For the first forty years of his life Boniface was known as Wynfrith. He was born in Devon and educated at the monastery at Exeter, and then joined the Benedictine abbey at Nursling, near Southampton. He was a teacher and preacher, but he desired to preach the gospel in a foreign land. In 718, Pope Gregory II commissioned him to do so, at the same time changing his name from Wynfrith to Boniface.
Boniface left England, never to return, and took the gospel to the heathen tribes of Germany, where he had great success. He himself was created Bishop of Mainz, and he founded or restored dioceses in Bavaria, Thuringia, and Franconia. In his later years he worked with King Pepin the Short to reform the Frankish church, and then, over seventy years old, set out to evangelize Friesland (part of modern Holland) where he was set upon and murdered, on 5 June 754.
He is buried at Fulda, near Frankfurt, in the monastery he founded himself. Today, is the feast of St Boniface, and this stained glass image of the saint is in St Martin's Cathedral in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.