b'The marriage was dissolved a couple of years later,and although minor miracles occurred immediately and Wulfthryth returned to Wilton with Edith whereafter her death, it was not until 13 years later that she she became the Abbess in about 965. started appearing to people in visions, telling them of Wilton, the ancient capital of Wiltshire, wasthe survival of her body in her grave. Goscelin records also the site of an important royal residence. Thethat she appeared to St Dunstan telling him to open Nunnery there was the equivalent of an elite boardingher tomb, and when he did so, in the presence of her school for the daughters of the nobility who weremother, its fragrant perfumes gave off the breath of educated as lay members, and there would be closeparadise. 8connections with the palace. Edith was educated here, aware of her own position of importance bothCult of St Edithas daughter of the Abbess and of the King. We knowEdith was elevated to sainthood by her half-brother about her life (and that of her mother) because theKing Aethelred. His son Edmund who succeeded as Wilton community commissioned a prolific Frenchking also championed her, but the next king, Canute, hagiographer, Goscelin, to write the Life of St Edith;was renowned as a devoted follower. He showed although this was probably not written until nearlygreat reverence at her shrine, and actually dismounted a century after her death, the wealth of detail giveninstead of riding into the sacred courtyard as even convinces that he is recording the oral traditionsthe priests were wont to do. Goscelin tells us that still current within the community. It is recorded, foron one occasion, making the voyage home to his instance, that when Edith was challenged by Bishopancestral kingdom of Denmark, Canute was almost Aethelwold of Winchester about her preference forovercome by a fierce storm; he appealed to St Edith wearing rather grand clothes, she replied that Godto save him and she calmed the wind and so he paid attention to what was within not without; whatwas rescued with all his fleet. When he returned to her critic did not know was that she wore a hair-shirtEngland he went to Wilton and gave thanks with under her finery. 5She also kept a private menageriesolemn gifts, and publicized this great miracle with at the Nunnery, more associated with displays of royalprolific testimony. 9He paid for a golden shrine to wealth than with religious communities. Goscelin alsobe made for St Edith. Goscelin records the fact that notes that: 3 workmen stole most of the gold, using only a thin Edith enjoyed the veneration of the dukes,layer to cover the shrine; he names and shames them, magnates and matrons of her fathers realm;and so, nearly 1000 years later, we know that Aelfmar, greetings, letters and gifts poured in from foreignWinstan and Wulfstan were struck with blindness for kingdoms and principalities; holy prelates begged fortheir sins and forced to become beggars.her intercession, and those envoys who were sentQueen Emma, wife of King Aethelred and later from Gaul or Germany, from Rome itself or even fromof King Canute, was also a benefactor to St Edith the emperors to the court of King Edgar gloried inand the community at Wilton. Many miracles were commending themselves to his saintly daughter. 6 recorded of the sick being healed at her shrine, and Edith is reputed to have been offered the chanceshe is known as the patron saint of lepers. Edith is to be Abbess of 3 different nunneries, and evenone of the few women saints of the late Anglo-Saxon the crown of England, but to have refused all theseperiod whose feast is entered in the early eleventh offers, preferring to stay within the Wilton communitycentury calendars. 10where she was known for her good works, includingThe cult of St Edith strengthened after the death that of building a church which she dedicated to herof King Canute in 1035. Wilton was a very wealthy favourite saint, St Denys. 7It was at the consecrationconvent at that time, due in part to the cultivation of its of this church that St Dunstan, the Archbishop ofpatron saint; it even managed to retain its status until Canterbury, foretold her imminent death in the yearthe Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII.984, in her 23rd year. She was buried there at Wilton, 5Goscelin, Vita Edithae (1080), chapter 12. From Hollis, Barnes, Hayward, Loncar & Wright, Writing the Wilton Women (2004)6S J Ridyard, The Royal Saints of Anglo-Saxon England (1988) p1437Goscelin gives a fascinating description of the church built of wood with stone foundations, thewalls covered with horsehide, the roof vaulted, a triple side-chapel in the form of a cross, thewhole decorated with brightly coloured paintings. Goscelin, op cit, chapter 208There is necessarily some doubt about the dating of this event, as Dunstan died in 988, only 4 yearsafter Edith. Ridyard concludes that Goscelin is attempting to enhance Ediths prestige by associatingher translation to sainthood with St Dunstan, op cit p 409Goscelin, Translatio Edithae (1080) chapter 12.From Hollis, Barnes, et al, op cit10Stephanie Hollis, St Edith and the Wilton Community (2004) p 269, footnote 125. From Hollis, Barnes,et al, op citBULLETIN 13 223'