20th November 869/70. Edmund the Martyr.

The confusion over the  year of the death of Saxon King Eadmund is due to many Anglo-Saxon Charters beginning the New Year in September. So some events that happened in November 869, would in modern calendars have been recorded as 870.(1)

Today in 869/870 the Danes killed Eadmund (Edmund), the last of the Wulfinga Line of the East Anglian Kings for refusing to renounce Christianity.

Eadmund  known as Rex Anglorum (King of the Angles) died at the hands of Hinguar after having put up a valiant fight against the marauders from the sea.(2)

He must have been an inspiration to his successor King Alfred who was to take over from where Edmund left off, from his base Wessex in 871, as he was to mint coins in his honour.

Within a decade Hinguar’s successor Guthrum had become a Christian by the Pact of Chippenham in 878, and even more remarkable is that the Danes minted coins in Edmund’s honour.


Norfolk hoard Edmund's Coins.

Norfolk hoard minted in the name of Edmund King of East Anglia. Probably hidden when Vikings attacked 865..


12thc painting of martyrdom of Edmund.

12thc painting of martyrdom of Edmund.

As a result of Edmund’s death along with that of bishop St. Hunbeorh, the two cathedrals of Dommoc (site unknown) and Elmham, which had been established by Theodore of Tarsus Archbishop of Canterbury, ceased to function.

Edmund was the first Patron Saint of England and his shrine at what was later to become Bury St.Edmunds (Suffolk), became a place of pilgrimage and associated ‘miracles’, until its dissolution.

(1) This confusion in calendars is seen up to 1752 when Britain adopted the Gregorian Calendar and New Year was changed to begin on January 1st rather than March 25th.

(2)  Edmund reigned 25.12.855-20.11.869/70.

Ref: wikipedia.org/edmund_the_martyr/Pic of Edmund.

Ref: bbc.co.uk/news/16.11.2014/treasure-hunters/Pic of coins


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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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