St Beocca and Martyrs of Chertsey

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Monks and martyrs of Chertsey in Surrey - now on the outskirts of London. They died when their monastery was ransacked by invading Danes in 870. Many other members of the community are said to have perished with them.

Their memory has been kept alive in several chronicles, including that of William of Malmesbury.

Richard Stanton wrote in his Menology in 1887: 'At Chertsey in Surrey, the commemoration of St Beocca, Abbot; St Ethor, Priest and Monk, together with eighty or ninety religious men of the same community, who were burnt in their monastery, in hatred of the Christian faith, by the pagan Danes, in their cruel ravages, about the year of Christ 870.

'Also at Barking in Essex, the precious memory of the religious women of the Abbey founded by St Erkonwald and St Ethelburga, all of whom were put to death by the pagans for the same holy cause, and whose names, not known on earth, are recorded in the Book of Life. The day of the passion of these holy martyrs has not been preserved.'

The same Danish army is said to have killed the monks of Peterborough, Bardney, Ely, and Crowland. King Edmund of East Anglia also lost his life during the invasion.

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