Our book of the month for October is Edward the Confessor: King of England, in honour of the Feast of St Edward which takes place this month. St Edward is an important figure in the history of Westminster Abbey as he was one of the patron saints attached to the Abbey.

Edward the Confessor: King of England

Edward was born at Islip in Oxfordshire between 1002 and 1005, the son of King Ethelred ‘the Unready’ and Emma. Edward was driven from England in 1013 by the Danes and spent his exile in Normandy. He returned twenty nine years later and became King of England in 1042 following a coronation at Winchester. 

He married Edith, daughter of Godwin, Earl of Wessex on 23 January 1045. Edward never produced an heir to the throne, and following his death the country was thrown in to uncertainty with war waged between Harold and William in the Battle of Hastings. 

Edward the Confessor

Edward had miracles attributed to him and was thought of as a saint long before he was officially canonized in 1161. He was canonized as a ‘Confessor’ which is a particular type of saint who suffered for their faith and demonstrated sanctity in the face of worldly temptations without being a martyr. To this day he is still the patron saint of the Royal Family.

 This book provides an insightful look at Edward the Confessor, exploring the many representations of him through history; it looks at whether he was the ‘holy simpleton’ or the devious king. The book charts his life chronologically in three sections - The Aetherling 1002 – 1042, The King 1042 – 1066 and The Saint. The book also includes a small appendix detailing Edward’s re-founding of Westminster Abbey towards the end of his life which led to him being buried in the centre of the Abbey.