Erkenwald came from a wealthy family that was possibly even royal origin. In 666 he founded the monastery of Chertsey in Surrey and the double monastery of Barking in the Kingdom of Essex. The government of the monastery Barking he answered his sister Ethelburga, while he himself retained control of Chertsey.
Erkenwald was an influential cleric; he is called as a witness in the introduction of the Code Ines King of Wessex. In addition, he was responsible for the reconciliation Wilfrid with the Archbishop of Canterbury Theodore.
Erkenwald exerted a great influence on the formulation of come down to us the earliest Anglo-Saxon charters south of the river Humber.
He died in 693 Barking Abbey and was buried in Saint Paul 's Cathedral in London, where his relics were preserved.
In the 12th century an anonymous Vita appeared with a description of his life and miracles. Between 1390 and the early years of the 15th century, the rod- rhyming poem St. Erkenwald, in which a further miracle is described Erkenwalds arose.