Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


With God on Our Side: Promoting the Cults of Murdered Royal Innocents in Anglo-Saxon Mercia and East Anglia


English Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Arts and Humanities


In his Vita Sancti Oswaldi, Byrhtferth of Ramsey was the first to describe the murder of King Edward the Martyr (d. 978) in hagiographic terms. Edwards cult, centered in Shaftesbury (Dorset), soon rose to prominence and helped Shaftesbury become one of the wealthiest monastic institutions in England. However, the geographic genesis of much of Edwards hagiographic life is to be found not in Shaftesbury, nor even in Corfe, where he was murdered. Instead, one must look to the small Mercian hamlet of Winchcombe, and the cult of another murdered royal innocent, St. Kenelm. This paper will thus explore the ideological and textual connections between the cults of Edward and Kenelm and the role of Ramsey and Byrhtferth in the late tenth century propagation of the murdered royal innocent within saintly rhetoric.

Conference Name

Biennial Conference - Dublin 2013

Conference Location

Dublin, Ireland

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