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Ragener

(d. c. 870)


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

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(d. c.870),

soldier and martyr of Northampton. The only witness is a single manuscript of N.L.A. According to this, Bruning, the wealthy and devout parish priest of St Peter, Northampton, in the mid-11th century, had a simple-minded manservant of Viking family, who set out on pilgrimage for Rome in honour of St Peter, whom he called drotinum (i.e. ‘lord’). But he was repeatedly admonished in visions to return. Once back, he saw the same celestial visitor as before, who now told him that the body of a friend of God lay buried under the floor of the church, and that the parish priest should be told where to find him. Bruning set about digging and found a grave just where he had been told. The news was made public but nobody knew who was buried there.

Alfgiva of Abingdon, who was severely crippled, was cured at the tomb during the Vigil on Easter Eve after seeing a miraculous light, and walked as she had never walked before. After three days of fasting, Bruning opened the tomb. In it he found bones with a scroll. This identified the body as that of Ragener, martyr of Christ, the nephew of King Edmund: both had suffered for Christ in the same persecution.

Other miracles of healing followed; Edward the Confessor enriched Northampton with many gifts; a fine shrine was made for the saint; Alfgiva became a nun in Northampton.

This account stands almost alone, but the existence of the feast on 21 November is proved by an entry in a Missal in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

N.L.A., ii. 727–31.

Subjects: Christianity.


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