Saints of Essex

Several Saints  have been especially revered in Essex due to local connections.

St Cedd

St Cedd was a missionary who landed at Bradwell on Sea and built St Peters Chapel in AD 643

A whole page is devoted to St Cedd and the chapel he built at Bradwell on Sea. Click here to visit the page.

St Constantine

Born at Colchester, the son of St Helen  who became the first Christian Emperor and is credited with finding Christ's Cross on Mount Cavalry.

His edict of Milan put an end to the persecution of Christians in the empire.

St Edmund

A window dedicated to St Edmund in Greenstead Church

St Edmund was a King of the East Angles who was killed in 870AD in a battle with the Danes.

According to legend he was decapitated and his head thrown into the forest. When his supported found the body they could not find the head but on shouting the head replied ' here I am' enabling them to find it.

The body was quickly buried and a memorial church erected at Bury (later called Bury St Edmunds). At this point the body was exhumed to be taken to Bury and it was found that the head was now firmly attached to the neck and despite a shallow burial the skin and hair of St Edmunds was undamaged as if he was sleeping.

The wooden church of Greenstead was built in AD1013 to act as a resting place for the body of St Edmund on its final journey. Since then Essex claims a share in the memory of St Edmund

St Ethelburgh

St Ethelburgh was the sister of Erkenwald who was Bishop of London. He appointed her as the counties first Abbess of the nunnery at Barking. She led a very austere life and obtained veneration after her death in AD 676.

St Helen Helen in Palestine painted in 1490 by Altobello Melone

St Helen was born in Colchester the daughter of King Coel. She was the mother of St Constantine. St Helen led a pius life and made a pilgrimage to Palestine an adventure unusual for a woman. She is the patron saint of Archeologists.

St Osyth


St Osyth was the daughter of Redwald the first Christian King of the East Angles. In her youth she vowed perpetual virginity but was betrothed against her will to Sighere, King of the East Saxons. before the marriage could be consummated she stole away and took the veil. Afterwards she obtained agreement with Sighere to relinquish her and he made a gift of land in the village of Clich( now known at St Osyth) to maintain a nunnery.

She built and was Abbess at the nunnery until AD 653 when the Danes under Ingwar and Ubba sacked the convent and beheaded her.

According to legend once beheaded she picked up her head and guided by angels walked to the church door where she knocked and fell prostrate. A fountain sprung up at the spot where she was beheaded and the water was renowned for is restorative properties.