By any standards, Etheldreda was a remarkable woman in a time of remarkable women. Far from being the wishy washy figure of so much stained glass, she was – had to be – a tough operator.
Great saints are not pushovers. She got her way. She changed the map in the Not-Yet-England of her time (c. 636 AD-679 AD).
What was it like to be a Princess then, an Abbess in a land where the old gods were still honoured by many? What power did women in her position wield? What did it mean to be revered as a Saint?
Dr Charles Moseley's lively account puts Etheldreda in context, painting a vivid picture which reveals what it was like to be a nun in those days, how marriage was viewed, what the countryside which these intrepid people crisscrossed looked like.
2023 marks 1350 years since St Etheldreda first established a monastery in Ely in AD 673. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims have flocked to Ely Cathedral in her name and churches across the country have been named in her honour.