St. Wilfred – Apostle of the Isle of Wight
St. Wilfred was born in Northumbria around 634 A.D. At that time there was no national King or leader; each area was ruled by a local chieftain who had complete control of the lives of his subjects. St. Wilfred was very keen that the new churches should be strongly united with the Universal Church so that they would not be totally dominated by each local Lord.
Whilst returning from a journey to Rome Wilfred became very seriously ill, but he suddenly made a complete recovery following a vision of St. Michael the Archangel. St. Wilfred then went to Sussex where in 687 he converted the local chief, Cedwalla, and then with the chief’s support came to the Isle of Wight.
St. Wilfred is said to have landed not far from Brading (possibly somewhere in the area now known as Bembridge). He Baptised many at Brading and built the first Christian Church there.
The first Catholic Church ‘on the hill’ at Bembridge is thought to have been named in honour of the Archangel who appeared to St.Wilfred and encouraged him in the Missionary work which brought him to this island.