On January 5, 1066, Edward the Confessor dies in London and is buried at Westminster Abbey. Edward was the son of Aethelred the Unready and Emma of Normandy, was one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England and is usually regarded as the last king of the House of Wessex, ruling from 1042 to 1066. He has traditionally been seen as unworldly and pious, and his reign as notable for the disintegration of royal power in England and the advance in power of the Godwin family. He had succeeded Cnut the Great’s son Harthacnut, restoring the rule of the House of Wessex after the period of Danish rule since Cnut had conquered England in 1016. When Edward died in 1066 he was succeeded by Harold Godwinson, who was defeated and killed in the same year by the Normans under William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings. Edward was canonized in 1161 by Pope Alexander III, and is commemorated on October 13th by the Catholic Church and the Church of England. He was regarded as one of the national saints of England until King Edward III adopted Saint George as patron saint in about 1350.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Great Britain’s Royal Tombs: A Guide to the Lives and Burial Places of British Monarchs. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the following links: