Wilfred - Wilfrid

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Do not confuse the spellings of the two - otherwise identical, in etymology, pronunciation and so on - names Wilfrid and Wilfred. Both are forms of the forename first recorded as having been borne by an Anglo-Saxon saint known in his own time as wilfrið (Wilfrith), and now as St Wilfrid (634–709). In modern times, three forms have been used. It is important that scholars and students use the right one when referring to individuals.

The first of the two Anglo-Saxon Saints, St Wilfrid (c.633–709) was at different times Bishop of Northumbria, York (from which he was removed several times as a result of politics at the Northumbrian court), Hexham and Leicester;, Abbot of Ripon, Hexham and Selsey, founding the latter two along with several others, possibly including Peterborough; and an apostle in Frisia, Sussex and the Isle of Wight. He is notable as having presented the case at the Synod of Whitby (664) for the Roman method of calculating the date of Easter against the method used by the Celtic churches of the British Isles, in which he was successful.
The second, saint 'Wilfrid II', or Saint Wilfrid the Younger, was also Bishop of York. He died in 744.
  • Among people who may possibly be of interest to more than a few of AWE's users,
    • The spelling Wilfred is used by (for example): Wilfred Grenfell (1865-1940), medical missionary to Newfoundland and Labrador; Wilfred Owen (1893-1918), the poet of the First world war; Wilfred Pickles (1904-1978), comic actor and radio personality; and Wilfred Thesiger (1910-2003), an explorer and travel writer
    • The spelling Wilfrid is used by (for example): Wilfrid Wilson Gibson (W.W.Gibson) (1878-1962), Georgian poet; Wilfrid Hyde-White (1903-1991), actor; Wilfrid Noyce (1917-1962), mountaineer and writer; Wilfrid Merydith Capper (1905 - 1998), who founded the Ulster Way footpath; and by Wilfrid Graham MacAuslan Scrivener (2013- ), who should go on to do great things.
Etymological note: Old English wil 'desire' and frið 'peace'. (Hanks, Hardcastle and Hodges (2006) say "there is some doubt about the exact form of the name of the more famous [saint], who played a leading role at the Council of Whitby (664); it may have been Walfrid ‘stranger peace’.")