Power and piety: what one of England’s oldest stone churches is telling us about the spread of Christianity

Sep 25, 2019 by

from Christian Today:

In the 19th century, the rector of St Mary and St Ethelburga in Lyminge, a small village in Kent, started digging in his churchyard looking for the tomb of Queen Ethelburga, the second wife of King Edwin and one of the most important figures in the early spread of Christianity across England.

It was already known from the historical records that Ethelburga established a monastery in Lyminge in 633AD, but the building had disappeared with the passage of time.

Curious, the rector dug down in his churchyard and discovered the walls of an Anglo-Saxon church alongside the Norman church still standing on the site today, but his findings were poorly recorded, leading archaeologists to once again re-visit the site over the summer.

What they uncovered is shedding new light not only on Ethelburga and her 7th century church, but how the foundation that was laid for the early progression of Christianity in Britain from a fledgling foreign faith in a pagan land, to a religion closely bound up with royal and political power.

Rob Baldwin, a member of the PCC, talked to Christian Today about the significance of the excavation and the church’s plans to preserve its remarkable heritage.

Read here

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