Most visitors to The Kings and Scribes Exhibition at Winchester Cathedral have never heard of Queen Emma. I had also not heard of her until becoming an Exhibition Steward.
Queen Emma was born in Normandy in 984 and passed away in Winchester, on March 6th, 1052. She was the Great Aunt of William the Conqueror of Normandy. (1028 – 1087).
The Battle of Hasting in 1066 is probably the most important year in Britain’s history. The Norman Conquest.
Queen Emma was the daughter of Richard I of Normandy.
She was married twice. Her first husband was the Anglo-Saxon King Aethelred ‘The Unready’ and when he passed away, married Danish King Canute (famous for sitting in a chair at the seafront; tried and failed to stop the tide coming in. It resulted in his feet becoming rather wet.
Queen Emma had two sons: Harthcanut and Edward the Confessor.
She is the only Queen to be Queen twice and the only Queen to have a mortuary chest in Winchester Cathedral.
There are many many ancient buildings in Winchester High Street, one of which is a half-timbered former residence and Queen Emma’s principal home.
‘God Begot House’, now an Italian restaurant. The translation of the name has changed over the centuries and is now thought to be ‘the good getter’. This was her principal home. The building still has the ancient inside structure with beams and a room that is thought to be haunted. The outside frontage is, to say the least, awesome.
Queen Emma and her sons helped to a degree in planning the Norman Conquest of 1066.
Why most people had never heard of her is a mystery. She played such an important role in the history of the Kings and Queens of Winchester.
Winchester is home to the world-famous 1000-year-old Cathedral. And has the longest medieval nave. The Cathedral Contains remains of many ancient monarchs in mortuary chests, including Queen Emma.