Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

St Edward the Martyr and Shaftesbury Abbey

Today is the Feast of St Edward the Martyr, murdered at Corfe on this day in 978. He came to be buried and venerated st the abbey of Benedictine nuns at Shaftesbury founded by his great great grandfather King Alfred.

I have posted about St Edward and his relics before. There is an online account of him at Edward the Martyr and my previous posts about him, with other links, can be seen at St Edward the Martyr from 2012,  at St Edward the Martyr from 2013 and at St Edward the Martyr from 2017.

A stained glass roundel dedicated to King Edward the Martyr at Shaftesbury Abbey ruins in Dorset

A modern stained glass roundel depicting St Edward the Martyr at Shaftesbury Abbey

Image: Country Life

The abbey itself is now no more than foundations, in which excavations continue. I posted about the recent discovery of a carved head from what is thought to have been a statue of King Edward II last year in A probable portrait of King Edward II from Shaftesbury Abbey

Ground plan of Shaftesbury Abbey

Image: british-history.ac.uk

I wonder if the rebuilding of the south chapel of the eastern arm in the late fourteenth century indicates that this was the site of the Shrine of St Edward. This might have been a similar arrangement to those at Dorchester and St Frideswide in Oxford, with a lateral chapel as the pilgrimage focus rather than one behind the High Altar.

There are histories of the abbey at Shaftesbury Abbey from Wikipedia and in more detail at House of Benedictine nuns: The abbey of Shaftesbury from the VCH Dorset

shaftesbury sketch
 This is a drawing of the ruins of the nave and the south western tower as well as of the parish church of Holy Trinity from the 1548 Terrier of Sir Thomas Arundel which I have reproduced in the section on Shaftesbury in the really excellent post MonasteryQuest™ Pt 1: the twenty richest houses at the dissolution

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