of the Anglian priests in that mission as originally appointed by Bishop Finan of Lindisfarne (E.H. 111, 21).

In 669 Archbishop Theodore appointed Chad to be Bishop of the Lindisfarners as well as of the Mercians (E.H. IV, 3). "Chad having received the bishopric of the Mercians and Lindisfarne, took care to administer the same with great rectitude of life, according to the example of the ancients. King Wulfhere also gave him land of fifty families, to build a monastery, at the place called Ad Barve, or 'At the Wood: in the province of Lindsey." Chad had only held the bishopric two-and-a-half years when he died. Bede mentions no other places identified with his work besides Bearu and Lichfield. Winfrid was ordained by Theodore as Chad's successor to the triple bishopric (E.H. IV, 3). Winfrid's successor in 675 was Sexwulf, the first Abbot of Peterborough.

Recently, it has been suggested by Geoff Bryant that the tradition of a close association of Saint Chad with Barton is unlikely. See his article in the August 2016 issue of Barton Parish News.

In 678 the bishoprics were separated (E.H. IV, 12) and the first Bishop of Lindsey on its own was Eadhaed who had been Chad's companion in travel. Within two years he was transfered to Ripon, his successor as Bishop of Lindsey was Ethelwin who held the see for over a quarter of a century.

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Last updated: 17 April, 2018