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Alphege

From Academic Kids

Saint Alphege (Ælfheah) (954-April 19 1012), Archbishop of Canterbury, came of a noble family, but in early life gave up everything for religion.

Having assumed the monastic habit in the monastery of Deerhurst, he passed thence to Bath, where he became an anchorite and ultimately abbot, distinguishing himself by his piety and the austerity of his life. In 984 he was appointed through Dunstan's influence to the bishopric of Winchester, and in 1006 he succeeded Aelfric as Archbishop of Canterbury.

At the sack of Canterbury by the Danes in 1011 Ælfheah was captured and kept in prison for seven months. Refusing to pay a ransom, he was murdered at Greenwich, London on April 19, 1012 (St Alfege's Church reputedly marks the place he died). He was buried in St Paul's, whence his body was removed by Canute to Canterbury with all the ceremony of a great act of state in 1023.

An incised paving slab to the north of the present High Altar of Canterbury Cathedral marks the place where the mediaeval shrine is believed to have stood.

Dedications include: St. Alphege the Martyr, Canterbury (now used as an urban studies centre), St Alfege's Church, Greenwich (?site of martyrdom) and the twin churches of St. Alphege Whitstable and St. Alphege Seasalter (chancel only surviving).

Feast Day: April 19th.

Lives of St. Alphege in prose (which survives) and in verse were written by command of Lanfranc by the Canterbury monk Osborn (d. c. 1090), who says that his account of the solemn translation to Canterbury in 1023 was received from the dean, Godric, one of Alphege's own scholars.


Preceded by:

Aelfric

Archbishop of Canterbury Followed by:

Lyfing

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