Around 1000 years ago a remarkable woman was born, whose story has largely been forgotten. The daughter of the influential Earl Godwine of Wessex and his Danish wife Gytha, Edith was destined for a royal future as the Queen of one king, Edward the Confessor, and the sister of another king, the ill-fated Harold.
Over the last few years we have been exploring the possibility of celebrating Edith’s life at All Saints Oakham. Many of our more famous kings and queens are remembered in particular places. Despite being buried in Westminster Abbey, next to Edward the Confessor’s impressive shrine, Edith has no such place where her story is told. So why should she be especially remembered in Rutland?
Please join us in celebrating Royal Rutland – the story of Queen Edith.
Friday 8th March 2024: Year 4 school visit (by invitation) to explore the connections between Queen Edith, All Saints Oakham, Oakham Castle and the Anglo-Saxon burgh of Oakham.
Saturday 9th March 2024: A church open day for visitors including the launch of an illustrated exhibition Royal Rutland – the story of Queen Edith, and accompanying book. There will be displays, activities, crafts, games and special guests.
Sunday 10th March 2024: 6pm a service of celebration to mark 1000 years since the birth of Queen Edith with guest speaker.
Queen Edith is woven into the history of Rutland as the last Queen to hold many of the manors of our county as her personal possession. Her legacy gently echos down the centuries to the present day, with her name preserved in one of the Rutland villages she held, Edith Weston. Successive Queens in the Anglo-Saxon era were awarded the income from a wide variety of estates and manors in order to fund their household and interests. Rutland was a key part of this dower land, which may explain why it escaped being fully merged into the major counties which were being established around this time.
With the help of Pauline Stafford, the leading expert and writer on Queen Edith, we can bring Edith’s story to life in time for the 1000th anniversary of Edith’s birth, and with Paul Wiggin’s artwork and other historic illustrations we can capture something of the transitional Anglo-Saxon and Norman era in which she lived. This will, I hope, add a little more to the historic landscape that we enjoy in our area.
On the weekend of 8-10 March 2024 we will present a fuller interpretation of Edith’s life at All Saints Church Oakham, including a genealogy, map of her Rutland landholdings, a contemporary image of her from the Bayeaux Tapestry, and some original artwork based on the later medieval images of her that still exist. This is a developing project to inspire all ages, including local schools.
Date From: 08/03/2024
Date To: 10/03/2024