Bury St Edmunds
Magna Carta and Martyr
Bury St Edmunds set in the beautiful county of Suffolk is named after the Christian King Edmund in 869 Edmund, King of the East Angles, met his death at the hands of the Danes. He was tied to a tree and shot with arrows.
The remains of Edmund were taken to the then Bedericesworth and a shrine was made to house them later the great Benedictine Abbey grew around this, only to be later destroyed by King Henry VIII in the dissolution of the monasteries.
Edmund was the patron saint of England, until St George replaced him. His feast day is 20 November. Bury St Edmunds subsequently became a medieval place of pilgrimage.
For the history lover this a great place to visit, as there is much to see with the Norman Tower the cathedral and St Marys church where Mary Tudor was laid to rest.
Bury St Edmunds has another claim to fame it was here in the former Abbey that some of King John’s barons swore on the high altar to force the King to accept the Magna Carta.
The town included in its motto the words “Shrine of a King cradle of the law”.
The best-preserved parts of the old Abbey are the gatehouses one of the 12 century and another the 14th century little is left of the great abbey church but the 13th century Abbots Bridge still spans the River Lark.
Angel Hill is spacious square, which is surrounded by fine buildings, among them the Athenaeum which is an 18th-century assembly Hall that once hosted readings by Charles Dickens who also stayed at the Angel hotel.
Moyes Hall in the butter market, which was built in 1180, is said to be the oldest Norman house in East Anglia it is now a museum and has exhibits from the Bronze Age and weapons and a chronicle. The market cross building off Cornhill was designed by Robert Adam and now contains an art gallery.
Nearby other places of interest are Ickworth house, which is a neoclassical mansion it has a huge rotunda with artworks by Titian and Reynolds. Packham watermill, which is the last working watermill in Suffolk. Lackford lakes a former gravel pit is thriving with all sorts of birds and wildlife.
The nutshell Inn is reputedly the smallest pub in England according to the Guinness book of records and you can still call in there for a drink its floor area is 15ft x 7ft 6 so do not expect to get any food.
The Theatre Royal is a beautiful Georgian building recently restored it is one of only three theatres in the UK surviving from the pre-Victorian era it performs plays from the 18th and early 19th centuries.
Activities in Bury St Edmunds
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