St. Acca, Bishop of Hexham
(Died AD 740)
During his youth, Acca joined the household of Bishop Bosa of York, where he fell in with the Romanist party and became a faithful friend of St. Wilfred, Abbot of Ripon. They were constant companions for thirteen, often turbulent, years and Acca accompanied the great man on many of his Continental visits.
Upon, Wilfred's deathbed (AD 709), he nominated Acca to succeed him as Abbot of Hexham and, in the event, he was able to take up the Bishopric as well. He completed the building work started by his friend and decorated the principal church at Hexham with altars, sacred vessels and holy relics.
Acca was an accomplished singer and a noted scholar of the age. Bede praised the high quality and wide-ranging diversity of his theological library; and dedicated several of his biblical works to the Bishop. The two seem to have known each other well, for when Acca found St. Ambrose's commentary on St. Luke too long, he encouraged the father of English History to write a reduced version. He later supplied Bede with information for the Ecclesiastical History.
In AD 731, political intrigues led to King Ceolwulf of Northumbria being seized by unknown opponents and forced to enter a monastery. His supporters subsequently restored him to the throne, but vengeance was swift and Bishop Acca expulsion from his see soon afterward almost certainly indicates his involvement in the coup. Some records imply that he fled west where he was appointed Bishop of Whithorn.
Acca died on 20th October AD 740. He was buried beside the east wall of Hexham Cathedral, between two huge stone crosses decorated with Mediterranean-style vines and tendrils. These survive largely intact and can be seen today inside the Abbey Church.
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