|Official Name:||Bury St Edmunds|
|Shire District:||St Edmundsbury|
|Region:||East of England|
|Constituency Westminster:||Bury St Edmunds|
|Post Town:||BURY ST EDMUNDS|
|Os Grid Reference:||TL855645|
Bury St Edmunds is a market town in the county of Suffolk, England and formerly the county town of West Suffolk. It is the main town in the borough of St Edmundsbury and known for the ruined abbey near the town centre.
Bury St Edmunds (Beodricesworth, St Edmund's Bury), supposed by some to have been the Villa Faustina of the Romans, was one of the royal towns of the Saxons. Sigebert, king of the East Angles, founded a monastery here about 633, which in 903 became the burial place of King Edmund, who was slain by the Danes in 869, and owed most of its early celebrity to the reputed miracles performed at the shrine of the martyr king. The town grew around Bury St Edmunds Abbey, a site of pilgrimage. By 925 the fame of St Edmund had spread far and wide, and the name of the town was changed to St Edmund's Bury. Sweyn, in 1020, having destroyed the older monastery and ejected the secular priests, built a Benedictine abbey on its site. In 942 or 945 King Edmund had granted to the abbot and convent jurisdiction over the whole town, free from all secular services, and Canute in 1020 freed it from episcopal control. Edward the Confessor made the abbot lord of the franchise. The town is associated with Magna Carta; in 1214 the barons of England are believed to have met in the Abbey Church and swore to force King John to accept the Charter of Liberties, the document which influenced the creation of the Magna Carta. By various grants from the abbots, the town gradually attained the rank of a borough. Henry III in 1235 granted to the abbot two annual fairs, one in December (which still survives), the other the great St Matthew's fair, which was abolished by the Fairs Act of 1871. Another fair was granted by Henry IV in 1405. Elizabeth I in 1562 confirmed the charters which former kings had granted to the abbots, and James I in 1606 granted a charter of incorporation with an annual fair in Easter week and a market. Further charters were granted by him in 1608 and 1614, and by Charles II in 1668 and 1684. The reversion of the fairs and two markets on Wednesday and Saturday were granted by James I in fee farm to the corporation. Parliaments were held here in 1272, 1296 and 1446, but the borough was not represented until 1608, when James I conferred the privilege of sending two members. The Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 reduced the representation to one. The town developed into a flourishing cloth-making town, with a large woollen trade, by the 14th century.
The town was the setting for the Bury St. Edmunds witch trials between 1599 and 1694.
On 3 March 1974 a Turkish Airlines DC10 jet Flight 981 crashed near Paris killing all 346 people on board. Among the victims were 17 members of Bury St Edmunds rugby club, returning from France. The town council election on 3 May 2007 was won by the "Abolish Bury Town Council" party. The party lost its majority following a by-election in June 2007 and, to date, the Town Council is still in existence.
Near the gardens stands Britain's first internally illuminated street sign, the pillar of salt. When built, it needed permission because it did not conform to regulations. Bury St Edmunds is terminus of the A1101, Great Britain's lowest road.
There is a network of tunnels which are evidence of chalk-workings, though there is no evidence of an extensive tunnels under the town centre. Some buildings have inter-communicating cellars. Due to their unsafe nature the chalk-workings are not open to the public, although viewing has been granted to individuals. Some have caused subsidence in living history.
Among noteworthy buildings is St Mary's Church, where Mary Tudor, Queen of France and sister of Tudor king Henry VIII, was re-buried, six years after her death, having been moved from the Abbey after her brother's dissolution of the Church. Queen Victoria had a stained glass window fitted into the church to commemorate Mary's interment.
The name borough is an etymological derivative of Bury, which has cognates in other Germanic languages such as the Old Norse "borg" meaning "wall, castle"; and Gothic "baurgs" meaning "city". They all derive from Proto-Germanic *burgs meaning "fortress". This in turn derives from the Proto-Indo-European root *bhrgh meaning "fortified elevation", with cognates including Welsh "bera", "stack" and Sanskrit bhrant- "high, elevated building".
The second section of the name refers to King Edmund of East Anglia, who was killed by the vikings in the year 869. He became venerated as a saint and a martyr, and his shrine made Bury St Edmunds an important place of pilgrimage.
Local residents often refer to Bury St Edmunds simply as "Bury".
See main article: Bury St. Edmunds Abbey. In the centre of Bury St Edmunds lies the remains of an abbey, surrounded by the Abbey Gardens, a park. The abbey is a shrine to Saint Edmund, the Saxon King of the East Angles. The abbey was largely destroyed during the 16th century with the Dissolution of the Monasteries but Bury remained prosperous throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, falling into relative decline with the Industrial Revolution.
See main article: Bury St Edmunds Cathedral. Bury St Edmunds Cathedral was created when the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich was formed in 1914. The cathedral was extended with an eastern end in the 1960s, commemorated by Benjamin Britten's Fanfare for St Edmundsbury. A new Gothic revival cathedral tower was built as part of a millennium project running from 2000 to 2005. The opening for the tower took place in July 2005, and included a brass band concert and fireworks. Parts of the cathedral remain uncompleted, including the cloisters. Many areas remain inaccessible to the public due to building work. The tower makes St Edmundsbury the only recently completed Anglican cathedral in the UK. Only a handful of Gothic revival cathedrals are being built worldwide. The tower was constructed using original fabrication techniques by six masons who placed the machine–pre-cut stone individually as they arrived.
See main article: St. Mary's Church, Bury St. Edmunds. St. Mary's Church is the civic church of Bury St. Edmunds and the third largest parish church in England. It was part of the abbey complex and originally was one of three large churches in the town (the others being St. James, now St. Edmundsbury Cathedral, and St. Margaret's, now gone).
The Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds was built by National Gallery architect William Wilkins in 1819. It is the sole surviving Regency Theatre in the country . The theatre, owned by the National Trust underwent restoration between 2005 and 2007. Appeal patron Dame Judi Dench: It presents a full programme of performances and is also open for public tours.
Moyse's Hall Museum is one of the oldest (c. 1180) domestic buildings in East Anglia open to the public. It has collections of fine art, for example Mary Beale, costume, e.g. Charles Frederick Worth, horology, local and social history; including Red Barn Murder and Witchcraft.
The town holds a festival in May. This including concerts, plays, dance, and lecturers culminating in fireworks. Bury St Edmunds is home to England's oldest Scout group, 1st Bury St Edmunds (Mayors Own).
The UK's largest British-owned brewery, Greene King, is situated in Bury, as is the smaller Old Cannon Brewery. Just outside the town, on the site of RAF Bury St Edmunds, is Bartrums Brewery, originally based in Thurston.
Bury's largest landmark is the British Sugar factory near the A14, which processes sugar beet into refined crystal sugar. It was built in 1925 and processes beet from 1,300 growers. 660 lorry-loads of beet can be accepted each day when beet is being harvested. Not all the beet can be crystallised immediately, and some is kept in solution in holding tanks until late spring and early summer, when the plant has spare crystallising capacity. The sugar is sold under the Silver Spoon name (the other major British brand, Tate & Lyle, is made from imported sugar cane). By-products include molassed sugar beet feed for cattle and LimeX70, a soil improver. The factory has its own power station,, which powers around 110,000 homes. A smell of burnt starch from the plant is noticeable on some days.
Notable people from Bury St Edmunds include artist and printer Sybil Andrews, actors Bob Hoskins and Michael Maloney theatre director Sir Peter Hall, author Maria Lousie de la Ramé (also known as Ouida), cyclist James Moore, World War II Canadian general Guy Simonds and the 18th-century landscape architect Humphry Repton, as well as Thomas Clarkson fact-finder behind the abolition of the slave trade. Though born in Bedford, actor John Le Mesurier grew up in the town.
Although not from Bury St Edmunds, BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel lived nearby in Great Finborough and, on 12 November 2004, his funeral took place at the cathedral. It was attended by approximately a thousand people including many artists he had championed. During a peak of local musical activity in Bury St Edmunds in 2002, he referred (tongue-in-cheek) to the town as 'The New Seattle'. Notable bands from Bury St Edmunds include Jacob's Mouse, Miss Black America, The Dawn Parade and Kate Jackson of The Long Blondes.
Unlike most of England, which operates a two tier school system - Primary and High - state education in Bury St Edmunds and its catchment area is a three-tier system. Upper schools include King Edward VI, St Benedict's and County Upper. Middle schools include Hardwick Middle School, St Louis Middle School and Horringer Court Middle School, a training school. The public school Culford School is located just north of the town in the village of Culford.