In the Middle Ages, when the anniversaries of local patron saints were to be celebrated, it was customary to read passages from their life story (Vita) and sing chants on the same topic, very often setting to music sentences from the Vita .This chant for The Feast Of St Kyneburgha with St Kyneswitha and St Tibba was of this type being transcribed from a medieval manuscript. St Kyneburgha and her sister St Kyneswitha were daughters of the fearsome king Penda of Mercia. They converted to Christianity, Kyneburgha founded the convent of Castor in Northamptonshire and was succeeded as abbess by her sister. With their kinswoman Tibba they were later buried at Peterborough.


SOURCE: The source for the background information above and the Latin and English texts of the chants comes from the literature accompanying a Compact Disc recording entitled “Chant in honour of Anglo Saxon saints”. The singing was by a group called Magnificat, directed by Philip Cave and recorded in Durham Cathedral in 1995. (CD ref is CGCD4004). The CD was produced by a firm called Griffin of Church House, St Mary’s Gate, Lancaster LA1 1TD. The music was transcribed from an original manuscript by David Hiley, who also wrote the foreword above. The text was translated by Davis Norwood. Philip Cave is a member of The Tallis Scholars and a layclerk at New College Oxford



Laudet dominum cum Petro sancto

Burgensis ecclesia in claris

lampadibus Kyneburgha  et

Kyneswitha ac Tibba


In translatorem sanctarum

reliquiarum exorta est regis et populi

tempestas naufragosa sed mox

imperante domino facta est

tranquillitas magna. Nobis quoque

bene prosperetur trinitas benedicta

per nos, o beate Kyneburgha et

Kyneswitha ac Tibba.


Gloriosa dispensatione dei interfector

regis et martyris Oswaldi, Rex Penda,

protulit gemellas rosas Christo de sua

spina – Christianissimas filias Christo

suscipiente de pagano parente. Gloria

patri et filio et spiritui sancto.



Let the Burgensian church praise the Lord,

together with St Peter, and, with their

bright torches, let Kyneburgha and

Kyneswitha and Tibba do likewise.


Against the remover of the sacred relics

there arose a fierce storm from king and

people but, ere long, at the bidding of the

Lord, peace was fully restored. May we also

find good fortune, o blessed Kyneburgha,

Kyneswitha  and Tibba, our blessed trinity.


By the wondrous contrivance of God

the slayer of Oswald, king and martyr, King

Penda, fathered two roses for Christ from

his own thorny stock and Christ received

these devotedly Christian daughters from

their pagan father. Glory be to the father

and to the son and to the holy spirit.