The Orthodox Christian Parish of St Edward, Athelhampton
Saint Edward, King and Passion Bearer
Edward lived from c.959 to 978 or 979. He was the great grandson of Alfred the Great, and uncle of Edward the Confessor.
After a short reign he was murdered near the gates to Corfe Castle on 18th March 978/9. It was thought that his step-mother was implicated, and her son, Ethelred, succeeded Edward. He is known to history as “the Unready” (from the Saxon “unræd”, or “poorly-advised”).
Edward was initially buried at Wareham, where many came to visit and pray at his grave, and miracles were reported.
In 980 the body was translated to Shaftesbury Abbey, where it was enshrined in 1001 and Edward was canonised in 1008. During the Middle Ages, many pilgrims visited the shrine until the Reformation, when it was destroyed and the relics disappeared.
The relics were re-discovered in the ruins of the Abbey in 1931 and are now enshrined in the church of the Orthodox Monastery of St Edward, in Brookwood Cemetery, Surrey.
“Men murdered him but God has magnified him.” (Anglo-Saxon Chronicle)
On the night of the murder, the body of the king was housed temporarily in the cottage of a blind woman, on the site where the Parish Church now stands. The following morning the blind woman awoke and discovered that her sight had been restored. The first thing that she saw was a bush of white broom.
Until the end of her life, on the anniversary of his death (18th March) she made pilgrimage to the tomb of the king and placed on it a bunch of white broom.