Pope Gregory sent Augustine to Kent in 597 and Christianity spread to the north when King Edwin of Northumbria married Princess Ethelburga of Kent in 625. Ethelburga was a Christian and her faith greatly impressed the King, as did the teaching of Paulinus, her chaplain. While Edwin was travelling over the North York Moors he was saved from assassination by his chief minister Lilla, who took the poisoned dagger meant for the King, and Lilla was buried where he fell.
He is commemorated at Lilla Howe with a stone cross (ref. SE 889987) which is one of the earliest Christian monuments in the north of England. Edwin was baptised by Paulinus at Easter 627 in York where the first Minster was built to mark the event. But the building was not completed as Edwin was killed in 633 by his rivals, who virtually destroyed the young church in Northumbria. Edwin's rivals were themselves defeated by King Oswald, at Heavenfield near Hexham. in the year 634
Page prepared by Ryedale Christian Council Autumn 2000. Updated December 2016
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