Edward the Confessor – 13th October

Founder, Westminster Abbey

If you approve of giving money to help cathedrals survive, then Edward the Confessor (1003 – 66) is the saint for you.  This early King of England was the virtual founder of Westminster Abbey; never mind entrance charges; at one point in his life, Edward was giving a full tenth of his income to Westminster Abbey!

Edward was the son of King Ethelred the Unready and his second, Norman wife, Emma.  After various ups and downs which included a brief exile in Normandy, Edward was made King of England in 1042.

As King, Edward had a tricky time of it, trying to keep the peace for over twenty years while various Danish and Norman magnates struggled for power (which eventually led to the Norman Conquest).  Scholars have argued over how much of a success he was as a King.

As a Christian, there is no doubt.  Edward’s holiness was evident to all.  He made himself accessible to his people, he was generous to the poor, and chaste.  He was also reputed to have seen visions and even achieved miraculous cures for people through prayer.

Edward did much to help the Church in many ways.  His lasting contribution was the original Westminster Abbey, a huge Romanesque church, 300 feet long, with a nave of 12 bays.  Westminster Abbey became the place of coronation and burial of Kings and Queens of England.  It was finished and consecrated just before his death.  Edward was buried there, and his relics are undisturbed to this day.

During the Middle Ages, Edward was a very popular saint: along with Edmund of East Anglia he was widely considered to be England’s patron saint for a time.


Feature Image: Edward the Confessor, The Wilton Diptych, c.1395-1399, Unknown (English or French), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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