Wulfstan (died 956)

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For other uses, see Wulfstan (disambiguation).
Archbishop of York
Province York
Diocese Diocese of York
See Archbishop of York
Appointed 931
Term ended 26 December 956
Predecessor Hrotheweard
Successor Oscytel
Consecration 931
Personal details
Birth name Wulfstan
Died December 956
Oundle, Northamptonshire
Buried Oundle, Northamptonshire

Wulfstan (died December 956) was Archbishop of York between 931 and 952. He is often known as Wulfstan I, to separate him from Wulfstan II, Archbishop of York.


Wulfstan was consecrated in 931.[1]

In 939, King Olaf Guthfrithson of Dublin invaded Northumbria and occupied York. King Edmund of England marched north to remove Olaf from York, but in 940 Wulfstan and Archbishop Wulfhelm of Canterbury arranged a treaty that ceded the area between Watling Street and the border of Northumbria to Olaf. But Olaf died in late 940, and his rule in York was inherited by his cousin, Olaf Sitricson who became King of Jórvík.[2] Wulstan's career is characterised by frequent swapping of allegiances, both among Viking leaders from Dublin and the Wessex kings. Perhaps Wulfstan played the part of 'king-maker' in Northumbrian politics in the mid-10th century, or perhaps he was guided by self-preservation and the interests of the Church in Northumbria.[3] Later in 947 Wulfstan invited Erik Bloodaxe, the King of Orkney to become King of Jórvík. Eadred of Wessex brutally ravaged Northumbria in 948, forcing Eric to leave Northumbria. Olaf Cuaran then resumed his second reign at York. By 951, Wulfstan appears to have supported Erik's claim to the kingdom of York over Olaf as he ceased to witness charters at the English court.[3] In 952, Olaf was driven out by the Northumbrians in favor of Eric. Eadred then re-invaded and imprisoned Wulfstan.[4] The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle version D says that Eadred arrested Wulfstan, but if this actually happened, the king and archbishop must have reconciled at some point before Eadred's death in 955, as Wulfstan was archbishop when Eadred died.[5] He attested some charters in 953, so he was not imprisoned then.[4]

Wulfstan died at Oundle, Northamptonshire on 26 December 956[1] or 16 December 956, and was buried at Oundle[4] on the site of what is now St Peter's Church.[6][dubious ]


  1. ^ a b Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 224
  2. ^ Stenton Anglo Saxon England p. 357
  3. ^ a b Downham "Viking Kings of Britain and Ireland"
  4. ^ a b c Keynes "Wulfstan I" Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England
  5. ^ Stenton Anglo Saxon England p. 360
  6. ^ Osbourne Wilfrid of York p. 9


  • Downham, Clare (2007). Viking Kings of Britain and Ireland: The Dynasty of Ivarr to A.D. 1014. Edinburgh: Dunedin Academic Press. ISBN 978-1-903765-89-0. 
  • Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (Third revised ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56350-X. 
  • Keynes, Simon (2001). "Wulfstan I". In Lapidge, Michael; Blair, John; Keynes, Simon; Scragg, Donald. The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. pp. 492–493. ISBN 978-0-631-22492-1. 
  • Osbourne, Michael (2009). Wilfrid of York and St Peter's Oundle. Coleman's. p. 9. 
  • Stenton, F. M. (1971). Anglo-Saxon England (Third ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-280139-5. 

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Archbishop of York
Succeeded by