Ethelwin[1] was the last Anglo-Saxon bishop of Durham (1056-1071), the last who was not also a secular ruler, and the only English bishop at the time of the Norman Conquest who did not remain loyal to William the Conqueror.

He was initially loyal to William. When the king sent Robert de Comines north as earl of Northumbria with 700 men in 1068, Ethelwin warned him at Durham that an local army was mobilised against him. He ignored the advice and, on 28 January 1069, the rebels converged on Durham and killed many of his men in the streets, eventually setting fire to the bishop's house where Robert was staying. He was consumed in the blaze. Northumbria had been in a state of near chaos since 1066, before the Conquest, and now things really flared up.

At that juncture, Ethelwin abandoned the royalist camp. William promptly and without delay marched an army north, violently razing all the way in a scorched earth campaign generally known as the Harrying of the North. Ethelwin tried to flee with many Northumbrian treasures (including the body of Saint Cuthbert) to Lindisfarne, but he was caught, imprisoned, and later died in confinement; his see being temporarily left vacant until William appointed the Norman William Walcher, the first prince-bishop.

Preceded by:
Bishop of Durham
Succeeded by:
William Walcher


  1.  His name is variously spelled Egelwin, Aethelwyne, Aethelwine, Aethelwyn, or Aethelwin.

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