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Royal Peculiars – St Edward King and Martyr Church

As our whirlwind tour of Royal Peculiars continues, our next stop is the St Edward King and Martyr Church in Cambridge. The Church is located on Peas Hill in Central Cambridge and is dedicated to Edward The Martyr, King of England from 975 until his murder in 978. The church of today was founded in the thirteenth century and in 1400 it was rebuilt creating the present chancel and arches of the nave. Although the church was rebuilt over 600 years ago, the windows we see today in the church were not added until centuries later, some as late as the nineteenth century.

During the early days of the Reformation, the Church of St Edward King and Martyr played a very unique role. Throughout the 1520s a group of Evangelicals from Cambridge had been holding

One of St Edward's stained glass windows.

One of St Edward’s stained glass windows.

meetings to discuss the preaching’s of Martin Luther and the translation of the New Testament by Erasmus. At Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve 1525, Robert Barnes of this Evangelical group preached what is believed to be the first openly evangelical sermon in any English Church, the sermon also accused the Catholic Church of heresy. Following this sermon St Edward’s would begin to be referred as the ‘Cradle of the Reformation’.

In the modern day, St Edward’s has increasingly become hidden away from view owing to the increasing buildings that have appeared in central Cambridge. During the 1930s, St Edwards served as the Toc H church for the East of England and in turn became popular with students, earning itself the nickname “Teddy’s” . The Church is of course a Royal Peculiar and is outside the jurisdiction of the diocese.

St Edward’s has recently become a centre for meditative Christianity and there is a Eucharist held at the Church every Sunday at 5pm.

Photo Credits: TomFlemming via photopin cc

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