Last night I started pondering “Shada,” the Doctor Who serial written by Douglas Adams during Tom Baker’s era that went unfinished (due to industrial strikes) and was later remade as an audio drama with Paul McGann.
In the course of the story the Doctor and Romana go to visit Professor Chronotis, who keeps rooms at St. Cedd’s College, Cambridge.
It occurred to me yesterday–was there a St. Cedd, or did Douglas Adams simply make him up? It had never occurred to me before. Sometimes the human mind, especially mine, works in such random ways.
So, St. Cedd.
Yes, he was a real person. From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
Bishop of the East Saxons, the brother of St. Ceadda; died 26 Oct. 664. There were two other brothers also priests, Cynibill and Caelin, all born of an Angle family settled in Northumbria. With his younger brother Ceadda, he was brought up at Lindisfarne under St. Aidan. In 653 he was one of four priests sent by Oswiu, King of Northumbria, to evangelize the Middle Angles at the request of their ealdorman, Peada. Shortly after, however, he was recalled and sent on the same missionary errand to Essex to help Sigeberht, King of the East Saxons, to convert his people to Christ. Here he was consecrated bishop and was very active in founding churches, and established monasteries at Tilbury and Ithancester. Occasionally he revisited his native Northumbria, and there, at the request of Aethelwald, founded the monastery of Laestingaeu, now Lastingham, in Yorkshire. Of this house he became the first abbot, notwithstanding his episcopal responsibilities. At the Synod of Whitby, like St. Cuthbert, he, though Celtic in his upbringing, adopted the Roman Easter. Immediately after the synod he paid a visit to Laestingaeu, where he fell a victim to the prevalent plague. Florence of Worcester and William of Malmesbury in later times counted him as the second Bishop of London, but St. Bede, almost a contemporary, never gives him that title. His festival was kept on 7 January.
Interesting. Cedd would have been at the Synod of Whitby, the setting for the first of Peter Tremayne’s Sister Fidelma mysteries, Absolution by Murder.
So, Douglas Adams didn’t invent St. Cedd. His college, yes, but not St. Cedd himself.
And now you know. 😉