St Alkmunds Church

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St Alkmund's Church
St Alkmunds Square
Shrewsbury
Shropshire
SY1 1UH

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St Alkmunds Poem

ST ALKMUND’S CHURCH, SHREWSBURY
Celebrating the 1100th anniversary of its founding in 912


 
Northumbria’s usurper said:
“I wish my rival Alkmund dead”.
Dull of heart the men who sped
To Mercia, where the Prince had fled,
And killed him, watching as he bled.
 

Mercia’s protection had been lent
To this man of royal descent.
This outrage was a cause for war,
But Mercia’s ruler wisely saw
A less destructive course, and chose
To bring the matter to a close
By acting quietly, with restraint:
Prince Alkmund was declared a saint.
 

Eight hundred years on from the birth
Of Christ, the hope of Peace on earth,
This deed of hate and fear was wrought,
Bewildering those who, longing, sought
The love and peace His death had brought
Who, on the Cross, with evil fought,
And dying, triumphed over sin
Ushering love and mercy in.
 

Consider now a further hundred years,
Saxon versus Dane, blood shed, and tears,
Alfred victorious, many Danes baptised,
Christ’s gentle influence slowly realised,
The Mercian people by a woman led,
A daughter of King Alfred, Aethelfled.
Believing that she was of Alkmund’s line
This powerful lady wrought a bold design:
Building three churches on the western way 
From Gloucester to Chester, on which Shrewsbury lay.
Each bears the name of Alkmund, and each stands
To welcome pilgrims all with open hands,
And Shrewsbury’s St Alkmund’s, by God’s grace
For eleven hundred years has run the race.
In this our anniversary may we give  
Signs of the joy all have who with Christ live.
 

Richard Hayes
Resident Priest at St Alkmund’s, Shrewsbury

 

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