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St. Etheldreda of Crowland
(Died AD 834)

St. Etheldreda of Crowland, commonly called St. Alfreda, was the beautiful daughter of King Offa of Mercia, one of the most powerful of the Saxon kings and conqueror of several of his contemporaries.

Offa held his court at Sutton Walls, in Herefordshire, where, in AD 793, King Aethelbert of the East Anglia came to pay suit to the young Etheldreda. The queen, Cwendreda, thought the unfortunate visitor had designs on the Mercian throne and persuaded Offa to have him murdered. Devastated by this horrendous crime, for which Etheldreda felt indirectly responsible, she fled to the monastery of St. Guthlac at Crowland. Here, she became a recluse, living, for forty years, in a cell in the southern part of the abbey church opposite the high altar. She died there on 2nd August AD 834.

 

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