EDWARD (EADWARD), SAINT, THE CONFESSOR: King of England 1042-66; b. at Islip (5 m. n. of Oxford) c. 1003; d. at Westminster, London, Jan. 5, 1066. He was a son of Ethelred the Unready (king 979-1016) and nephew of Edward the Martyr (see DUNSTAN, SAINT). As a child he was sent to Normandy, his mother's country, and there he was brought up and lived, while the Danes, Canute and his sons, ruled England (1016-42). The desire of the English to restore the kings of their own race made Edward the general choice to succeed Hardicanute in 1042, and he was crowned at Winchester on Easter day, Apr. 3, 1043. As king the best that can be said for him is that he meant well; he was indolent and willingly left royal duties to others. The great earls really ruled England and their jealousies and intrigues were productive of disorder. Edward preferred his Norman friends to Englishmen and appointed his favorites in Church and State. The Normans, however, were superior to the English in arts and learning, and one result was a closer connection between the English Church and continental Christendom. English representatives appeared at papal synods and visited Rome (1050). Simony was scandalously prevalent. Edward gave much to monasteries. Between 1051 and 1061 he rebuilt the monastery of Thorney (Westminster), west of London and near his palace, and then he erected a new church, which was the first church in England of the Norman Romanesque style, and became the king's burial-place nine days after its consecration. Miracles were soon believed to be wrought at the tomb; and a mass of legend gathered about Edward's name, attributing to him visions and gifts of healing even before he became king. He was canonized by Alexander III in 1161.
Bibliography: Sources: The Vita by Alred or Elred (d. 1166) with other material and prefatory comment is in ASB, Jan., i. 290-304, and part of this is in MPL, cxcv. 737-790; the Lives of Edward the Confessor, ed. H. R. Luard for the. Rolls Series, no. 3, London, 1858, contains several works of primary importance; other material may be found in Chronicles of the Reigns of Edward 1. and II., ed. W. Stubbs for the Rolls Series, no. 76, 2 vols., ib. 1882-83; and Matthew of Paris, Chronica majora, ed. H. R. Luard for Rolls Series, no. 57, vol. i., ib. 1872. The best modern book is E. A. Freeman, Hist. of the Norman Conquest, vol. ii., Oxford, 1879. Further material is in Lyfe of Saynt Edwarde, London, 1533; J. Porter, Life of St. Edward, King and Confessor, ib. 1710; J. R. Green, The Conquest of England, 760-1071, 2 vols., ib. 1889; F. Liebermann, Ueber die leges Edwardi Confessoris, Halle, 1896; J. H. Ramsay, The Foundations of England . . . B.C. 55-A.D. 1164, 2 vols., London, 1898; W. Hunt, The English Church . . . (597-1066), ib. 1899; DNB, xvii. 7-14; and, in general, the works on the history of the period.