St Werburgh was the daughter of King Wulfere of Mercia who had been converted to Christianity; he was the son of Penda who had been a pagan. Werburgh’s mother was Ermenilda who was the daughter of the Christian King of Kent.
Rather than choose a husband, Werburgh chose to go to Ely to study with her aunt Etheldreda who was the Abbess there. When Etheldreda died Werburgh became Abbess in her place.
When her father, Wulfere, died he was succeeded by his brother Ethelred. Ethelred gave Werburgh the ‘palace’ at Weedon so that she could establish a nunnery. Ethelred also placed her in charge of nunneries at Trentham and Hanbury in Staffordshire, and Repton in Derbyshire.
Following her death in 700 AD Werburgh was buried in Hanbury which was her choice. Her tomb became a place of pilgrimage; because of the many cures effected there in 708AD the tomb was moved to a more conspicuous place in the church.
St Werburgh’s feast day in 3rd February.
Many miracles are associated with St Edburg both before and after her death. Two are said to have taken place in Weedon.
The first was when wild geese were damaging the villagers crops with the danger of famine if all the crops were destroyed. The villagers asked for Werburgh’s help. Werburgh ordered that all the geese should be rounded up. She argued with them and they promised to leave. Unfortunately, one of Werburgh’s servants killed and cooked one of the geese leaving only the bones. The geese angrily flew noisily around the nunnery. Werburgh gathered the bones and restored the goose to life. Immediately all the geese flew off and they have never ruined the crops again. This explains why geese appear in the village Primary School’s logo. A window in the Church of St Peter and St Paul also commemorates this miracle.
The other miracle tells of Werburgh’s cowherd, Alnoth, being badly beaten by her bailiff. Werburgh pleaded with the bailiff to stop, when he refused to do so his head was turned so that it faced backwards. It was only when he finally stopped beating Alnoth that his head was turned back again.