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Abbey of St Edmund 1000th Anniversary

Join Bury St Edmunds as they celebrate the 1000th anniversary of the founding of the Abbey of St Edmund by King Canute.
There are many celebratory events planned including an exhibition of seven Abbey Manuscripts at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, a pilgrimage from St Benet’s, Norfolk to Bury St Edmunds, a procession of over 100 monks and nuns, an exhibition of sculptures in the Abbey Ruins, daily walking tours, special concerts and talks and the St Edmund’s Weekend Spectacular to mark St Edmund’s Day.

Discover the Abbey of St Edmund

In Medieval times, The Abbey of St Edmund was one of the richest, largest and most powerful Benedictine monasteries in England and people came from all over Europe to visit the Shrine of Saint Edmund, the first Patron Saint of England.

Plan your Visit to the Abbey Ruins

The Abbey of St Edmund ruins are extensive. Spend a day exploring the complete 14th century Great Gate, the ruins and west front of the immense church, and ‘Our Liberty’; a memorial to the Magna Carta nestled in the gardens. Widely recognised as one of the most important documents in the world, the Magna Carta, owes its creation to a crucial role that Bury St Edmunds played.

Enjoy a stay in Bury St Edmunds

With a packed programme of fascinating events celebrating the anniversary of the Abbey of St Edmund, there’s never been a better time to enjoy a stay in the historic town of Bury St Edmunds. Combine history with art and culture, award-winning food & drink, fantastic shopping, and the surrounding stunning Suffolk countryside.  The historic Angel Hotel looks over the Abbey gate.  Charles Dickens, the great English novelist, was a regular to stay here too.  Book your accommodation here.

Abbey of St Edmund Walking Tours

Until 31 October 2022 you will be able to take a 90-minute in-depth tour to discover the daily life of a monk; to walk the boundary and explore life on the margins of this once famous Abbey; to hear of its turbulent side and to look at the Abbey’s legacy today. For those in a hurry, in just 45 minutes you can experience a whirlwind tour of the Abbey.

Enjoy a guided tour through the Abbey ruins (c) Rebecca Austin

Abbey 1000 Sculpture Exhibition

Until 30 November 2022 there will be a monthly changing display of sculptures on display in the crypt within the Abbey ruins, where the shrine of St Edmund would have stood. Among the sculptures will be The Monk – a 7ft 6ins steel monk designed by Nigel Kaines and created by Kevin Baldwin of Designs on Metal.

The 7ft Monk Sculpture nearing completion

Secrets of the Abbey: History Returns

Up until 8th June 2022 see the Exhibition of Manuscripts.  Seven manuscripts from the Abbey Scriptorium are being reunited for the first time in their place of origin since 1539.  Written and decorated by hand by monks in the Abbey, they will be displayed in the Cathedral Treasury. The manuscripts are on loan from Pembroke College, Cambridge where they were donated by William Smart (Portreeve of Ipswich) in 1599.

Rose garden in Abbey Gardens, Bury St EdmundsView of St Edmundsbury Cathedral from the rose garden

Into the Light Celebratory Concert

On 28 May 2022 the Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra will present, in St Edmundsbury Cathedral, a musical celebration of 1000 years of the Abbey of St Edmund.  This will be the world première of the 1,000th Anniversary commission featuring The English Arts Chorale, Eye Bach Choir, James Gilchrist, tenor, Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra, and Leslie Olive, conductor.

Artisan & Pilgrimage Exhibition

1 July – 30 September 2022, a new exhibition opens at Moyse’s Hall Museum which will help tell the story of St Edmund and the Abbey.  ‘The Abbey of St Edmund: Artisan and Pilgrimage’ will include original stained glass, new stained glass and original pilgrims’ badges.  There will also be touch screen displays, loans from national, private, and regional collections along with family workshops and master classes in medieval craft skills.

Picnic in the Park

You’re invited on 16 July 2022 to pop into the Abbey Gardens to celebrate the 1000th Anniversary of the Abbey of St Edmund.

Bring a picnic and between 10am and 4pm, enjoy live music and entertainment with local traders and groups as we honour the year-long occasion in the wonderful Abbey Gardens along with the remains of the Abbey and the history of St Edmund.

people having a picnic in Abbey Gardens, Bury St EdmumdsThe Abbey Gardens can be enjoyed all year round

St Edmund’s Weekend Spectacular

17 – 20 November 2022 – Celebrate St Edmunds Day and enjoy the light show, which will feature innovative 3D projections onto the historic Norman Tower and the Cathedral Tower and an enchanting light trail through the Abbey Ruins in the historic Abbey Gardens.

The 3D projections will include carefully researched historical images and sound, as well as contemporary art and voices.  This promises to be an event not to be missed.

2022 St Edmund Lecture

On 19 November 2022, a unique St Edmund Lecture will be given in the Cathedral Nave by a prominent contemporary speaker, exploring the parallels in the medieval conflicts between the Abbey and the town and the modern conflicts we know only too well within our national and international relations.