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