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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Shropshire

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Myths and Legends
St Cuthbert
St Cuthbert holding Oswald's head

© Jarrold Publishing, Chapter of Durham
Cult of a King

Oswestry on Shropshire’s Welsh border is widely believed to be the location of the Northumbrian, Christian King Oswald’s grisly death. Slain by the pagan King Penda of neighbouring Mercia in 642, King Oswald was brutally dismembered, his arms and head stuck on stakes as a warning to others thinking of challenging Penda’s pagan realm.

The site of his violent end quickly acquired mythical status, mainly to do with its supposedly miraculous healing powers. Within a century, the legend of King Oswald developed from a folklore myth, imbued with pagan characteristics, to a mainstream ecclesiastical saint. More...

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