University of Oxford
E05855.png (1.85 MB)
Download file

E05855: The Calendar of Willibrord, in its earliest version, records the feasts of various saints in May. Written in Latin at Echternach, Frisia (north-east Gaul), 703/710.

Download (1.85 MB)
online resource
posted on 2018-06-22, 00:00 authored by bsavill
The Calendar of Willibrord records in May the feasts of the following saints:

*Philip (the Apostle, S00109)
*Pancratius (martyr of Rome, S00307)
*Servatius (bishop of Maastricht, mid-4th c., S01289)
*Swæfgild (perhaps of Northumbria, 7th c., S02170)
*Ecgfrith (king of the Northumbrians, ob. 685, S02165)
*Hermes (unspecified martyr, perhaps of Rome, S00404; of Bononia, S00824; of Thrace, S01099; or Marseille/Africa, S01937)
*Maximinus (bishop of Trier, ob. c. 347, S00465)

Paris, Bibliothéque nationale de France, Lat. 10837, f. 36v

Kalendas maii natale philippi apostoli
vi nonas
iii ascensio domini
nonas inuentio sanctae crucis
viii idus
iiii pancrati martyris
iii sancti seruati suafgild
idus penticosten primum
xvii kalendas iuni
xiii ecfridi regis
viiii ermes martyris aestas dies xci
ii natale sancti maximini treueris

'1 May - Feast of Philip the Apostle
5 - Ascension of the Lord
7 - Discovery of the Holy Cross
12 - Pancratius, martyr
13 - Saint Servatius Swæfgild
15 - First Pentecost
20 - Ecgfrith, king
24 - Hermes, martyr 91 days of summer
31 - Feast of Saint Maximinus of Trier'

Text: Wilson 1918, 7 (adapted: Wilson's 'first hand' in roman type, 'second hand' in italics, later annotations omitted).
Translation: B. Savill.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Philip, the Apostle : S00109 Aravatius/Servatius, bishop of Maastricht (north-east Gaul), ob. late 4th century : S01289 Lesser known English saints, perhaps of Northumbria (northern Britain), seventh century : S02170 Ecgfrith, king of the Northu

Saint Name in Source

Philippus Seruatus Suafgild Ecfridus Ermes Ermes Ermes Ermes Ermes Maximinus

Image Caption 1

Paris, BnF, Lat. 10837, f. 36v (source:

Type of Evidence

Liturgical texts - Calendars and martyrologies Late antique original manuscripts - Parchment codex


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Echternach Tours Tours Toronica urbs Prisciniacensim vicus Pressigny Turonorum civitas Ceratensis vicus Céré

Major author/Major anonymous work

The Calendar of Willibrord

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast


A liturgical calendar directly associated with Willibrord (archbishop of the Frisians, 695-739; abbot of Echternach, 697/8-739) survives as a contemporary manuscript in Paris, BnF, Lat. 10837, ff. 34v-40, where it immediately follows a version of the Martyrologium Hieronymianum of approximately the same date and provenance. Although it exceeds our database’s cut-off point of AD 700 by some three to ten years, the Calendar of Willibrord is included here since it almost certainly provides a key witness to cultic and liturgical practices in Britain and Ireland at the close of the 7th century – something not afforded by the relatively meagre contemporary Insular evidence. Willibrord was born in Deira, Northumbria (northern Britain) in 657/8, and given as an oblate to the monastery of Ripon in 664. He left Britain for Ireland in 678, possibly under compulsion after the sudden fall from power that same year of his abbot and mentor, Bishop Wilfrid. He lived at the Irish monastery of Rath Melsigi until 690, before travelling to north-east Francia and embarking on his missionary career as 'apostle of the Frisians'. Pope Sergius I ordained Willibrord as archbishop in Rome in 695, and although he appears to have based his see at Utrecht, most sources suggest that his new monastic foundation at Echternach (near the modern-day Germany-Luxembourg border) served as his main ecclesiastical centre. Echternach’s early scriptorium almost certainly produced the Calendar. A lunar cycle for the years 703-21 appended to the text indicates the widest possible time frame for its original composition, and moreover suggests a date within that cycle’s first few years. Meanwhile, the absence of any entry for Willbrord’s mentor Bishop Wilfrid (ob. 24 April, 710), whom we know was cultivated as a saint almost immediately after his death, strongly suggests against any date later than 710. The Calendar includes no identifiable saints later than Pope Sergius I (ob. 701) and Lambert, bishop of Maastricht and patron saint of Liège (ob. c. 701/5). On palaeographical grounds, we can date the so-called 'first' and 'second' Insular uncial hands of the Calendar, plus two entries in Frankish uncial, to the early 8th century, and we have treated these here as comprising the effectively 'original' form of the Calendar. The manuscript does, however, also include numerous later interpolations and annotations (including an autobiographical entry by Willibrord himself, from 728), which belong to various hands from across the 8th and 9th centuries, and cannot always be dated precisely (Hen 1995). We have, therefore, not included these later entries in our database.


Servatius and Swæfgild (May 13): although the edition lists these as in the 'second hand,' they are palaeographically distinct entries, and Wilson's commentary suggests that Servatius 'is apparently an early addition to the original Calendar.' Wilson states that Swæfgild's entry 'probably marks the obit of a contemporary' rather than a saint's feast. But we simply know too little about pre-700 Insular and missionary cult to distinguish confidently between those the Calendar's compilers considered 'saints' and other notable dead. Swæfgild is an unusual personal name, and according to the Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England ( this is its unique appearance. Ecgfrith (May 20): king of the Northumbrians, 670-85, whose death also features in the Anonymous Life of Cuthbert (E05871). Although he is not usually treated as a saint, attributions of sanctity to early Anglo-Saxon kings and queens were not uncommon, and there is a possibility this entry may be more than a simple obit and reflect an element of cult. Stephen of Ripon, writing c. 713, would describe him (Life of Wilfrid, 17) as 'the most Christian and pious king' (rex Christianissimus et piissimus). Maximinus (May 31): in the manuscript, a later hand has drawn a crude line between this entry and May 29, correcting it to the more widely attested feast day for the saint. See Wilson, 1918, 29-31, for a full commentary.


Edition: The Calendar of St. Willibrord from Paris Lat. 10837: A Facsimile, with Transcription, Introduction and Notes, ed. H.A. Wilson (London, 1918). Further reading: Costambeys, M., "Willibrord [St Willibrord] (657/8-739)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004), Hen, Y., Culture and Religion in Merovingian Gaul, AD 481-751 (Leiden, 1995), 102-6. McKitterick, R., "Frankish Uncial: A New Context for the Work of the Echternach Scriptorium," in: A. Weiler and P. Bange (eds.), Willibrord zijn wereld en zijn werk (Nijmegen, 1990), 374-88; repr. in R. McKitterick, Books, Scribes and Learning in the Frankish Kingdoms, 6th-9th Centuries (Aldershot, 1994), part V. Netzer, N., "The Early Scriptorium at Echternach: The State of the Question," in: G. Kiesel and J. Schroeder (eds.), Willibrord. Apostel der Niederande, Gründer der Abtei Echternach (Luxembourg, 1990), 127-34.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity