St. Alphege of Canterbury
Born 954; died 1012; also called Godwine, martyred Archbishop of Canterbury, left his widowed mother and patrimony for the monastery of Deerhurst (Gloucestershire). After some years as an anchorite at Bath, he there became abbot, and (19 Oct., 984) was made Bishop of Winchester.
In 994 Elphege administered confirmation to Olaf of Norway at Andover, and it is suggested that his patriotic spirit inspired the decrees of the Council of Enham. In 1006, on becoming Archbishop of Canterbury, he went to Rome for the pallium. At this period England was much harassed by the Danes, who, towards the end of September, 1011, having sacked and burned Canterbury, made Elphege a prisoner. On 19 April, 1012, at Greenwich, his captors, drunk with wine, and enraged at ransom being refused, pelted Elphege with bones of oxen and stones, till one Thurm dispatched him with an axe. Elphege’s body, after resting eleven years in St. Paul’s (London), was translated by King Canute to Canterbury. His principal feast is kept on the 19th of April
that of his translation on the 8th of June.
He is sometimes represented with an axe cleaving his skull.
Celtic and Old English Saints – 28 December . 2016. Celtic and Old English Saints – 28 December . [ONLINE] Available at: http://celticsaints.org/2015/1228d.html. [Accessed 28 December 2015].
Image: Provenance: Acquired by Philip of Cleves (d. 1528) before 1492 (coat of arms with label); purchased in 1531 from his estate by Henri III, Count of Nassau (d. 1538); by inheritance to the Princes of Orange-Nassau, the later Stadtholders at The Hague; taken in 1795 to Paris by the French occupying forces and restituted in 1816 to the KB