EDWARD the Confessor
Feast Day 13
- Edward was born in 1003, son of King
Ethelred II and Queen Emma. When Ethelred was unseated by Danish
invasion. Edward and his brother were sent to Denmark
to be quietly killed, but the officer in charge took pity on the boys, and
sent them to Sweden,
and from there they went to the King
to be raised and educated. The brothers then moved to Normandy staying with
Queen Emma's family, and waited their chance to return to England.
- After the death of Ethelred, the Witan (Anglo-Saxon assembly of noblemen
and bishops) chose Canute, the son of the Danish King Swein, to be king, over
riding the claim of Edmund Ironside. Edmund and Canute fought a number of battles, resulting in Edmund's defeat, and
king of all England. Seven years of fighting followed Canute's death to
establish who should be king. The Witan appointed Edward and he ascended to the throne of his
April, Easter, 1042.
Edward gained a reputation as just and worthy of the kingship,
and the people of England
gave him their support, although the English Earls were unhappy at Edward's
preference for Norman advisors, even though there were probably more English
at court than Normans.
During his reign England became the strongest kingdom in Europe. Edward repulsed invasion, helped restore the
to his throne, remitted unjust taxes. and was noted for his generosity to
and strangers, and for his piety and love of God. He married to satisfy his
people, but he and his Queen, Edith, remained celibate. His childlessness
made the succession to the throne uncertain.
- Edward had exiled his father in law, Godwin , after he and others had
plotted against him. He was forced to receive Godwin back in 1052, but not
until after William Duke of Normandy had visited England. It is believed
that Edward promised the throne of England to William on his death. After
Godwin's return, Edward seemed to lose interest in the politics of court and
government and devoted himself more and more to religion.
- Edward had a humility and asceticism rare in a ruler of his time and his
piety impressed his subjects. He was reported to have the power to heal by touch.
- Edward spent large sums of money on the building of Westminster Abbey.
dedicated to the glory of God, St. Peter and all God's Saints. The Abbey was
consecrated on the feast of the Holy Innocents, 28 December 1065. Edward
died just a few days later, on the eve of the feast of the Epiphany, 5
January 1066. He was buried in the newly consecrated Abbey on 6 January
1066. He was canonised with the title of "Confessor" by Pope
Alexander 111 in 1161. During the Middle Ages, the Abbey became a place of
pilgrimage for those seeking the grace of St. Edward.
- Adapted from "A Time of Jubilee - St. Edward's Lees