New Catholic Dictionary – Saint Edward the Confessor

Saint Edward the Confessor, a detail from 'Richard II of England with his patron saints' from the Wilton Diptych, 1395, tempera on oak panel, National Gallery, London, EnglandArticle

(10031066) King of England. He was the son of Ethelred II and Queen Emma and half-brother to Kings Edmund Ironside and Hardicanute. Upon the election of Canute to the throne of England, when Edward was only ten years of age, he went with his brother Alfred and his mother to live at the court of his uncle, the duke of Normandy. There he received a pious education, his chief interests being ecclesiastical. After Canute’s death, 1035, Edward and his brother were persuaded to return to England in order to secure the crown. However, the expedition was not successful, for Canute’s illegitimate son Harold had already seized control. Alfred was killed and Edward was forced to return to Normandy. He returned to England again, 1042, after the death of Hardicanute, and by popular acclaim, ascended the throne. His reign was remarkable only as a period of peace. He was completely under the control of Earl Godwin of Wessex, and in 1045, married Edith, the earl’s daughter, but, having taken a vow of chastity, he did not live with her. His only warlike enterprises were the repulsion of a Welsh invasion and the assistance which he gave to Malcolm III of Scotland against Macbeth. He remitted the burdensome tax, “Danegelt,” made wise and just laws, and rebuilt Westminster Abbey. He was the first English king to “touch for the king’s evil,” curing many of scrofulous taint. His mildness and sanctity made him the idol of the people. Represented curing a leper, and carrying a sick man on his shoulders. Canonized, 1161; buried in Westminster Abbey. Feast, Roman Calendar, 13 October; in England also 5 January.

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Edward the Confessor”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 10 August 2017. Web. 11 December 2018. <>