Eadfrith
Ælfheah of Canterbury 954 – 19 April 1012
Ælfheah, Olaf Tryggvason & Thorkell the Tall

Born in 954 near present day Bath, England, Ælfheah ( translates as elf-high) was the Anglo Saxon Bishop of Winchester (984) and later Archbishop of Canterbury (1006).  He is also known as Alphege.

In the aftermath of a Viking raid in England, a peace treaty was signed with one of the raiders -  Olaf Tryggvason.  Along with receiving Danegeld (a tax paid to viking raiders to save the land and its people) Olaf converted to Christianity, promising never to raid or fight in England again.  Ælfheah almost certainly played a role in his confirmation.

In 1011, Vikings once again raided England, laying siege to Canterbury, plundering and destroying the cathedral.

Ælfheah was taken captive along with many others (probably to be sold as slaves) and held prisoner for seven months.  He refused to allow any money to be exchanged for his freedom and as a result was killed on the 19th of April 1012.  He was the first Archbishop of Canterbury to die a violent death,

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle gives this account of his death:

… the raiding-army became much stirred up against the bishop, because he did not want to offer them any money, and forbade that anything might be granted in return for him. Also they were very drunk, because there was wine brought from the south. Then they seized the bishop, led him to their “hustings”on the Saturday in the octave of Easter, and then pelted him there with bones and the heads of cattle; and one of them struck him on the head with the butt of an axe, so that with the blow he sank down and his holy blood fell on the earth, and sent forth his holy soul to God’s kingdom.

So appalled at the brutality of his comrades, the Viking Commander Thorkell (The Tall) offered all of his possessions, excluding his ship in exchange for Ælfheah’s life.

He was buried in St Pauls Cathedral, however, in 1023 his body was moved by King Cnut (Canute) to Canterbury Cathedral,  Ælfheah was canonised a saint in 1078.

Below:  The stone marking his burial place near the High Alter in Canterbury Cathedral.

The Crucifixion from The Sherborne Missal. folio 350.
Imagine this page nearly 2 FEET in height !!
Weighing over 20kg (45 lbs) the pages measure 53 x 38 cm (21 x 15 inches)

The Crucifixion from The Sherborne Missal. folio 350.

Imagine this page nearly 2 FEET in height !!

Weighing over 20kg (45 lbs) the pages measure 53 x 38 cm (21 x 15 inches)

The Crucifixion.  The Taymouth Hours, folio 121v 
Yates Thomspon MS 13; Images from the British Library Manuscript website.
http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Yates_Thompson_MS_13

The Crucifixion.  The Taymouth Hours, folio 121v

Yates Thomspon MS 13; Images from the British Library Manuscript website.

http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Yates_Thompson_MS_13

The Passion, from the 6th Century St Augustine Gospels.  This is likely one of the books brought by St Augustine on his mission to convert the Kingdom and people of Kent in Anglo Saxon England in the year 597.

At the time, Kent was ruled by King Æthelberht who allowed Augustine to preach in his capital of Canterbury. King Æthelberht converts to Christianity at or before the year 601.

The Book still has an important role in English religious ceremony, being used for the swearing of the Oath in the enthronement ceremony for the new Archbishop of Canterbury.

Bottom image shows the current and 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby kissing the manuscript at the enthronement ceremony on the 4th February 2013.  St Augustine is the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

Jesus Betrayed with a Kiss from Judas while in Gethsemane. 
The Luttrell Psalter folio 91r.

Manuscript made in Lincolnshire, England, between 1320-1340 for Sir Geoffrey Luttrell.
British Library, Add. MS 42130; Images from the British Library manuscript pages.
http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Add_MS_42130

Jesus Betrayed with a Kiss from Judas while in Gethsemane. 

The Luttrell Psalter folio 91r.

Manuscript made in Lincolnshire, England, between 1320-1340 for Sir Geoffrey Luttrell.

British Library, Add. MS 42130; Images from the British Library manuscript pages.

http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Add_MS_42130

The Betrayal and Arrest of Christ - The Taymouth Hours - folio 119r
Yates Thomspon MS 13; Images from the British Library Manuscript website.
http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Yates_Thompson_MS_13

The Betrayal and Arrest of Christ - The Taymouth Hours - folio 119r

Yates Thomspon MS 13; Images from the British Library Manuscript website.

http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Yates_Thompson_MS_13

The Last Supper from The Luttrell Psalter - folio 90v
Manuscript made in Lincolnshire, England, between 1320-1340 for Sir Geoffrey Luttrell.
British Library, Add. MS 42130; Images from the British Library manuscript pages.
http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Add_MS_42130

The Last Supper from The Luttrell Psalter - folio 90v

Manuscript made in Lincolnshire, England, between 1320-1340 for Sir Geoffrey Luttrell.

British Library, Add. MS 42130; Images from the British Library manuscript pages.

http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Add_MS_42130

The Last Supper and Christ washing the Disciples feet.
The Winchester Psalter folio 20r.
This is a large image, To view in full size:  Click on the above image above, it should open in a new tab/page, then right click on that image and from the pop up menu select “View Image”  or “open image in new tab” and it should be available in it’s original size - you may need to click again if you have automatic image resizing enabled in your browser.
Possibly made for Henry of Blois. Made in Winchester England, about 1150.
Cotton MS Nero C IV, Images from the British library manuscript website
http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Cotton_MS_nero_c_iv

The Last Supper and Christ washing the Disciples feet.

The Winchester Psalter folio 20r.

This is a large image, To view in full size:  Click on the above image above, it should open in a new tab/page, then right click on that image and from the pop up menu select “View Image”  or “open image in new tab” and it should be available in it’s original size - you may need to click again if you have automatic image resizing enabled in your browser.

Possibly made for Henry of Blois. Made in Winchester England, about 1150.

Cotton MS Nero C IV, Images from the British library manuscript website

http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Cotton_MS_nero_c_iv

mmmmmmmmm Honey!!
Medieval Bee Hive from The Luttrell Psalter - folio 204v
Manuscript made in Lincolnshire, England, between 1320-1340 for Sir Geoffrey Luttrell.
British Library, Add. MS 42130; Images from the British Library manuscript pages.
http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Add_MS_42130

mmmmmmmmm Honey!!

Medieval Bee Hive from The Luttrell Psalter - folio 204v

Manuscript made in Lincolnshire, England, between 1320-1340 for Sir Geoffrey Luttrell.

British Library, Add. MS 42130; Images from the British Library manuscript pages.

http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Add_MS_42130