Abbot Eadwine - Edwin

Stained Glass Window


This stained glass window, depicting St Edward the Confessor and Abbot Edwin, is located in the Nave of Westminster Abbey. The window was dedicated in 1927 to The Royal Army Medical Corps.

The chief ministry in the funeral rites of Eadward was assigned to his friend and bedesman, Abbot Eadwine. Early on the winter's morning," perhaps while the minister still needed torchlight within the deep gloom of its massive walls and narrow windows, the King was carried to his grave. The body of Eadward, his form shrouded from sight, was borne on the shoulders of eight of his subjects, laymen all, and doubtless men of high degree. There was no need, as in the case of some later Kings, to assure his people, by the sight of his uncovered body, that he had not come unfairly by his end. Boys ringing bells walked on either side of the bier; behind them followed a crowd of clergy surrounding the two chief ministers of the funeral ceremony, who walked bearing their office-books in their hands. In this guise the procession moved from the palace to the western door of the newly-hallowed minster. They swept along the nave, between the long rows of tall and massive pillars still fresh from the axe and hammer of the craftsman. They passed beneath the mighty arches which, in all the strength and solidity of those early days of art, bore up the great central tower like a vast canopy over the choir below. They bore their burthen to the spot which Eadward had long before chosen as his place of burial, and there, before the altar of the saint whom he so deeply reverenced, the patron alike of Westminster and of Rome, the body of the last King of the olden stock received its last kingly honours. Men wept over his bier; and in truth not only the poor whom he had relieved, the churchmen whom he had enriched, and the strangers on whom he had lavished the wealth of England, but English men of all ranks might well weep in awe and in sorrow over the grave of the last son of Cerdic and Woden.--freeman

According to William of Malmesbury, St. Dunsan brought twelve Benedictine monks from Glastonbury to Westminster about 960, though the authenticity of this statement has been doubted. At any rate, whatever the beginnings may have been, it is quite certain that there was an important church standing, and a community of Benedictines in existence at Westminster, when Edward the Confessor began to build in 1055. Of this first Saxon church and monastery no traces remain, and even its plan and site are for the most part conjectural. During his exile in Normandy Edward had vowed to make a pilgrimage to Rome if he should regain his throne. The pope absolved him from this vow on condition that he built or restore an abbey in honour of St. Peter, and this condition Edward fulfilled at Westminster, his friend Edwin being abbot at the time. -- Catholic Encyclopedia 1912

Abbots of Westminster
Edwin 1049-1071?
Geoffrey of Jumièges 1071?-1075?
Vitalis of Bernay 1076?-1085
Gilbert Crispin 1085-1117
Herbert 1121-1136?

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