Acts 16.22-34; Psalm 137; John 16.5-11
St Aldhelm (ca639-709) was from a young age a monk of Malmesbury; indeed the town took its name from Aldhelm’s teacher, the Irish scholar Máeldub, who had settled there. After a short interlude at Canterbury (where he studied with the notable African scholar Hadrian) he returned to Malmesbury and in 675 he became Abbot upon Máeldub’s death. His contemporaries described him as ‘a wonder of erudition’. As the community at Malmesbury increased he was able to establish new monastic establishments at Frome and at Bradford-on-Avon. In 705, upon the death of Hædde, the Bishop of Winchester, his diocese was divided, and Aldhelm became Bishop of the western half, centred on Sherborne. He remained Abbot of Malmesbury as he took up his new episcopal duties. Nonetheless he was an active and energetic bishop, well known for his public proclamation of the Gospel interspersed with songs in popular style and clowning routines. He died on an episcopal visitation to Doulting, Somerset. He was buried at Malmesbury, but in 980 St Dunstan translated his relics to Canterbury.