Edward the Martyr

Edward the Martyr (Old English: Eadweard, pronounced [æːɑdweɑrd]; c. 962 – 18 March 978) was King of England from 975 until he was murdered in 978. Edward was the eldest son of King Edgar the Peaceful but was not his father's acknowledged heir. On Edgar's death, the leadership of England was contested, with some supporting Edward's claim to be king and others supporting his younger half-brother Æthelred the Unready, recognized as a legitimate son of Edgar. Edward was chosen as king and was crowned by his main clerical supporters, the archbishops Dunstan of Canterbury and Oswald of Worcester.

The great nobles of the kingdom, ealdormen Ælfhere and Æthelwine, quarrelled, and civil war almost broke out. In the so-called anti-monastic reaction, the nobles took advantage of Edward's weakness to dispossess the Benedictine reformed monasteries of lands and other properties that King Edgar had granted to them.

Edward's short reign was brought to an end by his murder at Corfe Castle in 978 in circumstances that are not altogether clear. His body was reburied with great ceremony at Shaftesbury Abbey early in 979. In 1001 Edward's remains were moved to a more prominent place in the abbey, probably with the blessing of his half-brother King Æthelred. Edward was already reckoned a saint by this time.

A number of lives of Edward were written in the centuries following his death in which he was portrayed as a martyr, generally seen as a victim of the Queen Dowager Ælfthryth, mother of Æthelred. He is today recognized as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church, and the Anglican Communion.

Edward the Martyr - MS Royal 14 B VI
Edward in an early fourteenth century Genealogical Roll of the Kings of England
King of the English
Reign8 July 975 – 18 March 978
Bornc. 962
Died18 March 978 (aged 15–16)
Corfe Castle, Dorset, England
HouseHouse of Wessex
FatherEdgar, King of England
MotherÆthelflæd or Wulfthryth
Saint Edward the Martyr
King, Martyr
Venerated inAnglican Communion
Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
Major shrineChurch of St. Edward the Martyr, Brookwood
Feast18 March
3 September (Orthodox Church)
13 February (transfer of relics - True Orthodoxy)


Edward's date of birth is unknown, but he was the eldest of Edgar's three children. He was probably in his teens when he succeeded his father, who died at age 32 in 975.[1] Edward was known to be King Edgar's son, but he was not the son of Queen Ælfthryth, the third wife of Edgar. This much and no more is known from contemporary charters.[2]

Later sources of questionable reliability address the identity of Edward's mother. The earliest such source is a life of Dunstan by Osbern of Canterbury, probably written in the 1080s. Osbern writes that Edward's mother was a nun at Wilton Abbey whom the king seduced.[3] When Eadmer wrote a life of Dunstan some decades later, he included an account of Edward's parentage obtained from Nicholas of Worcester. This denied that Edward was the son of a liaison between Edgar and a nun, presenting him as the son of Æthelflæd, daughter of Ordmær, "ealdorman of the East Anglians", whom Edgar had married in the years when he ruled Mercia (between 957 and Eadwig's death in 959).[4] Additional accounts are offered by Goscelin in his life of Edgar's daughter Saint Edith of Wilton and in the histories of John of Worcester and William of Malmesbury.[5] Together these various accounts suggest that Edward's mother was probably a noblewoman named Æthelflæd, surnamed Candida or Eneda—"the White" or "White Duck".[6]

A charter of 966 describes Ælfthryth, whom Edgar had married in 964, as the king's "lawful wife", and their eldest son Edmund as the legitimate son of the king. Edward is noted as the king's son.[7] Bishop Æthelwold of Winchester was a supporter of Ælfthryth and Æthelred, but Dunstan, the Archbishop of Canterbury appears to have supported Edward, and a genealogy created at his Glastonbury Abbey circa 969 gives Edward precedence over Edmund and Æthelred.[8] Ælfthryth was the widow of Æthelwald, Ealdorman of East Anglia and perhaps Edgar's third wife.[9] Cyril Hart argues that the contradictions regarding the identity of Edward's mother, and the fact that Edmund appears to have been regarded as the legitimate heir until his death in 971, suggest that Edward was probably illegitimate.[10] However, Barbara Yorke thinks that Æthelflæd was Edgar's wife, but Ælfthryth was a consecrated queen when she gave birth to her sons, who were therefore considered more "legitimate" than Edward.[11] Æthelwold denied that Edward was legitimate, but Yorke considers this "opportunist special pleading".[12]

Edmund's full brother Æthelred may have inherited his position as heir.[13] On a charter to the New Minster at Winchester, the names of Ælfthryth and her son Æthelred appear ahead of Edward's name.[1] When Edgar died on 8 July 975, Æthelred was probably nine and Edward only a few years older.[14]

Disputed succession

Edgar had been a strong ruler who had forced monastic reforms on a probably unwilling church and nobility, aided by the leading clerics of the day, Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury; Oswald of Worcester, Archbishop of York; and Bishop Æthelwold of Winchester. By endowing the reformed Benedictine monasteries with the lands required for their support, he had dispossessed many lesser nobles, and had rewritten leases and loans of land to the benefit of the monasteries. Secular clergy, many of whom would have been members of the nobility, had been expelled from the new monasteries. While Edgar lived, he strongly supported the reformers, but following his death, the discontents which these changes had provoked came into the open.[15]

The leading figures had all been supporters of the reform, but they were no longer united. Relations between Archbishop Dunstan and Bishop Æthelwold may have been strained.[16] Archbishop Oswald was at odds with Ealdorman Ælfhere, Ealdorman of Mercia,[17] while Ælfhere and his kin were rivals for power with the affinity of Æthelwine, Ealdorman of East Anglia.[18] Dunstan was said to have questioned Edgar's marriage to Queen Dowager Ælfthryth and the legitimacy of their son Æthelred.[19]

These leaders were divided as to whether Edward or Æthelred should succeed Edgar. Neither law nor precedent offered much guidance. The choice between the sons of Edward the Elder had divided his kingdom, and Edgar's elder brother Eadwig had been forced to give over a large part of the kingdom to Edgar.[20] The Queen Dowager certainly supported the claims of her son Æthelred, aided by Bishop Æthelwold; and Dunstan supported Edward, aided by his fellow archbishop Oswald. It is likely that Ealdorman Ælfhere and his allies supported Æthelred and that Æthelwine and his allies supported Edward, although some historians suggest the opposite.[21]

Later sources suggest that perceptions of legitimacy played a part in the arguments, as did the relative age of the two candidates. In time, Edward was anointed by Archbishops Dunstan and Oswald at Kingston upon Thames, most likely in 975.[22] There is evidence that the settlement involved a degree of compromise. Æthelred appears to have been given lands which normally belonged to the king's sons, some of which had been granted by Edgar to Abingdon Abbey and which were forcibly repossessed for Æthelred by the leading nobles.[23]

Edward's reign

A penny minted during Edward's reign at Stamford, Lincolnshire, one of the Five Burghs

After recording Edward's succession, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports that a comet appeared, and that famine and "manifold disturbances" followed.[24] The "manifold disturbances", sometimes called the anti-monastic reaction, appear to have started soon after Edgar's death. During this time, the experienced Ealdorman Oslac of Northumbria, effective ruler of much of northern England, was exiled due to unknown circumstances.[25] Oslac was followed as ealdorman by Thored, either Oslac's son of that name or Thored Gunnar's son mentioned by the Chronicle in 966.[26]

Edward, or rather those who were wielding power on his behalf, also appointed a number of new ealdormen to positions in Wessex. Little is known of two of these men, and it is difficult to determine which faction, if any, they belonged to. Edwin, probably ruling in Sussex, and perhaps also parts of Kent and Surrey, was buried at Abingdon, an abbey patronised by Ælfhere. Æthelmær, who oversaw Hampshire, held lands in Rutland, perhaps suggesting links to Æthelwine.

The third ealdorman, Æthelweard, today best known for his Latin history, ruled in the west. Æthelweard was a descendant of King Æthelred of Wessex and probably the brother of King Eadwig's wife. He appears to have been a supporter of Edward rather than of either faction.[27]

In some places, the secular clergy who had been driven from the monasteries returned, driving the regular clergy out in their turn. Bishop Æthelwold had been the main enemy of the seculars, and Archbishop Dunstan appears to have done little to aid his fellow reformer at this time.[28] More generally, the magnates took the opportunity to undo many of Edgar's grants to monasteries and to force the abbots to rewrite leases and loans to favour the local nobility. Ealdorman Ælfhere was the leader in this regard, attacking Oswald's network of monasteries across Mercia.[29] Ælfhere's rival Æthelwine, while a staunch protector of his family monastery of Ramsey Abbey, treated Ely Abbey and other monasteries harshly.[30] At some point during these disorders, Ælfhere and Æthelwine appear to have come close to open warfare. This may well have been related to Ælfhere's ambitions in East Anglia and to attacks upon Ramsey Abbey. Æthelwine, supported by his kinsman Ealdorman Byrhtnoth of Essex and others unspecified, mustered an army and caused Ælfhere to back down.[31]

A Chronicle of England - Page 072 - Edward Murdered at Corfe
In the 19th-century depiction by James William Edmund Doyle, Edward the Martyr is offered a cup of mead by Ælfthryth, widow of the late Edgar, unaware that her attendant is about to murder him.

Very few charters survive from Edward's reign, perhaps as few as three, leaving Edward's brief reign in obscurity. By contrast, numerous charters survived from the reigns of his father Edgar and half-brother Æthelred. All of the surviving Edward charters concern the royal heartland of Wessex; two deal with Crediton where Edward's former tutor Sideman was bishop.[32] During Edgar's reign, dies for coins were cut only at Winchester and distributed from there to other mints across the kingdom. Edward's reign permitted dies to be cut locally at York and at Lincoln. The general impression is of a reduction or breakdown of royal authority in the midlands and north.[33] The machinery of government continued to function, as councils and synods met as customary during Edward's reign, at Kirtlington in Oxfordshire after Easter 977, and again at Calne in Wiltshire the following year. During the meeting at Calne, some councillors were killed and others injured by the collapse of the floor of their room.[34]


The version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle containing the most detailed account records that Edward was murdered in the evening of 18 March 978, while visiting Ælfthryth and Æthelred, probably at or near the mound on which the ruins of Corfe Castle now stand. It adds that he was buried at Wareham "without any royal honours". The compiler of this version of the Chronicle, manuscript E, called the Peterborough Chronicle, says:

"No worse deed for the English race was done than this was, since they first sought out the land of Britain. Men murdered him, but God exalted him. In life he was an earthly king; after death he is now a heavenly saint. His earthly relatives would not avenge him, but his Heavenly Father has much avenged him."[35]

Other recensions of the Chronicle report less detail, the oldest text stating only that he was killed, while versions from the 1040s say that he was martyred.[36]

Corfe Castle2
Corfe Castle from below

Of other early sources, the life of Oswald of Worcester, attributed to Byrhtferth of Ramsey, adds that Edward was killed by Æthelred's advisers, who attacked him when he was dismounting. It agrees that he was buried without ceremony at Wareham.[37] Archbishop Wulfstan II alludes to the killing of Edward in his Sermo Lupi ad Anglos, written not later than 1016. A recent study translates his words as follows:

"And a very great betrayal of a lord it is also in the world, that a man betray his lord to death, or drive him living from the land, and both have come to pass in this land: Edward was betrayed, and then killed, and after that burned ..."[38]

Death of edward martyr
Ælfthryth looks on as Edward is stabbed to death: from a Victorian edition of Foxe's Book of Martyrs

Later sources, further removed from events, such as the late 11th-century Passio S. Eadwardi and John of Worcester, claim that Ælfthryth organised the killing of Edward, while Henry of Huntingdon wrote that she killed Edward herself.[39]

Modern historians have offered a variety of interpretations of Edward's killing. Three main theories have been proposed. Firstly, that Edward was killed, as the life of Oswald claims, by nobles in Æthelred's service, either as a result of a personal quarrel, or to place their master on the throne.[40] The life of Oswald portrays Edward as an unstable young man who, according to Frank Stenton: "had offended many important persons by his intolerable violence of speech and behaviour. Long after he had passed into veneration as a saint it was remembered that his outbursts of rage had alarmed all who knew him, and especially the members of his own household."[41] This may be a trope of hagiography.[42]

In the second version, Ælfthryth was implicated, either beforehand by plotting the killing, or afterwards in allowing the killers to go free and unpunished.[43]

A third alternative, noting that Edward in 978 was very close to ruling on his own, proposes that Ealdorman Ælfhere was behind the killing so as to preserve his own influence and to prevent Edward taking revenge for Ælfhere's actions earlier in the reign.[44] John notes this and interprets Ælfhere's part in Edward's reburial as being a penance for the assassination.[45]

Reburial and early cult

Shaftesbury Abbey
The Great Seal of Shaftesbury Abbey, where Edward's relics lay until the English Reformation

Edward's body lay at Wareham for a year before being disinterred. Ælfhere initiated the reinterment, perhaps as a gesture of reconciliation. According to the life of Oswald, Edward's body was found to be incorrupt when it was disinterred (which was taken as a miraculous sign). The body was taken to the Shaftesbury Abbey, a nunnery with royal connections which had been endowed by King Alfred the Great and where Edward and Æthelred's grandmother Ælfgifu had spent her latter years.

Edward's remains were reburied with lavish public ceremony. Later versions, such as the Passio S. Eadwardi, have more complicated accounts. It said that Edward's body was concealed in a marsh, where it was revealed by miraculous events. The Passio dates the reburial to 18 February.[46]

In 1001, Edward's relics (for he was considered a saint, although never canonized) were translated to a more prominent place within the nunnery at Shaftesbury. The ceremonies are said to have been led by the then-Bishop of Sherborne, Wulfsige III, accompanied by a senior cleric whom the Passio calls Elsinus, sometimes identified with Ælfsige, the abbot of the New Minster, Winchester. King Æthelred, preoccupied with the threat of a Danish invasion, did not attend in person, but he issued a charter to the Shaftesbury nuns late in 1001 granting them lands at Bradford on Avon, which is thought to be related. A 13th-century calendar of saints gives the date of this translation as 20 June.[47]

The rise of Edward's cult has been interpreted in various ways. It is sometimes portrayed as a popular movement, or as the product of a political attack on King Æthelred by former supporters of Edward. Alternatively, Æthelred has been seen as one of the key forces in the promotion of Edward's cult and that of their sister Eadgifu (Edith of Wilton). He was thought to make the charter in 1001 granting land to Shaftesbury at the elevation of Edward's relics, and some accounts suggest that Æthelred legislated the observation of Edward's feast days across England in a law code of 1008. It is unclear whether this innovation, seemingly drafted by Archbishop Wulfstan II, dates from Æthelred's reign. It may instead have been promulgated by King Cnut. David Rollason has drawn attention to the increased importance of the cults of other murdered royal saints in this period. Among these are the cults of King Ecgberht of Kent's nephews, whose lives form part of the Mildrith Legend, and those of the Mercian Saints Kenelm and Wigstan.[48]

Later cult

St Edward the Martyr Shrine Brookwood
The Shrine of St Edward in the Church of St. Edward the Martyr, Brookwood (2018)
Edward the Martyr Plaque Brookwood
Plaque to John Edward Wilson-Claridge at the Church of St. Edward the Martyr, Brookwood; he recovered and donated the supposed remains of Edward the Martyr

During the sixteenth century and English Reformation, King Henry VIII led the dissolution of the monasteries and many holy places were demolished. Edward's remains were hidden so as to avoid desecration.[49]

In 1931, the relics were recovered by Wilson-Claridge during an archaeological excavation; their identity was confirmed by Dr. T. E. A. Stowell, an osteologist. In 1970, examinations performed on the relics suggested that the young man had died in the same manner as Edward.[50] Wilson-Claridge wanted the relics to go to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. His brother, however, wanted them to be returned to Shaftesbury Abbey. For decades, the relics were kept in a cutlery box in a bank vault at the Midland Bank in Woking, Surrey[51] because of the unresolved dispute about which of two churches should have them.[52]

In time, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia was victorious and placed the relics in a church in Brookwood Cemetery in Woking, with the enshrinement ceremony occurring in September 1984.[50] The St Edward Brotherhood of monks was organized there as well.[50] The church is now named St Edward the Martyr Orthodox Church, and it is under the jurisdiction of a traditionalist Greek Orthodox community. However, while the bones are of approximately the right date, they are of a man in his late twenties or early thirties rather than a youth in his mid teens.[53]

In the Orthodox Church, St Edward is ranked as a Passion-bearer, a type of saint who accepts death out of love for Christ.[50] Edward was widely venerated before the canonization process was formalized,[54] and he is also regarded as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.[50][55] His feast day is celebrated on 18 March, the day of his murder. The Orthodox Church commemorates him a second time each year on 3 September and commemorates the translation of his relics into Orthodox possession on 13 February.

See also


  1. ^ a b Higham, Death of Anglo-Saxon England, p. 7.
  2. ^ Hart, "Edward", p. 783; Williams, Æthelred the Unready, p. 2.
  3. ^ Hart, "Edward", p. 783; Williams, Æthelred the Unready, p. 3.
  4. ^ Williams, Æthelred the Unready, pp. 3–4.
  5. ^ Hart, "Edward", p. 783; Williams, Æthelred the Unready, pp. 4–5.
  6. ^ Higham, Death of Anglo-Saxon England, p. 6.
  7. ^ Williams, Æthelred the Unready, p. 2; John, Reassessing Anglo-Saxon England, p. 120
  8. ^ Yorke, "The Women in Edgar's Life", p. 149
  9. ^ Stafford. Unification and Conquest. pp. 52&57.
  10. ^ Hart, Cyril (2007), "Edward the Martyr", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, retrieved 9 November 2008
  11. ^ Yorke, "The Women in Edgar's Life", pp. 147–48
  12. ^ Yorke, "Æthelwold and the Politics of the Tenth Century", p. 86
  13. ^ Miller, "Edgar"; Higham, Death of Anglo-Saxon England, p. 7. Williams, Æthelred the Unready, p. 8, dissents from this view.
  14. ^ Miller, "Edward the Martyr".
  15. ^ John, Reassessing Anglo-Saxon England, pp. 113–9; Hart, "Edward", pp. 783–4; Miller, "Edgar"; Higham, Death of Anglo-Saxon England, pp. 2–4; Fisher, "Anti-Monastic Reaction", pp. 254–255 & 266.
  16. ^ Hart, "Edward", 784.
  17. ^ Higham, Death of Anglo-Saxon England, p. 9; Williams, "Ælfhere".
  18. ^ Higham, Death of Anglo-Saxon England, pp. 4–5 & 9; Hart, "Æthelwine" .
  19. ^ Higham, Death of Anglo-Saxon England, pp. 7 & 8.
  20. ^ Higham, Death of Anglo-Saxon England, p. 9–12.
  21. ^ While Higham, Miller and Williams suggest that Ælfhere supported Æthelred, Hart makes Æthelwine and his party the supporters of Æthelred.
  22. ^ Williams, Æthelred the Unready, p. 10; Miller, "Edward the Martyr". Dales, Dunstan, p. 100, suggests that the inauguration may have taken place in March 976.
  23. ^ Williams, Æthelred the Unready, p. 10; this seizure is recorded in charter S 937.
  24. ^ Swanton, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, p. 121, Ms. D & E, s.a. 975 & p. 122, Ms. C, s.a. 976.
  25. ^ Williams, Æthelred the Unready, p. 11; Higham, Death of Anglo-Saxon England, p. 10; Fisher, "Anti-Monastic Reaction", p. 268; Dales, Dunstan, p. 100; Swanton, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, p. 121, Ms. D, s.a. 975.
  26. ^ Williams, Æthelred the Unready, p. 24; Swanton, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, p. 119, Ms. E, s.a. 966.
  27. ^ Higham, Death of Anglo-Saxon England, pp. 11–12; Williams, Æthelred the Unready, pp. 9–10, 17 & 22.
  28. ^ Hart, "Edward", p. 784.
  29. ^ Williams, "Ælfhere". Ælfhere was remembered as a generous patron and protector of the reformed Glastonbury Abbey.
  30. ^ Fisher, "Anti-Monastic Reaction", pp. 266–267; Hart, "Æthelwine". Dales, Dunstan, p. 101.
  31. ^ Williams, Æthelred the Unready, pp. 10–11.
  32. ^ Williams, Æthelred the Unready, p. 11; Hart, "Edward", p. 784; Swanton, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, p. 122, Ms. C, s.a. 977.
  33. ^ Hart, "Edward", p. 784; Higham, Death of Anglo-Saxon England, pp. 11 & 13.
  34. ^ Swanton, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, p. 122, Ms. E, s.a. 977 & p. 123, Ms. C, s.a. 978; Dales, Dunstan, p. 102; Hart, "Æthelwine"; Higham, Death of Anglo-Saxon England, p. 13.
  35. ^ Swanton, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, p. 123, Ms. E, s.a. 979, also in Ms. D; Williams, Æthelred the Unready, p. 11; Higham, Death of Anglo-Saxon England, pp. 17–18.
  36. ^ Swanton, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, p. 121. Ms. A, s.a. 978 & Ms. C, s.a. 978.
  37. ^ Williams, Æthelred the Unready, pp. 11–12; Hart, "Edward", pp. 784–785; Miller, "Edward the Martyr".
  38. ^ Melissa Bernstein Ser's translation in her Electronic Sermo Lupi ad Anglos Archived November 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  39. ^ Williams, Æthelred the Unready, pp. 12–13; Miller, "Edward the Martyr"; Dales, Dunstan, p. 103.
  40. ^ So, for example, Williams, Æthelred the Unready, p. 12; Dales, Dunstan, p. 103.
  41. ^ Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England, p. 372
  42. ^ Williams, Æthelred the Unready, pp. 8–9.
  43. ^ Thus Hart, "Edward", p. 785; Higham, Death of Anglo-Saxon England, p. 14.
  44. ^ For this, see Higham, Death of Anglo-Saxon England, p. 12
  45. ^ John, Reassessing Anglo-Saxon England, pp. 119–121
  46. ^ Stafford, Unification and Conquest, p. 59; Ridyard, Royal Saints, pp. 155–156; Hart, "Edward", p. 785; Williams, Æthelred the Unready, p. 16; Miller, "Edward the Martyr". It is possible that the Passio S. Eadwardi is based in part on an earlier life compiled at Shaftesbury.
  47. ^ Williams, Æthelred the Unready, pp. 15–16; Ridyard, Royal Saints, pp. 156–157. Æthelred's charter is S 899.
  48. ^ Williams, Æthelred the Unready, pp. 14–17; Rollason, Mildrith Legend, pp. 53–57; Hart, "Edward", p. 785; Miller, "Edward the Martyr"; Ridyard, Royal Saints, pp. 154–175.
  49. ^ Serfes, Nektarios, The Life Of Among The Saints Edward The Martyr, King Of England, Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church, retrieved 2007-09-26
  50. ^ a b c d e "St Edward the Martyr", Necropolis Notables, The Brookwood Cemetery Society, archived from the original on 2015-12-22, retrieved 2007-09-21
  51. ^ Magnificent Monarchs (Fact Attack series) p.20-21 by Ian Locke; published by Macmillan in 1999; ISBN 978-0330-374965
  52. ^ Longford, Elizabeth (1991), Oxford Book of Royal Anecdotes, Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, pp. 29–30, ISBN 0-19-282851-7
  53. ^ Williams, Æthelred the Unready, pp. 13–14
  54. ^ Mark Smith, AllExperts British History, 2006
  55. ^ "About St Edward's", St Edward King and Martyr, St Edward King and Martyr, archived from the original on 2007-10-04, retrieved 2007-10-05


  • Fisher, D. J. V. (1952), "The Anti-Monastic Reaction in the Reign of Edward the Martyr", Cambridge Historical Journal, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 10 (3): 254–270, doi:10.1017/s147469130000295x, JSTOR 3021114
  • Dales, Douglas J. (1988), Dunstan: Saint and Statesman, Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, ISBN 0-7188-2704-X
  • Fell, Christine (1971), Edward, King and Martyr, Leeds Texts and Monographs, Leeds: University of Leeds School of English, ISBN 0-902296-07-8
  • Hart, Cyril (2004), "Æthelwine [Ethelwine, Æthelwine Dei Amicus] (d. 992)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, retrieved 2008-05-14
  • Hart, Cyril (2004), "Edward [St Edward called Edward the Martyr] (c. 962–978)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 17, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 783–785, retrieved 2008-05-14
  • Higham, Nick (1997), The Death of Anglo-Saxon England, Stroud: Sutton, ISBN 0-7509-2469-1
  • John, Eric (1996), Reassessing Anglo-Saxon England, Manchester: Manchester University Press, ISBN 0-7190-4867-2
  • Loyn, H. R. (2000), The English Church, 940–1154, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, ISBN 0-582-30303-6
  • Miller, Sean (1999), "Edgar", in Lapidge, Michael (ed.), The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 158–159, ISBN 0-631-22492-0
  • Miller, Sean (1999), "Edward the Martyr", in Lapidge, Michael (ed.), The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England, Oxford: Blackwell, p. 163, ISBN 0-631-22492-0
  • ed. by Nigel Ramsay .... (1992), Ramsay, Nigel; Sparks, Margaret; Tatton-Brown, T. W. T. (eds.), St Dunstan : his life, times and cult, Woodbridge: Boydell, ISBN 0-85115-301-1CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  • Ridyard, Susan J. (1988), The Royal Saints of Anglo-Saxon England: A Study of West Saxon and East Anglian Cults, Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-30772-4
  • Rollason, D.W. (1982), The Mildrith Legend: A Study in Early Medieval Hagiography in England (Studies in the Early History of Britain), ISBN 0-7185-1201-4
  • Ser, Melissa Bernstein (1996), The Electronic Sermo Lupi ad Anglos, archived from the original on 2008-11-07, retrieved 2008-11-08
  • Stafford, Pauline (1989), Unification and Conquest: A Political and Social History of England in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries, London: Edward Arnold, ISBN 0-7131-6532-4
  • Stafford, Pauline (1999), "Ælfthryth"", in Lapidge, Michael (ed.), The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England, Oxford: Blackwell, p. 9, ISBN 0-631-22492-0
  • Stenton, Frank (1971), Anglo-Saxon England (3rd ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-280139-2
  • Williams, Ann (2004), "Ælfhere (d. 983)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, retrieved 2008-05-14
  • Williams, Ann (2003). Æthelred the Unready: The Ill-Counselled King. London: Hambeldon & London. ISBN 1-85285-382-4.
  • Yorke, Barbara (1988). "Æthelwold and the Politics of the Tenth Century". In Yorke, Barbara (ed.). Bishop Æthelwold: His Career and Influence. Woodbridge, UK: The Boydell Press. pp. 65–88. ISBN 978-0-85115-705-4.
  • Yorke, Barbara (2008). "The Women in Edgar's Life". In Scragg, Donald (ed.). Edgar, King of the English 959–975. Woodbridge, UK: The Boydell Press. ISBN 978 1 84383 928 6.

Further reading

  • Yorke, Barbara (1999). "Edward, King and Martyr: A Saxon Murder Mystery". In Keen, Laurence (ed.). Studies in the early history of Shaftesbury Abbey. Dorchester: Dorset County Council. ISBN 9780852168875.

External links

Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of the English
Succeeded by
Æthelred the Unready
Brookwood Cemetery

Brookwood Cemetery, also known as the London Necropolis, is a burial ground in Brookwood, Surrey, England. It is the largest cemetery in the United Kingdom and one of the largest in Europe. The cemetery is listed a Grade I site in the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

Church of St. Edward the Martyr, Brookwood

St. Edward the Martyr Orthodox Church is a True Orthodox Church in Brookwood, Surrey, England.

The monastic Saint Edward Brotherhood was established at Brookwood Cemetery in 1982 to prepare and care for a new Church in a fitting grade I landscape in which the relics of Saint Edward the Martyr were soon to be enshrined, the King of England who died in 978 and who was succeeded by force by Ethelred the Unready. It has two communities:

A small monastic community who chants the services of the church daily at the shrine

Orthodox Christians who form a mission parish. These Christians supplement the congregation on Sundays and feast daysSt. Edward's is part of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece (GOC), a Greek Old Calendarists True Orthodox Church headed by Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens. It became part of this jurisdiction in 2014 following the merger of the Orthodox Church of Greece (Holy Synod in Resistance), of which it had been a part since leaving the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia in 2007, with the GOC.

The church follows the Julian Calendar and does not maintain communion with the mainstream Eastern Orthodox Church. This church is in communion with the Old Calendar Orthodox Churches of Bulgaria and Romania and that part of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia which did not unite with the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In May 2007 it represented nearly one million traditionalist Orthodox Christians.

This is a scholarly branch of Eastern Christianity which maintains it follows original doctrines of Christianity. The Brotherhood and church body look in their lives to the spiritual heritage and example of the Russian Orthodox peoples and the many saints of Britain, particularly those of the formative Kingdom of England who lived in the first ten centuries after the life of Christ.

Church of St Edward King and Martyr, Goathurst

The Church of St Edward King and Martyr in Goathurst, Somerset, England dates from the 14th century and has been designated as a Grade I listed building.The parish was originally part of the Royal Forest of North Petherton and its first squire owned St Edward's church. The dedication to Edward the Martyr is unusual, Edward was a young Saxon king who was murdered by his stepmother Elfrida in 978 at Corfe Castle in Dorset so that her own son would become king.The church includes a 19th-century monument to three-year-old Isabella Kemeys, showing the child lying on a pillow holding a broken flower, and monuments to the Kemeys-Tynte family of Halswell House.

Coronation Stone, Kingston upon Thames

The Coronation Stone is an ancient sarsen stone block which is believed to have been the site of the coronation of seven Anglo-Saxon kings. It is now located next to the Guildhall in Kingston upon Thames, England. Kingston is now a town in the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames in Greater London, but remains the seat of the administration of the county of Surrey.

In Old English, tun, ton or don meant farmstead or settlement, so the name Kingston appears to mean farmstead of the kings. A local legend that these Saxon coronations gave Kingston its name is contradicted by the records of the 838 council.Æthelstan was consecrated king at Kingston in 925, Eadred in 946 and Æthelred the Unready in 979. There is also some evidence that Edward the Elder, Edmund I, Eadwig and Edward the Martyr were consecrated in the town. According to John Stow, writing in the late sixteenth century, Æthelstan was crowned on a stage in the market place, but it was later believed that the kings were crowned in the ancient church of St Mary, which collapsed in 1730. A large stone block was recovered soon afterwards from the ruins of the chapel, and it has since been regarded as the "Coronation Stone". It was at first used as a mounting block, but in 1850 it was placed in the market place on a plinth which had the names of the seven kings believed to have been crowned on it inscribed around the side.Plans are currently underway to move the stone from the Guildhall to the churchyard of Kingston's old parish church, All Saints Church.


Eadweard may refer to:

Eadweard I (c. 874–924), known as Edward the Elder, king of the Anglo-Saxons

Eadweard II (c. 962–978), known as Edward the Martyr, king of England

Eadweard III (c. 1003–1066), known as Edward the Confessor, king of England

Eadweard Muybridge (1830–1904), English photographer

Eadweard (film), 2015 Canadian drama film

Edgar the Peaceful

Edgar (Old English: Ēadgār, [æːɑdɣɑːr]; c. 943—8 July 975), known as the Peaceful or the Peaceable, was King of England from 959 until his death. He was the younger son of Edmund I and Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury, and came to the throne as a teenager, following the death of his older brother Eadwig. As king, Edgar further consolidated the political unity achieved by his predecessors, with his reign being noted for its relative stability. His most trusted advisor was Dunstan, whom he recalled from exile and made Archbishop of Canterbury. The pinnacle of Edgar's reign was his coronation at Bath in 973, which was organised by Dunstan and forms the basis for the current coronation ceremony. After his death he was succeeded by his son Edward, although the succession was disputed.


Littleton-upon-Severn is a village and civil parish in South Gloucestershire near the mouth of the River Severn and is located to the west of Thornbury. Historically it belonged to the Hundred of Langley and Swinehead. In 1831 it had a population of 179 people.A church was first mentioned as being in the village when the Abbott of Malmuesbury held a Court Leet here each year under a licence from King Edward the Martyr (975-979), and in the Domesday Book, it was listed as being in the Langley hundred, and having a priest and thirty acres of pasture. In the twelfth century, the wooden church was replaced with a stone building, and the font and piscine are also twelfth century.The present parish church of St Mary's of Malmesbury is a Grade II* listed building, having been registered on 30 March 1960. It dates from the fourteenth century but was largely rebuilt in 1878. It is built out of rubble stone in the Decorated style, with a roof of fish-scale tiles. The plan consists of a nave, south porch and aisle, chancel, north vestry, and tower at the west end.The village contains a popular 17th Century pub called The White Hart. In 2015 it as reported that locals were distressed with the prospect of a developer wanting to built a refugee centre for some 1000 migrants in the village.Littleton Brick Pits are an artificial lagoon, once the site of clay extraction for brick making, where the Avon Wildlife Trust have reintroduced reedbeds close to the Severn Estuary, as a feeding and resting place for migrating birds.

Medieval parish churches of York

York had around forty-five parish churches in 1300. Twenty survive, in whole or in part, a number surpassed in England only by Norwich, and twelve are currently used for worship. This article consists of, first, a list of medieval churches which still exist in whole or in part, and, second, a list of medieval churches which are known to have existed in the past but have been completely demolished.

Peas Hill

Peas Hill is a street in central Cambridge, England. It runs between Wheeler Street to the south and Market Hill to the north. King's Parade runs parallel with the street to the west. Guildhall Street runs parallel to the east.

The area is not strictly speaking a hill, being lower in elevation than some surrounding areas, but was once a slope down to the river upon which the city's main fish market stood. It is likely that its name is a corruption of the Latin pisces (fish) as there is no evidence that peas were ever exclusively grown or sold on the site.St Edward King and Martyr church is on the west side of the street. The church is dedicated to Edward the Martyr, who was King of England from 975 until his murder in 978. It was at St Edward's in 1525 that what is said to have been the first sermon of the English Reformation took place. As such, the church is sometimes called the "Cradle of the Reformation".Also on Peas Hill is the Cambridge Arts Theatre.

This venue is used by the Cambridge Footlights amongst others.

The Cambridge Guildhall is to the east, on the corner with the Market Square. The building is used by the Cambridge City Council.

Raymond Butt

Raymond Venimore Jack Butt FRAS (26 February 1941 – 23 March 2018) was a British schoolteacher and fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. An accomplished rower and coach, he twice won the Boston rowing marathon. He was a member of the Stewards' Enclosure at Henley Royal Regatta for nearly 50 years.

He was said to be able to recite pi to 3,500 places and to have once memorised the entire British railway timetable. He formed a large collection of railway tickets and in 1995 published a directory of "every station, halt, platform and stopping place on the British passenger network".

Shaftesbury Abbey

Shaftesbury Abbey was an abbey that housed nuns in Shaftesbury, Dorset. It was founded in about 888, and dissolved in 1539 during the English Reformation by the order of Thomas Cromwell, minister to King Henry VIII. At the time it was the second-wealthiest nunnery in England, behind only Sion Abbey.

Sideman (bishop)

Sideman (or Sidemann) was a medieval Bishop of Crediton.

Sideman was elected to Crediton in 973. He died on 30 April or 1 May or 2 May in 977. According to Byrhtferth of Ramsey, Sideman was a protégé of Ælfhere, ealdorman of Mercia. The same source says that Edward the Martyr was fostered by Sideman for a time before Edward's father's death. He died at a Royal council held at Kirtlington in Oxfordshire in 977 and was buried at Abingdon Abbey in Berkshire (now Oxfordshire).

St Edward's Church

St Edward's Church may refer to:

St Edward's Church, Hockley, Birmingham, England

St Edward's Church, Kempley, Gloucestershire, England

St. Edwards Church (Little Rock, Arkansas)

St Edward's Church, Roath, Cardiff, Wales

St Edward's Church, Sanday, Scotland

St Edward's Church, Selly Park, Birmingham, England

St Edward's Church, Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, England

St. Edward's Catholic Church, Shamokin, Pennsylvania, United States

Church of St Edward the Confessor, Romford, Essex, England

Church of St. Edward the Martyr, Brookwood, Surrey, England

Church of St Edward King and Martyr, Goathurst, Somerset, England

St Edward King and Martyr, Cambridge

St Edward King and Martyr is a church located on Peas Hill in central Cambridge, England. It is dedicated to Edward the Martyr, who was King of England from 975 until his murder in 978. It was at St Edward's in 1525 that what is said to have been the first sermon of the English Reformation took place, and the church is sometimes labelled the "Cradle of the Reformation".


Thored (Old English: Ðoreð or Þoreð; fl. 979–992) was a 10th-century ealdorman of York, ruler of the southern half of the old Kingdom of Northumbria on behalf of the king of England. He was the son of either Gunnar or Oslac, northern ealdormen. If he was the former, he may have attained adulthood by the 960s, when a man of his name raided Westmorland. Other potential appearances in the records are likewise uncertain until 979, the point from which Thored's period as ealdorman can be accurately dated.

Although historians differ in their opinions about his relationship, if any, to Kings Edgar the Peaceable and Edward the Martyr, it is generally thought that he enjoyed a good relationship with King Æthelred II. His daughter Ælfgifu married Æthelred. Thored was ealdorman in Northumbria for much of his reign, disappearing from the sources in 992 after being appointed by Æthelred to lead an expedition against the Vikings.

Ælfhere, Ealdorman of Mercia

Ælfhere (died in 983) was ealdorman of Mercia. His family, along with those of Æthelstan Half-King and Æthelstan Rota, rose to greatness in the middle third of the 10th century. In the reign of Edward the Martyr, Ælfhere was a leader of the anti-monastic reaction and an ally of Edward's stepmother Queen Dowager Ælfthryth. After the killing of Edward by Ælfthryth's servants in 978, Ælfhere supported the new king, Ælfthryth's son Æthelred the Unready, and was the leading nobleman in the Kingdom of England until his death in 983.

Ælfthryth, wife of Edgar

Ælfthryth (c.  945 – 1000 or 1001, also Alfrida, Elfrida or Elfthryth) was an English queen, the second or third wife of King Edgar of England. Ælfthryth was the first king's wife known to have been crowned and anointed as Queen of the Kingdom of England. Mother of King Æthelred the Unready, she was a powerful political figure. She was possibly linked to the murder of her stepson King Edward the Martyr and appeared as a stereotypical bad queen and evil stepmother in many medieval histories.

Æthelred the Unready

Æthelred II (Old English: Æþelræd, pronounced [æðelræːd]; c. 966 – 23 April 1016), known as the Unready, was King of the English from 978 to 1013 and again from 1014 until his death. His epithet does not derive from the modern word "unready", but rather from the Old English unræd meaning "poorly advised"; it is a pun on his name, which means "well advised".

Æthelred was the son of King Edgar and Queen Ælfthryth. He came to the throne at about the age of 12, following the assassination of his older half-brother, Edward the Martyr. His brother's murder was carried out by supporters of his own claim to the throne, although he was too young to have any personal involvement. The chief problem of Æthelred's reign was conflict with the Danes. After several decades of relative peace, Danish raids on English territory began again in earnest in the 980s. Following the Battle of Maldon in 991, Æthelred paid tribute, or Danegeld, to the Danish king. In 1002, Æthelred ordered what became known as the St. Brice's Day massacre of Danish settlers. In 1013, King Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark invaded England, as a result of which Æthelred fled to Normandy in 1013 and was replaced by Sweyn. However, he returned as king for two years after Sweyn's death in 1014. Æthelred's 37-year reign was the longest of any Anglo-Saxon king of England, and was only surpassed in the 13th century, by Henry III. Æthelred was briefly succeeded by his son, Edmund Ironside, but he died after a few months and was replaced by Sweyn's son, Cnut. Another of his sons, Edward the Confessor, became king in 1042.

Æthelwold of Winchester

Æthelwold of Winchester (904/9 – 984) was Bishop of Winchester from 963 to 984 and one of the leaders of the tenth-century monastic reform movement in Anglo-Saxon England.

Monastic life had declined to a low ebb in England in the ninth century, partly due to the ravages caused by Viking attacks, and partly because of a preference for secular clergy, who were cheaper and were thought to better serve the spiritual needs of the laity. Kings from Alfred the Great onwards took an interest in the Benedictine rule, but it was only in the middle of the tenth century that kings became ready to commit substantial funds to its support. Æthelwold became the leading propagandist for the monastic reform movement, although he made enemies by his ruthless methods, and he was more extreme in his opposition to secular clergy than his fellow reformers, Saint Dunstan and Oswald of Worcester. He is nevertheless recognised as a key figure in the reform movement, who also made a major contribution to the revival of learning and the arts. He was an important political figure, backing Ethelred the Unready against Edward the Martyr, and playing a major advisory role during Ethelred's minority.

Anglo-Saxon England
Kingdom of England
Lords Protectors of the Commonwealth
Kingdom of England
British / Welsh
East Anglian
East Saxon
and Old Saxon
Irish and Scottish
South Saxon
West Saxon
Unclear origin

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.