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Archbishop of Canterbury
Term ended30 July 734
Other postsAbbot of Breedon-on-the-Hill
Consecration10 June 731
Personal details
Bornc. 670
Died30 July 734
Feast day30 July
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church[1]
Eastern Orthodox Church[2]

Tatwine[a] (c. 670-734) was the tenth Archbishop of Canterbury from 731 to 734. Prior to becoming archbishop, he was a monk and abbot of a Benedictine monastery. Besides his ecclesiastical career, Tatwine was a writer, and riddles he composed survive. Another work he composed was on the grammar of the Latin language, which was aimed at advanced students of that language. He was subsequently considered a saint.


Tatwine was a Mercian by birth.[3] His epigraph at Canterbury stated that when he died he was in old age, so perhaps he was born around 670.[4] He became a monk at the monastery at Breedon-on-the-Hill in the present-day County of Leicestershire,[3][5] and then abbot of that house.[6] Through the influence of King Æthelbald he was appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury in 731 and was consecrated on 10 June 731.[7][8] He was one of a number of Mercians who were appointed to Canterbury during the 730s and 740s.[9] Apart from his consecration of the Bishops of Lindsey and Selsey in 733, Tatwine's period as archbishop appears to have been uneventful.[4] He died in office on 30 July 734.[7] Later considered a saint, his feast day is 30 July.[10]


Bede's commentary on Tatwine calls him a "vir religione et Prudentia insignis, sacris quoque literis nobiliter instructus" (a man notable for his prudence, devotion and learning). These qualities were displayed in the two surviving manuscripts of his riddles and four of his Ars Gramattica Tatuini.[4][11] The Ars is one of only two surviving eighth-century Latin grammars from England,[11] and was based on the works of Priscian and Consentius. The riddles deal with such diverse topics as philosophy and charity, the five senses and the alphabet, and a book and a pen.[4] The riddles are formed in acrostics.[12] The grammar is a reworking of Donatus's Ars Minor with the addition of information drawn from other grammarians. It was not designed for a newcomer to the Latin language, but is designed for more advanced students.[13] It covers the eight parts of speech through illustrations drawn from classical scholars, although not directly but through other grammatical works. There are also some examples drawn from the Psalms. The work was completed before he became archbishop, and was used not only in England but also on the continent.[14] A recent edition of his works is Tatuini Opera omnia, published in 1968 with some translations into English and German from the original Latin.[15]


  1. ^ Sometimes Tatwin, Tatuini, or Tadwinus[1]


  1. ^ a b Farmer Oxford Dictionary of Saints pp. 492-493
  2. ^ Hutchison-Hall, John (2014). Orthodox Saints of the British Isles: Volume III, July-September. p. 81. ISBN 9780692257661.
  3. ^ a b Brooks Early History of the Church of Canterbury p. 80
  4. ^ a b c d Lapidge "Tatwine" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  5. ^ Yorke Kings and Kingdoms p. 31
  6. ^ Stenton Anglo-Saxon England p. 183
  7. ^ a b Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 213
  8. ^ Kirby Earliest English Kings p. 113
  9. ^ Williams Kingship and Government p. 24
  10. ^ Walsh New Dictionary of Saints p. 571
  11. ^ a b Law "Transmission" Revue d'Histoire des Textes p. 281
  12. ^ Lapidge "Tatwine" Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England
  13. ^ Brooks Early History of the Church of Canterbury pp. 98-99
  14. ^ Blair World of Bede pp. 246-247
  15. ^ World Cat "Tatuini Opera omnia" World Cat Catalogue


Further reading

  • Law, Vivien (1977). "The Latin and Old English glosses in the Ars Tatuini". Anglo-Saxon England 6. pp. 77-89.

External links

Christian titles
Preceded by
Archbishop of Canterbury
Succeeded by

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