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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Mailduff

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an Irish monk, who flourished about the middle of the 7th century, established a monastery in Wiltshire, England, A.D. 650, long called Mailduffburgh, now known as Malmesbury. It was richly endowed by Athelstan and other kings of England, and became the alma mater of some of the first educated Saxons in England in either Church or State. Among them was Aldhelm, bishop of Sherborne, who acknowledged "that Mailduff had thoroughly instructed him in Latin and Greek." Camden says that Aldhelm was the first Saxon who wrote in Latin, or who made Latin verses; his style, however, was pedantic, and full of alliterations. William of Malmesbury, the first Saxon historian, received his education in this school, the first one among the twelve which Montalembert says the Irish monks established in England (Monks of the West, 1864). The period from the 7th to the 10th century was a very dark one in England. Alfred the Great, speaking of his own times (A.D. 870), said, "There were few churchmen on this side of the Humber who could understand their dayly prayer in English, or who could translate a letter in Latin" (Turner's History of the Anglo-Saxons, book 5). And William of Malmesbury said "that, a few years before the Norman invasion, a clergyman who understood grammar was considered a prodigy" (ibid.). During this dark period, a large number of Irish scholars, impelled by a devotion to literature, or, as some say, driven out by the Danes, went over to England and established a great many schools, and, among others, that also of Glastonbury. It was often called "Glastonbury of St. Patrick" merely because the disciples of that saint had founded it and for a long time sustained it. In this school were educated many of the most distinguished English divines, scholars, and statesmen of that period. The noted and eccentric Dunstan was educated in it. William of Malmesbury, who wrote his life, says, "Under the discipline of these Hibernians, he [Dunstan] partook of the very marrow of scriptural learning, as well as the knowledge of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music." Mailduff wrote, according to Bale, De Paschae Observationibus, Regulus Artium Diversarum, besides hymns, dialogues, and epistles. He died A.D. 675, and was interred in his own monastery. See Illustrious Men of Ireland, 1:137; Moore's History of Ireland; Pict. Hist. of England, 1:277 sq. (D. D.)


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Mailduff'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/m/mailduff.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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