St. Alphege of Deerhurst
Alphege, circa AD 953 to 1012, was professed monk at Deerhurst. It is said he found the rule here too lax and moved on to become a hermit at Weston near Bath. He became Abbot of Bath and then Bishop of Winchester before becoming Archbishop of Canterbury. He was killed by soldiers of the invading Danish army on 19th April 1012 at Greenwich. Thomas Beckett, in his last sermon, referred to Alphege as the first Martyr of Canterbury.
In 2012 a programme of events took place throughout the year to celebrate the Millennium of St. Alphege, including a visit by the Archbishop of Canterbury in July. He preached in a special service at Deerhurst, where he also dedicated a new altar of St Alphege. Archbishop Rowan’s sermon was based on the gospel reading Matthew 16.24 -26, where Jesus says to his disciples ‘If anyone wishes to be a follower of mine, he must leave his self behind; he must take up his cross and come with me’. Dr Williams outlined the meaning of this text to the
congregation, saying that we should let go of trying to control our lives and our futures and allow our brothers and sisters to ‘carry us’ in prayer. ‘In the church we bear one another’s burdens, we carry one another in prayer… when you let go, someone else takes your hand and says “I will carry you”’.