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St. Elswith of Winchester

Commemorated on July 20

St. Elswith was the daughter of a Mercian nobleman, and the wife of King Alfred the Great of England. They married in 868 when she was still a teenager. She was to bear him several children, of whom five lived into adulthood

Their youngest daughter, Ethelgifu, became a nun and was the future Abbess of Shaftesbury, a convent that King Alfred had founded. She died at a young age in 896.

Elswith was to survive her husband and child by only a few years. Held in high respect, she completed the work of Alfred’s monastic building of the convent of Nunnaminster in Winchester, which was dedicated to the Theotokos. There she lived in great piety until her death in 903.

She was buried alongside her husband and daughter in the Old Minster in the capital at Winchester.

By permission of