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Bury St Edmunds Abbey

The Abbey of Bury St Edmunds: History, Legacy and Discovery



The Abbey of St Edmund was founded around the relics of St Edmund, king and martyr, patron saint of England in the Middle Ages, and grew to be one of the great religious establishments of medieval England. It controlled the adjoining town of Bury St Edmunds, owned vast riches, and its Abbots were major forces in the Church. The Abbey Church was one of the largest in Christendom, and the Abbey hosted kings and parliaments. Among the many influential monks was the poet John Lydgate.

Relations with the town the Abbey dominated and controlled were often far from easy, and at times exploded into violence. A disastrous fire, and the collapse of the great tower, were among the catastrophes the monks had to endure, yet the Abbey became a European centre of art, culture and learning.

In this first complete history of the Abbey from foundation to dissolution, Francis Young draws on a wide variety of sources to explore the development of the Abbey over the centuries, disentangling the complex ruins that surround the surviving churches of St Mary and St James (the Cathedral). He considers the religious and political influence of the Abbots, the Abbey’s wealth and regional power, and the draw of its relics. Five centuries after the Reformation, as the millennium of the Abbey’s foundation in 1020 approaches, its impact on Bury St Edmunds and the country at large is still palpable.

The book is fully illustrated, with plans and sketches of the Abbey in centuries past as well as modern photographs of its remains.

 

More about the author Francis Young

Some sample pages from the book:


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ISBN 978-0-9933069-4-5
Publication September 2016.
224 pages, 234 x 156 mm, including timeline, lists of abbots and other senior postholders, and more than 30 illustrations, some in colour.
Footnotes, bibliography and index.