Eadburh of Winchester

Saint Eadburh of Winchester
Died 15 June 960
Venerated in Anglican Communion
Roman Catholic Church
Orthodox Church
Canonized 972
Feast 15 June

Saint Eadburh (or Edburga) (died 15 June 960) was the daughter of King Edward the Elder of England and his third wife, Eadgifu of Kent.


In the twelfth century, a Latin Life of her was written by Osbert de Clare, who became prior of Westminster in 1136 (and who also wrote a Life of King Edward the Confessor).[1] According to Osbert, at the age of three, Eadburh was given as an oblate to the Queen Mother Ealhswith's foundation of St Mary's Abbey, Winchester (Nunnaminster). There Eadburh was educated and there she remained as a nun and died probably before the age of forty.[2]

There is little contemporary information for her life, but in a Winchester charter dated 939, she was the beneficiary of land at Droxford in Hampshire granted by her half-brother King Athelstan.[3]

The hagiography written of her in the 12th century shows evidence of some of the unusual occurrences that might have happened in that time period when a member of a royal family became a monk or nun. In one story, her father visits her in the monastery and she sings for him, and he asks her if there is anything he can do for her, and she asks for him to give the community an estate at Canning, which he does so. In another story, the abbess found her reading alone, which was against the rules of the monastery, and then thrashed her. When the abbess realized it was the princess and not an ordinary nun, the abbess then begged forgiveness from her. In another story, she one time insisted on cleaning the shoes of her well-born companions, and they felt shocked by this and reported it to her father as behaviour that is not right for her.[4]


A cult developed after her death and is first mentioned in the Salisbury Psalter from the early 970s.[5] In 972, some of her remains were transferred to Pershore Abbey in Worcestershire, which is dedicated to SS. Mary, Peter and Paul, and Eadburh. Her feast is celebrated on 15 June.[2]

Her cultus continued to flourish to judge by the Lives written in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.



Further reading

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