These are all from the parish church of Islip in Oxfordshire, the birthplace of Edward the Confessor.
This time last year I was posting a series of nine facts about Edward the Confessor, in the lead-up to his feast day on October 13th.
But this post from nearly two years ago best explains why he interests me. Weak, rejected, bad-tempered and lonely, there was still enough of holiness about him to make him the last of England's monarchs to be called a saint. If I may repeat myself:
Anglo-Saxon life was not easy at the best of times, but Edward's sounds so unsettled and lonely. It's just sad. And yet he was a virtuous and holy man, who showed the power of God in his life, and he was admired and venerated, and miracles were worked through him. When I hear sermons about how saints are difficult for us to relate to because they are always happy and glorified, I think about Edward the Confessor and that hymn which says of the saints:
Once they were mourning here below,
And wet their couch with tears;
They wrestled hard, as we do now,
With sins and doubts and fears.
Well, I can relate to that.
Perhaps bizarrely, I'm writing a novel about his years in exile. It's a little hard to imagine why anyone would ever read such a book (let alone write one...), but it seemed like a good idea at the time.