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Painting A Picture "hot Summer"

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Wragg

Chronicler of Crux
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For the benefit of the historically minded, including Barb...

Bury St Edmunds is a town almost in the centre of East Anglia.

It carries the name of St Edmund, King of East Anglia from 855 until 20th November 869, when he was defeated in battle by the Danes. It is said that they offered to spare his life if he renounced Christianity; he refused to do so so they

220px-Edmundbeingmartyred05.jpg

shot arrows into him, then beheaded him.

It is further said that his head was guarded by a wolf until searchers came looking for him


stedmundwolf.jpg

The wolf called to them, 'Hic! Hic! Hic!'. Perhaps he had hiccoughs after consuming the rest of the body but really this wolf was brainier than me, because he spoke Latin (Eulalia will tell you how awful my Latin is. She tells me that 'hic' means 'here!')

So the King's mortal remains were gathered into a fairly decent box

220px-Shrine_pic.jpg

which eventually found its way to a town called Beodricksworth, where they cause miracles to happen, the blind saw, the dumb spoke, and people were cured of the pox. So Edmund became a saint, and the town was renamed as the town (Burgh) of St Edmund, or Bury St Edmunds.

With me so far? Good on yer!

St Edmund was a bit of a crowd puller so needed a biggish building to keep the pilgrims dry while they worshipped (if you'd walked all the way from the other side of the country you'd be a bit miffed if you had to stand in the rain), so they built an abbey.

abbey.jpg abbey-church.png

This grew into one of the wealthiest, biggest, and most corrupt Benedictine monateries in Europe. And there was utter loathing between the town and guildsmen of Bury St Edmunds and the Monks. 1327 was not a good year, after riots over a hated tax, several townspeople were abducted from one of the Parish Churches by the monks, in reponse, the Abbey gate was burned down and the abbey captured, releasing the captives.

In 1456 the church burned down, and it took till 1506 to rebuild it, but 33 years later came the Dissolution, and the whole place was demolished. Only a few pillars and walls were left standing, and the three parish churches, which you can see built into the Abbey wall in the aerial picture above: St James, to the west, St Mary's, to the south west, and St Margaret's to the south. St Margarets has now gone, St Mary's remains a parish church, but in 1914 St James was elevated to the status of cathedral, and is the seat of the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

In Madi's excellent painting, then, we see St James' Church, now St Edmundsbury Cathedral, with some of the ruins of the old Abbey in the foreground.

No-one knows where St Edmund is, although there's a theory that he's under some tennis courts to the east of the site.
 
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