Edgitha, Wife of Edward the Confessor

Edith of Wessex, as depicted in a 13th century ms. Edith of Wessex, as depicted in a 13th century ms.

Edgitha (Ealdgyth; Edith of Wessex; c. 1025 - 1075) was the wife of (Saint) Edward the Confessor (c. 1042-1066) and the sister of King Harold II, who died at Hastings in 1066. She appears to have been an accomplished embroideress.

In the Vita Aedwardi Regis (c. 1067), she is praised for having dressed her husband in clothing covered with precious stones, rare gems and shining pearls. She is also reported to have given an abbott a very expensively decorated amice (Lat. amictum; protective piece of cloth worn around the neck to protect the more precious garments from being soiled by hair and/or perspiration). It was decorated with gold and precious stones, and probably embroidered. She also adorned her husband's throne. She is probably one of the three women embroidered in the Bayeux tapestry.

After the Conquest, she retained her lands and influence. She has been named as a possible patron and/or supervisor for the Bayeux tapestry. She died in Winchester, and she was buried at Westminster Abbey in London.


  • COATSWORTH, Elizabeth  (2012). 'Amice', in: Gale Owen-Crocker, Elizabeth Coatsworth and Maria Hayward (eds.), Encyclopedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles of the British Isles, 450-1450, Leiden: Brill, pp. 36-37, 57, 60, 190, 408.
  • ROCHELLE, Mercedes (2015). 'The almost forgotten Edith of Wessex, Queen of England', Historical Britain blog, 15 May 2015, download here.
  • STAFFORD, Pauline (2001). Queen Emma and Queen Edith: Queenship and Women's Power in Eleventh-Century England, Wiley-Blackwell.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 2 November 2016).


Last modified on Tuesday, 08 November 2016 10:58