Relics

In those days a rage prevailed for Relics, the utensils, clothing, bones, or bodies, of those who were accounted to be Saints, were highly prized!  No Monastery liked to be without some such possessions, as they could be turned to profit. 

A new foundation like Ramsey without a doubt would need relics almost as much as it needed land.  These relics would bring with them the patronage of a Saint, prestige in the competition with other monasteries, devotion from local people and from pilgrims.

Ramsey Abbey's first relics were two Princes, Ethelred and Ethelberht, two brothers, twins, born of Royal blood.  After their fathers death they grew up to the royal rank due to them, by virtue of their grandfather's blood.  They were killed through the envy of some "good for nothing fellow".  According to the Book of Benefactors, they were reported to have been buried long ago in a church at a vill, that Ailwyn owned called Wakering.  These brothers were elevated to the glory of Martydom, when many marks of miracles became known.  Ailwyn thought it right and fitting to give them the honour they deserved, so he had their relics translated with seemly devotion to Ramsey Abbey. (Ref 9)

Speed calls them "Kings" who were murdered and buried near a country house of Alderman Ailwyn, at a place called Wacheringe, according to the Chronicle.  (Ref 7)

Other gems of Ramsey Abbey was St Felix and St Ivo, but the Abbey failed to keep the body of Ednoth the first Abbot of Ramsey, who was later to become the Bishop of Dorchester, which was in the diocese of Ely.  After Ednoth was killed at the battle of Essenden, and while his body was being transported back to Ramsey by the Abbey monks, they were entertained at Ely, and overnight the body mysteriously disappeared and so the Ely monks claimed the right to keep their former Bishop!

Elfled, daughter of Ailwyn, earl of East Anglia founder of the Abbey of Ramsey, was preferred Abbess of Ramsey, and confirmed by King Edgar.  She is reported to have excelled in austerity and holiness of life.  When her steward complained to her that she had exhausted her coffers by the profoundness of her charity, she had recourse to prayer, and in answer to her petitions the coffers were recruited to their former fullness!

When the taper by which she was reading the lesson in choir one day casually went out, there came such a brightness from her fingers on her right hand that it lighted up the whole church.  She died in the year 992, and was buried in the Lady Chapel at Ramsey with great veneration.

Alfwin the fifth Abbot of Ramsey, welcomed the leper Alfward a former monk of Ramsey, back to the Abbey, because Evesham, where he had been  former Abbot, rejected him.  He brought with him the cheek bone of St Egwin and the cowl of the Holy martyr St Alphege, which was imbibed with the bright stains of his sacred blood.

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