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Ethelred and Ethelbricht


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St Ethelbert (d. 616)

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Princes of the royal house of Kent and martyrs. They are not mentioned by Bede: A.S.C. records their death, but not their names, in 640. Their Legend places this about 30 years later. They were the sons of Ermenred and great-grandsons of Ethelbert of Kent: their uncle Erconbert ruled from 640 and his son Egbert succeeded in 664. Egbert's counsellor Thunor murdered the princes and buried them at Eastry. Egbert was held responsible, and in expiation founded the monastery of Minster, where the princes' sister Ermenburga was first abbess. Their bodies were translated outside Kent for political reasons to Wakering (Essex) and later to Ramsey Abbey by Oswald of Worcester on 17 October, the day when their feast was kept both there and at St Augustine's, Canterbury. The Legend was fully developed only in the 11th century.

A.S.C., s.a. 640; G.R., i. 261–2, 267; N.L.A., i. 429–31.

Subjects: Christianity.


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