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John Clarke

Historian of Brookwood Cemetery

Saint Edward the Martyr

Saint Edward the Martyr The Life Recorded Miracles and Supplicatory Canon by the St Edward Brotherhood

Saint Edward the Martyr: The Life, Recorded Miracles and Supplicatory Canon

by The Saint Edward Brotherhood

Published by The Saint Edward Brotherhood, 2023

ISBN 9780947935061

Price £7.50 (paperback)

You can order copies direct from


Saint Edward the Martyr is a recently published account of the life, death and rediscovery of this saint of Anglo-Saxon England. St Edward reigned from 975 to 978. Following his murder, St Edward quickly became one of the most venerated saints of Anglo-Saxon England. That he is largely unknown today is due to our history books, which tend to ignore the fact there were three King Edwards before 1066.

St Edward’s father was King Edgar (“the Peaceable”), one of the greatest Anglo-Saxon kings. Edgar was the first king to be crowned King of England, using a ritual on which all coronation services since have been based. That his eldest son’s relics should come to rest in Brookwood Cemetery is a truly remarkable story. To find out how this happened you need to read this book!

The booklet is divided into five main sections. The first comprises a new translation of the earliest surviving life of St Edward. This is the Passio Sancti Eadwardi, attributed to the eleventh century hagiographer, Goscelin of Saint-Bertin (c1040-c1106).

The second section contains a series of historical notes which address the monastic reforms of King Edgar; a discussion of the motives behind St Edward’s murder in March 979; the succession question; the dating of the martyrdom of St Edward; the translation of his relics to Shaftesbury Abbey in June 1001; a contemporary poem, probably written by an unknown eye-witness of the translation of the relics; the glorification of St Edward; the discovery of the relics at the site of Shaftesbury Abbey in 1931; the scientific examination of the relics; the casket they were discovered in; and the dispute over the ownership of the relics. The third section contains a collection of some contemporary miracles attributed to the intercession of St Edward.

The fourth section contains a revised edition of The Recorded Miracles of Saint Edward the Martyr. This was first published by the St Edward Brotherhood in September 1984 to coincide with the enshrinement of the relics. Although the dispute over the ownership had not been resolved at this time, permission was granted by the Court to allow their temporary enshrinement at Brookwood. The Recorded Miracles of Saint Edward the Martyr was reprinted in 1995. This version included a brief appendix outlining the dispute over the relics since, in the spring of 1995, the Court issued an Order dismissing the case. Hence the reprint. These booklets were written by John Wilson-Claridge (1905-1993), who rediscovered the relics at Shaftesbury in 1931. He is buried outside the entrance to the church at Brookwood. It was John Wilson-Claridge who subsequently donated the relics to the Orthodox Church. This new booklet makes his research available again for the first time in nearly 30 years.

The final section contains a supplicatory canon to St Edward, newly composed by the Fathers at the Brotherhood. This part is primarily aimed at members of the Orthodox Church for use by the faithful at times of need or thanksgiving.

Although issued mainly “for the edification of Orthodox Christians”, there is much of interest to believers and non-believers alike. The new translation of the earliest life of St Edward along with the text of John Wilson-Claridge’s The Recorded Miracles of Saint Edward the Martyr make this more than worthwhile. That the booklet contains further background information and historical notes is a further bonus for anyone wanting to find out more about St Edward the Martyr and why his relics lie at Brookwood.

The book is illustrated with five black and white images, and two in full colour (three if you include the cover). It is attractively presented and printed by Knaphill Print. The most fascinating images are those taken at the time the relics were discovered at Shaftesbury in 1931.

Saint Edward the Martyr: The Life, Recorded Miracles and Supplicatory Canon. Published by The Saint Edward Brotherhood, 2023; 90 pages, ISBN 9780947935061; paperback; £7.50. Copies can be ordered via this link https://shop.saintedwardbrotherhood.org/collections/books

Copyright © 2023 by John M. Clarke. All Rights Reserved