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Ælfheah

Ælfheah (954–1012), archbishop of Canterbury, was a monk at Deerhurst and at Bath before being appointed bishop of Winchester in 984. In 994 he is said to have visited Olaf of Norway, then on a raid at Southampton, converted him, and obtained a promise to leave England alone. In 1006 he succeeded Ælfric as archbishop of Canterbury. A Danish host burned Canterbury in 1011 and took the archbishop prisoner: ‘Then was he a captive, he who had been | The head of England, and of Christendom’ (Anglo-Saxon Chronicle). Ælfheah refused to be ransomed and on 19 April 1012 at Greenwich was battered to death. He was buried in St Paul's and then in his own cathedral at Canterbury. He is recognized as a saint, usually as St Alphege.

J. A. Cannon

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