Wednesday, July 2, 2008

SAXONS!!!!! Earl Odda- Mary is in England!


The chronicler Florence of Worcester described Odda as "a lover of churches, restorer of the poor, defender of widows and orphans, helper of the oppressed, guardian of chastity".___________

God is wonderful in his saints.

Apologies to the Monmouthshire Groupies!I've gone over the border!

Apologies to my Monmouthshire groupies. An insanely busy period of work has halted my rampaging around the Celtic Saints and their foundations. We have covered many topics so far, although I am planning to revisit a few, and Hey! If you have any special requests.....let me know at If you would like an article on your Monmouthshire church (dated before 1000 at the moment!) let me know too. I am still going to attempt our beautiful Church at St Woolos, Gwynlliw's foundation.Talk about St Deiniol-at some stage manage to get into Henllys Church,find my files on Rockfield and attend some churches in the North of the COunty and the holidays will be great for that!!

So today I am in England, in Gloucestershire and my visit is to Deerhurst .From Tewkesbury down the A38 south towards Gloucester. About three miles on, turn right on the B4213 and follow signs to Deerhurst, or vice versa if coming from Gloucester.

The Chapel-Free to Visit (English Heritage)

Odda's Chapel is a tiny Saxon chapel now built into a medieval timber-framed farmhouse which obscures the eastern chancel.Quite possibly the timber framed home was the last of the series of palace buildings around Earl Odda.

There are only two-cells with characteristic Saxon long and short quoins. It is very plain inside, but retains its original chancel arch and there are a number of Saxon windows.

Its importance was only recognised in 1885, despite the fact that an important stone inscription was found nearby some two hundred years before. A copy is on display:


"Earl Odda had this Royal Hall built and dedicated in honour of the Holy Trinity for the soul of his brother, Aelfric, which left the body in this place. Bishop Ealdred dedicated it the second of the Ides of April in the fourteenth year of the reign of Edward, King of the English."
[12th April 1056]


Earl Odda-a Kinsman of Edward the Confessor-Last King of Saxon England died 1066

Odda is a well known figure of the period. He was Earl of Hwicce and a captain of the Royal Fleet, not to mention, a kinsman of King Edward the Confessor.

As we can see from the stone, he and his brother, Aelfric, built (or rebuilt) a large palace complex here which included the chapel similar to that excavated at Cheddar (Somerset). Both men are known to have died at Deerhurst and to have been buried in Pershore Abbey.

Earl Odda, also known as Odda of Deerhurst, was an English aristocrat. In 1051, following the exile of Godwin, Earl of Wessex and his sons and the confiscation of their property and earldoms, King Edward the Confessor appointed Odda as earl over a portion of the vacated territory.This was the time when they were in exile at Flat Holme near Monmouthshire. Harold Godwinson was later to return via Porth Iscoed conquering parts of Gwent and worshipping at St Woolos.

This earldom comprised Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. Odda was one of the commanders of a fleet which was sent out in 1052 to patrol against any attempt by the exiles to return.

However, Godwin and his sons nevertheless succeeded in reaching England, raising an army and compelling the king to revoke their exile and restore their lands and earldoms to them. Thus Odda was deprived of his earldom within months of receiving it.


Odda himself died at Deerhurst on 31 August 1056, having been ordained a monk by Bishop Aldred of Worcester, and taken the monastic name Aethelwine. He was likewise buried at Pershore. After Odda's death, as he had apparently left no heir, his lands passed to King Edward.As we know, Earl Harold did no better losing Angle-Land to the Frenchman William of Normandy, dying at the Battle of Hastings.

After Odda's death the parish church and its estates were given to the monastery of St-Denis near Paris. Deerhurst became an alien priory, a cell of St-Denis and Odda's own lands were given to Westminster Abbey. Subsequently, after the Norman Conquest, Deerhurst being divided between two distant landlords it lost the importance it had hitherto enjoyed.

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