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Æbbe the Younger

Saint Æbbe of Coldingham
Born Unknown
Died April 2, 870
Coldingham Monastery, Scotland
Canonized Pre-Congregation
Feast April 2

For the earlier Abbess of Coldingham, see Æbbe the Elder.

Saint Æbbe of Coldingham [also Ebbe, Aebbe, Abb], also known as "Æbbe the Younger", (died 870) was an Abbess of Coldingham Priory in south-east Scotland.[1]

Like many of her fellow female saints of Anglo-Saxon England, little is known about her life.[2] She is best known for an act of self-mutilation to avoid rape by Viking invaders: according to a ninth-century chronicle, she took a razor and cut off her nose in front of the nuns, who followed her example.[3] Their appearance so disgusted the invaders that the women were saved from rape but not from death, as the Danes soon returned and set fire to the convent, killing Æbbe and her entire community.[4] It has been suggested that this is the origin of the saying cutting off the nose to spite the face[5]


  1. ^ Farmer, David (2011). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 133.  
  2. ^ Pulsiano, Phillip (1999). "Blessed Bodies: The Vitae of Anglo-Saxon Female Saints". Parergon 16 (2): 6.  
  3. ^ Bartlett, Anne Clark (1995). Male Authors, Female Readers: Representation and Subjectivity in Middle English Devotional Literature. Cornell UP. p. 39.  
  4. ^ Horner, Shari (1994). , Anglo-Saxon Nuns, and the Discourse of Female Monastic Enclosure"Juliana"Spiritual Truth and Sexual Violence: The Old English .  
  5. ^

External links

  • St. Abbs Community Website
  • St Ebba and Coldingham Priory Website
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