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Westminster Abbey

This most famous of all English abbeys is situated within the precincts of the Royal Palace of Westminster, like Holyrood in Scotland and the Escurial in Spain. Its site, on the northern side of the River Thames, a mile or two above the ancient City of London, was formerly known as Thorney or the Isle of Thorns. The date of the foundation of the abbey is quite uncertain. The Venerable Bede (d. 736) does not mention it, but an early and long-received tradition ascribes it to Sebert, King of the East Saxons, who likewise founded St. Paul's, London. The given is 616 and the church is said to have been miraculously consecrated by St. Peter himself. But though this is mere legend, invented probably in the thirteenth century, it is tolerably certain that the monastery existed as early as the eighth century, for it is in a charter of King Ofa, dated 785, that it is first called Westminster, to distinguish it apparently from the minster of St. Paul's to the east. There is also extant a tenth century charter of King Edgar in which the boundaries of the abbey property are defined, and according to William of Malmesbury, St. Dunsan brought twelve Benedictine monks from Glastonbury to Westminster about 960, though the authenticity of this statement has been doubted.

At any rate, whatever the beginnings may have been, it is quite certain that there was an important church standing, and a community of Benedictines in existence at Westminster, when Edward the Confessor began to build in 1055. Of this first Saxon church and monastery no traces remain, and even its plan and site are for the most part conjectural. During his exile in Normandy Edward had vowed to make a pilgrimage to Rome if he should regain his throne. The pope absolved him from this vow on condition that he built or restored an abbey in honour of St. Peter, and this condition Edward fulfilled at Westminster, his friend Edwin being abbot at the time. The earlier buildings were demolished to make way for the new choir and transepts, which were finished and consecrated in 1065, a few days before the king's death. The monastery was planned for seventy monks, but the actual number seems never to have been more than about fifty. The nave of the church was begun in 1110 and completed about 1163 when the Confessor's relics were translated, on his canonization, to a stately shrine in the middle of the choir. Early in the thirteenth century a large eastern lady-chapel was substituted for the small semi-circular one behind Edward's high altar, and this was consecrated in 1220. The growing needs of the community and the constant stream of pilgrims to the tomb of the miracle-working Confessor soon necessitated further changes, and, aided by the munificence of Henry III, a period of great building activity set in. The demolition of the Norman church began in 1245, and during the next thirty years the whole of the eastern part of the church, together with about half the nave, were rebuilt, and the shrine of St. Edward was moved to its present position in the apse behind the high altar. The abbots during this period were Richard Crokesley and Richard Ware. The death, however, of Henry in 1272, a disastrous fire in 1298 which consumed the whole of the monastic buildings, and the "Black Death" in 1349, which carried off Abbot Byrcheston and twenty-six of his monks, so drained the resources of the abbey that all building operations ceased for nearly a century. Under Abbot Litlyngton (1362-86) the conventual parts were rebuilt, after which the western bays of the nave were taken in hand. Progress was slow, however, and the nave was not finally completed until 1517, whilst the western towers were not added until the eighteenth century. In 1502 Henry VII commenced the beautiful eastern lady-chapel which bears his name and was intended by him to enshrine the remains of his uncle Henry VI. Robert Vertue was the architect and his work is far in advance of any other contemporary building. Its wonderful fanvault has never been surpassed either in beauty of design or in the daring skill displayed in its actual construction. In this chapel stands the tomb of its pious founder who died in 1509.

As regards the internal history of Westminster, it must have been much like any other large and important monastery of the same period and apparently full of life and vigour. The "Customary", drawn up by Abbot Ware (1258-84), supplies us with the details of the daily life of the monks, but, apart from this, the close proximity of the abbey to the royal palace, the fact of its being under direct royal patronage, as well as its possessing a noted shrine much visited by pilgrims, combined to bring it prominently into the religious and civil life of the nation. The abbots were important personages with seats in the House of Lords. Their position enabled them to foster learning and the arts. The first printing-press in England was set up within the monastic precincts by Caxton in 1477 under the patronage of Abbot Esteney. Simon Langham (1349-62) deserves mention because of his being the only Abbot of Westminster to become a cardinal. He was successively Bishop of Ely, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord High Treasurer, and Lord Chancellor, and finally Cardinal-Bishop of Palestrina. For many years he devoted large annual sums of money towards the building expenses of his old abbey, and, at his death in 1376, he bequeathed the greater part of his fortune for the same purpose. He was buried at Westminster, in St. Benedict's Chapel, where his tomb may still be seen.

In 1539 the monastery was suppressed and the monks, then less than thirty in number, were dispersed, being replaced by a dean and twelve prebendaries, who acknowledged the royal supremacy. William, Boston, or Benson, the last abbot, became the first dean. In 1540 the abbey was made the cathedral church of a new see, Thomas Thirlby being the first and only Protestant Bishop of Westminster. Ten years later this bishopric was suppressed. In 1556 Queen Mary restored Westminster to the Benedictines and Dr. John Feckenham, who had been professed at Evesham before the dissolution, was made abbot. He was the last mitred abbot to sit in the House of Lords. On the accession of Queen Elizabeth in 1559, the monks were again ejected from Westminster and superseded by a Protestant dean and chapter, which arrangement has continued down to the present day. Westminster Abbey is designated a "Royal peculiar", its officials are appointed by the Crown, and the abbey itself is extra-diocesan, that is, exempt from the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London in whose diocese it was situated. This exemption from episcopal jurisdiction was first obtained by Abbot Crokesley (1246-58) and has been perpetuated under the Protestant regime. The right of sanctuary was enjoyed by Westminster from Norman times, and even after the Reformation it lingered on in a modified form until finally abolished by King James I. The greater part of the old monastic buildings are now used as a public school. As was usual in all the larger monasteries, there had always been a school in the monastic cloister, the minute regulations for which may be found carefully detailed in Abbot Ware's "Customary". To replace this, at the Reformation, Henry VIII founded a new school, which was afterwards given collegiate rank by Elizabeth and it now ranks as one of the leading English public schools. The scholars of Westminster still have certain rights and privileges within the abbey itself, such as greeting the sovereign with acclamation, on behalf of the English people, at the moment of his coronation. From its earliest days Westminster has witnessed the coronations of almost all the English sovereigns and their consorts, commencing with Harold, the successor of Edward the Confessor, and William the Conqueror, in 1066. There are two coronation chairs. The first, which stands in St. Edward's Chapel against the back of the high altar screen, contains the stone on which the Scottish kings had formerly been crowned. This stone, according to legend, is supposed to have been the identical one on which Jacob rested his head at Bethel, and to have been taken thence to Egypt and then through Spain to Ireland, about 700 B.C., where it stood upon the sacred Hill of Tara, and it is said to have been removed thence to Scone in Scotland, in 330 B.C., by Fergus, the founder of the Scottish monarchy. But whatever its origin may have been, Edward I in 1297 brought it to Westminster and on it every sovereign of England since Edward II has been crowned, excepting only Edward V. The other chair, the queen's, which now stands in Henry VII's Chapel, was made for Mary, the wife of William III, who was crowned with him in 1689. Besides being the scene of their coronations, Westminster is also the burial-place of many English sovereigns and their consorts, e.g. Henry III, Edward I, Edward II, Richard II, Henry V , and six queens, whose tombs are in St. Edward's Chapel, and Henry VII, Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth, and Mary Tudor, and Margaret, the widow of Henry V, who lie buried in Henry VII's Chapel. Numerous other celebrities, poets, statesmen, warriors, etc., illustrious in English history, have likewise been buried within the abbey, so that it has become a national honour to be given a resting place there, though unfortunately it cannot be said that their tombs do anything but mar the beauty of the building. The pre-Reformation tombs accord with the medieval architecture of the abbey, but those of later date, though many of them good work in themselves, are completely out of harmony with their surroundings.

The extreme length of the abbey, including Henry VII's Chapel, is 511 ft.; the width of the nave and aisles 79 ft.; and the height to the vaulting 102 ft., which is unusually lofty for an English church. Exteriorly, the want of a central tower detracts somewhat from the general effect, and the eighteenth century western towers are poor compared with the rest of the building, but the grace and beauty of the interior, in spite of the incongruous tombs and monuments, are surpassed by few other Gothic churches in the world. Much judicious restoration of the fabric has been successfully carried out in recent years. Apart from the immediate monastic precincts, the abbey domains were very extensive, comprising numerous manors and other endowments, but most of these have now passed into other hands. The revenues of the abbey at the time of the dissolution amounted to £3471 (equivalent to about £35,000 or $154,000 at the present day), but though shorn of so many of its ancient possessions, the Chapter of Westminster is still a very wealthy collegiate body.

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Wörndle, Von, Family

Philip von Wörndle Of Adelsfried and Weierburg, major of a Tyrolese rifle-corps, commandant ...

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Würtemberg, Kingdom of

In area the third and in population the fourth of the states of the German Empire. It is situated ...

Würzburg Abbeys

See also DIOCESE OF WÜRZBURG and UNIVERSITY OF WÜRZBURG ABBEYS ; The city of ...

Würzburg, Diocese of

(HERBIPOLENSIS). See also UNIVERSITY OF WÜRZBURG and WÜRZBURG ABBEYS ; Located ...

Würzburg, University of

See also DIOCESE OF WÜRZBURG and WÜRZBURG ABBEYS ; John I of Egloffstein ...

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Wa 69

Waagen, Wilhelm Heinrich

Geologist, and palæontologist, born at Munich, 23 June, 1841; died at Vienna, 24 March, ...

Wace, Robert

Poet, born at Jersey, about 1100; died at Bayeux, 1174. His maternal grandfather, Toustein, was a ...

Wachter, Eberhard

Painter, born at Stuttgart, 29 February, 1762; died at Stuttgart, 14 August, 1852. He studied ...

Wadding, Luke

Historian and theologian, born at Waterford, Ireland, 16 October, 1588; died at St. Isidore's ...

Wadding, Michael

(GODINEZ). Mystical theologian, born at Waterford, Ireland, in 1591; died in Mexico, Dec. ...

Waire, Venerable

English friar and martyr, hanged, drawn, and quartered at St. Thomas Waterings in Camberwell (a ...

Waitzen, Diocese of

(VÄCZ or VACIENSIS). Located in Hungary ; suffragan of Gran ; probably founded by King ...

Wakash Indians

A linguistic family inhabiting the western coast of British Columbia from 50° 30' to Garden ...

Walafrid

(Walahfrid; surnamed Strabo -- "the Squinter"). German poet and theologian of the ninth ...

Walburga, Saint

(WALTPURDE, WALPURGIS; at Perche GAUBURGE; in other parts of France VAUBOURG, FALBOURG). Born ...

Waldeck, Principality of

(Or WALDECK-PYRMONT). A former state of the German Empire , with an area of 433 square miles; ...

Waldenses

An heretical sect which appeared in the second half of the twelfth century and, in a ...

Waldsassen, Abbey of

("Settlement in the woods"). Located on the River Wondreb, Upper Palatinate, near the border ...

Waldseemüller, Martin

(Graecized ILACOMILUS). Learned Humanist and celebrated cartographer, born at Wolfenweiler ...

Walenburch, Adrian and Peter von

Auxiliary bishops of Cologne and celebrated controversial theologians, born at Rotterdam at the ...

Wales

Wales is that western portion of Great Britain which lies between the Irish Sea and the River ...

Walkenried

Formerly one of the most celebrated Cistercian abbeys of Germany, situated in the Duchy of ...

Wall, Venerable John

Martyr, born in Lancashire, 1620; suffered near Worcester, 22 August, 1679; known at Douay and ...

Walla-Walla Indians

A Shahaptian tribe dwelling on the Walla-Walla (i.e. rushing water) River and the Columbia in ...

Wallenstein, Albrecht von

(WALDSTEIN). Born at Hermanic, Bohemia, 24 September, 1583; died at Eger, Bohemia, 24 ...

Wallon Henri-Alexandre

Historian and statesman, born at Valenciennes (Nord), in 1812); died at Paris, in 1904. Fellow of ...

Walmesley, Charles

Bishop of Rama, Vicar Apostolic of the Western District, England, b. 13 Jan., 1722; d. at Bath, ...

Walpole, Ven. Henry

English Jesuit martyr, born at Docking, Norfolk, 1558; martyred at York, 7 April, 1595. He was ...

Walsh, Edward

Irish poet, born at Derry actually Doire, near Kiskeam in County Cork in 1805; died at Cork, ...

Walsh, Patrick

Journalist, United States senator; born at Ballingary, Co. Limerick, Ireland, 1 January, 1840; ...

Walsh, Peter

Irish Franciscan, born at Mooretown, County Kildare, about 1608; died in London, 15 March, 1688. ...

Walsh, Robert

Publicist, diplomat, born at Baltimore, MD., 1785; died at Paris, 7 Feb., 1859. He was one of the ...

Walsh, Thomas

Born in London, October, 1777; d. there, 18 February, 1849. His father, an Irish merchant, ...

Walsh, William

Bishop of Meath, Ireland (1554-77); b. at Dunboyne, Co. Meath, about 1512; d. at Alcalá ...

Walsingham Priory

Walsingham Priory stood a few miles from the sea in the northern part of Norfolk, England. ...

Walsingham, Thomas

Benedictine historian, died about 1422. He is supposed to have been a native of Walsingham, ...

Walter of Châtillon

(GAUTIER DE LILLE, GUALTERUS DE INSULIS; also GAUTIER DE CHATILLON, GAULTERUS DE CASTILLIONE). ...

Walter of Merton

Bishop of Rochester and founder of Merton College, Oxford, b. probably at Merton in Surrey or ...

Walter of Mortagne

A twelfth-century Scholastic philosopher, and theologian, b. at Mortagne in Flanders in the ...

Walter of St-Victor

Mystic philosopher and theologian of the twelth century. Nothing is known about Walter except ...

Walter of Winterburn

An English Dominican, cardinal, orator, poet, philosopher, theologian, b. in the thirteenth ...

Walter, Ferdinand

Jurist, born at Wetzlar, 30 November, 1794; died at Bonn, 13 December, 1879. After studying at the ...

Waltham Abbey

The Abbey of Waltham Holy Cross stood in Essex, some ten miles to the northeast of London, on ...

Walther von der Vogelweide

Minnesinger and old poet, born about 1170; died in 1228. Only one old document mentions the name ...

Walton, Brian

Biblical scholar, editor of Walton's Polyglot Bible, born at Seymour, or Seamer, near York, in ...

Wandelbert

Benedictine monk and theological writer, born in 813; died at Prüm after 850. Little is ...

Wangnereck, Heinrich

(WAGNERECK). Theologian, preacher, author, born at Munich in July, 1595; died at Dillingen, ...

War

War, in its juridical sense, is a contention carried on by force of arms between sovereign states, ...

Ward, Hugh

( Irish, ÆDH BUIDH MAC-AN-BHAIRD). Hagiographer, born in Donegal, about 1590; died 8 ...

Ward, James Harman

Born in Hartford, Connecticut, 1806; killed in attack on Matthias Point, Virginia, 27 June, ...

Ward, Margaret, Saint

Martyr, born at Congleton, Cheshire; executed at Tyburn, London, 30 Aug., 1588. Nothing is known ...

Ward, Mary

Foundress, born 23 January, 1585; died 23 January, 1645; eldest daughter of Marmaduke Ward and ...

Ward, Thomas

Born at Danby Castle near Guisborough, Yorkshire, 13 April, 1652; d. at St-Germain, France, ...

Ward, Ven. William

(Real name WEBSTER). Born at Thornby in Westmoreland, about 1560; martyred at Tyburn, 26 ...

Ward, William George

An English writer and convert, eldest son of William Ward, Esq., born in London, 21 March, ...

Warde, Mary Francis Xavier

Born at Belbrook House, Mountrath, Queen's County, Ireland, 1810; died at Manchester, N.H., 17 ...

Warham, William

Archbishop of Canterbury, born at Church Oakley, Hampshire, about 1450; died at Hackington, ...

Warsaw, Archdiocese of

(VARSAVIENSIS). Warsaw (Polish, Warszawa ), on the western bank of the Vistula, is the ...

Wartenberg, Franz Wilhelm, Count von

Bishop of Osnabrück and cardinal, eldest son of Duke Ferdinand of Bavaria and his ...

Washing of Feet and Hands

Owing to the general use of sandals in Eastern countries the washing of the feet was almost ...

Washington, D.C.

(DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA) Washington, the capital of the United States, is situated on the left ...

Washington, State of

One of the Pacific coast states, popularly known as the "Evergreen State", the sixteenth in size ...

Water, Holy

The use of holy water in the earliest days of the Christian Era is attested by documents of ...

Water, Holy, Fonts

Vessels intended for the use of holy water are of very ancient origin, and archaeological ...

Water, Liturgical Use of

Besides the holy water which is used by the Church in so many of her rites of blessing, and ...

Waterford and Lismore

(Waterfordiensis et Lismorensis), suffragan of Cashel. This diocese is almost coterminous with ...

Waterson, Ven. Edward

Born at London ; martyred at Newcastle-on-Tyne, 7 January 1594 (1593 old style). A romantic ...

Waterton, Charles

Naturalist and explorer, born in Walton Hall near Wakefield, Yorkshire, England, in 1782; died ...

Waterworth, James

Born at St. Helen's, Lancashire, 1806; d. at Old Hall, Newark, 28 March, 1876. Educated at ...

Watteau, Jean Antoine

French painter, and founder and leader of the school usually known as that of the painters of Les ...

Waverley, Cistercian Abbey of

Situated in Surrey, near Farnham, founded by William Gifford, Bishop of Winchester, on 24 Nov., ...

Way of the Cross

(Also called Stations of the Cross, Via Crucis, and Via Dolorosa). These names are used to signify ...

Way or State

The word state is used in various senses by theologians and spiritual writers. It may be ...

Way, Ven. William

( Alias MAY, alias FLOWER). English priest and martyr, born in Exeter Diocese ...

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We 52

Wealth, Use of

The term "wealth" is not used here in the technical sense in which it occurs in treatises on ...

Wearmouth Abbey

Located on the river Wear, in Durham, England ; a Benedictine monastery founded in 674 by St. ...

Weathers, William

Titular Bishop of Amyela; born 12 November, 1814; died at Isleworth, Middlesex, 4 March, 1895. ...

Webb, Benjamin Joseph

Editor, historian, born at Bardstown, Kentucky, 25 February, 1814; died at Louisville, Kentucky, ...

Webbe, Samuel

English composer, born in England in 1742; died in London, 29 May, 1816. He studied under ...

Weber, Beda

Benedictine professor, author, and member of the National German Parliament, born at Lienz in the ...

Weber, Friedrich Wilhelm

Physician, member of the Prussian House of Deputies, and poet, born at Alhausen, near Driburg, ...

Weber, Heinrich

German Church historian, born at Euerdorf in the Diocese of Würzburg , 21 June, 1834; died ...

Weber, Karl Maria Friedrich Ernst von

Composer, born at Eutin, Lower Saxony, 18 December, 1786; died in London, 5 June, 1826. His ...

Weedall, Henry

Born in London, 6 September, 1788; died at Oscott, 7 November, 1859. Both his parents died ...

Week, Liturgical

The week as a measure of time is a sufficiently obvious division of the lunar month, and the ...

Wegg-Prosser, Francis Richard

Only son of Rev. Prebendary Francis Haggit, rector of Newnham Coutney, born at Newnham Courtney, ...

Weingarten

(MONASTERIUM VINEARUM, AD VINEAS, or WEINGARTENSE). A suppressed Benedictine abbey, near ...

Weis, Nicolaus von

Bishop of Speyer, born at Rimlingen, Lorraine, 8 March, 1796; died at Speyer, 13 December, ...

Weislinger, Johann Nikolaus

Polemical writer, born at Puttlingen in German Lorraine, 1691; died at Kappel-Rodeck in Baden, 29 ...

Weiss, Johann Baptist

Born at Ettenheim, Baden, 17 July, 1820; died at Graz, 8 March, 1899. After completing his ...

Weissenau, Monastery of

(Originally OWE_AUGIA, then MINDERLAU-AUGIA MINOR, and finally WEISSEN AU-AUGIA ALBA or CANDIDA). ...

Weitenauer, Ignatius von

Litterateur, exegete, and Orientalist, born at Ingolstadt, Bavaria, 1 November, 1709; died at ...

Welbourne, Ven. Thomas

Martyred at York, 1 August, 1605. Nothing is known about about this martyr except the scanty ...

Weld

The name of an ancient English family (branches of which are found in several parts of England ...

Weld, Frederick Aloysius

Youngest son of Humphrey Weld, born at Chidcock Manor, Dorset, 1823; died there, 1891. He was ...

Welle, Prefecture Apostolic of

Located in the extreme north of Belgian Congo, Africa, separated by a Decree of the Propaganda ...

Wellington, Archdiocese of

(WELLINGTONIENSIS). Located in New Zealand, originally formed part of the Vicariate of ...

Wells in Scripture

It is difficult for inhabitants of a more humid climate to realize the importance which a country ...

Wells, Ven. Smithin

English martyr, born at Brambridge, Hampshire, about 1536; hanged at Gray's Inn Lane, London, ...

Welser, Bartholomeus

German merchant prince, born at Augsburg, 1488; died at Amberg, near Turkheim, Swabia, 1561. His ...

Welsh Church

In giving separate consideration to the Church of Wales, we follow a practice common among ...

Welsh Monastic Foundations

Few saints of the early British Church, as it existed before the Saxon invasion, are known to ...

Welte, Benedict

Exegete, born at Ratzenried in Würtemberg, 25 November, 1825; died 27 May, 1885. After ...

Wenceslaus, Saint

( Also Vaclav, Vaceslav.) Duke, martyr, and patron of Bohemia, born probably 903; died at ...

Wendelin of Trier, Saint

Born about 554; died probably in 617. His earliest biographies, two in Latin and two in German, ...

Weninger, Francis Xavier

Jesuit missionary and author, born at Wildhaus, Styria, Austria, 31 October, 1805; died at ...

Wenrich of Trier

German ecclesiastico-polical writer of the eleventh century. He was a canon at Verdun, and ...

Werburgh, Saint

(WEREBURGA, WEREBURG, VERBOURG). Benedictine, patroness of Chester, Abbess of Weedon, ...

Werden

(WERTHINA, WEERDA, WERDENA). A suppressed Benedictine monastery near Essen in Rhenish ...

Werner, Friedrich Ludwig Zacharias

Convert, poet, and pulpit orator, born at Konigsberg, Prussia, 18 November, 1768; died at ...

Wessel Goesport, John

(GANSFORT). A fifteenth-century Dutch theologian, born at Gröningen in 1420; died there ...

Wessenberg, Ignaz Heinrich von

Vicar-General and Administrator of the Diocese of Constance, born at Dresden, 4 November, 1774; ...

Wessobrunn

(WESSOGONTANTUM, AD FONTES WESSONIS). A suppressed Benedictine abbey near Weilheim in Upper ...

West Syrian Rite

The rite used by the Jacobite sect in Syria and by the Catholic Syrians is in its origin ...

West Virginia

A state of the American Union, bounded on the northeast by Pennsylvania and Maryland, on the ...

Westcott, Sebastian

English organist, born about 1524, was a chorister, under Redford, at St. Paul's Cathedral, ...

Westeraas, Ancient See of

(AROSI, AROSIENSIS). Located in Sweden. The Catholic diocese included the lands of ...

Western Schism

This schism of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries differs in all points from the Eastern ...

Westminster Abbey

This most famous of all English abbeys is situated within the precincts of the Royal Palace of ...

Westminster Cathedral

As a national expression of religious faith given by Roman Catholics to England since the ...

Westminster, Archdiocese of

(WESTMONASTERIENSIS). Erected and made metropolitan in 1850, comprises the Counties of ...

Westminster, Matthew of

The name given to the supposed author of a well-known English chronicle, the "Flores Historiarum". ...

Weston, William

Jesuit missionary priest, born at Maidstone, 1550 (?); died at Valladolid, Spain, 9 June, ...

Westphalia

A province of Prussia situated between the Rhine and the Weser. It is bounded on the northwest ...

Wettingen-Mehrerau, Abbacy Nullius of

A Cistercian abbey near Bregenz, Vorarlberg, Austria. The Cistercian monastery of Wettingen ...

Wetzer, Heinrich Joseph

Learned Orientalist, born at Anzefahr in Hesse-Cassel, 19 March, 1801; died at Freiburg in ...

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Wh 23

Wharton, Ven. Christopher

Born at Middleton, Yorkshire, before 1546; martyred at York, 28 March, 1600. He was the second ...

Wheeling, Diocese of

(WHELINGENSIS). Comprises the State of West Virginia except the following counties, which are ...

Whipple, Amiel Weeks

Military engineer and soldier, born at Greenwich, Massachusetts, 1818; died at Washington, D.C., ...

Whitaker, Venerable Thomas

Born at Burnley, Lancashire, 1614; martyred at Lancaster, 7 August, 1646. Son of Thomas ...

Whitbread, Venerable Thomas

( Alias HARCOURT). Born in Essex, 1618; martyred at Tyburn, 30 June, 1679. He was ...

Whitby, Abbey of

(Formerly called Streoneshalh). A Benedictine monastery in the North Riding of Yorkshire, ...

Whitby, Synod of

The Christianizing of Britain begun by St. Augustine in A.D. 597 was carried on with varying ...

White Fathers

(MISSIONARIES OF OUR LADY OF AFRICA OF ALGERIA). This society, known under the name of ...

White, Andrew

Missionary, b. at London, 1579; d. at or near London, 27 Dec., 1656 (O.S.). He entered St. ...

White, Charles Ignatius

Editor, historian, born at Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. 1 February, 1807; died at Washington, ...

White, Edward

Grandfather of Stephen Mallory White , born in County Limerick, Ireland, in the latter part of ...

White, Eustace, Venerable

Martyr, born at Louth, Lincolnshire, in 1560; suffered at the London Tyburn, 10 December, 1591. ...

White, Richard, Venerable

( Vere GWYN). Martyr, born at Llanilloes, Montgomeryshire, about 1537; executed at Wrexham, ...

White, Robert

English composer, b. about 1530; d. Nov., 1574; was educated by his father, and graduated Mus. ...

White, Stephen

Antiquarian and polyhistor; b. at Clonmel, Ireland, in 1574; d. in Galway, 1646. He belonged to a ...

White, Stephen Mallory

American statesman; born at San Francisco , California, 19 January, 1853; died at Los Angeles ...

White, Thomas

( Alias BLACKLOW, BLACLOE, ALBIUS, ANGLUS). Born in Essex, 1593; died in London, 6 July, ...

Whithorn Priory

Located in Wigtownshire, Scotland, founded about the middle of the twelfth century, in the reign ...

Whiting, Blessed Richard

Last Abbot of Glastonbury and martyr, parentage and date of birth unknown, executed 15 Nov., ...

Whitsunday

A feast of the universal Church which commemorates the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the ...

Whitty, Ellen

In religion Mary Vincent, born at Pouldarrig near Oylgate, a village seven miles form the town of ...

Whitty, Robert

Born at Pouldarrig near Oylgate, 7 January, 1817; died 1 September, 1895. In 1830 he entered ...

Whitty, Rose

Born at Dublin, Ireland, 24 November, 1831; died 4 May, 1911. Of her two sisters one became a ...

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Wi 121

Wibald

Abbot of Stavelot ( Stablo ), Malmedy, and Corvey, b. near Stavelot in Belgium in 1098; d. ...

Wichita Indians

A confederacy of Caddoan stock, formerly dwelling between the Arkansas River, Kansas, and the ...

Wichita, Diocese of

(WICHITENSIS). Erected in 1887, from the Diocese of Leavenworth . The territory of the new ...

Wichmans, Francis

In religion AUGUSTINE, born at Antwerp, 1596; died 1661. Having finished his classical studies, ...

Widmer, Joseph

Catholic theologian, born at Hohenraim, Lucerne, Switzerland, 15 Aug., 1779; died at ...

Widow

I. Canonical prescriptions concerning widows in the Old Testament refer mainly to the question ...

Widukind

Saxon leader, and one of the heads of the Westphalian nobility. He was the moving spirit in the ...

Widukind of Corvey

Historian who lived in the tenth century in the Benedictine Abbey of Corvey, Germany. He was a ...

Wiener-Neustadt, Diocese of

(NEOSTADTIENSIS). A suppressed see in Lower Austria. Upon the request of Frederick III it was ...

Wiest, Stephan

Member of the Order of Cistercians, b. at Teisbach in Lower Bavaria, 7 March, 1748; d. at ...

Wigand, Saints

( Also rendered VENANTIUS). Three saints of this name are mentioned in the Roman ...

Wigbert, Saint

Companion of St. Boniface, born in England about 675; died at Hersfeld about 746. Positive ...

Wigbod

(WICBODUS, WIGBOLD, WIGBALD). Theological writer of the eighth century. Of his works there is ...

Wigley, George J.

Died in Rome, 20 January, 1866. By profession he was an architect, but subsequently devoted ...

Wilberforce, Henry William

Born at Clapham, 22 September, 1807; died at Stroud, Gloucestershire, 23 April, 1873. He was third ...

Wilberforce, Robert Isaac

Born at Clapham, 19 December, 1802; died at Albano, near Rome, 3 Feb. 1857. He was the second son ...

Wilcannia, Diocese of

(WILCANIENSIS). Located in New South Wales, one of the six suffragan sees of Sydney; consists ...

Wilcox, Robert, Venerable

English martyr, born at Chester, 1558; suffered at Canterbury, 1 October, 1588. He arrived at ...

Wild, Johann

Scriptural commentator and preacher, better known by his Latin name FERUS, b. in Swabia, 1497; d. ...

Wilfrid, Saint

Bishop of York, son of a Northumbrian thegn, born in 634; died at Oundle in Northamptonshire, ...

Wilgefortis

A fabulous female saint known also as UNCUMBER, KUMMERNIS, KOMINA, COMERA, CUMERANA, HULFE, ...

Wilhelm of Herle

Painter, born at Herle in Dutch Limburg at an unknown date in the fourteenth century; time and ...

Wilhelm V

Son of Duke Albrecht V. Born at Munich, 29 September, 1548; died at Schlessheim, 7 February, ...

Wilhering, Cistercian Abbey of

(HILARIA). Situated on the right bank of the Danube, in the Diocese of Linz, Austria. Ulric ...

Will

(Latin voluntas, Greek boúlesis, "willing" German Wille, French volonté ). ...

Will and Testament of Clerics

Roman law allowed clerics to dispose of their property by will or otherwise. Bishops, however, ...

Will, Free

RELATION OF THE QUESTION TO DIFFERENT BRANCHES OF PHILOSOPHY HISTORY Free Will in Ancient ...

Willaert, Adrian

Composer and founder of the Venetian school, b. at Bruges, or, according to other authorities, ...

Willehad, Saint

Bishop at Bremen, born in Northumberland before 745; died at Blecazze (Blexen) on the Weser, 8 ...

Willems, Pierre

Philologist, born at Maastricht, 6 January, 1840; died at Louvain, 23 February, 1898. Following ...

William

Born in Brittany, died at Marmoutiers, 23 May, 1124. For a time he was Archdeacon of Nantes, ...

William

Abbot of Saint-Bénigne at Dijon, celebrated Cluniac reformer, b. on the Island of ...

William Carter, Venerable

English martyr, born in London, 1548; suffered for treason at Tyburn, 11 January, 1584. Son of ...

William Exmew, Blessed

Carthusian monk and martyr ; suffered at Tyburn, 19 June, 1535. He studied at Christ's ...

William Filby, Blessed

Blessed William Filby Born in Oxfordshire between 1557 and 1560; suffered at Tyburn, 30 May, ...

William Hart, Blessed

Born at Wells, 1558; suffered at York, 15 March, 1583. Elected Trappes Scholar at Lincoln ...

William Lacy, Blessed

Born at "Hanton", Yorkshire (probably Houghton or Tosside, West Riding); suffered at York, 22 ...

William of Auvergne

Bishop of Paris, medieval philosopher and theologian. Born at Aurillac in Auvergne towards ...

William of Auxerre

A thirteenth-century theologian and professor at the University of Paris . William's name ...

William of Champeaux

A twelfth-century Scholastic, philosopher, and theologian, b. at Champeaux, near Melun, in the ...

William of Conches

A twelfth-century Scholastic philosopher and theologian, b. about the year 1100. After having ...

William of Digulleville

(DEGULLEVILLE). A French poet of the fourteenth century. Nothing is known of his life, except ...

William of Ebelholt, Saint

(Also called WILLIAM OF PARIS and WILLIAM OF THE PARACLETE.) Died on Easter Sunday, 1203, and ...

William of Gellone, Saint

Born 755; died 28 May, c. 812; was the second count of Toulouse, having attained that dignity in ...

William of Jumièges

(Surnamed CALCULUS.) Benedictine historian of the eleventh century. Practically nothing seems ...

William of Maleval, Saint

(or ST. WILLIAM THE GREAT). Died 10 February, 1157; beatified in 1202. His life, written ...

William of Malmesbury

Born 30 November, about 1090; died about 1143. He was educated at Malmesbury, where he became a ...

William of Moerbeke

Scholar, Orientalist, philosopher, and one of the most distinguished men of letters of the ...

William of Nangis

(GUILHELMUS). A medieval chronicler, who takes his name from the City of Nancy, France. ...

William of Newburgh

Historian, b. at Bridlington, Yorkshire, 1136; d. at Newburgh, Yorkshire, 1198, where he went as ...

William of Norwich, Saint

Born 1132; died 22 March, 1144. On Holy Saturday, 25 March, 1144, a boy's corpse showing signs of ...

William of Ockham

Fourteenth-century Scholastic philosopher and controversial writer, born at or near the village ...

William of Paris, Saint

Abbot of Eskill in Denmark, born 1105; died 1202. He was born of a noble French family, and ...

William of Perth, Saint

(Or ST. WILLIAM OF ROCHESTER). Martyr, born at Perth ; died about 1201. Practically all that ...

William of Poitiers

Norman historian, born of a noted family, at Préaux near Pont Audemer, Normandy, about 1020. ...

William of Ramsey

Flourished about 1219. Nothing is known of his life except that he was a monk of Crowland Abbey ...

William of Sens

A twelfth-century French architect, supposed to have been born at Sens. He is referred to in ...

William of Shoreham

( Or de Schorham.) An English religious writer of the Anglo-Norman period, born at ...

William of St-Amour

A thirteenth century theologian and controversialist, born in Burgundy in the first decades of ...

William of St-Thierry

Theologian and mystic, and so called from the monastery of which he was abbot, b. at ...

William of Turbeville

(TURBE, TURBO, or DE TURBEVILLE). Bishop of Norwich (1146-74), b. about 1095; d. at Norwich ...

William of Tyre

Archbishop of Tyre and historian, born probably in Palestine, of a European family which had ...

William of Vercelli

(Or WILLIAM OF MONTE VERGINE.) The founder of the Hermits of Monte Vergine, or Williamites, ...

William of Ware

(William de Warre, Guard, Guaro, Varro or Varron.) Born at Ware in Herts; the date of his ...

William of Wayneflete

Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor of England, b. towards the end of the fourteenth century; ...

William of Wykeham

Bishop of Winchester, Chancellor of England and founder of Winchester College ; b. between ...

William Perault

(PERAULD, PERALDUS, PERALTUS). Writer and preacher, b. at Perault, France ; d. at Lyons ; ...

William the Clerk (of Normandy)

French poet of the thirteenth century. Nothing is known of his life except that he was a clerk of ...

William the Conqueror

King of England and Duke of Normandy. William was the natural son of Robert, Duke of ...

William the Walloon

Date of birth unknown; d. (probably) 22 Dec., 1089. He became Abbot of St. Arnoul at Metz in ...

William, Blessed

Abbot of Hirschau, monastic reformer, born in Bavaria ; died at Hirschau, 5 July 1091. He ...

William, Saint

(WILLIAM FITZHERBERT, also called WILLIAM OF THWAYT). Archbishop of York. Tradition ...

William, Saint

Bishop of St-Brieuc, born in the parish of St. Alban, Brittany, between 1178 and 1184; died ...

Williamites

There were two minor religious orders or congregations of this name: (1) a Benedictine ...

Willibald and Winnebald, Saints

(WUNIBALD, WYNNEBALD). Members of the Order of St. Benedict, brothers, natives probably of ...

Willibrord, Saint

Bishop of Utrecht, Apostle of the Frisians, and son of St. Hilgis, born in Northumbria, 658; ...

Willigis, Saint

Archbishop of Mainz, d. 23 Feb., 1011. Feast, 23 February or 18 April. Though of humble birth ...

Williram

(WALTRAM, WILTRAM). Scriptural scholar, b. in Franconia (near Worms), Germany ; d. in 1085 at ...

Wilmers, Wilhelm

Professor of philosophy and theology, b. at Boke in Westphalia, 30 January, 1817; d. at ...

Wilmington, Diocese of

(WILMINGTONIENSIS). Erected 3 March, 1868. It includes what is known as the Delmarvia ...

Wilton Abbey

A Benedictine convent in Wiltshire, England, three miles from Salisbury. A first foundation was ...

Wilton, Richard

Died December 21, 1239. He was a medieval scholar of whom little is known except that he was an ...

Wimborne Minster

( Also WIMBURN or WINBURN). Located in Dorsetshire, England. Between the years 705-23 a ...

Wimmer, Boniface

Archabbot, b. at Thalmassing, Bavaria, 14 January, 1809; d. at St. Vincent Archabbey, Beatty, ...

Wimpfeling, Jakob

Humanist and theologian, b. at Schlettstadt, Alsace, 25 July 1450; d. there, 17 Nov., 1528. He ...

Wimpina, Konrad

(WIMINAE, WIMINESIS). Theologian, b. at Buchen in Baden, about 1465; d. at Amorbach in Lower ...

Winchester, Ancient See of

(WINTONIA, WINTONIENSIS). This diocese came into existence in 635 when the great ...

Winckelmann, Johann Joachim

Archaeologist and historian of ancient art, born at Stendal near Magdeburg, in 1717; assassinated ...

Windesheim

An Augustinian monastery situated about four miles south of Zwolle on the Issel, in the Kingdom ...

Winding Sheet of Christ, Feast of the Holy

In 1206 one of the (supposed) Winding Sheets used at the burial of Christ was brought to ...

Windischmann, Friedrich Heinrich Hugo

Orientalist and exegete, b. at Aschaffenburg, 13 December, 1811; d. at Munich, 23 August, ...

Windischmann, Karl Joseph Hieronymus

Philosopher, b. at Mainz, 25 August, 1775; d. at Bonn, 23 April, 1839. He attended the gymnasium ...

Window, Rose

A circular window, with mullions and traceries generally radiating from the centre, and filled ...

Windows in Church Architecture

From the beginning Christian churches, in contrast to the ancient temples, were intended to be ...

Windsor

A town of great antiquity, on the Thames, in Berkshire, England ; quaintly rendered Ventus ...

Windthorst, Ludwig

Born near Osnabrück, 17 January, 1812; died 14 March, 1891. He came from a family of ...

Wine, Altar

Wine is one of the two elements absolutely necessary for the sacrifice of the Eucharist. For valid ...

Winefride, Saint

Born at Holywell, Wales, about 600; died at Gwytherin, Wales, 3 Nov., 660. Her father was ...

Wingham, Thomas

Born in London, 5 January, 1846; died there, 24 March, 1893. He studied music at Wylde's London ...

Winnebago Indians

A tribe of Siouan stock closely related in speech to the Iowa, Missouri, and Oto, and more ...

Winnebald and Willibald, Saints

(WUNIBALD, WYNNEBALD). Members of the Order of St. Benedict, brothers, natives probably of ...

Winnoc, Saint

Abbot or Prior or Wormhoult, died 716 or 717. Three lives of this saint are extant: the best of ...

Winona, Diocese of

(WINONENSIS). Established in 1889, suffragan of St. Paul, comprises the following counties in ...

Winslow, Jakob Benignus

(WINSLOW). Physician and anatomist, b. at Odense, Denmark, 27 April, 1669; d. in Paris, 3 ...

Winwallus, Saint

Abbot of Landevennec; d. 3 March, probably at the beginning of the sixth century, though the ...

Winzet, Ninian

Benedictine abbot and controversial writer, b. at Renfrew, Scotland, 1518; d. at Ratisbon, 21 ...

Wipo

(WIPPO). Apparently a native of Burgundy, lived in the first half of the eleventh century. He ...

Wireker, Nigel

Satirist, lived about 1190. He describes himself as old in the "Speculum Stultorum", which was ...

Wirt, Wigand

Theologian, born at Frankfort about 1460; died at Steyer, 30 June, 1519. He entered the ...

Wisconsin

Known as the "Badger State", admitted to the Union on 29 May, 1848, the seventeenth state ...

Wisdom, Book of

One of the deutero-canonical writings of the Old Testament, placed in the Vulgate between the ...

Wisdom, Daughters of

(LES FILLES DE LA SAGESSE). Founded at Poitiers by Blessed Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort ...

Wise Men (Magi)

(Plural of Latin magus ; Greek magoi ). The "wise men from the East" who came to adore ...

Wiseman, Nicholas Patrick

Cardinal, first Archbishop of Westminster ; b. at Seville, 2 Aug., 1802; d. in London, 15 ...

Witchcraft

It is not easy to draw a clear distinction between magic and witchcraft. Both are concerned with ...

Witness

One who is present, bears testimony, furnishes evidence or proof. Witnesses are employed in ...

Witt, Francis Xavier

Reformer of church music, founder of the St. CeciliaSociety for German-speaking countries, ...

Wittenberg

The city is in Prussian Saxony and was founded by Albert the Bear (d. 1170). He had conquered ...

Wittman, George Michael

Bishop-elect of Ratisbon, b. near Pleistein, Oberpfalz, Bavaria, 22 (23?) Jan., 1760; d. at ...

Wittman, Patrizius

Catholic journalist, b. at Ellwanger, Würtemberg, 4 January, 1818; d. at Munich, 3 ...

Witzel, Georg

(WICELIUS). Theologian, b. at Vacha, Province of Hesse, 1501; d. at Mainz, 16 Feb., 1573. He ...

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Wl 1

Wladislaw, Diocese of

(Polish WLOCLAWEK; Latin VLADISLAVIENSIS ET POMERANLAE). The historical origin of this ...

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Wolff, George Dering

Editor, b. at Martinsburg, West Virginia , 25 Aug., 1822; d. at Norristown, Pennsylvania, 29 ...

Wolfgang, Saint

Bishop of Ratisbon (972-994), born about 934; died at the village of Pupping in upper Austria, ...

Wolfram von Eschenbach

Generally regarded as the greatest of Middle-High-German epic poets, date of birth unknown; d. ...

Wolgemut, Michael

Painter and engraver, b. at Nuremberg, 1434; d. there, 1519. He was the most prominent artist of ...

Wolowski, Louis-François-Michel-Reymond

Born at Warsaw, 31 Aug., 1810; d. at Gisors, Eure, 15 Aug., 1876. His father, a member of the ...

Wolsey, Thomas

Cardinal, Archbishop of York, b. at Ipswitch, the usually accepted date, 1471, being probably ...

Wolstan, Saint

Benedictine, and Bishop of Worcester, b. at Long Itchington, Warwickshire, England, about 1008; ...

Woman

Of late years the position of woman in human society has given rise to a discussion which, as part ...

Wood, Thomas

Priest and confessor, b. about 1499; d. in Wisbech Castle before 1588. After being prebendary ...

Wood-Carving

In general, the production from wood of objects of trade or art by means of sharp instruments, as ...

Woodcock, Venerable John

English Franciscan martyr, b. at Leyland, Lancashire, 1603; suffered at Lancaster, 7 August, ...

Woodhead, Abraham

Born at Almonbury, Yorkshire, about March, 1609; died at Hoxton, Middlesex, 4 May, 1678. This ...

Woodhouse, Blessed Thomas

Martyr who suffered at Tyburn 19 June, 1573, being disembowelled alive. Ordained in Mary's ...

Woods, Julian Edmund Tenison

Priest and scientist, b. at Southwark, London, 15 Nov., 1832; d. at Sydney, New South Wales, 7 ...

Worcester, Ancient Diocese of

(WIGORNIENSIS.) Located in England, created in 680 when, at the Synod of Hatfield under ...

Words (in Canon Law)

To give the right value to words is a very important factor in the proper interpretation of ...

World, Antiquity of the

Various attempts have been made to establish the age of the world. Two groups of scientists have ...

Wormwood

( Hebrew la'anah .) Wormwood, known for its repulsive bitterness ( Jeremiah 9:15 ; 23:15 ; ...

Worship, Christian

NOTION AND CHARACTERISTICS The word worship (Saxon weorthscipe , "honour"; from worth , ...

Worsley, Edward

Born in Lancashire, England, 1605; died at Antwerp, 2 Sept., 1676. He is said to have been ...

Worthington, Thomas, D.D.

Third President of Douai College , b. 1549 at Blainscough Hall, near Wigan, Lancashire; d. at ...

Wounds, The Five Sacred

Devotion The revival of religious life and the zealous activity of St. Bernard and St. ...

Wouters, G. Henry

Historian, b. at Oostham, Belgian Limburg, 3 May, 1802; d. 5 January, 1872. In 1829 he became ...

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Wr 2

Wright, Venerable Peter

Martyr, b. at Slipton, Northamptonshire, 1603; suffered at Tyburn, 19 May, 1651. After spending ...

Wright, William

Born at York, 1562; died 18 Jan., 1639. Though he came late (23) to his studies, he then made ...

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Wu 2

Wulfen, Franz Xaver Freiherr von

Botanist, b. at Belgrade, 5 November, 1728; d. at Klagenfurt, 17 March, 1805. He was the son of ...

Wulfram, Saint

(VULFRAMNUS.) Bishop of Sens, missionary in Frisi, born at Milly near Fontainebleau, probably ...

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Wy 5

Wyart, Théophile-Louis-Henri

(In religion DOM SEBASTIAN). Abbot of Cîteaux and Abbot-General of the Order of ...

Wyche, Saint Richard de

Bishop and confessor, b. about 1197 at Droitwich, Worcestershire, from which his surname is ...

Wyclif, John

(WYCLIFFE, or WICLIF, etc.). Writer and "reformer", b. probably at Hipswell near Richmond, ...

Wyntoun, Andrew of

Scottish chronicler, born (as we know from the internal evidence of his writings) in the reign ...

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