The Town of Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk

Bury St. Edmunds Suffolk Holidays

A visitors guide to the attractive historic Suffolk Market Town of Bury St. Edmunds with its old streets, buildings and ancient Abbey.  Many of Bury St Edmunds buildings date from the 17th and 18th centuries and its cobbled streets ooze history, legend and folklore.  The layout of the streets are still very much as Abbot Baldwin devised them back in the 11th century. The town grew up around the Benedictine monastery founded in 1020AD and has nearly one thousand preserved buildings. 

The town was once an important religious centre. The last king of the East Angles - King Edmund was martyred nearby in 869 and later moved here for burial in the year 903. Unfortunately after the dissolution of the monasteries the Abbey was destroyed and now only ruins remain. The Abbey gardens in which the remains sit, are beautifully maintained throughout the entire year. Nearby at the Visitor Centre is a modern statue of St. Edmund sculpted by Elizabeth Frink who was born and educated in Suffolk.

Bury has wonderful shops mostly located in traffic free areas. Along with the big high street names there are also small unusual shops making the whole experience of shopping very enjoyable. A regular market held on Wednesday and Saturday adds to the experience and the atmosphere.  

Moyse's Hall Museum built in 1140 is said to be the oldest domestic town house in East Anglia. In its past it was used as hostelry, jail, parcels office and now the Borough Museum. If you don't mind rubbing elbows when you drink then visit the public house Nutshell, which claims to be the smallest pub in England. Bury also has a theatre, the Theatre Royal, sited in a beautifully restored Georgian building, which hosts drama, music and dance events throughout the year.

The Norman Tower in Chequer Square was built in the 12th Century and inside St. Mary's church is the tomb of Mary Rose Tudor sister of Henry VIII. Mary was used as a political pawn and married by her brother to the King of France. The King of France died soon after the ceremony so Mary returned home to England. She then married Charles Brandon the Duke of Suffolk and went to live at Westhorpe. When she died she was buried in the Abbey at Bury but after the dissolution her tomb was moved to St. Mary's church.. 

For Norfolk or Suffolk Bisto The town was originally called Bury only later adding the additional St. Edmunds. In the year 841 in Nuremberg a child was born who grew up to become a staunch Christian.
As a teenager he came over to East Anglia where he became King of East Anglia. In 870 he was captured by Danes who tortured him and then killed him. 
According to legend although his body was recovered by his friends his head could not be found. His men searched high and low for forty days, they then heard Edmunds voice directing them to the depths of a wood. Here they discovered Edmunds head lying protected between the paws of a wolf.
In 903 thirty three years after King Edmund was killed his body was brought to Bury St. Edmunds by Bishop Theodred. The first abbey church was built soon afterwards to honour the memory of this saintly king. After the Norman Conquest the monastery was re-planned on a grand scale and this is the remains of the rebuilding which survives today. In 1327 the abbey was sacked by the townspeople protesting against monastic control and in 1381 during the Peasants Revolt the Prior was beheaded as he fled the monastery.
In 1539 at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries the abbey was sold for 412.19s 4d. It was subsequently robbed of much of its stone for use as building material in the town.

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