Find the word definition


Coifi or Cofi was the priest of the temple at Goodmanham in Northumbria in 627.

Bede's description of Coifi is that of the chief of priests in Northumbria; the fact that he is the chief priest suggests that there was some sort of organised pagan priesthood in existence during Coifi's time. Whilst we know very little about Coifi we do at least know of some of the aspects of his priestly life. Bede informs us of some of the restrictions placed upon Coifi as a priest, such as not being allowed to bear arms or ride a stallion.

Coifi was one of the people Edwin of Northumbria sought advice from on whether or not to convert to Christianity. It is worth noting that, according to Bede, it was Coifi who volunteered to desecrate the pagan altars he had previously worshiped and that he also declared that the pagan religion he had followed had no virtue in it and that he had followed it in ignorance.

Coifi mounted a stallion and rode from the king's council (which according to local tradition was held at the royal summer encampment at Londsborough), to the Great temple of Woden at Goodmanham where he cast a spear into the altar before burning the temple to the ground, as the people watched and thought him mad.