Skip Navigation
Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Hilda of Whitby

b. 614, Northumbria, England; d. 680, Whitby, Yorkshire, England

Hilda was born into a noble family. She became a nun and was appointed abbess of Hartlepool, in England, and in 657 founded a monastery at Whitby. Hilda’s monastery, which housed both men and women, soon became an important religious center. It hosted the Synod of Whitby (663/664), a religious council convened to decide whether the observance of Easter should follow the practices of the Roman or Celtic church. Hilda led the Celtic party, but the council ultimately decided in favor of the Roman church. In her last year of life, despite illness, Hilda established a second monastery, not far from Whitby, in the town of Hackness. She was later canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.