Sunday, November 16, 2014

Bury St Edmunds Abbey and Cathedral, England

Halfway between Ipswich and Cambridge is Bury St Edmunds, a town famous for its Abbey and Cathedral. The Abbey became a popular pilgrimage spot when Edmund, last Saxon king of East Anglia, was buried there after he was martyred by Danish raiders in 870. Edmund was canonized circa 900 and King Canute had the abbey built in the martyr's honor (thus the name of the town). The currently-standing cathedral was built in the 1100s. In 1214 a band of barons swore an oath at the cathedral's altar that they would fight King John if he refused to accept Magna Carta. He finally did in 1215. After the dissolution of the monasteries, the abbey fell into ruins but the cathedral remains. The lands have been turned into formal gardens.

The Abbey Gate was rebuilt in the mid-1350s and makes an impressive entrance to the parklands that contain the ruins of the abbey. One other gate and the cathedral are all that remains standing from the Benedictine abbey.

Abbey Gate

Formal gardens

Abbey ruins

L checks the model of the abbey

The ruins were fun to explore for J and L. They had plenty of opportunities to climb and run around.

No "No Climbing" signs here

Daddy and L check out a well

J hangs out

More fun at the ruins with the church in the distance

The old staircase

The cathedral itself can be accessed from the gardens or from the street outside. We approached and saw a memorial by the door to an 18th century family.

Approaching the cathedral

Close now!

Near the door

We didn't have much time to explore inside but got to see the nave and the spectacular baptismal font.


Ultra-fancy baptismal font

Stained glass window (click to enlarge)

The church has a model of itself inside, though the model does not include the nice decorative gargoyles.

Model of the church building

Two snakes in one!

The formal gardens include a playground which the children enjoyed.

A nice bridge

Spinning each other around

Happy swingers

Ready to go on other adventures!

We left through the Norman Gate tower (built in the 1140s)

Ivy league parking!

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