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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume XII: December. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

December 21

St. Edburge, Virgin

KING ALFRED projected the foundation of the New-Minster at Winchester, and his Queen Alswide began there a monastery of nuns, over which she appointed Etheldreda abbess. Neither living to finish these houses, their son, Edward the Elder, completed them both. This king’s daughter Edburge (which name signifies happy city) from her cradle despised all things beneath God and eternity as unworthy all regard. She was yet a child when her father, King Edward, laid before her on one hand precious royal ornaments, on the other a penitential religious habit, bidding her take her choice. The royal virgin with great joy took up the latter: whereupon her parents put her in the nunnery of St. Mary, to be educated under the care of the Abbess Etheldreda, where she afterwards became a nun, and having served God with great fervour, died of a fever. Bishop Ethelwold took up her sacred remains, and put them in a rich shrine, which the Abbess Elfleda covered with gold and silver. Algiva, daughter of Count Ethelwold, was abbess of this house, when Egilwald or Alward-Wada, earl of Dorsetshire, desired of her a portion of the relics of this holy person for the monastery of Pershore, in Worcestershire, which had been destroyed by the Danes, and he had just rebuilt. The abbess gave him part of her skull, some of her ribs and other bones, which were inclosed in a rich case, and were kept at Pershore as its most precious treasure; though the principal part of her body was venerated at St. Mary’s, in Winchester. See Leland, Collect. t. 1. p. 51, 278, t. 2, p. 264; William of Malmesbury, &c.  1