Tancred, Torthred, and Tova

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Thorney Abbey Church.

Saints Tancred, Torthred, and Tova were three Anglo-Saxon siblings who were saints, hermits and martyrs of the Ninth century.[1] Their feast day was celebrated on 30 September at Thorney and Deeping.


The brothers Tancred and Torthred, with their sister Tova lived at Thorney, Cambridgeshire,[2] at the time little more than a collection of hermit cells in the fens, rather than a monastic institution.[3] They, like many hermits at Thorney,[4] were killed by the Danes in 870.[5]
Nothing other than their martyrdom is known of them.


The story of their martyrdom rests on the chronicle of Pseudo-Ingulf,[6] an oft unreliable document which includes sources older than the 12th century. They were, however, venerated in Thorney Abbey by the year 1000AD, as witnessed by R.P.S.,[7] C.S.P.[8] and William of Malmesbury,[9] and were among the many saints whose bodies were translated by Ethelwold. The first record of their existence dates 973AD when they were installed in the abbey at Thorney.[10]

Torthred of Thorney[edit]

Saint Torthred of Thorney was a saint and Hermit of the ninth century in Anglo-Saxon England.[11] According to Pseudo-Ingulf he was martyred with many of his brother monks by pagan Danish raiders in 869.[12] His feast day is sometimes celebrated on 10 April,[13] and there is some conjecture that Torthred (and possibly Tova) did not die in the 869AD raids and instead live his last years at Cerne in Dorset,[14] in a similar way to Eadwold of Cerne.


  1. ^ David Farmer, The Oxford Dictionary of Saints, Fifth Edition Revised(Oxford University Press, 2011)page 409
  2. ^ Tancred, Torthred and tova.at Answers.com.
  3. ^ Samuel Lysons, Magna Britannia: Being a Concise Topographical Account of the Several Counties of Great Britain, Volume 2, Part 1 (Google eBook) (T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1808)page 266.
  4. ^ Michelle P. Brown, Carol A. Farr, Mercia: An Anglo-Saxon Kingdom in Europe (Continuum International Publishing Group, Limited, 2005).
  5. ^ Saint Torthred of Thorney at SQPN.com.
  6. ^ Pseudo-Ingulf, Croyland Chronicle
  7. ^ F. Liebermann, On the Resting-Places of the Saints’, (Hanover, 1889)
  8. ^ Catalogus Sanctorum Pausantium in Anglia, Lambeth Palace MS. 99
  9. ^ William of Malmesbury, Gesta Pontificum, ed. N.E.S.A. Hamilton (R.S., 1870), pp. 327–9 G.P., pp. 327–9; E.B.K. after 1100, i. 129–44.
  10. ^ Saints Tancredi, Torthred and Tova Hermits in England.
  11. ^ Saint Torthred of Thorney at SQPN.com.
  12. ^ Pseudo-Ingulf Croyland Chronicle
  13. ^ Matthew Bunson, Stephen Bunson, Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints (Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, 2003)page 160
  14. ^ Richard Challoner, A Memorial of Ancient British Piety: a British Martyrology.(W. Needham, 1761)page 132

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