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The story of St Edward the Martyr, King of England….

I think that when it comes to royal St Edwards, most of us think of St Edward the Confessor, and his memorable tomb in Westminster Abbey. But there is another St Edward who was also King of England—St Edward the Martyr, who was murdered on 18th March 978, aged 19 at the most. Between 3rd and 16th September 981, having first been buried in a nondescript grave, when miracles took place where he lay, his relics were moved to Shaftesbury Abbey and he was reinterred with all the ceremony that was his due.

If you go to you will find a very interesting and well illustrated article about his life, and places where he is remembered to this day.

The ruins of Shaftesbury Abbey, Dorset

Putting things right

I am going to start with a statement that too many historians prefer to ignore: England existed before 14 October 1066 and existed as a single kingdom for some of that time.

So why do our monarchs’ regnal numbers ignore this? Edward the Confessor died at the beginning of that very year. Edward the Martyr earned his nickname at Corfe Castle under a century earlier. Edward the Elder succeeded Alfred under two centuries before the twilight of the Anglo-Saxon monarchy. All reigned as part of the House of Wessex which outlasted the other heptarchs yet, when that name resurfaced under the crown in 1272, its bearer bore the number one (I).

Is it time to correct this? Should Prince George of Cambridge have sons with Saxon names and they succeed in due course, should they take adjusted regnal numbers eg Edmund III, Egbert IV? Should new editions of all general history books adjust the numbers of the Edwards to date?

An interesting comparison

We have posted before about the lives of noblewomen and how they were almost never executed before the “Tudor” era began – including how King Lear, featuring the death of Cordelia, reflected this changed reality.

Here is as near as we can manage to a counter-example from 1003, after the St. Brice’s Day Massacre of the Danes, to 1535, before Anne Boleyn’s end: Maud de Braose, who died from starvation in captivity – a form of passive violence that seemed also to be the fate of Richard II:

Thankyou to Sharon Bennett Connolly.

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