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St Editha, Polesworth, Warwickshire

(52°37′10″N, 1°36′41″W)
SK 264 025
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Warwickshire
now Warwickshire
  • Harry Bodenham

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The church was originally part of a Benedictine nunnery founded in the 10thc. The present church consists of nave, N aisle, chancel and N tower. The first two bays E and the Westernmost, of the eight-bay N nave arcade are 12thc. Some of the original 12thc. round-headed clerestorey windows survive (the first three from E and first from W).



Exterior Features


Interior Features






The following was copied by Dugdale in 1640 from an old roll in the possession of John Ferrer of Tamworth castle nearby, and now in the Warwick VCH."According to legend, King Egbert had an only son, Arnulph, who was a leper. Hearing from an Irish bishop that a king of Connaught had a daughter, Modwen, a nun, who possessed marvelous powers of healing, he sent his son to Ireland, where he was cured by this holy woman. Thereupon, Egbert invited St Modwen to come to England, promising to found a monastery for her and her convent. The saint was pleased to accept the offer, as her own religious house was burnt down during one of the Irish wars. Egbert recommended his daughter, Edith, join her so as to be instructed in religion after the rule of St Benedict. Thence they moved together with St Lyne and St Osyth to a monastery founded for them at Polesworth, on the bank of the Anker, and of which Edith shortly became abbess".

A fact sheet published by the Polesworth Society mentions that many historical accounts state that Egbert of Wessex established the abbey in 827, and that his daughter Editha was first Abbess. However, it seems Egbert did not have a daughter, and he would not have been in a position to endow an Abbey until peace was restored between Wessex and Mercia in 853. Egbert died in 839. 1120 is given as the earliest date for Polesworth Abbey Church.

The effigy of the Abbess has been dated by Pevsner toc.1200

The Polesworth Society - History Factsheet No 17 (1997)
VCH 2:62
Pevsner and Wedgwood, 372 - 373