This Thursday 13th October, is the (optional) Memorial of St. Edward the Confessor (1003-1066), the last of the old English kings, called ‘the Confessor’ because of his extraordinary piety. The son of King Ethelred the Unready, the young Edward was educated first in Ely. At the Danish invasion of 1013, he was sent with his mother to Normandy where he remained until being recalled to England on the death of his half-brother to ascend the throne in 1042 and become the King of England. Two years later, he married Edith, the daughter of the powerful Earl Godwin, although their marriage was childless. Edward’s rule was peaceful and prosperous. He was popular with the poor for his generosity, gentleness and sound government, for example the remission of crippling taxes. He faced opposition from nobles with firmness, and banished Godwin in 1051. He also exiled one of Godwin’s sons, after a rebellion in Northumbria. Near the end of his life, Edward rebuilt St. Peter’s Abbey at Westminster, the site of the modern Westminster Abbey. He spent vast sums on the Romanesque church, but was too ill to attend its consecration. He was buried there and his body has remained there to the present day. He was canonised in 1161 and his relics translated to a shrine in the abbey on this day in 1163. During the Middle Ages, Edward was widely regarded as the Patron of England, together with St. Edmund of East Anglia, although the cult of both was eventually overtaken by the popularity of the warrior St. George.
Let’s remember on Thursday in our prayers to pray for the clergy and people of the parish of St. Edward in Windsor.