Edington Priory Church & William Ayscough

Recently I’ve been doing lots of reading about the Wars of the Roses, and it was whilst doing so that I stumbled across this little gem. Edington Priory Church isn’t far from where I live, and – intrigued – I decided to pay a visit.

My interest in the Church had been piqued when I’d read about the bloody event that was staged there in the summer of 1450. In May, a band of rebels had gathered in Kent with the intent of marching on London. They were led by a man named Jack Cade, and under his leadership the rebels made their way towards the capital, intent upon forcing Henry VI to remove his evil and corrupt advisors.

One of those in close proximity to the King was his confessor, William Ayscough, the Bishop of Salisbury. Ayscough had officiated at the King’s wedding to Margaret of Anjou in 1445 at Titchfield Abbey, but was extremely unpopular. During the uncertain days posed by Jack Cade’s rebellion, Ayscough had sought refuge in Edington Priory Church. However, during Mass on 29 June, Ayscough was dragged from the high altar in the church and murdered in the surrounding fields.

Today, Edington Priory Church gives no hint of the gruesome event that took place nearby in 1450, but it does contain several other items of interest. These include the medieval tomb of an unknown monk, as well as the tombs of two unidentified knights – probably members of the Rous family. There is also some beautiful medieval glass.


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