ere followeth the life of Saint Edward, King and martyr.
Saint Edward, the young king and martyr, was the son of King Edgar, and he was king but three years and seven months, and when his own mother was dead, his father, the king, wedded another wife, which was full wicked, and by her he had a son named Ethelred. This queen laboured sore for to destroy this young King Edward for to make her own son, Ethelred, king, and little loved the King Edward. For then King Edgar was dead which had been a good justicer in chastising rebels and cherishing good and welldisposed people. For he had a blessed and an holy man, Saint Dunstan, which was chief of his council and was much ruled by him, and in that time was joy and mirth in all England. And the queen, through enticing of the fiend our enemy, laboured ever and awaited for to destroy this young King Edward. And so it happed that this said young king, Edward, rode on hunting with his knights in the wood of Dorset beside the town of Warham, and there in the chase it happed the king to depart away from his men, and rode forth alone to see his brother Ethelred which was thereby, with the queen, his mother, in the castle named Corfe. But when the queen saw him there being alone, she was joyful and glad in her heart, hoping then to accomplish that which she sore had laboured for, and went to the king and welcomed him with fair and blandishing words, and commanded to fetch bread and wine to the king, and whiles the king drank, the butler took a knife and roof the king through the body to the heart, in such wise that the king fell down dead. And anon then the queen's servants buried the body in a desolate place of the wood, to the end that no man should know where he was become. And when Saint Dunstan knew that the king was so murdered, he made much great sorrow, and in short time after, yet a part against his will, he crowned her son Ethelred king. And then he said to the king: Forasmuch as by manslaughter and wrong thou art come to be king, thou shalt therefore have great sorrow and trouble to thy life's end, and all shall fall for the death of thy brother Edward. Who that will know the sorrow that fell may see it in the life of Saint Alphage, and there he shall see what sorrow there fell, and all was for the death of this Saint Edward. And all the poor people of this land sorrowed greatly for this good king's death, and in especial because they could not know where he was buried. For they would bury him much worshipfully if they might find him.
And in a time, as God would, men of Warham and of the country be gone for to seek this holy body of Saint Edward with great devotion, praying our Lord that they might have knowledge where the holy body was, and soon after, one of them that so sought saw a great light in a desolate place of the wood in likeness of a pillar of fire, stretching from heaven even unto the grave where the holy body lay in. And then the people full reverently digged up the body and brought it with solemn procession to the church of Warham, and they buried this holy body in the churchyard at the east end of the church, for they durst not do otherwise for displeasure of the queen. But now over that grave is builded a fair chapel of our Lady, and in the place where he was first buried is now a right fair well, which is called Saint Edward's well, where our Lord showeth many miracles for his holy martyr Saint Edward. And in likewise in the chapel at Warham, whereas his holy body lay long, our Lord showeth also miracles. But long time after, by the labour of the earl Alphere which much loved Saint Edward, the bishops and clergy, by the counsel of Saint Wilfrida and Saint Edith, sisters of Saint Edward and nuns at Wilton, the holy body was took out of the chapel of Warham, and brought with great solemnity unto the nunnery of Shaftesbury. And by the way, as men bare this holy body, two cripples were made all whole, and followed the holy body with great joy and mirth, thanking God and the holy saint of their health. And when they came to Shaftesbury they laid this holy body in the wall by the high altar right worshipfully, where our Lord showed miracles for him. And when the queen, his stepmother, heard tell what miracles God showed for him, then she repented her full sore, and cried God mercy, and the holy saint, for her trespass, and purposed to ride thither to do worship to the holy body, and there to ask forgiveness of the death that she had committed to be done in him. But, when she would have ridden thitherward, her horse would not go forth in no wise for beating ne drawing; and then she lighted down and went thither full meekly on her feet; and oft in her journey she repented her of that cursed deed that she had caused to be done to this holy Saint Edward. And when she came to Shaftesbury, where as this holy body was buried, she did full great reverence thereto, and cried God mercy, and the holy saint, for her great offence. And after this she became a full good woman, and had great repentance thereof unto her life's end. And after, when the holy body had rested in the wall certain years, Saint Edward appeared to an holy religious man, and bade him go to Dame Ethelreda, abbess of that place, and say to her that she purvey that his body should be laid in a more worshipful place. And then she went to Saint Dunstan to pray him of his help in this matter, and soon after Saint Dunstan came with a multitude of bishops, abbots, priors and of the clergy, and took up this holy body and laid it in a worshipful shrine, which the abbess and other well-disposed people had ordained for it. And when his body was taken out of the wall, there came out of the grave a savour like a smoke of frankincense, smelling so sweet that all the people were greatly comforted thereby. And thus this holy king and martyr was translated in the year of our Lord one thousand, and somewhat more. And when king Ethelred was dead, Edward his son reigned after him, which was a holy and glorious king and confessor, and lieth buried at Westminster, and worshipfully shrined, whereas our Lord hath showed many a great miracle for him. Then let us pray to this holy martyr Saint Edward, king, and to Saint Edward, king and confessor that they pray to our Lord for us, that we may in this wretched world so amend and repent us of our wretched life, that, when we shall depart hence we may come to his everlasting life in heaven. Amen.