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If you are from Kent then you will know about Invicta - the "unconquered" people of Kent that stood up to William the Conqueror's army as it marched towards London in 1066. ?
But it is not the first time that one of our own has said "no" and stood up against an invader. Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury refused the will of the mighty Vikings and gave up his life in the process. Here's how the story goes.
Over a thousand years ago the Vikings invaded England. One of the raiders, Olaf, was converted to Christianity and agreed never to raid or fight the English again. Alphege helped him in his conversion and was involved in negotiating peace. Alphege became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1006.
The problem was that once a Viking, always a Viking and they invaded again in 1011, laying siege to Canterbury. The city was looted, the Cathedral set on fire, and Alphege was taken transported to Greenwich as prisoner.
Seeing a chance to make money, the Vikings tried to raise ransom from the people to get him released - but Alphege said no. Not a penny was to be extracted from the people of Canterbury. On the evening of April 19th 1012, at a drunken feast, a gang of Vikings pelted Alphege with ox bones and killed him with axe because he refused to give in.
His body was transported down the Thames, brought on shore in the Seasalter area, rested overnight, and was then taken up the ancient track (Church Lane) on the way to Canterbury Cathedral where he was buried. When a church was built in the area perhaps a hundred years later (to replace an earlier building swept away in a storm), it was dedicated to Alphege.
Alphege was made a saint in 1078 by Pope Gregory and his day of remembrance or "feast day" is 19th April. This year, 2012 will be a thousand years since his death.
A saint is a person that the Christian church gives special mention or credit to because of the way they have lived their life.
This might be because of a particular thing they have done or an example they have set throughout the whole of their life to make them special. Because of this they are regularly remembered.
Alphege's story is inspirational to modern people even though it is a thousand years old. Today, brave men and women across the world are also facing oppression, occupation and violence. Anyone that stands up to such aggression deserves to be remembered and so in this sense Alphege is very much one of Kent's and the nation's heroes.
Alphest 1000 is a year of celebration - remembering his unique story and being thankful. There will be a number of public events starting in April 2012 - from family activity days in Canterbury and Whitstable to colourful processions and projects for schools.
Alphest 1000 is being co-ordinated by the churches in Whitstable that carry his name.
Pilgrimage on the Thames at 12.00pm with Eucharist at Southwark Cathedral; then St Olaf's pier, London Bridge to Greenwich, Festival Procession leading to Millennium Service at St Alfege Church, Greenwich at 5.00pm. Preacher: the Archbishop of Canterbury. Service is ticket only with dedicated churches sending delegations.
"Kent, The South-East and War from the 10th to the 15th century". A wealth of speakers, talks and discussions covering the time of Alphege to the Wars of the Roses. For further details, ticket prices and bookings email:
10.00am at the Town Church, Whitstable Open Day including drama, artwork and re-enactment - it's all the Alphege "hub". All-day Saxon fair with displays and artefacts and a Hunt The Monk shop window competition. 1.30pm - Morris Dancing on church forecourt. 3.30pm - Viking beach landing by Keams Yard by the East Kent Historical Organisation, rampage through the town with a stand-off at the church at 4.30pm and 6pm.
To commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the martyrdom of St Alphege, find out about the dramatic Viking siege of Canterbury in an exciting trail around the city. Visit Canterbury Heritage Museum to see real Viking artefacts. Trail lasts approx 2 hours, certificate and badge for all children.
The Lord Mayor will be planting a Judas Tree on the site of the City Wall near the Miller's Arms at 10.30am organised by the Canterbury Society.
Re-enactment of martyrdom of St Alphege outside the Town Church at 9.15am followed by a procession and patronal service at 9.30am with Bishop Trevor, the Mayor of Canterbury and invited councillors.
Investigate and interpret clues to decode Alphege's story and the siege of Canterbury. Be led on a St Alphege costume trail and design your own stained-glass window based on Alphege's story. Find out about the making of a saint.
10am-4pm at theTown Church A floral celebration of St Alphege's life and legacy in this beautiful Victorian church. Cafe open during the day.
Churches from across the country will be making their way to the Cathedral for a combined Evensong at 5pm. The deconsecrated St Alphege church in Palace Street will be open from 10am-4pm to welcome pilgrims with light refreshments and a place to picnic.
A joint service for the two churches of St Alphege, Whitstable and Seasalter at Joy Lane Primary School.
The theme of the 2012 Oyster Festival procession will be a Viking one. For details of taking part email: firstname.lastname@example.org
St Alphege, Seasalter ~ Making disciples of Christ,growing the church of God