(954--1012) Saint, Martyr and Archbishop. Alphege joined a monastic community at Deerhurst in Wessex, England, but spent some time as a hermit. He was consecrated Bishop of Winchester in 984, succeeding ETHELWOLD, and was used by King Ethelred the Unready on a diplomatic mission against the invading Danes in 994. As a result of Alphege's intervention, the Danish leader, Anlaf, became a Christian. In 1005 Alphege was enthroned Archbishop of Canterbury, following AELFRIC. Meanwhile the Danes were overrunning the south of England and in 1011 Alphege was imprisoned at Greenwich. He refused to be ransomed and was eventually killed during the course of a drunken revel when the Danish feasters threw ox bones at him. According to Archbishop ANSELM, just as JOHN THE BAPTIST was a martyr for truth, so Alphege was a martyr for justice. His cult was long celebrated in Canterbury until it was overshadowed by that of Thomas BECKET.
Eadmer, The Life of St Anselm, edited by R.W. Southern (1962) ; R.W. Southern, St Anselm and his Biographer (1963).