Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cloister ruins, Bury St. Edmunds

Cloister ruins, Bury St. Edmunds
Originally uploaded by Lisa Fagg.

Yesterday, Steve and I visited Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk, E central England - about 45 minutes from Cambridge by train. It was a dreary day but we enjoyed the afternoon shopping and visiting the ruins of the old Abbey of the cathedral of St Edmunds Bury. 

The town has a rich (and long!) history: In 903 the remains of King Edmund were interred here in a monastery, founded c.630, which later became a famous shrine and Benedictine abbey founded by Canute. In 1214, English barons struggling against King John took an oath in the abbey to compel him to accept their demands. The result was the Magna Carta (1215). Among the buildings of historical interest in the town are a Norman gate, ruins of St. James Cathedral, and a 15th-century church. Moyses Hall, a Norman residence, has been made into a museum.

We spent a while walking among the ruins and, I, marvelling at how such an historical structure could simply be part of the town, in a park amongst swings and slides and other playthings. The ruins were extensive, too, and we could have spent a lot more time there were in not for a noxious-smelling stench coming from what looked like smoke nearby. If a smell can be "spooky", this one was - it was acrid and unidentifiable. Most mysterious was the fact that although Steve and I were made very uncomfortable by it, others at the site didn't seem to notice it. Hmmmm...

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