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Daniel of Winchester

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(Danihel), Bishop of the West Saxons, and ruler of the See of Winchester from 705 to 744; died in 745. The prominent position which he held among the English clergy of his time can best be appreciated from the fact that he was the intimate friend of St. Aldhelm at Sherborne, of the Venerable Bede at Jarrow and of St. Boniface in Germany. Daniel was consecrated to succeed Bishop Hedda of Wessex whose vast diocese was then broken up; Dorsetshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, and Berkshire became the see of Sherborne under St. Aldhelm, while Daniel retained only Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex, and of these Sussex soon after was constituted a separate diocese. Daniel like Aldhelm had been educated under the Irish scholar Maildubh at Malmesbury and it was to Malmesbury that he retired in his old age when loss of sight compelled him to resign the bishopric. There, no doubt, he had also learnt the scholarship for which he was famous among his contemporaries and which made Bede turn to him as the man best able to supply information regarding the church history of the south and west of Britain. Daniel, however, is best remembered for his intimate connection with St. Boniface. It was from Daniel that the latter received commendatory letters when he started for Rome, and to Daniel he continually turned for counsel during his missionary labours in Germany. Two letters of the Bishop of Winchester to Boniface are preserved (see Haddan and Stubbs, "Councils", III, 304 and 343) and give an admirable impression of his piety and good sense. In the second of these epistles, which was written after his loss of sight, Daniel takes a touching farewell of his correspondent: "Farewell, farewell, thou hundredfold dearest one." Daniel had made a pilgrimage to Rome in 721 and in 731 assisted at the consecration of Archbishop Tatwine. He seems never to have been honoured as a saint. A vision recorded in "Monumenta Moguntina", No. 112, perhaps implies that he was considered to be lacking in energy; none the less it would follow from William of Malmesbury's reference (Gest. Pont., I, 357) to a certain stream in which Daniel used to stand the whole night long to cool his passions, that he was a man of remarkable austerity.

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