War after an epidemic: the writing of British history in the Vita Cuthberti

This study highlights aspects of the first hagiography dedicated to an Anglo-Saxon saint, Cuthbert (died 20th March 687). The life of this monastic bishop of Lindisfarne has certain modern echoes: his life in Northumbria was marked by an epidemic with at least three severe waves, and by an ill-judged military campaign by King Egfrith against the Picts. His response to his times is in itself of interest as an example of Christian engagement, but the primary purpose of this study is to date more precisely the events set out in the Vita Cuthberti based on the three surviving versions and other contemporary works.