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This name means “divine power, divine rulership, God rules, illustrious defender, defender of the house”. This name derives from the Old English “ōs” (god) plus “weald” (power), which in turn derives from the Old High German name “Answald”, composed two elements: “*ansuz / ans” (heathen god) plus “*waldaʐ” (ruler, might, mighty one, power, powerful one). Answald and Oswald are closely related to the Old Norse name "Ásvaldr" which has the same etymology and meaning. Oswald was King of Northumbria from 634 until his death and was venerated as a saint in the Middle Ages. Oswald's father Æthelfrith was a successful Bernician ruler who, after some years in power in Bernicia, also became king of Deira, and thus was the first to rule both of the kingdoms which would come to be considered the constituent kingdoms of Northumbria. Oswald of Worcester was Archbishop of York from 972 to his death in 992. He was of Danish ancestry but brought up by his uncle, Oda, who sent him to France to the abbey of Fleury to become a monk.

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