Hedda of Peterborough

(d. 870)

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Edmund (c. 840—869) king of the East Angles


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(d. 870),

abbot and martyr. Together with all his community, supposedly eighty-four in number, Hedda was killed by the same Danish army which had killed Edmund of East Anglia the same year. While the monastic chroniclers regarded these Danish armies as militant pagans, killing the Christians for their religion, some modern historians assert that it was rather love of booty which motivated them.

In the later Middle Ages the ‘Hedda stone’ stood in the cemetery over the grave of Hedda and his companions; holes were cut to place candles for saying Mass on it, a custom supposedly started by abbot Godric. Seventeenth-century visitors used to put their fingers in these holes, perhaps to take dust as a souvenir. Feast: 10 April.

A.S.C., s.a. 870 (‘E’ version); B.T.A., ii. 62; Stanton, pp. 150–1.

Subjects: Christianity.

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