So who on Earth was St Alphege (or Alphege) that we we remember today? Londoners will have a slight start here, since there are a handful of churches dedicated to him there, often pretty high up the candle like this one, St Alphage’s Burnt Oak. It was round the corner from where my father lived as a lad, and it was through its youth group that he came to faith and from which he went on to Mirfield in due course.
For the record the man himself would have spelled his name Ælfheah and was an anchorage (sort of hermit) whose holiness so impressed people that he was made Archbishop of Canterbury early in the eleventh century. It showed through when he was captured by the Vikings as a money-raiser and killed by them in 1012 when he refused to be ransomed for a massive sum that would have impoverished his people. He became a national hero, and it was to him that Thomas Becket was praying as he was martyred.