St Edith’s Day

Kemsing’s village sign features the well

This year St Edith’s Day falls on a Sunday so celebrations at Kemsing are on the actual day: 16 September.

Kemsing is by the Pilgrims’ Way just east of Otford so pilgrims from both London and Winchester pass the village.

Many stop to see the well, church and call at a pub.

Edith, born at Kemsing in 963,  was the daughter of King Edgar. Her mother was Wilfrida, an unmarried woman, from a Wilton Abbey.

The parents did not stay together although they remained on good terms when, shortly after Edith’s birth, mother and child went to live at Wilton.

Her brothers were Edward the Martyr who died at Corfe Castle and Ethelred the Unready.

As a  teenager Edith is said to have worn golden garments which led Eleanor Parker to headline her blog post on the saint ‘St Edith of Wilton: Nun, Fashionista, Artist, Zoo-keeper, Ruler of the Waves’.

Edith died at the age of 23 on 15 September, the day before her present feast day.

On Sunday 16 September there is a procession to St Edith’s Well in front of the post office from the church at the end of the 9.15am Sung Communion.

In the afternoon there are devotions at the  Well at 3pm before vespers in church.

Kemsing church has an ancient door pitted by knocks from pilgrim staves.

The day’s celebrations conclude at The Bell pub.

** Some pilgrims will be setting out on foot for Kemsing  from Holy Trinity  (RC) Church in Otford (on main street and just west of the river) at 1.30pm.

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