Windows of St Bede’s – St Oswald
John Ainsworth Horrocks died in France, August 8th, 1918
A memorial to 2nd Lt Horrocks who enlisted 16th Feb 1918 and died of wounds
Oswald of Northumbria
He was born in the year 604 and died on August 5, 642 in the battle of Maserfield. Oswald became King of Northumbria in 634 and ruled until his death, Oswald consequently was honoured as a Christian saint. He was given a strongly positive assessment by the historian Bede, writing a little less than a century after Oswald’s death, who regarded Oswald as a saintly king; it is also Bede who is the main source for present-day historical knowledge of Oswald.
Bede mentions the story that Oswald “ended his life in prayer”: he prayed for the souls of his soldiers when he saw that he was about to die. Oswald’s head and limbs were placed on stakes. His feast day is August 5
Oswald soon came to be regarded as a saint and his body is associated with many miracles. Bede says that the spot where he died became a sensation, and people took dirt from the site, which led to a hole being dug as deep as a man’s height.
Reginald of Durham recounts another miracle, saying that his right arm was taken by a bird (perhaps a raven) to an ash tree, which gave the tree ageless vigor; when the bird dropped the arm onto the ground, a spring emerged from the ground. Both the tree and the spring were, according to Reginald, subsequently associated with healing miracles.
Bede mentions that Oswald’s brother Oswiu, who succeeded Oswald in Bernicia , retrieved Oswald’s remains in the year after his death. In writing of one miracle associated with Oswald, Bede gives some indication of how Oswald was regarded in conquered lands: years later, when his niece Osthryth tried to move his bones to a monastery in Lindsey, its inmates initially refused to accept them, “though they knew him to be a holy man”, because “he was originally of another province, and had reigned over them as a foreign king”, and thus “they retained their ancient aversion to him, even after death”.
It was only after Oswald’s bones were the focus of an awe-inspiring miracle—in which, during the night, a pillar of light appeared over the wagon in which the bones were being carried and shined up into the sky—that they were accepted into the monastery: “in the morning, the brethren who had refused it the day before, began themselves earnestly to pray that those holy relics, so beloved by God, might be deposited among them.” Some English place names record his reign, for example Oswaldtwistle in Lancashire , meaning the twistle (border stream) of Oswald.