Feast Day of Saint Edward the Confessor
There has been Christian worship in Dringhouses for over 500 years. The present church was built on the site of a 1725 church previously called St Helen’s. The old church had been built by the Barlow family who were Lords of the Manor of Dringhouses. Frances Leigh (née Barlow) was the last of the Barlow family and on the death of her husband in 1847, Rev. Edward Trafford Leigh, she had a new church built in his memory. The dedication was changed to commemorate his name and thus the new church became St Edward the Confessor.
Edward the Confessor (c. 1003 – 5 January 1066) was among the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England. Usually considered the last king of the House of Wessex, he ruled from 1042 to 1066.
Edward was the son of Aethelred the Unready and Emma of Normandy. A deeply pious and religious man, he presided over the rebuilding of Westminster Abbey which was consecrated in 1065 and where he is now buried.
The title ‘confessor’, reflects his reputation as a saint who did not suffer martyrdom as opposed to his uncle, King Edward the Martyr. Historians are divided about the success of his rule, but medieval monks writing after his death portrayed him as gentle and peaceable, and for much of his reign he was considered an active and dynamic man.
Edward’s marriage to Edith remained childless and his death on that cold January morning, threw the country into disarray.
However, about a century later, in 1161, Pope Alexander III canonised the king. Saint Edward was one of England’s national saints until King Edward III adopted Saint George as the national patron saint in about 1350. Saint Edward’s feast day is 13 October, celebrated by both the Church of England and the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
He is, of course, especially important to a certain church in Dringhouses: Happy St Edward’s Feast Day!