This year on and around St Edmund’s Day, 20th November, several events are taking place in the historic town of Bury St Edmunds to celebrate the martyr, St Edmund and namesake of the town.
Bury St Edmunds takes its name from King Edmund, the original Patron Saint of England and King of East Anglia. Edmund died on 20 November 869 after refusing to give up his Christian faith. The consequences were tragic, with him being tied to a tree and shot full of arrows, then beheaded. His shrine was at the Abbey of St Edmund in Bury St Edmunds. For centuries this was visited by various kings of England and became one of the most famous and wealthy pilgrimage locations in England.
In 1539, during the dissolution of the monasteries, The Abbey of St Edmund was destroyed and Edmund’s bejewelled shrine was plundered. Edmund’s body was missing and his whereabouts remain a great mystery to this day.
Visit the Giant Monk Sculpture
A giant monk sculpture, made from steel, will be on display in the Abbey Gardens to celebrate St Edmund’s Day. Nigel Kaines designed the new sculpture and Kevin Baldwin, a blacksmith, made it. The sculpture is helping to promote the Abbey 1000 celebrations which will take place in 2022.
The 7ft 6ins monk will be on display in The Crypt of the ruins in the Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds, From Friday 19 November to Sunday 21 November.
This will be the only chance for the public to see the monk this year as it will then not be on display again until May 2022. The sculpture will then return as the first on display in the Abbey 1000 Sculpture Exhibition. This exhibition runs from 1st May to 30 November 2022 in The Crypt, (this is where St Edmund’s Shrine would have stood in the days of the Abbey) in the Abbey Gardens, and where a different sculpture will be situated each month.
It took Kevin six weeks to make the monk statue which weighs around 250kg
Enter the Monk Photo Competition on Instagram and Facebook
To celebrate the new monk sculpture in the town, there’s a competition running with a chance to win a £50 Bury St Edmunds Gift card. You can spend the card in over 40 places in the town. To enter all you need to do is visit the sculpture of the monk in the Abbey gardens and take a picture with him. The competition will be running over the weekend on Bury St Edmunds and Beyond’s Instagram channel and Facebook page and they will be looking for the best photo with the monk.
Where can you see the St Edmund Flag?
See how many St Edmund Flags you can spot around the town. Some of the places you are guaranteed to see it being flown will be on top of the Abbey Gate and The Angel Hotel on Angel Hill, at Bury St Edmunds Police Station in Raingate Street, The Apex in Charter Square, Greene King Brewery in Westgate Street as well as at West Suffolk’s Council’s offices in Western Way.
Children’s St Edmund’s Day Pack
There are lots of ways for children to get involved and to find out more about St Edmund and St Edmund’s Day too. They can download a special children’s pack that also includes a St Edmund flag to colour in.
Within the pack is a drawing of the Abbey Gate. During the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539, the sculptures that once adorned the Abbey Gate were removed and presumed destroyed. Hopefully, children will come up with their own imaginative statues and then be in with a chance to win a prize in the Bury Free Press’ Children’s Drawing Competition. All the details of how to enter are in the pack and the competition closes on 14 November.
St Edmundsbury Cathedral – Your Cathedral at Night
Explore the magnificent St Edmundsbury Cathedral by night. This is a special late-night celebration of St Edmund’s Day with music and mini-tours. Mulled wine and St Edmund buns will be available to buy to enjoy during your visit. This free event is taking place on Friday 19 November from 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm.
Savour the atmosphere of St Edmundsbury Cathedral by torchlight
Live it up with a St Edmund’s Crown Cocktail
Celebrate in style at Baskerville’s in Whiting Street, a vegan coffee shop with a secret, hidden cocktail bar where a St Edmund’s Crown cocktail has been added to their menu. The special cocktail is made with white mulled wine tea syrup, King’s ginger liqueur, white wine, Courvoisier and lemon. The white wine and white mulled wine tea is locally sourced and the syrup is made in-house.
Win a Tour of Gifford’s Hall and a Bottle of their St Edmundsbury Wine
Gifford’s Hall Vineyard is a family-run, award-winning vineyard in the village of Hartest near Bury St Edmunds. They are offering the chance to win a bottle of their St Edmundsbury wine and a Grand Tour of their Vineyard for two in 2022! Head over to Bury St Edmunds and Beyond and click on competitions to enter!
Enter the competition for your chance to win a bottle of wine and a tour of Gifford’s Hall Vineyard
Abbey 1000 Celebrations – Relaunch
The Abbey 1000 celebrations, after being postponed are going to be relaunched on Friday 19 November. You can keep up to date with events taking place here.
Want to know more about Bury St Edmunds? Here’s some more inspiration for your visit:-