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I have not been able to attend as much of the Catholic Record Society Conference this year as I should have liked, even though the conference was this year held in the very convenient location of Downing College, Cambridge – only half of the distance between the station and city centre. However, I was able to go along this evening and hear Coral Stoakes’s intriguing short communication on Catholic apocalypticism in the sixteenth century, the subject of her PhD thesis. It was also good to meet up with other stalwarts of the Catholic history circuit, such as Liesbeth Corens and the conference organisers, James Kelly and Simon Johnson. Sadly, I shall not be able to attend Liesbeth’s paper later today on relics at St Omer. It was also good to see Serenhedd James again, and I was delighted to hear that his book on Bishop George Errington is shortly to be published.
I delivered a short communication of my own on the post-Reformation cult of St Edmund, summarising my recent research which touches on five aspects of the survival of interest in St Edmund after 1539:
1. The transformation of the hagiography and iconography of St Edmund in the late sixteenth century
2. The development of St Edmund’s special place in the English Benedictine Congregation
3. Antiquarian interest in St Edmund, both Catholic and Protestant, from John Leland to John Battely (d. 1708)
4. Local folklore about St Edmund, local devotion, and his presence in the Suffolk landscape
5. The question of the saint’s final resting place
I issued an appeal for any information about post-Reformation images of St Edmund, other than the ones I mentioned in the paper. After my paper the conference relocated en masse to the ‘Prince Regent’, and it was good to have the opportunity to speak at some length to Aidan Bellenger about the state of my research.
I was also able to meet Fr John Broadley, who is taking over as CRS Volumes Editor and will be presiding over the publication of my monograph on the Gages, which may appear as early as the end of 2014.