Today in the Middle Ages: April 19, 1012

Ælfheah, Archbishop of Canterbury, was martyred on April 19, 1012 in Greenwich, England.

Before becoming Archbishop, Ælfheah (also spelled Elphege or Alphege) traveled to Norway and is credited with converting at least one king to Christianity. Some details of his story are obscure, but accounts agree that after being captured by Viking raiders in 1011, Ælfheah refused to be ransomed. They kept him captive some months, but finally killed him -- some say by axe, others say by beating to death. He was then canonized by Pope Gregory VII in 1078.